#075: Two Non-Negotiables Every Entrepeneur Has to Have

Welcome to The Accelerated Investor Podcast with Josh Cantwell, if you love entrepreneurship and investing in real estate then you are in the right place. Josh is the CEO of Freeland Ventures Real Estate Private Equity and has personally invested in well over 500 properties all across the country. He’s also made hundreds of private lender loans and owns over 1,000 units of apartments. Josh is an expert at raising private money for deals and he prides himself on never having had a boss in his entire adult life. Josh and his team also mentor investors and entrepreneurs from all over the world. He doesn’t dream about doing deals, he actually does them and so do his listeners and students. Now sit back, listen, learn, and accelerate your business, your life, and your investing with The Accelerated Investor Podcast.

Josh: What’s going on? Welcome back to Accelerated Investor. I’m so excited to be with you and to be part of your journey, part of your thought process, part of your system, the process, whatever it is that you’re looking for in your entrepreneurial journey. I am just excited to be part of that and to be bringing you guests, solo cast strategies and ideas to help you along your entrepreneurial journey as a real estate investor, entrepreneur, a real estate agent, whether you’re raising money, doing syndications, buying apartments, or building your own business in some other niche, whatever it is. Thank you so much for engaging with us. Today I have a guest that I’ve known for a long time, but frankly Trevor, I don’t know that we’ve ever really gotten to know each other all that well.

Josh: I’ve known Trevor Mauch, he’s the CEO of Carrot.com. Carrot is an amazing company, one of the fastest growing companies in the country according to Inc. Magazine and they help generate online leads for real estate investors and real estate agents. They’ve generated over 3 million, check it out, 3 million leads in the last five years for investors and for agents to list properties and buy properties and flip houses and list for clients so they generate leads through an amazing search engine optimized platform. I’ve known Trevor for a long time, but Trevor, I don’t know that you and I have really ever sat down for more than a few minutes and really talked and really gotten to know each other and just shared our journey. So I’m excited for this. Thanks so much for being on Accelerated Investor.

Trevor: Dude. I’m pumped too. I mean, I was trying to track back when the first time we actually met and it’s probably in Vegas, you know, probably a decade ago or something like that. And it’s been really cool hearing your own story and your triumph over cancer years ago. That was one of the first things that really caught my attention with you. You’re always doing amazing things at business, but I’m like, man, the story that came out of that was so amazing. It’s been really inspiring seeing it from this side of things. So congrats, congrats.

Josh: Yeah, thanks a lot. I tell people often the greatest thing and the best thing that ever happened to me outside of meeting my wife and having my kids was being diagnosed with cancer. You have no idea the amount of soul searching and personal development that comes out of just being in the absolute abyss of having to battle cancer and knowing that you have a 92% chance of not making it. It’s quite a challenge my friend quite a challenge. So Trevor, let’s, just tell our audience a little bit more about Carrot. What do you guys do at Carrot? And then we’re going to jump in a little bit more into your entrepreneurial journey, but your focus today is building this amazing company. You guys are based out of Oregon that generates online leads. It used to be called Investor Carrot. You guys have successfully purchased the domain named Carrot.com, which couldn’t have been easy and now it’s known as Carrot, which is amazing company and recognized all around the world is an amazing place to work and an amazing platform for investors and for realtors. So tell us a little bit more about Carrot and then we’ll jump into your journey.

Trevor: For sure dude. So Carrot started the start of 2014 so we’re, you know, five and a half years in, almost six years in. And we work with about 6,500 active investors and agents right now. The real estate agent side is kind of growing, but kind of in a nutshell, Josh, what we help people do is we help people stand out online, build trust and build authority through content marketing and in organic search. Now there’s a lot of things that you can do offline with marketing, direct mail, cold calling, you know, bandit signs, billboards, whatever it is. They all work, they all work. But one thing that they all do is they all drive online demand. You know, they’re going to cause someone to pick up their cell phone and do Google searches for your company named for your competitors. Or even for phrases that are just intent-based phrases, how do I sell my house fast that I inherited or whatever it is. So we help you get in front of all that Google search. The really high quality, highly motivated, prospects and leads. A lot of people are currently ignoring amplify all of your offline marketing and add a new channel to that mix.

Josh: That’s fantastic. And from what I know, Trevor, you know, in talking with you at different conferences last year you gave an amazing presentation, the, the JV summit about Carrot and how you’ve built it. You built it organically. You guys do virtually no marketing of your own to get new clients, basically realtors and investors that use your service. So what I’d like to do now is go back to when you started this business four and a half, five years ago. And what was, what was the thought process? What was going through your mind? What service or company were you trying to build? What did you think was missing in the marketplace that you thought you could capture on?

Trevor: Dude, it’s so funny cause when you, when you talk about journeys in life, but also entrepreneurial journeys are kind of a microcosm of it. It’s never this straight line, you know, it’s like it’s this up and down thing. And when we first met, I had started a, yeah, exactly. When we first met, I had started at an online publishing company in the real estate space, and that’s where we first connected and things were going good. But the problem for me, Josh, that led into Carrot was it was always this boom and bust, right? It was like we did a really, really good one month and then the next month it didn’t. And then two, three months we’d be great. And it’d be kind of down. That’s stressful. Like it became really, really stressful. But at the end of the year at the end of the year, the money was good and we were proud of the product we had but month to month it was stressful. And so when I was looking to make a transition in 2012 or so, it popped up in my mind. I’m like, man, let me, let me look back at, at my business, my businesses that I’ve previously had, what did I like about it and what did I not like about him?

Trevor: And I started to write that list. What do I like about it? What do I not like about it. And the things I loved about certain parts of it and the things I didn’t like. The thing I didn’t like was the inconsistency. I’m like, I want freedom, I want flexibility, I want to really grow those finances predictably and I want to make an impact. And I always felt like, because I didn’t have freedom, flexibility, I had the money, but I didn’t enjoy it because there was, there was the inconsistency in the business model. And so one of my non-negotiables was like, I want to create something that’s consistent and predictable. And then I went back to it and I said, what was the marketing methods that led to the most consistency and predictability in my business? I’m like, man, I didn’t do it enough. But the ones that are always the most consistent, predictable, and gave me freedom and flexibility was always organic, was inbound bringing people to me.

Trevor: The ones that got the good spikes of income, but then I’ll oftentimes, it didn’t last too long, were the outbound. Now they work. But I said, how do I get off the outbound hamster wheel and on the inbound and start to build momentum with evergreen content that’s online for years and years, not just like up on a social media post for a couple of days. And so that’s when we started Carrot man. I took that idea and I said, I’m really good at this organic thing. I didn’t do a lot of it in my previous business right before that, but the business before that one, that’s all I did. And so I said, no, I’m just going to go all in and organic and can we do this for investors? And so that was why we originally started it. I’ll kind of dive in one little mindset shift to. Probably be helpful for anybody that’s looking to make a shift.

Josh: Please do. I have some questions around this too, but go ahead.

Trevor: Dude. There are things that were critical for me in that time because I was in this like trough, you know, from the outset. And I think everyone probably looked at me in the probably 2011 and 12 phase of like, man, he’s got, he’s doing great. Which I was honestly just wasn’t grateful for everything that I had been given, really being honest. But then I was like, man, on the inside I was just miserable. I wasn’t enjoying my work. I didn’t want to wake up to do the work that I had created for myself. And I’m going, man, there’s something wrong with this. You know, the whole entrepreneurial dream is this thing where people, you’re supposed to have freedom and all that.

Trevor: And I had trapped myself in my own business because I was doing work I didn’t enjoy it. I was doing work that I was good at and the work paid me really well, but it wasn’t giving the energy. So there’s a couple things I did Josh, that completely shifted everything. The first thing is, I know sounds funny, but a lot of people talk about, they talk about, Hey, your unique ability is something that you get paid really well to do. And everyone says you’re great at it. And that’s what I chased for you. And I was getting paid, I was getting paid really well to do this stuff and everyone would tell me I’m great at it. It’s like, shoot, that must be what I need to do. And it made me money. Then Greg Clement, you know, mutual friend of ours was, this is 2012 I joined the mastermind that he started for that one and only year and he was hammering on unique ability stuff and I’m like, man, I need to find this unique ability stuff.

Trevor: And the one thing that I joined Strategic Coach for a year and the one thing that they said was the hit me that made the whole year worth it. They said your unique ability, you know when you’ve found it, when your, the items, the items that are unique ability, they give you more energy when you’re done doing them then when you started and you could be world-class to me if you focused in on it. And I started to go down that list of all the stuff I was doing. I created something called the Energy Audit. It’s something I still do every quarter today. It changed my life. I put it up for free online. People don’t even have to opt in to get the Energy Audit worksheet. But it’s called an energy Audit. You can just put down on a piece of paper, line down the middle on one side.

Trevor: What are all the things that drain my energy in life or business or work, right? List it all on one side. What are all the things that give me energy in life and work? And at that time it was about 80% of the things in my week were draining my energy. No wonder I wasn’t liking it.

Josh: Right. Regardless of the money, right? It doesn’t really matter. If your not having energy and having fun and being excited to go do it at the beginning of the day. And then at the end of the day you’re even more tired. It sucks even more, even though you made a ton of money doing it. How long can you possibly stay on that path? It’s impossible.

Trevor: It’s terrible, man. So you do that audit. And then on one side of what I did is I started doing this every quarter since this is our pile up the things that are draining my energy, I circle the one, two, maybe three that are draining my energy the most. And I write down next to it how many hours per week is that thing is something I’m doing. Maybe this is four, and this is two and this is six hours. And so then I look at those things. The very first thing in the corner, I go, I’m going to live based off of energy and that thing that’s costing me six hours a week. I’m going to either create a process, delegate it, eliminate it, and just say I don’t have to do it anymore and I’m going to replace that six hours with something over here that gives me energy that I’m not doing enough.

Trevor: Quarter after quarter, since 2012, I started to do that swap and it moved from 80% energy draining to 80% to 85% energy giving. And that was one of the biggie dude that completely changed game for me. Because that’s when I completely shifted my business. I’m like, these things give me energy running a business this way, running business this way don’t, even though it’s anti the way that the joint venture world worked and the traditional this industry had worked, I’m like, I’m just going to do it the opposite. I’m going to do it something gives me energy and it’s fun.

Josh: That’s awesome man. So how did you resolve to the like, so you took the long tail approach. You like I’m going to give this, I’m going to do things that give me energy regardless of how much money it makes. So many people get caught, Trevor in the trap of transactional work because transactional work often pays more money now, right? You wholesale a house instead of buying a rental because it pays you more money. Now you wholesale an apartment because you can make maybe $50,000 or hundred thousand dollars on wholesaling an apartment instead of buying the apartment and cashflowing at longterm, which will make more money longterm you buy or start a business. Instead of doing transactional work of selling info products, you create Carrot which is going to pay you longterm but maybe not as much money today. So in your own mind, how did you, you know, the energy is one thing, but then there’s also the economics of that decision, right?

Josh: The economics is I might not make as much money today. So how were you able to structure a business in such a way that allowed you to focus on your core energy 80% 85% of the time and make that longterm decision? Because I think most people would prefer to do what you did, but it’s the short term shiny object. It’s the short term income. It’s the short term. While I can’t give up this $400,000 salary to build the true business I want, it’s the lure of today. It’s the shiny object today. It’s the more income today. Instead of doing what truly is your passion, which will probably pay you more in the longterm anyway, you made that decision. But how did you resolve yourself to do it? Actually, do you remember the moment? Do you remember the instant when you said, I’m going to do this, regardless of whether it pays me nothing today, because that’s what I love.

Trevor: Dude, such a great question. So there wasn’t a moment. It was like several moments at the right moment and I’ll kind of walk you through those things. So at that time when I knew I needed a transition, I’m like, man, the work I’m doing, the product is good. You know, I don’t want to say, everything was good. It just wasn’t hitting me right. So then what I determined, I’m like, dude, I just got to trim everything off on my lap. That’s not giving me energy. So that’s when I sold half of that business to private money blueprint business to Patrick. Amazing business partner. We’re still buds today. We meet up at least once a year. I sold that. I got rid of one of my tech companies I invested in because I was getting kind of distracted. I wasn’t liking my work, so I’m like, well, maybe I’ll like this.

Trevor: And I had started investing in little things here and there. I lost all that money, right? Because there terrible investments except for one. And it was a software company and the software company, I started looking at the economics of it. I’m like, I don’t really like that, company’s doing great today. It’s scaling really, really good. I’m like, I don’t really understand software. I don’t know how to code. I don’t know any of that stuff. But I liked the economics of it. I like the fact that someone just kind of pays you monthly or pays you in. It’s like stacking bricks. It’s like, it’s like building a wall. What most people do is that there’s a hamster wheel over here and then there’s a pile of bricks over here, right? And let’s say, let’s say that the hamster wheel is, you know, the more that you’re on and the more that like it drops a little food straight in your mouth.

Trevor: And then over here the bricks you like actually have to build a wall and build a house, then build like your own little furnace with those bricks, right? And then eventually it’s just going to like do the work for you. And so what people tend to do is they’re going to jump on the hamster wheel and run. And as long as you’re running on the hamster wheel, it’s providing you what you need. But the second you jump off of it, it’s going to slowly grind to a halt. You’ve got to get back on the hamster wheel. And that to me, didn’t sound like a way to live, right? I instead looked at the brick wall and I’m like, okay, what if I could build a brick wall? It’s going to take a lot of work to start. It’s going to be dirty and I’m going to get my hands dirty.

Trevor: There’s going to be a lot of things I’m doing that I’m not going to see any real results from for awhile. But it’s like taking bricks. You take a brick, you stack it and you put in the mortar on, you slap the mortar and you grab another brick. You grabbed another brick. Eventually you got a whole row of bricks, but it’s just one, one row and you look back and go, I can’t do anything with that. Like that’s not a wall. It’s not anything yet. It’s just a row. And I put all this work into it and I’m not getting anything out of it. But you know the vision of where you want to go and put your head down and you jump over here, do some hamster wheel stuff because you know it pays you now, but you know that that’s not where you want to focus in on longterm.

Trevor: You got to do it now to get something coming in. But then you go back over here and pick up bricks, do hamster wheel, hop off, come back over here, pick up bricks, and eventually you stop hamster wheeling and then your brick wall bounces everything back for you. A lot of it for me was starting to adopt that mindset was going okay. If I had the route where I was netting $200,000 to $300,000 a year as a mid 20 something year old guy and I wasn’t a happy, I’m like, well bring in 1 million bucks a year. Make me happy. Probably not, right? I’m looking at that going, okay, what would make me happy? Well, what if I could build a business that actually fueled my passion? You know what if I could build a business that was fun and that challenged me, and so that was really my first year of Carrot dude.

Trevor: I didn’t set out to build something big. You know, we’re the fastest growing software company in Oregon two years in a row. I did not set out to grow something big. I set out the first year with one mission. I’m like, I’m going to completely stop banging my head against the wall to try and find my life’s purpose. Because I was, I was like struggling over that. I said, I’m not going to look at it for this year or this was 2013. I said, what I’m going to do is I’m just going to make one purpose for work, you know, this year, not for work, for everything it was, I wanted to look back at the end of 2013 and say with confidence that I did the best that I as a person could possibly do at everything that I tried to do.

Trevor: I was the best husband, I was the best father. I was the best. You know, the best entrepreneur and the only way I could do that was to do fewer things. And so that was my one mission is like I looked back at the end of the year when, okay, was I the best father and in those moments during the year, you know, I remember vividly man walked in my kitchen one time and put the dish on the counter because growing up my mom kind of like did everything for us, which 11 or death but you know, it took a while to work that out of me.

Josh: Slap side of motivation a little bit. I just had this conversation with my kids this morning. I told them like, you realize that mom and I could give you everything but you also realize that we won’t.

Trevor: Yup. Exactly. And it’s so critical dude. So I had some of those bad habits that I was bringing in in my own story from childhood. And I remember this one vivid moment where, I put the dish on the counter and I was fully intending on like cleaning the dish later that day. But also probably knowing my wife. Yeah, yeah, exactly. But also probably knowing my wife is probably going to grab it and do something with it. I remember in this moment, man, like I set it down and I turned around and I took two or three steps away and all that popped to my mind was, that’s not the best that I can do. And so I turned around, I even in that little moment and with the dish, right? I took the darn dish, put it in the dishwasher closed it. I’m like, okay, there it is.

Trevor: And there’s like a million of those moments in 2013 as I was starting to formulate this company and started it in 2014 that that I sort of rewire my brain around, okay, how do I actually focus on fewer things? Maybe just one thing instead of three or four or five businesses. So it’s consistent. Make it so it’s a momentum builder, not a hamster wheel. I’m going to build a brick wall. And then every year I’m going to renew my contract with myself every year I’m going to go into it and say, do I want to do this again? Do I want to do Carrot one more year and like even today, dude, you know where you know we’ll do, I’ll just be transparent with people because I think it helps with the story you, we’ll do about $8 million in revenue and a highly, highly profitable team of 30 employees.

Trevor: So even today, while we have an amazing business, I look at that and I do a contract with myself too. I want to do this again for another year and I have to be convicted that there’s a real reason why, because I’ve recognized that even now when I’m worth tens of millions, that’s not what makes me happy. It’s like right now my reason why for going into 2020 is I’m like, man, I thought I could make a big impact three years ago, but now we’re getting into the range where I can make a massive impact if we keep grow in this thing.

Josh: I love the idea of a one year contract, right? So like Michael Jordan, the last three or four years of his basketball career just was like, I’m not sure if I want to play three years or four years. I’m not sure if I want to do this and I’ve got to sign a four year deal. I’m going to sign a one year deal when the Bulls and we’re going to try and go win a championship, which basically is another way of saying I’m going to do the best I can do this year. Just like you said, is this the best I can do and can I put it, can I go all in for this year? And then at the end of the year like, Hey, did we win a championship or not? And maybe we did, maybe we didn’t. Jordan did over and over and over. But not everybody always wins a championship.

Josh: But the question then becomes is, do I want to commit to this for one more year? I think so many people that Trevor and I come across like they make a decision and think it has to be a lifelong decision, right? So let’s say you want to go buy apartments. Like you don’t have to be an apartment investor forever. You can just say, let’s just take 2020 this coming year and let’s just, let’s go buy whatever, 200 units or 500 units or a thousand units of apartments. And let’s go all in on that one thing and at the end of the year, let’s see how we did. Did we love it? Was it, did it give us energy? And if we loved it, then you do it again next year. How do you think that that approach of a one year contract has impacted your psychologically knowing you make the commitment you’re all in for a year versus saying, well maybe I’ll stick with this. Maybe not. Maybe I can stop doing this in ay or June. Maybe I can stop in September, October versus I’m in for the next 12 months and this is all I’m going to focus on.

Trevor: Dude, there’s a couple of things there. So that first year of it, the first year I was doing that in 2013 going into 2014 if I would have not had that year contract with myself, I probably would have stopped it on six because it’s hard to get momentum with the software business, especially when I wasn’t leveraging my JV. I wasn’t leveraging the community that I’d built the previous four or five years. I didn’t at all. Like I didn’t hit anyone up and I didn’t do that, you know, I still don’t do that. And that was the biggie is knowing, Hey, I’m going to give it a good full year. And oftentimes dude, it takes a year or more to get momentum and that’s a lot of people don’t recognize, especially if you’re doing an apartment investing. I mean it might take a while. I might take eight months, 12 months, 24 I don’t know.

Josh: Yeah, with an apartment easily if you buy something that’s not performing you, it might take 18 months just to stabilize the thing. So like in my apartments that we bought, we bought and we have 2,400 units of apartments now with joint venture partners. And a lot of those buildings I haven’t taken a nickel out of yet because in the first six months of the first 12 months we’re stabilizing them. We’re putting the investors first and then as soon as we get to the refinance, right. You know, to use the carrot analogy, that’s the carrot that we’re chasing is the refi because the refi happens. Now the investors get paid back their money, their principal, and then now we get a windfall of cash, cash out refi proceeds and cashflow. So we’re essentially doing very, something similar in that we’re building, building, building something that’s not paying us a dime in the first three to six, to nine to 12 months because we know what’s going to pay us forever.

Trevor: Yup. And dude that’s part of the mindset shift too. So kind of going back to the just the position of shoot the fast cash, the income versus building that brick wall for momentum. This one mindset shift that I had to make as well is when you start to become successful at something, whatever that means to you, right? Like it could be a monetary thing, it could be whatever it is, but whenever you start to become successful at something, oftentimes that ego starts to creep up and it makes it hard for us to want to go backwards, right. I remember vividly, man is probably 20, probably like 2011 or so. Had a really, really great year and had a great year. Some of the things we rolled out. And I remember sitting there with my younger brother, Kyle, he’s six years younger than me.

Trevor: He’s an entrepreneur now to, I helped him start his company. And he’s doing really well. I remember sitting there with them and I said these words and I said, man, I think I’ve got this figured out. Like I don’t think I’m ever going to make less money than I am today. Like I said, those words. And the funny thing is as soon as you start to say absolutes, what happens is sometimes like the universe conspires to help you find the opposite, right?

Josh: I’m laughing because that’s only happened to me like five times the last 20 years. Like this is it. And then the next year it’s like, shit, this is the worst year ever.

Trevor: Yeah, you got to figure it out. Right? And so I had this ego creeping up and, and I think I let it go too long in that previous business where I probably should’ve made a shift earlier because I’m like, that was that same mindset. I don’t want to go backwards. Let me just kind of put my head down, let me keep doing the work and I’ll figure out this little side hustle thing. What I realized for me, Josh was, at least for me, I couldn’t run a fulltime business and have rental properties and try to do this side hustle that was my passion. I had to pull back and completely eliminate ego and I said, okay, you know what, I’m going to be okay in 2012 with my income going down drastically, I cut off my main income source, which was that business and it sounds fancy that I sold it. Dude I sold it for nothing. I mean, I’m not going to like tell the specific numbers because I don’t know that Patrick would want to know but, or want people know.

Trevor: But I just said, dude, I love you. I don’t want to have this be a negotiation. You tell me an amount and I will say yes to it. And he told me an amount that I felt was it was way lower than it was worth. I didn’t say no. He even asked for five-year notes to pay it off. I’m like enthusiastically, yes. So in 2012 this is the lesson I think a lot of people need to learn is in order to go up, you oftentimes have to first go down and so if you think about like a seed, right? Let’s take a little seed of an apple tree. And so you take a seed, you put it in your hand. That seed is currently a seed. It’s on a tree. It’s got to fundamentally change what it is to become a tree. It’s got to fundamentally change what it is to become that fruit.

Trevor: And so you take the seed, you put it into the ground and you put dirt over, you start to water it. The tree doesn’t first go up, the tree starts going down first. The roots grow down first just to build the foundation. You don’t see anything above the dirt for awhile, but there’s a lot happening beneath the surface. Then eventually you see this thing sprout up builds an amazing tree, little birdie finds a tree, builds in nest, and then the bird has a baby and the birds up there flying around and getting food and the babies are in the nest like chirping at mom and saying, man, someday I’ll be up there where mom is. I don’t know how I’m going to get there. I don’t know how to fly but someday I will. And eventually that baby bird is ready to fly, gets up on the edge of the nest.

Trevor: And then it, it’s looking down, it’s looking around and going, I don’t know how I’m going to do this. I got to trust some things. And what happens is they jump off and it doesn’t go immediately up it goes down first the birds flap and flap and flap and eventually catches wind and eventually it goes. And the same thing happens with us in life and entrepreneurship is oftentimes when you make a pivot, you have to be okay with going down. It could be your bank account and your bank account might have to go down drastically so you can build the foundation to build up something even bigger. And that’s what happened to me. My tax statement, I was flipping through, we moved a couple of years ago and there was a box that that had got passed around from house to house and my tax statements were in there from the past decade or so.

Trevor: I was flipping through them and 2012 I made $27,000 like me personally, $27 ,000grand dude after I was making hundreds of thousands of years before that. And so it’s so funny because that year I was insanely happy. Like I was like, man, I get to work on cool stuff. I don’t care that I’m not making a lot of money. I don’t know how this is going to work. It’s like the baby bird, the baby bird doesn’t know how to do it. It’s saw other saw an example, but it’s got to do it itself. I’m like, I don’t really know how this is going to work. I don’t know if this is going to work. It’d be cool if someday we can get a few hundred customers, you know, maybe bring in $15,000 or $20,000 grand a month. And you know, we just kept on blowing by that. So those mindset shifts, man, I’ve been big. Be okay with going down before you go up, but have a plan to build momentum and recognize that you can’t be the hamster wheel forever and enjoy your work.

Josh: Yeah. I also think, Trevor, it’s important to recognize, be almost unicorn type shit. If you left the business making hundreds of thousands and started another business, and in a year one made hundreds of thousands or more, and all of a sudden you were also enjoying your passion. You felt like you were in your joy, you were building momentum and it just happened right away. It’s natural for everyone to take a step back, a couple steps back while you’re planting those seeds and building the momentum. And I think that’s again going from transactional work, whether it’s your, you know, you’re in a corporate job, you’re in sales, you’re working 60 hours a week and you’re making $350,000 a year in sales, but you fucking hate it. And which is what, you know so many of my investors that invest in our fund and invest in apartments, that’s exactly where they are.

Josh: Or they were in that for now they’re 65 years old and that they just like, I just stuck it out because that was my career path. I never liked my job, but I did it for the money. Versus I took a step back. I know it’s not going to be pretty, I know we might incur some debt. I know we might have our savings account drained down a little bit, but I’m truly going to enjoy this passion of my future life. That ultimately is the one decision that I think everybody needs to make. And some people just decide, I’m just more comfortable staying in this thing, whether it’s flipping houses, whether it’s transactional work as a realtor, whether it’s Fortune 500 whatever the business is, versus building something for truly the longterm. So Trevor helped me understand now today, right?

Josh: You’ve built this amazing business. Your company has grown even more since the last I saw you last year. You probably have some personal principles and some business principles that you kind of run your personal life on, and your business on some things that have worked for you personally for your family and also some things that have worked in your business. So man, if you could tell us a little bit more about those. You know, what’s important to you and the things that kind of are the backbone of who you are and what’s important and the backbone of your business. I’d be curious to hear more about that.

Trevor: Cool, dude, it’s funny, I was just clicking on the screen to bring up this thing. I call my non-negotiables. And there you go. So in that transition, I’m kind of going to go back to that, that time period, that 2012 or so in that transition as I sold that part of my previous company and you know, torpedoed the two software, two of the three software companies or they torpedoed themselves and lost my money with them. And then I got rid of everything else. I had a chance to look back and kind of, and kind of determine what are those things for me, you know, what are what I called non-negotiables and I slanted these ones on the business side. So these ones aren’t really slanted on the personal side, but I think they have a lot of, they have a lot of opportunity to go to both ways.

Trevor: And I’ll talk about the values that we, that we redid the way that we do values at Carrot about a year or two into it. But the non-negotiables, man, I highly suggest everyone write these down. Not mine, but your own. And so in that period I went back once again and looked at what I like, what I dislike about my businesses and what do I want to make sure that every business that I ever start in the future follows these things. And if it doesn’t, I’ll either sell the business, stop the business or whatever, and my non negotiables were the first one is a singular focus on the big thing. I think it’s a very common thing as entrepreneurs, once you start to have some wins, you think you can do everything right, you think you kind of have the mightiest touch.

Trevor: And so then your focus gets, gets cluttered by a bunch of opportunities instead of going really deep on one thing. And I said in 2012 I said, I’m going to go really deep on one thing no matter what opportunities pop up, I’m just going to not do them. I’m going to say no to them. And so that’s one of the reasons, man, that you know, I have, I never go to the real estate events. I never do that stuff because I’m like, it’s just not part of my one thing right now. It’s, I don’t really do JV, it’s not that I avoid them and it’s just not part of my marketing method, so I’m going to go all in on something. Number two is have fun and have a big mission and that I believe in at my core, man, I just felt like I didn’t know what it was.

Trevor: I didn’t know what the mission was when I wrote this down. It materialized over a few years in care as I dug in and started to do the craft and enjoy the craft, but have fun and have a big mission, I believe in at my core. I think we all have missions that we write down somewhere. And I did as well before this and it was the big cool mission, you know, like inspire a million households to have an entrepreneur, sounded good. But I didn’t find myself every single day living that mission or finding ways to work, everything I was doing into that mission and that was a good trigger for me. It’s like, man, if this is my mission, I should just be naturally working everything I’m doing into that, but why is it so hard to do that? So that was number two, consistent. Number three was consistent and predictable.

Trevor: I wanted to be able to build a business and an income that’s consistent, predictable. That to me sounded like freedom. That to me sounded great. My previous businesses that made good money that was booming, busted, not sound great. Number four was build a longterm valuable asset. Just like you talked earlier with the multi-family stuff is the transactional income’s great, but what happens if I get hit by a bus tomorrow and my family, what does my family do? What happens if I get sick, right? will my business continued to grow without me and support my myself in the family. If I get sick or what if I just get tired of doing what I’m doing or I want to take a six month break or whatever it is, or what if this is just a season of my life? You know what if I just want to run this business for 5 to 10 years and then possibly sell it and have a really big gain and continue to stair step up instead of doing right ride previous done Josh, where every three years I got tired of my businesses and then I would just cut that one kind of fade out because I lose focus on it. Then I just started another one.

Trevor: And I was never able to up level because I wasn’t building an assets. And then number five was live on purpose and within my unique ability. So you know, more often than not, how do I make my work energy work so that that’s the stuff that I really strive live by a lot. I think when I trip up Josh, which, which I still do quite consistently and we all still have our ups and downs. Yeah, exactly. We also have our ups and downs. It’s like whenever I’m in a down mode and I actually have a chance to pull back and go, man, I’m like, I’m in a funk. It’s usually because I’m not doing some of this stuff. It’s usually because man, I let way too much non-energy work creep into my week, like for six weeks in a row, this sucks.

Trevor: Like, let me pull back and do my energy audit again. Or man, I’m just not really having as much fun. I just kind of got caught in just some weeds, a bunch of weeds and how do I pull back and just be more intentional with fun right now, let’s go do some fun stuff in the business. So those are the five biggies there. I’m not going to read all of our company core values, but our company core values and the one I love the most is be a beacon of positivity and possibility. That’s the one that kind of like, I try to throw around as my flag that I’m barren here at Carrot and that’s something that I’m kind of known for like in my normal life as well. And yeah. So that right there is something I carry from business over in a normal life. But there’s a whole bunch of other, there’s six other values up there too.

Josh: Yeah. Wow. I love it. That sounds good. Singular focus on one big thing, having fun and have a big mission that I believe in at my core. Consistent and predictable, longterm valuable asset and live life on purpose and within your unique ability. I love it. Imagine if you spent 80% of your time like Trevor doing something that you truly believe in, that’s a big mission. That’s consistent, predictable, that is creating a valuable asset and it gives you energy. Imagine what that could look like. Congratulations Trevor on building an amazing company and congratulations on just living this, truly mapping it out and then living it. Because you see people talk about mission goals, you know my values. But you see very few companies and very few individuals actually living it, making it happen. So congratulations on making them synergistic and work together.

Trevor: Dude I appreciate you. And one thing I want people to listen to this to recognize too is, is you guys are hearing like the highlight version of this, you know, and I’ll be real with you right now, Josh. Yesterday kind of sucked. Like yesterday wasn’t a great day and I can go into like why it wasn’t a great day and I was just like way low energy and it kind of bled into today. And the funny thing is, one of the things I’m the most pumped about and there’s, when you really look back yesterday should not have been a bad day. I’m doing a real estate deal next door. I’m buying this building, we’re renovating and putting retail downstairs, putting residential upstairs. There was an issue with the seller. I got down about it because they were saying that I said some things I did not say.

Trevor: And like certain things, I’m like, come on guys, I love you guys. But we did not talk about that. So like it just brought me down the whole rest of the day and it shouldn’t have. And the reason I want to bring this up is I’ve structured my week in a way. It’s where Thursdays are content days for me, where I hop on dude podcast, give me energy, and so I was pumped to come in today going, man, I had a sucky day yesterday and, you know, I had an amazing. Okay, let me pull back and have gratitude. I had an amazing day. I had an opportunity to buy a building and I have a great team. I let it be sucky, but now coming into today I get to have high energy and I’ve brought it back up with being intentional and working in high energy things into my week. So it’s not always unicorns and roses, man, that’s for sure. We all have the ups and downs, right?

Josh: I love the quote, I’ve heard it so many times and I try to live in as often as I can is what if everything, every experience, every relationship, good, bad or ugly, every business opportunity made or lost. What if everything was a gift? What if everything was a gift, right? So I had a conversation this morning. I have my COO actually resigned three weeks ago and I think it’s a good time. It’s a good opportunity for him to do something else. I think it’s a good opportunity for the company. I think it’s just good all the way around. There’s going to be some challenges, some hurdles, some clunkiness as he exits his last day is tomorrow, but we met for breakfast this morning because I really respect him. I really respect his energy and his effort and all the value that he’s brought to the company.

Josh: I know we’ve given a lot back to him and allowing him to work from home and given him a great place to earn more money and make a bigger impact. But we were talking this morning about, you know, I could be upset, I could be pissed off that he resigned, but I look at this, I immediately thought when he said it, I said, you know what, Jay? I remember being on the phone three weeks ago. I said, this is probably a gift for both of us. And what if every day, everything, every experience, even yesterday, the bad day that you had, Trevor, what if it was a gift because of some way, somehow some reason it’s going to turn out to be a learning lesson, a way to be more positive, a way to maybe negotiate a better deal or you know, use what they said to your advantage in the future. Who knows, but it’s some way somehow going to be a gift that you can use in the future. I love that.

Josh: So listen, Trevor as we kind of round third here and head for home. I’d love for you to just tell our audience a little bit more about the energy audit and where they can get access to it. And then again tell our audience a little bit more, where can they get more information about you and about Carrot and how they can basically sign up for your services if that’s something they want to inquire about.

Trevor: I love it man. So I typed it up online and make sure I’ve got the right link. So if people go to Carrot.com/habits, Carrot.com/habits, there’s a page and I don’t believe, at least on my end, there’s no opt in form. Like you don’t have to give an email. I want people to have these resources because they worked so well for me. But on there is my energy audit process. Like I said, when I do that every quarter I have an amazing quarter. When I don’t do it is when I usually find myself midway through the year and go damn like something like a momentum’s going away and it feels weird, like go shoot energy at it like I’m doing a lot of low energy stuff again, so I go back and audit it. But also on, there are a couple of other resources that work really, really well for me.

Trevor: I’ve got my daily productivity sheet that I use when I’m here in the office that you guys can download on there as well. And then I’ve got my habit and goal tracker, which I use every single month, quarter and day to help me make sure that I’m working on the highest leverage stuff and, and keep alignment with my team. My team has access to my habit and goal tracker worksheet so you can get all three of those over there guys for free. There’s no sales pitch over there. No opt in, no nothing. Just go use it and put it to use.

Josh: Yeah. And the thing that we haven’t really talked about much is exactly what Carrot does, but you described it at the very beginning. Content marketing, building amazing, highly search engine optimized websites with content that drives traffic for realtors and for investors to get leads. You’ve driven it over 3 million leads in the last five years for your clients. They take those leads, they buy houses, they flip houses, they wholesale properties, they list homes to sell them. It’s a lead generation, an unbelievable platform. So people want more information on how they can sign up for those websites, get the content and get more leads. Where do they go to get that information?

Trevor: Yup. Go to, yeah, go to Carrot.com well go to Carrot.com there’s a, that’s where our site is, but we’ve got a really, really good webinar. I’m mean, it’s a free webinar and it does have an opportunity of course to check it out and you guys can find a link to it over there as well. I think It’s just Carrot.com/webinar, but a really micro kind of, case study on, on one of the ways the high level investors anyway, use this carter stuff. He lives in Oklahoma city’s the largest home buyer in Oklahoma city and he had a really fancy site man. I was like $15,000 custom site look beautiful. I think anyone who would have looked at it thought would’ve thought, man, this site is amazing. The problem was he was doing a ton of TV, ton of radio, little bit of online.

Trevor: It was getting some leads, but he’s like, man, it just feels like it’s probably not performing as well. He’s pretty skeptical honestly about moving over to what he considered at that time, a template site. But that’s really not what we are. We’ve got the best tech stack in the industry. You know, our websites load faster than anyone else’s in the industry. The way that our SEO are set up give you an advantage. You still got to do some work, but it gives you an advantage to rank well in Google. And then the conversion rate optimization on these, you know, you’re going to convert more of your visitors in to leads because of the way they’re set up.

Trevor: So with Carter, he moved over through our concierge program where we do all the setup for you and dial in your design. And he saw, and there’s a full case study on it where he walks through, he added about $20,000 to $30,000 in extra revenue every month just because his website now converted the existing traffic. Like this is all of his existing offline stuff that was driving people online. He converted more of his existing traffic to customers because the way that we helped them build credibility and trust, build authority with the content and the way that the website’s set up and structured to convert really high. So that’s kind of a micro cosmic of one of the reasons a lot of the big guys move over to carrot and ditch their, their fancy but underperforming custom sites.

Josh: Yeah. That’s fantastic. So there you have it. So I wanted to ask you just last couple of questions kind of quick hitting fast question, fast answer. So Trevor, who do you think is the one person that has had the biggest impact in your life as an entrepreneur, as a business owner, as a founder and leader? And why do you think they had such a big impact?

Trevor: My dad, man, he started his first company. He started a company when I was probably in second or third grade out of necessity. They got laid off from a business that was going out of business and rather than going out there and finding a job, he made his own and he’s had his own struggles and stuff. But dude, I remember, you know, weekends, it’s a party, it was a party business. They still have that. And that’s a rental construction business too. But I remember weekends as kids be 12 years old, packing tables, chairs out and setting up weddings and really learning work ethic. And just learn how to deliver an amazing customer experience from my, from my parents.

Josh: Fantastic. Next question. Favorite way to decompress?

Trevor: Man. Favorite way to decompress, either fly fishing. We bought a few acres in the North Umpqua River here, which is world-class steelhead fishing. So fly fish there. And then also literally be right before this because of the, because that day I don’t, I never get stressed man. Like I was even talking to a friend the other day. I said, dude, I just really don’t get stressed. It might be once or twice a year. And yesterday was that day. Like I started to feel something coming up and I was talking with my wife about it and like I was looking at like, why am I stressed? So one of my favorite things to decompress is working out. And so we built a gym in our office two years ago. I have our trainer comes in, our coach comes in five days a week and today we did a, it was essentially massages, but we call it mobility. You know, like we’re working the muscles. It was amazing dude. Like I’m reset, I’m good now working out, getting the muscles reworked, getting massage, stuff like that. So a good reset for me.

Josh: There you go. Last question, favorite thing to do to show appreciation towards your employees, your family? Is there something that you like to do to just help them understand how much you appreciate and how grateful you are for them?

Trevor: Sure. Let me grab this right here Dude. I found these a couple of years ago and I’ve got a brand new box over there because these are almost gone. But it’s something I give to all the carrot campers who come to our event and all of our employees get them their welcome box. It’s called the Gratitude Box. And years ago, back when I was doing a lot of JV stuff and event stuff, whenever I’d be at airports I’d pick up five or 10 postcards from wherever I was traveling and then I would pull away whether it’s on the flight or I’d get home and I’d have a stack of postcards and still have some back there. And I would just pull away and take five minutes to write a note to somebody. Anyone that popped up my mind. And so because I stopped traveling as much and it was many postcards and so they have, there’s this box called Gratitude Box.

Trevor: And essentially I was 365 thank you notes in it. This is all this left in here for the year that I’ve got to write. Now the rest of them I’ve written for the year. Um, and then I’ll just pull out the gratitude box and write some thank you notes. And so that for me dude is the biggest deal because it’s better than gifts. It’s better than all of those things cause people truly feel that and know that you are genuine about it. So I’ll usually send out three to five of those a week. Sometimes I’ll get behind and I’ll binge and do 10 in a day or something like that to catch up. But I’ll love to write thank you notes.

Josh: Well there you have it, Trevor. Listen, fantastic interview. I took so many notes for me personally, I appreciate reconnecting with you and spending some time with you today.

Trevor: Dude. I appreciate it too. Thanks for thanks for the opportunity. It’s been fun seeing what you guys have been building over there. It’s amazing. It’s impressive. And everyone who’s listened to this podcast stay alongside Josh and his team there. They’re doing great work and if there’s anything we can help with, let us know, man, appreciate the opportunity.

Josh: You got it Trevor, thanks so much for being on and really appreciate you my friend. Take care buddy. 

Trevor: Likewise.

You’ve been listening to Josh Cantwell and the Accelerated Investor Podcast. Leave a comment on our iTunes channel and let us know what you want to learn next, or who you’d like Josh to interview. While you’re there, give us some five star rating and make sure to subscribe so you can be the first to hear new episodes. Follow Josh Cantwell and his companies, the Strategic Real Estate Coach and Freeland Ventures on all social media platforms now and stay up to date on new training and investment opportunities to start your journey toward the lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of. Apply for coaching at JoshCantwellCoaching.com.

Trevor Mauch and I have known each other for an incredibly long time but rarely have we had a chance to sit down and chat. This was the perfect opportunity for us to catch up and learn more about each other, resulting in a great conversation and huge lessons that we can all learn from.

Trevor is currently seeing success as the CEO of Carrot, the number one online lead generation system for real estate professionals. His company assists clients and investors in the real estate market with search engine optimization so that they can reach a wider audience and take advantage of their digital presence.

The interesting thing about Trevor’s story is that he was never big on the tech side of the real estate industry. He worked in a publishing company before and didn’t really know much about software or computers in general, so it’s interesting to see how far he’s pivoted his skills, and that becomes a central topic in our interview with him.

You see, Trevor used to get caught up on finding his unique ability. We were both told early on that a unique ability is something that we get paid really well to do, but Trevor’s mindset gradually changed and he doesn’t accept that anymore. Instead, he firmly believes that your unique ability is something that energizes you once you’ve finished doing it. That revelation led to his energy audit, a form of self-reflection where he lists all the things that give him energy and take it away from him.

This personal analysis of his life gave Trevor a better understanding of what he considers important in life. Does he choose to work a job where he’s unhappy but paid well, or does he chase something that drives his passion and gives him energy? Do we choose the easy route that gives us instant gratification, or do we build something from scratch that makes us happier in the long-run?

Our interview with Trevor will shed some light on the answers to these questions, delving deep into the mind of a man that built his life principles on predictability and consistency.

What’s Inside:

  • A comprehensive interview with Trevor Mauch
  • Discussing what Carrot is and how he formed it
  • Talking about his mindset shift and how he pivoted his skills to create new opportunities for himself
  • Rejecting the adage that a unique ability is something we get paid well to do
  • Explaining Trevor’s energy audit and how it helped him refocus his time and effort
  • Talking about building momentum and the role it plays in building better habits
  • Reflecting on his personal experiences in life and how they helped to define his approach to life and business

Mentioned in this episode​

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