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Episode 97 - GRIT The Real Estate Growth Mindset with Matt DeCoursey

Being an entrepreneur is a rewarding experience, but it also comes with many challenges. From marketing strategies, hiring the right people for the job, to finding systems and technologies to support the business’ growth, entrepreneurs today have to be resourceful to tackle these problems.

Brian Charlesworth

Brian Charlesworth

Chairman & CEO

Brian is a highly accomplished entrepreneur, business builder, and thought leader in the real estate industry. With a track record of success in software, telecommunications, and franchise businesses, Brian has a talent for identifying and realizing business opportunities. Driven by his passion for technology, Brian is dedicated to using his skills and experience to bring about positive change and improve people's lives through the advancement of technology.

Being an entrepreneur is a rewarding experience, but it also comes with many challenges. From marketing strategies, hiring the right people for the job, to finding systems and technologies to support the business’ growth, entrepreneurs today have to be resourceful to tackle these problems.

Yet some were able to overcome these challenges before and are willing to share their experience so others can learn from it.  It’s only a matter of asking the right people for advice so that you don’t have to make the same mistakes they did. 

Join Brian Charlesworth and Matt DeCoursey, CEO and Founder at Full Scale and Startup Hustle Founder and Host, as they talk about Matt’s journey from starting a business with no money or experience to launching several businesses that have generated millions of dollars in revenue.  Matt also shares how he uses his podcast as a platform to help other people find success.

Top Takeaways:

02:07 Why Matt considers himself a “recovering” serial entrepreneur

05:15 How Matt got started as an entrepreneur

11:09 Why “knowledge in” is not meant to be kept

14:31 Matt’s definition of a startup

16:20 What the book: Balance Me is all about

24:56 Matt’s take on the importance of giving

29:38 The best advice Matt has received

31:57 The difference between being genius and being crazy

34:10 Matt’s advice to anyone who wants to start their own podcast

48:37 Top reasons why people turn podcasts off

54:54 Why you should make it easy for people to help you

Get in touch with Matt DeCoursey

Full Scale






Start-Up Hustle 







About the guest:

Matt DeCoursey believes that he was born to become an entrepreneur.  He used to paint address numbers on curbs in high school and do other entrepreneurial activities growing up.  Matt had a pretty successful career until he was 30 years old when he found himself unhappy because his work needed him to travel a lot, so he decided to quit his job.

Thirteen years ago, he started a concert ticket buying and selling business online.  All he had then was an extra room in his house that he could use as an office and a credit card with an $8,000 limit.  

Yet, even without money or experience, Matt understood a market inefficiency when it comes to secondary ticket sales.  He used this as an opportunity and built the business, which eventually generated $30 million in revenue over the next eight years. The business also enabled him to launch the businesses he has now.

Today, Matt is the CEO and Founder at Full Scale and GigaBook, Forbes Next 1000 Recipient,

and co-host of one of the biggest podcasts for entrepreneurs out there, Start-Up Hustle. He is also the top-selling author of “Million Dollar Bedroom” and “Balance Me,” as well as the co-author of “The Realist’s Guide to a Successful Music Career.”

Matt’s passion is to talk about entrepreneurship, business, and commerce and has made it his mission to help other entrepreneurs become better versions of themselves and guide them to find success. 

Episode transcript:

Brian Charlesworth  0:35  

Alright, hello, everyone. And welcome back to the Grit Podcast. I'm Brian Charlesworth. I'm the founder of Sisu, and your host of the show. And, you know, Sisu, had an event last week where we had 50 of our team leaders out here, and I just want to thank you all for coming. Those of you who came out had a great event. And those are something we're going to be putting on on a quarterly basis. So if you have not attended that event, yet, I've had over a dozen team leaders now tell me that is the best event they've ever been to as far as providing them with the tools they need to really build and scale their business. So that being said, I'd like to welcome Matt DeCoursey here with us today. And I just talked about scale. Matt is the founder of Full Scale, which is a company that Sisu actually uses. So excited to have Matt here with me today. Matt also has one of the biggest entrepreneur podcast shows out there called Startup hustle podcast. And it's an honor to have him here, we're gonna dig in Matt's done a lot of other things, too. He has a company called GigaBook. And if I were to describe you, Matt, based on my research, and we just met, but I would say you are a massive serial entrepreneur, that is super passionate just about giving back and helping other printers, other entrepreneurs really scale and grow their businesses, which you and I share that that's something we have in common. So really excited to spend the time together today. So what do you have to add to that, Matt? 

Matt DeCoursey  2:07  

I'm a recovering serial entrepreneur. 

Brian Charlesworth  2:10  

Okay, so what does that mean? What does that mean to be recovering? 

Matt DeCoursey  2:13  

I, so a lot of different things. So you know, I, I've been poking a lot of fun at myself on the startup hustle podcast, this year, I turned 47. So I'm like, in between, like, maybe officially calling myself old and not. And with that, I've spent a lot of time and effort stopping my inherent desire to chase shiny things. 

Brian Charlesworth  2:38  

Okay, good. 

Matt DeCoursey  2:40  

So with it with a serial entrepreneur, like I, I think in some cases that I like that. And then some cases I don't, as I've moved down the timeline in life, I'm trying to be way better at fewer things. So the serial part of entrepreneurship is, in some cases, a really good thing. And then some cases can be very, very distracting. I mean, much like, you talk about Sisu. And before we hit record, you were telling me about how quickly the company has grown, which demands more of your focus. And so sometimes the other things that we do, like you mentioned, I'm also the founder of giga book, which is an online appointment scheduling platform. And that's had to be like, back burnered, a couple of different times and a couple of different things. Because yeah, really, in the end, all you can do is all you can do. So yeah, I'm trying to not overwhelm myself anymore. And I've been guilty of that in the past. 

Brian Charlesworth  3:36  

So I would agree with that. I'm actually older than you and other than Elon Musk. I've never seen anybody who can just really build a bunch of companies successfully. And if I look back to my younger days, I mean, there were times that I had, you know, two or three companies going. And it's hard to put the proper amount of focus in any of those. And what happens is sometimes we have multiple businesses go under because we're not paying the right amount of attention. So like if if you look at Sisu today, Sisu is my full-time focus. I mean, you guys, I'm really excited today to have Matt in here, because Matt kind of brings a little bit different perspective. A lot of our listeners, all of our listeners are business builders, but a lot of our listeners are in the real estate space. I think Matt's gonna bring some things here that are kind of outside of the typical stuff you guys hear, and just really, really excited to dive in with you, Matt. So thanks for that clarity on you know, the serial entrepreneur versus an entrepreneur. And I would agree with that. I mean, that's my experience as well. Like Sisu is Sisu in this podcast are all I do. And this podcast is really to help our Sisu customers grow and scale their businesses. So how did you get started as an entrepreneur, you know, I've read some things that you started in your, you know, spare bedroom. I know my company today. And you know, I've started companies in basements and garages and my company today was started in this room I'm sitting in right now, which happens to be above my garage. But yeah, tell me more about how you, you've been an entrepreneur for a long time. So how did you go get started? Let's go back in time here. 

Matt DeCoursey  5:21  

I was born in 1975, and realized that I was an entrepreneur is how that might actually start, you know, you get, you can ask the question of are entrepreneurs born? Or are they made, I don't feel like I ever really had a choice in the matter. You know, I was always doing entrepreneurial things from the earliest times that I could remember. I think that people always identified that about me and pointed it out and did things to support it. I mean, I even went back to you know, like in high school, I started a, you know, when you have your address number painted on your curb, the little white box with the black letters, I did not have a company for four years where I did that, and we'd go out and make hundreds of dollars a day knocking on doors. So I mean, it was, you know, but it wasn't it honestly wasn't until later in life, when I did some real stuff. And I say real stuff. I think, as an entrepreneur, your goal should always be to create something that's bigger than you. And so when I say big stuff, it's like things where you have real employees and pay taxes and, you know, have a business entity and stuff like that. And you mentioned the spare bedroom, I actually wrote a book about one of these things. So I'd actually had a pretty successful professional career till I was about 30 years old. And at which point I, I just I was inherently unhappy with what I've been doing. I've been working in the music industry, but I wasn't unhappy because the industry I was happy, unhappy because I was traveling so much. So at that point, I had already dropped out of four colleges. So I figured why not try for a fifth, I applied to a top 10 Business School at the University of Indiana, I used to live in Indianapolis, at the time how to business school, the Kelley School of Business that was in the top 10. So I was like, I don't have a shot at this. But I applied and I got in. I was like, okay, so I quit my job, and went back to school as an adult. And about a year and a half into that experiment. I was running out of money. So I was really looking for something to do now this is 13 years ago at this point. So really looking for something to do, and I couldn't figure it out. And I wanted to finish school. But I ended up buying and selling some concert tickets online. And I made a couple of bucks from that. And I was like, huh, I get this. So at that point, I had just worked for Roland. That's the world's largest maker of electronic musical instruments. And I had been around music and I just really felt that I understood what people were passionate about and what they weren't. And, and I saw a gap. You know, a lot of businesses are built upon market inefficiency. And with secondary ticket sales, that's exactly what that was. So there and you if you want to get into the dirty details on that, I wrote a book called Million Dollar bedroom. So I started a business in the extra bedroom in my home, I had no money, I had no experience and and at that point, all I had was about I'd gone through a divorce the housing bubble, and then back to school. So I had a credit card with an $8,000 limit. And I didn't feel like I had a whole lot to lose. So that business generated $30 million in revenue over the next eight years and really became the springboard to everything that we do now. So that's where I hired my first employees in the Philippines. That's where I learned a lot of stuff about you know, doing business. And you know, all that's led several years later, I haven't been in the ticket business for six years now but led to what we do at full scale and Giga book and a lot of stuff. So I did it all with a lot of resolve a lot of Googling, and a lot of hustle. 

Brian Charlesworth  9:02  

Thankfully, we have Google today, right? Because Google, Google hasn't always been here. 

Matt DeCoursey  9:07  

No, and Google definitely. Yeah, I mean, Google's definitely like, I mean, well, I think that too many people say they can't do something. And don't even like go to look at how you know Yeah, I don't have any experience. No one's ever taught me I'm like, Dude mean either. I dropped out of that fifth school, by the way, when I started the other that was the million-dollar bedroom. 

Brian Charlesworth  9:30  

Yeah, it doesn't surprise me. It doesn't surprise me. So something that I skipped over in your intro, and I want to make sure we hit on this and I'm gonna go there and we're gonna come back to where we are. But this, you're a top-selling author. You mentioned the million-dollar bedroom, you also started or wrote a book, the Real Estate Guide to a successful music career, which I'm guessing comes from something you just shared with us. So what I'm gathering here is like when you have an experience that you feel others deserve to learn and grow from you write a book about it. Is that is that

Matt DeCoursey  10:05  

Or you can do a podcast. Yeah, I think that yeah, thing that's easily garnered the most hours of human attention is the startup hustle podcasts which we just had our 800th episode, which is nuts. And we'll head in 2022 we're on pace to hit one out of our 1,000th episode. But, yeah, so you mentioned like learning from Google or learning from experience, but you know, always being someone that people identified as being entrepreneurial, as I give air quotes on your audio show, by the way.

Brian Charlesworth  10:42  

That's great. 

Matt DeCoursey  10:43  

So, you know, I always had people that would offer me advice, and I was never afraid to ask for it. So I had a lot of people helped me along the way, they just identified that for some reason, there were various they either recognize something in me that reminded of themselves when they were younger, or just someone that had that was worth maybe spending a little time on. And so I really learned to appreciate and respect knowledge transfer. And you know, knowledge transfer is something that goes, it's, you know, as old as humanity, and there was always a village elder that pass things down. And I just don't think that knowledge is meant to be kept. And I think if you keep it, it's selfish. So you know, it's your so I feel this as I guess, part of where I've been, you know, poking fun of myself, for my own age, I'm like, I got a lot of catching up to do. And so I mentor a lot of people. And I think that there's a really profound impact that you have on people's lives and businesses, if you help if you can find a way there's no way to track this. There's no click-through rate, there's no closing percentage, there's none of it exists, other than knowing that you've put it out there. Because you can't track whether or not your advice help truly takes someone on a detour away from a financial pitfall or something. So, you know, there's a ton of so getting it out there that easiest platform is, you know, the cool thing about podcasting is it gave guys like you and me, an equal platform for distribution as a lot of other places. Now, you still got to promote these things and create quality content, but it is a somewhat equal playing field. So the same thing with writing books. So you know, 1.4 million new books come out every year to stack on top of the entire history of literature. So he's like, how do you get found and you put these things out there now? Yeah, the writing is so million-dollar bedroom I, which was my second book came out a few months after balance me so balanced me is a take on like how to get the most and be happy in life. I don't really believe in life balance, because some people call that a life balance book. I dispel that myth pretty early. But you know how to find the right amount of personal professional and physical activity. Mentally million dollar bedroom, I refer to as educational narrative that is literally walking through the whole process of starting that business talking about all the smart things we did and more of the dumb things we did. And then the third book was more of a passion project about the music industry. And that one was fun to write because I got actual real rock stars and that, like a member of Dave Matthews Band rode our forward and remember Huey Lewis? Huey Lewis was an art he's from art. Yeah, that's, that's our generation. And so yeah, you know, talking to people, you know, everything from American Idol winners, Grammy Award winners, famous songwriters. Like in that case, much like so many industries, you can work in the music industry and, and be the 99% of it. That's never seen. Yeah, so you know, that was my angle. I'm not a good I'm not a good musician. I just know a bunch of people that are so I wrote I wrote it from that from the startup angle, because bands are startups, too. 

Brian Charlesworth  14:00  

Oh, yeah. So many, so many of them who are successful now have also you talked about as having this equal medium where we can share our podcast? Well, so many of them have shared their music now because they have this medium. I mean, even if you look at people like Justin Bieber, right, he started by sharing his music online. No, may have never had it up. 

Matt DeCoursey  14:22  

You can go viral. You can go viral, and you can do a lot of stuff and like Yeah, I mean, really, it's just like anything else that it's so people say well, what's a startup? A startup city business that doesn't come with an owner's manual? That's my definition of it. So like, I mean, that can Sisu didn't come with one. 

Brian Charlesworth  14:40  

Any business it doesn't come with an owner's manual. I love it. 

Matt DeCoursey  14:43  

Well, that's the truth because it doesn't. You get some of it. You get some of it. Some of its inherent but it doesn't come with it. Your business doesn't come with it with a helpline or an owner's manual your startup. Yeah, you know, if you were to buy a franchise, both of those come with an owner's manual or that comes with both an owner's manual and a helpline. But you have to figure the rest of it out, you know, 

Brian Charlesworth  15:07  

What I'm learning and what I continue to learn. And every business I built, I learned more. But the key thing right now is for me is staying focused on growing. So I need to be growing at a level higher than my company is growing to be able to continue to lead this company. Right. So how do you do that? Like, what's something that because this is a this is something I'm going through right now to trying to figure out like, how to get that input? How to get it from the right people? Yeah, it's a big thing, because advice is everywhere, man. Yeah, but how do you get it from the right people? And then how often? How much of your time do you spend on that? Well, I find myself speaking to a lot of entrepreneurs that have had experience building companies that are much larger than my company. I also find myself reading at least a book a week right now. And that's not been my, that's not been my history in life. I've read plenty of books, but not a book a week. So you know, it's, it's, it's been amazing. Just constantly feeling like I have knowledge now flowing in, which has been amazing for me. So I want to talk about something you talked about the book balance me. Tell me more about this book. 

Matt DeCoursey  16:23  

So balance me is my take on what it takes to have a successful life. And the main thing is, is that definition and equation is not set. It's different for all of us. It does everything from delve into like so. So much of the reason that we don't get things done in life is well, first off, it's almost always us. So on the very first page, I say, Look, if you're not willing to admit that you are likely your biggest problem, just put the book back, because I'm not going to be able to help you. And that's true. So it's true. Yeah, yeah. And so and the thing is, is we really are, people in general, are very much their own biggest obstacle. Yeah, I mean, there are songs have been written about this. And so this isn't, this isn't a secret, you know, but it admitting that you're the gateway to all of your yeses and noes in life is an important thing. And then understanding like, if you want to actually change, you have to have that strong desire to change. And that change itself doesn't isn't permanent. It requires constant construction and reconstruction and revisiting as far as what you need. So the whole idea of the book is, it's actually what I do is if those of you listening want to try something, grab a piece of paper, because this is a really easy exercise, draw two lines down a piece of paper, and write personal, professional and physical at the top, and you have 100% of your own effort. So where does your effort go? It goes into one of those three categories. And then you know what, Brian, you get these people, they're like, Yeah, I've given speeches on this, they're like, I give 150%. Okay, not, in this case, you don't get that this time guy, you get 100% of your own real effort. So you ask people to put that in, you know, that it's like this amount of my time goes to personal stuffs to personal things that aren't work. And that aren't exercise or like health, okay? professionals work. So like all of it, any of it. And then physical is actual, the amount of time you spend, that could be everything from preparing a healthy meal. It could also be things psychological, right? Like actually like downtime. And it can be physical, it can also be personal. So anyway, you have 100% of your own effort, and you tell people to look at it, then I say, Okay, let's do this again. And I'd like you to write the same three columns, where would you really like your effort to go, they're almost never the same, like, and so the thing is, is so just through that very simple diagnosis, you can actually tell where you want to be as compared to where you're at. So you know, like, every I mean, here's the reality is, we know what we need to do, but we don't necessarily do it. But that's a very like, so you can just do some simple math and see where you're at. And then in each section of the book, I talk, there's a lot of very predictable things that really put us off course, some of it's everything from, you know, we don't get a lot of things done because of stress and anxiety that is created with our inability to communicate with other people or sometimes just like be real with ourselves. So even get into like personality types, like your personality type is what it is. And people often think and this is a leadership example in entrepreneurship. It's my job to communicate the way that my employees and team members understand things best, not forcing them to adapt to my high type A personality, right. So I actually use the DISC profile. I know a lot of people get into like these things that are like I'm an EJ and four, three, C eight, nine, I'm like, You're driven, influential, steadfast, or conscientious, the D, and the eyes are the type and the others Type V. Pretty easy to keep it straight. They're like, I'm a high type A, which means that what makes me tick, and what I care about, are inherently very different from people that are steadfast or conscientious. And like my wife is there, by the way, my wife is literally the only personality type that can put up with me. So under, but understanding that now she wants to look at she cares about things above the equal sign and the process of getting there, I'm more of a give me the bottom line, tell me where it's at, you know, the sausage was already made, that we actually get sausage, you know, so, but that's not the right way to communicate to that person. So a lot of times, we create a lot of friction and problems with ourselves, personally and professionally, by our own ability to do that. And then also having an understanding. So when you're stressed or tired, you're guaranteed to show your worst personality traits. So being able to recognize when those are, like, you know, Brian, I am not a good morning person, like I actually have like structured, so much of my day around not doing things until I've been awake for a full hour. Because I go back, and it's just a little bit of self-understanding. It's not when I function the best, it's not when I communicate the best. But there are okay soon, that's when I should spend time maybe getting some exercise, waking up doing some other things. So you know, some of that, and then then I think on a general achievement level, you know, so much of that, that book is about figuring out what you want, and you reverse engineer your success. So when it comes to goals and achievements, yeah, understanding that the most valuable things you can do at any point of your day, are things that move you towards your goals, regardless of what of which of those three pays that they're in, if you're doing stuff that doesn't move you towards your goals, that is less valuable than the things that do. So trying to have people understand that and that, you know, and then another thing, too, is also like, you know, you really just need to get a little bit better every day. And doing better than you did yesterday also prevents you from like you're getting into a rut and really falling off a cliff. So, I mean, there's a lot to it. And there is, so people have asked me with that. They said, well, what's the perfect percentage? There isn't one, it's different for everybody. Yeah, so it's about figuring out what that is for you. And it should be as simple as just writing it down on that sheet of paper. 

Brian Charlesworth  22:41  

That's, I'm I'm actually really excited to read your book balanced me, I'm uh, I'm very passionate about that. I went to all the Tony Robbins stuff about seven years ago, you know, he, as you do this balance will I don't know if you've been through that. But you put in all your different categories that you know, you have growth, contribution, relationships, business, right, you have all the same thing. You put, like, how balanced are is this wheel? And does it actually flow? And, you know, over the last five years, I've put a tremendous amount of attention into that. But certainly, you know, when you're a CEO of a company, you need to have a lot of commitment go in there. And if you want to keep your relationship alive with your spouse and family, you need to focus on that too. So it's important to schedule everything right? And but as 

Well, if you over-invest in one category, the others come to claim the balance. Yes. So the main thing with like professional people and entrepreneurs is they often put like, 90% of their effort into professional Now, here's the thing, here's the reality, if you don't pay attention to personal and professional, like, good luck. Put 90% of your focus on it if you're going through a divorce, or if your kids are in trouble because you were non-existent. Or if you have a health incident, you know, like, Yeah, I mean, you don't have to, like train for a marathon to stay active. Yeah, I mean, some of it's just like, Yeah.

Thanks. Thanks for sharing. I mean, I would say I've learned personally that health is absolutely my number one. Because

Matt DeCoursey  24:17  

Because if it doesn't, if it's not there, you can't do anything else. 

Brian Charlesworth  24:20  

Yeah, without that I can't lead anybody without that. I can't be there for my family without that, you know, I can't have the energy or excitement or you know, even feel good enough. It's, it's everything in life without 

Matt DeCoursey  24:35  

That's usually what people leave last.

Brian Charlesworth  24:37  

It that's what most people prioritize last. So anyway, again, this has been, it's really been a fun journey for me to come to this. And, you know, what I find is if I don't keep growing, I forget these things. Right? And then you go back to old habits. So anyway, one of the things you talked about is always giving you know and you didn't talk about the fact that when you give you get an I've come to see this as kind of be like a universal law or principle that when you're giving you receive more the universe or God or whatever, you know, whatever it is to you when you're giving to others when you're contributing. You're also being blessed. How do you feel about that? That's, that's my perception. I want to get your take on that. 

Matt DeCoursey  25:29  

Well, I think that I've definitely learned, if you help everybody else get what they want, you usually get what you want. There are one little twists on it, because I believe everything you just said is true. So this is actually a Buddhist thing. And they encourage giving without expectation of return.

Brian Charlesworth  25:48  

Yes, absolutely. 

Matt DeCoursey  25:51  

So that's like the anonymous donor, not the donor that's like, Hey, look at my name over the entrance.

Brian Charlesworth  25:59  

I'm so glad you brought that up. Because it's not like the minute you give or help somebody or do whatever you do. And your purpose is that they will do something for you or that they will recognize you. It loses that point. It's at that point, it's selfish, right. It's not you're not doing it for them. And at that point, you don't get anything back. Right, because you're not there for the right reason. So I love that you brought that clarity to that. Anything else you want to add to that? Matt? 

Matt DeCoursey  26:31  

No, I think Well, I think it's important because I think that when you do stuff like that, you talk about being a leader, and entrepreneur and business, you know, your business gets big. I mean, all 250 of my employees worldwide do not have the same goals and desires and things that they want to get. So you know, sometimes that's just a matter of ASCII. And I'm not afraid to do that. Like, I mean, we even do that when we're interviewing people, like I wanted to it's part of our assessment process. It's like, what do you want? Now? What do you need later? Like, what are your goals? Like, both professionally, and it's important to, to separate those as well? Because, you know, like, I don't know, there's a lot to be asked, and a lot that can go into it. But yeah, I think overall, it's easier to rally people around you if they think that you're not just in it for what you want. 

Brian Charlesworth  27:21  

Oh, yeah, for sure. Yeah. And if and if you are in it just for you. usually don't get it right, if it's just all about you. Yep. So you were talking earlier about advice, I want to go back to this, you know, you've received advice from a lot of people. And I can tell you, every business I've started, I've received a lot of advice from a lot of people as well. And sometimes that's great advice. And usually I find that great advice comes from somebody who has built something bigger than what you are building. The free advice that you don't want, in my experience, is typically those that advice that comes from the people closest to you. That can be your parents, it could be your family, it could be your spouse, it could be other people that you talk to, you know, that are in the same line of work, but they're the people that tell you, you're crazy, you're never going to be able to do this, you know, all that. So how do you Matt go to the right people for advice.

Matt DeCoursey  28:21  

You're gonna put me on my soapbox, Brian.

Brian Charlesworth  28:23  

I need to I mean, I know you guys, I know you. I know you have things to say about all this. I like to hear. 

Matt DeCoursey  28:29  

So I get myself in trouble with this. And I'm just I'll tell you why. So as an entrepreneur, I have a very difficult time taking advice on entrepreneurship from people that have not sat in my seat. And, and I and you know what I'm not afraid to say that out there. So the problem I've got is, sometimes you create certain things like I've created this platform, this podcast that 3 million people have a download, and listen to that many times. So I often find my own comments and statements come back in certain ways. But I don't really want to come to your panel on entrepreneurship with people on it that don't haven't been entrepreneurs. So you do not have my attention. I'm sorry. Like, and you know, I see him all the time, all the time. But you don't know until you've done the same thing with parents. Like until you've had a kid I don't give advice on parenting because you don't know. Yeah, I think the best general advice that I received and Okay, so I didn't make this quote. So don't quote me on Twitter, on that. So that's how this has happened. I get quoted on not my quote. But the best advice I've ever received was several years ago, someone said to me, he said what that what's easier trying to climb to the top by yourself or asking those on top to pull you up.

And ever since that really sunk in, I spent all my time looking up, which means I didn't care about the opinions, input, and advice of people that haven't done what I've done, have an experience what I've experienced or don't have the level of expertise around things that I need help with. Instead, I look up the whole time, and I've, I've spent a lot of time y'all and hey, can I give a hand, just the people that are out there they're looking up to they don't inherently notice you until you get their attention. And you will find that those people are, if they are like you, they are almost always willing to reach down and give you a hand and pull you up a little bit. Now you can't just be dead weight, you got to still bring yourself up. But I think part of that continuing to pull others up, that want to be where you're at as a part of it too. Because if all of a sudden you're just the person that everyone's pulling up to the top, and you're not helping anyone else out. You know, when it comes to the advice like I said, it's a now that doesn't mean that I won't take advice, or I won't listen to what other people say it just doesn't have my attention at the same level. Like when it comes to entrepreneurship. Now, it might be about business, it could have an academic or someone else but I feel like entrepreneurship. And I know you get this, I know you get it because I don't ever talk to entrepreneurs that have a lifetime of experience at this stuff that don't feel the same way. 

Brian Charlesworth  31:30  

Yeah. So you know, I think I feel the same way. 

Matt DeCoursey  31:34  

And I don't want to feel I don't want to sound overly highbrow about that. Because there's a lot of things you can learn from others like, now, I've learned stuff from young, younger entrepreneurs all the time. Entrepreneurs about we're talking about entrepreneurship. So I think some of that's important, I think it's really you know, you one thing you mentioned is the so you get friends, family, you so what's the difference between being a genius and being crazy? Like you Okay, so what is it? It's all the answer is who cares? Because those are all external opinions about what you're doing. Right? So the thing is, is like it for me, if someone doesn't tell me, I'm crazy, I don't know if I have a good idea yet. Like, it's that level of like, until people aren't understanding what you're doing it and how you're doing it. You haven't really forged your way into any new area or done anything. And you know, so one of the things too, I mentioned, like, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention this as well. But so I've literally been studying in-depth, especially this last six months, what makes people do genius, thanks. And genius, there's a huge understanding, misunderstanding between the difference of talent and genius. So talent is being able to hit the target that everybody can see. A genius that's the target, no one even knew it's there. And that's a huge difference. Now, I'll tell you, for the people that do genius stuff, none of them care about the outside noise. They don't care about what they don't care about, hey, you're crazy, you'll never be able to do that. And then really, in the end, they'll call you crazy. Until they call you a genius.

Brian Charlesworth  33:17  

As you're, as you're speaking all this, I mean, I can think of so many examples, but I think the most obvious is, is really Elon Musk, right? I mean, everyone, everyone called him crazy. When he started Tesla.

Matt DeCoursey  33:28  

I'm going to move a million people to Mars

Brian Charlesworth  33:30  

The he said, I'm going to start I'm going to build a community on Mars, right? Reduce SpaceX, all of a sudden, people have called him crazy for the last 20 years, all of a sudden people believe him, right? 

Matt DeCoursey  33:41  

No, it's all the same guy. Yeah. Yeah. The none of that guy. None of that turned to back from doing any of that. So yeah, that's the key man. Like, for me, it's been drowning out the noise. So, and I and I create too much of that noise for myself. Because one thing is, if you want to create something like we did at startup hustle, a podcast and all that you got to keep in mind that you're creating a platform, quote, influence, or attention that a lot of other people want to create. And they will be the first people to throw stones at you. Yeah, like and don't like and one thing I've learned is don't ever create a podcast and expect any other form of media to give you any attention. You get

Brian Charlesworth  34:23  

I want to dive in. I want to dive in your podcast before we do that there's something else I wanted to hit on there. When I started Sisu, you know, I jumped in to help my wife grow her real estate business. I had never been in real estate, right? I'd been an entrepreneur, I'd built some software companies. I'd bought some franchise companies. And all of a sudden I come in with this whole different perspective. And the first thing when I see the vision of starting Sisu and I see this big gap in the industry of hey, why hasn't anyone done this right like this industry? He needs this. But everyone in the industry told me I was crazy. Everyone in the industry told me it was stupid. Everyone in the industry told me that people have tried this, you know, it was interesting the people from the real estate industry, or all the people who told me, you'll never be able to be successful with that, with one exception. My wife, she's from the real estate industry, and she believed in me. But anyway, I just find it interesting. The naysayers, right? Like you said, so when you have a great idea, it's most people. And it's that genius idea, people are not going to believe it's even possible for you to do it. But it's all about the execution and you believing yourself and continuing down that road. So

Matt DeCoursey  35:42  

By the way, there's a belief when it comes to like, okay, in the event that there's life everywhere, and some of it's a billion years ahead of us, the idea is that some of that technology or understanding could be so far ahead of where we're at that it just literally looks and feels like magic. So you tell yourself like, No, there's no way it's got to be something. It's got to be magic. It can't you know, cuz, right. I mean, most of the time, people just oh, well, no one could do that. It was like with Elon Musk, I mean, talking about putting a million people on Mars, and then all a sudden it's like, okay, you could probably do that. You know, so I mean, I think that's in the, in the entire history of innovation, entrepreneurship, and just all of it. There's always, I mean, the world couldn't have been round. You know, the sky wasn't this that wasn't that, you know, it's like an Intel it was so 

Brian Charlesworth  36:39  

Yeah, our viewpoints are so minuscule, right? We only see what we see. And there's so much more out there.

Matt DeCoursey  36:47  

I was, I was talking, I was talking about this the other day, I was like, Okay, so at close to 50 years old history has actually changed. Like, literally, what I was taught as a child is different than what they're teaching my children. And that's a very small amount of time considering, like all of it, so yeah who knows.

Brian Charlesworth  37:07  

Yeah. Well, it's crazy. If you think of let's just take go back to 1980. Right. So from 1980 to today, it's 40 years, right? 1980 doesn't seem that long ago. So when you and I were kids in 1980. Now go back to 1940. and think, how much does it change from 1940 to 1980? And now things are changing at such an accelerated rate because of technology. So it's like, nope, yeah. I mean, we're changing every five years. What used to take 40 years, right? Yep. So all right, well, you have this podcast, one of the top entrepreneur podcasts, congratulations, by the way, it's very cool. You're doing five episodes a week. I do one a week. So you do five episodes, and

Matt DeCoursey  38:04  

I don't personally do five. So there's more than one of us. So yeah, so I don't want to I don't want to say that's the case. Now. I've been on it, you know, we've had still haven't even counted, it's on our list of things to do. It's estimated that I have been on 600 of 800. Okay, so yeah.

Brian Charlesworth  38:24  

So but I mean, how do you do it like I'm scheduled? And I don't know, I didn't schedule it. But someone's scheduled it for me. I know, I'm scheduled to be on your podcast, but I know, it was like two months out, or three months out. So like, you guys are booking so far out? How do you? I mean, you're just booking with entrepreneurs, which, which is amazing. How do you get these people on your show? Like that's that there are so many shows that you're doing? How do you keep that vibrant and entertaining? You know, there's a talent to that.

Matt DeCoursey  39:01  

Well, yes. So there's a few things some of it's gotta be built? Well, first off, you have to be organized, and you have to be efficient. So as we as Giga buck for that, which helps us do all the booking the automation, the follow up all of that, you know, I do have a team of people, it's not just me, but we sit down and you know, prior to so we're recording this and 2022. But, you know, prior to the beginning of the year, I mean, we sit down and come up with a whole lot of topics. And we also at this point exclude a whole lot of topics, because maybe we beat that a little that drum a little too much in the past. So

Brian Charlesworth  39:40  

Or maybe times have changed, right? I mean,

Matt DeCoursey  39:43  

Right. Yeah. And we'll do that too. So sometimes you're right sometimes we haven't been talked about that for a while. Let's do a recap. So a few of the things that give us some built-in stuff so I think if you want to publish that regularly, you got to have your bell tents, so we pick a new city every month. And, and do research and decide who that city's top startups are. And then we reach out to offer those companies founders or CEOs or leaders a spot on the show. So there's that. And so that that's, you know, anywhere that's you look at so the average month, you've got anywhere from 20 to 23, weekdays. And so those are the spots you have to fill if you're going to expect 250 to a year, I believe. And then, so you got to kind of eat into that a little bit. So about a quarter of its there. And then also so my business partner full scale is that who I started startup hustle with is, we just finished a 52 part series about how to start a tech company. So some of it that's a built-in. So we know, we got to still research it and figure you know, like, we want to sound somewhat smart when we're broadcasting to the world. And then what we did it halfway through 2022 is once I realized we were building a fairly big platform, I wanted to widen the lens a little bit because Matt and I are both kind of tech-centric. And so we added two other hosts, one of one of which is a lady named Lauren Conaway, who's the founder of innovate her. So quite honestly, she handles a lot of the stuff that I am not brave enough to talk about on some days. And then we added another guy, Andrew Morgan, who is the CEO and founder of a company called Mark Knology. And Mark Knology is an Amazon brand acceleration. So they basically have to sell stuff on Amazon. So we added two really big wedges to the, to the pie, that we you know, cuz like you get so now Lauren's very well versed at, at discussing, I mean, social issues are a challenging topic, you know, like, and so some of that is, but I didn't want to avoid it. So we added more people to the lineup. And she's very well suited for that I jump in on some of that stuff. But, I mean, overall, I prefer to not talk about religion, sex, or politics, on my shows. So my shows are almost always with founders like you're gonna be on it your schedule at some point. And then, and then here's the key is if you want to keep keep the wheel to stop from stopping spinning, you got to be way out ahead of it. So you mentioned doing it in the future. And we get a lot of people that go to startup hustle dot XYZ and they apply to be on the show, we have a whole process for that for a lot of it. It's reaching out, didn't just kind of like finding the right people. But one thing I've learned is that you should never be afraid to ask because people really like talking about themselves. So it's almost always a yes.

Brian Charlesworth  42:43  

Right? Yeah, yeah, that's a great point. All right, we just have a few minutes here, man, I would love. I'd love for you to dive a little bit deeper into the podcast. And I know, this is an area that people ask you about all the time. But a lot of the people listening to this show have podcasts, sir. You know, if you're in real estate, a lot of these top real estate leaders are focused on sharing. And you know, helping others find the answers to really grow their business and instead of having to learn the hard way, right, how do you monetize on that? Like it, I have this podcast, I'm doing this podcast strictly. So that people who are growing businesses can accelerate that growth and learn from people like you that have, you know, have built several successful companies and can really make it easier for them. But I'd love to hear from you like what is the next step to take that podcast to the next level? Where where you're actually, I mean, some people, maybe their goal is to just be a podcast host, right? How do you get to that?

Matt DeCoursey  43:57  

So I gave a before the pandemic started was the last time I gave a speech to real people in public. And it was just a couple of months before that I actually hit so global entrepreneur week was here in Kansas City. And we put in I put in to record a show or to do a presentation that got sold out two times and move to a third space that finally put enough people in this in the room to you know, Beanie like, first room was false. So they put me in a bigger room, and then that got too many. And then they put us in a really big room. And I like by the time that should think made about 150 people in that room. The first thing I did was I and you know you talk about being a realist. So that's the word I use about myself. And I asked everyone in the beginning I said, who's here because they think that they want to start a podcast and have that be their job, and 80% of the room raise their hand and I was like I first saw I was not expecting that. I thought it would be more like 20% And I said well, I don't Want to burst your bubble, but that's probably not going to happen. Right. So like when you talk about monetizing it from a strictly like, Hey, I'm going to sell ads and make money from that. You got to have a lot of listeners, you got to have a lot of downloads, you gotta have a lot of plays, or you have to operate in a niche that is really, really valuable. Now fortunately for us, it started apostle, we're in that niche, it's really valuable. And we have a lot of listeners, but we went 300 shows before we ever tried to ever accept a sponsor, we weren't even, we didn't even care, you know, so you got to get ready to put the work in. Now with that. We mentioned earlier giving with no sense of return, I don't think that's the right way to go. I think you should have some of that in your thought process if you go to start a podcast. But it is fair to expect some return from what you're doing. Because you can still help that first part you can still give to people, podcasts are free. So with that, we've had a money-back guarantee on Start apostle, the whole 800 episodes. If you don't like it, we'll give you your money back. It's free. So but you can account you have to accomplish a couple of things. One, so we've accomplished a number of different things. Well, we do actually sell ads, and I'm fine telling you that we get anywhere from 20 to 30 grand a month right now. So that's turned into like a whole nother business for us. Right, wow. But we turn that around and use it to promote shop. So that you know that's gone. Well, but we didn't start doing that until about a year and a half ago, that main thing I think for most people is okay. So you can get you can learn from talking to other people. So the amount of time you get with someone, you might not even be able to get that call or that meeting or that conversation, right. And then those same people, if you so I mentioned going and finding top startups in the city and a different city every single month, and we plan that out a year and a half in advance. Those people oftentimes become our clients. Because when you like Brian, our relationship will always be different after this call. Yeah. And that's just the way it goes, Yes, know that. And you put yourself in a situation where you can say, Look, your guest has the upside of the free promotion, sometimes it's a fun conversation. And once again, people like to talk about themselves, right. So it's not that hard of an ask, or you can have it so like there's other components, but just know that you got a long climb, if you don't already have a big social media following. Like, if you don't have like 200,000 followers on Instagram or something like that. It's there's a lot of noise out there. Like, it's hard to get noticed, you're not gonna just start the podcast, but then people ask me all the time. So like, I just went through this the other day. So we have a suite at the TMobile Center, which is the arena here in town, and we use it to invite entrepreneurs, influencers and investors to just come meet each other. So we're at a show, and there was a local podcaster that that had, you know, had come in and you know, like, the questions are always same there. Like, you know, what do I need to do? How do I need to do it and all that. And I said, Look, you need to just you what a you got to keep doing it. You got to make sure your content doesn't stank. You got to make sure your audio quality doesn't stank, by the way. Right. So there's a few things there. Because that makes people don't create a whole list of reasons for people to turn yours off. Which by the way, the number one reasons for that are poor audio quality and too many ads, right, and you got to use and you have to keep grinding with it. So like, you know, so all of this put together like you got and you got to be consistent. So if you're and we were so bad at that in our first 50 episodes, like sometimes we went a month and a half and didn't publish an episode at one. And like now we're angry if something happens, and it doesn't come out at 5 am Central. Yeah, but you know, you got to set it up in a way and I also am a big believer in the I don't like interviews, you know, like we for those of you listening, Brian and I even talked about that before he hit record like hey, this is we're gonna have a conversation you see where it goes I like the free form of of having that discussion with people and understanding it but you know, all that stuff wrapped together and then you know, and honestly find some help if you can, if you can find a way to like you guys did a really great job. I got multiple reminders that kept me on track. Now I already had it in my calendar. But you know, there was a nice young man that emailed me the reminder that let me know it's like, Hey, you're on the show tomorrow. And then it was like, Hey, you're on in 30 minutes. So the thing is, is like these are all good. things and they were, you know, either either either set in a way that, you know, like was automated or someone else was doing it. So you get some help with that. And then, you know, and then the next thing is like so sorry, I took a long path to this, I get passionate about this. But so so the other podcasters will ask me, they'll say, Well, I don't feel successful. I'm like, well tell me why they're like, because I see in startup hustle chat on Facebook, that you just got your, your number 13 for all entrepreneur, I was like, I had episode one to man like, and the question is, is is people will be like, I said, Well, how many downloads? Do you know? Really? I'm on like, 100 per episode. I'm like, that's really good. They're like, it doesn't feel like it. I said if 100 people showed up tomorrow to hear what you had to say, would that be worth your time? And then they're like, oh, yeah, that would be awesome. That'd be amazing. I said, Well, what's the difference? Yeah. What's the difference? 100 people listening, when they can, how they can? Or showing up live, you weren't going to probably talk to all 100 of them in person anyway. So like, really, it's, it's back to that whole genius are crazy thing if you think you're successful you are? And if that's me, and what difference so what 100 people listening to this show, as like Realtors? Or if I'm ever lonely, I just mentioned on Facebook that I want to sell my house. And I've got 20 new friends in my messenger, asking me about it. I'm joking about that, isn't it? It's true, though, right isn't a hug or if you're alone or something else. I know that. And I really don't do that. But the main thing is, is like what can you do to get it out there and put it out there? Now here's the thing is these are digital assets. And if your show grows, and you stay consistent, people still go back at it. I almost wish they wouldn't go back to Episode One, which was terrible compared to what we do now.

Brian Charlesworth  52:00  

Well, and it was and it was a year ago or two years ago, right?

Matt DeCoursey  52:04  

Four and a half. In your case?

Brian Charlesworth  52:07  

Yes. So I mean, I'll share my story here. So I started this. I don't even know how long ago it was we do one episode a week and it was 90, something we're almost to Episode 100. So you know, I don't know, almost a year and a half ago. So far, I guess longer than that. But I remember, like the feeling of is anybody ever going to listen to this? Like, why would somebody listen to this? And then you know, and now I still don't have anywhere near the number of listeners you have, of course, but it's what I love is when I'm just out and about in public, or somebody messages me on Facebook or Instagram and they're like, hey, you know what, I was listening to your podcast, and I heard this and I really, you know, it's like changing their world. And that's why I do this. So...

Matt DeCoursey  52:59  

And that's the giving without the sense of return because you didn't do it hoping for that message. Yeah, yeah. And it's okay. It's okay to want to move your business and everything else forward. And you still get that giving thing and I get I've had, man, I've had messages from all over the world at this point. And, you know, and I always take him in. And I always say thanks, because you know that is motivating, just knowing that someone out if you think about it, humans literally have an infinite number of choices for where they can point, their attention, and their focus. So if they're paying attention to anything that you're doing, be humble about it. And just to gratitude.

Brian Charlesworth  53:40  

Yes. So the last thing I'm going to talk about here, you just talked about being humble in a, you know, you were talking earlier about advice and why, you know, you go to advise for these certain people. And for a while, you were just grinding, grinding, grinding, not going to these people above you. And I think the only thing that would stop you from going to someone up here to pull you up the mountain as you were talking about Matt, it's really ego. That's the only thing that would stop you a lot of times we let our ego get in the way like I can do this, I can do this. If somebody has been there, somebody has done it, and they're willing to give you advice. Take advantage of that. I mean, you can save yourself years by asking somebody for advice and having to learn it the hard way. So I just wanted to hit on that I meant to talk about that earlier. And

Matt DeCoursey  54:31  

At this point that would never stop me. If anything I would, I would make it I would make it obvious that I'm coming with my hat in my hands. You know, like, and they're, by the way, I'm glad you decided to bring this up again because I think that there's a very, very, very important part of all of this, and this is I see people mess this up with me a lot. You have to make it easy for people to help you. Right. So many people like you know, like I don't want to come meet you an hour away at Starbucks for a free coffee because $4 is not worth an hour or two hours of my time. Like, if you make it really easy, I have actually had someone come to my house last Friday because it was someone that I mentored before and I was like, hey, you know if, and they take my own advice, he'd heard me say that he's like, how can I make it easiest for you to help me? Okay, you can be here at 230 Tomorrow, and you got to be gone by four. Okay, I'll be there. What's your address? Oh, so like, if you make it easy for people to help you more people help you. 

Brian Charlesworth  55:36  

And he still got an hour and a half of your time. You don't very focused on 30 minutes. If you had to drive 30 minutes each direction you would have had I

Matt DeCoursey  55:45  

I wouldn't have done 30 I wouldn't have done. Yeah, but I wouldn't have done it. Because I mean, I was already feeling like, like busy, but you made it easier. For me, it makes it a lot more palatable. So if you ask someone for their help their time, their effort, their money, any of that, you know, I say things like, just tell me where I can be, how long I got. And anything else I can do to make this easy. If you tell me that I have to come at 3 am on any given day. If I want your help or input, I'm going to be there at that time.

Brian Charlesworth  56:16  

I like that you shared he asked the question, how can I make this easy? On you? Yeah, well, 

Matt DeCoursey  56:22  

He was using my own advice. I get a lot of that. And by the way, that's how I always know if someone's been listening to the podcast. Yeah. Or reading my books because they'll quote the exact part you. You get people they'll be like, I read your book. He said, really? What parts do you like? They're like, Oh, I really liked all of it. That person didn't read your book. Right? Yeah. Someone else. So they'll say that. You know, there's that part where you're telling that story about where Amex cut your credit limit and a half and you smashed your phone? After I was like, yeah, that happened. But you know, they read the book. The same thing with podcasts. So yeah, but for all make it easy. Make it easy.

Brian Charlesworth  56:58  

Are you guys all going to go back to episode number one of this startup hustle podcast? Or are you going to start right now is based on Matt's advice. He's saying start right now. But I think you're going to start and then you're going to say, You know what, I'm going to so much I'm going to go back?

Matt DeCoursey  57:13  

Well, we intentionally have, there are almost no episodes that have company names, or guest names. And so we did it on purpose when we knew we wanted to step up. So we went from like, sporadically to two days a week to three days a week to four days a week to five days a week. And there's a lot in the feed. So you know, it's like if I put your name, I put Sisu in there. And then there's very little space left for what we're going to talk about. It makes it really difficult for people to go through a long list. Yeah, it also ruins your SEO value. By the way, there's a little hint for you. Because you know, so So you look through and if you and you make it easy for people that so you can go to startup hustle, look through the feed, and you can find all kinds of topics and all kinds of things. And you know what, some of them are captivating for some listeners, and some of them will never be touched by others. It just says what it is. So we look at it as a library.

Brian Charlesworth  58:09  

Well, Matt, I could spend hours here talking to you. I've got I mean, as I'm talking to you, I just keep having things come to mind. It's like, okay, I'm asking, I want to ask him about that. But what I'm gonna do is I'm just gonna tell our listeners to go search your podcast, listen to it, if they're not already listening to it, and do exactly what you just said, find the areas that are of interest to you. Because I mean, Matt has a wealth of knowledge, which he just dropped a little clue around SEO, but Sales and Marketing and Entrepreneurship. Those are his expertise, which, you know, everybody listening to this, you guys are in a sales business. So everyone in business is in a sales business and a marketing business. So if you don't know sales and marketing, those are things you absolutely must learn. So, Matt, hey, it's been really fun just getting to know you. And, you know, I know we've worked with you for a long time. It's been primarily my business partner, Frank leading that. And anyway, excited, like you said, once I have somebody on the show, I always have a different relationship with them. And it's special. I love it. So thank you so much for being on the show today. I really, really value your time and value what you shared with us today. So thank you so much. 

Matt DeCoursey  59:22  

Thank you.

Some people go into real estate as sales people, while others are in it to build a business.  And for those who choose the latter, most of them would agree that starting their own business is not for the faint of heart.


Yet, for those who have what it takes, building a real estate business is a very lucrative endeavor.  Most especially for those who are able to scale at a massive rate in a short span of time.


In Kenny Truong’s case, he knew how to leverage technology and tools in such a way that he was able to scale his real estate business from 56 Million to over 670 Million in sales in less than 2 years. 


Join Brian Charlesworth and Kenny Truong as they discuss the things that Kenny did in order to scale his business, and end up running FAST REAL ESTATE which is the #1 highest producing sales team at EXP Realty, the #1 fastest growing real estate company in the world.

Top Takeaways:


03:47 How Kenny first started in real estate

05:04 The story behind the FAST brand

06:57 Why he prefers to post on Instagram stories over any other platform

11:14 When did Kenny decide to build his real estate business

13:23 Most innovative agent of the year by INMAN

15:17 What Kenny does to attract agents to join his team

23:36 FAST REAL ESTATE’s org chart

35:59 How FAST REAL ESTATE is going to hit 300% growth this year

36:05 Why retention is key

42:16 Kenny’s last piece of advice to people who are building a business.

Get in touch with Kenny Truong






About the guest:


Kenny Truong came into real estate fresh out of college 12 years ago.  After working as a real estate assistant for a year, he got his real estate license and started working for a boutique company.


It took him over a year to make his first sales.  After several months he was able to sell 24 homes. His number kept growing year over year that he quickly became the #1 agent in Washington State. 


On his third year in business, he focused on marketing and branding and decided to post on social media using the hashtag #FASTAGENT.  From then on, the name stuck and he was sometimes referred to as Kenny “FAST”, which became a fitting description to his straightforward approach in delivering results to his clients


Kenny has ranked as the #1 agent in Oakland since 2011 and was named INMAN News’ Most Innovative Broker/Agent in 2015.


Today, Kenny Truong is the Founder and Team Leader at Fast Real Estate where they focus on surpassing their client’s expectations by leveraging local market knowledge combined with systems and technology to help them through their buying/selling journey.

Episode Transcript:

Brian Charlesworth  0:35  

Alright, hello, everyone. And welcome back to the Grit Podcast. Today. I'm here with Kenny Truong. And I am Brian Charlesworth, founder of Sisu and your host of the show, and really excited to be here with Kenny today. I've watched Kenny just scale his business massively over the last four years since Sisu has been around. And it's been fun to see Kenny, so congratulations on all of your success. First of all, Kenny has a team called Fast Real Estate so so anything with fast is Kenny. So we'll talk about that a minute and talk about how he got that. But Kenny is in Oakland, he's been the number one team in Oakland many years there. And he came into real estate straight out of college. And he's always been known for leveraging his technology and tools and really just scaling fast. Can you how many agents do you have now?


Kenny Truong  1:27  

We're falling around. Luckily, our team is like actual team members, I think we're at like 274 right now.


Brian Charlesworth  1:33  

Okay, so 274 agents on a team. I don't think very many of you have ever heard of 274 agents being on a team before. So it's massive. So we're gonna dive in today and learn how Kenny's done that and how he continues to grow and what his vision is of the future. Can he is there anything you want to share just further about that? Or maybe you could give us a little background on when you got out of college, just a high level I


Kenny Truong  2:00  

Got college. College, so not I mean, I think I'm pretty smart, but maybe not a book smart person. Four years can be college, no, maybe three years, many colleges and then three years at State College at Hayward, but then kind of became University of East Bay is a commuter school didn't really make many friends. They're mostly traveling. I graduated with a business degree and a marketing degree. So it fits pretty nicely what I guess what I'm doing now, because the product I'm selling in business, and marketing is myself on my sales team. did that. I think I was like, 24, we got out. So maybe 2006 2008 ish, but then I got into real estate about 12 years ago, I think.


Brian Charlesworth  2:42  

Okay, so it's interesting, you know, I think real estate used to be viewed as you get into real estate, you're a salesperson, and now, it's still true for a lot of people. But a lot of people get into real estate to build a business. And obviously, that's what you did. And it's a totally different approach. Coming in to build a business versus coming in to sell some real estate.


Kenny Truong  3:06  

Yeah, definitely, I think people and still holds true to say, people kind of want to get into real estate sales to you know, build relationships and got me I remember like 10 years ago, there wasn't really any technology, like Trulia and Zillow, and Redfin just came out maybe that year there wasn't even a CRM for real estate there was barely any tools you can use all it was really, you know, face to face on the phone, you call people, you meet with people, you network to really build it to sell real estate, which is sad is the business but it's hard to build that type of business because it wasn't really many systems. And other than, you know, just getting in front of people unless you were doing our deals, which is a whole different ballgame.


Brian Charlesworth  3:46  

Cool. So you started when you first started in real estate, actually my understanding is you personally sold a lot of homes. Is that true?


Kenny Truong  3:55  

Yeah, I am. Tell me over about a year to make my first sale. So I kind of blanked it out my like doubt in my mind, I made about a $60,000 sale. I literally felt like a show that guy like over 70 homes, we finally made an offer a couple offers lowball everything. And then we sold them the home didn't want to inspections and I found some stuff later, but 1000s Were not how the market was back then. But when I finally did sell real estate in doing my nine transactions, my first two months I started in March that year, if I didn't count that small August sale, which obviously real estate sale, but from March to the end of the year, I ended up selling about 24 homes next year total. So 25 homes. After that, I think I did about like 49 or 52 homes and then they quickly became the number Washington the state of at least last week I checked, it became the number one agent in Oakland for buyers represented that year in the next three, four years. Going back 12 years. I still hold that title to this day only up ahead by maybe four or five sales in Oakland. It's funny because actually, the MLS says I've only sold one house in Oakland to a buyer two years so I haven't sold in two years. I'm still ahead by just a little bit I'll lose the title pretty soon.


Brian Charlesworth  5:03  

All right, so how did you come up with FAST? Because if you showed however many homes to this first-person and sold one home your first year, you didn't start out so fast. But now you know I, whenever I think of you, I actually think of you as Kenny fast, you know? So it's fast. It's but team fast. It's fast agent. It's fast real estate. How did you come up with this? And how did you get to move so fast? Because you


Kenny Truong  5:29  

I mean, hashtags are started starting become a thing. Like the first, I signed up for Instagram, whether it was even on the iPhone. So that's kind of boring because I had an HTC Thunderbolts Android. So between Android and iPhone, my first five years, I think, were just for fun. But so hashtags were the thing. Twitter just came out, couldn't even use hashtags on Facebook or Instagram. As I was posting photos online and started tagging and fast agent. And I had bought it in five, I dropped my old cards I've always had, I've had sports cars, like Supra and WX stuff. But I've had a license plate that says F five t AGMT. Fast agent. And then as a web, I started using this as like a branding thing. So starting that tagging everything I had that same time on Instagram, also tagging food pictures, if you go look up hashtag fat agent, obviously hundreds of pictures of really poor quality pictures, because this is 10 years ago, a food but then that's our email newsletter campaign and different marketing and they kind of just build up the fast Asian brand. So I've been doing this fast Asian brand for over. Yeah, over a decade now. Things started in my third-year business.


Brian Charlesworth  6:30  

Oh, well, let me ask you, How many followers do you have on social? Let's just say, Instagram as an example,


Kenny Truong  6:37  

Instagrams, my main one about 12,200, I think, and Facebook, I think have 4900. But I haven't used Facebook in probably like three or four years like actually use it. Yeah. I have almost 5000 followers on that.


Brian Charlesworth  6:51  

Okay. So the one thing I've noticed about you, and I'm one of your followers, so thank you. The one thing I've noticed about you is your story is usually like some people, most people usually I'm one of those has one, one or two or three things on their story. Your story has like 30 things on it. So yeah, like that's a big part of what you do. And I think obviously, I think people I know I do I personally watch people's stories more than I scroll down, right? I mean, because video is more interesting, right? 


Kenny Truong  7:25  



Brian Charlesworth  7:26  

So talk to us about that and how you started doing that.


Kenny Truong  7:30  

I started doing stories. When it came out. People on Snapchat, I never really had been the big Snapchat fan. My friends were on it when I first hopped on Instagram stories, like why are you on it? We're over here. I was like, well, you can only pick up you can't pick up followers on Snapchat because all your friends, but the development that I'm in my stories are pretty raw. I like it because waffles are more edited and created. It's just that I don't really care for lights and that this is actually not my opinion. But this is the direction of the industry. And funnily enough, just a couple of days ago, it's going to change there on the stories and so say how many people watch your story to change the word activity actually want people to stop caring about how many people watch a story. And then I think half a year or a year ago in Brazil and some markets, Instagram or super influencers actually got rid of how many likes, they have the number of likes, so people really care for engagement. I've always built my business like that. So if you look on my wall, you're wondering like how I do what I do, because there's nothing on there. It's something I posted twice in the last year like like, I don't get it. Why would Kenny be a social influencer on Instagram, it's because I post 3050 times a day on stories and 100 times if I'm at a mastermind and I really go behind the scenes on how I build my business. Currently, I'm in the last year I was the number two agent at the speed for sales volume. Secondly, one of my mentors Daniel beer quite in fact, actually, I think that's where GCI so in fact, I think we should sell number two GCI is a Bronco figure that 70 million last year, my team sold 673 point 9 million. So I get to show like, the behind the scenes of how we're running our businesses this week. You know, we're recruiting pretty heavily, we brought on over 50 sales agents to our team this year, when people leave, you know, I don't know who has it costing this I haven't seen it, I leave I posted but I won't disclose her name, but I post what they sowed, and you know, but also talked about how you have to hire new talent, how we're hiring wise, according to increase yourself culture of the company and things we're doing last year, like transparently the stuff we see on this ground, we lost over $105 million in production. But not many people would be open to sharing that being business vulnerability. It's not me I don't care. But this year, we actually recruit over $100 million in agent production just between six or seven agents. And I talked about how we're entering these agents. That's a 30 million producer, this and this and this was what we're offering them this is what they're asking for. This is how we can support them. So you're not going to get bad transparency from anywhere else on Instagram stories. You would and can come to these podcasts, but you don't know where you're going to expect Right, you have to listen to him. Listen to this, you hear what I just said. So on stories day to day people get kind of see how we run operations and several projects we're working on this morning, by the screenshots of a Hayward office, can we have more retail spaces, we're opening up an office in Hayward kind of freaked me out. And I bet construction costs will be 150 1000. construction cost would be 283,000. So I posted it on my site, this is a well actually cost build an office. And this is what we're working on and such. So you're not going to get the behind the scenes of an actually true operator on Instagram walls, or any type of social media, except that, put the snapshot so people who want to see that happen to follow pretty not digitally, but pretty consistently to even get back in 24 hours, that story's gone. Like I'm not I might share it again in the future. But today was the only time I'll share that cost because I found that that cost at the same time that my audience is running out. So it's like the actual reality show because you're not planning ahead and making something cool or hip that you know, gets engagement. This is life is happening. And this is what we're doing.


Brian Charlesworth  11:02  

Yeah. So it's its current relevant information. Right? Yeah. So how did you decide to start doing that? Because and maybe back up a little bit like, when did you decide that you wanted to build a business instead of selling real estate?


Kenny Truong  11:20  

I mean, when I first started, so I worked, it was good. I started kind of a small broker shop. Michael Chan's real estate only had six agents before the market crashed. My broker had over I think 200 agents in his office but then doing six, so started from scratch. And then I saw how he was running a shoe business using up flips. A lot of acquisitions, buying REOs selling he, I think I was the number one agent and at least in my immediate area selling over 100 homes a year. So I saw like, lead gen and prospecting and flow. Because you know, when you work with a bank, people submit something, you get something you wait to hear back, and so on. Right? It's a workflow. So I took a lot of his listings I posted and I manually put posted them on Trulia and Zillow, but there's no syndication between them less I posted them and then blogged about it and then I went to Craigslist and create these ads and they get what and that else precision my marketing have an ID X site that I saw someone San Diego has. And so this is how far technology is behind. There's no ID excise. I was the first person I knew in my own market. Id so so when you're doing stuff like that you're not really thinking about people. Yes, real estate you're selling, you know, you're meeting people and stuff. But I was like, How do I get leads? How do I put them in the system? How do I finance them to the next stage and how like close this person now they repeat that over and over. So I think that's as soon as I really got into real estate, I kind of felt the business ball format. And before that, I picked up a computer for fifth-grade windows like 14.4k modem, Windows 95 just came out that year. So I started building computers in middle school and I spend most of my time in computer shells, and building websites. You know, Angel Fire geo city had a close-angle blog, Zanka MySpace, this is actually like, true social media right before those pictures. I've been doing all that. And then when they got those, they kind of combined all the things I knew and had done, you know, and kind of tried to turn like technology and processes into real estate versus now people are trying to turn to real estate businesses into a business and systems.


Brian Charlesworth  13:21  

Yeah. So Inman gave you the most innovative agent of the year for your marketing and systems. So like, how did that happen? Because there aren't a lot of agents getting recognized by Inman,


Kenny Truong  13:34  

um, Lots of things I did. Like, without diving too deep. Like I did unique things no other agents were doing like my email campaigns with fast Asian every week to the pop culture topic, where there's Coca Cola or, or movie with the rock or Playboy or on Zion man, whatever it was, I just changed it to a fast agent, branding, no copyright infringement, and we had trouble for it. But that's what it looked like. I actually did a couple of 100 newsletters every single week to make six or seven hours theme for that. And then in the streets of Oakland, I had 100 bench ads as I started with 10 That's just the fast agent on and nothing else. And then my Facebook, I took a lot of I did a lot of Facebook advertising pushing zip codes and new content promoting loan stuff. So then the newsletters were posted on like, Facebook and Twitter, and LinkedIn. So combining all of that into a system and then what before there wasn't any. There wasn't really API's and stuff so like hacking together, you know, Zapier, where the leads were coming from Zillow and get, get added to MailChimp and I get added to real scout and watch my newsletter and they get my ads with the same database on Facebook. None of this is revolutionary now, but I was one of the first people to kind of do all that to mind you know visual marketing and appeal with some actual you know, marketing in the streets. We were people have not seen that before and combining with online so I want to work for the kind of mismatching all that fun stuff together.


Brian Charlesworth  14:59  

Okay. So, Kenny moving over, you're an attractor, you have 270 agents, you have people. You know, you have an ops team, you have a leadership team, you have ISAs, setting up your sales team. So you've actually built a true business. And so, like, what have you done to attract all these agents? And also, what have you done to attract your team that's actually there to support you and let you go be Kenny fast, right? 


Kenny Truong  15:26  

Yeah, um, I mean, number one would just mean being very sunlight. I mean, I didn't do my myself I'm I've tried to over 90 for almost 100 people to exp so which then most allowed half of our my team. But very neat, as I said earlier, being very visible on social media in the stories, but my team is constantly creating content. So we're the most visible team. Also, I think we're the most visible team in the nation for social media. If you go to hash it fast and take a look or go to my app can be super fast and Sue I'm tagged in. So helping our agents create really cool content has been really attractive to team members. And as we've evolved, and we've evolved very quickly, because we came to exp with 10 team members two years ago, two years and one month, and now we're not where we are now, early on pandemic when everything is in shelter in place, and then the market is frozen, did about 70 webinars, I personally hosted about half of them. And I constantly was tagging like the top 1% agents in my marketplace and 20 people will hop on Zoom call. And then I would tag them on Facebook and get one see my page and then every week like Stardew Valley that immense I'd like three tech tools. Today we're gonna go out over this and people come crawling or motivation and also are top 1%, Alameda County top 1% These are broker-owners or top team rich leaders. So Kazi bringing that really got me on the map early on, the leader is adding resources now currently today, like our biggest value-added why we're attracting top top top talent over $20 million. And plus all the time is with another really big Junior leadership team and resources. For example, we have four essays. They were for free for agents that they want in our database. We have an in-house videographer we hired a week a month ago, we have Senior Market Manager created really cool content. Or like one of the best internal newsletters we've seen like we did five weeks and now building really cool content. We're doing stuff like last time we saw we did a photo shoot on Valentine's Day on a backdrop of people holding a flower it was super cute had a huge engagement for our teams for free. And then now we're doing for St Patrick's holding events here at the office. We have four really great results. office spaces right now we're working for more so we're in a 9000 square foot warehouse right now it looks like check out kind of your was it Sisu that Corgi space you have I saw some glimpse like this is raw concrete and brick and wood. So it's really one there. We've had things like Tom Ferry's success summit where 80 agents showed up, we had the elite retreat where we do top producers dinner recognizing our top six agents and they bring a guest. We do hussars lunch, we have one-two days go where we talk, we pick our top four people from all four categories that we choose from that have made the most calls, appointments, hours working in your business or working on your business from the Sisu stats and taking them out for lunch. And we just we're not there's like 30 people outside right now at the foundation work class. So we're constantly hat. Last week we did BarCamp we did a bar camp where it was. We had the timer on the screen. And we had squid games, music, and background that came in the jumpsuit we had Korean food in Korean beer afterwards. So just making it a very fun place to be is why we've been able to attract a lot of talent and coaching calls a couple of times a week, team meetings, and just really being that resource or resource we're doing something no other team has done in our area is when you call these masterminds and you learn, okay, this company does this, this company does this have this? Well, a top producer earning three, four or five grand a year can't do that. And then and then that. And then if they do want to do that, they have to hire someone to figure it out and then train them, which is away from production. So I've done a session this company is about production. I'll do like one or two deals a month tops like I really try not to do any transactions. But I go to these masterminds, I see a great idea I implement to our company. Now our team members, whether they're new or experienced, they have all the resources that a top mega team leader has, which is impossible to get because you know for some of the copy replicator systems would literally cost them millions and millions of dollars. But that's what we spent building this out last year.


Brian Charlesworth  19:24  

Yeah. So I love it because you go to masterminds, a lot of people go to masterminds and come back and don't implement 


Kenny Truong  19:31  

We implement while we're there. Like it's screenshots, screenshots admin team added to the Monday project board. So we have I mean, we usually have like 1520 projects right now working with you guys. We were onboarding we onboard the agents this year. Imagine how much of a show that could be. So we were onboarding with a spreadsheet for the longest and a year and a half ago. We start using Asana, which has been good, and now we're using Sisu where we break it into five parts and we're doing stages where unlock certain things and now We literally started on board a couple of weeks ago, and then we moved our entire roster of our agents, you can actually go join Team Fast and check it out, move that over to Monday this week. So we're constantly like, you know, looking for bigger and better systems to move to, to kind of increase the flow because on board. Now back, there was a really big deal number five agents a month because I mean, who's that advantageous to your team? Right? That's pretty good. Well, we added 35 in January, and I think we had like 25, or something I don't even know. But we're just constantly flowing people in and the game set up so that that's some stuff we're doing. And that's why we're able to track it. We don't we're really strong on the visual attraction getting people hyped up we have a community which many companies don't really focus on yet. Culture is great culture looks sexy hair by the vibe, the community a lot has to do with like in-person events, people like I went snowboarding randomly within a couple of hours. Notice it's raining really bad here. My team members were here like 10 of us went sober yesterday. We just ran decided to go yesterday, like within an hour notice of the big fork and I saw that two more agents went to like tile together better friends. So our agents here hang out with each other a lot. So that's a lot different from our people are missing that this year. I think if people want to focus on growing this year, it's really, really community. Because you know, you can make that make friends or resume.


Brian Charlesworth  21:15  

Yeah. Yeah. So you are excellent at implementing from masterminds, you also go to a lot of masterminds and events. How much do you spend a year do you think going to events?


Kenny Truong  21:30  

Not too much. I know like two years ago, my expenses are maybe like 20, grand or less? Because events are expensive. You're looking at? Well, I mean, depends Are you talking to right? But a ticket usually costs $1,000 I'm glad this just before our actual recording, I said I'm going to the Realty One Group summit cuz I like going to other people's stuff, too. I've been Realogy, I made all this like the ticket. There's like $600 Hotel is 150 a night, you know, you're there for four days, and the end the flights, like 300 bucks, you're not in it for more than like two grand. And imagine you got to refer out that conference, right. So that I think I think I was traveling about 130 days of the year, this year. There's something about that. So I'm traveling about a third of the year. And the reason why a lot of agents follow me is I go to these conferences, and I take notes fiercely like I'm like on my laptop and my phone, I'm screenshotting doing my commentary, taking something down, and at the end of it uploaded to Dropbox, having those somewhere in Google Drive, also my Dropbox or send out people I think will appreciate it. So I have a hit list. As a recruiter, I have a hit list of over 150 people that would like to bring to the company. So when there's information that I think can help their business, I'll take some minutes, send it to them. And then people just watching for free along the way on some stories. I meet people all time that will tell me to screenshot on my stuff. And like I'm not the one on stage speaking. I'm just taking notes. I'm taking a lot of log notes. I'm trying to reach out to almost everything I see or take pictures of speakers. And no one else is doing that. I've been to tons of conferences and no one is purposely doing that. But I personally have been doing that for over a decade. So like that's my that's how I build my businesses, bringing value to people, but also like, you know, because I don't sell real estate, all I do is study real estate.


Brian Charlesworth  23:05  

Yes. Interesting. So how big is your team? I mean, just support. Just onboarding that many agents and then managing that many transactions.


Kenny Truong  23:19  

If you've been enjoying Grit, please help us continue to grow the channel by leaving a five-star review and sharing it with a friend. Now back to Grit.


Brian Charlesworth  23:28  

Like, yeah, I think is your team to be able to do all that?


Kenny Truong  23:32  

Support team? 


Brian Charlesworth  23:33  



Kenny Truong  23:33  

I think we have 25 people on payroll right now. If you go to, the org chart is actually on here. I'm not sharing rights. I do. I can walk through just quickly without 


Brian Charlesworth  23:45  

Sure. What's the website you said to go to?


Kenny Truong  23:48 


Brian Charlesworth  23:50  



Kenny Truong  23:51  

So here's me, visionary. I haven't said I didn't fully study us yet. But I learned I've learned a lot from my mentors. So we have two departments. We have operations departments as seen on this left side where we have a director agent services Molly, she's the one that handles all the onboarding. So she was doing all the onboarding recently which onboarding is getting them in a system signing up for all our tools saying their email addresses up saying there for sale sign or templates or riders? You know, getting a real scout and Sisu and Ylopo and Slack and Monday all that good stuff. And then retweet and it's constantly being built out and she, her sister was rescued her sisters and all the technical stuff I just mentioned and Andrea Dre Henan is handling like you just have questions you can expect them one just to learn from a video. So she handles all the one-on-one calls. Hey, I have that deeper question about this and that. Our market manager just joined us a couple of months ago. She handles our internal stuff, and we have big projects all the time. Karina is our kind of executive director she started as my assistant but now she kind of she's kind of like our in-house broker handling all the contract questions got them in and stuff like that. We have an in-house in that used to work for me now she works for the company, Laura's human Operations Coordinator, she handles all the payroll paychecks and stuff like that, which is Leary a full-time job in itself. So last year, we closed 884 transactions and you know, splits change last minute, there are mentorship fees, referrals out stuff like that. So it's a lot to deal with. This year, our goal is to sell close to 3000 homes. Rebecca as we have a couple like mobile assistants versus system, we have a team of virtual assistants, and the cool part about them, they actually were for the agents too. They just need anything like hey, I need something changed on Canva I need to get all the data from this website on the spreadsheet I need to make some changes on our we're doing like an audit right now. And our agents were googling every agent and making sure they're changing all the information on Yelp and LinkedIn and stuff. You'd be surprised how bad that is. We have just here for two years I still shows a different brokerage. My brother was working for me as a kind of like building coordinator. He handles all of our retail spaces restocking AV equipment events. More recently, we hired Patrick as our videographer, which is a great good. We're now we're doing big marketing campaigns for the company. We're not doing anything unique yet. Example. First week was here we shot 10 videos for Black History Month featuring our black agents about their businesses. He's editing this weekend we're on at least release all the videos out same time. We did Valentine's Day campaign where a bunch of people just came in and took these really cute pictures filming a flower with the letter boards is you know Valentine's Day on think backdrop. So it's really unique content without our company branding, which I really like that we have is a department with five people had eyes a few that actually causes managers a program. He gets paid an override on every obsidian Ojo Labs deal but he manages all four I say that I pay for coaching training department director lies pricing on tons of our coaching calls, leads off most of our training, coaching productivity and such. He does all was in the one-on-one meetings. But now we recently hired Eric Kang, a $21 million agent and start year to handle one on ones with newer agents teaching classes in our boot camps. We're running a seven-week boot camp right now, alongside the Head of Education, mentorship. And so even though the company has what recruiting, so we're doing probably like six years 70 or 80 recruiting calls a month right now I personally am on 30 to 40. I only handle referrals from other agents, team members or high-level producers, many homeless people we have partnerships to real estate school channels, other real estate schools, and newbies and ISAs handles and makes up the referrals and some there. So that's our ops team. So currently, I have 25 people on ops. 


Brian Charlesworth  27:37  

Okay. So I mean, I just wanted you to share that because that's a big team to support that many people. And it sounds like you're using about four, four software platforms. I think I heard you talk about?


Kenny Truong  27:48  

At least Monday is our internal stuff. Slack is where we talk to each other. And then like the client, the agent stuff is like they use Follow up boss. Why don't we use my local for them they use. Follow-up Boss, Sisu, Real Scout and High Note, those are the core products they use. And we have other stuff too. But that's the main dashboard.


Brian Charlesworth  28:11  

Okay, interesting. So me and Karina here's the end in two years you've gone from very small to you did 884 transactions, congratulations. That's awesome, by the way, like that's huge, amazing growth,


Kenny Truong  28:29  

Our average agent does, our average agent does over seven deals a year, including people that do no deals. So we're really productive.


Brian Charlesworth  28:37  

So you've gone from the net, now you're saying most people that I know, most of our Sisu customers double their business every year. So our typical Sisu customer would say I'm going to go from 880 to you know 1700. And you're saying I'm going from 880 to 3000? 


Kenny Truong  28:56  

Yeah, we did. I mean, the year before we joined eXp, we're gonna climb basically shut down. And that's why I had to make move, not going to dive in there. We did 88 transactions at 56 million. And our first year here, you know, there's not our business being done between January and June, by the way, because COVID But we did. We did 188 deals at 126 Point 9 million last year. And then this previous year, we did 693 million that yeah, 693.9 or something million was in 84 deals. This year. Our goal is 2 billion. We're a little behind. We're actually at 150 million pending closer to year then close like 78 which is a lot by the way, but we're only double last year I was expecting triple last year throughout the year. So y'all are catching up to do but our goal this year was 2 billion. I think it's very possible still just have the training recovery now, you know, bring is the secret and there's really gonna be bringing top talent bringing in the people who are already doing 20-30 Like we're talking to a 20, 30, and 60 million producer right now like we've had a couple of meetings. So that's the secret sauce and really gain that and you can't attract that type of talent without the resources. So the challenge we're constantly having a question we know that so working relationship team like we are we is like that joining fast. So I think it's great for new agents, but someone higher up, it's okay, how are you really, really like getting to the next level, a lot of is gonna be leveraged systems holding them accountable. Maybe they want to start farming campaign that they will get it running for you will hold our assistants accountable. We'll do it for you, we charge it we'll send you a bill. Like that's everyone knows what they need to do. But I just don't have time today. But how great would be if you had to resort to the entire resource operations team that you, we strategize your game plan for a year we'll sit down and really, really dive deep again, all that stuff done that you want to do, because then you have someone like myself that understands it and nonproduction to spend the time helping you do that. And it's like from our like high-level resource people. Up until so like first-year quickly. Create is just me Karina, in June, we hired the sales director in August, we hired a marketing assistant. Now she does onboarding, we have been September, we hired a trainer. Now he's a third-year ops, those are first hires. But since last year, within last five months, between August and out was when we hired our lead scientist, our Senior Market Manager, our videographer, our mentorship person and development. So we've made five key hires all within the last couple of months. And this is the next step in our business to be able to track like really, really big agents because we have it because you know, like a lot of companies out there a great like sites, I bring up satellite because they help agents kind of shift brands and create their own brand in the box. But then what's next right now, especially that team, there's a recruiter is your brokerage. What do you do? You recruit? You want to get production? Yeah, the recruit? But now they're freaking out, Hey, I get it. Now we need to hire a marketing person for a team. Now you did it for Well, we're ahead of the curve. We have this like, why would you want to start your own team? And then we have really competitive split Sue? What the rest of the market on par with all the big brands out here? So why wouldn't you just plug in all the stuff I mentioned, it's free. There are actually no additional costs. We're not paying for your farming, but we'll get done for you and charge you. But all the stuff that we have doesn't cost you a thing, like the virtual assistants ISA team game, your marketing done helping you create your personal brand, we don't charge extra for that. So we were really trying to make ourselves the destination spot for all top agents. And we have something very unique that no other company is doing, or they haven't yet.


Brian Charlesworth  32:29  

But you do I mean the number of people you have there working to provide the services. I mean, looking at your org chart, there was pretty amazing, honestly. So 


Kenny Truong  32:41  

It's something one of the big hires we had in addition, we've hired everyone within we have not hired single other virtual assistants, right. It's just assistants and you know, the key hires we have on our leadership team and a junior leadership team all came internally. So something we've done too with our junior leadership team is given them a higher commission split and a salary. So they part the part-time work for us doing what they like. So that's something known companies I've seen as a will offer. So as we grow, I don't know what the next five hires or eight hires will have this year is but if we're going to get to we're getting our pilot 600 agents by this year, I think we'll actually be closer to 700. But we're adding over 400 team members this year, like there's gotta be at least 5678 more key hires in there, based on people's existing talent that we can help them grow the company and they also get compensated for it.


Brian Charlesworth  33:27  

So you're growing from 200 to 600 agents this year. Yeah. Which is so impressive, like you think you think at a much higher level than pretty much any team I've


Kenny Truong  33:37  

Our geographic reach that does help us a lot. Many of you guys may understand the Bay Area, landscape, actual physical geographic location, but every 20, 30 minutes is a completely different market. I've only sold a home in this city in that city, 20 minutes from away from me, I'll fix our homes I've sold. So we have retail offices, like I'll say one little snippet north for me, we actually will have an office within half-hour every single office. So we'll have a retail spaces. So we kind of mimic or my goal is going to be like a regional KW franchise owner, except they don't compete with each other. But how cool would it be? You know, KW is different right? I use that a lot like this your Office experience with this office and that office will be different because owned by different owners, different sales team different whatever managers, different agents, yes, on the logo is the same as actually a completely different company. Right. So as we're running, you know, we'd like to get to eight to 14 locations by probably July this year, what eight or nine being retail spaces where agents come in, they can work at any office, it's the same agents at each office. You know, obviously, people go to each one a little more frequently. They can feel welcome. And at home at every office, you're working with the same administration team and operations team, same marketing. And we also encourage personal branding, which I won't dive into here, but same marketing, same systems. So that's why we're going so big to just because we have reached someone in our way in each direction, will introduce us to other agents, and now, each direction, versus if you work specifically in Utah, and I don't, I don't know, what's an hour, two hours next to Utah. So like, you can't really recruit that agent, because then they're too far. But here like we're, we're expanding where we can recruit agents like literally anywhere geographically.


Brian Charlesworth  35:19  

Yeah, makes sense. So most people, if they said, I'm going to double my business this year, I wouldn't even know here on February 24, that their pacing, they said they're going to triple it, they wouldn't know that they're pacing, actually to double it, like you said. And if they did know that, they would probably adjust their goals to double it instead of triplet, and you're all about, we're going to triple it. So you've given it you've given us a lot of things that, that you're doing to do that. Obviously, you're recruiting top talent to your team, your recruiting top agents, what else are some of the key things you're doing to really make sure you hit that 300% this year?


Kenny Truong  36:05  

Retention, we are definitely having issues with retention. So in the last two years, we lost about 46 agents, but we also put them in a spreadsheet, look at why we lost them. About half of them aren't in business anymore. So can't, we can't do anything about that. Like we lost 8 agents last week between the 8 a that 10 deals last year, no actually no, sorry. Two agents if I deals and four doesn't do anything. So that's a big deal for other teams. Well, you know, but we really just need one agent to place 10. So retention is key, making sure agents rank gauge, doing workshops around them recognition, featuring them on newsletters, featuring on newsletters, highlighting them every week, our team meeting, having a word ceremony, having them be speakers at our events, hiring them, so they can also do agent attraction. This is not something new, this is something new to us. So even though we have also, we now feature our top agents for the month, we have a full Instagram ad, we just make fun of comes in and do that because usually kind of a neat, right? It's like great like I'm a KW is the worst as an orange badge, I think was here was like emblem like NorCal. Hawaii has like, why would you post this, but we have something pretty sexy looking that we highlight our top agents for each mine like top five units, I'll find volume. So we make it look good too. And we timer thing. So recognition is really key. Recognition creates retention, and also like opportunities. We increased our splits this year in January for the very first time. So we go anywhere from 75 to 90 based on GCI. So that's that's been big for us for retention, and then creating leadership opportunities in the future and letting people know we're always constantly looking for leaders, but people have to show up first contribute to company and we could find them a row. So there's a couple three, four people we've identified that really want to help the company and they're they're the ones leaving leading conversations within our meetings and coaching calls and training. They're they're stepping out of their way to help other agents or mentors. We have 30 mentors in our company with 100 mentees 10% split on that. So people who are showing up and helping are a lot so we really, when we're doing Zilla squats, we stopped that program. And we have squats for where micro-groups, micro accountability groups were their own custom names and stuff. We when we were on the cosmic justice, why leaders, we really focus on the five levels of leadership. So we're we're bringing in outside training into the company because our three goals this year for a company is to focus on helping our agents start to build teams that were being enough to I don't need any recognition, federal safety fast, great, whatever. But now we want teams within the team, you know, look for resources to by the way, you don't go and build it with teams within team and really helping our agents learn to leverage the system. So many, many rages now have their own version systems. They like ours and like they use ours, but they realize there's a queue right? They don't want things to wait, because why wouldn't you just go hire your own virtual assistants for five bucks an hour and share with another agent. And so we're really teaching agents how to do that. And then we're at some point where to launch a training program where our assistants can train other assistants inside of the company. So agents just don't like love selling real estate they can become assistants within a company will train them and depending on what they charge, maybe different tiers of what they do. And if there will be an interaction because obviously eXp that's an opportunity here.


Brian Charlesworth  39:18  

Interesting I've never heard someone talk about agents getting their own ba but that's very interesting and a lot of them are a very easy concept to execute on right? 


Yeah, I think my recruiter likes using my VA but my knees were calves I have like six VAs, I share one of them I could choose when to be fired for other agents so things don't get done right away. Now, one of the recruiters has their own assistants virtual assistant and now more recently we hired a licensed his own assistant, but our market managers are being swamped, like the market manager is great at pre-projects but she shouldn't be the one to implement every single picture. A this is a marketing campaign we need 10 Top Producer things which that person doesn't need to pick a picture yes as a minute, but how great would be, hwe have virtual assistants doing that? Now she'll share the system with allies until she gets so busy, then we get another system. Because it's all bottles, I mean, at scale at this point, and this is not something, well, this is something other teams are figuring out, right? If you're a teenager trying to figure this out, you can't support a Top Producing agent on your team and how to do it because you haven't done it yourself. And as a parent is all I do, so we're copying the systems and leveraging it downwards. So the team understands how to build systems. 


Yeah, awesome. So Kenny, just a couple more things. Tell me how you spend your time. You guys have so much going on that? Like how do you prioritize your time and stay out of the weeds? 


Kenny Truong  40:34  

Ladies department really makes decisions. I'm usually the final say when it comes to things but I'm not. I don't really die. I'm not really an implementation stage. We do. Get example we did. We just started three weeks ago. Because our ops team is so big now. Right? Like 25 bucks. Now we have weekly meetings on Wednesday for half an hour. And we just talked for two minutes. They know what we're doing. And then I have conversations with different departments. But every time we're a conversation, it might be me and Molly in talks to this person. And then me and John, me and John and Ben, there ISA person and Eric Spellman. We have all the flex stuff. So we have different departments handle different things. That's how you multiply your time, right?


Brian Charlesworth  41:14  

Yeah, exactly. Last thing, just a few personal questions for you Kenny. What's your favorite book to read or favorite source of learning?


Kenny Truong  41:24  

Masterminds. I'm really, I really audible I was in like, 15-20 books a year. And then a couple years ago, just four books last year, maybe 10. Because I listened to Audible when I drive. I only drive I don't meet with clients. I don't meet with people. So it's really hard for me to get that time. And so I will say actual in person masterminds are my biggest learning source.


Brian Charlesworth  41:41  

Yeah. Awesome. And what's your favorite place to go?


Kenny Truong  41:46  

Lately, it's snowboarding was like five, six, like five times in the last like month. But outside that, I'm usually like if I'm traveling, like being on the beach live in Cabo and Kanku last year, and I'm going to Cabo Cancun like leered in the next 30 days. So I like sunshine. My favorite thing to do on vacation is to do nothing. Like, I don't want I don't I mean, I'll go I don't care to make a schedule. have plans on average, just like seeing the same hotel room doing nothing?


Brian Charlesworth  42:10  

Yeah, well, good. I'll see you on the beach in Cancun. Yeah. Great. Last piece of advice you have for anybody out there just on building a business. I mean, you have scaled this up faster than I think than I've ever seen in real estate. So congratulations to you on that. But what would be your advice for listeners on you know,


Kenny Truong  42:31  

I mean, everything your cost is time or money, right? Something doesn't cost a lot of time, try it out, like, or if you're building out your team, you know, you need to hire people to make decisions for you. And they're going to make bad decisions, but you learn and the faster you make decisions and just pick something unless it's something where you have to pick it and then the consequences require a lot more time to fix than then maybe give that a more thinking. And by that, I built my businesses trying everything out. I wasted a ton of money on different marketing sources. Last year that didn't work. We tried this system, that system and it worked so like but I'm not the one wasting my time on that system. I pay people to do it now. Like, early on was calling them moving our entire recruiting process. And onboarding process Sisu is gonna save us tons of time and moving our roster, the Monday where the public-facing board instead of a super spreadsheet is going to be great, too. It's like costly just constantly adding more things, but prioritizing projects because you know, it sounds like a lot of things going on. But we have a project say Hey, this is due date in April, we're thinking of doing a swag store, but it's not urgent. It's not like we're fine with that. Let's look at this in June. Let's try this. Or money right now. It causes it took us months and months to build out. But like I want to look at clicked up. I could see everywhere. I feel like new products are usually better. Let's look at click up towards the end of this year, my team would kill me we'd spend months building out and I also won't change by causing so having projects but figure out when you're going to implement it was implemented.


Brian Charlesworth  43:59  

Awesome. Kenny, thank you so much for joining today. Really appreciate it. I again, for the listeners out there. I don't care what business you're in. Being able to scale a business at the rate that Kenny has scaled his business is pretty incredible. So take some of these things. I know Kenny Kenny, is fast and he talks fast. So I recommend I recommend you go back and listen to this one more time. I know I have a full page of notes here in front of me. And hopefully, you will go back and get a full page of notes in front of you as well. A lot of a lot. A lot of great advice here. Kenny. Thanks again for joining. To all of our listeners, thank you for listening today and for getting the word out and just sharing this with others so that we can get more people like Kenny on the show. Have a great week, everyone. We'll catch you guys next week. Thanks again, Kenny. 


Kenny Truong  44:50  

All right. Thanks, Brian.

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