How Property Management Leaders Can Find Balance Amid the Chaos

How Property Management Leaders Can Achieve Better Work-Life Balance

Growth Opportunities: The Iceberg Report

Right now in the United States, there are about 22 million single family rental homes and multi-family rental properties that have up to four units. Out of these, 14.3 million, or 65 percent, are self-managed by the investor or landlord. This offers a vast opportunity to the 32,000 small or mid-sized property management companies.

There are a lot of social and economic factors that keep rentals in high demand. Over the next five years, about 8 million single family rentals will come into the professional management market. The opportunity is clear, and to take advantage of these opportunities, it’s important and necessary to establish trust between property managers and landlords and investors. This is one of the divides that’s keeping property managers from growing and acquiring new business. To effectively win all the new business that’s available in local management markets, property management companies need to demonstrate their value and give landlords and investors who have been managing on their own a reason to trust that their properties are better off with professional management.

Tony LeBlanc and the Need to Establish Balance

Any problem in an organization can be traced to the top. If the leadership is off balance, the team will never reach its potential. The CEO’s mood or the director’s attitude affects the team. Tony LeBlanc is a successful property management entrepreneur, and he made the choice to balance himself and his team to achieve better results. The business is growing and thriving because of his efforts. He spoke to Alex about the need to balance personal and professional goals, and why it matters to property management executives.

Tony is from New Brunswick, Canada. He owns and operates a property management company, Ground Floor Property Management, with three locations, and he’s been in business for eight years. He was born into the field; as a child he lived in a building where his mother was the resident property manager. Tony worked in the technology field after college and began investing in real estate. Then, he got back to property management and built a company that went from 0 units to 1,000 units in two years.

Advice for Fast Growth: Call Everyone

This type of fast growth came from calling everyone he knew. Tony called all the Realtor friends he worked with previously and used his relationships and connections to quickly establish himself. There was a snowball effect from picking up the phone and letting people know he was in business. Property management is a people business and a relationship business. It’s hard to earn new business sitting in the office. Go out and meet every Realtor in town and anyone associated with the rental business. Connect and create relationships to increase the amount of business you’re doing.

Fourandhalf note: We were at the recent Inman Connect San Francisco 2017 – Real Estate Conference, where high-powered real estate agents meet to stay ahead of the industry. Of the real estate agents we spoke to, the majority of them did not have a relationship with any of the property management companies in their community. It is important for property management owners to be aggressive in conveying their value propositions to people like real estate agents, where there is a great opportunity for a mutual partnership.


Sponsor for Today’s Podcast – NARPM

NARPM


Balance and Confidence – Define Your Property Management Purpose

What does it mean when Tony says the property management industry is off balance? When you study this industry, you see a lot of the same trends. It’s chaotic and stressful and busy. There’s a lot of negativity associated with the work, and that negativity often comes from the property managers themselves. There is a lot going on at once in a property manager’s day. Everyone knows it’s stressful. But, if you’re in a position of weakness – either you’re having issues at home, or your health isn’t where you want it to be, or you’re not connected to yourself spiritually – you won’t be clear about where your business is going, and the stress and the chaos that comes with an average day will be magnified.

You need a purpose to what you’re doing, and if you don’t have that purpose, the daily grind is going to be much harder to endure.

Every day that you come into the office, you need to know where you’re going and why you’re doing what you do. Not only do you need to know that – your staff and your team need to know that as well. Everybody needs to be aligned with what all this is for.

Tony has a two-year roadmap that he shared with his team and a list of goals and opportunities that he wants to achieve. But, the statistic that resonated with them more than anything else is this:

Last year, Tony’s team housed almost 2,000 families.

That’s the purpose that will balance and motivate a team; knowing that 2,000 families have relied on them. Well-balanced and empathetic property managers will understand that people are counting on them to take care of their homes, their futures, their safety, and the place that their children grow up. You cannot take the reallife part of this job for granted. Property management includes a lot of pushing paper and conducting move-in inspections and taking calls, but the purpose is to provide an exceptional experience for everyone you come across. You’re protecting an owner’s investment and helping tenants feel comfortable in their homes.

Building a Trust Bridge Between Tenants and Owners

This may remind you of the podcast conversation with Lisa Wise, who advised leading with empathy. A lot of property management entrepreneurs think of tenants as a necessary evil. They mentally set up an adversarial relationship with these pesky entities who are only good for paying rent. If you change your thinking, you change the way you provide property management, and you change the experience for everyone who works with you.

Property management shouldn’t be a tenant-versus-owner dichotomy. Your business cannot be all about the owner, because if you cannot keep good tenants in place, it doesn’t matter how many new owners you start working with. You won’t have tenants to fill their properties. Taking care of tenants is just as important as taking care of owners.   

This is part of the trust bridge that the property management industry needs. Policies and systems are critical, but empathy is absolutely necessary. There are a lot of different ways to say no. You can say no and still be helpful. If something doesn’t work between you and a tenant, leave them with an out and be sure to end the relationship on a positive note. If you live in a small community, word spreads fast through other tenants and property managers. Leading with empathy will build you a better business.

Routines and Rituals: How to Start Balancing Personal and Professional Goals

Personal lives always bleed into office lives, and balancing the two takes some work. At home, Tony has a protocol in place, which starts with waking up at 5:00 in the morning and taking care of himself and his personal priorities. He works out, drinks a smoothie, and takes the time to write appreciative notes to his children and his girlfriend. Then, he meditates and journals and reviews study material that’s relevant to his business and his professional goals. All of this is done in what he calls his morning power hour. His day is moving on a positive note before his children are even awake.

At the office, the day begins with a morning huddle with his staff. Everyone gets together to review the previous day. This puts everyone on the same page and ensures the whole team is aware of any new notices, new maintenance emergencies, and new applications. Then, each team member has the opportunity to define their number one priority for the day. It might be collecting rent or making deposits. The leasing agent might have a good lead. Everyone is calibrated and ready to start the day.  

Jim Kwik, a renowned mental coach, talks about the need for routine, and how a healthy brain needs one ingrained. Most people don’t have this, and it sounds intimidating when you hear about the discipline that someone like Tony possesses. Don’t be intimidated – just be willing to start somewhere.   

Pick one or two things that are weakest for you and where you get the most value. Start there, and if you can build a routine with just those one or two things, they will become intuitive and instinctual, and part of your everyday life. Then, you can start incorporating more things into the routine and it will be manageable. So, if you’re thinking your health is where you’re weakest and you value being able to live a longer, healthier life – make a visit to the gym a part of that morning routine. If you can’t get a whole workout in, give yourself the opportunity to sweat hard for 10 minutes. This is a matter of taking an assessment of yourself and being real. Find that weakness and start with something simple.

Healthy Leader/Healthy Staff: Centering Your Team

Tony admits that sometimes his own routine is a bit over the top, and a little aggressive for most people. He doesn’t expect his team to be just like him, but he does tone it down a bit and offer tips and advice that everyone can apply to their lives. Office discussions will include fitness and nutrition and relationships. Many people have kids, and he recognizes the importance of having real conversations. There’s nothing superficial about the growth and balance that he wants to achieve. Tony is willing to ask deep questions, and he creates an environment where his team feels safe answering those questions.  

The team huddle sets the tone for the day and centers everyone. From that, other things are put into place to protect that sense of balance and healthy behavior.  

For example, the office hours are 8:30 to 4:30, but the doors don’t open to the public until 9:30. That gives the staff an hour to catch up and prepare. On Friday afternoons, the office closes at 1:00 for training sessions or catching up and preparing for the week ahead. Focusing and planning for the next week is a big component of the business. Those Friday afternoons are critical because everyone can decompress and wrap up from the week.  


Sponsor for Today’s Podcast – Property Management CMO Consulting 

The second sponsor for today’s podcast is Alex Osenenko, who is offering intensive consulting sessions on marketing. A lot of property management companies underspend on marketing. That cuts off their ability to grow, and it can cost the business hundreds of thousands of dollars in opportunity. Here’s an example. Company A spends $50,000 a year on marketing and gets 70 new contracts. Company B spends $20,000 on marketing and only gets 30 contracts. In annual contract value, that’s a $100,000 difference. With CMO strategic level consulting, you’ll get a marketing plan with a blueprint that can be deployed using specific channels. It’s a unit economics model that gets down to profitability so you know what each property is worth to you. You can remodel your fee structure so you get more add-on value services. By bringing value to your clients, you make money. This is expensive, and will cost $5,000 for a full day. If you’re interested, email alex@fourandhalf.com to get an intake form.  


Using Gamification in the Pursuit of Balance and Success

Gamification can help with motivation and accountability. Something as simple as awarding yourself points for the things you accomplish can provide a way to track your progress and feel good about what you accomplish. Tony calls his morning routine the Core Four. There are four major areas he’s touching, and he wants to do two things in each of those areas. So, he can earn up to four points per day. His goal is to reach those 28 points per week. Every Sunday night, he reviews his week and determines what happened if he didn’t reach that goal and what he has to do to correct the course for the following week.

The same thing applies to his professional routine, which he calls the Key Four. Every Sunday night or Monday morning, he plans four major tasks that he needs to accomplish that week. Maybe his 90-day goal is to increase revenue by a certain amount. He breaks out his benchmarks and his targets and he establishes those four tasks every week that will get him closer to that revenue goal. Making it a game is a tactic that’s fun and simple and accountable.

Consulting, Coaching, and Personal Development

It’s easy to dismiss personal development and coaching as schemes designed to separate successful people from their money. However, the right coach or the right book or the right community of like-minded people can change your life and alter your path. For Tony, it was realizing his software job was setting his life off balance after he read The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma. That is when he became more interested in personal development.

This is a world where it’s hard to figure things out on your own. Having a community or a coach who can challenge you to think differently and expect more from yourself makes an enormous difference in your balance and your ability to achieve success. Most people out there, professional athletes included, need a coach. You need someone to push you through these things.

As a property manager, do yourself a favor and give yourself a break. You need to bestow permission upon yourself to live a great and balanced life. Property management doesn’t always feel like one of the best industries out there, but it is. Property managers are doing work that matters. It’s becoming more mainstream, and to get to the next level, property managers need to be professionals. Be accountable with yourself and others, and find your balance.

If you have any questions about what Tony and Alex have talked about today, please contact Fourandhalf.  

Alex Osenenko

About Alex Osenenko

Alex’s professional mission in life is to help small businesses grow and thrive. Alex is the President and CEO of Fourandhalf.com and a Co-Founder of the PM Grow, Inc. His business philosophy is simple: Happy Customers are created by Happy Employees, which results in Happy Shareholders. Alex's deep commitment to entrepreneurship and improving the lives of small business owners everywhere empower him to host “The Property Management Show” bi-weekly Podcast and speak internationally on the subjects of Growth, Marketing, Sales, and Entrepreneurship.

One Comment

  • I really like the positive attitude filtering down from the top. Having worked in the corporate I truly value the team approach. I’m not in favor of picking on a particular person in a sales meeting to humiliate them. That does not grow anyone’s business.
    Property management can be stressful, a balanced life for this reason is very important I’m pleased that spiritual & physical well being was addressed in the video.

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Alex Osenenko
President and CEO

Alex’s professional mission in life is to help small businesses grow and thrive. He is the President and CEO of Fourandhalf.com and is serving his 5th year on the Board of Directors for CALNARPM.

After spending 9 years in the trenches with his property management clients, Alex draws on his experience to host “The Property Management Show” Podcast and co-authors a weekly Property Management Blog on Fourandhalf.com. Alex has extensive experience speaking for various NARPM events at the local, state, regional and national level.

Alex is a graduate of San Francisco State University with an Electronic Commerce Systems Degree. His business philosophy is simple: Happy Customers are created by Happy Employees, which results in Happy Shareholders. Alex serves on the Board of Directors of CALNARPM (California Chapter of National Association of Residential Property Managers) and hosts a Podcast “The Property Management Show“, available on iTunes.

 

John Bykowski
Chief Operating Officer

After graduating from the University of Michigan with a film degree, John proceeded to do everything but. During his career, John has specialized in operations and has developed processes for small companies in diverse industries, such as bleeding-edge marketing technology, social networking, trade shows and exhibitions, and cloud software. John and Alex had worked together previously, and when he needed someone to help take Fourandhalf to the next level and beyond, Alex brought in John as his first employee, and later, business partner.

In addition, now that he’s using his film school know-how to help property managers look their best in their blogs, his mom no longer feels his degree was a complete waste of time.

Danny Morris
Director of Account Management

Born in Australia and growing up in Israel, Danny has spent a lot of time traveling the world between those two places. After completing his military service in Israel, Danny began following his biggest passion, writing, which he discovered while backpacking South America and publishing his first book.

When it was time to unpack, he returned to Australia to complete his Journalism studies amongst the beaches of sunny Perth. Danny is a huge online fan and after working in a number of related jobs, he finally gets to combine his two favorite things, working with media and people.

Marina Osenenko
Product Manager

Marina draws upon her real estate, business operations and customer service expertise for Fourandhalf. Her favorite part of being with Fourandhalf is the opportunity she has to really get to know our clients, build professional customer relationships and truly be part of a team that assists in their success.

Her time away from work is happily spent watching her children grow up and attempting to keep up with them! Any spare moments beyond nurturing her children are filled with hiking, spending time with friends, exploring the Bay Area and squeezing in a non G-rated movie every now and then.

Marie Liamzon
Product and Marketing Manager

Before joining Fourandhalf, Marie worked for one of the largest banks in the world. She took on different roles, but couldn’t find what she was looking for. She pursued a variety of side projects until she finally decided it was time for a career change.

Marie is very passionate about helping people and learning new things. In her spare time, you might catch her exploring new places and taking far too many pictures.

Kyle McLean
Customer Success

Born in San Diego County, Kyle McLean has since migrated to the Oakland woods. A fan of tall trees and tall tales, he holds a bachelor’s degree from the creative writing program at the University of California, Riverside and is a licensed California Certified Shorthand Reporter.

After a few years as a freelance court reporter, Kyle has joined Fourandhalf for an opportunity in sales and digital marketing. In addition to reading and writing, his hobbies and interests include gardening, hiking, soccer, coffee brewing, and craft beers.

Karen Wyle
Account Management

Originally from the Philadelphia area, Karen moved eight times in seventeen years all over the East Coast and to the Midwest before settling here in Northern California six years ago. She is an alumna of Brandeis University with a BA in American Studies and earned a MBA in Marketing Management from Indiana University in Bloomington. Karen’s business career has been well-rounded, with experience including advertising, direct marketing, corporate retail, product management, new product development, and new customer generation. Beyond an office setting, she has been thrilled to volunteer her time giving back to the community with KPMG’s Family for Literacy, at her daughter’s school, and as a Girl Scout Troop Leader. Karen enjoys music, good food, traveling to new places, completing jigsaw puzzles, meeting people and making connections.

Karen became a part of Fourandhalf’s Account Management team in 2016, relaunching her marketing management career after a pause to raise her family. She is excited to rejoin the business world and to work with such a strong marketing management team.

Paige DeRuyter
Account Management

Paige graduated from Chico State University with a degree in Journalism. Her favorite part of working at Fourandhalf is helping clients create and produce educational blog content to grow their business. She is an avid sushi enthusiast who enjoys riding her bike and watching college football and in her free time.

Nissim Boozaglo
Web Hosting Support

After working as a Radioshack store manager, Nissim decided to change his career path and pursue his passion for music production by getting his B.A.S. from Expression College for the Digital Arts. Nissim has a beautiful 8-year-old girl and loves cooking delicious homemade food and going camping with her! At Fourandhalf, Nissim is responsible for the implementation of the clients’ Landing Pages and Google Adwords campaigns.

Theresa Barnes
Campaign Director

Theresa Barnes was born and raised in the Bay Area and graduated with her Bachelors Degree in Communications Studies at San Francisco State University. She worked in aviation at a private FBO for 3 years, and other industries, before joining the Fourandhalf team. She finds a balance between being a young mother, work, and living a healthy lifestyle outside of work by staying as active as possible. She is dedicated to customer satisfaction and having a great work ethic.

Brittany Stephens
Campaign Director

Brittany recently moved to the Bay area after graduating from California State University Chico with a degree in Business Marketing. She is known for her excellent communication, customer service skills, and shameless nerdyness. Her passions include: music, tabasco, Lord of the Rings, and the Golden State Warriors.

Logan Jones
Business Development

After graduating from CSU Chico with a Degree in Business Marketing, Logan moved back to the East Bay and pursued a career in sales. With an attention to detail and a relentless drive, he strives to improve himself and his passions each day. When not at work Logan enjoys playing guitar and writing songs, and occasionally performing around the Bay Area. He is an avid sports fan keeping up with everything SF Giants, 49ers, Cal Bears, and Golden State Warriors.

Hope Lumbley
Account Management

Hope recently moved to the Bay Area after graduating from Chico State University with a degree in Journalism. She is coffee crazed, dog obsessed and hopes to visit all National Parks. One of the greatest times in her life was when she lived abroad in Costa Rica and hopes to travel more of Central America in the future. She feels blessed to work for a company who supports her love for travel and the need to learn more about what the world has to offer.

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