Marketing & Branding Principles To Grow Your Real Estate Business with Sharon Vornholt

Episode 128: Marketing & Branding Principles To Grow Your Real Estate Business with Sharon Vornholt

The Profit First REI Podcast

November 10, 2022

David Richter

Summary:

Today’s guest is Sharon Vornholt, a real estate investor and business coach. She has been in the property business since 1991, starting with her home inspection business before kicking off a career in investment in 1998. 

Since 2013, Sharon has been running a successful blog and podcast, providing value on real estate investing to her audience. She has since expanded into providing coaching services on marketing and the industry for other investors who seek success.

On this episode of Profit First for REI, Sharon’s going to share the wealth of knowledge she has accumulated in her years. Don’t miss it!

Key Takeaways:
[01:41] Sharon Vornholt and her Background

[05:02] Sharon and Her Career as a Marketer

[06:19] Direct Marketing and Branding

[08:08] On Probates

[10:28] On Learning About and Implementing Profit First

[14:43] On Her Money Mindset Then and Now

[16:21] Beliefs to Pass on to the Next Generation of Investors

[22:18] Advice for the Real Estate Investing Community

[24:04] Connect With Sharon

Quotes:

[12:41] “We all understand income and expenses, and you got to have the money coming in to pay the bills. But [the Profit First Approach] is at a much deeper level…it challenges you really to look at money differently.”

[17:03] “I think you have to invest in yourself, you have to invest in your education, because why should you have to learn everything the hard way, when you can get a coach?”

[22:59] “Focus on getting the leads in the door, and focus on your brand–even if you’re brand-spanking new.”

Connect with Sharon: 

Blog & Podcast: https://louisvillegalsrealestateblog.com

Probate Course: https://probateinvestingsimplified.com/

Website: https://sharonvornholt.com/

Tired of living deal to deal? 

If you are a real estate investor or business owner who is tired of living deal to deal, and want to double your profits, head over here to book your no-obligation discovery call with me. Either myself or someone from my team will hop on a short call with you to get clear on your business goals, remove any obstacles holding you back, and map out a game plan to help you finally start keeping more of the money you work so hard to make. – David 

Transcription: 

Sharon Vornholt:

Intellectually, I know that the profit should come first, but in real life it very often doesn’t. The profit is what you hope is left over.

Outro:

If you’re a real estate investor who’s sick and tired of living deal to deal, then welcome home. Hear from everyday real estate investors just like you, and discover how they’ve completely transformed their business by taking a profit First approach. This is the Profit first for REI podcast where we believe revenue is vanity, Profit is sanity. It’s time to start making profit a habit in your business. So here’s your host, David Richter.

David Richter:

Hey everyone, it’s David Richter back with the Profit First REI podcast. We have Sharon Bohol today, which has become a closer friend here in the last few weeks and she has an amazing podcast as well too. I was privileged to be a guest on there and she runs a first class operation there. But then she’s also someone I know that is changing lives because she has, she’s not only out there teaching, she’s done it since 1998 is when she began investing and was originally a rehaber by and hold, became an accidental wholesaler, which I can’t wait for you to hear to see that story play out because that happened around the crash of 2008. But that’s where I wanna make sure Sharon is someone who not only is teaching this but has done it, has done it well for a long period of time. She also helps a lot of people with probate investing. She’s probably the probate queen. I don’t know if she’s branded herself that yet, but I think she might be the probate queen here that you get to listen to today. And then she’s got a blog. She’s anything that you want to consume, if you wanna consume great content to be able to go out there and do more deals, follow Sharon. She’s incredible. So Sharon, thank you so much for being on the podcast today.

Sharon Vornholt:

David, thanks so much for having me. And I do feel like I’ve known you forever at this point.

David Richter:

<laugh> <laugh>, right? It’s funny, once you get to start talking with people, and that’s what I love about podcasts, We’re literally talking about each other, our stories, who we are sharing our passions. I think that’s when you get to start to know people. What are they passionate about? What are we and what are they doing to help people once you get to know that person? So I especially am excited about this one cuz I know I loved being on yours, so I’m glad I get the role reversal today to question you. So let’s dive into it. So what even got you started in real estate in 1998? Tell that story a little bit of, did you grow up around real estate or did you jump into it later

Sharon Vornholt:

On? Well, as a kid my earliest memories, I like to say I was the oldest of four children. My dad was a general contractor and by virtue of being the oldest, I was the most well behaved. So when somebody got to go with him on job sites, it was me. And so I was exposed to it as a kid, but I went on later on. Much further down the road, I managed a medical practice, I worked in the medical field and then I opened another business home inspection company in 1991. And in doing that I met a lot of real estate agents. And one day, 1998, a real estate agent came in and said, Do you wanna go to a R meeting? And I said something like, What’s a R meeting? And she told me, because I had, honestly, it’s almost embarrassing to say it, but I had no idea that you could be in real estate and not be a realtor.

So I went to the meeting, I saw about 500 people in that room passionate about investing, and I knew I found my tribe. So I invested part-time for 10 years and then we all know what happened in 2008. So that’s when it happened in Louisville, Kentucky, some a little bit earlier in some areas. But the market crashed. I closed the other business, but I like to say it was both the best of times and the worst of times everything was on sale, the whole world was on sale, but could, no one could get financed. So I went from being, my original path was, it was kind of what I call the slope path cuz I had a very demanding business. But I would rehab a house, buy a rental, do a rehab, and kind of just limping along like that. It wasn’t my passion. I wanted to be all in real estate.

So I just pulled the plug because let’s face at home inspections were going nowhere. 2008, nobody was buying houses. So when I knew my strategy had to change though, because if I bought, I had a couple of properties and I’m thinking, oh my gosh, I’m going to rehab these things and then they’re going to sit for who knows how long, maybe a year. So I just flipped it over. I had a lot of contacts by that time and I just called up someone and went like, Well David, I’ve got a couple properties, would you like to buy these properties? And they went, Heck yeah. And I thought, boy, this was easy. But it was really not an easy strategy. But I had 10 years of contacts so it was easy for me because I was a marketer at heart. So that was my skill set, was marketing.

David Richter:

Awesome. I love that. I wish a lot more real estate investors or business owners would appreciate what you just said there because a lot of us are good at getting the deals and doing the deals, but becoming a proficient marketer, <affirmative>, that’s what your business drives on. So mm-hmm <affirmative>, learning those basic principles of marketing, being able to have those fundamentals. So that’s awesome. I love that. So that’s how you became the accidental wholesaler.

Sharon Vornholt:

And it’s funny because I know how old you are and I’m a lot older than that back, I call it in the bi time before the internet <laugh>, we did direct mail marketing. That was how you got your message out. And today, in this year, direct mail marketing works just as well. And I would say for real estate investors working off market deals, it is the golden ticket to getting those off market deals. It works year after year, Doesn’t matter what the market is. You may have to change it up a little bit, but it still works.

David Richter:

Yeah, yeah, that’s really good. Cause I know a lot of people in real estate investing in it does real, the direct marketing still works, direct mail, direct, there’s a lot of different ways to directly market to your end user and those principles of direct marketing are going to be timeless, The principles there behind that. Absolutely. So Sharon, I’m gonna just go off on a tangent a little bit here. Okay. Who’s your favorite direct marketer to learn from?

Sharon Vornholt:

Oh my gosh. Well, you know, always think of people like Dan Kennedy, all the big names. And then you narrow down and I’ll look in my market, who’s doing it really well. But it all goes back to they all learn from the same people. I mean, any direct marketer I think learned the principles unless you learned it all the hard way, you studied someone that really was good at it. But in my market in real estate investing today, there are a lot of names that come to mind that know these principles marketing principles, because I tell people all the time, once you understand this, it’ll really change your business. Marketing is how you get leads, but branding is why they choose you. So you, they’re like a couple, if you’ve got one but you don’t have the other one, you’re not really a full couple, but you need them both. But you gotta get the marketing, get the leads in the door and then branding is how you differentiate yourself as you well know with this, your book and everything, you gotta be different.

David Richter:

Yep. No, I love that. And you mentioned the one name that resonates with me and I think a lot of people, Dan Kennedy and his books and his guidance, cuz it’s all just bare bones, not gonna hold anything back. Here’s the principles. And I think if you’re listening to this and you can tell Sharon is an expert marketer and a lot of us learned from people like Dan Kennedy and his books and those types of things as well too. So if you’re doing direct mail, if you haven’t read a Dan Kennedy book, you need to read a Dan Kennedy book, you need to listen to Sharon’s podcast, you need to listen to these people that are in real estate who’ve been trained by the people who know those principles. So this is why I love having Sharon on here today. That’s awesome. So then today the progression, you went from rehabber flipper to accidental wholesaler, then how did your career progress from there from the accidental wholesaling and how did you capitalize on the last 12, 13 years in the real estate world?

Sharon Vornholt:

What happened was that same year, 2008, I discovered probates. I like to tell people I’ve never been much of a scrapper getting on the MLS with thousands of realtors and investors. That’s just not my style. I’m more like, let’s go for the easier way, the easier path to do this. And for me, I always worked off market deals in 2008 there was virtually no one working probates. There was also zero education on how to help these people. So I dove into that, took a bit to learn that how to work with these people and to understand that they have a problem, they’ve, they have to settle this estate, it’s a legal process and they, they’ve got a house that they’ve usually inherited, they usually can’t afford another set of utilities, another set of everything that goes along with it. And when you can go in there and understand their situation and wait for them to be ready to sell, it’s all about a very soft touch. Marketing, I’ll be there when you’re ready to sell, you get to help a lot of people out of what is undeniably a very tough situation. And when I say that I’ve gotten more hugs at probate closings, that’s the honest to goodness truth. They are so grateful that they have someone that understands their situation that can help ’em out of that mess.

David Richter:

All of that. That’s great cuz that’s why if you’re in real estate for the right reasons, that’s one of the big reasons is actually helping the people that need the help. So absolutely love that. Let’s go into a little bit then. You are a big Mike Alz fan and this I am, is this the Profit First REI podcast? So let’s talk about that a little bit. Let’s talk about what introduced you either to Profit First and the concept. So why does his stuff resonate with you and especially Profit First?

Sharon Vornholt:

Well and I think we talked about this a little bit before, but I had someone send him, another investor send me one of his first books I thought actually thought it was his first book, The Pumpkin Plan. And then I found out it wasn’t his first book, but I started with that one and I liked his book because it started, it talked about real estate investing in that book. And I went on to read Clockwork Profit First. I’ve just read the books up the line including I just got his newest book but the Profit First book for me, I’m a very visual person. So when you talk about your book and he talks about the concepts, I can see the buckets, okay, you put this here and you put this here. And I think the thing that resonated with me was intellectually I know that the profit should come first, but in real life it very often the profit is what you hope is left over. And I think universally that works for people. They they’re or they’re going to put the profit bucket up when they’ve done this and this and this and when the expenses are down. And I think from the whole Profit First philosophy, it changes your thinking much the way Rich Dad Poor Dad did for the people that really got that book. It changed your thinking about the way things should be. And that’s what I love about the whole Profit first idea.

David Richter:

No, and I love that. I love that you said that too cuz Rich Dad, Poor Dad was how I got into real estate and it’s a lot how a lot of people explore different avenues of what they thought their life would be and had to be and then going on a different path and then like you said, I feel like Profit First and the principles and the philosophies are from okay now your mind is unlocked. Well here’s how to be different as a business owner, making sure that you actually have a profit and it’s not just some event somewhere off in the future. So I love that. So then once you read that book, did you set a set it up, did you start the bucket process? Did you get that in place and start that and get profit first implemented?

Sharon Vornholt:

I would like to tell you that I’m a hundred percent there, but truthfully I’m not. But I’m working toward that. I think for me, I understood, once I understood the philosophy, it was really a kind of light bulb moment for me. <affirmative>, I mean we all understand income and expenses and you gotta have the money coming in to pay the bills, but this is at a much deeper level and it challenges you really to look at money differently. I think you’ve got this pot of money now, this is the way I used to do the money, but this is how I should be doing the money. And I don’t think entrepreneurs in general, so many of them are just bootstrapped, most of them start out really bootstrapped. I don’t think this is even something they know they should think about. And I think that’s where your book and Mike’s come in because you, you’re teaching people you need to do this differently. Here’s the way you do it, but you need to change your thinking about it first. And that’s what I love about it.

David Richter:

Yeah, nah and I appreciate that because that is, it’s definitely a mental shift. But then I love that there’s practical steps and no one’s a hundred percent, even the people we’re working with, we have to take it in baby steps because it is so different than what we’re taught or what we’re used to or what comes naturally. Even though you would think starting a business profit would be natural, but it’s like for most people it’s that one day event. Let me just pour everything into it now and I can’t enjoy this or I don’t deserve to enjoy this or I need to put in this sweat in time and whatnot where we get a lot of stinking thinking from w2, we’re just thinking that we have to suffer. So yeah, I will that

Sharon Vornholt:

We get the one day syndrome like you said, Yeah as soon as I do this you’re thinking about a lot of things. As soon as I get to this stage then I’ll enjoy this or I’ll do this when in fact it should be reverse engineered,

David Richter:

Right, exactly. What are we doing today to make sure that that happens and that we have those incremental wins now. Cause it doesn’t just switch on that you don’t just go from insanely unprofitable to insanely profitable. So we have to make sure that it’s that processing stuff. I love that analogy too. So then let’s talk about, cuz you said it makes you think about money differently and I like asking a lot of the people on the show. What early lessons did you learn about money versus how you think about it and compare that to how you think about money today?

Sharon Vornholt:

I’ve had to really dive deep into that one because I grew up, as I said, my dad was a general contractor, it was a family owned business and what I remember was it was hard to make money. It was hugely profitable as a contractor usually except in the winter months. And I have this memory and it wasn’t something he did to me, but it’s something I picked up on that I knew things were tight in the winter and I knew that I’ll somehow learned as a child that he borrowed money in the winter to keep his crew. And then he paid it all back in the spring and it was always fine but it was always in the back of my mind that it’s hard to make money, it’s not easy and you gotta really work hard and there’s some worry around it. And I had to get to be really an adult to to start to unlock my money beliefs that didn’t serve me well and I have to check them all the time. I mean you think once you realize you’ve got these beliefs that are over, but they have a way of sneaking back in if you’re not careful. You’ve gotta constantly work on your mindset around money.

David Richter:

Yeah, no that’s really great cuz it is. It’s a lot of stuff no matter where we are on our journey, it’s like what are those things that are weighing you down or holding you back that you don’t even know about? It’s asking yourself those better questions. So absolutely love that. What are some of those beliefs that you would wanna pass on to the next generation of investors or to make sure that it was continuous and make sure that they get there maybe faster because you’ve learned some things along the way?

Sharon Vornholt:

Well I think you have to invest in yourself. And for me, books like your book, that’s an important tool. Your mindset. People aren’t born knowing how to fix their mindset. And I had a woman on my podcast named Nina Cook who’s a mindset expert in Britain and she has these little tricks that you do and I thought, I found it fascinating that she could just flip the switch. But I think you have to invest in yourself, you have to invest in your education because why should you have to learn everything the hard way When you can get a coach, you can say, okay, really I haven’t really mastered this, but who has mastered this thing that I need to learn and not spend the next 10 years doing it when somebody can get me there in a relatively short period of time. So I’m a big believer in don’t reinvent the wheel, go find somebody that’s already built the wheel but then show you how to build the wheel,

David Richter:

Right? Yeah, that is so good cuz that is it. There’s someone out there that’s been where you want to be and where they are, where you want to be right now. So that could be sharing, that could be other people as well. It’s a lot of great people that are out there making sure that people also can fall behind them and say, Here you go, here’s what I did. Please don’t do this and save yourself some heartache from this or please do this and you’ll get there faster. So I always love that advice because I’m a big believer in that part of a lot of masterminds, a lot of different events, love networking, love podcasts. That’s why you should also listen to Sharon, to her podcast, to Sharon’s podcast because that’s where you get some of that knowledge too. Who are the people that Sharon something you should respect, and then who’s she having on her podcast? And there’s just different ways you can unlock certain things to know. She just talked about a mindset coach, that’s a big endorsement to make sure you have your mindset in the right place. So absolutely love that.

Sharon Vornholt:

Well, and the reason I started my blog back in 2010 when none of us had a clue what we were doing just to be fully transparent, we just knew that for me, I wanted to share some of the things really that I had done wrong and keep people from doing them that way and share tips that I knew about how things worked in return. Then once I started the podcast three years later, I would have people like you on that would go, Well wait a minute, let me tell you this. There’s a different way to do this. But it is a huge collaborative effort and I’m a podcast listener too. I listen to people that know something that I don’t know or that I can learn from or that I can, I think you have to think about mastery all the time. If you know how to wholesale houses or whatever it is, then don’t just dabble, get to the level of mastery and then go on to the next thing and you’ll find what your thing is. I really believe that you’ll find what your real passion is and then master that,

David Richter:

Right? It is a process and sometimes the sooner you unlock your mind too, of that mindset, whether it’s Rich Dad, Port Dad or whatnot, it’s a journey from there, you’re still discovering what are you, not only what do you love and what you’re passionate about, but what is valuable to the marketplace, What is valuable to other people to make sure that it’s something that they want as well too. I feel like that is a process that is continually evolving and then once you find that thing, it’s doubling down, becoming the master and helping people get where they want be. That’s why we have this podcast as a real estate investor, I wanted to make sure that people could have an outlet for, have listening to people like Sharon talk about where they were are now, how the mind, the Profit first mindset has helped them and the implementation.

So that’s so good. I really do appreciate that because there’s a lot of people that we just figure out, you might not figure it out today, but just be doing the things that are right and then you’ll figure out those things once you get to that and, okay, this is what lights me on fire. I know I can help other people with this too, and getting to be a master. So that doesn’t mean you do one wholesale deal, say, I love this, and then you go out and teach it. That means you gotta make sure there is that level of mastery in helping the people and making sure that you can sustain it as well too. I love that advice.

Sharon Vornholt:

Well, and two, I wanna give a plug for your book too. I mean, seriously, people get this book because not all of us, not even probably a portion of us know are educated about money and the way we should be. This book, I know from Mike’s book and from your book, which is tailored for real estate investors, this is the book you need to read. I mean, these books are books that you need to read because they will change your business. They will change your business.

David Richter:

Yeah, I really appreciate that. It’s why the, I wanted to write the book when you could see a rich dad port and it’s like, wow, that’s awesome. And then you could see a profit first, but then there’s not one for real estate investing. Here we go. I wanna help unlock real estate investors’ minds. So she’s talking about profit first for real estate investing, which you can find on Amazon or a simple CFO solutions.com, but that’s where our book is, and just that was a labor of love and a lot of good people around helping get that come to fruition. Yeah. So thank you Sharon for that. But just a couple last things, last questions here on the podcast, but what would you, as just general advice to the real estate investing community here, This is your chance to say anything to them to help them either avoid mistakes or help them with something here. What would be some of your parting advice?

Sharon Vornholt:

Well, I talk to people all the time that say, I can’t do a deal because I’m not good at negotiating. I don’t know how to do this part or this part. And I always go back to the core of real estate investing is getting the leads. So you have to focus on marketing. You will figure out the talking to people and the negotiating, and I would encourage you to figure that out before you got a smoking hot deal that you really want. Just focus on getting the leads in the door and focus on your brand. Even if your brand’s banking new, that’s okay. You have the brand of you, David has the brand of David, so he wasn’t always the person he is today, but focus on those pieces and then you will find a mentor, go to your local real estate investors group, find people that know more than you do, but be focused on just taking those steps. And then I believe a pic pick something that you really love. For me that’s probate busting. That’s why I wrote my course on it, because they are by far the most profitable deals on the planet, and you get to help a lot of people. So it’s the perfect payoff for me as a real estate investor.

David Richter:

Oh, I love that. Yes, you have to have leads coming in. I don’t care what your business is, I don’t care what it is in real estate investing outside of real estate investing, that is a core principle. You have to have the leads, you have to have people that has to be consistent. You have to know where it’s coming from, and that’s where I know that Sharon, you have that probate simplified course. So now I want you to be able to make sure where can people go to get that. And then I always ask too, you’ve provided a lot of value here, how can they provide value back? So talk about your course, talk about the, you know, the real estate investing podcast, talk about your blog, whatever that you would want to help the audience with.

Sharon Vornholt:

Well, the blog I have over 900 pieces of content today, so I have a lot of stuff on the blog marketing, branding, how to do deals, It’s all over there. And there’s a direct link. So it’s talk real estate the well, the blog is Louisville Gal’s Real Estate blog. And from there you can pick up Let’s Talk Real Estate investing podcast. There’s a direct link off of the blog. The blog is kind of the home. So let’s Louisville Gal’s real estate blog. And then from there there’s also a link to the course, Let Probate Investing simplified. And what I really tried to do was take the mystery out of it, adjust your mindset when it comes to people think it’s creepy or it’s weird and it’s really not. It’s about having conversations with people that really need your help. So go over there. I’ve got a ton of freebies over there and I’m always looking for suggestions too for people that wanna show, want an article on a particular topic. So let me know what you need to know and I’m happy to dive into that topic.

David Richter:

Awesome. Sharon is a giver. That’s awesome. There’s that free stuff, a bunch of articles to make sure and content to make sure that you are in that right. Wherever you are, I’m sure that she’s probably answered the question and has gone through that, and there’s a wealth of knowledge there. And then also the probate, if you wanna get started with leads, no matter where you are, that is a great source of the people that we can help as real estate investors. Not every person’s gonna be able to be helped by a realtor. So that’s another great place as well. Awesome. So Sharon, thank you so much for being on today. It was a true pleasure. I got to know you more and figure out your passions and really talk about that. And then just provide a ton of value here. Make sure, like she said, to learn the marketing principles. That was a huge tip at the very beginning. If you skipped all the way to the end to just listen to what Sharon’s offering is. But go back and listen to that, the marketing principles. I think that’s a huge point. So Sharon, thank you so much for sharing your wisdom here today and providing a ton of value.

Sharon Vornholt:

Well, thank you for having me, David. It’s a true pleasure.

Outro:

This episode of The Prophet First for REI podcast is over, but there are plenty more where that came from. Are you ready to learn how David and his team can help implement the Profit First system in your business? Schedule a discovery call at simplecfo.com right now. We’ll see you next time on The Profit First for REI podcast with David Richter.

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