MOBILE HOME PARK FOR SALE

MHP Brokers Tips and Tricks Podcast, Why Lifestyle Design is the Business Wave of the Future

August 14, 2022 by Maxwell Baker

In this episode of The MHP Broker’s Tips and Tricks podcast, Maxwell Baker, president of The Mobile Home Park Broker, will explain the principles of Lifestyle Design and how it creates better work/life balance. Then he’ll offer eight tips that can help get you and your company there.

This and every Tips and Tricks podcast episode are brought to you by The MHP Broker’s’  proprietary Community Price Maximizer. Use this four-step system to get the highest price possible for your mobile home park or RV community when you sell it through The MHP Broker. Guaranteed. Ask Max for details.

Here Are the Show Highlights:

  • Max explains how the lifestyle design concept improved the way he does business. And it supports his belief that the fundamentals of business need to be “boring.” That is, the process should be established and closely followed to avoid unpleasant surprises. (0:58)
  • He discusses how, when he started The MHP Broker in 2009, it was one of three jobs he held down just to survive. He worked 80-hour workweeks and wracked up credit card debt of nearly $30,000. He also had an unreliable partner who soon left the business. (1:46)
  • As difficult as it was, it was what he had to do to keep on going until he could make a success of his company. It’s why people come from all over the world to the U.S. because it really is possible to live the American Dream with a whole lot of hard work. But it wasn’t the life Max wanted to live over the long run. (2:55)
  • Gradually, over time, he came to see how he could gain a better work/life balance by running his business through lifestyle design. He lays out eight concepts of lifestyle design, starting with reading two inspirational and highly recommended books on business: The 4-Hour Workweek, by Tim Ferriss, and The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century, by the noted economist Thomas Friedmann. One lesson he learned from the books was how to work virtually, in collaboration with professionals with unique talents from all over the world. His first and most valuable remote collaborator was a woman from the Philippines who, like Max, regularly turned in 70-hour workweeks. She worked closely with Max for two years and helped him grow his company. The MHP Broker now rents office space in Bangalore, India, and employs a staff of eight there to handle project management, research, property management, accounting, HR, calendar management and other responsibilities that don’t require a physical presence. (3:53)
  • The number two tip for achieving better work/life balance and lifestyle design in work is regular planning. Max and his wife, Kathryn, hold quarterly and annual meetings. The key is to not just plan business activities long-range, but to figure out how to become a better person, as well. (5:21)
  • The number three concept is to treat your employees fairly and better structure your expectations of them. You can do this by expecting them to specialize in one to three areas. In this way, they won’t feel lost or intimidated, and you can expect to see winning results because they’re well trained, comfortable with their responsibilities and confident that they know what they’re doing. (6:27)
  • The number four tip is to always have training manuals. When you put policies, procedures and expectations in writing, fewer mistakes are made. Max’s company currently uses the digital work management platform Asana in this regard. Everyone knows and can use the program and the content stored there. (8:00)
  • Tip five is to stay flexible and keep your mind open for new and better ways of doing business. Read, listen and discuss. Don’t ever think you know it all, no matter how long you’ve been in business or your position of power. (8:48)
  • Tip number six: eat right and stay active. Max and Kathryn hold walking meetings. And they (usually) try to eat nutritiously. Diet and exercise add to the “life” aspect of work/life balance. (9:34)
  • The number seven tip to lifestyle design in life and business is to be good to yourself. Earlier in his career, Max was extremely hard on himself, and that would cause periodic burnout. He took to writing in a journal, exercising and even seeing a therapist to learn how to be less self-critical and improve the quality of his life. (11:30)
  • Max’s last tip is to refrain from always comparing yourself to the competition and other super-successful people. You’ll always feel like you suffer in comparison. Work instead on becoming a better you. That’s more productive and a better way to live your life. (12:50)

Reach out to Max if you’d like to hear more about lifestyle design as a better way of running your business and your life. Just drop Max a line at info@themhpbroker.com or give him a call at 678-932-0200.

Power Quotes on This Episode:

 “…the fundamentals (of your business) need to be about as boring as watching a snail cross the road.” (0:58)

I think I made $3,500 on my very first deal and the credit card debt was close to $30,000 even with the three jobs I had.” (1:46)

“…in the beginning, you have to work like a madman to make it.” (2:55)

“One of my first people that ever worked with me, she was a girl from the Philippines and man, she was a champion. This poor girl was working the same hours I was. I was doing like 70 hour weeks…” (3:53)

 

00:02

Hello and welcome to the mobile home park brokers tips and tricks. This is the podcast where we talk about mobile home park investing, because that’s what we’ve been involved in for the last decade. Let’s dive into today’s episode. Here’s your host, Maxwell Baker.

00:22 Maxwell Baker 

Hey y’all, welcome to another beautiful episode of The Mobile Home Park Brokers Tips and Tricks podcast. As always, this episode is brought to you by the Community Price Maximizer. It is our proprietary system that will guarantee you a higher price when you exclusively list your community with us, four-step process guaranteed highest price. So give us a call 678-932-0200 or email us at info@themhpbroker.com.

00:58

So today, we’re going to be going over how to create a lifestyle design company that grows continuously and what I have learned by running the mobile home park broker for the last, man it’s been 13 years, I can’t believe it 13 years of doing this. But I always say your business needs to be as boring as possible. If your business is always like new things coming at you, like all these new ideas like don’t get me wrong, it’s good to have all that stuff. But the fundamentals need to be about as boring as watching the snail go across the road. So we want to go over how I have personally designed this company for a lifestyle design and we’ll jump right into it.

01:46

So when I first started back in 2009, I was working like 80 hour workweeks, y’all. My first year in the business, I worked three jobs, being a valet here in Atlanta, working as a host and waiter at Ruby Tuesday’s in College Park, which was a tough place to be a waiter in Atlanta. I was also working the brokerage business. I was bouncing my credit card debt from card to card. You know those offers, you’d get for moving debt from one card over to the new card. Well, I did that until they just stopped sending them to me. It was a lot and when I finally closed my first deal. I think I made $3,500 on my very first deal and the credit card debt was close to 30,000 even with the three jobs I had, and the partner that I had, my very first partner on the broker side, I mean, that guy was worthless, I won’t say his name, but man, he was a piece of work. So, but let me digress from that.

02:55

That’s not what this is about. But the reason why I had those three jobs is because the whole point was to minimize the bleeding. It was going to take me a lot longer to bleed out and die with the small amount of revenue coming in from all those jobs. So just kept on hustling, kept on moving forward and my first year in business, like I said, was probably the toughest year of my entire life. I’m telling you all this because in the beginning, you have to work like a madman in order to make it. Nothing teaches you more how to survive, when you figuratively burn your boats when you hit the shoreline and just keep moving forward. It’s the classic American dream and is the reason why so many people from all over the world come to America for that opportunity. So with that said, I’m going to give you guys eight things I figured out that helped me personally with lifestyle design.

03:53

The number one, read the books, ‘The Four Hour Workweek’ and ‘The World is Flat’. Both these books changed my life and helped me start to figure out how to manage my back of house virtually. I jumped around from country to country in order to find the right fit for me personally. The labor was cheap and it helped me trial and error, my skill set of managing virtually because in the beginning, every single penny counts, especially when you’re 30k in the hole. One of my first people that ever worked with me, she was a girl from the Philippines and man, she was a champion. This poor girl was working the same hours I was. I was doing like 70 hour week, y’all the very first year and she actually stuck around with me for two years before she left to go get another job. I’m so shocked that she stuck around that long. But it was a valuable lesson. I learned it forced me to create systems so she could work off of. Once I got done with one process, I moved to the next one, and to the next one and the next one.

Now after 13 years, it’s 2022, we rent office space in Bangalore, India, have eight people working there for us full time. They do project management, research-oriented tasks, property management, accounting, HR, calendar management, pretty much anything that doesn’t require a physical presence they take care of.

05:21

So number two, planning out your year and having quarterly meetings. Now we just had an episode with my wife, Kathryn, who she was on and this was, this is what this was all about. Here, this is important because I enjoy taking time off and reflecting what my life’s purposes and then readjust where it needs it. Ultimately, the goal is to figure out what makes you the best human being, you can be for your spouse, family, company, and friends. If you can figure out how to consistently plan your life out, then your life becomes easier and easier. You don’t just go out with putting out the brightest blinking light on the dashboard, trying to figure out how to prevent it from flashing. You’re just predicting everything in your life, because you’re trying to plan it out. But the whole point of that is to not have to think every day, because decision fatigue is a real thing. So you just get the show up every day, check the metrics, make sure things are not blowing up, motivate your people to perform and adjust when needed. That’s the whole premise of trying to plan out your year out into annually and quarterly meetings.

06:27

Alright, moving on to number three, having people specialize in one to three things, tops. If you have someone on your team, doing 10 different things for your company, then just be prepared to fail miserably. This is the worst thing you can do in order to maintain your lifestyle. Each person on your team needs a role. Help them get really good at it, then continuously work at making them more efficient with their time and then you can focus on making their life easier by making it more efficient. And by efficiency I mean, creating training manuals, having support staff for them, that are under them, stuff like that, your life will ultimately be easier. And if somebody leaves for some unfortunate reason, then you don’t have to go out and find another all in one rockstar. You teach them all over again, like the previous person that just left and then wait for them to figure it out. But if you have one to three things that they’re doing, and that’s it, then the downtime is going to be way shorter because you guessed it, they don’t have to learn as much, versus somebody that does everything. So it’s a risk that if you want to take, go for it, but that’s not how we run our company here. We’re all about trying to make everybody as efficient as possible, and minimize the amount of tasks that everybody has, except the execs, myself, Kathryn and our top researcher, he does a lot of different things and we pay them well. But the people that are under them, they’re just one to three things tops.

08:00

Number four, training manuals. These things were how I got started in the business and now they can be video they can be Excel, they can be Word, they can be PowerPoint, whatever it is, you need to put training manuals together. Now we actually run everything through Asana, and it all stays in there are checkmarks and benchmarks and whatnot. But like I mentioned in step three, with having your people having minimal skill sets, this is where I store all of their training items. It’s taken years of trial and error to get here, but now it’s pretty stout. We also have people improve the manuals ongoing, which means it’s always getting better, and your company will continuously get better as well, because your people are working at making it better. So if they do leave, you’ve got it all set up, ready to go.

08:48

Number five, always be listening, watching reading for tips and tricks that can help you grow think horizontally. They come from everywhere, even from social media. And my position as CEO, I get to live in the working on your business versus working in your business lifestyle. I occasionally jump in to work in the business with our agents. But it’s not something I tried to do consistently, because it’ll always handicap their growth. You want them to figure it out, even if it costs the company a little bit of money. Investing in the growth of your people is something that’s worth every penny. And if you set up the training manual, and the skill sets, then bringing on people becomes easier and easier. If perhaps people leave.

09:34

Number six, eating right and being active. You know, I actually hesitated about writing number six. The reason is, I know a lot of super successful people that eat like crap and never work out. You don’t have to be David Goggins to be successful. David Goggins, if you don’t know him is a crazy freak of a human being that just works out. He’s just hard encore, check them out on YouTube, you’ll see what I’m talking about. So you don’t have to be David Goggins to be successful. I really love that guy, but constantly grinding. Uh, being an elite athlete just sucks in my mind. It’s unsustainable for my mental health, and just not me. However, you’ve already created the discipline to be successful. So why not leverage that skill you’ve already created and that’s discipline. Even if it’s one time per week, you have to baby step that shit. Then after a month of doing it once a week, move it to two a week. And same thing with food, eat one clean day a week, and then continue on that way until you get to like, Alright, I got it consistently, one day a week and now I’m going on a two.

10:44

I always tell people when I’m talking about this stuff, that black and white shit sucks. I don’t do black and white. I’m a gray kind of baby step to progress. And what I mean by black and white is just like going cold turkey on radical lifestyle changes. It’s just like, yeah, right? Like, that’s not going to be sustainable. Let’s be real, unless you’re just in the hole in the ditch. And you’ve got to change something just because you’ve had some massive life situation benchmark that’s causing you to change. And yeah, you could probably do black and white there. But in general, for us people out here that are just trying to live better lives, like, No, I don’t do black and white, it just sucks. I’m always about taking baby steps. And for me, that’s like the most sustainable thing you can do.

11:30

Number seven, be nice to yourself. This is something I struggle with, even to this day. Have you ever felt like just having this endless anxiety of not doing enough or being enough for the people around you? Fear is a hell of a drug. Fear is a hell of a drug. It just keeps coming at you even when you don’t even realize it. The self-talk is so important when it comes to lifestyle. I know when I first started out, my self-talk was extremely toxic and it caused a bunch of burnouts multiple times a year, my life was always in a constant grind, and my health started suffering. So, burnouts run parallel with how much you grind. So be nice to yourself, take some time off and the only reason why I got better is because, you know, I was writing in my journal, I had a therapist, and I’d occasionally eat a pot brownie and go for a walk. It just kind of has some self-realization, to talk and just kind of think through things. You know, you don’t have to be suffering all the time. In the beginning, I get it, you’re grinding. But life doesn’t have to be that way, doesn’t have to be with that constant grind, the shitty self-talk, and having multiple stress-induced health issues. Y’all, it’s just not sustainable. So like I said, be nice to yourself.

12:50

Number eight, comparing yourself to your competition. This is something until recently, I did almost daily. It made me grind harde, I kept comparing myself to not only my competition but to other people that were super successful. It literally diminishes the value you have for yourself. I’ll say it again. It literally diminishes the value you have for yourself. This is a no-bueno mindset because your team that works with you requires that you focus on making them better versus trying to throw more ideas at them constantly to keep up with the competitors around you. Like it’s hard to be working for somebody, if you’re constantly throwing ideas at them and your ideals are constantly changing. People are going to quit, like they don’t know what your vision is. It keeps changing. When you’re comparing yourself to your competition, it’s just going to be a grind. And if people don’t want, people wants stability, it’s just how it is. So your life is always going to be stressful, like I said, and your self talk is going to be crappy. So just focus on your skill sets on your team and the rest will always follow suit and it will be set for continuous growth.

14:12

So I’m going to repeat to the top thing. So read ‘The Four Hour Workweek’, ‘The World is Flat’ number one. Planning your year out and having quarterly meetings and annual meetings. Number three, having your people specialize one to three things tops for back of house and really sales. Number four, training manuals, gotta have those y’all. Always be listening, watching and reading for tips and tricks, think horizontally. Number six, eating right and being active. Number seven, being nice to yourself. That self-talk is very important and number eight, comparing yourself to your competition or two other successful people.

14:50

As always, this episode is brought to you by the Community Price Maximizer. It is our proprietary system that will guarantee you a higher price when you exclusively list your community with us for sale, RV or mobile home, y’all give us a call. We’d love to chat with you all about these things that we just went over and how to create a lifestyle design company that continuously grows. I love talking about this kind of stuff because it gets real deep. And you know, I just like talking about deep stuff, it’s fine. So yeah, 678-932-0200 or email us at info@themhpbroker.com. I appreciate y’all listening. Give me a call, shoot me an email, send me a smoke signal, whatever it is to get our attention, give us a call and we’re happy to help. And as always, let’s keep moving forward y’all to make it a great day. See ya.

Maxwell Baker

Maxwell R. Baker founded The MHP Broker in 2009 as a commercial real estate broker specializing in helping Investors buy and sell mobile home communities throughout the Southeast. His family got started with mobile home parks in 2000 where Max gained experience in management, rehabilitation, and selling mobile home parks. Today, The MHP Broker has grown to a team of several agents with expanded services focused on owner and investor brokerage services, mobile home park audits, and in-depth market research, resulting in the sale of over $500 million worth of mobile home communities.