Simplifying Life Down And Gain Business Freedom With Brett Snodgrass
Episode 465: Simplifying Life Down And Gain Business Freedom With Brett Snodgrass
Whether you are a successful business owner or someone planning to be one, is it really the money that makes you truly happy? Owner of Simple Wholesaling, Brett Snodgrass, believes freedom is what truly matters. In this episode, he joins Mitch Stephen to talk about why business owners don’t choose freedom and why, more importantly, they should simplify their life and go after it instead. He highlights the complex considerations you need to think over before diving deep into the business, overcoming the shackles that enslave you and keep you from achieving success, fulfillment, and happiness. Join Brett in this conversation as he imparts some more wisdom on why you should build a business that can grant you freedom because that is where everything flows.
I’m here with Brett Snodgrass. We’ve known each other for a while. We’re a member of some of the same organizations. We’re going to be talking about why business owners don’t choose freedom or maybe more importantly, why people say they’re going after freedom and then they do stuff that undermines their freedom and become enslaved to the business. We’re going to start that conversation right after I pay homepage to Livecomm.com. They’re a lead generation mass texting platform. Check out the homepage of Livecomm.com. They’re lead generation mass texting platform. See why I only have nine days on the market average for my houses over the last 300 houses. See how I’m tying in lead generation mass texting and sales of my houses with Facebook. You’ll see how it works. It’s simple and sexy as the man likes to say. With no further ado, Brett, how are you doing?
I’m doing fantastic, Mitch. Thanks for having me on the show.
You sell property all over the nation, right?The more you simplify, the freer you are. Click To Tweet
No. I have done a lot of buying and selling in different markets but we’re primarily focused in Indiana. My primary market is in Annapolis, Indiana and surrounding areas. Our business is called Simple Wholesaling. We do a lot of wholesaling. I’ve been doing that for years. We’ve done maybe 3,000 deals, in the last years. I have a small team there that runs the show for me. We’re primarily out of Indiana though.
You all have a lot of affordable houses in that part of the country. Is that to your advantage when you’re wholesaling or do you like to have more expensive price points when you’re wholesaling?
At first, I enjoyed it because it was cheap properties and you’d have investors flocking to Annapolis for that reason. It’s a great cashflow market and great rental market, plus it’s a great flip market too. You see a lot of investors coming to Indy for that for cheap properties and good cashflow. As far as wholesaling, we’re starting to get a little bit more expensive properties. You can make more money and margin on the expensive properties. We have a mixture. Our bread and butter is $50,000, $60,000, $75,000 of our properties but then we do $100,000, $152,000 as well.
Cashflow always seems to work out a little better on less expensive properties. It certainly works a lot better for the owner-financed strategies where you’re selling with owner financing. There was a time in San Antonio where I was buying houses on credit cards, $15,000, $12,000, $18,000 here and there. Those were the days until your wife finds out that you’ve been racking up $450,000 with credit cards. She wants to divorce you because she didn’t understand that you have $900,000 for the properties and 0% interest on these credit cards. That’s a whole other story. Let’s talk about being free. Money doesn’t buy happiness.
A smart guy once told me, one of my partners, one of my mentors said, “It will buy you freedom of movement.” The example he used is, “If I find out that my best friend died a week ago and I’m finding out today and the funeral is tomorrow, I can get there tomorrow. It’s going to be an expensive ticket because it’s going to be spur-of-the-moment, last minute. I’m not going to be happy when I get there but I’ll get there.” Businesses are the same way. People are doing businesses to generate money but what are they doing that for? For me, it’s always been about security and freedom. You get sidetracked. I got sidetracked, I got bamboozled. You start to get into businesses where you can get enslaved or get tied into where you can’t get out. Talk to us a little bit about being free.
I’m on this new journey. I’ll tell you a little bit about how I got here. I’ve been doing real estate for years. I got into it in 2007. I built a good business. We’ve done a few thousand deals. I have a good seller financing model as well like you, Mitch. I’ve had 120 of those. We’ve sold some of them off. That’s a nice residual income. Also, I have some rentals that give me some good tax benefits. I have some rentals over here too. That’s our business model. I’ve always been a simple person. We named our company after that, Simple Wholesaling. I wanted a simple model, a simple business, and not a complicated structure. That’s why we named it Simple Wholesaling.The only thing money really buys you is freedom of movement. Click To Tweet
I was a one man show for the first seven years of my business. I didn’t have a team. I didn’t have any employees. I did everything. I wore every hat like most entrepreneurs do. I did everything from acquisitions, selling properties, cleaning houses, property management and bookkeeping. I started scaling my business in 2014. I hired my first employee. Fast forward, 2017 came around. I was rock and rolling. We had about eleven employees. I had some virtual assistants working for me. We did 354 deals that year. I made more money than I’ve ever seen before. My stress level, anxiety level and pressure upon myself, I was stressed to the max. I was in the doctor’s office, get my heart checked out. I couldn’t stop.
Do you ever had that feeling where you can’t stop? Your wheels are always turning. You can’t ever be present with your wife, with your family. That was me. Three hundred and fifty-four deals look sexy on paper but it wasn’t what it was all cracked up to be. I realized I’ve got to change something. I’ve got to do something different. Number one, I wanted to start this business for freedom. Most entrepreneurs say, “I want to own my own business because I want freedom of time and money.” They never get to that point. I didn’t realize that until I made that decision.
What it went for me was I hired a number two COO back in 2019. He was running the show. His name is Brian Snider. He was running the operations. I was the visionary, he was the implementer. I would go to all the meetings. I still had a lot of pressure and all that, even as the visionary of the company. In 2020, the pandemic hit. It was March. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was thinking, “This could hurt my business. We could go under, we could crumble.” I had no idea what was going to happen. Honestly, I felt a relief come over me of, “If that did happen, I would be okay with it.” That’s where I was asked. At that point I realized, I got to get free.
I was talking to my coach about it. We had a business coach, an EOS coach. He asked me, “Brett, do you even want to be the visionary of this company?” I didn’t know that was an option. That was the first a-ha moment that most people that are entrepreneurs think that the pinnacle position is the visionary or the CEO position. That’s what we all strive for but there’s a different position. There’s the owner’s box. He said, “It’s your company. You don’t even have to be the visionary if you don’t want to be. You can just be the owner and not be in it at all.” That’s what I wanted and that’s what I chose. I’ve been in the owner’s box, a free man. I’m not in the company at all. I don’t go to any meetings. I talk to the CEO once a week. That’s where I was at. The reason why I said it was a decision for me. I could have made that decision a long time ago. I didn’t know. The first step was I had to decide that’s what I wanted.
People do think it’s CEO or visionary. I haven’t heard visionary before. That’s what happened to me as well, the same thing. It got to where I couldn’t do it anymore so I was going to fold it up in a box, put it on a shelf, and walk away from it. I had put enough money in passive storage facilities that I can live for the rest of my days. It was such a shame to stop all that momentum, connection, network, and stuff that you worked so hard for. I thought, “Maybe I can pay half of what I was making to some good employees and it would run.” It turns out I didn’t have to pay half and I’m not taking a cut in pay. I’m making more pay than I was when I was there. I had to get out of the way for a few things to happen.
That’s one of the things of why people don’t decide. As an entrepreneur, this is your baby. You’ve raised up this business. You started it. You know what it’s like to grind to work 50, 60, 70, 80 hours a week and raise this thing up. It’s your baby and no one else can do it as well as you can. A lot of owners become the bottlenecks of their business. That was it for me. I mentioned CEO and visionary. Having that thought of, “If our whole business crumbles, I would be okay with it,” I realized I was not the visionary of the company anymore.
Visionaries and CEO shouldn’t think like that. They should be wanting to grow. They should be wanting to grow their people, grow their business. I was the bottleneck and I had to get out of the way. It’s funny that you mentioned that because in 2020, we had our best year ever that I’ve ever had in years, me personally and our business, and I wasn’t in it at all, which is great. That was the first thing, empowering your people to lead. Sometimes, we think they can’t lead and we have to be the leaders but if you give them a chance, good people will step up. That’s what happened with us.Simplifying your life can be freeing. Click To Tweet
What are some of the mistakes that business owners make that keep them enslaved to the business?
This is their babies. Ego plays a huge part of it. I was listening to Dan Sullivan on a podcast. He was talking about it starts with a decision. He talked about the word decide or ide. At the end of decide is to kill. If you think of to kill, you think of homicide, pesticide. It’s to kill. In order to decide on your freedom, you had to kill off something. I had to kill off my ego, number one. That was a big deal. Most owners or CEOs are the face of the company. They’re the guys that are on these shows, on social media, and people look to. They’re the leaders.
I wasn’t going to be that anymore. I had to kill off the ego part of that, the identity part of that and say, “I’m okay not being the head guy anymore. When someone calls up our company, ‘I want to talk to the head honcho, Brett Snodgrass,’ I’m not going to be that anymore and I had to be okay with that.” Ego plays a huge part. People don’t get out because of their ego. People don’t get out because they don’t know that they can. That was for me. My coach says, “Do you even want to be in the company?” I didn’t know that was an option. People don’t think that they can. I talked about identity.
Fear is a huge piece. Most CEOs and owners say that, “My team can’t do it as well as I can. If I get out, everything is going to crumble.” All these fears go through your mind. You’re thinking, “My business is going to crumble. People are going to steal from me. All these things are going to happen. My life is going to be a complete disaster years from now,” which is not true. You have all this anxiety and fear for nothing. They don’t know fear. Fear of the unknown. I relate it back to when you first got into business. You think about when you did your first deal, you were afraid, I’m sure. You were afraid to do it. You were afraid to get in. You didn’t know what was going to happen. All those things came into play. It’s the same thing when you get out. It took me back to my first deal, the same fears and anxieties when I got out. It was like, “It’s never as bad as what you think.”
Don’t you think it’s a little bit risky? You do have to find the right people to head that up. That CEO has to be the right guy. To me, it was a transition. You had a CEO, you worked alongside them for years. They’ve got a handle on everything. They’ve got your culture. They know what you stand for, how you look at things. Apparently, it’s a mesh. You fit together well. You dropped off and then you backed out.
Ours was a transition. This is something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. It’s to continue trying to put the puzzle together for freedom. When I realized that’s what I wanted, it was growing and scaling a business. It was trying to put the puzzle pieces together. If you’re reading this and you don’t have that, set a goal to be free in years. Start to put the puzzle together. Start delegating your responsibilities out. I started doing it one piece at a time before. Years ago, I started delegating, “I don’t want to do this anymore. I’m not good at this,” until eventually, you don’t have to do anything.
I remember the first thing I ever delegated. You’re a one-man show. You’re wearing every hat. You can hardly take the hats on and off fast enough. Every time the phone rings, you’re trying to piss on the next buyer. One day, I had it with sales. I walked out. I had 15 or 18 houses for sale. I was the sales guy. I walked out, I was frustrated and I drove home. I sat down in the sofa. My wife says, “It’s not like you to be home. What’s going on? Why are you home?” I said, “I made a decision. I’m not selling houses ever again.” She goes, “Who’s going to sell them?” I said, “I don’t know.”
The phone is over there ringing. The sales phone is ringing. She says, “Aren’t you going to answer the sales phone?” I said, “I’m not in sales anymore.” A couple of days goes by, I say, “I’ve got to figure out some way to sell these houses without me.” I do a hard line in the sand. I don’t care if I die or go broke. I’m not selling another house. It’s amazing when you put your ass up in a corner like that. You’ll figure it out. That same guy that talked to me about money, Carlos Pulido, said that, “The only thing money buy you is freedom of movement. The human body is the wildest invention ever. It was the most durable, most conscious thing in the world. It would survive everything if you’ll give it enough water and enough protein. If you can hold onto your mind, it will figure out every single problem if you just let it.”
That’s how I became an entrepreneur. I quit my job, knowing that I was always going to get enough water and protein. I lived in the greatest country in the world in a great town. I had great friends and family. I backed myself up in a corner and said, “You can’t have a job anymore.” I wasn’t going to do sales. I do a hard line way back and said, “There’s no having a job, so what are you going to do? You can’t have a job.” My first days weren’t too good. I was making $50 a day. You’ve got to handle it, “I’ve got that covered. I know how to get $50 a day that covers food, get a shower, get a hotel. I got that.”
You figured out how to make $80 a day and then $100 a day. The great thing was since I didn’t work for anybody, I was 100% recipient of the increase whenever I can figure out how to wound up my game. That’s how I started. I got into that conversation with Carlos Pulido because he was a prisoner of war. He got captured in the Bay of Pigs. He was staying in Castro’s Hotel in Cuba where they didn’t do nice things to him. Every single morning, they beat the living crap out of him. He didn’t know when he was going to get out. I was asking him, “How in the world do you survive that?” That’s when he said, “If you do get enough water and enough protein and you can keep your brain, your body will figure it all out.”
I took that one little lesson from that guy and said, “I’m being afraid of jumping off this cliff of being an entrepreneur.” I didn’t have kids though. I didn’t have a wife. I want to make that clear. I was willing to sleep on the floor or sleep under a park bench to make myself figure it out. I believe that guy. I believed him when he said, “The body will figure it out. You will figure everything out if you’re not given a choice.” I said, “I’m going to take that choice away. I’m going to figure it out.” It’s the greatest thing I ever did. Was I scared? I was scared to death.
I don’t want to say, “I just made this decision.” I had a lot of cushions. I’ve been doing this for years. I’ve done a lot of deals. I made a lot of money, had a lot of these notes going on. It’s not like, “Brett is taking this huge risk by stepping out.” You did talk about risk. I had to ask myself. We all risk. Real estate investing is risky. It becomes a norm for us and it. When we first started, it was risky.
You also run the risk of working your whole life and dying with a whole bunch of money in your back pocket that didn’t serve you or anybody else any good.
That’s the thing. I started to look at my life years from now. I said, “If I step out and let’s say the worst thing, everything crumbles, I lose everything. I lose it all.” I got that. That could be the worst thing. The best thing is everything goes fine, I’m out, I have freedom, and it was worth the risk at the end of the day.
You’re young. There’s plenty of time to recover still. You’re still vibrant and healthy. What do you do with your time? You’re not in that business. What do you do?
At first, it’s odd. You don’t realize how much your identity is wrapped up into your business until you step out, you wake up, and you don’t know what to do with yourself. You wander around for the first months thinking, “I don’t know who I am. What do I do?” You go through all that. At first, it was a weird feeling but then it starts to become normal. It’s funny because you forget what normal feels like. My story was in 2017 as an owner. You have a lot of pressure, stress, and anxiety. Your wheels are always spinning. I don’t have a lot of that anymore. I feel normal, which is a weird thing. I can breathe. I don’t have a lot of pressure. That’s a good feeling.
My pace of life is interesting. I’m not balls to the wall going 100 miles an hour all the time. That’s a good feeling. I have young kids. We have the pandemic going on, so I’m spending a lot of time with my family. We bought an RV, so we’re doing some camping and doing some things like that. I have my own podcast, The Brett Snodgrass Podcast. I launched a YouTube channel on The Brett Snodgrass YouTube channel. I’m not going balls to the walls with it but it’s something I enjoy doing, talking on these shows to guys like yourself. I’m still trying to figure out what I’m going to do. I’m pacing myself. I’m a year into it and say, “I need to take a break and figure out who I am and what I’m going to do next.” I’ve been doing some podcast things but I’m spending a lot of time with my kids. I’ve had some personal things with my kids going on. I’ve been focused on that, honestly.Simple is the new sexy. Click To Tweet
This episode was about discussing freedom, what gets in the way of the freedom, and what kind of decision it is to make because it is a decision. We all know if we don’t make a decision, we won’t do anything. We have to sit down and contemplate like, “What do you want your life to look like? When is enough enough? How much is enough?” One of the saddest days of my life was when I had made more money than I’d ever made in my life. It doesn’t matter how much it was. It was everything in the world to me. That’s the way it should be with everybody. It doesn’t matter.
I got sad because it wasn’t solving all the problems. There were some big problems that money wasn’t going to solve. In some cases, the money made it worse. That’s when I finally understood you have to have a higher reason. “From now on, I had to have a higher reason. I had to have something else besides the money.” It’s a great place to be in. I understand that people that are not in that position. That might sound awkward or bougie. It is not meant like that. You do get to a place where another million dollars won’t make a difference. I’m not going to eat any different. I’m not going to drive any different. I’m not going to live in a different house.
That was a question I started to ask. I got young kids. I have four kids. Most people that talk about why and purpose go, “My why is my family.” My family is important to me. I’m not the richest guy in my mastermind groups by any means. I said, “I could work harder. I could go deeper into this. I can make another million dollars.” Let’s say that’s an example. “Would that help out my family to leave them another million if I die? Would it help them more if I had the freedom and I could teach them, be there and be available? Most entrepreneurs are not available to their family. I wanted to be available.” That was another question that I had to answer. I said, “If I’m available and have the freedom to do things with my family, that will be more important to them than giving them another million.” That was the answer to me. These questions helped me validate the decision that I made.
What are your hobbies?
Have you written a book?
No, I haven’t. I do the podcast. I launched my YouTube channel. I enjoyed new videos. I might write a book. I enjoy leisurely guy activities. I enjoy boating, camping, and spending time with my family. It’s funny, I’ve been pressed on. Something has been popping up. This whole freedom word is important to me. It gives you freedom of movement. To me, it gives you options. If I want to meet a friend for lunch on a Monday, I can. If I want to take a trip to go camping across the nation, I can. The thing is school. With the kids going to school, it doesn’t bring a lot of freedom too. It traps you a little bit too. I’ve been contemplating. I have an Elementary Education degree. I haven’t told a lot of people that this is an option on the table. I’ve been contemplating homeschooling so we could have the flexibility, freedom, and experiences. That’s one thing. It’s on the table as well.
You enjoy that because of the freedom. You get some interaction in too and teach them what you want them to learn. Don’t get me started.
Maybe we can start a little business or something.
Anything else you want to say about this freedom? I do want to know why because I’ve heard you say this four times, “Simple is sexy. I’m a simple man too. I have to have things so simple or else if they get too complicated, it blows me out.”
I’m a simple person. It’s funny because you wake up one day and you realize your life is not simple. There are a lot of different things that caused that. You have a complicated life. Some things I love like having four kids and a wife. That complicates things. Most of the time, entrepreneurs go after more, “I have to have more of this. I have to have another home and another car.” It’s always more. You wake up one day and you’re like, “I got all this stuff that doesn’t bring me fulfillment. One thing is I’m trying to simplify my life down. Maybe it’s stuff, scheduling, or all the stuff I have to do to give myself some wide space to be creative, have that time and that margin in my life, and have that nice pace.” Simple is sexy to me. If anyone read this, think about that. I have a simple business. I’m trying to simplify my life more and more each day. It’s very freeing. I’m all about freedom. The more I simplify, the freer that I am. I’m taking that to heart. That’s my tip. Simple is the new sexy. Simplify your life in any way you can. Maybe it’s stuff like scheduling or parenting.
I’m a firm believer that when you buy this stuff, jet skis, the boats, on and on, you don’t own that stuff. It owns you. You’ll find out sooner or later. You get up in the spring to go drive your jet skis. The batteries are all dead. The mice have eaten the wiring. You’re off working for that jet ski. I want to thank you for taking the time to come on. I’d like to thank all the readers out there for taking the time to get you some Brett Snodgrass. We were going to talk about freedom. Nothing to sell. Nothing to give away.
We just wanted to have our conversation because that topic is near and dear to my heart. I know somewhere below the surface with every entrepreneur, there’s that question like, “Why the hell do I feel freer?” Maybe this helped a little bit. I’d like to thank Livecomm.com for sponsoring this episode. Please go to there and find out why I have 8,000 people I can text to sell my owner-financed homes to. It’s why I have nine days on the market. I don’t even put signs in my yards anymore, not even one. I don’t have to. Technology has shown us another way, cheaper, faster and cleaner. This is Mitch Stephen. We’re out of here.
About Brett Snodgrass
Brett Snodgrass has been a full-time real estate investor for 13 years. He specializes in wholesaling, wholetailing, creative financing, and scaling a business from a one-man-band to an amazing full team running 100’s of deals per year.
Brett has specialized knowledge and first-hand experience in several facets of real estate investing. Brett is an investor in Indianapolis and loves being a hoosier. He works with investors all over the country who want to invest in one of the top-rated cash-flowing markets in the nation, Indianapolis, Indiana.