The Fastest Way To Build A Six Or Even… Seven Figure Real Estate EMPIRE!
In my latest podcast interview, I’m speaking with Whitney Sewell, who went from no experience in real estate, to scaling to over 1,000 doors valued at $150 million—in just 4 years!
Before ever investing in real estate, Whitney served in the military and spent a full year in Iraq fighting for our country. After returning home, he got married, joined the police force, invested in a few properties, and even bought a farm to pursue a horse training business on the side.
Unfortunately, his fast-paced lifestyle left little time for his family, so he decided to sell the farm, quit his job, and pursue multifamily real estate full-time.
He bought a few triplexes for his first few deals, and admits to making a ton of mistakes along the way. But the work ethic and “never give up” mindset he learned in the military, would become his real estate super power.
Today, Whitney is host of The Real Estate Syndication Show and Founder of Life Bridge Capital—a syndicated multifamily investment firm that works with investors on strategically targeted multifamily properties.
In our conversation, you’ll learn exactly how he was able to scale so quickly, the benefits of a multifamily fund structure (versus one-off deals), and how to leverage the skills of others to build a highly successful real estate business!
Key Takeaways with Whitney Sewell
- What is a multi-asset fund and how does it help passive investors mitigate risk and diversify their cash-flow?
- Evaluating different multifamily investing strategies—value-add, cashflow, and development deals.
- Going from finding investors to fund your deal, to finding deal flow for your investors.
- The biggest lessons the military taught Whitney during his service in Iraq—and how they apply to real estate investing.
- Making the decision to quit your job to pursue real estate full-time.
- How to uncover your superpower and partner with others to build a highly successful multifamily business.
- Why loyalty is the key to raising money.
- Why Whitney and his wife are on a mission to help families through the process of adoption and have committed 50% of their profits!
Whitney Sewell Tweetables
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Josh Cantwell: Hey there, guys. Welcome back to Accelerated Real Estate Investor with Josh Cantwell. So excited to be back with you. This is my first podcast interview that I’ve done in really the last couple of weeks. We just took about three weeks off, went down to Florida. My daughter had an AAU volleyball tournament down in Orlando, which was fantastic. They had a great turnout. They had a great finish to their season. Spent another week or so at the beach and just got back. And so, today I have a special guest on the podcast. His name is Whitney Sewell. I was on Whitney’s podcast about six months ago. Whitney has a great show called The Real Estate Syndication Show. You definitely need to check it out. Whitney is a seasoned real estate investor, podcast host, and philanthropist, and founder of Life Bridge Capital. They’ve acquired roughly a thousand doors of multifamily and about $150 million in assets under management. He’s also interviewed over a thousand experts for his show, The Real Estate Syndication Show. I was one of those thousand experts. And in this interview, we’re going to talk about how Whitney was able to scale his business at a groundbreaking pace. He really started with nothing back in 2017 and just four years was able to scale to over a thousand doors and he is able to consistently raise over $10 million of new capital in just a few hours through his investor relationships. Pretty amazing.
His wife and he are also on a mission to help families through the process of adoption. They have personally endured the financial burdens that a lot of the other families go through through the adoption process. And they’ve committed 50% of their profits to helping other people get through the adoption process and adopting more children. I think it’s fantastic. Also in this interview, you’re going to hear, number one, how Whitney has pivoted from a one-off deal structure to a fund structure and the benefits of investing in multifamily and apartments through a fund structure. Number two, we’re going to talk about Whitney’s superpower and how you cannot be everything to everybody in multifamily, how you need to focus on having your superpower and actually go as fast as you can as hard as you can with your one superpower. Number three, we’re going to talk about how Whitney networked his way to a thousand doors. He gets his investors through a network. He gets his deals through his network. He meets brokers through his network. He focused his entire business on conferences and networking to get to a thousand doors. And number four, we’re also going to talk about how and why Whitney left everything behind to pursue his multifamily and apartment dreams.
You’re going to love this interview on Accelerated Real Estate Investor with me and Whitney Sewell from Life Bridge Capital. Here we go.
Josh Cantwell: So, hey, Whitney, thanks so much for jumping on Accelerated Real Estate Investor. I’m so excited to have you on. Looking forward to this since you had me on your show a couple of months back. I’m glad we’re able to finally coordinate this. How are you?
Whitney Sewell: I am excellent and a pleasure to be on your show, Josh. A pleasure to connect again as well.
Josh Cantwell: Absolutely. So, Life Bridge Capital, I see all your stuff all over social media. I know you’ve got an amazing Facebook group. You guys have over a thousand doors. But I’m always curious, what does somebody have kind of going on in their life today, like literally this afternoon or next week, something that they’re working on right now that they’re super passionate for. So, what’s kind of on your workbench right now that you’re excited about?
Whitney Sewell: Yes. So, there are numerous things that we are excited about right now. I would say on the business front, we’re fixing to launch a fund. We’re very excited about getting that rolling. I was just in Denver or in Colorado last week doing due diligence on the first project in that fund. Lots of great things happening there. But on the nonprofit side, we’re partnering with like four more families as far as helping them with adoption and with the expense of bringing their children home. So, we’re very excited about that.
Josh Cantwell: That is fantastic stuff. We’ll definitely have to talk about the mission of helping families through adoption. We’ve got a good friend of mine, which was my college roommate, who has been a foster parent to about 40 kids and has adopted two of them.
Whitney Sewell: That’s cool.
Josh Cantwell: I don’t know how he does it. So, I definitely would like to hear more about that. So, tell me a little bit more about your fund, Whitney. I know you guys have a bunch of doors. You guys have done a lot of one-off sort of structure, now the fund. So, help me understand the fund structure. What’s it going to look like and why are you standing that up as opposed to continuing to do one-off type deals?
Whitney Sewell: Yeah. A great question. And so, it’s really a matter of being I’m more strategic in a few different ways. But, one, the multiple asset strategy versus a single asset strategy is just a lot of pros there, right? For our investors, I know some people say, “I don’t get to see the deals,” and things like that. And sometimes that’s an issue with some investors but for the most part, they’re already investing with you because they trust you in a big way anyway. And thankfully, like I said, we’re just doing due diligence on the first project, maybe even have another right about when we launch. So, they’ll actually know the first one or two projects which would be nice but having a fund will allow us to just be more competitive. We make offers. We can show a balance sheet of 30 million, 50 million, whatever, and that says a lot to a seller. Even if a broker knows that you’ve raised the money like within a few hours time and time and time again, it’s still so nice to be able to show a balance sheet so that seller knows you are serious in how you can close. And so, it streamlines that process in a big way.
Josh Cantwell: Help our audience understand, Whitney, when you say a multi-asset fund. I think you did a lot of multi-family, a lot of apartment buildings. When we say multi-asset fund, help our audience understand what does that mean and again why, risk diversification, things like that.
Whitney Sewell: For sure. Great question.
Josh Cantwell: Help our audience understand why and a little bit more about some of the other types of assets you’re going to add to that fund.
Whitney Sewell: Yeah. So, there’ll be different types of assets but something like a fund like this, some people say a blind fund like I say because you don’t know what’s in there. This one they will know. But what it does, it gives you say geographical diversification. So, we may have properties in Colorado, we may have properties in Idaho, maybe even other markets that are inside this fund but it also gives you cash flow diversification. So, let’s say there are five properties in a fund. Well, there may be one property that’s barely hitting projections or even missing projections to some extent but you may have two properties that are hitting projections and two that are way ahead, right? And so, if an investor is investing in that one project, let’s say they’re struggling a little bit, they may see a dip in their cash flow. And thankfully, we haven’t had that issue yet but still, it happens that things are unexpected all the time at these properties. Anybody who’s been in real estate for very long knows that. But being in a fund where let’s say I invested $200,000 in a fund, well, now I own a little bit of all five of those properties. And so, I’m receiving cash flow from all five of those properties instead of just one project. So, they’re not only diversified geographically but they’re also diversified through cash flow as well.
Josh Cantwell: That’s fantastic. So, open-ended or closed-ended fund?
Whitney Sewell: It would be closed-ended. It’d be open for a certain time frame or it will go to a certain amount and we’ll shut it off.
Josh Cantwell: Yeah. There you go. I like that. I like the idea of standing up the fund and then having the first few deals kind of ready to syndicate because investors, like you said, like they kind of want to know and feel and touch that first couple of deals. We’ve stood up different funds, we’ve done one-off, and they’re like, “Okay. Well, tell me about the first thing that’s going to be in there.” Then after that, then I’ll go blind. I don’t really care what else you buy as long as it’s doing well with the first couple that are going to go in. So, you mentioned Colorado, Idaho. Are those your markets or are those the markets you’re looking for just this particular asset?
Whitney Sewell: Now, we’re already very established in those markets. All of our units are actually in those two markets.
Josh Cantwell: Got it. Love it. Love it. So, are you going to do anything other than multifamily on the fund? Are you going to do any kind of self-storage or any kind of mobile home parks or things like that?
Whitney Sewell: So, not in this fund. We do see adding some other asset classes in the future. This fund will be strictly multifamily. However, there will be some value-add and some development most likely. We have two projects under development at the moment or as we speak. And so, there’s a good chance we’ll add a development deal to the fund as well.
Josh Cantwell: Got it. Love it. So, help me understand what you’re seeing in the market now. Like, we’re in the Greater Cleveland area. We invest in the Midwest. We’ve got projects in South and Southeast, Houston and Oklahoma, and outside of Atlanta. We don’t do anything up in where you’re at. But I’m interested to see what your take is on the market today. There’s a lot of just kind of talk. I think a lot of it is purely speculation, purely talk about what’s going on. Nobody really knows based off. But one thing I’m seeing and I’d like to hear your thoughts on is last year was kind of a pencil’s down year for a lot of people. There was not a lot of deals that traded. I think the total number of deals traded was down 81% from the previous year. Now, there’s the threat of what people are calling the Biden tax increases next year, getting rid of the 1031 exchange, the step-up in basis, possibly increasing the capital gains taxes.
So, all of a sudden, I don’t know if you’re seeing this but I’m seeing a tremendous amount of sellers that probably weren’t going to sell for three, five, seven years from now that are all of a sudden selling now. So, we’ve seen a new 480-unit, a new 250-unit, a new 360-unit. All these deals, I don’t think they’d be anywhere near on the market today. But now the brokers like, “I got this one. I got this one. I got this one.” I’m like, “Slow down. We can’t underwrite all these as fast as we want to.” Are you seeing the same kind of thing, do you think? Because I’m predicting this is going to be a historic year for multifamily as far as the number of trades. I’m curious to hear your thoughts.
Whitney Sewell: I do not doubt that. We have seen some very similar things. I mean, specifically, most of our units are in Colorado Springs, Colorado. We’re buying another one and a few other markets in Colorado and then also in Boise, of course. But in Colorado Springs alone, there’s a 3.82% market vacancy. I mean, just so low, right, in a 15% market-wide rent growth. I mean, it’s just explosion. I mean, it’s just madness, right? So, I’ll give you a property to think about. We purchased a project there a year ago, March. We received an offer now that will more than double our investor’s returns that fast. We even have a project in Boise we bought last August that’s hitting our third-year projections easy. And it’s been 100% occupied since it was built. There is more demand there than we can fathom at the moment. And that’s why we’re developing some projects there as well. I think in January they said there were like 11 vacant units in the entire market in Boise. So, things like that are happening. In some instances, that’s a little scary, right, that it’s like that. However, obviously, it depends if you’re a seller or buyer.
But things that we’re going to be thinking about and you touched on some of them, Josh, is maybe we’ve changed our strategy a little bit. Instead of always saying, “You know what, it’s going to be a five-year hold,” we’re going to say, “You know what, it may be a five-year hold but if we need to hold it 10 years, we need to be prepared to be able to do that.” And so, that’s changed recently. Because of the Biden tax, things that he’s putting out, we don’t know that we’re going to have the 1031. We don’t know what that’s going to be or even capital gains, right? We don’t know what the capital gains are going to be. We may get to that point, say, four years from now and it’s time to sell and think, “You know what, we just should keep it in cash flow.” Right? And also, more and more of our investors are reaching out saying, “Whitney, why would we sell? Why don’t we just keep cash flowing?” And so, we want to create some strategy around having options at least to be able to do that. I’m not saying we won’t sell if we can double the investor’s money in 18 months. That’s definitely something to consider in a big way but we want the options to be able to hold long term. And again, it’s about how you buy.
Like that project that I was just telling you about, it’s a class A project, already hitting our third-year projections in less than a year. And so, there’s a lot of room there. We could come down in a big way and still hit our projections in rent. And that property also had like a 40, I think it was like a 47% to 51% breakeven occupancy. So, it’s still about how you buy. You know, class A projects haven’t typically been our bread and butter but that one was such a good deal we’re like, “Okay. This makes a ton of sense,” and it’s been almost our best project.
Josh Cantwell: Yeah. Love it. Love it. Love it. I think there’s definitely room in today’s market. There’s obviously a lot of competition and the best operators are people and the best investors are people who realize like I can’t necessarily be a one-trick pony. I can’t just do value-add. I can’t just do cash flow. I can’t just do development. I think maybe three to four years ago, you could kind of pick a strategy and just do that because it wasn’t so much competition. So, just talk to that for a minute like talk to our audience a little bit about why it’s important to kind of look at multiple different ways to invest in multifamily. What are some of the benefits of a value-add deal versus a cash flow deal versus development? Why are you doing a little bit of everything versus I know a couple of years ago it was a little bit more laser-focused on, “Hey, let’s just find value-add stuff that we could bump rent and then hold it, maybe sell it?” That strategy has changed a lot because a lot of guys are getting beat out. Their offers are getting beat out. The market’s hot so you got to be flexible.
Whitney Sewell: So, there’s a few reasons around that. One, to offer more opportunities for our investors, right? Some more growth opportunities, some cash flow right now, and we can do that by even just those two asset classes or even both multifamily by providing some development opportunities or maybe more room for more growth over the next few years. However, obviously, there’s no cash flow the first potentially 18 months, maybe even longer, depending on the type of deal and things you run into during a development deal. But where are these value-add deals are going to start cash flowing pretty quickly, most of those are going to be stabilized from day one and cash-flowing right off the bat or pretty quick. And so, that allows our investors to have different options, especially if it’s in a fund. But even if it’s one-off syndication or one-off single asset funds, they have different options.
Another thing to think about is how our team has grown. And so, it’s not that I have become an expert developer and I do not claim to be one. However, we find an expert developer, somebody that’s in that market, and somebody that can become part of our team. And so, we’ve got a lot of skill sets and a lot of abilities that he does not. However, he’s been developing in this market for 20 years or longer and extremely experienced but he does not have the capital. He does not have that ability that we do or just the investor base. And so, it allows us to do some pretty cool things together but it’s finding that talent, right? It’s finding that individual who is, man, they’re the best at what they do in that market.
Josh Cantwell: Yeah. I’ve heard you say a couple of times and I’d love to hear your take on this is think at the beginning when we first start buying multifamily and apartments. It’s about like, “Oh man, can I find the investors to fund the deal?” Then you get to the point kind of like where you’re at, where we’re at, where it’s like, “I’ve got to find more deal flow for my investors.” The investors have this appetite as you’ve said several times, “My investors want this or some investors want cash flow.” So, you’re kind of building your model around what the investors want because now you know you can find the deal. You can get it funded with your first mortgage. Maybe it’s construction loan, bridge loan, permanent loan, whatever. But once you have that kind of limited partner pool built, now those people have an appetite. You do a couple of successful deals and like, “Hey, Whitney, what do you have next? What’s coming up? Tell me about your pipeline,” and you’re like, “Okay. I’ve got to continue to build for them.” So, you probably experienced the same thing. You’re shaking your head. Yeah. You’ve experienced the same thing?
Whitney Sewell: Oh, yeah.
Josh Cantwell: Talk about that kind of evolution of your business a little bit and how now, like you said, you’re kind of building a business around your employees but also around those limited partner investors.
Whitney Sewell: Yeah. You know, initially, my first syndication, Josh, I raised $250,000 and I think it took me weeks. I had been working as hard as I could go for months. Every conference, none of that came from friends and family. I didn’t have any wealthy friends or family that could have invested but just hard as I could go at conferences. You know, I was excited, $250,000 but, obviously, that we can get very far now. But in a pretty short period of time, we doubled that I think the next capital raise and then it’s doubled numerous times now. But it’s just amazing to see. Now, we’ve consistently raised like more than $10 million in just a few hours. I mean, it’s a blessing. It’s a real blessing. It didn’t come easy but you hit the nail on the head. It’s like having those conversations with all these investors really thinking through what are they looking for? Which ones are looking for cash flow? Which ones are willing to just wanting that growth long-term? And then it’s receiving, I mean, being in communication, continually educating them but then also listening to feedback. Many of them, like I said, say, “Well, Whitney, why don’t we hold this project in cash flow?” Well, in that project, we may not be able to because we’ve already told the investors, “Hey, this is the plan,” and we want to stick to that as much as we can, as much as possible what we’ve set their expectations to be. But in the future, we want to provide more options as we learn more about the investors’ needs.
Josh Cantwell: Love it. Love it. Now, when you got started not that long ago, 2017, I mean, this is just four or five years ago. I’m curious to hear about your start. And any time I talk to somebody that I have, whether it’s on a coaching call or on this podcast, I love to hear about how they got going and some of the early challenges that they faced. So, tell me a little bit about your start. I heard about the first 250,000 in syndication. I love that story. Tell me about some of the challenges and how you got going.
Whitney Sewell: Yeah. And I’ll go back a little further and feel free to ask me about anything, any part of it. But if you go back to March, Josh, of 2001 and I say March because, obviously, it was six months later that our nation was attacked. But in March is when I joined the military. I had no idea that in just a few years or in a very short period of time I would be spending a year in Iraq. And I’d be toting around a machine gun, praying every night I get to go home. Unfortunately, not everyone in my squad made it home. And that was, obviously, a lot of lessons learned overseas in Iraq in situations like that. Thankfully, I did make it home. The Lord was very gracious to protect me while I was there. But one thing the military taught me was to have that never give up mentality. I mean, there’s not much you face in a real estate business that can be worse than where we were at over there. I mean, it helps put things in perspective a little bit, right? Nothing’s going to have a bad day.
Josh Cantwell: Let me tell you this one quick, quick, quick, 30-second story. So, I have a former employee of mine. Tim is a friend of mine. He had a screensaver of him walking with all of his gear, he’s in the military, walking through the streets of Fallujah with all of his gear on with his platoon, and literally looks like just third world. Every time I walked past his computer, I just thought to myself, like, “My God, first of all, what a crazy thing to see,” and also just the fact that he put himself there for our freedom was amazing to me. So, thank you. Thank guys like Tim but, I mean, wild. If you’ve never seen some pictures of guys at actual duty in a war zone, it’s whoa, blow your mind. So, I just wanted to say that. Thank you.
Whitney Sewell: Yeah. Thank you for that. I appreciate that. It is a great reminder for myself as well. But I came home and quickly tried to figure out what I was going to do. I got hired with Kentucky State Police. Policing seemed like a great transition. I love the uniform, the structure, the discipline, the service but I worked for Kentucky State Police a couple of years and figured it out. I got married about a year in and found out, you know what, my wife and I just passed each other in the hallway the first whole year of marriage and that this is just not what’s best. So, that was 2009. And that’s where I learned about real estate. It’s like, okay, somehow I learned I was trying to supplement our income and I found out that millions of people have built wealth in real estate. And I thought, “Okay. If all of them can do it, then I can do something.” I can at least supplement our income a little bit. And so, we bought two triplexes. We made a ton of mistakes. We learned a lot the hard way. I was self-managing the worst schedule as being a police officer, newly married, and we were remodeling a house while we were living in it all at the same time. My poor wife was doing dishes in the bathtub. I mean, it was horrible. It seemed horrible.
But you know what? We’re stronger because of it. Finally, I became a federal agent, which helped my income and benefits and all those things that everybody wants in a W2 position. But still, I kept pushing the real estate business. Believe it or not, I was a professional horse trainer at the same time. It was just a passion of mine since I was a little boy. And then, Josh, we finally had the farm we’d always dreamed of. I mean, I was training horses at a very high level to say at least I was building a brand similar to what I’ve done now in real estate but not hardly the scale that I was doing clinics all over the country, selling horses for more money, and I imagine I still had a 15-unit rental at this time. And there was a moment, there was a time where my wife and I were at the beach and we were walking and we were just really reflecting on what our life was like, where we planned to be three years from now, five years from now. And it was just obvious to us that it was not possible for me to keep it up. I mean, like more than two full-time jobs. It wasn’t worth it either. And so, we knew that there had to be a big change. Ultimately, we came home, we decided to sell the farm, sell everything.
And so, we started our third adoption process at the same time. But we did, we sold the farm. We moved into a small house in town. And that’s when I started the commercial real estate business as opposed to small multifamily because I knew that’s where we were going to build wealth. I knew that’s where we were going to help the most people and build more passive income. And that’s where the challenges really began, Josh. The criticism from people thinking we were crazy for selling our farm and thinking that I have just an amazing W2 position. They’re like, “What were you thinking?” But immediately it was like I was all of a sudden working more than two full-time jobs again but we had a mission and we had something driving us, my wife and I, both because I would miss every meal with the family. My boys, unfortunately, knew they wouldn’t see me until Sunday even though I was living in the house. I mean, it was just kind of ridiculous. However, it was what it took for a couple of years. And my wife did everything in the home while we were doing deals and doing a daily podcast and working full-time and going to conferences a couple of times a month. It was madness but we’re so thankful, obviously, now we did.
Josh Cantwell: That is fantastic stuff. So, the breakthrough happens when? Help me understand that deal, that first commercial deal or maybe the second, third deal, whatever it was where you thought this decision to sell the farm, this decision to walk away to W2. Because at first, you’re probably scared out of your mind. What are we doing? Is this really going to work? You’re super passionate, excited for it, but scared at the same time. All of a sudden it hits you. You’re like, “We’ve made the right decision. We’re going down this road. We’re able to kind of chase our passions, adoption,” these other things that you’re excited for. And the business side, the financial side is starting to work. When does that happen for you?
Whitney Sewell: It was a few deals in, to say the least, a few commercial deals. When we sold the farm, I mean, I’ve done the 15-unit but I had not syndicated anything. In about the same time I hired a mentor, somebody that had been there before me, had been before me, and I could ask questions of and things like that. So crucial to that entire process. But we knew. We just knew commercial real estate like I just had to give myself a – I had to burn the bridges. I couldn’t give myself any means of turning back. And that’s what we did. I knew if we stayed on the farm that that would be my desire. You know, I would still want to be riding horses and training for other people, all those things, and I wouldn’t be able to be as committed as I needed to be. But then it was two years later where we were finally to the point where we sold the farm and it was two years getting the commercial business going where I was still working full-time. Before, we said, “Okay. You know what, we can raise a lot of money now consistently. We’ve done deals. We have more consistent deal flow.” I think we had done a few commercial projects to this point but I could figure it out but a few deals. But we also had another one or two under contract and so it’s like, “Okay. It’s now or never.” You know, I cannot keep working more than two full-time jobs forever. I’m missing too much at home. It’s like it’s either going to work now or it’s just not worth it at this point.
Josh Cantwell: I love it. I love it. So, now, Whitney, that you’ve had the success and you’ve chased your dreams, you’re still building obviously. You’re still doing deals. You’re definitely not at the end by any means but you have this sense of like you’ve got a thousand doors. You’ve got 150 million under management. You’re able to raise tens of millions of dollars in a very short amount of time. A lot of people would look at that and say, “Wow. What a great amount of success.” I know you’re not done but there’s a lot of people that look at where you’re at and say, “Oh, my God, if I could just get to where he’s at, it would be amazing.” What kind of advice would you give to them? What kind of advice would you give your younger former self about your journey? What did you do right? What would you do differently? What kind of advice would you pass along?
Whitney Sewell: Yeah. That’s a great question. You know, I would say you have to think big. Earlier on for many, many years, all I could see was that next single-family or duplex. I looked at those big apartment buildings and thought, “Maybe that would be me 30 years from now. I don’t know who those guys are.” I just didn’t see it. I couldn’t believe it. When I started going to conferences, I started meeting guys that were buying 100-unit complexes and had only been in the business a year. So, I’m like, “Okay. Hey, if they can do it, I can figure this out too. I’ll make this happen.” But one thing, don’t get overwhelmed. Don’t get overwhelmed. You have to start building your team of experts. You do not have to do or be an expert in every part of this business. It’s just not going to happen that way. It is not going to happen. So, ultimately, be an expert in one part of it and be as good at that as you can possibly be, and then start building your team of experts around the other cogs in that wheel that you need to make it turn. Think about those roles and what really energizes you. If it’s underwriting like be the best at that you possibly can be and find the other people to attach to your team or add on to your team. I mean, that’s ultimately what I did. That’s what I did. And now we’re continuing to build a team of experts.
So, don’t get overwhelmed and just do nothing. Look at the next step. Figure out where you want to go personally. You’ve got to see a bigger picture so you’re motivated and you have that vision, all those things. But look at the next step and focus right there and knock that out and then you’re going to get motivated. You’re going to see some success, at least some improvement. And then figure out the next step and just keep going. Before you know it, it’s six months from now and you’ve come a long way.
Josh Cantwell: I love it. I love it. I’m curious, Whitney, for you, what do you think your main role is? What’s your superpower within that wheel, that cog in the wheel, the one part that you’re good at? That’s question number one. Number two, how are you able to find and locate the others, the other experts? That’s probably what people will be saying, especially if they haven’t done a big deal yet, like you and I have, is how do I find my superpower? How do I understand what I’m best at? And then how do I bring other people along, the other experts to do it? Because like in my business, I’m really good at marketing and raising money. And I don’t know a whole lot about commercial construction. So, I had to bring in a CapEx guy, a VP of construction that I could really trust that really knew that part of the business. So, what is your superpower and how do you find the others?
Whitney Sewell: Yeah. You know, one of my superpowers is almost being willing to just work harder than anybody else. It didn’t have to be like this, like a specific thing. But what that turned into, Josh, was really the marketing ability, was being able to speak to people, being able to network as hard as I could go, and building processes then became my superpower. It’s like I can talk to people. I got to thinking one day, Josh, I was talking to my mentor and I’m like, “A podcast? I don’t know if I can interview people.” And finally, now we’ve done over a thousand. But in the beginning, at that point when I was like hesitant, he was like, “You’ve been a police officer for how many years and a federal agent like you’ve been interviewing people for years and years,” and I’m like, “That makes so much sense.” It’s a totally different context but still you have been. But being able to speak to people, being able to build relationships quickly, but then the process is like being process-oriented has been just crucial and growing fast. And then you ask about like the team members. Yes. Learning quickly that, hey, I’m just going to hunker down right here and go as hard as I can go. And then I’m going to notice and I’m going to pay attention to key people who are experts in their field. And then we’re going to partner ultimately. And so, I did. I was very hesitant. I don’t partner with just anyone.
It’s a big story how we did this but my business partner and I met and I could see qualities in him that were complementary to my skill sets. I could see that he was a go-getter. He had lots of skills that I didn’t have and I had lots that he didn’t have and so very complementary. However, we had many of the same values, many of the same things that we cared about, whether it’s our faith, in our family, those things that are very core to who we are. But then, in business, we were very opposite but both very just kind of go-get-it mentality. He was one of the first ones but now we’ve added some specific team members who are experts in their field, whether it’s like an amazing assistant to the asset manager who used to manage 11,000 units. I mean, like he’s way ahead of where we are. So, it’s finding people like that.
Josh Cantwell: Oh, I love it. I love it. Fantastic advice, Whitney. I love it. Let’s finish up here with our final five. You ready for these?
Whitney Sewell: Let’s do it.
Josh Cantwell: All right. So, final five. Question number one is what’s your favorite way to find deals?
Whitney Sewell: Ours have been through brokers. Again, it’s the relationships. It is the relationships.
Josh Cantwell: Favorite place and way to find money or different ways to fill up your capital stack?
Whitney Sewell: Building relationships. It’s a building and I say this, everybody talks about the know, like, and trust, and I say there’s one thing that’s missing and it’s loyalty. You learn how to build loyalty, you will not have a problem raising money.
Josh Cantwell: Yeah. I love it. I think communication, too, is so important.
Whitney Sewell: Yes, for sure.
Josh Cantwell: Especially at the beginning when there’s a lot of moving parts in a new acquisition, you take a deal over at CapEx or whatever you’re going to do, whatever your business plan is, keeping them, whether it’s good, bad or ugly, just keeping them updated on what’s going on, so, so critical. Next question, Whitney. What is your favorite book that you’ve ever read or favorite piece of advice that you’ve ever been given?
Whitney Sewell: Well, the Bible would be my top book. I just think you can learn almost anything you need in there one way or the other. Outside of that, I don’t know about my top that this would be my top but I’ll tell you a book I read recently that was really good is The Road Less Stupid by Keith Cunningham. I’ve got it right here. Actually, I’ll show it to you quickly. Great book. Great business guy. Highly recommend it. And then if you want to get motivated, The Power of Self-Discipline by Brian Tracy, No Excuses!
Josh Cantwell: I love that. I love Brian Tracy. I love the No Excuses! book. I’ve read that a few times. It’s fantastic. Whitney, what is your favorite place or way to decompress and to kind of think and get outside your business? To me, the best operators, the best CEOs, they operate outside their business and slightly above it and they spend a lot of time thinking. What’s your best way and place to do that?
Whitney Sewell: Now, that doesn’t happen in the beginning when you’re a new entrepreneur, typically.
Josh Cantwell: Yeah. Just hustle, man. Just go.
Whitney Sewell: But more so lately it has been going to the beach. And my wife and I is like time for us to decompress. We’re away from the house. We just walk together, pray together and separate. And it’s just been really good for us. We’ve been there numerous times this year, especially after leaving the W2 position and things like that, like where we can have more time. And it’s allowed me as our team is skilled like we talked about, it’s allowed me to be higher on the business so I’m not so much in the business but working on the business more. And that’s a place to decompress and for us to really just clear our minds and think about things like three years from now like we did in the beginning.
Josh Cantwell: Yeah. That’s great. I tell people, listen, the business of business, like the way we run business is all about the people. The business of business is people. So, we’ve got to invest in people and as a CEO has to spend more time helping people understand process, coaching them up. Being a CEO is really no different than me coaching like my seventh-grade volleyball team. Like I’ve got to coach them. I got to coach people. You grow people, you grow a great business. It’s all about the people. Last and final question, Whitney, which is, look, with all the success that you’ve had, you’ve probably had amazing mentors in your life. Who do you think has been the mentor that’s had the biggest impact and why?
Whitney Sewell: You know, when I was looking for a mentor, I mean, there are so many people in my life that they’ve been like fathers to me as growing up in different points in my life. It’s just amazing to look back and think how they’ve kind of taken me under their wing, even as a teenager, to coming back from Iraq and different times when the Lord provided a different man. But in the commercial real estate business, I was looking for someone who I could speak to personally and who was in the business now, and who I felt like really cared about my success. At that time, it was Joe Fairless. And so, I just think the world of Joe. We’ve worked together for three or four years now. I mean, we’re great friends now and worked together on deals, different things. But in the beginning, obviously, he was way ahead of me and now it’s more like a mastermind when we’re talking but it’s great. He has provided tons of great guidance. And at those times where I was like, “Should I do this?” it’s just great to have somebody there that’s like on the outside looking in that had been there to say, “Well, yes, of course, you should do this.” And I’m like, “Okay. Yes.” And it seems so simple to him or to somebody else but he’s probably one of the key people through my commercial real estate journey who has helped me the most.
Josh Cantwell: That’s fantastic stuff. So, Whitney, I know our audience can catch up with you at LifeBridgeCapital.com. Any other place that you’d like them to connect with you online, register on your site to be an investor, or partner with you on a deal? Where can they learn more about you?
Whitney Sewell: Yeah. You can register online, LifeBridgeCapital.com. You can email me, email@example.com, or you can call or text me at 540-585-4338. Would love to connect, obviously, on all social media as well but call or text me.
Josh Cantwell: Fantastic stuff. Whitney, listen, it’s been a great interview. I love your energy. Thank you so much for joining me today on Accelerated Real Estate Investor.
Whitney Sewell: Thank you, Josh.
Josh Cantwell: Well, hey, I hope you really enjoyed that interview on Accelerated Real Estate Investor with Whitney Sewell. I had a great time. I love his energy. I love his thought process around the fund. And I cannot believe that, like a lot of people who are successful, he had kind of his life figured out to the point where he realized he didn’t have it figured out, sold the farm, left it all behind to pursue his multi-family dreams. If you enjoyed this interview, please hit the like and subscribe buttons anywhere you find this interview all over social media, YouTube, Facebook, and iTunes, and make sure you leave us a rating and review. Don’t forget to hit the like and subscribe button so you never miss another episode of Accelerated Real Estate Investor. Thanks so much for joining me today and we’ll see you next time. Take care.