019: Josh Dorkin - On Real Estate Investing and Growing Loyal Customers

Meet Josh Dorkin, Founder of Bigger Pockets, a online real estate investment networking and information resource platform for real estate professionals, investors, homeowners and any one else really who is interested in learning how to safely invest in real estate. 

Josh founded Bigger Pockets on one guiding principle - Trust. He wanted to create a community of real estate professionals and investors that could openly share and communicate ideas without the advent of paying large fees. In addition, he wanted to create a safe community of professionals and beginners a like who could educate themselves through active forums, relevant and accessible information and free tools. 

Bigger Pockets has now grown to over 350,000 members, has over 1,200,000 unique monthly visitors as of June 2015, and has over 1,400,000 forum posts and tens of thousands of articles all geared towards real estate investment education. Josh additionally co-hosts a podcast, simply named The Bigger Pockets Podcast with his Senior Vice President, Brandon Turner.

In this episode, Josh shares his story of launching his company and gives personal insight on some of his most valuable lessons in being an entrepreneur. He also shares the importance of staying true to his company's foundational principle of building trust among his community. 

Contact Josh:

BiggerPockets.com

On Twitter - @jrdorkin


SHOW NOTES


WHAT DO YOU TELL OTHERS WHAT YOU DO? [04:57]

I try to tweak it. I could just say hey I’m Josh I started this website called Bigger Pockets and this site does this. I think that’s boring. I like to say that I try to change people’s lives by teaching them how to build wealth through real estate and no I am not one of those scumbag late-night TV get-rich-quick guys. I just say something different every time because it always comes up at parties or whatever else it is but I mean at the end of the day I am just a guy who’s trying to build the business… and the role of that business is to help other people become successful in building wealth and the means by which we do that is through educating them in real estate investing and providing tools for that and at the end of the day there is so much opportunity that people miss…

JOSH EXPLAINS THE LAUNCH STORY OF BIGGER POCKETS. [08:35]

Josh explains how he “fell into” the original concept of launching Bigger Pockets through a first time investment that inspired him to help others not fall into the same pitfalls that he did.

JOSH EXPLAINS HIS INITIAL FRUSTRATIONS THAT CAUSED HIM TO CREATE A DIFFERENT REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT EXPERIENCE. [11:34]

In seeking to learn to properly invest in real estate, Josh was tired of the “educational upsells” that exist and having to put up a bunch of money prior to investing.  Josh wanted to create a safe haven where people can feel a part of a community and learn from one another.

JOSH EXPLAINS HOW HIS PART-TIME HOBBY TURNED INTO A FULL TIME BUSINESS. [14:12]

At the time, Josh’s website was making a little money and he still hadn’t decided to build a business until he realized that if he spent more time on building a larger platform, Bigger Pockets could become a viable business.

JOSH SHARES HIS INITIAL FAILURE AS ORIGINALLY SEEKING TO BUILD A “MYSPACE” (AT THE TIME) FOR REAL ESTATE INVESTORS. [15:11]

Josh originally spent all of his time on self-funding a social media website that ultimately failed. Josh shares how he shifted his focus because he was close to burning out.  Through hiring a consultant, Josh learned to start delegating work and ultimately designed a plan to significantly lessen his work burden. In just a short period of time, Josh’s business has really taken off.

IF YOU COULD GO BACK AND COACH YOURSELF, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOURSELF? [19:09]

I think the first thing I would have done is mapped out a plan of how to get of it. By get out of it I mean get out of the business, get out of the details… It’s so easy as an entrepreneur to want to have your hand in everything, to micromanage. Because as an entrepreneur, typically that’s what you are doing you are micromanaging because you are doing everything whether by yourself or with a partner or your very, very, small team. So, upfront I would plot out and plan “how am I going to get myself out of this?” Here is all of the tasks that need to be done within this business. Let’s systematize this. Let’s itemize it…let’s break it down to its core elements. Let’s talk about what are the most important things and let’s get me, personally focused on those things that are going to help drive and build the business.

Josh goes on to explain that he is a huge fan of Jay Papezon’s and Gary Keller’s book, The One Thing. That talk about it every week and seek to focus on the one thing that he can focus on to drive his business.

HOW DID YOU GROW YOUR NETWORK TO THE SIZE THAT IT IS TODAY? [23:18]

Trust. I think people…there’s so many jerks out there. I mean really. There’s a lot of jerks out there and I think people want to listen to and be around and connect with and interact with and spend time with people that they like. People that they can trust. People that they can rely or count on. For me, that was the reason that I started my business was I felt there wasn’t a place that I could trust to go. So our focus from day #1 was always trust. How do I establish a destination that people feel that people can trust us? That was built into our community... It just started with the early core community and as we grew that became part of who Bigger Pockets was the living being that is our community and the same thing goes for our podcast…

JOSH EXPLAINS HIS FOCUS AND PURPOSE OF HIS PODCAST, CO-HOSTED WITH BRANDON TURNER. [25:35]

Josh and Brandon seek simply to build trust with all of their listeners by asking sincere questions from great guests who are willing to share their insights and actionable steps to successfully build out real estate investing ventures.

IF YOU COULD EDUCATE YOUR LISTENERS, WHAT IS A BIG DON’T OF REAL ESTATE INVESTING? [27:06]

Don’t buy real estate. Don’t flip houses. Don’t do anything in real estate investing until you’ve learned how to evaluate a deal, period. That is the absolute single most important thing and that is probably the reason that most people fail… it’s knowing and understanding the numbers because if you start with bad numbers you can’t fix it.

Josh mentioned hat you can begin learning the basics of real estate investing by going to his free resource guide: Ultimate Beginners Guide

WHAT HAS BEEN ONE OF YOUR BIGGEST AH-HAH MOMENTS? [31:11]

I think it really goes back to something I talked about earlier which is I wish I knew that once I started hiring people, good people, how helpful they can be….hiring people that you can trust is just amazing.

HOW DO YOU VIEW FAILURE? [34:28]

I think you have to define what failure means. I think failure is going to be very different for different people. For me, failure might mean us not growing. Us just staying at status quo, that’s failure because we want to grow… Yeah, People are going to fail. You’re going to fail and you have to expect it and when you do fail you have to be able stop and not get dragged down, not get depressed and say “I’m going to quit” because that’s really easy especially when you are new at failure…Be able to stop and take a deep breath and realize this is part of it. Failing is part of succeeding. All you have to do is fail graciously and learn from your failures and try not to do it again.

WHAT IS SOME OF THE SELF TALK TO GET YOURSELF THROUGH YOUR MOMENTS OF FAILURE? [37:12]

Josh explains how his self talk has changed over time from initially internalizing his failures to determining if he is “doing a good job to help inspire people to do the best that they can do.” 

WHAT INSPIRES YOU PERSONALLY? [42:58]

My kids…For me watching kids see the world differently than I do today as close to a 40-year-old person there’s just this innocence and there’s this eye on the possibilities.

JOSH EXPLAINS THE CORE OF BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR [45:21]      

There’s always going to be people who think it can’t happen and it’s really easy to take that to heart particularly when its friends and family because that happens all the time for entrepreneurs when they tell you; “Listen man, maybe its time to hang it up” and they might be right but you have to be able to objectively look at it and say; “hey, you know what, I’ve got a plan. I’ve got a timeline. This is how I’m going to go about doing things and I’m going to stick it out hell or high water until I hit that timeline and if I’m sinking at that point then all right I’m going to get off the ship but I’m going to stick through it…”

Josh goes on to explain and give advice how he re-allocated his time as an entrepreneur to focus on what’s most important to him in life – with his family as his top priority.

WHAT IS A FINAL PARTING PIECE OF ADVICE THAT YOU WOULD GIVE TO ANY ASPIRING ENTREPRENEUR? [48:38]

Come up with an idea or have a dream. Plan how you are going to make that dream happen and then start working on it. Far too many would-be entrepreneurs come up with ideas and they say it can’t be done and they never do it. They get stuck in a job that they hate doing things that they don’t want to do… they’re fearful that they can’t get out and do something else and start something on their own, but they can. They’re just afraid….

Recommended Resources


Books

The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

The 10x Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure by Grant Cardone

The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard (Note: There is a NEW edition published in 2015 called, The New One Minute Manager


Episode Extras


Here is the book that Josh mentioned that he was reading to his daughter:

Just Behave, Pablo Picasso by Jonah Winter

Here is the quote by Michael Jordan that Josh mentioned on missing shots: