#61: Humility, agility, and drive with Derrick Ziglar Jr.

January 15, 2021 • 43:06

Aaron Spatz, Host, America’s Entrepreneur
Derrick Ziglar Jr., Co-Founder and CEO, Zelite

Aaron  00:10
Good morning, DFW. You’re listening and watching The Dallas-Fort Worth Business Podcast. I’m Aaron Spatz. So excited that you’re here this morning as we close out week two of the show. It’s been a phenomenal and amazing and really, really fun time meeting so many amazing and awesome people. So on that note, I’m always on the hunt for other amazing, awesome people. If there’s someone that you’d like to see on the show, if there’s somebody that you think would just really be a lot of fun, feel free to tag them, either send me a DM, or if there’s an episode that you’re really enjoying and bring somebody to mind, go ahead and tag them and let’s see what we can make happen. So if you have any other feedback for the show, things that you like, I’m really, really, really wanting – I’m curious what it is that you most enjoy about the show. So drop me a line at podcast@boldmedia.us.

Super excited to invite our guest on the show today. We have Derrick Ziglar Jr. of Zelite. He is a fellow military veteran as well. But man, I’m excited to bring him on and talk a little bit more about his journey. Derrick, thank you so much for being here today, man.

Derrick  01:14
Thank you for having me.

Aaron  01:16
Oh, you got it. Absolutely. So take us through a little bit of your journey. One, this is a question I try to remember to ask everybody because I love getting that diversity of response here. So are you a DFW native?

Derrick  01:29
I am not. I’m not. I’m actually from Martinsville, Virginia.

Aaron  01:33

Derrick  01:33
I actually have been in Virginia my entire life, born and raised. Went to college in Virginia. I worked a little bit there. And then in 2019, I moved out here around the end of October and been here ever since and I love it.

Aaron  01:48
All right. No, that’s awesome. Well, one, welcome to DFW, and two, you’re speaking to a fellow Virginia native. So I’m originally from the Norfolk, Chesapeake, Virginia Beach area.

Derrick  02:00
I’m definitely familiar with that.

Aaron  02:03
Oh, yeah, yeah. So, no, you’ve been here in DFW. Yeah, it’s definitely a different place. Has a different feel. And I think, actually, it’d be kind of fun to talk about this for a minute because there’s a lot of folks that are just like you, right? Just like me. We were not born here. We’re not from here, but we got here as quick as we could as the phrase goes. What have been some things that you’ve seen here in Texas, maybe specifically to the DFW metroplex, that you enjoy as you kind of contrast that against other places of the country?

Derrick  02:33
I think there’s a lot of energy here, honestly. So you see a lot of entrepreneurs, a lot of business owners. And everybody is trying to become a better version of themselves is what I’ve really noticed. And so I love that. So moving from Virginia in a small place that I was in to a bigger city like this and then meeting so many people, my age, and people like yourself, where you guys – we’re building businesses and we’re all trying to grow something and build a legacy, honestly. And I’ve been connected with so many entrepreneurs that are on that same path, that it just kind of feeds you this energy where you’re excited, you want to build something, you want to connect and network with other people. And I’ve absolutely loved that aspect of Dallas and the Fort Worth area.

Aaron  03:17
That’s cool. Yeah. No, that’s a really cool observation. I don’t think I’ve heard that one yet and I can’t help, but wholeheartedly agree with that. There’s a ton of energy. There’s a ton of things going on here and there’s a lot of people that are working on some new project or they’re working on a new idea. And so yeah, that’s phenomenal, especially coming from Martinsville, man. When you say Martinsville, I think NASCAR and short track, man. And Martinsville, kind of like Bristol, right?

Derrick  03:46
It is.

Aaron  03:46
It becomes like the fourth largest city in Virginia on a race weekend or something crazy like that, right? But so walk me through then, so why did you even come out here? What was the driving force to get you from Virginia to the Dallas-Fort Worth area?

Derrick  04:03
So just always being in a small city, I always knew I wanted to move somewhere bigger. I would say, I started real estate investing about four years ago and that was one of the driving factors when I started looking at good markets for me to be in and wanting to invest in wanting to do that it full-time. At that time, I was working at Target distribution as an operations manager. And so it just kind of worked. I had an opportunity to come out here and transfer where I was working at, the location, and then the real estate thing as well. So it really came faster than what I was expecting. I literally just started looking at different areas that I want to be in and then opportunity came up to be in Dallas. And as soon as it did, I took off, honestly.

Aaron  04:46
That’s cool. That’s cool. Well, then, walk me through then your journey with Zelite. Walk me through this real estate path that you found yourself on.

Derrick  04:57
Yeah. So about four years ago, I literally stumbled into real estate investing. I had someone that I was working with on the military side and he had been investing for 30 plus years and I’ve seen him working on some different things. And so I just started asking questions and got really curious. And the more questions I asked, the more curious I got about real estate investing and so started doing my own research into it. And the next thing you know, I went out and I bought my own property and then I started looking at investment properties as well.

And so with that, he actually ended up becoming my mentor and helping me understand how to invest and walking me through deals and really just showing me the ropes and giving me that 30 plus years of experience. So that I had a couple less bumps in the road. And that really just fueled me. And I would say real estate really took that passion. I played sports all my life. I played college football. And after that, real estate was kind of that thing for me. And so just had a lot of different opportunities, buy properties to just network and learn with other people. And I took advantage of that.

And so in 2020, earlier in that year, I had an opportunity to be on BiggerPockets Rookie Podcast. And after doing that podcast, I just started networking with a lot more people just because they cast a wide net on that real estate networking space. So with that, I realized there was a lot of people had the same issue that I had when I first started jumping into real estate, which is finding great educational resources. And when you really think about it, real estate, I think the statistic is something crazy like about 90% of the world’s millionaires are getting their money through real estate investment. And so that is absolutely by far the greatest investment vehicle you can do.

And so you think about how many people, you know, they see that, they see people buying real estate and they decide I’m going to go and I’m going to jump into real estate and I want to build wealth too. But they get on the internet, you know, you go into Google, you click in real estate investing education and Google spits a million different websites.

Aaron  06:56

Derrick  06:57
And a lot of them say different things and it’s confusing, right? And it’s overwhelming. And at that point in time, they have to make a decision. Do they want to spend money? Do they want to try to learn this one thing and maybe that’s not what they want to do? And so the concept of Zelite is just providing really that one-stop shop for real estate investing education. And so it’s a mobile platform that we’ve been developing now for a little over six months. The platform, it’s almost like Quizlet and Steroids in the way that we set up the different investing strategies, broken them out by strategy, you can go and focus on one specific strategy if that’s what we want to do. But the good thing about it is before you start putting thousands of dollars into real estate, you can really figure out what investment strategy is for you. Because there’s so many different ways you can do that.

And so we’re producing courses, and in a little bit, we’re in the process of actually incorporating a community around those different strategies. So if I’m a wholesaler, I can jump into the wholesaling strategy real estate study set within the platform and I can learn the basics of wholesaling. I can connect with other people that are focused on wholesaling. My tools and resources is going to be based around the wholesaling. So it’s kind of like this nice hub for new people in real estate.

Aaron  08:11
Absolutely. Well, I mean, you run a Google search and everything you get back is right, right? I mean, it’s got to be true. But I mean, there’s such a disparity of information out there and I don’t care what the topic is. Oftentimes you’re going to have a hundred opinions and they’re a hundred passionately held opinions. And so everyone is going to fight to the death about like, man, this is the way to do it, this is how I did it, this is the way you need to do it, all these other things, right? So I think that’s really cool. Because, I mean, once people have an understanding of what it is they’re doing, what they’re going for, maybe some of the common misconceptions, or these are the strengths and these are the weaknesses of this particular approach, so on and so forth, then they can make some informed decisions and not feel like they’re trying to be sold into something else. It’s actually helpful. Who would have thought it’s something actually genuinely helpful?

Derrick  09:07

Aaron  09:07
So I’d like to circle back to something you’d said earlier in the segment. And I think it’s worth noting and I’d like to spend a couple of minutes here. And you mentioned that the importance of mentors. And for me, personally, just through business and through all the things that I’m doing, I cannot agree with you more when it comes to the importance of having strong mentors, people that have been on the road you’re on, but they’re ten, 20, 30 years ahead of you on that road. And so, I mean, what impact has that had on you and what has been your process if you’ve even had time? Because I know you’ve been moving all this, but in terms of finding other mentors and having people in your life that can really speak life and give you wisdom as it relates to what you’re working on.

Derrick  09:54
Yeah. I would say mentorship is absolutely critical, especially when you look at the journey of entrepreneurship and being in business and things like that. In life, it’s critical to have mentors, honestly. So the biggest thing is if they’re 20, 30 years ahead of you, there’s a lot of things that they have done wrong, that they can coach you up on, prepare you for, help you avoid, those types of things. And what happens is you accelerate. It doesn’t take you 20 to 30 years to get to that point that they’re at. It only takes you ten, right? And the goal is to do that. And obviously, once you learn those things, you want to make sure that you reach back and you provide that mentorship to other people as well.

But what I would say in my real estate investing journey, it’s been so critical. I’ve avoided a lot of mistakes, a lot of pitfalls because I’ve had that. The same thing in business. Going into the startup world is very different than that traditional business space. And so through networking and just meeting other people and getting some mentorship on the startup space, I’ve learned a lot that honestly I would have never learned. And I think I would be dealing with a lot of different obstacles and issues if I hadn’t. So it’s a critical thing to have. I think if you are a young entrepreneur, a young man or woman that is wanting to learn about a specific thing or wanting to definitely go into a certain area of business, network with people, build relationships with people, and seek out a mentor, someone that can definitely help speed up that process and teach you things as you go along your journey.

Aaron  11:28
Yeah. I mean, you said something really quick there at the very beginning that, again, I’m always listening, I always want to like pick this stuff apart, but you had talked about your mentors in every area of your life. And man, that is so true. I don’t care if it’s your marriage, if it’s your relationship, if it’s your finances, if it’s your professional journey, if it’s startups, if it’s whatever, parenting, there’s a thousand ways that, man, I really love the way that these people parent their kids. I need to learn what the heck it is that they do. Or man, I love the way that this guy has just been a tremendous impact in his community. I would love to learn more about how that happens.

My advice to people has been like connect with these people. I mean, we have the internet now and one of the best platforms of doing this is LinkedIn. You’ve got a ton of professionals out there where you can reach out and you’re not going to hit a home run every time you reach out to somebody. But if you’re honest and you’re genuinely seeking some mentorship, if they’ve got the bandwidth and you guys kind of gel and click, it’s almost like dating. I’ve found that the best mentors, you got to kind of get to know each other and make sure you’re actually aligned. And then assuming all that’s good to go, then boom. You just keep going.

So, I mean, hats off to you, man, on the way that this journey has played out for you. And I know the story is far from over and you’re still – what’s been some things, I guess, because this would get really fun really quick. So what are some things that you’ve learned that you maybe didn’t realize that you were going to learn just even a year ago, just as you’ve been going through this? And I think people are really fascinated by this is the software development/application development. What have been some lessons that you’ve learned just going through that journey by itself?

Derrick  13:20
Man, I think the biggest thing is when you are building a product for consumers, especially when it’s in the space that you are in as well, like real estate investing, you start thinking, what do I want? What do I see working for me? If I was the consumer, what would this look like? And what do I want it to look and feel like, right? And what you start to forget is you’re one person out of millions and it’s so easy to get caught up in your opinion, your thoughts on what looks the best, what feels the best, what should and shouldn’t be in a product.

And I think in business, a lot of people make those decisions based off what they think and feel that people want. Because you try to put yourself in that seat, which is a good thing, but really, what you need to do is you need to go out and figure out what do they want. Ask questions, network with people, partner with people and say, “Hey, if you’re looking at an educational product in real estate investing, what would you like to see?” And it’ll blow your mind. Just the difference in opinions on what people actually want. And what you have to understand is when you’re building a business around consumer-based products, it’s not about what you want, it’s about what the consumer wants. If you continue to build what you want, you’re going to be out of business very quickly.

And I would say that was one of the biggest things that I had to learn as we’re building out that MVP and then starting to shift over into actually starting to build out a product that fits our market. It’s really that research and connecting with consumers, building relationships with consumers and how do we make them partners in what we’re doing and not so much of consumers, right? The way that I look at it is it’s a partnership. My goal is to help educate you and get you started so that you can build wealth. And through that, I want to grow with you as well. And that’s the goal of Zelite. We’re going to continue to evolve. Our platform is going to go from focusing on the newbies and the potential investors to now you’ve have a hundred properties under your belt. How are we continue to help you evolve as an investor now?

Aaron  15:18

Derrick  15:18
And that’s critical.

Aaron  15:19
Oh, yeah. And then I’m curious. Because I like to kind of throw this right back at you is how then do you deal with maybe the divergence of opinions, right? I want it blue. No, I want it red. I mean, that was a really, really dumb example. But how do you sort through all of the different feedback that you get? Because at some point, you’re going to have to be like, well, I can’t make everybody happy because now I’ve got a bunch of people over here saying one thing and another bunch of people saying something that directly contradicts against what they’re doing. And I mean, a lot of the research you’ve done, I think, is phenomenal because you’re learning a ton. But how do you deal with that? How do you deal with those conflicts?

Derrick  16:00
Yeah. I think the biggest thing is you start really looking at what makes sense, right? And we’ve definitely seen that with certain features and certain things people want. You know, I want this and I want that. And it’s really about how do we make sure we put something that it may not always be exactly what they want, but it’s exactly what they need, right? And so I think a lot of times there’s always an underlying description of what people really, really need. And I might tell you that I need it to be red and next person say yellow, but what they’re saying is they need something bright. So when they log into that application, it engages the brain, right? It wakes them up, they’re not bored with it. And it’s how do you dig a little bit deeper and think a little bit more into what the consumer is saying to actually give them what they want.

A lot of times, we just throw things out there because it sounds good or we might think that’s going to look cool. But as a business owner, you have to be smart about the decisions you make. Research helps a lot. There’s a lot of research out there. There’s a ton of information out there as well. So when you build products, you connect with consumers, you take that information back, you do some research as well., and you figure out what’s the best route to go that’s going to help fulfill what the need is that the consumer has and also make sure that the product is actually something that’s workable, viable, realistic, and going in the right direction, honestly.

Aaron  17:18
Yeah. Wow. There’s so much there. And so one thing I’ve heard you say a couple of times now and I think it’s worth kind of focusing in on for a second. Because I think it’s a really cool concept and idea is the fact that you’re focused on solving a problem. And this is one of the – funny we were talking about mentorship, right? But there’s a mentor of mine that had mentioned this to me: falling in love with and staying focused on solving a problem rather than the solution to that problem. And so you’re embodying that right now because you’re solving the education problem as it relates to real estate.

And not just that, but wherever they are on their journey. So it could be somebody like me who is super green to real estate investing to someone who’s been doing it for a few years to somebody who’s been successful so far. And they’ve got a portfolio of stuff to work with. And so you’re obsessed and focused on the customer journey and customer experience. And so, what has that been like where you’re kind of flipping the table around and that is literally what you eat, breathe, and sleep – customer experience? What is that like?

Derrick  18:31
I think, for me, it hasn’t really changed much. Because along my entire journey, I’ve spent time mentoring and giving back the little knowledge that I have when I even first started. And so I’ve always been passionate. Just growing up the way that I did in the environment that I did, I realized very quickly – especially once I went off to VMI, that I started networking with people that were different, that I started getting information and resources and access to things that a lot of the people from my neighborhood did not. So I’ve spent my whole time of pretty much since college on mentoring and really trying to give back that information that I have.

And so when I started this journey, I would say the concept of that has never changed. It’s always been about taking information, figuring out resources, tools, whatever they may look like, and how do I give it back and present it in a different light? The difference is I’ve started a business around that and it’s focused specifically on real estate investing. And so as you continue to get information, how do you relay that information and make sure that it’s actually what people need to set them up for success? And a lot of times, it’s not always the easiest thing to do, because obviously, you’re learning, you’re growing, and you’re going along your own journey to build a successful portfolio, to build a successful business, whatever that may look like. But it is so critical to take time to actually give back, to digest what you’ve gone through, the lessons learned, those types of things, and pass that knowledge back.

And so Zelite is just a platform, an actual avenue that we’re doing that through. And it’s just really just giving people cold, hard, great education. Here’s how you get started. Here’s tools and resources. And then later on, we want to do bigger things like connecting people and different things like that as well. But starting with square one, which is just making sure when you jump into real estate, you don’t lose thousands of dollars because you don’t understand basic concepts.

Aaron  20:30
No, there’s tremendous amount of risk, right? There’s risk in any kind of investment.

Derrick  20:34

Aaron  20:34
And so people do that. They’ve got to do their due diligence. It’s ultimately their decision. It’s ultimately their money. And so you’re going to be the one holding the note when it’s all done. So make sure you’re not doing something stupid, right? So when we come back from break, I would love to – because you mentioned this earlier. I would love to dig into and understand Derrick’s journey before all of this. So you mentioned places that you’ve come from and a little bit of your upbringing. I would love to dig more into that as soon as we come back.

So this show is made possible by our amazing sponsorships. And so I would love to do a shout out to our sponsor for this episode, 1st Response AC & Heating. And as you may have heard me say on other episodes, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is that when you are calling home contractors into your home, a lot of times they’re going to know a lot more about the subject matter than you do. That’s why you hired them. Otherwise you wouldn’t be hiring them, right? So HVAC is one of those areas. And so for me, I’ve worked with these guys for a few years now. Been phenomenal. There’s been things – because I’m a big DIY guy. I try to do as much stuff on my own as I can. Occasionally, I might break something. And so I might think it’s a catastrophic issue. They come in, they take a look at what’s going on, they may maybe make a few observations. “Hey, actually, the thing that you thought that’s fried and broken and everything else, actually, isn’t what it is. It’s something else.”

And so sometimes that means I’m paying a lot less than what I anticipated, but what’s cool is I know that in the end, when I do have to drop some serious cash, maybe a new system or a major overhaul of something, I know I’m being given good information. I’m being handled and treated fairly and respectfully. And the emphasis is on customer education, not customer selling, right? And so I know if you’re like me, I hate being sold. I hate feeling like the guy’s looking for some random object to say that’s broken and I would have no idea, right? So anyway, give these guys a call. They’re on the Fort Worth side of the metroplex. So if you’re in Dallas, I’m sorry, I’m not sure they’d make the drive all the way out there, but if you’re on the Fort Worth side of the house, probably from Arlington westward, definitely give them a call. Solid, solid, solid people. You will not be disappointed for sure.

So Derrick, you’ve had such an incredible journey and it just makes me wonder – because you’re talking about giving back and I love, I love, love, love giving back. I love mentoring, and I do, I agree with you. I think there’s opportunities to mentor regardless of your stage of life or your stage of success or your stage of whatever. Wherever you are, I think there’s always an opportunity to turn around and help someone else. And I sense that that is incredibly important to you. And I think that’s really, really awesome. I would love to go back in time. And so tell me a little bit about your upbringing. What was your upbringing like? And then kind of what was your pathway into deciding even when to go to VMI? And then just your whole journey, what was that like?

Derrick  23:32
So, I mean, as we mentioned earlier, I’m from Martinsville, Virginia. So I was raised in a single-parent home. I watched my mom struggle financially with a lot of different things. So I’m talking two to three jobs just to make ends meet. And we grew up in the rough side of town. So we grew up in the area that everybody considered the block. I’ve seen a lot of things happen. I grew up in an environment where I knew the guys that sold drugs and things like that because we all grew up in the same area, you know what I mean? And just when you grow up in an environment like that, you learn very early that you got to grow up, you got to mature. And so at a very, very young age, I matured a lot. And I realized that it wasn’t about some of the fairy tale stories and games and things like that. At a young age, I started my first little business. I was like 13 years old doing landscaping.

Aaron  24:31

Derrick  24:31
Cutting grass and trimming trees, little things like that. And so I’ve always had that hardworking nature because I understood very early the meaning of finances. And so my mom did everything she could to raise my brother and I to the best of her ability. And because of what I seen and the fact that I matured early, what I realized is football was going to be 100% a tool for me to be able to better my life. And playing high school football, it gave me the opportunity to be able to walk on as a recruited walk-on at VMI.

And I had some opportunities, some full scholarships to go to some other different schools, but the Virginia Military Institute offered me an opportunity that I felt was best for me in the sense of just growth and development. It was a very different environment, military setting that was going to keep me out of trouble. I was definitely rough around the edges. So there was a lot that I needed to learn and grow to be successful. And I felt that VMI gave me that opportunity. And so I walked on there, set out my freshmen year. And then at sophomore year, I went from fourth string to first string and earned a full ride scholarship. And honestly, I made every attempt to take full advantages of the opportunities that I had there as far as just leadership opportunities within the school – Army ROTC eventually commissioned into the Army, you know, networking with everybody that I could as well.

And so it gave me a lot of different opportunities after school too. And the way that I look at it is the environment I came from provided me the different tools that I needed for life and just my experiences and the things that I’ve seen and the things that I just had to learn at an early age. But VMI sharpen those tools and it taught me how to use the tools and which tools to use and when. And so as I graduated VMI, I felt like I was 100% prepared for whatever was next. But again, I felt the responsibility of giving back to my community, of taking my lessons learned and the information that I have. And how do I help other people on their journey, whether it’s young athletes that’s coming behind me that was looking up to me and saying, “Hey, how did you do this?” and helping them out to even now, you know, how am I helping some of my classmates and some of my friends and family build their business and get themselves started so that they can be financially free as well.

Aaron  26:52
Wow, man. Well, thanks for sharing that. I really, really appreciate your sharing a little bit about your journey and I’m fascinated by the fact – and I suspect I understand where some of those drive comes from, but I don’t think it’s fully explained completely by maybe the physical needs that you guys had as a family at that age. But what I’ve noticed about you is you have this continuous – and I think this is a strength of entrepreneurs, right? So you have this entrepreneurial bend to you and you have this perpetual, I think, curiosity and drive to continue to push forward and continue to explore certain things.

And so I’m genuinely curious. How did that happen for you when you’re growing up and you’re seeing – and I get it, and you said it really, really nice, right? So I know you were rough around the edges. You weren’t necessarily an angel. I get that, man, but still, you made better decisions than most, right? Your decision-making process was better than the status quo of the things that you saw in the environment that you lived around. So what causes a young man like yourself to make those decisions when you’re 12, 13 years old and realize, hey, look, I don’t feel attracted to this particular type of life or this lifestyle. I would rather go start a landscaping business and stay focused on that. And then, also, by the way, stay focused on playing football. So how did that happen for you?

Derrick  28:29
I will say at a young age – and I don’t know where it always came from, but I always looked forward, I would say ten years, even to this day. Even to this day. So the goals and everything that I set for myself, I look at it almost at a ten-year scale. It’s always like sliding, you know? And it’s weird because as a kid, even what I realized that I wanted to live a certain lifestyle, and obviously, I didn’t want to go down the wrong path because it provides risk in jail and everything. But even bigger than that, though, it was important to me that I did the right things because I felt my mom had sacrificed so much – so much of her time. So many hours working just to make sure that the lights were on, food was on the table, those types of things.

And so when you’re surrounded by an amazing woman like that and you’re focused on your future, you tend to make good decisions. And we all know life is a collection of the decisions that you make. One decision can definitely put you back, but it doesn’t define your life. It doesn’t define you as a person. So I spent a lot of my time as a teenager trying to make sure that my collection of decisions were the right thing. And I will say making that decision to decide that, hey, I’m going to be a recruited walk-on at a military college. Very, very mature decision. And it was the best decision that I could have made. And not to say the other colleges wasn’t a great fit for me. I think, football wise, it probably would have been a better fit, for sure. But when I think about what I wanted and what I needed as a young man at that time, VMI was the best decision that I could have made.

And so I think when you think forward and you start deciding, hey, what I make right now, the decisions I make, the things that I do right now is going to impact my goal that’s ten years down the road. I think you tend to make some different decisions because what you want right now might not get you where you want to be later.

Aaron  30:29
Right. No, that’s great. I mean, that’s incredible wisdom and incredible perspective. And even at a super young age, I mean, most kids aren’t thinking like that, right? They may have a fleeting thought from time to time about what they want to do, but for you to remain somewhat focused on that from a young age, I think, is awesome. And I mean, shout out to your mom, man. She obviously did a phenomenal job. Man, she’s got to be so, so proud of you because of where you started and where you are now. I think it’s absolutely amazing.

Derrick  31:02
Thank you. Thank you.

Aaron  31:03
Yeah, for sure. So, one, again, thanks for sharing some of your backstory. Because I’m like, man, there’s a lot there that I really want to talk about and explore. And so you’ve had the opportunity, then you go to college, and then now you’re in your post-college journey and you’ve been doing a few different things in the business world. And so now here you are, looking back on it all, is there anything that you would have done differently? Would you have done exactly the same? And I realized we can’t go back in time and change things.

My perspective on this, I’m saying this because I sense that you’re probably very similar in this regard. I can’t go back and change the past. I will absolutely determine to learn from many opportunities or mistakes or things that were made. That being said – I’d like to say that’s a massive caveat. That being said, are there any things that you maybe would have decided to do slightly differently? Or are there any major lessons learned that you’re like, holy cow, I had no idea that was coming, that was a major lesson learned and I’ve grown a lot from that?

Derrick  32:11
Yeah. Honestly, I think the biggest thing that I would say I would change as I go back is when I first graduated college, I honestly would have jumped into real estate entrepreneurship immediately. Because even through college, I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I loved it. I loved the concept of it. I loved the fact that you have to take an idea, something that you love, you’re passionate about, and you have to build it. And there’s challenges there that you got to conquer and there’s problems you got to solve, there’s solutions you got to come up with, right? And you got to be innovative and you got to be quick, but yet you have to be smart. And it’s all this mixture of things that have to happen that creates this perfect storm of success. And so I’ve always wanted to do that. It took me what, you know, five, six years before I actually got around to actually doing it.

And now when I look back, I’m like, man, you know, those five years you spent being an executive at a company, even though you learned a lot, I grew a lot and I enjoyed what I was doing because I got to connect with a lot of awesome people, but this is my passion, you know what I mean? And I wish I would have started this immediately after college. I think a lot of lessons learned that I would’ve definitely went through at that point in time, but I think overall, I would definitely have been more than capable to do it. And I think that would be the biggest thing. It’s just starting earlier and jumping into entrepreneurship earlier.

Aaron  33:36
Wow. Well, then, okay, so then, let’s shift focus ever so slightly because this is your area of expertise. So talk to me and talk to those that are completely green to real estate investing and help me understand, one, how do you get started in it? What are some of the common – are there any common misconceptions about getting off the ground? How much money do you need, cash on hand, to make that happen? What are some things that people should consider if they decided this is something that maybe they would like to pursue?

Derrick  34:10
Yeah. Awesome. So two of the biggest things that I always hear just new people say that I think is huge misconceptions. One, it’s not just buying a house and getting people to pay you. There’s a lot more that goes in between those two lines to make sure you’re successful and that you’re going to actually make money and not lose money. And I think the other piece of it is that people feel they have to have a certain amount of money stashed away, ready to actually invest and deploy.

And so the first piece of that is one, make sure you get educated. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people reach out to me and they’re just asking simple questions. And then I might ask them a question like, “Well, if you’re looking at this deal, what is the ARV (after-repair value)?” And they don’t even know what that is. And it’s like, okay, so you’re flipping a house and you don’t know what the value of the house will be when you finish fixing the house. That is going to determine whether or not you make money or whether the house was actually a good buy or not.

So you could be already in the hole and you don’t even know it. And I’ve seen those things happen and that’s sad, especially when somebody is trying to put their money into a project and they want to build wealth off of it. And so getting the education, making sure that you spend some time just learning about real estate investing. And once you start to feel comfortable, just jump into it. There’s never a perfect time. And everybody that’s new tend to wait like, oh, you know, I feel like I know what I’m doing, but I’m just nervous, right? And it’s just like, just to jump into it.

The other piece of it is you don’t technically need money to get started. You just have to be creative. There’s so many opportunities out there. People will go out and they wholesale. Wholesaling doesn’t take any money. It just takes hustle. It takes you to figure out how do I get in contact with people that are potentially trying to sell their property and then lock them into a contract to then be able to find a buyer for that property? And you make money between that, right? There’s other opportunities as far as seller financing. You can go out and I can purchase a property from you without us technically exchanging money on the front end. But as I start to collect rents, I pay you. So now you don’t deal with the tenants. You don’t deal with any of the repairs or anything like that. You just get mailbox money, which you really can’t beat.

And there’s a lot of other opportunities such as joint ventures. Me and you go in together on a deal, you have the money, I don’t have the money. However, I understand real estate investing and I know how to go out here and find properties, get them ready to roll, get tenants in there, collect rent, right? And so you provide the money, I provide everything else. So for you, it becomes a passive investment. For me, I’m definitely out here working for it, but I don’t have the money. So I’m still able to get a property in joint venture with you without actually have to put money forth.

And so I think those are kind of the two biggest things that people kind of just misconstrue when they’re looking at real estate investing. It doesn’t take a lot of money. However, it does take hustle. And you definitely have to get educated because it’s just like the stock market. People look at that and they go, what is this thing? And it looks crazy. And I think that’s what pushes people to go get educated because it looks weird. It looks crazy and you know it. And real estate, you know, we live in houses, we live in apartment. So for us, it’s a little bit more comfortable. So people just try to jump in, and before you know it, you’ve lost thousands of dollars. And it’s very unfortunate, especially when you’re jumping in and you’re trying to build wealth and you want to set up your kids and stuff like that for success.

Aaron  37:36
Yeah, for sure. Well, then there’s obviously different flavors of real estate. You’ve got a land out in the country that hasn’t been touched.

Derrick  37:44

Aaron  37:44
But then you’ve got residential, you’ve got multifamily, single-family homes. You’ve got commercial real estate. So is there any one particular of those that you focus in on more? What kind of insight do you have on those different sectors?

Derrick  38:01
Yeah. So I’m starting out with single-family. I am actually in the process of trying to switch that to multifamily. Currently, I have one duplex and I have three single-family homes. And so what I am in the process of doing is getting rid of my single-family homes and actually switching those in the multifamily. And so I’m actually working out a deal right now for a unit and just trying to work on those type of convergence. And the reason why, for me, personally, and I will tell you, everybody will swear their method is the best way to go about it in real estate investing.

Aaron  38:35

Derrick  38:37
But personally, the most effective thing for me is the more doors per property. And the reason for that is a single-family home, you know, you think about the impact COVID has had on families, unfortunately. If a tenant loses their job and it’s one door, it’s one family in that property, you’re on the hook for that mortgage if that house is not owned outright. And if you have a duplex or a triplex or eight units, whatever that may look like, if one family out of your three, four units loses their job, you still have other doors that can help pay for that mortgage while you sort out and help that family get back on their feet or you sort out what that may look like. It might be a situation where the tenant just decides, “I’m not going to pay you.” Now, you got to go through the eviction process, which is costly, and you don’t want to be paying for mortgage on a property you don’t live at.

And so that’s part of the reason for my switch. Strategically, it’s just looking at that and saying, “Hey, I think it’s a better business model to be in a multifamily space.” Small multifamily is what I’m currently looking for as one, I’m running a business and I don’t want the real estate piece of it to take up a lot of time. And I’ve gotten to a good point now where, I probably spend maybe an hour and a half per month on my properties. So it’s super passive for me at this point in time and I love that aspect of it. And so I want to continue to keep it that way as I continue to grow that portfolio.

Aaron  39:59
That’s amazing. So with the app that you’ve developed, is that available right now or is it still in testing and you’re still doing like a bunch of pre-launch stuff?

Derrick  40:11
Yeah. So we actually were in a closed beta testing page currently. And that’s been very interesting in the sense of just the great feedback we’ve gotten. We went to a point we wanted to have 250 people on the platform testing it out closed. We send the link out and really just collecting feedback and want to keep it small because we wanted that intimate conversation with our consumers, and I mentioned how important that was earlier. However, it’s grown  drastically because people were sharing the link with their friends and family and stuff like that, too.

Aaron  40:45

Derrick  40:45
And so we’ve gotten to a point now we’re ready to shift over into the Apple Store. It’s only in iOS. As we’re a startup, my developer, he’s well versed in iOS space. And so we’ve been building that platform out and just growing and growing and growing. And so we’re actually going to be hitting the Apple Store. Our goal is to hit there on February 1st and make sure we’re there. And so we’re excited right now because, you know, in that weird spot of we have this MVP, we know we’re ready to get on the store. Let’s prepare, let’s make sure that the little things are ready to go. As we shift our focus from that’s closed beta testing to more of an open beta testing, we know we still want to test some different things with the platform. We’ve got some big features that we plan on putting in there that we know are going to be really great for our new users, honestly. And so the open beta testing will allow us a bigger net to cast in order to get people on the platform, continue to get feedback, look at what the data is telling us, and make those right decisions.

Aaron  41:46
Oh, that’s awesome. That is really cool. So, yeah, so you’re just a couple of weeks away from that. That’s super exciting. So how can people get ahold of you?

Derrick  41:58
So, I mean, I’m on LinkedIn, Derrick Ziglar Jr. I’m on Instagram and my Instagram name is dziglarjr and that same thing on Twitter. And so, you know, I’m on those. On Instagram, I’d probably spend most of my time there just connecting with people and networking a lot. So very easy to get ahold of on those spaces. My biggest thing, especially with social media, is it’s really about the networking piece of it.

Aaron  42:25

Derrick  42:25
Getting connected. It gives you the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life, from everywhere and so I definitely love that aspect of it.

Aaron  42:33
Well, man, I’ve definitely enjoyed the aspect of it. That’s how you and I got connected in the first place. That’s really, really cool. So one, yeah, I mean, again, thank you so much for sharing your story. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed our conversation, and of course, thanks for spending some time with me this morning. This has been awesome.

Derrick  42:52
Absolutely. I appreciate the opportunity, and it was great getting to know you too, man. I enjoyed this.

Aaron  42:57

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