Charles: Everyone welcome to another edition of Thunder wisdom podcast today we have with past Richard Bridges he is the owner slash CEO of bridges Business Solutions Richard welcome to the pod can you introduce yourself and tell us a bit more about bridges Business Solutions?
Richard: Sure Charles thanks for having me on today man I appreciate it and it's a little dark right now if you're looking on camera because I'm in the back of a car and we're getting ready to come out.
Charles: being kidnapped
Richard: Yeah being kidnapped as we speak um but yeah my name is Richard Bridges I'm the CEO owner of bridges Business Solutions what we do is uh we help small business owners predominantly folks in the residential or real estate spaces um we help coach them and put together plans of action whether it be marketing or business planning or just best utilization for their budgets um the best Roi and performance out of their businesses so I've been in real estate for almost 18 years I ran a really successful real estate team we were internationally recognized we would do 40 50 million in sales a year and that kind of took me through you know all of the different roles within real estate managing broker broker owner and then ultimately here now owning a kind of a productivity company for Real Estate professionals and small business owners
Charles: So energy shifts from the real estate agency business model to the coaching business model ?
Richard: So actually it was a two-step process uh I got out of sales in 2015. I started in the business in 2004. uh 2015 was actually my best year but my quality of life was pretty poor I have four kids um they're a little bit older now but they were young uh and I was working 100 hour weeks so it wasn't it wasn't really a sustainable thing um and I learned a lot of lessons you know with that type of volume uh working kind of with the small team and then I realized what I really liked was kind of the wins that my team members were having when they would sell or have a great month and uh sharing in that win was a lot more enjoyable for me than even just going and selling you know at a high volume myself right because I had done that for managing at a pretty large National real estate firm uh it was one of their managing Brokers actually one manager of the year uh for them in my first year and then within two years I had moved to a pretty large local Regional startup and now they're one of the largest real estate brokerages in northern Virginia right outside of DC um and then you know while I was there I really realized that I liked the management but what I liked more was the agent development aspect of things so I was able to take kind of my experience uh as a as a top salesperson as a leader of within the industry and I was able to kind of create a support system and network a community if you will uh of people who really wanted to just take their businesses to the next level collaborate on it and that's basically what we do we partner with agents and help them take their businesses to the next level.
Charles: Okay so multiple questions in one so let's test out your brain here but um so first thing first did you had like um not aha moment but like a kind of burnout moment of like hey I'm rich but I don't I'm not happy in that situation my kids need me? the second question is can you tell us about the equilibrium of uh money and and passion?
Richard: Yeah absolutely those are two outstanding questions I'm glad you asked them actually um the first answer uh the question being did I have that aha moment and I had a few of them like there was definitely that gut feeling that I felt like I could be doing better as a parent um as a better as a spouse and and for me like one of the things we coach to you now is we have this concept called your six goal uh six Circle goals and it's where we want you know anybody can be if they pour every ounce of everything they have into being a great salesperson or business owner but if you're a great business owner a great salesperson or you do well at work but you're not doing well at anything else it doesn't really impress me right like when we start thinking about the definition of success what really is success to me somebody who's crushing it in all areas of their life that's success to me so for me you know what I realized is I was working I was doing well we had just passed a million dollars in Gross commission income for the Year and best year ever and people were like wait you're gonna leave the industry on a high and I said yeah man if you if you knew what it was like and I think the biggest moment I could tell you if I share a quick anecdote my kids were little I remember I came home and it was like one of those things where I was like a ship passing in the night didn't see my wife ever I'd be up and gone before they woke up I would be back home while everybody was in bed never really saw my kids and I remember coming in the kitchen and we had a vacation planned right in the first vacation in a really long time and I remember coming in the kitchen and they were they were real excited right they're telling me about hey we're gonna go on this trip it's gonna be awesome I can't wait to go and they started talking about going to like the souvenir store right all the stuff they're gonna buy it's like one of their favorite things right pick up souvenirs when you go to the beach and they started talking about it and I was listening and I was like oh that's awesome that's super exciting they were like and what do you want us to bring you and what are you talking about and they're like what do you want us to bring you you're not going to come you don't come to things you're not around and I was like that was that moment like it was you know that maybe that watershed moment where you're just like dude you can be killing it but you're not you're not even close to killing it there's still so much more left for you to do so that was the first one right and and that year um that was the last year in production so that was the summer and I was in management uh working for a brokerage kind of a nine to five 40 hour a week job by November of that year so real quick it was real hard you know how to break some hearts and how to step away and that was really difficult but my wife and I you know we made the decision together she supported me and um yeah I I don't I don't I don't regret it one bit.
Charles:Kids are amazing for that you know their innocence and they're they're so intuitive you know and they I think they can open your eyes like in a moment like that and things that we don't realize with or adult IQ based brain you know um very powerful uh turning point right there and I'm curious with your current clients do you teach them some of these practices how do they become uh from uh time poor and money Rich from uh time rich and and money Rich too
Richard:Yeah I think the big thing that we really try to focus on around is understanding what your time is worth okay and realizing that there's a lot of different ways you know one of the things I learned really early on in my career is you don't get rich selling your time um you know you get rich selling a service that you can scale without needing to reinvent invest more time so um so the reality is is you know you're never gonna get I talked about the time you're never going to get rich selling your time right you know you're you're going to get rich selling a service and scaling that and figuring it out um so one of the things we really try to focus on with with our members and our agents and the folks that come into our community is getting them to understand like you have to work within the boundaries
Charles: You know the the reality is I mean the one million um per year but you are unhealthy and you're getting fat
Richard: Yeah getting fat I was 30 pounds heavier than I am now you know I didn't really have strong relationships with friends or family and so all those things were kind of getting pushed aside for the sake of my business and I realized the people that I was do like the people I was working hard to give a lifestyle that I wanted them to have a better lifestyle than I had growing up were the ones paying the price right like they weren't actually getting the benefit from it and so that realization and then honestly going hey I need to take this lesson I need to share that with other people doing big things and now I work with people making as much or more than I was when I was selling real estate and I see the same problems right I see those same things and so for me it's like hey let me prevent them from having to learn this lesson the hard way yeah um and so that's been really why I think I've become passionate about it because it's like you know seeing somebody be able to be well-rounded in a lot of different areas is uh you don't see it often but when you do it's really special and I like to help people try to try to figure out how to be special
Charles:So do you teach them how to start their own agencies because if I I've worked with a bunch of uh real estate brokers that was my first business I stopped working with them for pretty much the same reason that we're talking right now on the this balance of it all and yeah the toxicity also which is uh prevalent in the industry um so that we can talk about but um do you teach them how do you teach them precisely to free their time up because you could start your agencies can manage people generally speaking if you start an agency like you're gonna have to be a bit more patient until you reach you know the same money that you've been making as a broker but like how did you free up their time
Richard: Yeah free at the time is is what they have to be willing to do is is uh is pursue leverage they have to get comfortable with taking stuff off that they may want to do themselves or they think that they're particularly good at and they need to let somebody else do it for them you know I see these small Brokers they struggle like to do their their client of mine too I work with small brokerages who want to recruit and grow and get aging count which to be honest is really at least where we are in most of the markets in and around the DC Metro Market it's really hard to have a profitable real estate company if you don't have agent count right because margins are super tight right what they pay on commission splits now you know you can find 100 commission split at you know 75 percent of the broker shops out there so how do you make money and so a lot of these these Brokers have to get creative they have to work all these extra hours they're trying to figure out how do I recruit how do I retain how do I get my margins up and that's really really challenging to do if they're not going to lean into the support and get people in and that's one of the things we do I kind of come into a brokerage and say Hey listen I'll be your training your retention your productivity uh solution right right you're going to contract with me you can pay me or you can give me access to your agents and I'll make sure that they get the support that they need so you can focus on running a business not babysitting agents when I was in management the thing that killed my time more than anything were the god of minutes right knock on the door hey I got a problem can I run it by you and it was always it was always do you got a minute it was never an actual minute it was 20 minutes it was 30 minutes end of your day you went you solved seven eight other people's problems you didn't solve any of your own problems so that's tough and you got to be able to let go of of those things that really aren't the highest and best use of your time if you want to work 40 50 hours a week you got to make sure for that all 40 and 50 hours are being used on the most productive uh highest Roi activities possible.
Charles: Yeah 100 I feel that most um small business owners or solopreneurs have the problem of like hey I achieved Godly performances and now I need to Outsource but that person is never going to reach my expectations and then they get fed up and they get impatient and after one you know they're pretty much traumatized by their experience and then there's they stop looking elsewhere what is the solution to that?
Richard: Well one of the big things that I see is people try to hire people like them that's a mistake you shouldn't be hiring someone who's like you right and I made that mistake I actually had a coach and I hired five people and we did one of these assessments and I remember taking the assessment to my coach and saying hey what do you think of this and they go you hired a bunch of use you don't need any more use you need people who can do all the stuff you're not good at where are they and then that kind of light bulb moment all right I gotta go out and find the people who aren't like me the people who you know maybe I'm not gonna like personality wise We're Not Gonna Wanna you know we're not gonna mess socially as much you know I at first I was hiring people that I was going to be buddies with instead of hiring people who were gonna make me better as a professional and so it's you know that's that's the reality of it and I do tell people like no one is going to do it the exact way you necessarily Envision it but if they can do it between 85% and 90% as proficient as you can and now all you have to do is go back and take up 10% to make sure that the quality is there to what you want it to be you just saved yourself 85% to 90% percent of your time on that particular task so you have to also get past perfectionism you know there's a great book Jensen Jensen Cheryl wrote uh it's a quote she put in the book there's other people that have said it as well but I'm gonna attribute it to her she said done is better than perfect put something out there get it done and then you can refine and learn and grow and scale as you go but you gotta have that support.
Charles: For your coaching business I'm checking out your packages now um I'm curious how do you make money on the first one sixty dollars a month uh and 60 Minutes of live essential training so is that like the equivalent of try my product out of some kind of free trial but almost free and you want to upsell them to the next package how do you make money on that one?
Richard: No so the sixty dollars a month is is more of a passive product what we do is we provide kind of a great so when I coach agents I say at the bare minimum the most important funnel the most important lead generation Source you're going to have in your business are the existing Network and relationships you have we call it your sphere of influence right circle of influence whatever you want to call it that's kind of what we refer to as your SOI we provide those marketing resources templated every month that's easy to Plug and Play It's solid content it's similar to what I use when I sold and we give that to them every single month it includes blogs it includes uh video scripts it includes downloadable resources newsletters items of value e-reports things that are going to make you look like a subject matter expert and also put you in a top the Mind situation with the people that already know like and trust you right so that you get the referral and repeat business and we provide that to you and it's basically TurnKey and since we can scale that it's 60 bucks a month the one other thing that we provide with that that 60 Minute a month is a group training right so we can scale that indefinitely it's 12 12 a year so we really try to hone in on what we think with the market and what's going on or the most key essential trainings for people in this space you know these real estate entrepreneurs.
Charles: Okay, interesting how many clients do you have right now?
Richard: We have a 150 in one to one and maybe about I think between 30 and 40 on the other two packages essential Pro and Essentials which is essentially just like I said the group training and the downloadable resources.
Charles: Okay, is the one-to-one with you or do you have other coaches?
Richard: So we have seven coaches now um I am pretty Limited in terms of the capacity and who I can work with usually I'm working with top producers folks coming in that aren't really looking for how do I get started in the business how do I ramp up from you know five to ten million or 10 to 20 million I'm typically working with folks that are doing at least 25 million or more as a solo agent or they're a team doing 50 million or more um and that's just based on demand uh time restrictions but what's great is I have seven other coaches that all have been through our process right their businesses have grown you know they're there they can share they can connect they can offer their insights and they're actively in the business working so I have folks that have been clients of mine they've grown their business they're doing really big thing things they're bringing in half a million dollars a year easy and also have time to coach and they're there meeting with new a new agent or somebody getting their license or someone who's there and they've plateaued or maybe it's someone who's dual career and they're trying to leave their one job and do real estate full-time so we have those folks there that can help and support and meet and the one-to-one is so so important right those those connections are um are great opportunities to check people's mindset to check their habits their behaviors their schedule to give them the accountability and to give them a little bit more structured support in their plan and moving forward.
Charles: Got it interesting and the 1v1 is it monthly or is it the one-time fee?
Richard: Uh it's it's twice a month every month so you get two meetings a month in addition to you get everything else that we include downloadable resources weekly meetings because we do great group meetings every single week sometimes multiple we do in-person events quarterly uh and then uh we have a big business retreat at the end of the year and what we also do is uh one of the big things for us is networking events so we actually help to plan and facilitate uh like a client event or a networking event where you can have people come we we find the venue we basically price it out in bulk and we give a turnkey solution for our members to be able to say hey I'm gonna have this event I'm gonna invite 50 to 100 of my past clients or my closest friends and family have them come through here I'm going to be the person who made this happen and ultimately be able to bring in some business as a result of those top of Mind interactions very cool is your resubscription rate high on the 1v1 front and also on the monthly packages what does it look like yeah so when we have somebody come on the one-to-one packages they're typically in um if they so I'll give you the one caveat if they make it past the six month Mark we're talking probably 90 retention for years two three four I mean I have my first coaching client ever uh he signed up for me with me five years ago he was the first guy he came in he was doing about five million a year in volume um and by his fourth year he had started a team and he's doing over 50 million in business each year he's got 14 agents on a team with him and uh yeah he he's absolutely crushing it so those people we grow with them right it isn't it like hey you start on this day you end on this date you know what's gonna happen is the challenges you had five years ago they're gonna be very different but we're growing we're adapting and part of it is you know we're all we're all showing up as entrepreneurs in our own right and we're all trying to be the best versions of ourselves we can be and we grow together so that's part of the process as well I really enjoy that collaboration element.
Charles: Yeah I have the premium same stats as you do you is it like six months minimum commitment or they can't they commit monthly?
Richard: You know I'm a big believer in going like hey if it's not working I don't want you to feel like you're locked into anything that may change in the future just because what I'm realizing and and why other folks do have some sort of minimum commitment is because if folks don't give it a fair shake you won't ever really know if it works or not correct I'd love to say somebody comes in we have two conversations in month one and their entire life changes their life might feel like it's starting to change but it won't have completely changed by the end of 30 days it's a process so I get why people lock them in I would say if we have that's why I said if we have somebody who makes it through that first six months and they have enough time to actually sample and see the results they're going to continue with the program folks who come in and go I'm signing up and they don't commit to showing up doing the meeting taking advantage of the resources which can happen you're not going to get any results right if you don't put in the if you don't put in the effort so that that's where that that's definitely where you see that the ratio change significantly is when they get through that first six months.
Charles: Yeah 100% what I also see in coaching I'm a power user of coaching myself I think I have like four or six coaches or something like that same yep same and it's you know like if you're a beast and you're using like various tools to be successful in life you'll be you'll be adding a coach and yeah he'll not be the main reason why you're successful but just because you you're taking so many steps in your abcdfg in uh testing some so many things out there so that that's also something that that I see and you know the coaching businesses is very much fascinating to me for that reason I'm curious to see um when do you think you'll make as much money with that business as you are making it as a broker back in days?
Richard: You know I think really the thing that's going to be the turning point for us is when we get to the point where we can scale and really emphasize uh Standalone products online right that can be like self paint self-paced products that people can take download go at their own speed and it's going to include all of the same type of stuff that we're providing in our one-to-one so having that course selection all done is going to be a big turning point because of scalability and the other thing is getting into the point where we're doing large workshops seminars conferences that's always I've always been a big junkie of those go to all the conferences all the seminars and I know there's a lot of opportunity in those to get your both to Showcase what you offer on a really uh kind of an intimate on an intimate level sell the products you have but also be able to earn money from the events themselves right having sponsors all that stuff so I think when we're at a point where we're large enough and we have enough of a uh uh of a you know of a market that we can start doing those things all over the country that'll be a big turn turning point for us and then obviously that goes into books and you know it goes into other seminars and online webinar types training all that stuff so you know we're uh I would say within the next 12 months we'll probably be at the turning point for us we've only we're only been in business about 18 months as our as this business and for us it's been a lot of infrastructure building you know getting our back end systems in place making sure all the coaches are on the same page in terms of content and support and one-to-one and training and all that stuff so um yeah man that's that that's what I think I think probably within the next 24 months I should be able to be at or above where I was selling.
Charle: Very exciting um I want to take the last few minutes here to discuss about the Mastermind I also have my Mastermind and you know it's a fascinating experience you always get so many insights you get accountability you get knowledge Technical and self-knowledge so I I very much like uh the masterminds and I think my interest started when I started reading uh Think and Grow Rich like 10 to 12 years years ago or something like that I have my own masterminds they're successful I have a free edition and I paid additions there's always cons as well and three editions I mean a bunch of people drop out or don't show up you know these are some of the problems that we're experiencing tell us a bit more about um your Mastermind business uh the the pros and the cons?
Richard: So we actually started to make our masterminds based on production so it was invite only way up and us taking the time to facilitate conversations that are at a very high level we've actually onboarded the vast majority of our very successful members from masterminds that we opened up for that month to outside folks right they could pay a one-time fee come to the event and then all of a sudden they're like whoa this is the community they're gonna be a part of I'm in sign me up how do I get how do I get invested but when we were doing it where everybody could be included every single month it was like if everybody's special no one's special so you got to kind of make it so that there is these elements where it's like you're with the right people having the right conversations for where you are and where you're trying to go that was an important element and so for us you know it's also um you know we we use it as a marketing like as a hook but it's predominantly just for active members and so when when they're out there and you know and for us we spend very little on marketing dollars you know the 150 members we have is all word of mouth right so our agents talking to other agents other members and or you know other potential members and saying this is what my experience is and then they show about a free event and then the next thing they know they wanna they wanna join so for us really next level is going to be marketing and I think taking full advantage of those masterminds will be really important as well producers love that stuff.
Charles: yes scarcity is one of the best yeah I'm there um scarcity is one of the best marketing tool there is out there it's just sometimes the the ethics and the applicability to it that I mean in your case it's like a real scarcity and in masterminds you know it's like yeah I have five spots or four and they need to fill them up when I was uh when I had my marketing agency for realtors back in days um I would give them territories and I think it's the the month in which I've generated the the most money in my life because they would all throw themselves to book their territories you have this city you have a city for example how could I apply that for example to um to my current uh cold emailing business while staying ethical for example because I love the fact that I can make a bunch of money off it but I also don't like the aspect that it can limit uh the amount of clients I can get somewhere and also the apple applicability of it you know like say that I can only accept um five software as a service in that niche in that City software as a service are not really limited by geography so what do you think about scarcities and giving out specific seats in in that context.
Richard: You know I I think that if we're not necessarily charging different for different teams get access to this space this community this uh you know this this my trust um I think then you're not you're not doing it in any unethical way because everybody needs support it's just different where they are so I think for maybe what where I could make a parallel between what you're doing with yours and kind of what we're doing with ours is figuring out what are the Sim what are the what are the groups of problems that are most similar for certain groups of people where they are on their on their growth Journey on their business journey and see if you can't go all right great now I want to facilitate these masking groups that are going to specifically answer the questions to these problems right we're going to answer these problems and we're going to want to make sure we're inviting people who are right there in that space dealing with it themselves so when they share to share right that's the one thing about it is if I go to a mastermind and I'm facilitating and that's not the Mastermind we want to be having for me it's the people showing up and I ask a question and people go I tried this or I you know this was an experience I had face and I tried the thing you just said and let's talk about it right let's mean why that happened a lot from hearing from the people who are doing what you're doing in your space so that would be the image did I answer your question?
Charles: Yeah yeah you did and I think I mean the scarcity applied to my cold email um service slash company maybe not I'm sure I'm looking for a way to to implement it properly there but for the Mastermind certainly I also run a mastermind like I told you and I think if I uh start a specific Mastermind in your case it would be for real estate agents and you could limit the spot because it's also that agents are very territorial beings you know it's their profession and it's also their personality and I think that it makes a hundred percent sense for for them um and maybe for some other Industries for example if I'm a CEO of um Woods Uh Wood producing company or would uh if I make desks in that City I don't want my the other desk maker to show up there but in in some masterminds they love to speak like um wood desk makers from another country for example because they're not necessarily directly competing and they get they can get like direct insights what do you think about making masterminds reuniting um all the same people on the same roof but like from from different parts of the world?
Richard: Um so like the best things about it they gave you the best return that paid for silly purchased services from people that were right there alongside me there to learn and share and grow and there's an element to the vulnerability aspect to it right like one of the things I'm very open and honest about the struggles and things that I've had to deal with in my business and I think that's the very attractive element where people go like hey he did a lot in his business but he's also been out there he's got issues in life he's got things that he's working through and I really try to cultivate an environment in my masterminds too that yes they're your competitors but if we're truly looking at the space as this industry it has a ton of abundance right there's there's an abundance of opportunities you just have to be willing to go out and put your own mark on it and figure out a way to do it the best way you can do it Focus Less on what everyone else is doing you're going to get results so there is an element of it where they come and there's some competition there and that's always great right you want to do well you want to measure up against the competition but you don't want to hold yourself like you're you don't want your identity you know your success identity to be parallel to what someone else is doing like if you're measuring against that you don't know right you don't know you don't have any of the background information that they have like there might be a leg up or there might have been an opportunity or an end that they had or they might have you know you don't know so I think that you spend too much time you know my wife says to me sometimes Edison sometimes she says you drive long enough with your eyes and someone else is laying you're eventually going to hit something okay so that's that's that's me right you know that's I got to make sure hey I'm just gonna pay attention to what's right in front of me right what foot I can put right in front of another and so really you know I have had people that I have actually worked with that I've coached and they came in they said hey if I if I work with you on something you can't tell anyone else and I'm like one there's no secrets and you're not the only person who have had this idea right original ideas I don't even think exists someone's had that idea right the thing about it is you're gonna do it your own way nobody else is going to have the same Viewpoint gonna have the same execution the same resources in the same circumstances when they deploy this thing so you just focus on doing it the best that you can and if you spend that time doing that versus worrying about if somebody's gonna steal your idea you're gonna get way better results.
Charles:100% I so agree with that and you yeah usually it's a red flag when um someone comes with that or an MDA you know for an idea that like a million other people had executions pretty much everything in their world so yeah um Richard thank you for your time today uh it's already the end of that interview I thank you I I thank you and I I think you dropped a bunch of value bonds there I think people are gonna appreciate where can people find out more about you?
Richard: Uh they can obviously go to our website it's uh buildwithbridges.com uh folks have questions they can reach out to me directly on email we're on all the social sites says Business Solutions but if you want to email me that's usually the best way to get in touch I respond to everybody who reaches out Richard at buildwithbridges.com that's r-i-c-h-a-r-d at buildwithbridges.com and uh I love networking I love meeting people I love talking uh even if it's not even in necessarily the real estate how that stuff can come about oh man so um anybody that's looking to have those type of conversations would love to.
Charles:Thank you so much for your time Rick have a good day
Richard: I appreciate you Charles have a good one bye.