How I Quit My Day Job with Min Qiu
Questions we ask Min:
1. What you were doing before becoming a full – time RE investor.
2. Why did you think it would be a good idea to get into RE and what was your first “event”, podcast or meet up you attended that got you started?
3. What discipline of RE did you focus on at first when you got started?
4. What was your biggest FEAR when you were getting started in real estate?
5. What was the first thing you ever got paid on as a RE investor? Wholesale or flip?
6. Did you have a mentor from the start or did that come later through your networking?
7. Did you do your first flip with a partner or on your own?
8. Did anything happen on your first solo flip you had to deal with or did it go smoothly?
9. What is the most challenge thing that has happened on one of your projects?
10. How do you stay educated and continue learning about how to improve your “game” in your biz? What is your current focus…flip?
11. Do you have your RE license? Why did you decide to get it?
11. At what point did you start thinking about quitting your day job? From that point, how long did it take you to do it?
12. Do you even bother to work out any more?? Haa!!
13. What advice/tips do you have for our listeners in “podcast land” if their goal is to quit their day job and become a full time investor?
14. We know you are looking for more deals, how can everyone send you deals? Do you feel like you are at the point where you could partner on a deal and teach a “newbie” the ropes or do you still need some more time under your belt?
Enjoy the full transcript below
Joe Bauer: Welcome to another edition of the Seattle Investors Club Podcast, where we talk about the nuts and bolts of real estate investing. My name is Joe Bauer, and I have my co-host, Julie Clark, on the call. How are you doing today, Julie?
Julie Clark: I am good in the hood.
Joe Bauer: Yeah, yeah. What’s up with you? Anything new?
Julie Clark: Well, you know what? I do have something exciting going on today, in fact, thanks for asking. Tonight, like every other dork in town or some dorks, I am going to go see one of the dudes from Shark Tank.
Joe Bauer: Really?
Julie Clark: I love that show. I don’t know. Min, do you watch it? Or he’s not even on yet. Joe, do you watch Shark Tank at all? Do you watch it?
Joe Bauer: It is one of the few shows that I ever, ever watch when I have access to cable TV. Yeah, I watch it.
Julie Clark: I love it. I can’t stand it. I watch it with the girls. But Kevin O’Leary, Mr. Wonderful, is up at the Linwood Convention Center tonight. Actually, the topic is about real estate so I just thought it’d be fun to go check it out. That’s what I’m going to do tonight, little freedom, little freedom from cooking dinner and all of that.
Joe Bauer: Heck yeah. Heck yeah. Well, I am super excited today, Julie, because I have our good friend, long time Seattle Investors Club member, and just all-around super guy that has a similar background to me on the podcast today, Min Qiu. I’m sorry, I’m sure I’m butchering your last name, Min, but we’re super excited to have you and talk about how you’ve gotten to where you are from being a personal trainer to being a full-time real estate investor. Welcome. How are you doing today, Min?
Min Qiu: I’m doing well. Thank you very much for having me. I’m very excited to listen to myself.
Joe Bauer: Well, it works.
Julie Clark: Some people actually might think when I said Mr. Wonderful, I was talking about Min. That’s who I’m talking about, because this guy is Mr. Wonderful, one of my favorite people in the whole world that we’re so proud of, that is kicking A, let’s say kicking ass.
Joe Bauer: I’m going to have to click the button now. Thanks, Julie.
Julie Clark: You’ll have to click that button. There you go. Yeah.
Joe Bauer: Let’s dive into what you’re up to, Min, or what you’ve been up to and get to know you a little bit. What were you doing before becoming a full-time real estate investor? Give us your background and how you got to where you are.
Min Qiu: Well, I just turned 33 this year, so I’ve been a personal trainer ever since I graduated college, so almost a full decade. I had no real estate experience before that, didn’t know much of anything actually. I was very passionate about fitness and movement and rehabilitation, physical therapy, and all that stuff. I thought I was going to do that for the rest of my life, but here we are.
Julie Clark: Rock on.
Joe Bauer: As you went through that and … Or I should say, when did you decide that that wasn’t necessarily going to be your path? Tell me are you still doing some of that as a passion, but now you’re in real estate?
Min Qiu: At this point, I’m not into it as much as I would like to. Obviously, you and me both have a foundation understanding how important it is to stay healthy and stay fit, but I’m still only two years into the real estate, and I’m not as efficient as I like to be with everything I do. I don’t really have that much time to really dig in any further on the health and fitness aspect. I’m just working out and staying as fit as possible with the time that I have, but the rest is full-time real estate.
Joe Bauer: What was the turning point like? Why did you switch gears?
Min Qiu: For the Seattle market, as almost everybody knows, the Chinese buyers are very active in this market. At some point, my father-in-law actually was the first one to mention something to my wife and I actually used my Chinese language abilities to maybe be an agent and get into real estate. That’s what gave me the first little bit of idea to maybe start looking into what real estate could do. I got married, and looking into having a family and just looking into the future and knowing that doing something like personal training and trading time for Harmoney might not be the long-term answer there.
Julie Clark: It was your father-in-law that gave you that first spark or put the idea in your head. That’s awesome.
Min Qiu: Yeah, it was him. Yeah, he-
Julie Clark: I actually was not expecting you to say that. That’s totally cool. I know we’ve talked about using … I’m at a Chinese brokerage firm myself, and talking about maybe introducing you to that team at some point as well now that you have your license.
Min Qiu: That’s right.
Julie Clark: But what was the first … Then you go, “Okay, I’m going to look into real estate.” What was the very first thing? Where did you go first? Did you read a book, listened to a podcast? How did you get towards the investor side of real estate, or lean in that direction?
Min Qiu: Well, I went on Google and I searched real estate investing. The first thing I saw was BiggerPockets. Then I just started looking in the forums a little bit and looked around and found a local meetup. I think they, back then, called themselves like a BiggerPockets meetup, which is an official thing. It was a Troy’s Meetup, right?
Julie Clark: Yeah.
Min Qiu: Then I went there and started meeting a few people that were actually doing it. There were some people that I felt like was a similar age as me, or as me and my wife, and they were actively flipping. I thought maybe we could do something like that.
Julie Clark: Cool. Awesome. Everybody should listen to BiggerPockets. If you guys all don’t know who BiggerPockets are, who or what BiggerPockets is, no matter where you’re listening from, you should check it out. Massive amounts of education, easy way to get started by listening to BiggerPockets, for sure. Is your wife involved in the business with you?
Min Qiu: Yeah, she was, and as we get a little further down the journey here, our first two deals were both flips, so that’s what we started with. We were fortunate enough to have couple of our real estate holdings that has good amount of equities, so we took out their heat log and we got into flipping. Through the first two properties, my wife was more involved. She’s somebody that really likes stability, likes predictability, and so flipping was a way too big of a stress for her. At this point she’s not very involved besides a little bit of bookkeeping here and there and some paying bills.
Julie Clark: We know how that goes for sure. When you got started, did you go straight to, “I’m going to flip?” because you just had some available funds and you put some hard money down or did you get some hard money initially and used some of your HELOC funds to buy your first deal?
Min Qiu: Yeah, that was pretty much what we did. We got our hard money and actually started looking in June and it took us about two and half months to find a house to pencil out.
Julie Clark: That’s actually very quick, when you’re getting started out. That’s a very quick turnaround to get your first deal, so that already makes you different. Where did you get that deal? How did you get your first deal?
Min Qiu: We met a broker initially and she took us around … We looked strictly on market and I was trying to network with wholesalers but if you’re a new investor and you have no track record, it’s very hard to get on any actually wholesaler, any good wholesaler’s front end of their deals. This agent that we worked with, it was pretty hard to find something on the market and try to compete on the market and that was over two years ago. I know it’s even harder today but back then … Then at a certain point we found a investor-friendly brokerage on the east side there and they lock up on market properties. We went to their investor class and we were able to find when that member sounded pretty good so I decided it’s time to jump in.
Julie Clark: Awesome. Did you know from the start that your goal was just to start flipping, not wholesaling, you’re going to go straight to flip, was your interest?
Min Qiu: Yeah, back then that sounded a little more doable because I wasn’t … Even though I was in the service industry and I work with people all the time but I don’t feel like I’m an extroverted person. The idea of talking to sellers directly or dealing with any type of marketing, I heard people talk about wholesaling and I didn’t really know exactly what that is and it’s not something that I understood so flipping was the only answer.
Julie Clark: What was your biggest fear when you were getting started?
Min Qiu: With flips?
Julie Clark: Just in general when you said, “I’m going to start participating in real estate,” or yeah, when you’re taking your first action to move towards your first investment, WHAT was your biggest fear, aside obviously probably losing all your money would be one of those?
Min Qiu: I knew so little when I started, from the books and the forums and the people that I talked to, I felt like it was pretty simple so I actually didn’t have a lot of fear. I was dumb but blessed by that because otherwise I feel like I might have never gotten started I had too much fear.
Julie Clark: How did the first deal go? Tell us, what happened on the first deal? You didn’t have a partner, you did it on your own, right?
Min Qiu: Yep, that was just me, my wife and the contractor was … Now or after the fact we found out that that was the first full rehab that he managed as a GC. He was a good guy, he didn’t have his stuff together but he was a good guy so really he didn’t screw us. That was fortunate part. Now we know that a lot of times when somebody tries to sell you a property, unless you’re extremely efficient and experienced and have all your crews and your numbers down, most of the times to rehab numbers are going to go over budget. We went over budget on that one, and we had a little bit of buffer so we didn’t lose money. We made $5,000 after.
Julie Clark: There we go. See, I think that’s what everybody needs to understand when they’re getting started, is that you’re paying for your education, hopefully you’re getting a “free education,” you made five grand. If you can go through a process and break even on your first deal without losing any money and getting all that education from the hands-on experience, that’s actually a win. That is actually a win. I think people who think they’re going to … There’s a new term out there we call them, luckies, right?
Min Qiu: That’s right.
Julie Clark: You got a newbie that’s a newbie, they’re just getting started and fresh to real estate investing, a common term is a newbie, but the lucky is a term that I heard a while ago and that’s where somebody’s new but they knock it out of the ballpark on their first deal or their first two deals. They think, “I got this down,” we call them luckies because they’re about to probably get a spanking with the reality of the rollercoaster ride that this business can be. Breaking even on a deal when you first get started is actually … Nobody wants that of course, but people are out there dropping 25 to 50,000 or more for these crazy real estate education gurus and all this stuff. By doing your first deal and breaking even, you just got a free education, just as valuable or more valuable than in all those real estate gurus. Good for you for not losing money and doing it on your own, way to go.
Min Qiu: Yeah.
Julie Clark: So far now, how many flips have you done so far? What have you learned? What’s the number one thing that’s surprised are different than you thought it was going to be that you now know?
Min Qiu: From a flipping perspective, I think one of the big things I learned is to be patient at the start of a project and really have a good game plan on exactly how much to do. We had a conversation on the current market and how sometimes just putting some clean up something and whole tailing something is the best way to go. So, really, really evaluating property and know exactly what type of property you have and how much you have to do to get maybe the same amount of return or more versus if you did a lot of work. Just being patient and then also being patient throughout the project. I think my first couple projects, I was there every single day, checking on the contractors and checking on progress. Now just knowing throughout the whole project, you got to be really patient and know that some things are just going to take a certain amount of time and there’s just no need for that extra stress and really stress out about if something doesn’t get done the exact date as opposed to or as originally planned.
Julie Clark: How was it getting a contractor crew on your first go round? Contractors are so hard to come by these days. Talk about, I feel like in our community here in Seattle especially, and especially at Seattle Investors Club, we pride ourselves on sharing information and helping each other but man, people don’t like to give up those contractor names because they’ll make referrals here and there, you need an HVAC guy or whatever. General contractors or crews, uh-uh, people hold those pretty close to the vest. A couple years ago, maybe it was a little easier, but did you have trouble getting your first contractor since you ended up with the guy that was almost as new as you? I guess that might answer it.
Min Qiu: Getting him to come out wasn’t that much trouble. But before I got in contact with him, the way I learned how to get a deal and how to get started and bid on a project is I was trying to do it by the book on how people recommended getting get a contractor out there before you buy the house and get his bid so that you know how much it’s going to cost and then you put an offer in for the house. I was trying to get somebody to go out there and do that for me before I even committed to buying a house. I think that particular guy actually came from a local Harmoney lender. They just gave me his name, I called him and luckily he answered the phone. Can’t say the same for a lot of the GCs out there, it’s really hard to get a hold of them. He answered his phone, he was able to go out there and yeah. I think that was pretty fortunate too, for a guy that even though he was new to the GC thing, but he was a skilled carpenter and he was good at what he did, but he wasn’t good at actually managing a project. He had troubles managing-
Julie Clark: Do you still use him? Do you still use this guy today?
Min Qiu: No, I’m a little scared to use him for what I know now, because he had trouble managing his crew and managing his employees and he actually found out he didn’t pay a couple people and I was lucky that they didn’t leave my property.
Julie Clark: Right. What has been your biggest challenge or what’s the biggest problem you’ve ever had on one of your projects so far?
Min Qiu: I will say that would be I think the second project. I started my second project while myself first project was just finishing up and just about to get listed on the market. I thought I had a good guy for the second project, he was pretty reputable at that time and he made himself very well known on the internet and around the meetup groups locally. I thought, what could go wrong? A lot of people are friends with them or I thought they were friends with him or they have … He had a lot of connections. I figured man, this guy, if he’s not what he says he is, he’s putting his entire reputation that he worked so hard on building up at risk. He became the GC on the second project but after the first one or two months, that project just really didn’t move and it was piece by piece we had … It was very sporadic, the progress, and then nothing was going in order. It was a nightmare. I think the biggest challenge is to finally get rid of that guy and try to … We settle for … Well we didn’t really settle, he wanted to settle with a certain amount of … Actually another property.
Min Qiu: He wanted to give me a promissory note on another property for money that he owed because I was doing draws and stuff like that but then work wasn’t getting done. I think I ended up about $30,000 in the whole for the money that I gave him. Got lucky again though, the market saved me. I think the ARV on that project went up about $70,000 through the holding time that I had, so a total of about 10 months, bought it in the beginning of spring or end of winter, sold it in the fall. By that time, the market appreciated and I ended up actually making $20,000 on that project, even after 30,000 in the whole from giving to the contractor and not get any work done.
Julie Clark: It’s so crazy. Everything, even, contractors, it’s like changing your underwear, man, you got to change them out all the time, and the cost of construction and labor going up and then people getting this lift, having problems and getting a lift out of the market timing. Right now, probably a lot of people have been saved from all their problems that happened six months ago, just because of the craziness of our market. But boy, if you get caught on the downside or an adjustment period, or slow down, you really got to be paying attention to a lot of moving parts, no doubt, no doubt about that. You did the first couple by yourself, and going back to starting to quit your day job, how many deals did you do before you started saying, “You know, I might be able to quit my day job.” I think to me, when I think about that, I always tell people, do not quit your day job. Don’t just jump into it.
Julie Clark: Some of even the most successful people in our market that are kicking butt like Christina and Olivia, she kept her job at Amazon until they were absolutely crushing it. They also have a bunch of little kids and health insurance is nice to come from somebody else, and all that kind of stuff. Did you think when you got started that, “I’m going to quit my day job,” or did you think, “I’m going to do this as a side hustle?” How far forward did you think on that?
Min Qiu: I feel like in the beginning, from just reading books, and talking or reading forums, I felt like if you have a good GC and then you buy a house here and there, then they take care of everything, and almost a passive investor in the flipping game. That’s probably the farthest from the truth, flipping is active.
Julie Clark: It’s another day job. It’s another form of a day job, right?
Min Qiu: Yeah.
Julie Clark: Everybody who’s listening just realized that it’s another form and a riskier form of a day job, until you get really rolling with your systems and getting deals consistently and able to get a consistent crew. Even as you grow, the problems still are there because you need more crew and you need more help, and that kind of thing. There’s a lot of risk in real estate, you just don’t start going. How did you get to the point, was it where you were consistent, or you got enough money in the bank that you said, screw it, I’m just going to go for it, or when did you make that leap?
Min Qiu: I have to backtrack a little bit to answer that. I think we talked a little bit about this. Towards the end of my first flip, that’s actually when I found you guys. I forgot what I was searching for but you guys showed up as I think because I searched for something in regards to investors in Seattle so obviously, the name Seattle Investors Club showed up and I think I signed up for the club and got in touch with Joe a little bit. I started going to the club meetings and back then, I think that’s the very beginning of how I ended up to where I am today, with quitting my job. I showed up at the club and a lot of people, and you guys were really talking about, really emphasizing, you really got to do your marketing. Back then I didn’t even know, I was like, “What do you mean by marketing? What about marketing?”
Min Qiu: Then I remember you guys had … I think that’s when you first had the T-shirts come out that says marketing on the back. I was like, “Man I don’t know what these guys are talking about. What’s marketing?” Later on, I find out that’s marketing for sellers. That’s what first got in my head, that I might need to start doing that because looking at how long it took for me to find my first deal and I was thinking, if I wanted to have something to flip consistently, it’s going to be very hard to find something on the market or rely on someone else to give me a deal. I have to do a lot, I have to try to make friends and do a lot of networking, and … That’s still a good thing to do but I feel like I have to really hold my own, create my own destiny. You really have to get a flow that I create for myself. I think that’s really the major turning point. Then after, I made my $5,000 on the first flip.
Min Qiu: I would say, to convince my wife, “This is house money now, even though we work hard for it, we got to use this money to try to grow the business.” That’s when I sent out my first marketing campaign. Around that same time, my wife actually had a friend that she knew from years ago, maybe seven or eight years ago, that she’s been … And he promoted some of his stuff on Facebook, and he shows some of his houses on Facebook. She said, “Maybe you should go talk to him.” I got in touch with him on Facebook and we met up and he became a mentor of mine from that point on and really … When I started sending out my marketing, he would be the filter for me in terms of whether the sellers have some motivation, or is this a potential deal and help me analyze and actually even help take down some of the deals. From that point on, I started getting some returns on the marketing dollars and then…
Julie Clark: You saw the light.
Min Qiu: Yeah.
Julie Clark: Yeah, direct mail works, people. It’s expensive and you got to have a skill set related to it. That’s all I want to say, is that direct mail still works. That’s a big form of marketing that we certainly use but beyond that, what Min’s talking about, which I think is a very … Another hot topic is when somebody calls you, then what? Now you got to know not only how to analyze it and all that stuff, but you got to know how to talk to the sellers, to get information out of them and to have a success. In fact, I think our meeting this coming month Joe, at Seattle Investors Club is exactly on that topic. How to speak to sellers and read their personalities and closing techniques of sellers based on certain personalities. That stuff right there is powerful.
Julie Clark: You’re lucky that you found a mentor that was going to school you on that early on, talk about … I don’t want to say lucky, but you had like three good things happen to you. You got through your first deal. I’m sure that guy wanted to do well by you, that contractor, if he wanted to do any more business, he doesn’t sure want to screw up his first deal or that’s over for him, right?
Min Qiu: Yeah.
Julie Clark: That’s all good. Let me ask you, do you have you have a Seattle Investors Club t-shirt?
Min Qiu: I do.
Julie Clark: You do? Well, let me tell you what, it’s going to become a collector’s item pretty soon. That is going to be worth some special pixie dust, because I don’t know why but can I say it, Joe? We got called out on using our logo by the company that owns the images of the Space Needle. You don’t even know this yet man, but your t-shirt is a collector’s item soon to be.
Min Qiu: Retired, huh?
Joe Bauer: Yeah.
Julie Clark: Yeah, we’re going to have to change our logo up a little bit. Those things are going to be, for all you listening, whoever’s got a Seattle Investors Club’s t-shirt, you guys, hold on to that thing, because it’s going to become a collector’s item. We have a few left I think, so if anybody wants one, we’ll come up with a fun a fun way to get one but, that’s hilarious.
Min Qiu: Well, I think if you guys have any spare ones, I lost about 20 or 15 to 20 pounds of muscle in the past couple years. I think it doesn’t fit anymore.
Joe Bauer: Just got to get back in the gym. Come on. Let’s do this.
Julie Clark: Yeah, you just said that to the wrong person. You’re talking to Joe, Joe Bauer, for those of you who know or don’t know, my wonderful, amazing partner, Joe Bauer, he has a separate blog about fitness and health and awesome recipes and all kinds of reviews of everything, all kinds of products and everything. It’s called AllAroundJoe. When you’re done with this, go look it up, AllAroundJoe. For all you ladies, you get to see him with his guns out and it’s pretty awesome, not bad there too. But you know what so funny, is that Christmas Joe, what he gave me, my partner, I gave him a hammock because he loves camping and the outdoors. He’s about to go on this awesome trip. You know what he gave me? A blood test. That’s what he gave me for Christmas, a blood test, to get all my readings of my stuff so then I could give it to him to read and he could tell me how to be healthy and what to eat. Which I promise, Joe, it’s awesome, though. I think it’s so funny. It’s just so-
Joe Bauer: It’s what I want to give to all the people that I love, Julie.
Julie Clark: Well I love you too, brother. We love you too man, we love you too. Sorry, sidetracked there. I don’t even know what we’re talking about at this point, Fitness and hammocks and blood tests and a little bit of real estate mixed in. So marketing has changed your life, taking that … Is that the message?
Min Qiu: Yeah, absolutely. I don’t think I would have a business if I didn’t start marketing. Right now, I flip houses, we got, five, six projects going but I still have to say that I have a marketing business not flipping business because that’s the number one priority. I can find the money, I can find buyers, I can find contractors that will do the work at this point with all the resources that I have, but finding the sellers, finding the deals is the lifeblood.
Julie Clark: Heck, yeah. For everybody who’s getting started or who’s having a slow start, if you want to pick up the pace, you better start doing your own marketing, take control of your own situation, your own business. If you don’t have a lot of money to do that, direct mail does cost money, doesn’t have to be expensive, it just needs to be consistent. Mail the same list over and over and over again, like 10 times or more, add on some extra here or there, but you’re better off mailing the same list over and over again. If you run out of money, guess what, it’s springtime everybody, at least it is right now.
Julie Clark: Hit the streets, do some door knocking. You want to talk about some good education and some, throw you into the wolves, join Seattle Investors Club where we record all our meetings and learn about how to talk to sellers and hit the streets. I’m going to do it myself. I think it’s just good to stay out there and be out in the … Boots on the ground and all that stuff, keep everything fresh and real. What a great way to get deals. So marketing-
Min Qiu: It’s a great time to be out there actually. Right now whether it just started to get warmer, and this is when the grasses really started growing.]
Julie Clark: That’s right. This is when all the moss shows up real nice on the roofs, if there’s still moss on the roofs you know you got to knock on that door and man, buddy, we’re going to hit the streets. We’re going to hit the streets, me and the bud man, that’s right. I don’t know if you can walk your cat. I’ve seen all kinds of crazy people these days walk their cat, you have a cat, what’s your cat’s name Min?
Min Qiu: Zoe.
Julie Clark: Zoe the cat? Zoe the cat, and buying a dog, that’s part of our … Maybe you’ll knock on a door, maybe you can find some forum about people who love cats as a marketing strategy. You can find out strategy.
Min Qiu: That’s actually not a bad idea.
Julie Clark: Then you can take a picture of you and Zoe on a postcard or some Facebook ad and directly target cat lovers. There’s my ninja marketing tip for you, got to do something different.
Min Qiu: That’s not a bad idea. My first ever I think I put in my … I didn’t know was going to do. I went on Fiverr and I had somebody design a postcard with my cat on it and that’s the first one I sent out.
Julie Clark: Really? Did it work?
Min Qiu: I got one lead.
Julie Clark: Well try putting like a mustache on your cat or something like, see if that does anything. One of our buddies, like [Ariv 00:34:25] I think is doing it. Is he rapping about real estate?
Joe Bauer: Yeah
Julie Clark: On Instagram? That’s hilarious. I love the creativity. Sometimes you got to have fun with this sort of thing too, it’s not all serious all the time. The last thing we want is to be serious all the time. Well, let’s go back to … So you started marketing, you started getting some traction and some consistent leads. Now you’re thinking, “Oh my god, I might be able to quit my day job.” Lay it on us.
Min Qiu: I figured I’d go part time. Actually, I turned part time before I quit full time. I was really at a point where it took a while to really be … I bought into that I needed to market, it took a while to really believe that is always going to come ,even though I was doing marketing consistently and getting a study lead flow, but it’s just, I don’t come from a business background so something like this is really hard to … It’s not another belief but it’s really hard to really put your livelihood on. But at some point pretty much I just made sure that I made enough income or have enough put aside that I can have at least enough for a one years of living expenses and at least one year of marketing expenses, and then I started to feel a little more relaxed. Then actually the turning point for me actually quitting was actually when I got written up for my low numbers at work.
Julie Clark: Awesome.
Min Qiu: By that day, my manager was going to rat me out, was going to give me the notice that I need to pick it up. I told him, “Actually, I’ll just put in my two weeks.”
Julie Clark: Wow. When you walked out that day, were you nervous as hell or were you like, oh, yeah?
Min Qiu: I was relieved because I thought about it for a while but being there for 10 years, I’ve had some experience that I’ve had for over nine years. It’s difficult to leave somebody, and a lot of those clients are older folks that I feel like I really had to take care of them. That part of it was very difficult. But that’s the only thing.
Julie Clark: Yeah, but now they can be your private money investors, right?
Min Qiu: Yeah, [inaudible 00:37:07] they actually had a client as a real estate investor and a couple others that may invest in different assets. And yeah, that’s definitely something that we talked about.
Julie Clark: Well, one of the main points, I’d like to circle up and point out to everybody is, we have these discussions, he said something pretty significant. He said that he has a year of his living expense to set aside. Most people might say, “Yeah, that sounds good.” But the other thing, the most important thing he said is he has a year of his marketing expenses ready to go and set aside. That right there, if anybody is listening to this, is probably the most significant thing that Min has shared with us today. He didn’t just save, for his living expenses, he saved for his marketing expenses. He knows he’s going to be able to stay consistent, in control of his own business.
Julie Clark: The other thing I’ll say is, believing in the process, direct mail marketing can have good months, bad months, you need to be consistent and you need to essentially push through the pain to put it back in context of terms you two workout dudes might understand. Push through the pain, because it’s a painful thing sometimes, if you send out a piece of mail, and it doesn’t get the response rate that you’re expecting. Min, that happens to us every year, I don’t know why it seems to happen around February. I don’t know why.
Joe Bauer: January, February gets us.
Julie Clark: But for some reason, I think it’s just people, especially this year in 2018, we’re really slow to make decisions. I think might have been tax reform changes, people were confused about what that meant for them and there was a little bit of that going on. But pushing through and believing, you have to understand that consistency and marketing is the pathway to success. You got to just push through the bad months and keep going and have the faith in the process. I think that’s what Min just shared with us. We can share that from our own experience with our own investment company.
Joe Bauer: Yep.
Julie Clark: That is all good stuff. Well, awesome. So what’s your goals now? What’s your next step in the chapter of Min, The Book of Min? I like that, the Book of Min, maybe we should call this podcast the Book of Min, reminds me of the Life of Pi. You know that book? It’s a famous book.
Min Qiu: Mm hmm (affirmative).
Julie Clark: You’re going to be famous after this Min. What’s next for you?
Min Qiu: I don’t know if I told Joe, but Julie you know, we have our first child on the way.
Julie Clark: Woo.
Joe Bauer: Woo, yeah.
Julie Clark: Hey, breaker news, breaking news right there and congratulations on that, once again. Yeah, good for you.
Min Qiu: Knowing that, I think the next step for me, I really feel like I really have to hire somebody that could help with some of the tasks, some of the stuff that are … Really have to write out exactly what happens in business and really be able to delegate part of it, at least 20 to 30 hours of it in a week. So just-
Julie Clark: Yeah, document your processes.
Min Qiu: Right, exactly.
Julie Clark: Or video, if you can do like a video so you don’t have to train people over and over and over again about how to do something in a video ,that you can just make them watch. That might be a good Ninja, modern way to do that. We could probably do more of that ourselves for sure. Before Joe yells at me, I’ll just yell at myself.
Min Qiu: Yeah. I’ve done some of that stuff with VAs overseas and recording screen casts and stuff like that. But I think some of the stuff, it’s a lot better to train someone locally, and you’re able to meet and really a little better control of the process, and just really knowing the person I think is important.
Julie Clark: Is there anything you would have done differently on this journey that you’ve had so far now that you have hindsight? Is there anything you would have done sooner or not done at all, or wish you would have super sized or any of that stuff?
Min Qiu: I was thinking about that. I was pretty fortunate in that, I’ve learned through mistakes but my mistakes didn’t kill me. I think some of the mistakes actually are important in the process. I really-
Julie Clark: Agree, yeah.
Min Qiu: Yeah, really, really wouldn’t get as much … Maybe a bit, decide to listen to my gut a little bit with my second project. It was funny, I tell some people this story, me and the guy that ended up taking the $30,000 for me, he would go out and look at some houses with me and he didn’t even know how to lay tape on the floor to measure a room. At that time, I thought some something was wrong but then he had a construction degree so I thought maybe he’s just all books. But maybe just vetting somebody a little bit better, and maybe listen to my gut and really stick with it and make a decision based on that, instead of maybe worrying about or thinking about what other people might be … Or having other people filter for me, I guess.
Julie Clark: Another good point, and we’ll point this out again, we did a podcast topic on this recently, what did we call it, Joe? We called it, Who’s Responsible for a Bad Deal or something like that, should be a podcast coming to you soon from Seattle Investors Club topic. Everybody needs to know when they’re getting started that the only one responsible for a bad deal is yourself. You are responsible. You listen to people, you see they have a bunch of friends and followers, they go to meetups, they go to … They’ve done some deals, they throw some stuff out on Facebook.
Julie Clark: But remember, when somebody’s trying to sell you something, or you’re going to be giving them money, they’re going to do whatever they need to do to get that money. They’re going to sell you, they’re going to make it sound good, they’re going to make it sound like they have all the skills. Just remember and go look for our podcast on that topic, because we won’t dive into it today, but, you are responsible. If you’re going to one of these auction groups or getting deals from wholesalers, remember, they’re there to sell you something. Do not fall hook line and sinker for all their information. Do your homework, take responsibility and as I say, Min was lucky early on also to have a great mentor as well. If you’re somebody that’s rolling on your own, you might want to of course, get connected with your local real estate investment club wherever you’re at.
Julie Clark: If you’re in the Seattle area, please come join us at the Seattle Investors Club, you can look online. We meet the second Saturday of every month in Renton, at the Renton Technical College. But go find somebody to mentor you. They don’t have to be like extremely experienced but if they have five, six deals under their belt, that’s a lot of lessons they’ve learned right there, that, partner up, you don’t have to go it alone. You don’t have to start a company with anybody, but just know that you’re responsible and you should question everything and you should ask for referrals. If a auction group gives you or a wholesaler gives you some contractors, that doesn’t mean they’re good contractors. That also doesn’t mean they’re going to be available when you need them. That’s another little tip. Here’s a list. Okay, I’ll close on my deal. I’ll call these guys. What? You’re not available for a month?
Julie Clark: You guys got to do your own homework, and we’ll cover more podcast topics on tips, maybe the first 10 or 20 questions that you should ask on any deal. That might be a good one. We haven’t done something like that. Awesome Min, you’re one of our heroes, you’re one of our long term club members that we respect and we have enjoyed watching come up in the ranks. The world is your oyster. Now you know enough of the secret ninja things and stuff under your belt. We know you’re going to crush it. And you’re going to also crush it because you’re a great person, you’re an honest guy and we love surrounding ourselves with people like you. We know you’re looking for more deals, you’re always looking for deals. How can everybody send you deals or what’s your criteria, where are you looking? You’re looking in certain counties or anywhere?
Min Qiu: At this at this point in the market, on the stuff that we take down and buy are mostly going to be in northern King County so Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Kenmore, Bothell and then south Snohomish County. We have a lot of projects in Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood, well, Mill Creek, some of the Seattle Hill areas. Those are the main areas and I don’t have any specific criteria on the deals. A lot of people talk about percentages and stuff like that, but we just evaluate based on how much work it is and what season we’re in, what month we’re in and when potentially we might be selling and just looking at exactly how much the house needs and then we’ll base the amount of profit we’re hoping to make based off of that.
Julie Clark: Where can people reach you if they want to send you some deals because you’re such a stud?
Min Qiu: They can reach me at … Actually, so I just joined the Fresh Look Real Estate in Bellevue, so you can reach me on [email protected].
Julie Clark: Well, let’s touch on that, so you got your real estate license recently, right?
Min Qiu: That’s right.
Julie Clark: The golden key is what I call it. Everybody on every team should have somebody that has a real estate license. Why did you get your real estate license or when did you clue in that maybe that might be something you need to add into your tool belt?
Min Qiu: Well, this is similar to the marketing. I hear you talk about it enough and I feel like that’s something I need to do. And just hearing the benefits of what that … I guess it provides me or gives me the option or gives me the ability to offer the sellers more options just based on having the license and it’s just another tool in the tool belt that I can make an income through.
Julie Clark: Do you feel that it has gotten in your way with wholesaling at all, or picking up deals or talking to sellers? Has it been a positive or a negative? I always say it’s a big myth that sellers don’t want to talk to realtors, it’s all how you present yourself, right? You walk in the door saying, “Hey, I can provide you options,” to me that is like such a stellar way to be able to service people. Have you found that it’s gotten in your way at all or just been mainly a positive for you?
Min Qiu: There’s been, I will say, at least more than a handful of times that I’ve had somebody that I feel like I could definitely pitch the listing part of things to them and offer that option, and I feel the final record, since I didn’t have my license and I couldn’t represent myself or my company, as also be able to list properties and having a license, even though we offer to refer them to a different broker, they didn’t felt connected to us, they felt connected to me. So they didn’t really … They weren’t as open to the idea of a referral. They feel like they can just either … They can find their won referrals through their own network. I feel like those are some missed opportunities. I feel like a lot of times, if the seller is hung up on a certain price and stuff like that, I feel like having a license, I can use that to help them look at it from a broker’s perspective and help them finalize maybe from a retail … Run numbers on the retail side and-
Julie Clark: Think about how much money you spend on marketing, and if you and to throw away all those leads where you could have converted them to a listing or you could have … Even if you tell them that you’re going to be involved and you’re going to be the broker, it’s so easy to partner with another broker, co-list something, let them run the show and have a split. So you can stay in control of that referral, like you said, like if they like you, they want to stay with you, they want to work with you, but let’s say you don’t want to be the one that does the listing and acts like the agent, it’s so easy then to just co-list with somebody that handles that side of it. And they still believe that you’re in the mix, and you are still in the mix but it’s that comfort transition.
Julie Clark: I just think that wholesalers today, I just think there’s a ton of miss out there on why people don’t get their license so we’re going to see at Seattle Investors Club if we can bust that wide open. Thank you for being one of me pigeons on that respect as well.
Min Qiu: I appreciate you guys giving all the tips to help me … Is that a dog?
Julie Clark: No, that was my chair. It’s right, you guys, next thing, you’re going to go to seattlesinvestorsclub.com to see a big picture of Min as the poster child Seattle Investors Club with all his successes. We really appreciate you talking to us today and you know what the awesome part is, is now you have enough experience you can actually teach us. We share and we teach and educate whoever wants to listen. The good part is people like you go through their changes and do more and more in their business, now you turn around, you’re able to educate us and all the other people that are in our community, whether that’s in Seattle or anywhere else. Thank you again so much for coming on and having a chat with us today and that’s all I got because now Buddy is looking at me.
Min Qiu: Yes. I’m going to ask you to switch into a different room because my cat’s up.
Julie Clark: [inaudible 00:52:50] man, these animals, they control our lives, we love them. Right on. Right on. Well we hope to see you at the upcoming meeting here in a couple of weeks at Seattle Investors Club Min, and in the meantime, send your deals to Min guys if you know, or I’m sure he’s available if you have any questions on getting ready to quit your day job. He can probably help you with that too. That’s all I got.
Joe Bauer: Min, what was that email again? One more time, if people have deals for you.
Min Qiu: It’s just Min, [email protected].
Joe Bauer: Cool. Thank you sir, and if anybody wants to get to the show notes, they are at seattleinvestorsclub.com/31, that’s seattleinvestorsclub.com/31. If you like this podcast, we would love it if you would head overt to iTunes and give us a review because every review that we get definitely helps us to get our voices out there. You can find our iTunes channel by searching for Seattle Investors Club or going to seattleinvestorsclub.com/itunes. All right guys, I hope you all have a great rest of your day. Thanks for being on.
Min Qiu: Thanks guys, I appreciate all that you do.
Julie Clark: I appreciate you. Later guys, over and out.