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EP099: Benefits of Buying Your Office Real Estate with Expert Paul Neal

Today I’m joined by Paul Neal, a seasoned entrepreneur with deep expertise in real estate investing for your firm. We’ll explore the shifting trends in office spaces and work habits, emphasizing the need for a local presence and flexible work spaces.

We’ll discuss the benefits of investing in real estate, including wealth accumulation, control over space, tax advantages, and passive income. Paul and I will share creative business strategies, the importance of mentorship and networking, and innovation. Paul will reveal his go-to productivity tools, discuss the art of delegation, and recommend essential business reads. We’ll also address the demand for flexible work arrangements, and how delegating tasks can free up time for high-level thinking.

Join us as we uncover insights on acquiring business properties, leveraging low down payment options, and the wealth-building potential of real estate. Let’s get started!

Key Topics

  • 02:40 Paul Neal shares his entrepreneurial journey, from studying engineering to starting 6 businesses, including a successful real estate finance transaction in 1998.
  • 03:31 The dichotomy between business owners who bought vs. leased their buildings.
  • 05:37 How a client saved money by not buying a billboard but buying the building for his HVAC business. His branding was now on the building viewed by 60,000 commuters daily.
  • 07:00 When launching a business, consider the local presence and consistent cash flow.
  • 10:32 Finding a multi-location strategy for law firms, focusing on local Google marketing for proximity rewards.
  • 12:24 The importance of having a physical location for a business to be eligible for Google’s local service ads and maps, and notes that some firms are expanding to multiple locations to increase their visibility and profitability.
  • 13:25 The benefits of owning real estate for businesses, including tax advantages and potential appreciation in value. 
  • 15:21 Examples of clients who have successfully implemented a multi-location strategy, leveraging real estate to build wealth.
  • 18:10 The benefits of owning real estate for businesses, including passive income and wealth accumulation.
  • 20:49 Managing real estate for a larger space, and different strategy used for management
  • 22:50 How the pandemic has affected office spaces, including the reduction of office space or increasing flexibility in terms of work arrangements.
  • 24:39 The demand for smaller, flexible warehouse spaces for service industries, which are hard to come by due to high demand.
  • 26:24 The impact of COVID-19 on consumer behavior, highlighting a preference for convenience and authenticity.
  • 27:02 Finding creative spaces and new retail concepts, such as a bank with a Starbucks-like atmosphere, in Florida and Delray Beach.
  • 27:39 The benefits of owning a physical office space for personal injury lawyers, including building a brand and establishing a community presence.
  • 28:56 Go-to business strategies for young business owners, including having a clear vision and aligning oneself with successful mentors.
  • 30:04 Taking regular breaks to think and reflect on goals and challenges. 
  • 33:22 Delegating tasks to others, highlighting “The E Myth” by Michael Gerber for entrepreneurs seeking to outsource tasks.
  • 36:24 Dan Sullivan’s “who not how” philosophy – finding people who can do tasks better than you, rather than learning how to do them yourself.
  • 38:24 How In-house digital marketing teams can be less effective than hiring an agency 
  • 39:44 Insights on how to unlock wealth, autonomy, and control by buying a building and firing a landlord.

Resources Mentioned

*Book*

  1. **The E Myth** by Michael Gerber
  2. **Maximize Your Wealth** by Paul Neal

About Paul Neal: 

Paul Neal is the Founder and Principal Strategist at Vantage Point Commercial Capital, a firm dedicated to helping entrepreneurs, businesses, and real estate investors achieve their growth and dreams through nontraditional funding methods. With over 30 years of experience as an entrepreneur, financial strategist, professional speaker, and executive coach, Paul brings a unique and seasoned perspective to the table. 

Paul’s journey began with a bold decision to leave engineering right out of college, embarking on the path of a serial entrepreneur. From achieving great successes in the 90s and 2000s, to experiencing the devastating loss of his primary business during the Great Recession of 2008, and ultimately bouncing back to sell another business for a healthy 7-figure sum, Paul has seen it all. He shares his wealth of experience and passion with the entrepreneurial community in an engaging, upbeat, and encouraging manner, making him a valuable asset to anyone looking to fund their ventures in innovative ways.

About Jay Berkowitz:

Jay Berkowitz is a digital marketing strategist with decades of experience in the industry. As the CEO of Ten Golden Rules, he has helped countless law firms and businesses harness the power of the internet to achieve remarkable growth and visibility. Jay is also a renowned keynote speaker and author, sharing his expertise at various industry events and publications worldwide.

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Transcript
Paul Neal:

It's a passive thing, right? It's something it's like I tell people, they're like, why would you want to buy your building? And my response is generally well, why do you want to buy your house? You know, I mean, why don't you just rent somewhere forever? You know, you don't have to you don't have to paint the house. You don't have to fix the AC when it goes, you know, goes bad do any of that. But there's a litany of reasons why, right? You want to, you know, you're gonna build equity over time, you have control over the space, you can decorate it, you can renovate it, you can expand it, you can do so many things with it. But at the end of the day, when you look back over 2030 years, you look at the wealth and the equity accumulated in your, your personal residence. That's the basis for a bulk of the wealth in this country today, right? Most of it comes from when you look at, like retirees, the bulk of their wealth is in the real estate that they

IMFLF Intro:

welcome to the 10 Golden Rules of internet marketing for law firms podcast, featuring the latest strategies and techniques to drive traffic to your website and convert that traffic into clients. Now, here's the founder and CEO of 10. Golden Rules, Jay Berkowitz.

Jay Berkowitz:

Good morning, good afternoon. Good evening. Welcome to the 10 Golden Rules of internet marketing for law firms podcast, we've got a great guest today, Paul Neal. He's also a podcaster. And here's a great business that focuses on helping attorney service professionals, entrepreneurs acquire the building that they run their business from. And this is something that I wish I did years ago. Now we're a virtual business. So that option really doesn't exist for me. But Paul, welcome to the 10 Golden Rules of internet marketing for law firms podcast.

Paul Neal:

Yeah. Hey, Jay. Excited to be here, man. Thanks for having me on. So

Jay Berkowitz:

tell us a little bit about your background first, where are you from? How'd you get to where you're at now?

Paul Neal:

Yeah, absolutely. So I'm from Virginia, and I'm back in Virginia now started at the beach and went off to school in the mountains and spent some time in the Research Triangle Park of North Carolina, and ended back up at the beach, and then the mountain. So I've kind of traveled around the sort of the Mid Atlantic here. And my story is, it's more of an entrepreneurial story. My vision was originally that I wanted to invent something was kind of my thing. And I thought I was gonna make me rich. And so I went off to school to be to study engineering, and did study electrical engineering and wasn't really thrilled with that field. And but through that process, actually started my first business. Before we finished college, and six businesses later, some really successful, one sold for quite a bit. And then one blew up and was a was a very bad experience. And then some other experiences along the way, learned a lot about myself about business ownership, entrepreneurship, and working with a lot of business owners and entrepreneurs. A lot of my history has been in and around real estate finance and that space. And I think I did my first real estate finance transaction 1998. And so I gravitated towards the commercial side. And really sort of over time notice this dichotomy between business owners that kind of fell in two camps, one that that bought the building and the space that they were in their business from, and then others that just kind of perpetually leased. And as I noticed the sort of the delta of their of their sort of wealth accumulation experience over time, I felt like that was kind of an interesting place to plant my flag. And that combined with the idea is a lot of confusion and misinformation, and just plain ignorance about that process and what's involved just because people don't do it very often, you know, they might buy a personal residence every couple of years, and maybe some investment properties, but very few people, you know, buy commercial property and don't know what that's like, and there's really no one source that I could find you could go to so that's kind of where we planted our flag and, and that's where we're fired up about doing helping business owners when it makes sense to to approach that and, and help them do it. Yeah.

Jay Berkowitz:

That's a great point. And actually, one of our clients is two young attorneys. They've had a couple of years that had a couple relatively big payouts of personal injury guys, and sometimes they get some cash on hand. So one of the things I encouraged them to do is, you know, get a building that they obviously can run the business from, maybe there's a couple other businesses in the building to help you know, give them future growth opportunity and, you know, cash flow, etc. And get a little bit bigger footprint. And the other thing I recommend is a, if you can have a slight billboard location, that there's a hell of a value there. Because, you know, if you're here in happen to be in my community, but you know, I've talked about a couple places that are relatively high traffic and relatively, you know, they're not retail per se, but they're, you know, the, it could function as a billboard, for the firm. And so you're gonna get just like drive by brand awareness. And you're also going to have that physical presence in the community. So there's, there's a whole marketing component to having your own location as well. Yeah, well, those

Paul Neal:

lines, yeah, I was gonna say along those lines is a great example of a friend of mine who client that owns an HVAC company. And he was he was growing that and buying acquiring other ones. And anyway, long story short, same idea. He was paying a 1000s of dollars a month for a billboard. And he was outgrowing his physical location. And so this property came up for sale on a major thoroughfare in his market, it's like a four lane highway. But you know, it's not it's not like an interstate, it's, you know, there's traffic lights and whatnot. But anyway, I forget the traffic numbers daily going by, but his whole mission was to, to stop paying for the billboard, by the building, and then line all of his trucks up along the, you know, the highway or the road. So everyone 50 60,000 cars a day in the local community, where his businesses see his name, I mean, everyday coming and going to work and shop and whatnot. So to your point, yeah, that's one strategy, it can be bad. So so so he saved money by not buying the billboard and on rent when he bought the bought the building, so it was a double win for him.

Jay Berkowitz:

That's fantastic. So what, you know, you said when the business conditions are right, when are the business conditions, right? To buy your building as a as a law firm, or, you know, primarily for law firms, but adjacent professional services and entrepreneurs? Yeah,

Paul Neal:

so let's start with when it's not, right. So you mentioned your virtual business, so probably not probably not a good idea. If you're a virtual business, I tell people, you know, really, our ideal client, when it makes the most sense, if you have a business that has a local presence, and a need for a local presence, a physical location, so you've got employees that are coming to the office, you got patients or clients or customers that are coming in, and, and you and you have to be there, you're not going to, you know, distribute everybody across the nation around the world. So that's requirement number one, requirement number two, when it doesn't make sense. After launching your business, you know, you've got to get a few years of what I call your sea legs, right? We're all as business owners, entrepreneurs, maybe you're an attorney, and you're working for a firm and then you venture venture out on your own. Well, there's a lot of lessons to learn, as you well know, from not just doing the the work of an attorney, but you've got marketing, you've got business management, you've got employee management, you know, now you're, you're moving to a whole different category. And so once you can go down that road for 234 years successfully, you've you've overcome some of the challenges, you've got consistent growing cash flow. And ideally, you've got either some repeat clients, or maybe some referral sources or marketing systems that are fairly dependable. So you know, that, hey, this business has got, it's got a good history, but it's also got a great glide path going forward. And another time not to buy one potentially, is if you think you're going to be exiting in the next, you know, a couple of years for whatever reason, unless you're looking to try to add real estate to package like a sale, which can add value and open the door to more more buyers, actually. But that's when it's not right. So if you can check the boxes that we're ever reason to be here locally, we have a need, we need a physical space for whatever reason, again, clients, employees, or some combination thereof. And you got two or three years of good solid, financial background and history in the future looks bright, then it's the it's time to start considering, you know, should I do this because you're going to have you're going to start and you might start from home, but then probably move into leased spaces. At some point you're gonna have a lease renewal, and it's generally not a great idea to be thinking about this 30 days before the lease renewal because it's a process and we get those calls occasionally and it you know, it's a it's it's a bit of a fire sale nightmare thing and we're like now you probably just need to renew your lease and let's, you know, come back and renew it for a shorter term if you can, but generally when you're you know, 612 18 months out on a decision on do we continue to stay here and re up the lease if that is an option, or or not? and sometimes you don't know, because you think it's an option. And your landlord will show up 30 days before and say, Hey, we're not going to renew it, or 60 days before I get those phone calls, too. So, which is another reason why you should consider it, but we're not even there yet. So I think if you've, you've checked those boxes, and you're, you're within that window of lease renewal, that's when you really need to start digging in and say, Hey, does it make sense now, and it may not, it might be something that's a three year plan, or a five year plan or a seven year plan based upon your overall strategy.

Jay Berkowitz:

That's awesome. So one of the things we're recommending now for a lot of law firms, is a multi location strategy. And the principal reason is based around marketing, local Google Marketing. So the Google Maps and the Google Local Service ads reward you for proximity.

Jay Berkowitz:

Now, you can't tread lightly on this strategy for a couple of reasons. Number one, is, if you open a second third location, you have to have enough Google reviews, to give it a little bit of oomph, you know, in the in the algorithm. I don't know if that's written into Google, Google patents, but And so Google reviews are really important. But the good news is you don't need like 500, you only need one to two per week. So if you're at the size of a business where you're getting like, you know, let's say you're, you know, generally signing 30 or 40 clients and closing 30 or 40 cases each month, you know, then you have enough wherewithal to spread the reviews around to 234 locations. The second thing is really important, you gotta have a physical location, like you can't have a WeWork, or a post office box, like you can't fool Google with that, as a matter of fact, it's against their Terms of Services, try and fool them. And in some instances, if like a competitor complains, or sometimes the algorithm triggers a Google investigation, you have to physically go to the office, and they basically do like a FaceTime, where you got to show them, hey, you know, here's your sign on the door, here's our files, here's our desk. So you know, you need to, you need to legit location and, and sometimes it's enough to just be like, I say, to lawyers, you know, get an office in your accountants, office. And I know, it's super great if you're at like, Main Street and First Avenue, and you can have, you know, if they're the main street address, you can have the first avenue address, there's a door on the side, you can put a sign on the door, that works really well for this Google initiative for the maps, and local service ads. But you know, there's a lot of money to be made from those calls that you're gonna get from the maps, and from Google screen local service ads. So it's really a valuable strategy for the firms that are at that level. But you know, some firms are going to the next, the next step, like the guys who really have some deep pockets are getting second and third locations. And one guy is a super smart guy, my friend, Jeff Phillips, of Phoenix is getting retail locations. So he's actually getting like small mall locations, strip mall locations, because those are great retail store fronts, couple people can work out of that location. Now the thing is, if you're like, a couple people have long commutes, maybe a couple days a week they can, you can find a location where there's lots of consumers, you're going to take advantage of that proximity marketing in the Google algorithm. So talk about the strategy of buying multiple locations. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. It's

Paul Neal:

great strategy. So from an ownership standpoint, I mean, if we take a step up and look at a single location first and then how to leverage that in multiple locations, we have clients doing that, you know, when you own the space or over time, you basically you now two businesses, right, you have your operating business, your your legal business, but then now you have this real estate business as well. And so you're, you're effectively now developing a real estate business just by operating your normal day to day operations. And, and as such as your, you know, the benefits that are associated with that as you make each payment, you're paying down some of the principal balance over time that property is probably appreciate appreciating in value. Nobody knows the short run, obviously, you know, 123 years, but if you look 510 15 years into the future, we're in the past, you know, most people would say, you know, real estate is more expensive today than it was 510 15 years ago, sort of writ large, right. So that's a trend that's probably going to continue and so your your building is going to be worth more in value. There's some tax advantages. There's a whole lot of other advantages we can get into like bringing in some tenants of your own so you can lease out some of the space maybe if they're a related business or even if they're not, they can help pay the freight on the business. The meat but but then this multi tenant, this multi location strategy is not unlike the McDonald's strategy where you know, they sold hamburgers. That's what most people think. But the reality is they were in the real estate acquisition business and so they would find great pieces of real estate and they would build a restaurant and they would run an operating company out of that. Let a franchisee do it. But then, but then they're building their real wealth is in the real estate. And so two examples, I have clients that did this with car washes. Same idea these guys started fresh out of college when they were like three or four years out of college and tried a few things, nothing really worked, but they got in a car wash business. And over a period of about 10 years had developed multiple locations, they use some of the tax advantages of owning the first ones by they started small they were to sell and get to larger spaces, better spaces, and leverage the capital gain without taxes do a 1031 Anyway, position themselves with multiple locations. And really the whole goal was for the for the borrower washes just to give them an okay lifestyle to pay the freight while the land over time appreciates in value. Well, fast forward from you know, 1012 years later, they sold like multiple locations for eight figures. I mean, it was it was a good day, they did really quick turn up. Yeah. And so and then, you know, we have a dental client who, down at the beach, who has this has this strategy where you know, you don't you're only gonna drive so far for a dentist, right? So the idea was come out of school, be a dentist, eventually get my building, but then oh, yeah, now I want multiple locations. And so over the course of that it's been probably 15 years now he set up five locations, and he's not really thrilled about the dentist, he was really kind of focused on building the dental business. And he would hire young dentist at a college and then let them run each of these new locations. And he had sort of figured out is marketing his systems, as you know that. And so he just overlaid that, like a little mini franchise. And now he's got five locations that they're all doing operations there, but they're renting from his physical real estate that he owns. And so the value of this enterprise is just going, you know, through the roof. And so it's a fabulous, fabulous strategy. And there's some great, there's some great ways to leverage like low downpayment and things if you're gonna put your business in the building versus just buying a straight up investment property.

Jay Berkowitz:

That's great. And, you know, I was wondering, Morgan and Morgan is, you know, building out their national footprint, but they even have, you know, they're the largest personal injury attorney in the country. They even have six locations in Orlando, which, which is where their big head offices and I was always trying to figure out, you know, why? Why is that, and then it became real clear, you know, they were targeting different Google Maps, locations, and local service ads. So as I mentioned, and then someone told me, they were, you know, buying these law firms. So they were, you know, buying the location by getting the existing, you know, just changing the name, but they had the Google reviews, and they had the built in traction there. And then obviously, you know, now, the light bulbs coming on, John Morgan's, pretty smart guy is probably the real estate play as well. Oh, yeah.

Paul Neal:

Yeah, for sure. I mean, that's what a great way to do it. If you can buy a business or expand a business and let the business just pay for the real estate. And oh, by the way, if you can profit from the business, as well, as most of them, I'm sure do it's kind of a double win. That's awesome. So as real estate pieces, j is, you know, it's a it's a passive thing, right? It's something it's like, I tell people, they're like, why would you want to buy your building? And my response is, generally well, why do you want to buy your house? You know, I mean, why don't you just rent somewhere forever, you know, you don't have to, you know, have to paint the house, you don't have to fix the AC when it goes, you know, goes bad do any of that. But there's a litany of reasons why, right? You want to, you know, you're gonna build equity over time, you have control over the space, you can decorate it, you can renovate it, you can expand it, you can do so many things with it. But at the end of the day, when you look back over 2030 years, you look at the wealth and the equity accumulated in your, your personal residence. That's the basis for a bulk of the wealth in this country today, right? Most of it comes from when you look at, like retirees, the bulk of their wealth is in the real estate that they have. And so when your business, you're in business, you're fighting the good fight every day, you're doing all that. So 1020 30 years is gonna pass either way. And at the end of those 1020 30 years, you're either going to pretty much have nothing or might you might sell the operations of the business. But But that's all but you could at the same time have a building that might now be worth 234 or $5 million, or multiple buildings of it. Like Like my friend Kathy and OBGYN she did that her husband kind of kicked her in the butt to get the building and paid it off over 12 years, was just recently acquired by a larger Medical Group. You know, they're buying the small medical practices. So she sold her business negotiated to continue to work back for three or four years because she's not quite ready to retire. And oh, by the way, they're gonna rent the building from her for a very nice, you know, substantial sum of retirement income for her because all her patients are coming there, they don't want to move to a, you know, move this new practice they just bought to some other location. So, this is a lot of reasons.

Jay Berkowitz:

This Yeah, this is some of the best consulting for law firms. And it's nothing to do with marketing. Yeah, except for the proximity play. How much is involved? Like, you know, let's say you, you know, you're decent firm, like, my, my client. I mentioned earlier, a couple guys, couple locations, and they add a couple more locations. How much is involved in managing the real estate?

Paul Neal:

Yeah, I mean, it depends. So if, you know, if you're just going to be, you know, an owner, user, and you take the entire space, so it's really, it's not that much more than, again, managing your home, you know, managing leased space, because like our manager, Yeah, cuz, nine times out of 10, like, if your air conditioning goes out, you got to call the AC guy,

Jay Berkowitz:

you gotta know the landlord's not gonna know, errors, you might even be on a triple,

Paul Neal:

you might even be on a triple paying the freight for all that anyway. But if you but if you employ one of the strategies that that a lot of our clients do, and you build or buy a space larger than you need in my, maybe you take 60%, you lease out 40 somebody else, then now there's a little bit of landlord responsibility. So you might have a management company handle that for you. I mean, you can do that. You can even have a management company handle your own space, if you pay them a small percentage, right. So that would be an operational consideration. But I mean, they, they that's what they do all day long. And, and so it can be autopilot if you want it to be and it's not very expensive at the end of the day. What

Jay Berkowitz:

do you think about the timing? Like, I mean, I guess the biggest thing going on the market, everybody, you know, who aren't day to day, like your assumes that a lot of people aren't going back to work, that commercial real estate value is declining. But then there's other interesting factors, like I've seen a ton of buildings, convert to Amazon warehouses and ghost kitchens. And, you know, the amazing thing about commerce interval, see if that doesn't, what you think, like you assume, you know, market change, people aren't going to the office, you know, building devaluation, commercial real estate devaluation. But there's so many other factors, what what are you seeing in the markets today?

Paul Neal:

Yeah, yeah, I think I think that's, you have to be careful. You know, when the chickens cry, the sky is falling. It is in certain industries in certain locations. So like, I probably wouldn't want to go out and invest in large class A office building, right? Because in the big cities, particularly because they have, you know, that the fundamental pattern of work has changed, where they're not coming into the office as much, although there's, I think, a reversal of that trend, I'm seeing a lot of pushback where companies, I have a friend who owns an office, like interior design business, they've they've done this for, like 60 years, it's a family business. And he said, he, I can't give you the name, but one of the Fortune 500 companies in our area, that's his client, they right before COVID, they built this huge, you know, 10 storey class, a building, and he had the contract to fill fill it all up, which was a great day for him. And so then COVID comes and everybody, you know, goes home. Well, now, he was just telling me a few months ago, and I was with him that they've, they're now bringing everybody back. And they are a little more flexible. So instead of five days a week, it's you know, maybe three or whatever. But they found out that their productivity went through the went into the toilet when everybody went into work from home, because you and I both know, it takes a different kind of a person and a discipline to work from home because there's a million distractions. And so if you're not used to it, you know, so, so the trends do move. But I will say this, too, that most of the businesses that we deal with that are that are, you know, service professionals that you know, that have a need for local presence, they, they aren't going away, you're not going to Amazon out, you know, like the plumber, you're not going to Amazon out the veterinarian, and you've got to bring your dog and your cat somewhere, right physically. A lot of the service industries will use these flexible warehouse spaces where they have office in the front. And those are you can't even find that you have to pretty much build it now. Because it's just in such high demand. And you have a lot of smaller firms to j that are they don't need 5000 square feet at about 1000 2000 square feet and that's a great size space for them. And that's hard to come by Believe it or not. So, you know, in particular really in the area where again, from a strategy standpoint, a lot of a lot of our clients you mentioned, right we kicked off about this, this idea of of turning your space into a billboard, right for branding, you don't really want to be tucked into some large office tower somewhere downtown, right you because now your your who wants to drive downtown number one as a as a client or you know, patient or customer, they want to be near, they want to be near where they live. Because I think that's the other thing that maybes come out of COVID as people definitely in the Amazon world is that we really love and value convenience. And so if we can get there in 510 15 minutes, without a ton of traffic and a ton of issues, then we're going to do that. But if we have to drive 30 or 35 minutes and go downtown and parking garages and things like that, it's really, my wife, and I don't do it anymore. In fact, we relocated back to the mountain so we can walk literally everywhere, or ride or electric bikes. And we're loving life. I mean, we went, we went back and visited the beach just this past weekend. And as soon as we're pulled in, we're like, we get the big sign. It says all all lanes are blocked and whatever, like oh, you know, I've heard this story again, you know, Groundhog Day, it's like I forgot what it was like, but I quickly remembered so. So I think people are their habits. And you know, even the malls, you'll see they're turning in these little outdoor because people still want to see people, they still want to go into places. And I do think this too, as an aside. And this is pure speculation on my part. So you may you may agree or may not agree. But I think that with the internet age, and even AI as the world becomes less and less real and more and more artificial, people are going to really want more and more authenticity and seeing people face to face and you know, shaking a hand looking somebody in the eyeball knowing that you're real. And it's not some video that was made by, you know, Google or whatever, I think it's gonna become more and more important. And so having that location is going to be critical. You're right, there's

Jay Berkowitz:

some very creative spaces, there's a space. I mean, so Florida and Delray Beach, Atlantic Avenue has become a real go to place with restaurants and retail. And one of the banks opened a very clever space, it's almost like Starbucks. And the Starbucks is the third place, right, like home work, and we're hanging out with friends. And so they have all these, you know, little spaces where you can take, take a call spaces where you can have a one on one, one on two, meeting that there actually is a coffee shop. And then it's like the open bank is right there. And then in the back, they have actually a couple boardrooms, you can rent. That'd be an interesting concept for personal injury law, I like to have that kind of city space, you know, welcome people into your space, be a part of the community, have a coffee shop, build the brand, and have that, you know, all the other great opportunities you talked about, about, you know, owning the real estate, the tax advantages, and the retail billboard I talked about?

Paul Neal:

Yeah, I mean, wow. Absolutely. I just think about that, from attorney standpoint, most attorneys are, you know, so many of them are trying to build, you know, get networked into that community, like you said, so you know, your your internet marketing, but then also your business development is locally what a great way to do it, open your space up. And you've got these boardrooms for, you know, have all the events and the meetings right there in your own facility. I mean, that has to lead to business, right? And just that trust factor that hey, you guys, it's like, I've got an open kimono, you're coming into my office, here it is. Right.

Jay Berkowitz:

So we were talking earlier, you know, you told me about the six businesses and you know, a couple of big wins couple and not so big. You had some tips for business owners, what what are some of your couple of your go to business strategies that you'd like to share with the, you know, the maybe the young business owner? Or even the not so yeah.

Paul Neal:

Well, you know, yeah, I've experienced a lot. I mean, I think, depending on where you are in the business, I mean, I think the the biggest tip that that couple of tips that I can think of is number one, you just got to have, you got to have a vision of what you want. I mean, at the end of the day, it you might not know right away, but you really need to put some head time into what you're trying to do, where you're trying to go and do something that lines up with what you're passionate about. And I don't mean like, you know, I love to do this, I'd love to do that. But, but just just from a missional standpoint, you know, because if you don't start with the end of mind, and you know, Good to Great was a or Stephen Covey was was written about that begin with the end of mind, the seven habits, I mean, you have to know where you're going in order to chart the right path and know if you're on track because you're gonna get knocked off track, you know, all the time and the goal is to try to get back on track as quickly as you can. So I'd say it's tip number one. Tip number two, I would say align yourself with people that have done it before you and you know, get some mentors get in some kind of a group It's good to have people outside of your industry that are successful. But also, if you have some in your industry, get that, seek that out, even if you know, you have to whatever you have to do, because their experience is invaluable. And, and number three, I would say, get started and just keep going the end of the day because you're gonna have setbacks. And I tend to be an analytical guy, and sometimes over analytical as my wife reminds me and so you just, you don't get enough feedback sitting in your own mind, you have to take action, and then look at results and then make adjustments and take action. But something always good happens on the other side of action, even if it doesn't look like it right away. Because you might think one direction is the way to go. And you might smack your head against the wall. But at least you're gonna learn something that and make an adjustment and move on. So so that's what I would say the three tips.

Jay Berkowitz:

Awesome. So I always end with some, you know, what I call sort of like the quick snappers. These are just some quick questions, and also things I learned so much over the years, we've been doing this podcast for about 15 years. What are some of your tips for personal productivity? Any apps or tools that you use? Yeah, I'm

Paul Neal:

bad timing on apps and tools, because I'm having computer issues right now. But I, honestly, now this is gonna sound old school because I do have a little bit of wisdom right here, as they say, right. And I don't grow up. One of these kids really tells the tale. You me? Hi, EJ, my best tool is a yellow notepad, a legal pad and a pen and to go to my favorite coffee shop or somewhere. And I like to do it at least once a week, and I try to carve out every day, 30 minutes if I can't, if I can't get down there. And just think about review back again. What's the goal? What am I trying to do here? You know, what are the what are the challenges and just just think and just kind of get quiet and get a legal pad in the in the important issues tend to bubble up and it helps me to kind of get clearer for the day. And sometimes I can make pretty strategic changes there, that when you're in the day to day, you know, working in your business, it's hard to see, you know, the bigger picture. And so you got to step away from it. I had a mentor once told me he was funny. We were learning how to to delegate, you know, build a team and systems and delegate. He's like, how do you know if your team is really effective. And he said what he used to do, and he owned a little airplane business. He said he would take every Friday off until like half days. And he would go to his planning, but then he would take randomly just like three days off and not like give people notice. And then he'd come back and he'd see what, what was failing, what was falling apart. And so he knew that that's what he needed to address to fix. And then he would repeat the process, right? And so because you don't really learn when you're in there, and you're Google, and you're answering everybody's questions, right? You want to get away from it a little bit.

Jay Berkowitz:

That's great. I love it. And definitely when you're doing you're not thinking might catch you off guard here. But are there a couple of those big paradigm shifting concepts that came in that coffee shop? Can you remember those moments? Yeah,

Paul Neal:

I mean, I think that the one of the biggest paradigms for me is, was the idea of, I don't have to be, again, very analytical, and kind of driven towards perfection. This idea that I think a lot of business owners fight with, and I've fought with it too, is that, well, I can do it so much easier myself, okay, comes easy to me, whatever it is, right. And the problem is, those things that come easier that we think we can do really well, that might be true. But what I realized was if I could do it at let's say 100% But I can hire somebody and train them and even if they only do it at 70 or 80% now and the reality is sometimes they do it a whole lot better in many cases than I ever would have. But it's in between here I think that I can do this right and I gotta you know, I gotta train somebody and all that, but, but the realization that if you can help somebody do it at 80% level, then now I bought all this time back for myself that I can I can now put into there the few things the one or two things that I really am good at and that no one else can do and that I really do like which really generally boils down to the strategic level things the thinking and the you know, business direction and all that. And so it's it's a bit of a hard, you know, for me anyway, it was a hard kind of questioned or this epiphany it took a while and I'd heard it for a long time and I've done it for a while but I don't really think I believed it for a while, right? And then finally it hit me. It's like, Hey, this is crazy man. You only got you've only got 24 hours in a day and you don't want to work any of them. And you're working all these hours.

Jay Berkowitz:

Right? What are your best business books?

Paul Neal:

I think, the best one outside of the Bible for me, I love proverbs. It's just so much wisdom on money in business and whatnot. I think it's the best book ever written on that on business and a lot of things. I love the E Myth by Michael Gerber. Because to me, he helps people sort of in that whole paradigm of working in versus working on, I'm

Jay Berkowitz:

only laughing because email is almost all it's like, three to four weeks, every month is come it comes up as one of the answers.

Paul Neal:

Yeah, I mean, because it's really it's foundational, right? I mean, we're not taught that's the stuff we're never taught. And we all all of us, I go into business generally want to go to business, because we've got these ambitions and dreams to be free and having, you know, all that, and then you realize you're not and it's, you know, now you've got a job times two plus all the responsibility, right. And so he was the first one to really kind of to challenge that and educate people on it. So I think that was great. And again, I this this idea, Dan Sullivan, his idea of who not how is one I read not that long ago, which reinforces this whole idea of don't try to answer the question, you know, how to do something, that's where most of us get sort of baked in a squat and paralysis of analysis, but ask the question instead, who can do this for me? And that's, again, that idea of leverage, and from his perspective, and I know we said earlier, you know, even if somebody does it 80% as well as me, his argument is, there's people that will do it 300 times better than you. And so by finding someone like that, you don't have to get wrapped around the axle on, you know, how am I going to learn this, like internet marketing, for instance? Well, you can learn internet marketing, if you take time, energy and all that. But it's so much easier to go to uj and say, Jay, can you just do this for me, because I want to focus on being a lawyer, I want to focus on building my business. And people say, Why don't want to pay for that? Well, you're gonna pay for it one way or the other. Right? And he, there is no free lunch. And so

Jay Berkowitz:

if you're a bluff, and asked me like, can we hire someone in house? To do what you do? Yeah, I said, you really can't because like, even if I'm supposed to be like, one of the Guru's in the internet marketing space. And, you know, I really used to be good at running Google ads. But now I have someone who does it full time, all day, every day. And when I go in the platform, it's pretty confusing these days, God help you, you know, trying to get into Facebook, and good luck trying to crack the search engine algorithms on Google Maps, or SEO. So we have teams, people who do all these things full time, and they're all way better than me at it now. So, you know, what happens a lot of times is, you know, the firm will hire someone to be their in house digital marketing agency. And they'll get someone who's really good at like those ads, you know, they ran the ads for their firm, but they don't know anything about the SEO, or the social or the, the video, and they fake it because they know more than the owner. But it really is, in my opinion, as effective a solution as hiring an agency that really gets it and really has a specialist who do each of those things, and have developed the best practices. And then the other thing is seeing the scope of it, right, like we're seeing 50 or 60 markets across the country. We we really see what's working and we can apply it to the other markets.

Paul Neal:

Yeah, it's it's the same thing. And like buying your building, I tell people like in the book, I wrote that, you know, the DIY approach is a way to do it, you can certainly go through the process and educate yourself and find funding and all that on your own and you can do it it but but the thing is, you just don't know what you don't know. And there's a lot you don't know, there's a lot of pitfalls and landmines along the way, that they're not going to tell you, you're just going to find out the hard way. And, you know, there's, there's a litany of them. And so, besides all that, to your point, we see tons and tons of deals every day, and every month and every year and nationally. And so we have a we have a pretty good pulse on it. Whereas you're when you go down to your local bank and say I want to buy a building. And they say, Well, sure, you know, I need x y&z and it's going to be 20 25% down, and they're gonna, they're gonna give you the one loan they've got in there, the one tool and they're a little in their toolbox to try to solve your problem and you're going to swallow, you know, because you're like, I need how much money and

Jay Berkowitz:

you don't fit but if it's not a fit, you're out of luck. Yeah, yeah.

Paul Neal:

And statistics say you know, they only approved about 24% 25% of applications but and the other thing about that is to to your in house person, how do you know that they're doing a great job just like how do you know that bank deal is the best deal for you? You know, Though all you know is what you see in, you're busy doing your thing, and there's no one has that 30,000 foot where you know your best, it's in your best interest as the agency owner to make sure you're delivering the best value for your clients because you want them coming back. You want them successful. But your employee, we both know how employees can be, you know, they take sick days, they do all kinds of things and SharePoint, if they know a little bit more than you, they can fake you out and you think you're getting the best return you can get and the reality is that you might not be getting anywhere near the best return you can be getting so

Jay Berkowitz:

great. Who's your NFL team?

Paul Neal:

I'm a college guy.

Jay Berkowitz:

Alright, that's okay. It's still answered. Which

Paul Neal:

which college is now it's almost the new NFL. It's almost we're now almost pro with the NIO money amazing chips. And it's it's so we're gonna have the NFL, we're gonna have the first tier college top 20 which is basically the farm league for for the NFL, and then everybody else that gets a little bit of money while they're in college. And then they go on and work jobs. But it's really quickly

Jay Berkowitz:

changed the paradigm for the athletes, right? Because if they're making, you know, a million dollars or a couple million dollars in college, they don't have to run out to the NFL. And right they can, in some ways control their destiny a little bit more. Last question. Where can people get in touch with you? Yeah, sure.

Paul Neal:

easiest place to get in touch with me is at our website, own your building. now.com That's own your building. now.com I wrote a book called unleash your business. How To Unlock wealth autonomy control by buying your building and firing your landlord.

Jay Berkowitz:

Yeah, get out there. Let's get off the leash. Get off the leash. Being on a leash that if you see if you're not watching the YouTube today. Yeah, absolutely. Well, Paul, thank you so much for your time and your advice and, you know, really paradigm shifting thinking for a lot of attorneys and I hope we're changing some lives that in 10 or 20 years. There'll be thankful they listened to this podcast today.

Paul Neal:

Yep, absolutely. I appreciate it. Jay had a great time. Thank you.

IMFLF Intro:

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