Diary of an apartment investor – Tommy Brant, Jeffrey Donis, and Brian Briscoe
Brian Briscoe: Welcome to the Diary of an Apartment Investor podcast. I’m your host Brian Briscoe, and I’m very excited for today’s show. We’ve got two great people on the line with us. We’ve got Jeffrey Donis and we have Tommy Brant. Jeffrey, welcome to this show. Tommy, also welcome. We’ll just hit your story a little bit later in the episode, but Jeffrey, you’re up to bat first, so how are you?
Jeffrey Donis: Yeah. I’m doing well, Brian, and I appreciate you having me on. I hope you’re doing well.
Brian Briscoe: Yeah, I’m doing well too. Thank you. I’m excited to get you on the show. I’ve seen you and your brothers all over social media, so what you guys are doing are definitely working. So, like I said, very excited to have you on the show today. So welcome and please tell us about yourself.
Jeffrey Donis: Yeah, so my name’s Jeffrey. Like Brian said, I live in Durham, North Carolina. I’m 20 years old. I work with my two brothers. I have a twin brother. He looks a little like me. He’s a little taller, but we don’t have to.
Brian Briscoe: Yeah. How much taller, like centimeters?
Jeffrey Donis: It depends. Sometimes I’ll stand up on my tiptoes and not be a little taller.
Brian Briscoe: It depends on how you do your hair every day.
Jeffrey Donis: Exactly. Exactly.
Brian Briscoe: Okay. Got it. Cool. Cool.
Jeffrey Donis: I have an older brother, his name is Kenneth, he’s 23 and we pretty much started real estate a little over two years ago. I can kinda go into like my background if you’d like about how I got into it.
Brian Briscoe: Yeah, please do.
Jeffrey Donis: I got into real estate a little over two years ago. Started in a single-family. I was a college freshman at the time. I come from a low-income background. My mom’s a single mother, so initially didn’t come from any money and didn’t really have real estate connections but found wholesaling on YouTube. I kind of dove into that. Fast forward, I eventually left school after the Covid pandemic hit. We started going full-time, real estate quickly, got into single-family wholesaling, got some creative finance deals, and were able to build a small portfolio of single-family properties.
They did a fix and flip. All throughout this process, we were listening to podcasts, and reading different books, and we fell upon multifamily and how people wish they would’ve gotten started earlier. So we were like, well, why not? Eventually, that became our big end goal and we always like to think that why not start where you want to end up?
That was just our philosophy. Ended up jumping right in and figured out that brokers didn’t really take us seriously since we didn’t have that much experience. We’re looking for some type of partners to partner with. Ended up joining a mastermind group and that helped us cut the learning curve and allowed us to get into our first few multifamily. Now on it in a few.
Brian Briscoe: Now, something that’s always impressed me about you guys is you’re still relatively young in the multifamily space. What challenges has your age presented and what did you guys do to overcome those challenges?
Jeffrey Donis: Yeah. To be honest, I think initially just when you’re talking to people. It’s the obvious ones. Like they think you don’t have experience, which technically they’re not completely wrong. We have a lot less than most people. They just want to make sure that you know what you’re doing and stuff like that. It’s very easy to overcome that based on what we’ve done.
I’ve just simply put, I built a really good team around me just by networking and also joining different groups. So the way that I overcome that is by having a really good team. As I said, I have a partner that has over 10,000 units. Any deal I do, he’s going to be on the deal.
Other partners have a lot more experience than I do. At the end of the day, it’s just about how you can leverage that and leverage their credibility and put that in a place where it kind of shows that you’re credible as well.
Brian Briscoe: That’s a great point. I think everybody who gets into this business does something similar. I mean, we had to bring somebody in with experience on our first deal. He signed the loan paperwork with us. Otherwise, the lender wouldn’t have given us the loan. What’s nice for me is I’ve actually come full circle to where I’ve done that for other people now, which is a lot of fun. It’s a win-win situation. I don’t know how you felt but I’ll tell you how I felt. I was a little nervous calling people and saying, will you partner with this on our project? A little bit of a nerve-wracking thing for me. I’m like, Are they even gonna want to whatnot? But sitting where I’m at right now, I realize that it is a win-win situation. I mean, they have to be part of the GP to do it. I mean, not to put you on the spot on how you felt but how did you meet? Oh, if you want to go ahead.
Jeffrey Donis: No, I don’t mind at all. I joined a mastermind group that pretty much like it is a paid mentorship. My mentor’s role was to actually partner on deals with me. Obviously, he was happy to do it because he was actually walking us through the underwriting on the first one and, I was actually a co-sponsor on the first few deals I did, I had a really good team in place now.
It was just really how could I add value to those groups. It was not really necessary, like the hardest part now is like finding different partners that you can bring on and how I’m able to do that is I leverage the same team that I already have. I say our team has over 11,000 units worth of experience and 25 years plus of real estate experience. That’s why I think it’s so important for you to surround yourself with really good people, especially if you’re new.
Brian Briscoe: Yeah, agree. A hundred percent. I think masterminds and other groups like that are great places to find experienced partners. Essentially where I found mine as well. But like I said, I don’t know why I was nervous reaching out, but it was maybe it was still my newness to it. When I started, I was still nervous that people would say no. That was a big tripping.
Jeffrey Donis: We still get a lot of nos.
Brian Briscoe: You still get a lot of nos, but I don’t know why. Even I was hesitant to raise capital on my first deal for the same reason. Like, why if they say no? But, what if they say, yes? Anyway, lots of examples though.
Jeffrey Donis: Yeah, absolutely.
Tommy Brant: Anytime you’re asking for help, you’re like, I’m a burden to this person. And it is kinda like a change in my set of like, I have an opportunity to help them in some way if I’m bringing them into something like this.
Brian Briscoe: Yeah, I think that’s a good point too. It is definitely an opportunity. It’s something that is very common, but I’ve finally gotten over it. I’m to the point right now where I’ll ask. People say no, I’ll find someone else. So super cool. Super cool.
That’s interesting. So another question I want to ask you, you guys are very active on social media and have a lot of attraction, it seems like you guys have built on your social media. So what was your plan when you got on social media, how has that helped you guys, and how has it evolved over time?
Jeffrey Donis: Yeah, I think it worked in a lot of ways. I always like to say it’s hard to track your return on investment when it comes to social media, but over time we initially just started by documenting our journey. Over time it’s kind of build a brand. We’ve actually gotten investor leads from it. Partners that I’ve come to meet were able to find us on social media. When we started our own podcast, it was pretty easy to attract guests because of the presence. Also with new people that you’re meeting at conferences or, different investors that you may not really have a relationship, they look you up online and they see you everywhere. It’s not only that they see you, but they can have access to your content. You’re kind of positioning yourself as a thought leader. You immediately are establishing credibility. That’s something that we’ve pretty much been able to do. I think it’s just being consistent at the end of the day.
That’s all it is. Some people might think they don’t have value to give, but I think everyone’s got a story or some type of value. As you grow in your journey, it’s all about documenting at first, and then it kind of becomes something that you can actually put out. Well maybe more valuable content over time, but at the end of the day, it’s all about just being consistent.
Brian Briscoe: I like that. Document your journey. I think a lot of people when they’re in the initial phases of apartment investing or real estate investing or anything where you need other people. In the syndication business, you’re always looking for other people’s money or other people to help partner to get you to the next level.
When you’re upfront and starting out, I don’t know. For me, once again, this is how I felt. I felt a little disingenuous coming across as an expert and I tried to do the same thing. I tried to phrase things like, Hey, this is what I learned last week about commercial real estate or Hey, this is what I learned last month, or, Hey, I’m in this really cool program right now that’s teaching me this. I did the same thing. I just didn’t ealize it to tell just now, but started documenting what I was doing, telling everybody else what I was doing, and eventually I got to the point where I think I was legitimately adding value.
The second point I’ll make when you guys ask me to come on your podcast. I already knew who you guys were too. It was very simple, yeah, I’ll be on your podcast. It’s like I know who those guys are. Absolutely. Yeah. Great.
Jeffrey Donis: That’s awesome.
Brian Briscoe: Awesome, good enough there. Are you guys gonna continue the same social media outreach? Or are you guys shifting gears on marketing or what’s the picture?
Jeffrey Donis: Honestly, I’m happy you asked. Actually, we have a podcast. We’re pretty much omnipresent on those platforms. My brother Kerwin actually is the head of marketing. We’re starting a YouTube channel as well. We already had one, but we’re going to start pushing more content out. The goal is just to educate and hopefully, we attract people to our pages and just to our brand can grow.
That’s really right now it’s just being consistent. Maybe looking a little bit more professional because at first it was all on the phone and now we’re able to set up a nice camera. We have like a nice podcast studio, so maybe make it more consistent.
Brian Briscoe: Make it look nicer.
Jeffrey Donis: Yeah, exactly.
Brian Briscoe: That’s something I’ve been very slow at doing is improving my system. I’m still using the camera that comes on my Mac and I did upgrade microphones but I definitely need to improve all of that stuff. As far as your YouTube channel, are you taking what you record on the podcast and posting that you doing other stuff or A little bit of everything?
Jeffrey Donis: Yeah. We have different channels on YouTube channel. So there’ll be one which is the real estate Monopoly podcast. This season is our third season. We’re going to have different types of episodes. We’re bringing on different kinds of guests and different niches within real estate.
The other ones, we call them Donis brother’s round tables. Where it’s my two brothers and me, because honestly, on the ones previously, and I’m not sure if you can relate at all, Brian, it seems like you do a good job of giving off your experience. When we were starting out, maybe we had a little bit of the imposter syndrome, but we weren’t really giving off our personalities or our experience. We wanna do that now. Let our audience know really who we are. So that’s kind of what we’re looking to do on that channel.
Brian Briscoe: Nice. Nice. Awesome. So best of luck on that one.
Jeffrey Donis: Thank you.
Brian Briscoe: YouTube’s a great place to be. We’ve just kickstarted our YouTube channel and
Jeffrey Donis: Awesome.
Brian Briscoe: Something else that I’ll point out is. Just the authenticity when you’re sharing your personal story. At first, I was very hesitant to share anything personal about myself, but it resonates with people and that’s what people like that’s how you get people to invest.
That’s how you get people to partner with you when they feel that they know you from what you share. So when you be authentic, when you’re personal. I mean, Boom, you’re going to get a lot of people. Just for the record, I did just subscribe to your YouTube channel.
Jeffrey Donis: Thank you.
Brian Briscoe: So you now have 595 subscribers.
Jeffrey Donis: Awesome. I’ll go ahead and subscribe to you when I’m done.
Brian Briscoe: All right. Awesome. All right, so let’s shift gears a little bit. I know something from what I followed. You guys do talk about your reason for doing this, but it’s something I like to call your big burning why. So what is your big burning? Why for investing in apartments?
Jeffrey Donis: The first reason that we got into it, like I said, I come from a low-income background. My mom cleans houses for a living. Initially, we knew that we didn’t come for money and we were planning on going to school, get a degree, and get a job. Then we’ve read Rich Dad, Poor Dad, which is right above me.
It kind of broke that paradigm where we thought there’s probably a better way to do this and to make it happen sooner so that we could get her out of work, and now she can at least do what she wants because she’s given up stuff so much. Our initial goal is to retire her. We’re hoping to do that relatively soon.
Since that’ll obviously be a goal that we’re confident we’ll hit soon. For me personally, it’s to build a life by design. Live life and be able to use my time the way I want to and spend it with the people I want to spend it with while helping other people do the same thing. I think just in regards to my personal life, I know a lot of young people and just people that are starting to actually get into some.
They may not think there’s another way to build a life by design and be able to do what they want with their time. They just see that like it’s a Hollywood thing or something like that but I want to make it something that’s really easy, not easy to do, but realistic. I think that’s not something that many people think it’s possible.
Brian Briscoe: So do you have a date in mind by which you’re going to retire your mother?
Jeffrey Donis: I would say within the next 12 or 24 months.
Brian Briscoe: All right. Awesome. A very good call. I’m very optimistic for this year. I think this is going to be a fabulous year. So super optimistic.
Jeffrey Donis: Likewise.
Brian Briscoe: Yeah. I mean there’s a lot of uncertainty. There’s a lot of volatility in the market, in lending in all aspects. But I still think it’s going to be a fabulous year. Anyway, let’s talk about one of the deals you guys have done. Tell me a little bit about what the Donis brothers deal has looked like.
Jeffrey Donis: Yeah, so I live in North Carolina. Durham specifically. We look here but we haven’t found anything here. We look in Georgia as well, primarily. A deal that I could talk about is it’s a little under 200 units.
It’s C Class property. It’s a hundred little under 200 units and there’s like a small portion of the property that was burnt down. There was actually a resident living in one of the units and she thought it’d be a good idea to try to make it into a grill which quickly backfired.
Literally backfired on her and got burnt. Pretty much the whole thing down. Everyone had to run out. That’s a big value add play that we’re gonna have. It’s got three laundry facilities that we’re gonna go in. One of the units is actually being used as a leasing office. So our goal is to turn that back into a unit that we can rent out, and then convert one of the laundry facilities into a leasing office, and the other two just renovate.
So that they’re more usable for the residents there but really just like your normal value add play. There’s around 78% of the units, sorry, 65% of them are classic and we’re going to go renovate about 80% of those. Bring them up to full renovation. So that’s typically what we look for a hundred plus units, B, C class properties in the Southeast.
Brian Briscoe: Nice. This particular one’s in Georgia, where I’m GP on two properties in Augusta. It’s one of the cities that I really like. Where’s this one at, if you don’t mind?
Jeffrey Donis: No, I don’t mind. Atlanta.
Brian Briscoe: Okay. Alright. Good. I mean I’m looking at 190 unit property in Augusta.
Tommy Brant: Scale up.
Jeffrey Donis: Not that one, right?
Brian Briscoe: Yeah, exactly. Not that one. Not that one under 200 units. My spidey sense started tingling. Interesting.
Jeffrey Donis: Well look together on it, if that ever happens.
Brian Briscoe: You know that’s one thing I love about this space is, am I ever in direct competition with other people on the podcast? People in this space? Not likely. But if I am, that’s exactly my attitude. If I find out that somebody I know is putting in an offer on the same property that I’m putting an offer on, I’m going to pick up the phone and call them and say, Hey, let’s see if we can work together on this.
See if we can partner on this one and, we both win because I think that’s a much better strategy. And quite frankly, that’s how I got into my first partnership. I found out that somebody in one of my networks was looking at the exact same property.
Tommy Brant: Just a reflection on that one. It’s so interesting how competition can turn into collaboration in this business. So you’re absolutely right.
Brian Briscoe: Yeah. You can choose to compete or you can choose to collaborate. Just, just to relive my phone call, I found out that I was competing. I picked up the phone. I had no idea how the phone call was going to turn out, but it was somebody that I had talked with a couple of times. I realized that we were competing. He didn’t know it yet. I’m just like, all right, I’m just going to pick up the phone, call them and see where it goes. After a 15-minute phone call, we agreed to collaborate on that one property, and that one collaboration turned into nine deals together.
Jeffrey Donis: That’s awesome.
Brian Briscoe: So yeah, if we’re ever in competition and we realize it. I’d love to just throw down the walls and throw in halfsies, or something like that.
Jeffrey Donis: Likewise, yeah.
Brian Briscoe: Cool. I don’t think I’ve said halfsies to an adult recently, but I got five kids. So, let’s talk about what’s next for you guys. What’s on your plate?
Jeffrey Donis: We’re working on one deal right now, hoping to get that close. And the next really, I live in North Carolina, as I said, and we’re looking for properties here. Hopefully, we could find one this year. I’m manifesting it. We will find a property here. It’s in my backyard. I really like the market, but nothing is penciling out right now. But as things change, hopefully, they do. I’m looking to just buy as much as we can and travel a lot too. Going to a few conferences. Not sure if you guys have heard of the real estate guys. I’m sure you have, but they have an awesome investor summit coming up soon, next month. So will go in at that.
Brian Briscoe: Where is that one?
Jeffrey Donis: It’s in Belize. It’s a nine-day event.
Brian Briscoe: I love Belize. Where in Belize?
Jeffrey Donis: Oh, it’s a private island. Honestly, I don’t remember the name. My brother books the stuff. I just go.
Brian Briscoe: All right. I spent a week in San Pedro. Belize, It’s amazing. As long as you’re in the Cayes, I think Mainland Belize. I just want to say what I think of Mainland Belize. There are actually some beautiful Mayan ruins in Mainland Belize. It’s just that there’s a lot of poverty and there’s not a lot of development.
Jeffrey Donis: Right.
Brian Briscoe: Yeah. So cool. I mean, that’s Robert Helms. I followed him for a while. A great guy. Anyway, enjoy that one.
Jeffrey Donis: Thank you.
Brian Briscoe: Yeah, I’ve got to get on their list so I can go to Belize again.
Jeffrey Donis: That’s a lot of fun.
Brian Briscoe: You, so anyway what else is on the radar? I interrupted you while you were telling us what was going on.
Jeffrey Donis: Yeah, we have conferences, so I went to another one last few weeks ago with the real estate guys. The reason I go is to educate myself and I’ve learned that networking has played off the most in our business. So just looking to create more relationships and nurture the ones that we already have. Personal-wise, I’m really just looking to continue focusing on what I’m doing. I like self-development a lot, so really just staying focused.
There are a lot of ways to get distracted, especially around my age with what I could easily be doing, but really trying to hone in on what my goals are, and that way we can get closer to them.
Brian Briscoe: You know, I could tell personal and development was probably something you take important.
Jeffrey Donis: Yeah.
Brian Briscoe: What’s the word? I’m trying to say something you take seriously.
Jeffrey Donis: Prioritize.
Brian Briscoe: Yeah, prioritize. I mean, looking at your background, you’ve got some very classic self-help books back there. I don’t think you’d have those up there if personal development wasn’t something that was very important to you.
Jeffrey Donis: Right.
Brian Briscoe: Well, anyway, hey, thanks for sharing your story. We’re going to shift gears and talk to Tommy for a second. So, Tommy, welcome.
Tommy Brant: Yes. Thanks for having me, Brian. It’s a pleasure to be here. I’m humbled and honored to be here.
Brian Briscoe: Should have brought you on a long time ago. We’ve been running in the same circles for quite a while now, but happy that you’re finally on the podcast, and my bad for not asking sooner. Welcome, and do us a favor and tell us a little bit about yourself.
Tommy Brant: Sure. So I joke that I’m a recovering electrical engineer. An electrical engineer of 13 years. I went full-time in real estate last August and work took me to Nashville from middle Georgia. I grew up in Macon.
I graduated from Georgia Tech. At the end of 2008, which was an interesting time to be looking for a job. That wound is still fresh.
Brian Briscoe: Yes.
Tommy Brant: It’s top of mind as people are asking, are we in a bubble? And I just kinda laugh. I’m like, it’s completely different circumstances.
Brian Briscoe: It doesn’t feel like 2007, 2008 to me.
Tommy Brant: No. Yeah, no.
Brian Briscoe: Right.
Tommy Brant: I’ve been an electrical engineer for 12 years with the same company. So very inundated with the W2 corporate life and various capacity. So a little bit on the technical support side, customer service, call center, and transition to sales to have control over the solutions that got sold to people.
So my specialization in data science and transition to business analyst. So, suffice it to say that, operations is probably my strong point. Underwriting is a shortcut for me. Everything about real estate is a people business. So I would gravitate mostly towards I guess the investor relations side of things.
I love talking to people. I draw motivation from hearing like Jeffrey’s story. What’s your background like, and what motivates you? What keeps your motor hone in? I couldn’t do that if I’m looking at deals all day. My joke is if I wanted to look at spreadsheets all day, I wouldn’t have left my job. I love being in front of people and that’s the best part for now.
Brian Briscoe: Well, a couple of things I didn’t realize. I know where you currently are at and where you’re currently looking. I didn’t know you were Georgia Tech grad or from Macon, so I at least learned a couple of new things about you today.
Incidentally, Georgia Tech was a school that I actually looked at for grad school a long time ago, but that’s a completely different story. Anyway, so let’s talk about your why now? Why are you investing in apartments?
Tommy Brant: For sure. It’s interesting because I think if you ask my friends what my superpower is, they would say he’s really quick at learning new things.
I think if you unpack that, my superpower really is if there’s a wrong way to do something, you’ll find it. I basically looked at everything else as far as starting a business and trying to work for myself kind of thing. I looked at everything else before I even looked at real estate.
So I looked at e-commerce, I looked at stocks, I looked at day trading. I looked at option trading. I read books by billionaire fund managers. My takeaway from all of that is buy ETFs and don’t look at it for 30 years. And I just said, that’s not the trajectory that I don’t want to be on.
Then I finally came across Rich Dad, Poor Dad and my eyes got opened up to your ability to force appreciation on some assets in the world and they’re all in the real estate space. I can’t buy Google and make it go up, but I can buy a mismanaged apartment complex and have control over it.
I actually started in the single-family space. I bought three. I guess my first investment property was in 2011. It was a short sale in a suburb of Nashville. I lived in it, rented out a bedroom, and in 2020 we liquidated that property. I didn’t owe anything on it, so that was where kind of most of my headwinds came from.
I bought three single-family homes and became a landlord. I got a PM so I was landlording indirectly. I paused and looked at kind my net worth balance sheet. If you’ve read The Millionaire Real Estate Investor by Gary Keller. I looked at my net worth calculator after buying those three houses, and I kind of looked at the trajectory that I wanted to be on and it was incredibly linear.
I was just like, this isn’t getting me to the place that I want to go as quickly as I’d like to go. The conclusion I came to was, I need more doors and less driveways. That brought me very quickly to multifamily.
Brian Briscoe: I like that. Did you make that up by the way? More doors, less driveways, or did you steal it from somebody?
Tommy Brant: I have a lot of phrases.
Brian Briscoe: That’s clever.
Tommy Brant: I think that’s Tommy Brant behind that one.
Brian Briscoe: Yeah. Let’s read that to you but it is very clever and I agree wholeheartedly. More doors, less driveways, that’s a really good way of putting it. More doors, less driveways.
I think everybody who starts in a single-family space that most of multifamily has the same realization. It’s just like, okay, how many single-family homes can I close on in a given year? Granted you can raise other people’s money for single-family homes and whatnot and scale it, but it’s still one home, one driveway, and one roof per property. Largely one loan per property. Scaling is always an issue people come to when they’re talking about single-family.
Tommy Brant: I want to answer your question. I never did answer my burning line, but I’m probably not unique in the fact that I want all of the freedoms.
There’s a book that talks about the five freedom. So there’s people freedom where you can hang out with who you want to hang out with. There’s geographic freedom where you can go wherever you want to go. Time freedom, so you can go wherever you want to go, whenever you want to go. The last one is, I’m missing one, but the last one’s obviously financial freedom. You can’t have those freedoms without being financially free. That’s kind of the idea there. That’s my burning wise to be able to do what I want to do with whoever I want to do when I want to do it. I think along the way, I’m giving back however I can in helping people get there. Sharing my knowledge and my journey to enable others.
Brian Briscoe: I think there’s a common trend every time I ask that question, and a lot of it has to do with the same thing. It’s about time freedom. It’s about doing what you want, when you want with the people you want to do it with. I think that’s the trend that comes on over and over and over again. When I asked that question and it’s kind of fun to hear the answers though.
Some people surprise you. Some people really surprise you. Anyway, thanks for sharing that. Um, and now we’re coming up to my favorite part of the podcast. It’s where I do not talk as much and let everyone else do the talking. Hey Tommy, we got Jeff on the line, what do you wanna ask him?
Tommy Brant: Sure. Jeff, I’m glad to have you. I’ve listened to a couple of your podcasts, so I actually know the mentorship group that you’re a part of.
Jeffrey Donis: Awesome.
Tommy Brant: Glad to be a part. So, I’m invested in a couple of syndications. I was going to be a CoGP on a deal, but we actually backed out two Mondays ago.
It didn’t scream a good deal. They say your first deal can’t fail. I’m interested since you’re CoGP on a couple of deals. I’m curious to know if you could elaborate on what roles are you playing in those deals. How are you adding value? And I guess what was the source of some of those?
Jeffrey Donis: So, yeah. Great question.
Tommy Brant: High-level info.
Jeffrey Donis: Yeah, for sure. So the group I’m a part of, I just say it’s think multifamily out of Dallas. That’s how I found the deal. I just was calling. I actually reached out to my mentor, Mark Kenny, and asked him, is there anyone that needs any help with anything?
And he told me certain people and I’d already built relationships with them beforehand because I go to their events. I just met them in person and I always follow up with people on the phone just to nurture those relationships. So I reached out to one of the people and he told me, yeah, this is a deal I have going on.
Let me know how you think you can help. Personally, I didn’t find the deal. I really didn’t have that big of an investor database either. So what I thought, I knew I’m good at networking and I know that I’m really good at marketing in comparison to most people that I knew. So I offered to help with marketing in regards to some emails and also just anything else you needed help with.
We actually helped a little bit with some investor deck on that one, but also I raised a little bit of capital, which wasn’t the biggest value add. I would say the biggest one was I knew people in my network that he didn’t know. So I asked him, Hey, like, is it okay if I try to make an introduction with someone else?
So I met this other individual at a few other events I’d gone to and I actually just introduced them. He ended up partnering and now he’s raising a lot of money on a lot of their deals and they’re working together for the last five deals they’ve done together. That all started with me and I didn’t think I had that much value to give.
It’s all about getting creative. So I would say networking and making introductions, that was probably the biggest value ad that I’ve done on most of the deals that I’ve actually cosponsored.
Brian Briscoe: Nice.
Tommy Brant: Very cool.
Brian Briscoe: Nice. Don’t ever underestimate the power of networking. I made it public just recently that I’m leaving Four Oaks and as of today, it’s not official yet.
It should be official soon. Reaching out to my network for phase two has been amazingly fruitful so far. So never underestimate the power of your network and always be willing to make introductions. I think that’s powerful, and that’s a superpower in and of itself, I think.
Tommy Brant: Yep. Right on. Looking back on how far you’ve come in a short amount of time is there anything that you could have done differently to shorten your time period to success? I know we all define success differently, but any lessons learned, mistakes that you made along the way you wish you would’ve avoided? Things like that.
Jeffrey Donis: Yeah, I would go back to one of the things that helped me get to the place where I am today a lot quicker than I think if I wouldn’t have done it, was networking. So the way that I network is a little I would say different. I mean, not different, but so I’ll meet people at an event and I purposely put myself in these rooms.
I join different groups. I’ll go to as many conferences as I can afford to go to each year because they can get it pretty expensive pretty quickly. I have two brothers that like to go with me, so just trying to pick the right ones. Going and then actually being social at these events, trying to like, build a relationship with each of these people.
And then after the event, that’s where the real networking happens when you follow up with them. I throw them into a CRM and systematically, we’ll follow up with every single person at least a few times a year. Then slow and steady, you start taking notes down on what each person is doing.
Brian touched on, you don’t want to like to disvalue the amount of value you can bring someone based on who you know. So I’ve made like dozens of introductions, and all of that has helped me. But make sure that if you don’t have a lot of capital, maybe you can’t raise a lot of capital or you just can’t find deals.
A great way to bring value to people is just by building your own network. You can do that by going to events or joining different groups. So that’s one thing that’s really helped us because that’s how we were able to get into our first few deals. And now on this one, that we have coming up, I think it’ll go very well just because of the network that I have.
Brian Briscoe: And incidentally, I’ve been going to conferences for years and years and years, and it’s the last one that I went to. It was April. So about a month and a half ago that I finally did what you said, where I throw people into my CRM and I automate the responses, and oh my gosh, the responses have been amazing. Just being able to follow up with the people that I’ve met. I’ve gotten a lot of partnership op opportunities out of that too.
Jeffrey Donis: Yeah. And no one does it. No one does it.
Brian Briscoe: Nobody does. Yeah, you’re right. Nobody does. You know, I, I threw them in my CRM and I said, all right. Send everybody this email. The first blast is automated, but it’s me responding to the people who respond back. The alternative is to cut and paste and you’re doing the same thing anyway.
Jeffrey Donis: Exactly.
Brian Briscoe: All right, Tommy, back to you. Sorry, we’re still in your show.
Tommy Brant: This is not my show. No, that’s all good. That’s great feedback and it’s such a low percentage of people that actually are doing the follow-up. It’s crazy. Brian, we had dinner a couple of times at the Best Ever conference in February. I remember I put everyone in my CRM. I think I just waited too long to send the message out, but it was a couple of weeks afterward and I think the conversion rate drops exponentially the longer you wait to actually send the email out.
Jeffrey Donis: Yeah, I do it as soon as I get back if possible the day after. But if it’s like Sunday, and I mean, honestly, I’ll do it like as soon as I can.
Brian Briscoe: Yeah, and I’ve wondered I haven’t done any split testing or anything like that, but I’m curious if there’s the best time to wait, three days after, four days after the day after, or whatever.
Maybe next time I’ll do some split testing and send half of them the day after and half of them a couple of days after. See what does better.
Tommy Brant: Would you say before the conference is over?
Jeffrey Donis: Like as soon as you get that number? Yeah. Would you say calling them is better than emailing them, Brian? Have you tried either or both?
Brian Briscoe: You know what I would say yes, but you also got to look at your capacity. If you meet 500, if there are 800 people at a conference. Now what I did with the last conference is a lot of these people use the Whova app. I paid my daughter to go through the Whova app and sent and hit the exchange request button, and she literally cut and paste a response in. I paid her $10 an hour, which is great money for an 11-year-old.
That’s how we put him into the CRM. That’s how we reached out. I would say, the more personal you are with any interaction, the better it’s going to be. Unfortunately, when you’re dealing with hundreds of people at these events, I would say you prioritize, who the phone calls go to and who the emails go to. All right, Tommy, back to you again.
Tommy Brant: For sure. You talked a little bit about your why, let’s look forward 18 months from now. Let’s say you’ve successfully retired your mother, how do you stay motivated after you’ve been successful? How do you maintain the traction and operations?
Jeffrey Donis: Yeah, so I would say there are a few different things I like to touch on. The first thing is I set really big goals that are changing. If I meet them, then they’ll change again. I’ve just set really big goals. I read the book The 10x Rule, I’m sure you’ve probably heard of it by Grant Cardone. I don’t want to reach my goal because that can keep me driven. I grew up playing soccer. I still play soccer, and I’m very competitive. So for me, I don’t really play as much anymore. And this is kinda like a sport and I like it. It feels good to win.
Also, the struggle and the journey are really the most fruitful part. I’m trying to learn how to enjoy the process. So as I’ve done that and gotten better at that. That’s another thing. I just really enjoy doing what I’m doing. At the end of the day, I said initially, the why is to build a life by design.
And I haven’t gotten to that point yet I’m still obviously working a lot, which I’m grateful for because I enjoy it. But I think that’s the ultimate goal and I’m not there yet. So that really keeps me going. If I were to get there, I think I would just keep going because it’s like almost, I don’t know what else I do with my time.
I think that gives me the most fulfillment out of it. So I think if you’re doing something that you’re truly passionate about, it’s almost like asking you to stop me to stop breathing. Cause it’s like my favorite thing to do.
Brian Briscoe: Yeah. I had a very similar goal where there was a very definite end state, a very definite, it’s done right. My original why was, I wanted to be able to retire from the military and not have another job. So I put the data on the calendar. I had a countdown. I had everything else. I think one thing that Jeff said that resonates with me is I didn’t reset my goal.
So once that goal was achieved, there was a little while where it’s like, I was asking everybody what’s their big burning why on the podcast? In my head, what’s my big burning why now? I’ve already retired.
Tommy Brant: Anyway, Jeffrey, as we look at scaling our business and taking in partners and things like that, I mean, it was probably a no-brainer for you to work with family members. How is it working with family? Would you take in a fourth business partner? How’s that journey been for you?
Jeffrey Donis: Yeah, I think things are changing and hopefully they do continue to grow as fast as they are. When they do, I’m sure we’ll have to bring on extra people.
But working with family as of recent, it’s interesting that you ask because I grew up with my brothers obviously, and we lived together in a small house, so anytime we would fight, we couldn’t really get away from each other. So like you either get over it or it’s just gonna be awkward.
I don’t really enjoy awkward space, so I kind of forget about it. The same applies to business and another thing in my opinion, with my relationship with them, I can say anything I want, especially if it’s for the business and for the betterment of the business. They won’t take it personally.
All the feelings are aside. This is purely logical so they don’t get hurt. I think some of my friends, I’ve tried working with friends before and they seem to think you have to mix the two, the friendship and business, which I think you should, right?
Obviously, you’re not gonna treat someone completely differently. But with my brothers, it’s completely like we’re really good at complementarizing the two. They don’t take anything personally and they don’t get buttheard if I say something the wrong way. They just understand exactly who I am and how I’m trying to say things. That’s why I think it’s been going really well.
Also, our mission is the same, which is to retire our mother. We don’t have different mothers, that’s the first thing, right? That first goal is to retire her and we all are in alignment with that. We also share the other one, which is life by the design and helping other people do the same.
So I think Brian, I’m sure you would agree, but the mission is the most important thing. If you guys are all in alignment with that, that’s where the team is going to be more coherent and work better together.
Brian Briscoe: Yeah and when you fall out of alignment, that’s when you have problems. That’s when people are going in different directions. Yeah. I think alignment is important. Making sure you’re aligned from the beginning and I’m happy. I think what you said about your brothers is true in any partnership. You should be friends, you should want to hang out together. I think you gave some really good advice for any partnership.
All right. We are about out of time here. I just looked at the clock and wow we are. One final question for each of you to wrap things up, Jeff, you get to go first. How can listeners learn more about you?
Jeffrey Donis: Yeah. Feel free to follow us on any social media platform at Donis Brothers or YouTube channels, Donis Brothers as well. We have a podcast called The Real Estate Monopoly. Feel free to check that out. If you’re interested in getting access to our free Five Mistakes Past Investors Make Playbook. You can go to www.donisinvestmentgroup.com/playbook. And you spell my last name? D-O-N-I-S. Thank you.
Brian Briscoe: All right, perfect. We’ll put a link to the to all of that in the show notes. So Donis Brothers on social media and then the free playbook. Tommy, same question for you. How can listeners learn more about you?
Tommy Brant: Sure, yeah. Anyone that’s talked to me, they know that I’m very much an open book which is why I wrote a book.
So TBcapital group.com. If you go there, there’ll be an option to download a book. The Passive Investors Guide to the Multifamily Universe. If they have any interest in learning more about why apartments, it basically considers all assets and then alternative assets versus conventional, and then a deep dive on alternatives.
Then kind of multifamily101. So if you’re looking to learn more about this space and what I’m interested in, I kind of give some foundational elements there. If you say, all right, that’s cool. I really just want your ear for 30 minutes. TBcapitalgroup.com/connect has my calendar, so you can always reserve 30 minutes with me there.
Brian Briscoe: Awesome. All right. We’ll put links to that in the show notes as well. That said, thank you very much to both of you for coming on the show today. I very much appreciate your time and that was a lot of fun.
Jeffrey Donis: Yeah, we appreciate it, Brian. Thank you, Tommy.
Tommy Brant: Thank you. Appreciate it.