Episode 79: Get More Money & Create Your Dream Lifestyle by Leveraging Profit First – w/ Short Sale Queen Nicole Espinosa
THE PROFIT FIRST REI PODCAST
Mar 23, 2022
Here’s a real kicker! Nicole Espinosa, a.k.a the Short Sale Queen, will give us pearls of advice in today’s talk.
Nicole started real estate way back in 2011, and she has been processing short sales ever since. Throughout her years of expertise, she’s gone through several challenges and met seasoned real estate investors who shaped her to where she’s at today. She’s also written a couple of books that became a global hit and helped many. On top of that, Nicole is a full-time mom who has mastered the art of balancing her career and personal life. She always believes that consistency and perseverance to work hard are the way to victory. Curious about how she did it? Find out by listening to the full episode!
[2:06] What got her started in real estate investing?
[3:26] She spent a lot of time perfecting systems processes and instilling education to real estate professionals to debunk myths about short sales.
[6:12] The advantages of specializing in short sales niche
[7:32] Why did she get into real estate?
[10:41] Did short-sale contribute to her success?
[11:50] Being consistent matters
[12:45] What early lessons about money did she learn? And how does it differ from her perspective today?
[15:49] Changing her perspectives on money: Working less and making more
[18:15] What does she want to pass on to her children about money?
[25:47] Have a bigger vision of what you are trying to accomplish and create
[6:49] “Your reputation is your brand.”
[7:32] Why did she get into real estate?
[8:32] “I was not always the smartest person in the room, but I was always hard working”
[9:30] “You don’t know everything, you can always learn something from someone because they offer a fresh new perspective.”
- The Short Sale Queen Website- www.thessqueen.com
- Nicole’s Instagram- www.instagram.com/thenicoleespinosa
- The Short Sale Queen YouTube- https://m.youtube.com/c/TheShortSaleQueen
- How To Master Short Sales by Nicole Espinosa – https://thessqueen.com/how-to-master-short-sales/
- The #1 SHORT SALE FREE FB group: www.facebook.com/groups/theonlyshortsalegroupworthbeingapartof
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Hey, everyone. It is David Richter again here with the Profit First REI podcast. Have another special guest today, Nicole Espinosa. She is the short-sale queen. So now you’ve met her. If you are watching this online, you are officially seeing who the short-sale queen is, but she has done many, many short sales. She has written books about them that are best-selling books, which is … She has Short Sale Uncensored.
And she is an absolutely amazing person because … I know this because, in the masterminds that we’re a part of together, I hear other people talk, and that’s where … I’ve said this about several people on the podcast, and you know someone’s the real deal if other people are talking about them, and it’s not just their marketing talking about them. And that’s where Nicole, I feel like, is one of those people that does it, does it right, and then has the reputation of doing it right with other people. And so, Nicole, super excited to have you on today. Thank you for being here on the Profit First REI podcast.
Thanks for having me, and what a good intro, so I appreciate that.
Oh, yeah, for sure. I …
I’m excited to be here.
Yeah, I like having real people on that have been in the trenches doing it, and then teaching others that they can get out of the rat race and what can they do, and all that is well and good. I love the … Because I never read the bios that people send over to me as far as word for word on my show. But I do love here that your whys, those two children, Elias and Emma, that you have. And that’s … I absolutely love that.
I’ve got one daughter, a four-year-old, so that’s why I ask them the questions I do because sometimes it’s selfish just because I want to know how to raise her better and that stuff. So I absolutely love that. And so that’s what you focus on when you’re not doing the real estate transactions. But, first question, right out of the gate, what got you started in real estate investing?
Yeah, so I got into the business in 2009, and it was mostly with foreclosures, so dealing with REO lenders. I was working at a real estate office, working with asset managers, and that was my first exposure to real estate. And it was one of the worst jobs I’ve ever had because we had to evict homeowners. We were on the complete opposite side of what we do now and really just in the trenches of these crazy deadlines where the lender would send us the legal description and say, “Figure it out. Figure out if you have to evict these people. Figure out what the situation is.”
But I learned. Just like anything else, you just sink or swim. Right? I was able to learn so much about how the banks worked and operated and then, from there, got my license. And just so happened that the first listing that I had, when I was trying to figure out what I wanted to specialize in and what I wanted to do, was a short sale. And, from there, I learned the process.
It was very interesting to me in this niche specifically where most people didn’t understand. And most people, because of a lack of knowledge, they were like, “Hey, just don’t even worry about it; don’t bother with it. You’re not going to be able to do anything. It’s a waste of time,” which some investors still say to this day that I’ll talk to you. They’re like, “Oh, short sales don’t close,” because of their experience. And so I’ve spent a lot of time this last decade perfecting our systems, our processes, and really putting a lot of education out there for real estate professionals, investors, and real estate agents to really debunk all those myths of: that things aren’t possible.
It’s just like, well, that’s your experience, but guess what? We have 10, 11 years of getting these approved and getting them closed. So there’s a resource out there to help homeowners and still make a profit, and so it’s a win-win.
That is awesome because that is … I’ve been investing now since 2012, and that was definitely one of the first things because we did all types of deals when I start first started investing. And that was one of the ones that we didn’t do a lot of was the short sales because of that stigma that it has on it, but I love what you’ve done. And it’s usually those places that a lot of people don’t flock to that you can really do a lot of good. You can help those homeowners, and then you can also make a good living and help yourself and those people too. So I absolutely love that.
I love how you got started in it, so talk about the journey then. That’s how you started. Tell the 10, 11 years later now. Where are you now, and what are you doing, and how are you helping? Do you still do short sales today? Just give it a little bit about that.
So we are 100% referral based.
So I love what you said with the intro because that is so important to me. Our reputation is our brand. The fact that we follow through; we do what we say we’re going to do. We built an entire business on that. And, as far as the journey, it has been a wild ride because I created something that most people don’t understand or know how to do, which means that there wasn’t a lot of resources to get help when I would get stuck or try to fix any problems that we had. And so, for the longest time, just being so young and creating this business, I was so broke. I would spend so much time creating income and getting into that trap that most entrepreneurs do of creating money.
There’s always more money, which is why I love Profit First because, literally, when I would read that book, I was like, “Oh my God, there’s people like me; I’m not alone.” Right?
“He thinks like we do.” And so I related so much to that, that we fall into this trap of just: Hey, we’ll just get another closing. Right? We’ll get more income and never really getting ahead or really creating a business because it’s just this constant trap of creating more income and spending it just as fast. And so it’s been a very difficult journey just because I had no financial literacy.
And so I was just a hustler, right? I was just hustling. I was hungry and driven and really passionate about creating this and then failing probably more than I’ve succeeded. Now, fast forward 10, 11 years later. Yes, absolutely, we do over 100 deals a month that we’re processing, and it’s all short sales, so we just specialize in that. We are in 14 states nationwide, so we do this on a very high level.
Wow, that’s awesome, 14 states. Just the impact that’s making, that’s incredible. Because that’s what I love to hear is how are you helping with the whole community, with what you’re doing? She’s in 14 states. This is something that’s a serious business. She’s not just teaching it; she’s doing it. And that’s what’s amazing. I love what you said too. Your reputation is your brand, making sure that you have that good reputation out there as well, too.
And I think that’s something a lot of people forget, that, once you start saying that you can make the money, it’s very tempting for a lot of people just to be like, “Oh, I could get an extra $500,000 here if I cut a corner or whatnot.” It’s like you’re blowing up what you could really be able to do with your business and with your life, ultimately, but love that.
Yeah, and I think you hit the nail in the head there, too, with what you’re saying about Mike Michalowicz and his book, Profit First and just how that describes so many of us. But I did want to ask a question, before we go into the money aspect and everything, is: Why real estate? Why did you get into real estate? And then I know your why now: It sounds like that’s your two children. But what was the original? Why did you originally get into it?
I would love to say that I had this inspirational moment of always wanting to do this, but I just fell into it. I needed a job. I was working as an assistant for an agent and then working for the broker, and it just evolved. And I was really lucky to be able to do it at such a early age, to really see firsthand the opportunity and take advantage of what most people don’t. Right?
So most people get into real estate later on, in their second career or through meeting someone that opens their perspective of: Wow, look at all this passive income or however. And, for me, I was so young, I came from Florida to Texas. And I needed a job. I was like: I need something to do as far as my career path and try to figure out what I wanted to do.
And I wasn’t always the smartest person in the room, but I was always the hardest working. And so my tenacity is the reason why we’re here today. I was relentless, and I was always willing to learn. I have always had this perspective that I can learn from anyone. It doesn’t matter if this is your second week or your 20th year.
And I think a lot of people miss the boat on that because they feel like whenever you start a sentence with, “I’ve been doing this for 20 years,” I’m automatically checked out. I don’t need you to prove to me your knowledge; it’ll come out in the conversation. And being around so many millionaires and people that are so wealthy on such a high level, you realize that, really, their perspective is always the same. They’re always coming from a place of giving. They’re always coming from a place of: I’m the student as much as I’m the teacher.
And that perspective is key because you don’t know everything. You can always learn something from someone because they offer a fresh, new perspective. And I think that’s so important when you’re building something with your culture, with your organization, and really to your success. Because, if you feel like, you know everything, you’re not going to go very far.
Yeah, that’s the truth. So, absolutely, I love that because it is. Once you stop that learning process, you’re done. If you’re not learning and growing, then you’re dying. There’s a bunch of those sayings. It’s like you got to make sure that you’re on that path.
Love what you said, too, that you fell into it. So not everyone reads Rich Dad Poor Dad, or not everyone just goes off and does this. Or, like you said, it’s some people’s second career. So no matter where you are right now, this could be your first thing. This could be your fifth thing or whatnot. But real estate is definitely one of those great solutions. And I love that, where you came down with your niche of the short sale-ing.
And I guess just one more general question because now I’m just going down a bunch of questions in my head, but do you feel like you’ve been more successful because you picked a niche and you stuck in that niche for a long time of the short sales and being very laser focused on that? Do you think that’s contributed a lot to the success over the years?
A hundred percent, so because I’ve been so laser focused on one thing, it’s done a couple things. The consistency has helped build my brand because people associate me with short sales. People associate me with this part of the industry. It set me apart because of just the consistency over the last decade. Right?
And so I think people underestimate consistency. They underestimate the value of being consistent with your message. And a lot of times we, as entrepreneurs, it’s like the next shiny object, right? Like: Oh, wow, this is exciting; and this is exciting. And we always want to create new ideas, and we forget to go back to the basics of what got us there. Right?
So, as we grow, instead of veering off to a thousand other things with our crazy ADHD, we need to stay with focused on one thing because if you are associated … If someone could say, “Hey, Nicole Espinosa does short sales; she’s the short-sale queen,” then I’ve been successful in my branding. And the cost of entry is so cheap to be able to be on social media and be out there, but people aren’t going to take you seriously unless you’re consistent with that.
And so, because of that, 100% with my reputation, just with the business, we’ve been so laser focused and because we went all in on this niche, we’re the best at it. We have over a decade of experience with this. And not only that, but we’ve done thousands of transactions, so we’ve seen pretty much every scenario. So we can do a lot of things that most people can’t because we’ve experienced it.
Oh, okay. I love that. And that allows you to write the books, like the books behind you that you have right there, if you can see. But being able to niche down and really get good at one thing, it is … You can’t plant a tree and then keep ripping it up and expect it to have deep roots and be there for a very long time. So absolutely love that. So, okay, I’ll get off my tangents. Let’s talk about money. So what early lessons about money did you learn, and how does that … Do you think differently today? And do you have any different thoughts about money today?
Oh, 100%. I think that everybody has a unique perspective with money based on what they were taught. Right? So for some people, the bar is like: Hey, if I make $50,000 because of my perspective created my possibility, that’s the goal. Right? And then you meet someone else that’s making $100,000, and you’re like: Oh, this is what’s possible. And that’s very true for me.
Growing up, in my generation, we were taught you have to go to college; you have to get a degree. And if you’re making six figures, you’re successful. Right? And so it was this narrow path of: This is the path to success. And then, once I was exposed to real estate, and I was exposed to these entrepreneurs of: What’s six figures every month?
And then my mind was blown because I’m like, “I’m sorry, what? You’re making six figures in a month.” And then it’s like, “No, I made that in a day,” and so I think my view of money and really creating wealth has changed drastically over the last decade because of the rooms that I’ve been in. And it’s no coincidence that the more I’m surrounding myself with people that are doing much better than me, that are a lot smarter than me, that my perspective created so many possibilities for my business. And it changed the standard for money for me.
And, from the very beginning, I felt a like I didn’t have a good relationship with money. Right? Because I was like … I had this scarcity mindset where I was like, “I’m just going to spend it because I don’t have that much.” So I would just constantly spend because I felt like this was short term, right? I’m doing really well, but we don’t know how long this is going to last and really just having a self-employed job. Because I was a slave to my business and really just from one commission to the next.
And then I woke up one day, and I was like: You know what? I don’t want to keep living like this. It was back … It was like six years ago, five or six years ago, when I couldn’t make payroll. And I’m like: This is ridiculous. I’m getting these awards tonight at this banquet. And I have to borrow money from my dad to pay payroll tomorrow. This is crazy. I felt like such a fraud.
And I finally sat down with him, and I’m like, “I need to figure this out, my financial situation, because, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how successful, quote/unquote, I look. If I have nothing to show for it, if I’m not creating real wealth, all of this is just a show. All of this is just like everybody thinks I’m successful, but I’m not actually making money.”
And I think so many people get caught up in that image of success instead of actually being successful. I don’t need you to think that I’m successful. I want to actually be successful. And, to me, success is buying my time back and having income coming in regardless where I don’t have to think about money. Right?
And so I wanted to get to this place where now my mindset shifted to: Okay, I want to actually work less and make more because I want to be present with my family. I want to be well rounded. I want to be able to sleep and not have to stress out about whether everything’s going to go in flames because I didn’t answer my phone. I’m going to take a vacation and turn my phone off
So there are so many things I’ve shifted in the last decade, and it was no coincidence of the fact that I had to change my perspective of money, my really relationship with money. And Profit First was a huge part of that, of like: Okay, I am in this trap of … I know I’m good at creating income. And so I’m in this trap of: I’ll just make more instead of keeping what I have. Instead of focusing on saving as much as I can, I was worried about creating more. And so that, I guess, is a long answer.
No, no, it’s a good … There is no wrong or long answer there. That is amazing because that’s exactly what we want to do as entrepreneurs. We want to get out of that rat race. We usually jump out of the rat race and then build ourselves a bigger mouse trap. So that’s where I want to make sure. Those are great mindsets. That’s exactly what all business owners want to strive for, and sometimes we lose our way. We lose our way of like: Okay, no, this is the hustle; this is the grind that everyone talks about. And there might be a season of that, but that should not be your lifestyle for the rest of your life.
And you hit the nail on the head. That’s a season, and I am all for hustle and grind. Roll up your sleeves. You have to do that. You have to do the work, but that is not permanent. That’s just to build it, and we get so caught up in that hustle and grind because it’s sexy, right, to post, like, “I haven’t slept. Team no sleep. I’m on caffeine,” or whatever. No, I like my sleep.
To me, that’s not cool. Go to bed.
Nope. Right, exactly. Yeah, I see that stuff, and I’m like: what are you talking about? I’ve got a four-year-old. I’m like: There’s been nights where I can’t … I don’t choose to go to sleep or not. It’s because of a little one. It’s like: Just get your sleep when you can. But, yeah, it’s being intentional, being intentional with the money, being intentional with the time. Saying, “This is what we’re going to do.
And I even like calling it the Profit First life. Are you putting in the things that matter first, into your calendar, before you do everything else? So absolutely love that. So let’s talk about … There’s one other question I want to ask you, since you’re a parent, and since I’m a parent. So I ask this one selfishly. What do you want to pass on to your children about money? Some of the lessons because there’s a lot of good lessons there. So I’m sure it’s still a lot of the same lessons that you just said, but what do you want to pass on to them?
Well, I want them to understand that money is just a way to … Is just opportunities. It creates opportunities. It’s not the end all, be all. Right? So, once you start making money, you realize it’s not really important. What’s important about money is that it creates opportunities to do what you want with your time, to be able to create wealth, to impact people’s lives and however that looks. Right?
The more money and more successful my company is, the more I can bless the people that are in it, the more that I can bless the people around me. And, really, I want their perspective to be: What do I want to accomplish? What are the things that I’m passionate about that I can align that with income? And really just no limits, right? Because I grew up with these limitations of like: Hey, $50,000 is really attainable. And you’re considered successful from where I’m at.
And, if you make six figures, oh, my gosh, you’ve arrived. Do you know what I mean? There’s so many limitations. Even when I go back home, people are like, “Oh, my gosh, I got this really good job; and I’m making $75,000, and I’m super successful. And that’s just the perspective because they’re so limited.
And so I want my kids … And even now I’m starting to teach them just to have an open mind of ideas of entrepreneurship and how to really create their own income with whatever ideas that they have. And my son, all the time, is like, “Hey, let’s sell this. Let’s do this,” and I’m always trying to encourage that because they have this opportunity where they don’t see the limits. They see their mom creating this whole life, traveling and also incorporating work with it and the things that we do.
And so it’s super exciting for me to see them grow up and to see the impact that just my mindset now has on them. And really them being able to walk into real wealth and to be able to further that, and not in an entitled way but like: This is my opportunity; I’m going to work for it, but this is my opportunity that I can now take off whatever I want to do. And I didn’t have that. I had to create that.
And so, for me, I think that’s going to be the biggest impact for my kids is how they see money, and how they view just life in general.
Yeah, I love that. Absolutely amazing. So let’s go into Profit First for a real estate investor. So let’s go into that mindset and how that … You already said how it helped you, but did you implement the system? Did you see, what are some of the benefits that you’ve got from using that or from the mindset or other things from Profit First?
Well, everything is accounted for, right? So before I read that, I had no budget, it was robbing Peter to pay Paul, right? That kind of lifestyle. And everything is separate, so all of my organizations are separate. Every single organization’s on a budget. They talk about having different accounts, allocating different amounts for different accounts. I implemented that right away, which is so great too, because a lot of times you would see a big lump sum. And then you’d be like, “Oh, okay, cool. I’ve got all this money. I can relax and not be motivated or spend more.”
And so I think also having the multiple bank accounts that he talks about also allows you to still be motivated to get out there and create more income because you don’t really see it. Because it’s spread out, so I think that has helped as well. Really, the biggest thing is budgeting out with all the different companies because I didn’t have anything in place with that. So that was probably the biggest impact that book had. Plus, getting out of … I talked earlier about: Oh, I’ll just create more income. Right? I’m now more focused on: How much can I keep?
And I think that’s the biggest lesson, is your success is how much money you keep, not how much money you make.
Right, exactly. And do you feel that this system has giving you more control over your businesses?
A hundred percent because, when you have the cashflow, you can do anything. When you don’t, you have no options. And so, really, I think … Here’s the deal, like with COVID, I think it weeded out so many businesses because I think people thought: If I’m over-leveraged on paper, and it doesn’t matter if I don’t have the cashflow; if I’m over-leveraged on paper, I’m successful. And then COVID happened, and they couldn’t even make payroll
And I’m like: You have … Really, to me, yes, of course you want to have assets, you want to have investments. I have all of that. But if you don’t have the liquid cash to be able to survive, to pay three to six months of expenses, how can you tell me that you’re doing well? You know what I mean? And all those businesses that couldn’t even keep afloat, I was mind blown, like huge corporations that couldn’t go one month of payroll because of cashflow. And so, for me, I was like: Wow, this really weeds out a lot of people of their version of whether they’re doing well and whether they’re success or not.
Yeah, no, I love that. So, okay, well, I absolutely love that. Put control back in your hands, getting your arms around the budgeting for the different businesses, really giving you that clarity. Is there, with the profit account, because that account is for you, have you bought anything cool with the money that you’ve actually made from the business? Is there anything that you’d be like, “Yeah, this was for me.”
So I actually just got my car, which I really could care less about cars. I just got my dream car, and I felt so ridiculous doing it. But it was one of those things where it’s like: I just want to check it off.
So I got my Mercedes. And so, for me, it is a personal like achievement of like: Oh, look, I did this; I bought the car that I’ve always wanted. I don’t really care about things. What I want to invest my money in, what gets me excited is the fourplex I bought last month.
There you go. Yep.
And the fact that it’s going to be cash flowing. Those are the things that are exciting to me. So yes, I bought the cool car it’s a car. So after like a month, I’m sure the coolness will wear off.
Right? Now it’s just getting me from point A to point B.
No, I totally get that, very cool. So just a couple last questions here. Do you have any other general advice for real estate investors?
Treat it like a business. A lot of times people come in, and they try to be casual about it. And they’re wondering why they’re not really achieving results, and it’s because they’re not time blocking. They’re not going in with it looking like: Hey, this is a business. This is how I need to schedule my time, my expenses, all that. And I think they’re too casual.
So go into it with that mindset we talked about earlier. Save more than you spend. Your true success is what you’re keeping, not what you’re making. Don’t get caught up in the social media posts of like: Oh, I did six figures or whatever. Because, if they’re netting $1,000, $10,000, that doesn’t mean anything. Right? I’d challenge the people that you’re following of like: Hey, what’s their net; what are they actually bringing home? What are they making?
So it’s just much more than that. Have a bigger vision for what you’re trying to accomplish and what you’re trying to create because that’s what’s going to keep you in the long run. Because it’s the daily stuff is not sexy, right? The follow-ups, the working 12-hour days. That’s not sexy. But when you see the long-term vision, when you keep going at it every day consistently, the journey is the best part.
Yes, that is so good because that is definitely what we endorse here on Profit First for real estate investing. Make sure that you have those systems in place. Make sure that you have that mindset. I absolutely endorse everything about that. So, Nicole, since you provided a ton of value here, like laser focus. I thought that was great. Talking about just how that has helped you, helped your career, and that is so, so good.
We all need to hear that over and over and over again. Just stay away from the shiny objects, the mindsets that you have around money and how you’re passing that on, how Profit First has helped you. So a bunch of value that you’ve created here today. How can the listeners provide value back to you? I know they need to go get your books, Short Sales Uncensored and How to Master Short Sales. So you need to be going out there. They’re on Amazon, right? They’ve got to be on Amazon. Okay.
Yes, on Amazon, and you can also go directly through the website too, TheSSQueen.com. And, honestly, just go to YouTube. YouTube, you’ll find, if you just look up the Short Sale Queen, we have a ton of resources for real estate investors on sourcing deals, on making better calls, how to connect with sellers, and pre-foreclosure. Just a ton of things, ton of value for them. So you can always go to YouTube to find us as well.
Awesome, so you could go to YouTube and then TheSSQueen.com, correct? That was the website. Go to Amazon; get her books, or go to the right there to the website and check out her content. She’s got incredible content. She’s the real deal. She’s doing this in 14 states and teaching and has those books. She is the authority on short sales. So, Nicole, thank you so much for being here today and for providing so much value.
Yes, thanks for having me. I enjoyed the conversation.
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Also, if you’re looking to connect with us further, I would highly recommend checking out our Facebook group Profit First for Real Estate Investors. And that’s literally what it’s called, so you can type in: Profit First for Real Estate Investors. And you’ll be able to find our Facebook group right there. So come join active real estate investors who are supporting each other and growing their businesses and profits together. That’s what that group is all about. The links should be in the description below.
And, if you’re interested in working with us and implementing Profit First in your real estate business, we offer coaching and guidance. So if you want to work with someone who’s actually Profit First certified and who works right now currently with real estate businesses, you can actually go start your application process by going to SimpleCFOSolutions.com/apply, or just go right to SimpleCFOSolutions.com.
And there’s an Apply button right on there, if you want to actually start your Profit First journey with someone who can actually walk you through those step by step and help you know and grow your cashflow. Thanks again for joining us for another episode of the Profit First REI podcast. See you next episode.