July 2015 recap – Mark Shaffar, Midwest Equity Partner, visits

At 268 members and climbing, I can't be prouder of the meetup that @John Van Uytven, @Benjamin Hauser, and I have been able to grow out here in Seoul, South Korea. Of course, the road hasn't been a smooth "Kim Yuna-esque" glide toward 300 members. Along the way, we've faced a few rocky moments including our founder having to return to the U.S., changing venues from Gangnam to Hongdae (about 45 minutes from each other), and a MERs breakout before one of our events.

But each time, we've managed to weather the storm and come out stronger on the other side.

To set the scene for this month - it's a 48 hours before our next meetup and our speaker hasn't been confirmed yet. Then comes to the email - due to a scheduling conflict, looks like we'll need to find someone else.

If you've ever organized an event, you probably know what this feels like - panic sets in and you imagine standing in front of your audience, gulping and trying to explain "how unexpected events sometimes happen.."

However, that's only if you don't have a secret weapon - and in my case, that secret weapon is BiggerPockets.

As soon as I heard the news, instead of panicking and wondering how I'd be filling 45 minutes, I did the following:

  • Wished our speaker well - we all know that life sometimes happens and hopefully we can bring him on later
  • Reached out to a BiggerPockets member I had just spoken to the night before

Viola! An email later, I had our new speaker arranged and things went smoothly.

A few takeaways from this:

  • Do you remember listening to Ken McElroy on Podcast #52 telling his story of raising several million dollars in investment money with 20 minutes of phone calls? While my rolodex is not quite at that level, I realize that the only way to build it is to continue to network, talk to people, and find people you connect with - your tribe, in other words.
  • Two years ago, I hated networking. I wanted to do everything on my own. Call it introversion, call it ego, call it paranoia or whatever, the fact of the matter is if there was a networking event or opportunity to connect with someone, I would find an excuse not to go. Now.. it's almost the exact opposite. If the right networking opportunity arises, I'm willing to jump on plane to take advantage of it (I haven't had to yet though ^^). Meeting with other investors and professionals is now a regular part of my routines and it's because of the cumulative effect of that effort that I felt confident that I could find a great speaker for our group. And I was right - @Mark Shaffar was awesome. Definitely delivered the goods!)
  • Networking doesn't have to be empty conversations that happen as you hand out business cards. While this may happen from time to time, I've found that when I've connected with people, I've had initial meetings / conversations that have lasted over an hour. (One of those 'random networking conversations' actually landed me a potential business partnership - more on that later!) I've heard it said before by many experienced wholesalers - you don't need a huge buyer's list as long as you have a few that can dependably perform. The same with networking - you don't have to be BFFs with everyone. You'll eventually find the people that share your values and outlook. As @Ben Leybovich says about finding a great deal - "You have to kiss a lot of frogs" and the same is true in networking - it might take a lot of meetings to build your tribe. But it's definitely worth it!

Now on to a recap of our July meetup:

We had Mark Shaffar from Midwest Equity Partner join us. If you heard Mark on the @Joe Fairless - Best Real Estate Investing Advice podcast - then you know Mark is a morning person - I mean a real morning person: the wake up at 5am-every-morning-type. So we were definitely grateful that he stayed up until 11:30pm to talk with our group for over 40 minutes.

As a former overseas investor himself (bought in the midwest while living in China), we had to ask Mark - how would you do due diligence while living overseas? Here's his response:

We were definitely happy that Mark was able to join our list of international BiggerPockets speakers that include:

@Joshua Dorkin, @Brandon Turner, @Ali Boone, @Engelo Rumora, @matt faircloth, @Chris Clothier

If you're interested in hearing the full interview:

Mark Shaffar Full Interview

(If you listen to the end, you'll be able to hear Mark's special greeting to the Seoul Real Estate Investing Meetup members... in Chinese!)

Anyways, thanks as always to the BiggerPockets community for helping us grow our meetup.

And if there happen to be any members out there that are wondering -

  • Is networking worth it? Definitely! Keep looking for your people. You'll know them when you find them.
  • What if I don't have anyone to network with? Then start your own network or meetup. Be the organizer and become the connector for your area. It's easy. We did it. And we're all the way out here in Korea, dealing with language barriers within our group, 7,000 miles of ocean, and a community that's spread out across the Korea and the globe! If we can do it, then I know everyone can. (And feel free to reach out if you're looking for tips on how we did it).

Finally, thanks to all our meetup members who are also BiggerPockets members:

@Sandra Roddy, @Dustin Karns, @Paul Wurster, @Jacob Michaels, @Katie Kim,@William Strong, @Natalie Heo, @Dominic Jones, @James Wise@John Kantola, @Robert E. Medlock II, @Richard Harrington, @Josh McNicoll

Here are a few of the places our members are currently investing in:

  • US - Jacksonville, FL; Illinois; Kansas City; Indianapolis; Las Vegas; Nebraska; California; Yuma, Arizona; Seattle, Washington; Memphis
  • Korea - Busan, Sokcho, Seoul, Gangnam, Samsung
  • Worldwide - Hong Kong; Ireland; Taiwan; Myanmar; Philippines

And now for some pictures:

Past 11:30 PM but still going strong. That's a 18.5 hour work day for those of you keeping count!

One of our members has a surprise for the group - at my request, they will be taking a few of our members on a FIELD TRIP, showing some of the 15 properties they bought with low money down strategies (Brandon Turner would be proud). I did a write up of their strategy: How to buy a Korean apartment for $5,000.

It's Saturday. No need to dress up, right?

Jacob, one of our most active investors, always delivering value to the group.

Thanks again Mark. Great service, with a smile!

And that's it for this one. Until the next one.