Camille Rapacz: Good morning, George.
George Drapeau: Hey there, Camille.
How are you today?
I'm doing great. Emotionally fantastic, physically exhausted, but good.
Camille Rapacz: Well, I'm sorry. We don't get to talk about it because we have more important things to do today.
George Drapeau: Yeah, clearly. If only people could see.
Camille Rapacz: Well, they probably could tell by the title of this podcast episode that we have a guest today. So this is my favorite way of podcasting, which is, I mean, no offense, George, I like talking to you too, but I really like talking to other business owners.
I know you're the same. So today we are joined by someone who I have known for a little while and we have talked about having him on the podcast here and there, and finally just got around to it. So welcome Rob Bodkin.
Rob is a real estate appraiser, a fly fisherman, and a recovering mountaineer that cracks me up. And, but my favorite part in his descriptor, which will also be your favorite part, George is lifelong learner. This is why we're so excited to have Rob on the podcast.
You have passed the test, Rob. Or maybe because you also have listened to the podcast. And so you knew like, this will get
Rob Bodkin: him. Mm hmm. I could have played into it. I did my homework.
Camille Rapacz: Did your homework. Yes.
Camille: Welcome to The Belief Shift. The show that explores. What you really need to know about building a successful business.
I'm your host, Camille Rapacz: business coach and consultant who spent too much of her career working in corporate business performance.
George: And I'm George Drapeau: your co-host and her brother. I'm a leader in the tech world bringing my corporate perspective, but mostly my curiosity.
Camille: Together, we're exploring beliefs about success and how to achieve it. But mostly we're bringing practical solutions so you and your business can thrive.
Camille Rapacz: So Rob, I so appreciate that you've been listening to our podcast. One of the three people who do, as George says, besides our mom.
And also Rob gave me some really good feedback the other day. So you and I have stuff to talk about George.
George Drapeau: Oh, really? About this podcast? About our podcast. Yeah. Oh, fantastic. We love feedback. We don't get enough. Nobody does.
Camille Rapacz: I know.
People are busy. I get it. But we really do want your feedback.
More about that later.
All right. So today we're going to talk to Rob about all things. I don't know. We'll talk about whatever we want to talk about. Maybe some fly fishing, probably some mountaineering. I bet there's some mountaineering analogies for business how have they not already happened to you?
Rob Bodkin: Yeah, I don't know. I don't know. There's, there's a lot of them.
Camille Rapacz: Before I get too far into it, Rob, would you please, I did your sort of high level introduction of who you are, but would you please tell us a story? Like how, how did you get into this? How did you even become a business owner?
How did this happen to you?
Rob Bodkin: Sure. Being an appraiser's sort of been the only real job I had out after the Navy, and I was in the Navy right out of high school. I left high school a little earlier than than typical because I turned 17, joined the Navy. But my father was an appraiser and a banker and he brought me into the business when I was 24.
And so it was 30 years ago. And I've been a residential real estate appraiser in the Seattle area ever since then. And there were times when I was independent and then there were times when I worked for banks. And the most recent stint at a bank was nine years with U. S. Bank. And I left the bank in 2016 the beginning of 2016.
Someone had given me a copy of the E Myth Revisited, and it sparked my entrepreneurial hot flash. And I, I had worked at the bank long enough to be technically very good at what I do, but I didn't know anything about business. I don't know if that should have given me pause but it didn't.
So I started this business in 2016 and that's where I am today.
George Drapeau: Describe real estate appraisal for us.
Rob Bodkin: Sure. So a real estate appraiser residential real estate appraiser will communicate an opinion of value about houses, land, condominiums anything residential in nature, less than four units.
So single family house up to a fourplex. And our typical clients are lending institutions or trust attorneys, individual. About half of the work that we do is for private individuals. So you know, someone's parents pass and they inherit a house and they have to tell the IRS how much it's worth and the IRS will accept all sorts of different methods. The IRS will accept you telling them what the place is worth, but then if they want, if the IRS demands approved, then they want an appraisal. And so we do quite a bit of that work.
Our private work is usually around terrible life events, divorces, death transitions for people, but also for trust, and so we do a fair amount of work where people have all of their holdings managed by a trust, a blind trust or whoever, and every so often those assets need to be valued.
George Drapeau: Is there a wide variety of quality in the industry? What makes one much better than somebody else?
Rob Bodkin: Sure. There is a wide variety of quality and some of that goes to education and experience and training. Like in my instance, my formal education on papers is limited. Like I said, I left high school when I was a junior and the college courses that I've taken have been almost exclusively related to, you know, valuation and appraisal.
And in my time as an appraiser, I've affiliated with the Appraisal Institute, which is the preeminent national organization for real estate appraisers. And on the residential side, you can achieve a designation called an SRA and people who are familiar with or appraisers.
Especially commercial appraisers have probably heard of an M. A. I. and that's a designation from the appraisal Institute as well. So on the commercial side, it's much more common to be in the Institute and gain your designation on the residential side. About 1 percent of us do that.
Because it's not required to get average mortgage work to be in the Institute. You really just have to have a certification from your state and fog a mirror, or really. You know get on their list to stay on the list you have to perform. But I originally got my SRA primarily because I knew it would make my father proud, for lack of a way to say that. But it's been really tremendous for my career and it's opened up to doing work for significant Seattle law firms, doing work for significant national real estate management companies who manage trust.
They want to see someone who's designated. They want to see someone who has that experience and just maybe technically better.
Camille Rapacz: Talk about your industry fluctuations. Like, I think you have Been through the both scaling up and scaling down of your business. Yeah. Because you are so at the whimsy of what's going on in the market.
Right. Yes. How has that been for you?
Rob Bodkin: Well, it's been a learning experience. Like I said, I'm like Lake Wobegon. I'm slightly above average in terms of the technical ability that I have. But. In terms of the business, I didn't, I didn't know how to do that or how to run that effectively and everything I've learned sort of been on the fly and from various teachers and coaches.
But like, 1 example is in '08, '09 when the great crash happened. I had just been so fortunate that I joined U. S. Bank in 07 and so I was at a financial institution that was stable through that whole time. And a lot of appraisers either went out of business or they scaled their businesses down during that time, and then after that, it boomed.
And when I opened this business in 2016, there was the one thing you didn't have to worry about was, is there going to be enough work? At times we would turn down two for everyone we would take and we would be weeks out and it was a great time, but also lulled a lot of us, including me to a great degree to a false sense of security and then interest rates changed in 2022. To say they had a dramatic impact on the business is an understatement.
If you were only doing mortgage work, your volume went down by probably 70%. And fortunately, because I'd been in a couple of mastermind groups and I'd gotten some coaching, we had laid the groundwork for transitioning to direct engagement in private work through attorneys and referral and work that didn't involve mortgages.
And so we had started that. But honestly, we had started it kind of, I don't know what a way to say half assed is, but we definitely when the interest rates started changing. We just accelerated that change and prior to 2022, we had done maybe 3 percent work for private work, and now we're just over 50%. And that's what's made a huge difference. All that said, I had 6 people total in the company in January of 2022. and now there's 3 and you know, we're not in a brick and mortar location anymore. I'm back at my house and the people that work for me are remote.
One of them's in the Philippines. So there's been all sorts of painful, expensive learning and growing. But it's, it's just life. And I feel good. I like, the people that work with me now, and I love the people that worked with me before, and I've been fortunate in that.
You just can't spend too much time looking behind you. You have to keep your eyes downfield.
Camille Rapacz: If you hadn't done that diversification, how do you think you'd be doing now?
Rob Bodkin: I don't know. I shuttered a think. It's a weird I don't know if conundrum is the right word, but if I hadn't done that, I would be back to being just one person all by themselves in the spare bedroom and probably working similar hours, making less money because I didn't have the support that I have and that lifestyle is, unpleasant. It's not, it's not great.
George Drapeau: I want to find a way to get to that right now.
So you've got three people, one in the Philippines. You just said it's possible you could have been one person on the same number of hours. So you're, you've got a business right now that has leverage, how is the leverage working for you?
Why have the other two people? You could be just yourself. What's it giving you?
Rob Bodkin: Well, it gives me freedom to do the work that I get paid, three figures an hour to do versus the 15 an hour in the case of the Philippines, the 8 an hour admin work.
There's just hours and hours and hours of admin and process that go into every appraisal that we do where because I have people that work for me, one of whom is a trainee or an apprentice, and so she can go out and see a property, she can type that report, she can do, you know, 90 percent of the work, and then I can review it, coach her, give her feedback, and we have an equitable split of the fee, and the client's happy, and that just enables us as a firm to do more and more business. And certainly, so I have a person full time in the Philippines, but I also have a service that does my phones right now, So, And so, you know, I'm not answering the phone and doing a correction request or something like that. But I can get on the phone and talk to George who's calling about his dad's house, and I can have that personal touch that maybe my employee in the Philippines or my employee in Florida who does the phones, they might not have that same rapport.
Yeah. And someone who's just calling around looking for pricing becomes a client because the phone call works. So did that answer it, George?
George Drapeau: That's a fantastic answer. I'll show you how fantastic an answer is going to have one on one time with my sister from Camille. There's two things that I heard there that brings up that we've talked about before and I think it'd be fun to explore.
One, employing virtual admins. Both you and I are big fans of this, but we haven't really talked about that as a subject, have we? No, we haven't. Oh man, so I want to go down that path sometime in here if we have time . The other is the I don't think you said this explicitly, but pretty closely, the idea of delegating tasks in and sorting by Dollar per hour value of the task.
And so I'll tell you a quick story. When I think about my technical capabilities, so I used to write code for a long time and I stopped and became administrative overhead. And when I think about going back bringing up technical skills. I have this kind of smart alecky way of thinking how technical could I be? And that would be assessing the tasks I could do and how much per hour could I pay myself as a consultant to do it? Like I could set up operating systems on machines, or I could rack mount servers, or I could maybe set up a cloud, simple cloud infrastructure.
And those have different like, Oh, I'm worth a 30 an hour system administrator now. Oh, I'm worth a 50 an hour system administrator. But that's exactly what you've done. You have tasks that you would classify as 8 an hour tasks or double digit dollar an hour tasks.
Camille, you and I haven't talked about this either, but I was wondering if we could explore that methodology of Delegating work across the organization.
Camille Rapacz: When you were talking about this, Rob, I was thinking about how many times I have this conversation with business owners, honestly, at all levels of an organism, no matter what size it is and how they struggle with this. So we've talked about delegation. George, we've talked about this, what it means to actually delegate, but we haven't talked specifically in the way that you're saying it, which is really starting to put the different activities that you do in your work, whether, cause you're not a business owner and you also take advantage of virtual assistants, George.
So just anybody. Taking advantage of this wealth of support that is out there. People have other ways that they're trying to make money and you can benefit from that by hiring people to help you that are doing jobs that are, as you described it, the price point of them is lower than the price point of what you do, the value of it is lower than that.
What came up for me was thinking. Yeah, gosh, Rob figured that out. It just seems like it's logical to you to do that, Rob, but I run into a lot of people that really struggle with it, even if logically, they're like, yeah, it makes sense, but and they're hesitating. Did you have to go break through a moment of hesitation for yourself to do it?
Or was it always just like, no, of course I would do this. Or maybe you read the e meth and you were like, well,
Rob Bodkin: I read the e myth, and I joined a group of other appraisal business owners, and when I joined that group at the first meeting I attended, I was the only appraiser in the room who typed his reports from start to finish, answered his phones, I did everything, I was just a one man band which is how I worked when I was at the bank.
And the bank, I had all this admin support and so I didn't have to worry about the business side of it. And it was just purely doing these tasks, doing the appraisal. And so when I left the bank, I got introduced to all that stuff the bank did, behind the scenes or the business processes, and I just put them in my rucksack and said, okay, what you do.
And then I learned from these other people. Well, there's a different way to do that. And so I didn't need much convincing with that. And the minute I hired my 1st local assistant who answered the phones and did bids and all that stuff, it was literally like the clouds parted. And so I'm totally sold on it, but it wasn't I didn't read Tim Paris's for hour work week book and then think, okay, well, I should do that.
But I learned it from these other folks.
Camille Rapacz: It's interesting that you mentioned that for our workweek, because I do think that in some ways sends the wrong message about what we're really trying to do. Because what you're doing is you are building a business. And I always talk a lot about how your business is a system and it needs all these different tools .And so you're just leveraging other tools.
Yeah. By leveraging other people and also their areas of expertise, because I mean, honestly, you probably have people that have or are working for you who are better at some of those aspects, like keeping the files organized or answering the phones and following through. There's all sorts of things that we're not necessarily good at because our zone of genius is somewhere else.
This is why we hire someone else to handle our accounting or our taxes or all these other things. But at lower levels of work that we think, well, I should be able to do that, I think that's where we get into trouble. I should be able to handle that. And I think a lot of times we think, because we think that's what everyone else is doing, which was probably your experience was you didn't realize, Oh, everyone else is actually doing it differently.
And that's better. I should do that. Duh. Right. When you see it, it seems like a no brainer, but if you haven't seen it or you're not doing it, I think that it can really be a struggle. And I say this and I'm curious. What your thoughts are about this, George, for people who aren't business owners that struggle with this aspect of getting support outside of running a team, but let's say you need some admin support that you don't have internally, or even just personally to handle personal things in your life, like booking travel and things like that.
What's been your experience or how did you even get into doing it?
George Drapeau: Two things. I wanted to make a comment first about the benefit and function of executive admins in corporate life and how I think there's a missed opportunity in corporate life. I think there's, there's this class of people who get them.
And by the time you get there, you usually know how you can work with them, what they can do for you. Not always, you kind of learn on the job, but you, you get one and then, you know, they'll teach you what they can do for you. And then there's this massive class of people who don't get them at all.
It's not a cheap resource. So I get why, you know, the certain tiers of management get access and certain don't, but I think there's, there's an opportunity to evaluate which people in your organization Could really benefit or their value could be multiplied if they had access to that kind of that kind of service.
Maybe it's done a different way, but most companies don't think about it that way. It's like your VP or above you get an EA, you know, if you're not a VP, don't even talk to that person. And there are definitely some people like in tech world, maybe a chief architect who is very busy, but it's always being called on to meet with a bunch of other people, but the chief architect's value is in reviewing code or mentoring other people and not in scheduling meetings, which is hugely important.
And not just the putting stuff on the calendar, but being the gateway, figuring out which meetings to take and which not . There's very little conversation beyond just the pay grade who gets access to it. I think that's a missed opportunity in large corporations.
Camille Rapacz: I agree 100 percent and I experience it all the time. I came from a corporation that thankfully was very much in support of the assistant model, and I had one as a director, and it was fantastic. I mean, the stuff that she was able to do, she wasn't just like to your point, she wasn't just putting meetings on my calendar.
I mean, she was really helping me manage and lead that work in a way that I could not have done as a individual human, all the things that I needed to do in the places I need to be. And then I work with companies as a consultant going in there and seeing how their teams and their leaders are just running themselves ragged and they don't have anybody, you know, I'm like, well, how do I, who do I work with to get, you know, time on your calendar and it's them.
Mike. Okay. And so the result, for example, a way that it's small, but I think meaningful and points out what happens is, we will try to get a meeting together and we'll schedule something or I'll work with somebody and we'll schedule someone else to join the meeting and they look available on their calendar and then they're a no show.
Well, I'm still charging them for that time that I booked. I don't not charge for my time just because you decided not to show up for the meeting we agreed to have. But because they don't have somebody helping them with all of that, they're running around, like chicken with their head cut off,
just trying to do a million things and things slip through the cracks. And that just doesn't happen when you have somebody whose job is to make sure that nothing slips through the cracks. And I think that applies at all levels of business, whether you're just a business owner running things and you need that person who's like, Hey, this is what happens next.
Or you're a director and executive, no matter what you're doing, we all need help making sure we don't drop the ball on anything. We can't always keep all the plates spinning by ourselves.
George Drapeau: Yeah, absolutely. There's this epiphany that happened to me when I had an admin for, for a while, a long time ago, when I first got one assigned to me about the kinds of things that person could do for me and it revealed all the tasks that I could offload. It helped me really think about sorting my work in a way that I hadn't thought of before, because I had somebody, I mean, I've been managing for a while and leading instruments, different, different classes of work that I can offload.
And since then, I've thought very clearly, much more clearly about how to use admin resources. My journey to getting a virtual admin started when I was traveling a lot. My work life had bumped me up from traveling 25, 000 miles a year to 125, 000 miles a year. So there's all this stuff that came with it, many expense reports that I hated filing.
I was complaining about it at home and my wife said like, you know, George, you were complaining a lot. I mean, it's really a lot. Why don't you get a virtual admin led to that conversation. That was like the first task. I have a whole story about that. I looked at two different firms, hired two of them for a month because it was not expensive.
Gave both VAs the same tasks for a while and did a direct comparison and then gave each of them separate tasks to see their unique skills. And after one thing, I picked one and went with that. And I've since been continually discovering what more I can do in that relationship.
And I think that process is important when you're going with an admin, not just, okay, I got somebody who can handle my bills and just stop thinking about that. Camille and I've had this discussion about how badly people manage virtual admins and then get upset because they don't perform perfectly when they've been given no clear direction. Not that we have strong feelings about it, but also in that active relationship, you can always discover more tasks.
I'm actually curious about what it's like for you with the person you have in the Philippines, how you got started. And has that relationship with the working relationship evolved?
Rob Bodkin: Well, a couple funny stories related that she officially starts tomorrow, the new one. No, sorry. Today. I always get that because today is tomorrow in the PI.
But so she'll be my second one from the Philippines. And I got her because a friend of mine in my mastermind group had hired four people from the Philippines to do this virtual assistant cage match, you know, performance couple, and he had them for, he had all four of them for three months.
And then sort of coincidental with a little bit of slowing in his office, he said, okay, I have to figure out who I'm keeping, who I'm letting go of. And it was a really hard choice for him. And so we were at our meeting on Monday, and he knew that I was looking and he said, I just laid out these two people.
And so by Wednesday, I had hired Malou, the woman who's going to start with me this afternoon. But I've had virtual assistants. I've also had local full time, you know, office staff who the virtual assistant will replace almost all of that functionality at just at a price point that's much more manageable and much more resilient when, you know, business ebbs and flows. That's one of the biggest challenges that I've found in hiring non technical staff here in the U. S. It's the technical staff I've had are all on a fee split. That will absorb the shocks of too much work or too little work. And whereas a full-time staff person is a static expense and with benefits and, and all that stuff. And so it's much easier to absorb that if the person's offshore 'cause just so, so significantly different in price.
And one thing I, so this is Malu tomorrow, who starts today? Will be my second VA since I laid off my office manager and I had one for a month and a half and Blessedly, we've got a really like 80 page SOP document and it sort of lays out doesn't sort of it lays out you know, I can send it to you George and you could do the basic research for an appraisal SOP document and and I have some videos of this is how I do this, you know, so that someone could watch it and they could emulate that's the right word what I do.
I didn't think of any of this stuff. So I just other people did this. And they said, this works and then, you know, so,
George Drapeau: you still get the credit. You still get the credit for doing, I mean, well, oh my goodness, who is this guy?
Camille Rapacz: I'm telling you, lifelong learner! He doesn't just learn though.
He does. That's why he's such a good learner and
George Drapeau: to teach, get ready to pass on. That's amazing.
Camille Rapacz: Yeah. Yeah. And you got to take credit for that, Rob, because I talked to so many people who know they should do things like that, but don't. Yeah. And how did you find time to do it? Like, did you have, did you do it?
Like, how'd you get it done? Did you do all of it? Did you have other people do some of it and you did some?
Rob Bodkin: I did the videos, but my last office manager put together this SOP and I had asked her to do that. Great. And she was the one doing the task. Right. So who better to, I don't know, I can't write it. I don't know how to do that stuff.
She does it really well. And so she wrote it. And honestly, you know, I, again, I had to lay her off in August and that was a very challenging decision and a very challenging time. Cause I really did care very much about her. And then I opened up this document a couple weeks later because I was gonna have to train my new assistant.
And man, I was like, you know, I've done a good job. Oh, my God. Yes. Yeah. And I I've been very lucky or fortunate in the people that have worked with me have been really high quality people. Some of that is, reasonably good hiring, but some of it's just luck.
George Drapeau: Layoff tip here, by the way, folks. I would say, I don't know if you thought of this or if this was possible, but if she really built this nice book and as good high quality work, I mean, laying off is never easy, but people are going to want to have a portfolio of work that could show around.
And if she was allowed by you to have a copy of that thing that she could put on her resume or put on her, she didn't say, Hey, look, I wrote a book on how to do the job. I can show you exactly what I did. Look at my work portfolio. That's not bad.
Rob Bodkin: I'm gonna see her Sunday at a wedding, so I'll tell her she's happy to, she's welcome to text.
She's gotten a really good job up on Whidby, where she lives. So that's been great that she's bounced back. That's great. To a good gig. But that's a really good idea. Have like an artist portfolio or a Exactly. Marketing executives portfolio.
George Drapeau: The last part of it, I think we've got you at the beginning of a new relationship, but have you thought about revolved relationships?
Your requirements, what you ask of the virtual admins. Has that changed over time?
Rob Bodkin: Yes. And I think that 1 of the things, and this was with the virtual admins, but also with the people locally, I had to get over that notion of. You know, there's no way that you know, Camille could do this task as good as I can, so I don't know if that's just arrogance or whatever it is, but because I'm not curing cancer or doing open heart surgery. It's not that complicated, and all the tasks that we hand off anyway are relatively straightforward, they're relatively basic.
I had to make the investment in time to say, it takes me, six minutes to do this process, but it's going to take me about a half hour to coach and teach and then correct and revise and do all that in that first week, but after that first week, then, you know, it may take him or her six minutes, it might take them 15 minutes, but if I'm paying them eight bucks an hour, which is good wages where they are, then that frees up all that time and there's 40 tasks in every appraisal that you're handing off. So it literally saves me a couple hours of my time at my hourly rate. Yeah. Just pays for itself right away.
Camille Rapacz: Yeah. I think if more people did that math that you just described, definitely get on board with it's worth the time, because that I think is one of the biggest barriers is I just don't have time to teach someone how. But the other one is the, the first thing that you said, which.
I don't think it's ego. I think it's just human nature. Like everybody I run into that we all have this little hesitance toward either, but they're not going to quite do it as well as I would, or really, it's, you know, they're not going to do it exactly the way I want it done or the way I would do it, which if we sort of remove the judgment out of that, it leaves the potential for maybe they'll do it better.
And I think starting to have that sort of my like, maybe I bring someone in who because this isn't the most important tasks that I do, maybe I'm not doing it the best way. And maybe someone else would actually do better because it'd be one of their primary tasks and leaving ourselves open for that as an opportunity instead of as, oh, it's just assuming that the quality of work is going to be less, I think really prevents us from getting a lot of help in a lot of ways. Not to mention just hiring somebody into your, your company.
It's interesting that you say that because I definitely don't think, I don't know. Did you have that issue, George, when you were thinking about bringing people on? You probably have to think way back early in your career.
George Drapeau: I'm thinking about it. I'm just finishing up a spate of hiring right now. And there's absolutely no question about whether I should hire these people or whether I could do some of that job or not. I cannot. I cannot do 3 percent of the job of the people that I'm hiring because they're in this particular case, the skill sets are so specialized.
I remember when I made the transition from an engineer to an engineering manager, and I had to really worry about how much player I was, how much coach I was, and I see this transition in early stage managers that I manage from time to time. I know that transition.
Usually not too difficult though. I get the concept. But we've talked about this. I'm not great at delegation, but it's because I don't like asking people to do things. It's not because I lack clarity about what needs to be done or how it could be distributed.
If I'm given a task.
And if I'm in a group of people and there's a bunch of, there's a pile of work on the desk to be done and somebody needs to sort it out and get people to do stuff. I don't need to be the first person to come in there and take charge and say, okay, I'm going to tell everybody what to do. I do not need to be that guy, but if nobody else is stepping up to do it, I get frustrated after I'm like, okay. I'll do it.
And then I'm very good at figuring out who can do what. And I have no ego about which of that I can do. I just want stuff to get moving forward. And if that means that I'm stapling papers, that's the task I've got, fine. Even though I might be better than that person at that task.
I'm more interested in getting things moving than I am about what I get to do.
Camille Rapacz: Yeah. I think your hesitation and delegation is more about not wanting to burden people than it is about maybe I'll do it better.
So Rob, this whole process that you've been through of, I get to scale up the business. Now I got to scale back. I've had to go back from my brick and mortar to, to working, you know, back in my home, just managing all of that. Tell me about.
What was the decision process like for you going through that? Did, was it easy for you? Did you have a process? These Are tough choices to make. How did you do that?
Rob Bodkin: They are really tough choices. And I would make them differently. I will make them differently as we scale back up in the new year, which I have every confidence that we will, I'll make different choices. And then if we hit some type of economic downturn again in our business, I'll have the muscle memory of this evolution of it.
You know, the, the phrase, you don't know what you don't know comes into play a lot. And for me, the process was I was slow to see the depth of the dip and and that was an expensive fog of war problem. Because again, I had brick and mortar. I had you know, human stateside who look to me for their pay.
if I had had a, a better. I on my P and L I would have been able to see the trend better. When I'm doing the appraisal work that I do every week. It sort of feels like I'm doing the same amount of work, but I wasn't. And that caught up pretty quickly. So you know, the process of being aware of my numbers more intimately will serve me well moving forward.
And understanding my needs in terms of support moving forward as we scale up, or if we have to scale back down. Hopefully that'll lead to quicker decisions and better investments on the front end.
George Drapeau: You have mentors?
Rob Bodkin: I do. I do. I definitely do. And I have a group of people that I get together with every quarter in Los Angeles.
We meet live in LA. Now it's L. A. I mean, before it was Vegas, but the days then in Vegas and L. A. look the same inside. And so we just meet every quarter with a coach that facilitates the meeting and then you know, we meet for 2 days and everybody comes and turns their phones off and opens up their books and opens up their life and everybody gets an hour of focus time on the couch, so to speak.
And, and you get to address what's your biggest challenge? What's your biggest victory? What's your biggest this or that? And then everyone gives them their feedback. And so we can all work on our business in a way that I wouldn't do that with even my friends who are in the local appraisal institute chapter.
Some of that's just ego and some of that's, they're my competition. In LA we're just, none of us work in the same markets and, but we all generally have the same kind of business. And this model would work even if we had different businesses. But it's helpful that we're all doing the same thing.
So we can get really specific and granular with our advice and feedback. So in terms of that, it's more not, not a traditional mentor relationship. It's more peer to peer, but they're all very successful business people. So I wouldn't hesitate to call them mentors at the same time.
And that's made a world of difference.
Camille Rapacz: The idea of having a community, having a some kind of a network that you can tap into regardless of what you're doing, whether you're a business owner or you're a leader in business. We used to talk about this in the corporate, how do I get together with communities of practice across different organizations? That are, we're interested in these same topics but we can support each other. And then it's business owners, I think it's an even bigger deal when you're running a small business. Cause you're just out there kind of winging it on your own otherwise.
Maybe you're listening to some podcasts like this or you're reading some books, but nothing replaces the real, like you reading in a book that you should hire a VA is not the same as you talking to someone who has done it and is running a similar business to yours and says, this is how it's working for me.
That's a completely different experience and it changes how you go into those types of decisions. So I don't, I've recently been really trying to uncover what are the best, you know, local networks for small business owners. And it's fascinating that just wide range of the types of networks that are out there.
I think you're doing some of this too, Rob, you getting into some more local networking. And so definitely the quality varies. So finding a good one, I think is important.
How did that being part of that community, that mastermind help you as you were doing this transition?
Rob Bodkin: Well, I mean the, one of the biggest things that it's helped me with is I like probably most people, I think that everybody else who does what I do for work runs an impeccable business with completely clean books. With no HR problems with, you know, they do it. Everybody else does it and I just feel like I'm, you know, keeping my fingers in the dike to keep it from all collapsing.
And then you get around other people who are as successful as we've been, and we have been pretty successful compared to some of my peers here locally. I have that evidence that, you know, it's not a complete soup sandwich, it's not like a complete mess. And then I get in with this group of other people, some of which are much more successful than I am.
And I say, okay, well, they struggle with all the same thing. There's like, okay, you can relax a little bit. It's opened up my mind to possibilities where I might've thought before, I wouldn't have any, have a concept of what it would be like to have a, an assistant who wasn't in my office physically, you know, who was, you know, however many times zones the way the Philippines are. And watching them do it has shown that it's not only me it's possible, it's preferable.
George Drapeau: have a question about lifelong learning. Okay. It's clearly you've got a learning mindset. Have you always had a learning mindset or this is something that you had to build for yourself or came to you somehow later?
Rob Bodkin: I think I've always been curious.
My grandfather was an educator. Both my parents went to college, and so they were curious, at least at some point in their lives. And I've always loved to read. I think it's been better because again, I don't have the same formal education. I've always loved to read. And when I'm driving or when I'm doing yard work or whatever, I'd much rather listen to a book on tape or a podcast than music as much as I love music.
So I've always been interested in learning new things. That was a long yes. And with the running a business. I still do, continuing education for my technical work, you know, for the appraisal work. But that's there's not as, not nearly as much new information there, because the processes we go through are well established and most of the new learning in that is new technology.
That just opened up the brain space to learn, other things.
Camille Rapacz: How long had you been running a business on your own before you actually officially got help when you realized, Oh, I can't do this on my own.
Rob Bodkin: Yeah. Nine months. Nine months. Yeah. Nine months.
Camille Rapacz: Oh, you were a fast learner.
Rob Bodkin: Honestly, when I left the bank, I was Well, I hope this is the right move. And then after a couple weeks it was clear that if the problem was having enough work, that's not the problem. And pretty quickly I had to just run around the boy who can't say no, I was just saying yes to everybody and then I realized, oh my God, how can I, you know, 80 hours a week, that's not sustainable homeboy.
And so after about nine months, it was just coincidental like meeting your husband, Camille, I met another guy in my climbing club who had been an appraiser but an apprentice and he was looking for work, but more like office work or maybe to be an apprentice. It wasn't totally clear. And so I just said, okay, come on.
And that worked out fine. And Arthur's great young man. But my hiring process wasn't robust in that. I was just drowning and he had a life preserver. It was nine months ago.
Camille Rapacz: You had a forcing function, so that helps.
Yes. Yeah. Something like getting too much work to make you start thinking about how you're going to scale very quickly.
George Drapeau: No kidding.
Camille Rapacz: All right. One last question for you, Rob. I can't believe we're already almost at time here, but
Rob Bodkin: I'm chatty.
Camille Rapacz: We're all chatty. That's true.
What's your biggest lesson you've learned since you've been running your own business.
Rob Bodkin: The biggest lesson I've learned since running my own business would be that I should more quickly seek out counsel from a mentor or from peers when I'm faced with a challenge instead of you know, turtling up or instead of just trying to muscle through. And use, you know, develop this network of resources and then put it to use when I have a need. And so some of that is ego going to my friends who I've cultivated this notion that I'm killing it and that I'm have this great business, which is true.
And you can still have problems, if the other is true. And so breaking through my own ego to go to them and say, man, I dipped into my reserve three months in a row. Is that what's happening for you guys? You know, and then I would find, yeah, that's happening for them, or no, because they've streamlined their processes and so time to get on that train.
So that's like a specific example from this year. But develop and then use that network of resources because that's been the most valuable thing that I've done, I think since I open my business and develop that network.
Camille Rapacz: I love that. I think of this as you know, when you talked about that hesitation, sometimes we get our own ego of, I don't want to admit that I'm struggling because everybody else looks like they've all got it together. Mm hmm. Yeah.
But I, one, I think, you know, as you described, most of the time they don't. Everyone else is feeling the same way you are. They're all struggling, maybe not with the same thing, but they have their own version of their struggle. So there's that part of it.
But also I think when we do ask people to help us, that's a gift to them. People want to help. They want to engage with you. And if I have something I can offer to you, even if it's just an ear that you can, talk to and, get your ideas out into the open, people do want to help other people.
So if anybody listening is struggling with this, you're struggling with the idea of, you know, creating that community, asking people for help, feeling like you're the only one struggling with stuff. A) you're definitely not. And all of my experience working with people, I mean, everybody's got something that they're struggling with.
And B, boy, people really do just want to help. So you asking for help is a gift to that other person. Nothing feels better. Like imagine if it's you and someone comes to you, you're like, you want my help. Great. Like just lights you up. So if for any other reason, do it.
George Drapeau: It's a good muscle to build too.
I can speak from personal experience, learning how to recognize when you need help. Learning how to ask for help is a transferable skill to almost any aspect of your life. You learn how to ask for help and be comfortable doing that. It is so powerful.
Camille Rapacz: Absolutely. Yeah. And I, it relates to what we talk about all the time too, George, around being able to do reflection and self reflect and understanding what's going on with yourself. Right. Yeah,
George Drapeau: absolutely.
Camille Rapacz: Love it. All right. Any last words, George?
George Drapeau: Oh, not that would last less than three hours.
Okay. It's just really been a pleasure hearing about your business. I really appreciate the candor talking about the ups and downs of it too. I mean, you've been very open talking to us about how you've gotten into tough times and better times. And that's, that's great. It's very real hearing about somebody who's not just growing a business.
No, look at the problems I have. I've multiplied 50 times. No, no, no. And I like hearing both sides of it. I think that's important for us to hear and I really appreciate your perspective on that. It's really, really good. Thank you for that.
Rob Bodkin: Oh, thanks for having me. I get the most out of uh, listening to other people's stories and about how they've persevered and overcome, objections and yeah, so it's just, it's just my story.
Other people are so generous for their time with me that it just seems like a natural, I don't know how else you would do it. But thank you.
Camille Rapacz: Thank you so much for sharing your story because I think as you were just describing how helpful it is to hear other people's stories now you're giving back that, sharing your story. And I think a lot of people will be able to relate to this idea, especially right now. I know so many businesses, not just in the real estate space, but every other space. When I talk to small business owners, business looks different right now, or has been for a while now.
But it's, we're, we're sort of in that mode of, we're kind of catching up with our perspectives of what's happening as we see what's happening. It's you know how you describe like I'm a little slow to realize how where this is going either how deep it is how long it is. I think people are sort of catching up to that and things that used to work don't work anymore. So we have to adapt and pivot and figure all that stuff out.
I think hearing that other people are in that as well is useful and helpful . We're all trying to figure this out. It's not just me. I'm not falling behind. I'm just right in there with everybody else. So thanks for sharing all of that. Yeah, thank you. And if anybody is in the Seattle area and you need an appraiser, you should call Rob.
We will definitely put your website, your website link. Is that the best way for people to get
Rob Bodkin: to you? Yeah, they can reach out directly through the website or they can call us directly. Either way works.
Camille Rapacz: We will make sure that your information is in our show notes. So if anybody is looking for that, they will have it.
You should just like, put that in your contact list and just flag it. Put it as Appraiser Rob. And then when you're searching, who's that guy again? You can just search appraiser. This is the thing I've learned. Like, you have to make this mistake of I don't remember their name, but I sure know what appraiser Rob is.
You know, title I would put on that. So we will put that on the show notes.
And there's three things I probably should only have one call to action for everybody, but I really do have three, which is leave us a review on Apple podcasts, leave us a voicemail, cause you probably have things to say to us and you can do that at thebeliefshift.com. You can go and you'll see a little voicemail widget. There's links in the show notes for this. You can also book a free consultation with me if you're curious about getting support for your business. And the link in the show notes for that will be camillerapacz.com/bookacall. Alright, that's all I've got for today.
Thank you again, Rob. This was fantastic. Thanks, Rob. Thank you, George, for making time to join us on a uniquely scheduled time for our guests. It's a pleasure. It's
Rob Bodkin: always a pleasure. Nice to meet you, George. And nice to see you again. Nice to meet you
Camille Rapacz: too. Yeah. Yeah. Nice to see you too. All right. Thanks guys.
Rob Bodkin: Thank you.