Randy Zimnoch is the owner of Realty National, a real estate brokerage with 3 offices. Over the last 6 years, he and his team have sold three hundred million worth of real estate in San Diego alone. To satisfy his craving for adventure, he has jumped out of planes, climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, volunteered in Haiti and traveled to 23 countries to date.
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Time Stamped Show Notes
(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
- [01:16] – Randy has been in real estate for 10 years
- [01:25] – He flipped hundreds of homes and is currently building his portfolio of passive income
- [02:13] – Randy is a member of the Bay Possy with JLD!
- [03:23] – His expertise is in knowing how to turn a home from “trash to cash”
- [05:05] – One BIG and Unique Value Bomb: “I want everyone to think in versions”. iPhone 7 had to go through 6 and other versions to get where it is today. Do what you need to launch that first version, and then troubleshoot along the way.
- [05:35] – Entrepreneurs have this vision of something perfect, when really they just need to take that first step
- [07:08] – Worst Entrepreneurial Moment: It was in March 2010, Randy and his business partner were called in by their broker and were fired on the spot. They looked back at their agreement to see if it was even allowed and the unfortunate thing is, it was.
- [07:52] – The broker took over their account and they lost about $100K+ in commission and investments
- [08:41] – Know who you’re partnering with
- [09:15] – Read your agreements and talk to people who have dealt with your potential partners
- [09:45] – Don’t create one-sided agreements
- [10:46] – Entrepreneurial AH-HA Moment: In November 2014, Randy set out with the intention to find the woman of his dreams, listing down his non-negotiables on paper. As Randy looked at the list, he put himself into an environment where the odds were higher for meeting his future partner, whom he eventually met.
- [13:03] – The biggest thing is the environment you’re in
- [14:00] – What is the one thing you are most FIRED up about today? “It’s writing my first book”
- [15:41] – Be clear, then be clever
- [16:25] – Randy’s book, The Perfect Brokerage for You, will be available at Agent Lifestyle
- [16:53] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? – “Learning the language”
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “Not to make decisions when you’re frustrated”
- What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? – “Being part of a life accountability group”
- Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation – Google Voice to Text Option, Google Docs, and Amazon Dash Buttons
- If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? – Mindset – “I give this book to each real estate agent that is invited to join our Realty International family”
- [19:54] – Our successes and failures point back to the environment we are in
- [20:14] – Connect with Randy on Instagram and Facebook
- [20:22] – Download the The 19 Must-Ask Questions to ask the owner of any brokerage before making a commitment to join
Randy: Yes, John, let's do this.
John: Yes. Randy is the owner of Realty National, a real estate brokerage with three offices. Over the last six years, he and his team have sold over $300 million worth of real estate in San Diego alone. And, to satisfy his craving for adventure, he's jumped out of planes, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, volunteered in Haiti, and traveled to 23 countries to date. Randy, take a minute, fill in some gaps from that intro and give us a little glimpse of your personal life.
Randy: Alright. Thanks, John. Thanks for an awesome intro.
Randy: And just thank you for having me on. It's a true honor. And, yeah, I've been in real estate over ten years now. I've been an REO agent and I know you've been an REO agent back in your day so you understand that. I flipped hundreds of homes as an investor. Now, I keep building my portfolio of passive income properties and mainly coach my agents to build their own business within our own brokerage. On a personal note, in January, I proposed to my wife, Alycia, on stage at Nick's Life on Fire event and I got married in July so I'm in newlywed bliss, John.
John: Well, stay there as long as possible. I heard it doesn't last forever but, maybe in your case, who knows, it will? And, of course, Nick is the great Nick Unsworth of Life on Fire. And, Randy, I can't believe you didn't say that you're part of the infamous Bay Posse. What is up with that?
Randy: You know, that is so funny. I was actually going to – I had that and I was going to say it but Alycia was like, "Well, maybe no one will understand what Bay Posse is."
John: Well, we're going to tell them. So the Bay Posse, Fire Nation, is when I used to live in San Diego and, of course, Nick and Megan Unsworth were in our same building. Randy was right around the Bay and we had other amazing friends right around the corner like Omar and Nicole Zenhom, Ryan and Katie – who just actually came to visit me here in Puerto Rico, myself and Kate, for five days which was amazing. We just had an amazing group of entrepreneurial friends and then Omar and Nicole took off for San Diego, Ryan and Katie took off to travel the world, Kate and I took off for Puerto Rico so we left you guys holding the bag but there's still some cool – oh, yeah, Nick and Megan took off for Pow Wei, which is the other side of the world – so there's still some cool people.
Randy: We're not leaving.
John: You're not leaving.
Randy: We're staying here.
John: And I'm glad you're staying because, whenever I come back and visit, you're always going to have to throw a party at your place – is that a deal?
Randy: It's a deal, man. You know I come through with Alycia, so –
John: So, Randy, let's talk right now about what you consider your area of expertise. Share that with Fire Nation. We said the words "REO." I know what that means but let's get a little more detailed about that so we can understand where you specialize.
Randy: Being in real estate, now, for ten years, I've done pretty much anything under the sun when it comes to real estate. My expertise, right now to be honest, I would say, over the last four or five years, has been understanding how to take a home, renovate it, and turn trash into cash, as we call it. And then growing a brokerage which is a really cool challenge, to be honest. It's a fun challenge. I highly enjoy it because it's nothing more enjoyable for me than taking someone like an agent and understanding that they are business owners – that this is no longer a joke. Like, "If you're going to do this career, let me help you become a business owner. Treat this as a business by creating system automation – everything that you're so fully are aware of with what you're doing with your business, John. And you're someone I look up to, actually, in that arena, as well.
John: Well, thank you for that. We've had some great conversations just on different hangouts, and walks, and dinners – talking about the different systems and automations that need to go into businesses. And it is so cool to see how, when you know how to create a funnel that converts, it works in so many different areas – it works in real estate, it works in entrepreneurship, in small business. It works all over the place and that's so exciting to see that it really is a system that you can get down and drive forward with. So, within your area of expertise, Randy – building an agency, and a brokerage, and training agents – what's one thing that we entrepreneurs, Fire Nation, in general, don't know that you think we should know?
Randy: Every entrepreneur – and I specifically speak this to my agents – I want everyone to think in versions – Version 1, Version 2 – to get all the way to IPhone 7, as I say. And I use the IPhone 7 analogy with my agents when I strategize with them monthly and I always say, "Did IPhone 7 come out first or was there an IPhone 1?" And, because we all, as entrepreneurs, we have these big dreams; we have this vision of something so perfect. And I always try to say, "Okay, let's bring this down to what is the first couple things we need in Version 1 in order to launch this? It's not going to be perfect. It won't have everything that you envision right now but I can guarantee you, if we launch Version 1, we're going to be able to launch Version 2, 3, and we're going to get to that IPhone 7 at some point.
John: Fire Nation, I think it's so important to realize that, when you take that first step – I love that MLK quote is that, "You don't have to see the whole staircase to take that first step." In fact, we have no idea what that next step is after that first step because, guess what, the clouds part, the fog is revealed when we actually step into it and take that first step of action. So have that foundation, keep things simple, just move forward. And, with Randy, he's a mentor to agents and so, if you're an agent, and you're smart, and you're working for Randy, let him guide you. He's been there, he's done that, he's sold over $300 million of real estate in San Diego alone. Hello? Let's follow the leaders, here.
Now, Randy, we could talk a lot about how you've crushed it. We could talk about how we've crushed it in San Diego and just how important it is to have friends that are enthusiastic, and to talk to, and just to have that accountability that we can have – even in different industries, which is really cool – but you've had your struggles, too. Let's talk about what you consider your worst entrepreneurial moment to date. Take us to that day.
Randy: Alright, John. Yeah, I don't think you've heard this one yet so this will be interesting.
John: I'm excited.
Randy: So, yeah, let me take you back to March 2010. My business partner and I were an REO agent team in New Jersey and, out of nowhere, the broker called us into his office and fired us right on the spot. We looked back at our agreement that we signed when we joined to see if this was even allowed because we were so early in our career, we didn't even know if that was the right thing that he did or not. And the unfortunate thing was that the answer is yes and the broker could literally release your license at any moment which could be considered, then, you're fired. He took over our whole REO account which had about 20 plus listings in a pipeline with us. We ended up losing about $100,000 plus in commissions and investments that we had pending with his firm so this was a big one – we lost big. And it was one of my first major financial lessons on how important my environment is and who I partner with.
John: So when you get backslapped like that – Fire Nation, just think about that gut punch that Randy must have felt, walking out, just, "I literally just lost $100,000 worth of commissions." And this is back when, I know, dollars counted for Randy and that's super stressful to realize that, "Hey, that can just be taken away – just all that hard work, all that energy, just taken away just like that."
And so, for me, I know that I want you, Fire Nation, to just be taking this away, is you just have to know who you're getting into bed with, so to speak. When you're getting into business with somebody, you have to know who that person is. Have conversations with people who have been at that company for years – actually talk to them and ask, and say, "Hey, how's it been? Has anything happened? Has there ever been any stories –?" Have the detailed conversations – really get down to the nitty gritty because this is your life. This is your business. And, Randy, that's my big takeaway but what do you want to make sure our listeners get from your story?
Randy: Yeah, I think you hit it just right on the money and, because exactly of that, reading your agreements, talking to the people that have done business with the potential partners that you're going to do that with. My biggest thing for me was, because of that, my personal employment agreement with my own agents now states, if we're not a fit, I'm going to allow you to take your business, finish it with me so you can get paid the right way, and go ahead. I do not want to keep someone hostage as an owner. So my takeaway for me, as an owner if you're an entrepreneur, don't try to create agreements where they are completely one-sided where you're actually keeping someone hostage to work for you and they're fearful of leaving you which is a very typical thing, unfortunately, in the broker/realtor relationship.
John: Fire Nation, what kind of environment do you want to create as the boss, as the founder? Do you want one of negativity, of scarcity, or do you want one of positivity and abundance? And, if you're listening to this show, I hope, after 1,550 episodes, that you're leaning towards the mindset of abundance because that's the only way to live.
Randy: That's so true.
John: Let's shift a little bit now to one of your greatest ideas that you've had to date. And you're an idea guy, Randy – I know it, you've shared great ideas with me all the time – and you're also an executor – you take those great ideas and you execute on them which is why you're so successful. That's just a reality. So tell us one of those a-ha moments that you've had. Take us to that story and walk us through how you turned that idea into success.
Randy: I always say personal life and business life mix and, if one of them is not right, your business life is probably not going to do that good and vice versa. So this a-ha moment, it's actually ties back to an outcome of setting an intention which I know many of you guys have heard about – setting an intention on something. And this moment took place exactly November 2014 when I set an intention to find the woman of my dreams. And I wrote down my non-negotiables on paper and I realized that I probably won't meet this woman on Tinder.
And that was my big a-ha moment because, as I looked at this list – and we should do this as entrepreneurs for where you want your business to go – anything in life, write it down. And I did it for my dream woman, like I said, and Tinder was not the answer so I put myself in an environment, again, where my odds were much higher to find this woman. This happened to be a Life on Fire event and it led to me meeting my now-entrepreneur wife and former Miss California Alycia and, to be honest, John, I was able to check off all my non-negotiables and many other bonus ones so it was a total, total success, man.
John: I love it. And I saw that happen, too, and it was just great because it's just awesome when you put yourself out there, and you go to an event – And, even hearing Alycia's side of that story, too – she had just moved to San Diego and she was looking to meet really cool and interesting people and she knew that wasn't going to happen on Tinder, or sitting at home, or maybe going to the local bar. She knew it was going to be going to engaging, entrepreneurial-like events like Life on Fire right there in San Diego.
Could Nick have made it easier? The event was free. Hello? He's just saying, "Guys, cool people are here. Come and hang out with us." Fire Nation, you have to take people up on those opportunities. You simply have to because it can be life-changing like for Randy, meeting the woman of his dreams and just continuing to create the business of your life that you want. It can happen – partnerships, businessships, they're all right there waiting for you. Now that's my big takeaway, Randy – what do you want to make sure that Fire Nation gets from that a-ha moment?
Randy: Yeah, the biggest thing, again, is just the environment, how crucial that is. And I feel like so many entrepreneurs, they walk blindly – they don't realize who they're communicating with, who they're surrounding themselves with, who are their friends. And, if you just put yourself in an environment that is going to attract those type of people, the odds are always going to be in your favor. There's no questions about it.
John: Is this your way of saying that you miss Kate and I a lot?
Randy: Yes. Correct. We're going to come visit. We have to.
John: You have to.
Randy: And put ourselves in your environment.
John: Definitely, brother. Well, listen, you have a lot of cool things going on right now – you're always driving around in your go-kart, you're heading to the Bay, you're exercising, you're traveling, you're working on your business – what's the one thing, Randy, that has you most fired up today?
Randy: Honestly, it's writing my first book and I've never done it before, obviously. It's a cool project and a challenging one at the same time. I'm in the last phases of that, formatting and designing the cover is all that's left so, by the time you're listening to this podcast, the book should be done, and launched, and ready to purchase.
John: Not should – the book will be done, Fire Nation.
Randy: Will be done. Yes, definitely. Good correction. And then the reason I'm excited about this project is because I'm pulling the curtain back on the brokerage world –
Randy: – and empower the agents to realize that there is more to making a decision on the brokerage that they are considering to be part of besides just commission splits. And I have interviewed hundreds of agents, now, and most do not come prepared to ask me any questions to really find out what we are about, what are our core values, do they really align? Are we really truly a fit for each other? In my opinion, it has to be a true match and the decision has to be taken really seriously. I strongly believe that finding the right brokerage is the first step to create the ultimate lifestyle of real estate agents that each one of them so desires.
John: I love this mindset because I can remember moving to San Diego in 2009 – no job, no friends, no idea what I was going to do except get into real estate. I was clueless – I had no idea how I was going to go about finding that first, quote/unquote, "perfect brokerage." And that's why I just love how I feel that you nailed the brand. I think a lot of people struggle with brands and with titles because they try to be so clever and I'm just like, "Fire Nation, be clear first and then, if possible, be clever. But, if you have to choose between the two, always be clear.
And your book title, Randy, The Perfect Brokerage for You, that says it all. It is the perfect brokerage for you – it is about you finding the perfect brokerage. So, Fire Nation, if you're listening to this and you're in real estate or thinking about getting into real estate, or you have friends, family, loved ones who are in real estate, or who have been talking about it, this is the book for them. This is the book you need to get into their hands. Believe me, I'm bringing Randy on EOFire because he's my friend, I respect him, I trust him, and I know he creates great content. He's a success. He's just a success. So, Randy, where's this book going to be available?
Randy: It's going to be at agentlifestyle.com.
John: Agentlifestyle.com. Of course, Fire Nation, we're going to link this up on the show notes page but go to agent – singular, with a "t" – lifestyle.com. Now, Fire Nation, don't you go anywhere but to thank our sponsors and we will be right back.
[Pause in audio]
John: Randy, are you prepared for the lightning round?
Randy: Let's do this.
John: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Randy: Learning the language – the English language – believe it or not. When I moved here at 11 from Poland, the moment I learned the language, I started going to my neighbors and asking if I could cut their grass to make some extra cash. That did not make my dad too happy because I did not cut our own grass.
John: Love that. What's the best advice you've ever received?
Randy: My mentor, Blair Singer, taught me not to make decisions when I'm frustrated. He always said, "When emotions are high, intelligence is low."
John: What's a personal habit that contributes to your success?
Randy: I've been a part of a life accountability group, now, for five years with the same group of guys. There's four of us total – good friends of mine. We meet every single month to discuss our progress in life and business. And, at the end of each year, we leave the country to reflect on the year, plan for the next, and just really disengage from business so we can enjoy life and explore new cultures and adventures.
John: And I love when you talk about this, too. Because, Fire Nation, how many people have you heard that they just have their nose to the grindstone and they look up and they're like, "Wow. I'm old and I can't travel anymore and I wish I did it when I was younger." You've got to do it. You've got to make it a part of your life. Can you share an internet resource, Randy – like an Evernote – with Fire Nation?
Randy: Google Voice-to-Text option in Google Docs. I literally use that to speak my whole book out as Google typed it for me. I was able to save half the time in writing my book so I would say that was a huge one. And, on the personal life automation, I want to mention a bonus one which is the Amazon Dash buttons and I can't tell you how great they are. When you run out of toilet paper or trash bags, all I have to do is press a button and it's on my doorstep the next day. It's incredible.
John: It is so incredible. Randy, I want to know what you would recommend for a book?
Randy: Mindset by Carol Dweck. I give this book to each real estate agent that is invited to join our Realty National family. I strongly believe that our mind is what can hold us back from reaching our true highest potential. And this book gives our team a common language around personal development and something to really anchor back to.
John: You've actually a lot of your team some Freedom Journals, if I remember correctly?
Randy: I have, as well. That was my last year gift at the awards dinner.
John: I loved it. So, Randy, let's end today on fire, brother, with you sharing a parting piece of guidance, the best way that we can connect with you, and then we'll say goodbye.
Randy: Awesome. Well, like you might have heard throughout this interview, our successes and failures generally point back to the environment that we put ourselves in whether it's a business partner, a wife, a city, a town that you live in, or the company you work with. As in my industry, the brokerage that you select you have to choose wisely and, as far as finding me, you can find me on Instagram and Facebook by typing in my name, "Randy Zimnoch." And, if you are a real estate agent, like John mentioned, I have put together the 19 most asked questions to ask the owner of any brokerage before making a commitment to join. You can download this for free at agentlifestyle.com and, over there, you'll be able to buy my book, titled The Perfect Brokerage for You as well.
John: I love all of this. Fire Nation, I love the fact that you know that you're the average of the five people you spend the most time with and you've been hanging out with RZ and JLD today so keep up the heat. And head over to eofire.com. Just type "Randy" in the search bar and his show notes page will pop up with everything that we've been talking about today. These are the best show notes in the biz – timestamps, links galore, and, of course, the strong call to action.
Fire Nation, head over to agentlifestyle.com, linked up on our show notes page or go directly there. You can check out that gift that Randy prepared and, also, The Perfect Brokerage for You the book is available for you. Go check it out or at least go over there and grab it and send it to a friend who's in real estate because we all have friends, family, loved ones that are probably not doing as good as they could be because they're not at the perfect brokerage for themselves. Randy, my brother, thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that, we salute you and we'll catch you on the flip side.
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