Season 1, Episode 8
Moving From Fear To Confidence
Join Nancy Laabs and Lyle Leads as they discuss Nancy’s story and how she was able to move from fear to confidence and jumping right into success.
In this episode we will cover:
– How to turn a job into a business
– How learning can take you to the next level
– How to create a deal flow for any type of market
– How to overcome a business partner’s death
Lyle: Hello, I’m Lyle, I’m with Optimize Profitability and today, we’re here with Nancy Wallace Laabs, she’s a real estate investor, she’s a book writer, and she’s newly started developing products. She’s also started coaching people. She loves to think outside the box. And she told me to tell you she’s an all around great gal, so she’ll give me her dollar later.
All right, Nancy, how’d you get started as an entrepreneur? Tell us that story.
Nancy: Well, OK, thanks. Thanks so much for having me on. You know, I’ve had a really great journey, and I’ve just been a person that I know that I could just never work for anybody. I have that kind of personality. I don’t really like to be told what to do. So even early on, I was one of those people that was always questioning my bosses, and things like that. So I’m not going to say how many years because I’m kind of old, but I used to be a blood bank management consultant.
So I had gone to the University of Kansas Jayhawks, and graduated with a social work degree. And my goal was to help people and I did. I work for a Section 8 program in Kansas City. I actually helped establish the Section 8 office section. It was brand new at the time, and I wrote all the protocols, and I really, my boss just let me create the waiting list, that to this day, they still use there. And one of the challenges was that at that time, Johnson County, Kansas, was one of the richest counties in the nation, and people didn’t even want to admit that they had folks that needed help with rent, and that kind of thing.
So I was there for about four years. And then I moved to Phoenix, Arizona, and I answered a blind ad like younger people that are listening to this are planning to go, what is she talking about? But I found my next position at the newspaper. It was a blind ad, said field rep. I had no idea what that was. So I applied for it. And it was a job for a blood bank representative. So my job was to go around to colleges.
I had Arizona State University companies like Motorola, hospitals like Baylor, and coordinate blood drive. So that’s what I did. And I did that for about a year and a half. And then I was promoted to the manager over the call center, which at that time they were still using rotary phones with Rotary. If you don’t know what that is, you are way too young. There were no cell phones. I think cell phones at the time were really big.
And they had those big green data sheets that they came up with those big printers with names, and that’s how they used to call blood donors. So I was put in charge of consolidating and automating the call center, which was really cool because, again, I was able to use my creative I still worked for a company, but I created the department I worked with, and we were actually the first beta testing for automated calling for blood banks.
So we automated that. Then from there, I started going around the company, of those dialer systems, I would go for free. I did this for free. I would go to different conferences and basically talk about my experience with them, and how it works, and how they’re productive and efficient. So I kind of got known as the person that could basically cut costs for a blood bank. So then I was hired as a blood bank management consultant and I’ve traveled all over the United States, Canada, and I even did a stint in England working with blood banks and their call centers to basically help them become more cost effective by getting donors, blood donors into their centers rather than having mobile units.
And when I did the one in four Canadian blood services, I literally for a year and a half traveled back and forth from Toronto to Vancouver, and we consolidated forty five different locations. So that’s kind of, you know, so I was able to be this entrepreneur, be very creative. I wrote all kinds of job aids and protocols and things like that. So fast forward now I’m in Arizona and now the housing market is just going crazy and I’m always in the back of my mind.
I always thought it would be so much fun to get into real estate. Wouldn’t it be so much fun to be one of those house flippers or what not? I never really wanted to be a realtor or anything like that, but I was like, no, that’s probably a lot of fun. Well, in our particular neighborhood, which we had lived in our house for eight years, it was just a regular basic Middle America house in Gilbert, Arizona.
And Gilbert was just booming. And we started noticing houses were flipping in our neighborhood, like what’s going on here? So we went to a couple of open houses. We couldn’t believe what people were paying for houses. We could not believe it because the house prices have quadrupled. So you know what? I just said, you can get a job anywhere and we literally put our house on the market, and quit our jobs, and we moved to Dallas, Texas, within a matter of three weeks.
We just took a leap of faith because we knew that we had skills that we could get a job, we could get a job anywhere. He was in I.T. and I was in blood bank management. They had blood banks everywhere. So we moved to Dallas, Texas, and that’s kind of how we were able to start to realise. It sounds like, dang, you can make some serious dough in real estate investing. So that was actually the first time in my life I was able to, like, just sit back for a few minutes and not have to really go get a job.
So we started looking into real estate investing and I really was like, I really want to flip houses. That’s what I want to do. So I met a lady through introductions and I said, I want to flip houses. That’s what I want to do. And so she turned around and she gave me Gary Kellers, the real estate millionaire investor. It’s blue. You can buy it at half price books now. And she goes, read this.
And when you get done with it, come back and see me. Well, I called her within a day and a half because that’s how fast I just ate up that book. I just, what do you call it? Absorbed the information. And I was like, this is what I’m going to do. And it was about buying rentals. And to this day, I kind of use his model to buy three bedrooms. So that’s how I got started in real estate investing.
So, again, I didn’t know anything about it. And I wanted to learn more. So I talked this lady into hiring me. She didn’t want to hire me as a property manager because I had no background. But you know what I had, I had smarts. I had skills and had the desire to work. And she paid me, like, hardly anything. But within 30 days, she realized that she had somebody. So I created this position and we grew a property management company that I was in there for like 12 years as a property manager.
And we owned a property management company and we had all of our landlords by referral. So fast forward 2015. My partner unexpectedly passed away and. Yes, and here’s a tip, a valuable tip. So at the time, everything was a handshake. I had worked with this person. She mentored me day in and day out. And we always had intended to put things in writing, but we never did. So when she passed away, I guess there really was no partnership.
And you know what? It was just best for me at that time to walk away. And it was hard because I had a hole in my heart from losing my friend unexpectedly. And when you have a property management company with somebody, part of the intrigue and what I liked about it, because we could call each other up and go, oh, my gosh, you know what Mr. and Mrs. Smith did? Or, you know what? We have a vacancy over here.
So we worked in tandem together. So it was kind of like she was my wife and she was really great. She was also a real estate investor. So we did a lot of partnering. So then I kind of found myself without a partner. I was no longer a property manager. So then I said and all along I had been buying rental properties because I became a property manager so I would learn how to be a better landlord, how to be a profitable landlord, if you will, which we’ll get to later.
And so in 2015 and along the way, I came across, I said, you know what? When we first started buying, you know, we’d have some money. We gave up our money to buy a house. It was money. Well, after a while, you run out of money. So I had to spend a lot of time figuring out, OK, well, where am I going to get more money? Because there’s always, always deals.
So I believe in two things. One, you can create your own deal flow in any type of market, but you have to have deal flow for lenders as well. I spent a lot of time in both areas so I now have great access to money when I found a deal. I continued to buy properties in 2015. I had never flipped a property, believe it or not, I hadn’t really reflected on owner financing.
So I thought, you know what, I’m going to try some of these other strategies. So we went around to different areas and we ended up in a coaching program that was really great. And because I do believe in coaching, because if you want to get to the next level, you cannot learn. I mean, yes, there’s so much information out there that you can get for free. But at some point you do need that kind of almost like an accountability partner and you’re paying for a network.
And so we joined a particular group and the network was phenomenal. I learned, I mean, I literally took my business from here to here within a matter of months because of the network. And then I started doing other strategies and in my marketing and so one of my claim to fame properties that I’ve done a lot of speaking about is we bought a property here in Fort Worth. I paid ten thousand dollars for the house. I had no idea what I was going to do with it.
Would it be a flip? Would it be a rental? What would it be? So while I was trying to figure it out, I stuck a sign in the yard in Spanish and English, handwritten, just got a Home Depot get blank sign. And in three days I had sold that house for fifty thousand dollars. Owner financed my terms because when you do owner finance, it’s your house. You can do whatever you want. We did 20 percent down and we financed the 40 for 15 years, so guess what with the buyer giving us the ten thousand dollars, so I was made whole and I’m financing forty thousand for 15 years at nine and a half percent interest.
And that was two years ago. So that was now kind of made a believer out of me. So I’ve done a lot of voter financing, and then the owner financing ,and you can sell the notes and you can get all kinds of creative. So I guess kind of back to my story is I am from a very young age, I always had that mindset of creating something out of nothing. So where there even if it was a job and I was working for something, I always ask a lot of questions.
And employers, when you ask a lot of questions, if you have the right employer, they’re always, always looking to save money. So if you can ask the questions about how can I help them save money? How can I help them be better? Your job, even in your own job, so I’ve never been laid off, I’d never because I’ve always been in demand and I’ve chosen to leave to go on to other bigger things.
So I’ve been self-employed for over. A long time, we didn’t have to talk about that, and it’s just a mindset, I think it’s been a mindset and I do have drive, but it’s a mindset like I just am always asking questions. And you and I talked about that earlier saying that if you don’t know, don’t be afraid to ask. And through the course of my journey as an entrepreneur and entrepreneur like mindset always has been and no state is, I never stop asking why.
I never like to read a lot. Even as a coach now, I don’t think I have all the answers, but I think I have some of the answers. And if I don’t have the answers, at least I know how to ask the questions to get the answers. So I think it’s just that mindset when you’re an entrepreneur because I mean, did I have failure? Sure. Did I buy houses that I was like I wasn’t my Best Buy.
But you know what? Because I had a good mentor, I never did. I made mistakes, but I didn’t make huge financial mistakes that would bankrupt me. You know what I’m saying? Like, I didn’t buy a house where I, I, I did lose money on one house one time. And I’m convinced it was because it was a three bedroom, one bath, not in the right area. My rehab was a little, you know, not probably the best from the contractor standpoint.
And I did have to sell the house and I had to bring twenty five hundred dollars to the table. Well, you know, at the end of the day, at least I didn’t lose fifty thousand dollars. And I have walked away from deals, you know, pain, earnest money or whatever, because I would rather lose fifteen hundred dollars than fifty thousand dollars. So I think also knowing and having confidence in yourself, this is going to sound kind of who we believe.
I believe in my that, you know, if I get kind of a bad feeling about a situation or whatever, I’ll either kind of stand back and say, you know, something doesn’t feel right, because I think most of us, if we kind of are intuitive about ourselves and have confidence, you know, you’re going to be guided more. And I’ve always been a transparent, truth, honest person. And if such a thing that I want people to be as successful as I am, I love helping people along the way.
And one of my best stories is when I was doing the blood bank management consulting as I was leaving, because I grew through that company, that part of the department went into the millions where they were, I think it was like nine million, which was a lot of money at the time.I’d like to hire high school students because sometimes high school students have drive and they really want to know things. I think they get a bad rep.
You know, a lot of times that I hired this guy, I gave if he’s ever watching this. And he was 17 at the time when he came to work for me in the blood bank. And I am so happy to say that when I left, he took my job as the director. So I helped him cultivate his skill level and his management style, so much so that he was able to step into my shoes.
When I left, he was a manager and they asked for a recommendation and I said it’s him. And they gave him the job and he did an awesome job. And then he went on to do bigger and better things. So I always like to think I have a lot of success stories like that with young people, but it makes me feel good to know that I really made a difference in their lives.
Lyle: Yeah, I agree. That’s great. So what’s one tip you would give someone if they’re just getting started? Entrepreneurship, maybe they haven’t even made that leap yet. What’s a tip you would give them to take that step of faith?
Nancy: So I would say you’re going to have fear. You’re going to just feel like, oh my gosh, can I do that? And you know what? You just need to do it, because I think when people have to take some action and it doesn’t have to be huge and it won’t, it’ll feel completely uncomfortable. But that’s OK. That’s normal, because what really prevents people from getting the life they want is they’re afraid. They’re afraid to make mistakes.
They’re afraid people will judge them. You know what? If you have friends, this is how I learned this. If you have friends along your journey as you go up the ladder, you will have so many people criticize you. You’re crazy. I can’t even tell you how many people thought we were nuts for quitting our jobs and just moving to Arizona or to Dallas. They were like, what? So if you have those kinds of friends just now, you need other kinds of friends.
But what happens when you go through those journeys is that when you finally get here, those same people are like in oh, oh my God. Because when we now tell the story, people like, wow, that’s amazing. At the particular point in time when it was happening where we were scared, did we? My husband and I were like, oh my gosh. But we looked at the age we were at, our daughters were coming up and graduating and we saw it as an opportunity to make money.
A lot of money. Where the stock market wasn’t going to do it, you know, Arizona’s right to work state and so both of our jobs could be over with tomorrow, we wouldn’t have any say about it. So there was no, like, testing kind of thing. So I would say my tip would be to follow your gut. If your gut is telling you, even if you make a mistake now, I will caution you don’t go and take your retirement savings.
One, don’t take the equity in your homestead house. Don’t draw all that money to go buy real estate. Just that sometimes that’s what people are advised to do. Do not do that. There are ways that you can make yourself financially attractive and less of a risk and not use conventional lenders. And that’s kind of what we teach people. So that would be one thing. But I think the biggest tip is follow your dream. But remember that you’re going to be scared and just to overcommit.
And even if you write down what we did, I’m a big list person, so write down the top things. Like I always said that I wanted to write a book that was just a goal from when I was a kid. So I finally did it. I mean, it took me many years to do it. And I was yeah, I was really happy.
So we have to show you this is the book I wrote, Winning Deals in Heels. It’s My Journey and nine other successful women, real estate investors. And I’m a big one about giving back because I always feel like, you know, in the universe, whatever you give out, you’re going to get back. So part of the proceeds of this book are donated to her bookstore here in Plano, Texas. And it helps families heal from domestic violence.
So they just get a check from me. And it was kind of cool because we actually had a book signing at the resale store when we first launched the book about a year ago.
So, you know, follow your heart, follow your dreams. And, you know, I would say if you have people in your life, family, friends that criticize you, try to go outside and find some other people, like minded people. If you want to be an entrepreneur and find a meetup group for entrepreneurs, if you have an interest, if it’s in real estate investing, writing a book and just meet other like minded people, because if you are in a situation where you don’t have any positive kudo’s coming your way to do what you really want to do.
And if you mean, most of us don’t want to be stuck behind a desk nine to five, that is not how humans were built. We must be in a cubicle. So what is your ultimate goal? And just I mean, it sounds silly, but vision boards and all that really do help because it helps you visualize where you want to be? And then you know what? You just back it up and say, OK, here’s where we want to go and back it up.
And what’s the first action that you need to do to get to that ultimate goal? And it took us years. I mean, this especially in real estate investing. I mean, yes, there are people overnight that make a lot of money. Yeah, I’m not one of them. It’s taken me years to get where I want to be and really have the life I want to put. I’ve taken a faster path. Maybe I could or would have should have.
But I don’t really spend time about that because I just it was my path, my journey. And everyone has their own journey and not everyone would just up and quit their job, you know. So I think that would be my biggest tip is just to really think about one action that you could take towards your goal.
Lyle: Great. Thank you. We’re going to take this on to another conversation. I want to talk about two things. I don’t want to get on the spot, though. I’m going to share a little bit about what she did with their vision board and what that looks like in her life. And then she’s going to share about her profitable landlord system that she’s just developed. She developed her first product. How cool is that? You’ll go to OptimizeProfitability.com
Look on there for Nancy and we’ll meet you over there. Thanks for being here, Nancy.
Nancy: Thank you. You all have a good day.
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