June 28, 2022

Tips For Working On Big Real Estate Deals With john Titolo Jr


 John Titolo Jr. is a North Carolina-based entrepreneur who focuses on real estate financing. In today's episode, he shares his advice for working on big deals in the industry.

Transcript


 Josh
 Hey, good day, fellow dealmakers. Welcome to the deal scout on today's show. We're going to have a conversation with the guy who's been an entrepreneur. That's such a hard word for entrepreneurs to even say or spell for over 30 years. John, welcome to the show, man. 


 John
 Thank you. Thank you. So Josh, 


 Josh
 In 30 years of being an entrepreneur, I'm sure you've learned a lot about deal-making about entrepreneurship and such. Why don't you guys give us an idea of who you are and what are you up to? 


 John
 Oh, am I, it's a good question. I asked myself that. 


 Josh
 I got a tattooed on my arm, man. I asked myself that every day, 


 John
 Your name, so who you are, you've got to look at your wallet. It depends on the day too. Well, I I'm in, I'm on my own for 30, 42 years. I actually, I I'll just, I guess I'll give you my 32nd elevator speech. Like I always tell everyone else. I don't want a boy. So 34 years on my own actually started as an underwriter, really boring corporate underwriter went through the motions. Didn't not delight that atmosphere. I stepped into the financial planning advisory role, ran a compliance branch offers for Franklin financial services then became American general securities. At the same time, I, oh, I built up from scratch and insurer's agency held that for geez, about 30 years sold it prior to COVID. I actually built up two of them. The prior to COVID made a successful exit, then actually I just sold my third one only a few weeks ago. 


 John
 On top of that, I fell into the finance world just by demand, dealing with people, clients asking me questions. It just made sense. I stepped into the finance world, started doing some simple stuff, went to ground up construction to community built, project finance. I can't say I did everything, but I seen a lot of aspects of business and the finance insurance and dealing with all sorts of people, and on, I had some side gigs here in Nana and I fell on my face. I mean, everyone does tries to do something else. Try to recent management company didn't work. I even tried to one time, I don't know what I was thinking back in 2007 or 2008, when I'm locked was going crazy. I felt like I was going to lose everything. I started a dating site, fell on my face. I did not work, but I had the experience I learned, but I, I have a lot of stories, but in a nutshell here I am. 


 Josh
 John, this is so cool. Thank you for sharing a part of your journey. All right. So let's do this. Let's pretend you and I are in an elevator and we're back in 2008 and you're building your dating app to me, right? Like, let me hear about it, right? Like I'm like, Hey, what are you up to man? 2008, the world's doing well, maybe, like tell me about your app. 


 John
 Well it was a site. It was one. LinkedIn was not really that big. What was at my space was big at that time. And my space. I don't know if you remember it. It was something about where you could post things about yourself. I came up with an idea with another person, which I can't even remember the guy's name really. Cause it didn't last too long where we would have business information. Like we have the PRofessional business profile and then have the dating aspect of it combined. Cool. It sounded good. Yeah. It's just that, a lot of things were going on. I think it'd be chorus. I felt like, the bubble burst and everything was collapsing. I couldn't get my head straight. Then I lost two thirds of my business at that time. I was like a mess and I, it just didn't work out. 


 John
 I mean, I was sinking money into it and I'm like, what am I doing? You know? That was with my first marriage, it was a disaster. It was a spiral like bruh plane crash. 


 Josh
 I love talking about this, right? So this show's called the deal scout. We talk about deals and deal makers and such like that. Like the story behind the deal maker, the story behind the successes and the failures is where, a hard guy hard-headed guy like me. This is where I learn from screwing up. Right. I wish I had enough foresight and wisdom to learn from other people's mistakes. I'm not quite there yet. I've got to be like, let me try it out myself. I love sharing these stories because the things that we've learned when going through hard times, if we pass on, if there's one person that could receive that wisdom, man, that we can save their lives. Right? What did you learn? You said you're going through a messy marriage, right? You're you're throwing money at bad stuff. The world's falling apart. You lost two thirds of your business. 


 Josh
 You're building a technology company and you're like, I'm a mess. What, what did you learn there. 


 John
 That I learned that you can't tackle anything until you really are fully focused back. You have to have the right mindset. If you don't have the right mindset. But anything. I mean, this goes, applies to life. If you just can't get your head wrapped around that, you're going to fail. I mean, that's what it comes down to. Yeah. I don't care. No one's going to help you. There's no life preserver. You you're going to drown. 


 Josh
 So true, man. You said idea is spelled I D E R, which is like an idea that a deer has or something like that. Where are you from man? I could, I could sense an accent. Where's that? 


 John
 It's New York. I'm originally from New York. 


 Josh
 An idea. That's what you call an idea. 


 John
 The idea. I heard that I believe me, many times I'm on a lot of conference calls and I'm in the Carolinas and I'm talking to a lot of the Southern people. They say, John, can you do me a favor? And I'm like, what can you say? Forget about it. And I'm like, oh, come on. 


 Josh
 Okay, Sean, John, you got to do us a favor and your best Yorker accent say, forget about it. 


 John
 Forget about it, read about it. 


 Josh
 So good. So good. I love you, man. So, so here we go. After 2008 lives going crazy failed, tech company that you're trying to build and what happened next? Like how did you get your head around? 


 John
 Well, well I had to grow. I mean, everything spiraled back then, I ended, that's not the only time everything I fell on my face. Went through, back when Iraq war things were crazy, nine 11 things went crazy, ? So it was just like another time. It was just probably the hottest time in my life because it ended up spiraling me into a divorce. Which a lot of people at that time, almost well pandemic didn't help a lot of people either, but you're you think you're doing okay. Something, the rug is pulled under from you. So I ended up spiraling through a divorce. I almost lost my house. I had a rebuild myself from scratch, practically, which I did. It took a lot of work, but I was able to put myself back together, build my agency, pick up clients again. I, it was, 14, 16 hour days doing it for a month straight. 


 John
 If you didn't do it, what are you going to do? You be in the street. So you have no choice. You just got to get you again, mindset. You got to wrap your head around his site. What do I have to do instead of sitting in the corner gone, 


 Josh
 Many times I sat in the corner and go . This is what I experienced. Right? Been bankrupt, been on food stamps, built tech company, been in venture capital, all the, all of the ups and downs. If there's a, there's a book called the entrepreneur rollercoaster, right? That was the story of my life. Right. Just getting my ass whooped consistently. The first time I really got my butt whooped is I lost all our money. Cashed out a government pension broke as a joke. Couldn't get a job. I've got degrees, I've got experience. I couldn't get a job even. I can't even take care of my family. I felt worthless. I went in the corner going, blah, blah. Because I was embarrassed. I couldn't get my head. Right. When people are going, what are you? You know, what are you up to? I have no freaking clue. 


 Josh
 Right? I just lost it all again. Like when you talk about going in the corner, going blip, like that was me, man. I had a hard time getting back in the game. I was so hesitant. I just wanted a manual labor job. Right. I didn't have to talk to anybody or tell them how big of a failure I was. How did you get past that? 


 John
 I it's, it believe me. I think everybody wants to curl up in a bowl and, and it's, which is fine. What you probably be to do there for a couple of days to just see what is going on. You just got to walk away and just try to clear your head and say, all right. I'm not, I don't want to say anything curse words, 


 Josh
 You can say whatever. 


 John
 I was gonna say, I'm not a stupid ass, but I think I can fix myself and get this back together. Or, cause like you said, you have degrees, you did things, you got to start changing your mind and say, all right, what? I accomplished this in life. I got where I am. There was a reason why I got there. It wasn't because I just was a, a babbling idiot. I did something. 


 Josh
 Yeah. Yeah. So true. We have to remember our successes. Right. We also have to have the self-talk that we give to ourself. Right. Supervisor, when you were going through, do you mind if I ask some personal questions, John? 


 John
 Sure. You can ask anything you want. Well, blueprints, 


 Josh
 What's your view on abortion politics? Because you all. 


 John
 Leave politics out of it. No, it will be on, we'll be in the air for three hours or more. 


 Josh
 And my show would get canceled again. Right. So, so you're going through this process, right? You're going through, a divorce, you're going through a failed business. You're going through one of the worst economic crisis we ever had. What were you saying about yourself? What was the self-talk that was going on in your brain? And like, 


 John
 I can tell you this much. I, I really don't like saying personal stuff, but I, I, it doesn't matter. I mean, I'm at an age where I really don't care anymore. That's a perfect time. That's freedom. Well, yeah. When you're younger, you're kind of concerned what other people think. Yeah. I would, it doesn't matter to me. I really don't, pro someone doesn't like, I don't really need you in my life. So, so basically in the beginning, I just felt a lot of pressure and I was losing, see just when I had a big agency and insurance agency and how insurance works is that you write a policy and you get paid up front and then people were canceling. So I hadn't returned all this money. Oh, geez. Yeah, exactly. That was, it was not like, a thousand, it was like 50,000, 25,000. I was just like, holy and I remember sitting in the bathroom floor pretty much crying. 


 John
 I was sitting there and my, and this is my ex wife said to me, he says, it's not the end of the world. Jeshua she kept on saying, I mean, I, I granted that she did say that. And, but I just really took it hard on myself because I built a business for like 20 years. I just felt like I was losing it all. There was a voice inside, deep inside. I said, you know what? You did this, you did this before you could do it again. I just picked up the pieces and I, I had made a lot of calls, make arrangement is trying to, don't lose your house, keep every a roof, make sure there's food on the table, make sure everything is going okay. I was able to put it together. At the same time I ended up divorced. Yeah. Because, I mean, she just kinda, I don't know. 


 John
 We were really getting along great anyway, but at the time it was, it just seemed like the right thing. We just kind of parted ways, but it, you survive. Whatever comes to you survive. It's not like you're bleeding. It's not like you have cancer. You're, stage four, you're going to die tomorrow. You survive, you figure away you go to certain people that you trust or you just sit back and get the paper and pen, make a plan, write down what you have to do to get to the next level to fix it. Yeah. So, I mean, it's all up to you. I mean, w I, I'm sorry. I didn't mean go, go, go for it. I just really feel that we are all born the same way. We all have. Maybe some people are more intelligent than others, but we all can do the same. 


 John
 We can Excel at anything if we really put our mind to it. I, I really feel, I don't care what you're doing. I really think that if you really put all these excuses aside, all the problems aside and you just focus on something, you get it done. You might not be as good as somebody else, or maybe, you're not going to be like Elon Musk, but you, you may get somewhere and you just got to praise yourself as you get there. Little goals take the little goals to the little rewards, 


 Josh
 The little. Yeah. Cause I mean, I'm telling you when I was getting my first start, I was like the first business I built, well, second business, I built it was, I was building, I was like, I'm going to be a billionaire. And I was shooting for the moon. And, and if I look back now, I see all the little successes that I achieved, but overlooked at the time, because I was going for such a huge thing. Looking back, I was like, man, I really made a dent. I really made a lot of achievements. In the meantime I was feeling like a complete absolute failure. Yeah. I don't worthless, dude. I love talking about this. Cause I I've talked with billionaires and for me the worst that could happen. Right. Obviously, let's put aside death and cancers and all that stuff like that. Cause that's terrible. 


 Josh
 Right. As I was building my business, baby, the worst thing that could happen as this guy, whose job in life, it is to invest in people is going broke, going bankrupt, losing publicly. Right. And then it happened. I was like, I looked back and I was like, man, that was brutal. I'm still here. I'm still, you're not going anywhere. I love that you said, you're going to get through this. Like it's going to be okay. It's not the end of the world. You're going to do that. That's great advice that your former wife shared with you. That's awesome, man. High five to her. Also to all the spouses out there married to entrepreneurs, hats off to you. That's the hardest job as being married to an entrepreneur, right? 


 John
 Yes, I, yeah. I, I mean even my current wife, she says I'm in my whole, 


 Josh
 It's great. It's so cool, man. It's, they, the thing that they're attracted to is the visionary, the world changer. They start getting to know us and they're like, oh my gosh, she never stopped. Do you. 


 John
 Really? 


 Josh
 So, all right. If you just had three exits bam, bam. Within the last couple of years. 


 John
 Yes. 


 Josh
 What did that look like? I mean, you could share as much as you're comfortable sharing. 


 John
 Well, I mean, prior to the COVID I, that, that was my first agency and it was two agencies. What I did is I was just burned out. I was just tired. I, I, what, I have nothing against insurance agents or insurance itself, but it's boring. It is boring. I just like talking to people, help people. So, and that's what it came down to. I was just like more or less, just like the face talking to the people, trying to help them. But I had a team. I was not really in the weeds doing whatever I had to do. I was just kind of presenting and walking around. I enjoyed that and meeting people, but it started getting to the point where I don't know, I get tired of hearing people's problems, like, insurance is like trouble. Cause they're not gonna say hello, how I, it is, oh, I have a claim. 


 John
 My house caught on fire. I, I need something and I signed a contract and I look at the contract and I'm like, why'd you sign this? The guy's like, well, I can get some business out of it, but well, it's going to cost you $20,000 extra and they're having a heart attack. So, so you just kind of deal with a lot of aggravation all the time. Exercise. 


 Josh
 Yeah. 


 John
 There's some rewards, but there's is a lot of his aggravation. I felt like I just needed to get out of the business. I was doing some finance as well. When you're dealing with money, everybody wants to talk to you. You know, everyone wants money. I don't care. But it gets kind of crazy. Cause people have, a napkin presentation and they're like, Hey, I have this idea. I'm like, Hey you, did you do anything with it? No, you have any money into it now. But, and I said, not a good idea. 


 Josh
 Right. 


 John
 So, so we kind of shifted in and that's the reason why I got out on it really, because I just felt like I just needed to change. I wanted to have more positive feeling, more energy. I started feeling like I was getting drained and that's why I just said, what? I just want to change my life. 


 Josh
 Yeah. I get. 


 John
 It. That's what I did. 


 Josh
 I think it's super vital for business owners, entrepreneurs, investors who are right for us to look at like, where am I at in the business cycle? Right. Like some, I love early stage two, probably right before scale. Right. Like maybe right at scale. Once it gets to systems and processes and all that, the, it becomes corporate. I'm just not a fit. Like you said, am I, like my, a lot of cuffs on the show, a customer to me is like, Josh, you become an employee, right? Like W2 employee. That's a customer for me. I'm like, no, cause I'm a s****y employee, but like I'd really fit really good. When I start feeling that I'm not a fit anymore, I need to replace myself or sell the business or sell the opportunity or whatever. I just know here's where I have my most life. Here's where my joy, my passion. 


 Josh
 Maybe that means I'd never a billionaire or trillionaire and that's okay. I'm okay with that. Right. Like, I'll be fine in the millions. Right. That that's cool. How did you know that about yourself? You're like, what, maybe it's time to just kind of sell these off, have a few exits. 


 John
 I, it just felt like inside, I started writing things down and I just envisioned myself getting away from it. It just said, if this felt good to do it, I, I would me, if you have doubts, it's either two things either that you're not ready or you're just afraid, you're just having a fear. You just got to say, well, and then again, you're wrestling his say, all right. You know? Cause I mean, everyone goes through fear where I was even saying to myself, I was like, well, what am I going to do? The other pod not going to work is not going to work away at one or two or, but then I was saying, well, so I, I, at worst case I can always do something else. It's not like I'm dying. 


 Josh
 Yeah. Yeah. When you say you write stuff down, are you talking about like diary, journaling and such like that? 


 John
 Well, I, I, I'm old school, so I write things down like an idea, or I try to like, just have a goal or a plan or something. I'm not really Monday sit there with a Piper in this keyboard and key away. I usually write it down. And, and I kind of look at it a few times as in my face. And, and that's usually I digest it and I say, okay, that makes sense. 


 Josh
 The process of putting pen to paper, or you said typewriter. So I kind of. 


 John
 Keep, keep, keep board. But. 


 Josh
 The process for me to do that, like I, it helps create clarity between my brain and when I see it, my brain and my eyeballs and I go, oh, that's what's going on. Right. It helps me clarify that. You went through this process and you go, I'm going to start selling these off what you talk about fears, right? You started selling things off, you started, maybe having an exit event with some capital come in and or something like that. What were some of the fears that you had when transitioning out of these babies that you built, these three companies you built? 


 John
 Well, the fears was that, cause he used to doing something for so long. Yeah. You could do it in your sleep. You're trying something new, even though you're not really wasn't new, but you just put all your effort into something else and it is, it's a fail fast failure. You just, you start second guessing yourself. Oh, maybe I'm not good enough to do something else. Maybe I'm not, but I think that's just human nature. I mean, we always second guess ourselves with everything you really think about it. I mean, I learned a long time ago, don't do anything on emotion. I mean, I used to make emotion decisions and then I'm like a week late. I'm like, that was stupid. Why did I do to. 


 Josh
 Yeah, yeah, exactly. Identity-wise right. You start selling these companies off and you're like, oh, what am I going to, what am I going to do with myself? Like who am I in this situation? That was one of our first kind of chats. Like how was your, when I see people exiting family businesses or things that they built for a long period of time having conversations. One of their thoughts were, well, who I, who am I after this? Did that, did that hit you? 


 John
 That hit me, but I was doing some finance already. It wasn't like I was, like I didn't have anything set up. I should say it. Wasn't like a, I'm this like going out on a cliff. I'm like, I don't know what I'm doing. I have no idea. If someone's exiting, I wouldn't suggest to just, turn, give him the key and walk away and you have no direction. You have to have an idea what you want to do either. You're going to retire. Are you going to do something else? Or I have no idea, depends on a person. 


 Josh
 True. Yeah. That's another cuss word for me. The employee, I'm just a s****y employee and the idea of retirement sentence sounds terrifying for me. I love what I do. 


 John
 So I mean, that's the thing. If you really love what you do, then you retirement. I always see now I'm going back when I was a financial advisor, you always had the person say, all right, set some money aside for your IRA. You have to do a systematic deposit in some kind of mutual funds and Baba. When you hit, 60 to 65, you're going to have this amount of money. Is that good enough for retirement? I mean, not to get you brainwashed that way, but it, but that's good. If you're working at a job, you don't like, you're stuck and you're looking at those windows say, oh, I have 10 years. So I mean, what are you doing? You actually working your whole life to hit what? 65. When you're going to do at 65, I mean, okay, oh, I want to do this and that. 


 John
 Oh, well I'm too old. I can't do that now. 


 Josh
 Exactly. 


 John
 So yeah. I w I, I mean, retirement, it really, if you like what you do, keep doing it. Okay. Yeah. There really isn't any of the time at that. I mean, I was just thrown out there because people, cause they, I would say majority. Yeah. I have to give you a great majority of the people out there are stuck. They feel stuck. 


 Josh
 Totally. 


 John
 But they really aren't. Yeah. It really owned stock. It's really, it's thin their mind. Right. 


 Josh
 You know, it's funny. Growing up, the advice for me passed down from my family. I grew up on a construction site, swinging hammers, not the brightest guy here. Okay. So. 


 John
 Like your sound. Right. Thanks. Thank you. 


 Josh
 Thank you. I appreciate that. I got a face for radio. The, the thing that I heard was go get it, get your education, go get a job, work 30 years, cash out, get a great retirement. Then do what you want to do. Right. Then you do that. So I, I was in the government. I was working in a government job and I was looking, I was actually on the pension board at the fire department and I was looking, this is sick. I was looking at the actuarial tables, the actuarial and actuarial studies pretty much predict when you're going to die. Here I am studying when Josh is going to die as a firefighter medic here, and I'm looking at these numbers and I'm going, okay, so I'll retire at 63, whatever. Or 60 as a firefighter, I'll probably have a broke back and I'll probably have all sorts of, lung issues. 


 Josh
 Three years later I'm going to die or whatever. I'm like, oh God, I'm spending my life. You know, like I loved it. I got into it. Cause I loved it. I loved helping people, but then stuck in it. I go, I got to get out. I built a fitness technology company, cashed out. My pension went all in I'm so stuck is stuck a perception or is it reality? 


 John
 I think it's perception for sure. It's not a reality. I really think that, it's just, it's you, I mean, people feel like they're stuck in a bad relationship to stuck in a bad job that is stuck, but really, I don't think anybody's really stock. 


 Josh
 Yeah. 


 John
 I mean, if you, if you, we, oh, and I'll go back, say if you wanted to become an attorney, I don't know why, but say you wanted to become. 


 Josh
 Third beadboard T T Y. 


 John
 If you did, I mean go to the back to school, learn. Yeah. I mean, I think we could all do something if you really want to do it. 


 Josh
 Yeah, man. The the, but I can't because I got, 


 John
 Yeah, 


 Josh
 I got, I. 


 John
 Got scared. 


 Josh
 Oh my gosh. As a firefighter medic and as well, I've walked a lot of people into life and death, I've delivered babies and seen people go on the other side as people, older people and whatever. The, the biggest regret I heard. Like if someone, there they go. I wish I spent more time with my family. I wish I spent more time getting to know who I was. I wish I was, I spent more time trying to figure out God, I wish I spent more time doing that. What I love to do, never, Hey, we check on my Rolex or check on my Bentley or that I've never heard that kind of crap. Yeah. That is so good. The regrets that people are stacking regrets, I wish I would have gone back to school to become a, an attorney or a painter or this or that. 


 Josh
 Right. How does that shape your decisions and what you're doing in your business in life? 


 John
 Well, I mean, we all have regrets. Yeah. It's just the way I look at it, as you may, they are, they're just, as on getting, not really thinking about them, you're not looking in the rear view mirror. You're pretty much just give, going forward to the next, I mean, if you're going to sit there and dwell on things in the past, I mean, it, you're never going to go anywhere if I would. It very simple. With me, I that's, I always, I believe in that strongly, I don't really sit and think, oh, I should have, I could have. I mean, what's the purpose. This is a waste of energy and time. I mean, you really, you can't change it. You just gotta live with it and make the best of what the com. 


 Josh
 Yeah. Yeah. Super cool. All right. When you talk about financing, explain that like you and I are hanging out at a coffee shop or bar, depending on what time of day it is. Right. And, and one of our buddies walks up with the perfect deal for your business of what you're doing now. Explain about what you're doing and what does the perfect deal look like for you? 


 John
 All right. Well, I would say if someone came to me, I would say if it was an excited person who was like, I guess he's a developer, I'm thinking whatever he is. Yeah. Okay. All right. I mean, if he came to me and says, what, John, I have a project I'm looking to develop a hundred homes in this state. Basically what I would do is help them structure it. I would have, I would look at the business plan, the performance, make sure the numbers make sense before actually even doing anything. And then you gotta go on. So, basically make sure that the person is legitimate. A lot of people act like they know what they're doing, or if they get ahead of themselves before actually having everything organized and laid out that's very essential. Was putting it together in the package. Once the package is together, I have relationships with certain types of funding groups. 


 John
 I would love to be my own funding group. Me. I just don't have the capital needs. You need deep pockets. I'm sure you probably know that. 


 Josh
 It takes money to make money. 


 John
 It is a, you sell it to whoever you're trying to get it funded TRO. And you're just part of the process. That's the excitement of did development of what that project is. I mean, you were actually in the, you're not building it, but you're putting the model together. You're there, you're the one that you see division that they have seen. It, to me, that's exciting cause the guy sharing his vision of what he wants and you're a part of that vision and it gets me going and I'm like, wow, I see where he's thinking of where he's going and we can actually make this work. So, so once everything comes and it starts constructing in that way, I made a I, that is perfect. A lot of times when you're in the finance world, people are in organized more, have a vision, but they don't have a plan or they just have, everything together just don't have any money at all. 


 John
 They just expect everybody to invest in them. Right. They just not there they need people to give them money first to actually go forward, like the development capital, which is good to get. But it's also very hard. I mean, I did a capital raise. It's capital raising is very hard, is. 


 Josh
 Hard, 


 John
 Very high. You know what I mean? You could work years and get nowhere and naked. It could fall apart on you instantly, but just, putting it all together and making it and everything, just the pots and everything come together, ? Like I said, I mean, it could easily just disintegrate. Somebody can wake up, like, I'll give you an example. Am I going to use names or anything? We were working on a, a very large project, $483 million project suite, a huge solar farm, getting funded, worked on it. I don't even know how many years. About a, almost two years start to finish, worked with a large project funded backed by family office calls. Everything's organized, everything's going, everything looks great. Everything, and group even threw in like a couple of million dollars. People have a lot of money into it. The partner, there was two partners in the capital group. 


 John
 They, he had us one document. He decided he wanted to do it just blast. He was going to walk away with $20 million in his pocket. Yeah, it is besides neither one, I think I want to go in a different direction. And so, I mean, everybody's like why. 


 Josh
 Here's then. 


 John
 Two years and everything's complete one document left. Yeah. He decided he didn't want to do it. So, I mean, so it's things like that is where you get extremely frustrated. I can see why a lot of finance people jump out windows. 


 Josh
 I mean, that's not funny, but I, I understand what I understand the game, right? Like I get it. You spend two years working on a deal and man, like you nurture deal for two years and this happened, right? Like you spend that much time on a deal and then it, and it, if it falls apart for a legitimate reason, right? You're like I get it. For someone who just changes their mind, they're like, I want to go to Disney today. 


 John
 We. 


 Josh
 Did this and I don't get paid. I've invested two years of my time. I don't get paid unless this deal gets done. Unless you structure, you know? 


 John
 Yeah. I mean, I learned a lot of ways to get around that and we changed our model in a lot of different ways, whether it's like, exit penalties. 


 Josh
 Yeah. 


 John
 Like, you know, but you're right. I mean, it, things like that do happen, but obviously, something like that closes, 


 Josh
 It's a good pay day, 


 John
 Huge pay day. You really could do whatever the hell you want to do. It doesn't matter. Really. 


 Josh
 We're working on a big deal and we're like, holy, this is a big one. If this comes across, like we're all set for the year, like this is a good deal, but I've gone broke in the past chasing big deals. Right. 


 John
 You can't do. 


 Josh
 That. You can't do that. In this process as a deal maker, right. Who are hunting whales, right? This is fun. It's exciting. It's sexy. Right? This is cool. But you could go broke chasing whales. What have you learned in your own business? You said we've learned some things that keep the lights on in the meantime, what have you learned and how do you structure deals to do that? 


 John
 W what I do now is we have the big deals, but we really don't depend on them a hundred percent. You have to have the bread and butter. Like you said, to keep the lights on, you have to have the small wins, constantly flowing in. And, we kind of changed our model where, I used to take the time, get on the phone, telling people how to structure things and, time is money. So I kind of changed the way. All right, you want to do something, you got to give me, some kind of engagement fee. You have to, you have to do something. I know I'm going to get paid, regardless if you just pull out because I, what am I going to do? I mean, everyone has bills to pay. I don't care who you are. You have things you got to pay. I mean, it's so we changed the model. 


 John
 At the same time, were doing other things. I mean, I own a mortgage office. I don't know why, but we're just trying to do different things. You have to, you can't just be doing one thing. Unless it's something that's, internet base where it's running by itself and you're sleeping and you're making money because people are buying eBooks or something. I don't know. 


 Josh
 The, that is such a great point. You said a few things that I'm like, this is so important for deal makers, especially people like me who, we might be working on an acquisition and it could be two years before we get paid. We cannot on that big deal to happen. It might not happen. We've put together a bunch of deals that fell apart for dumb reasons, too. Right? Like, eh, you know what? I don't want to do it. They just change their mind, change their heart, whatever. Right. We can't depend on the big deals, the bread and butter that the things like this. Also like you started kind of just going, oh yeah, let me help you do all this work. Due diligence, structuring the deal. We'll help you look at your performance and the numbers and the, the business plan and organization. You invested a tremendous amount of value in time. 


 Josh
 If they don't get the funding, you don't get paid. Right. Structuring that like, Hey, I could give you pay for . I'll give you pay for . That's what we've raised. Like, we call it skin in the game. Like we look for people who are as invested as we are. We just try to out, give them out value then like, and who could give each other more and bring more to the table. That's how we've tried to figure it out. Man. I love this conversation. It sounds like you and I are so aligned as you're doing this, what's your favorite part of the deal. Right? You and I are working on this awesome ground up, deal. What's your favorite part of it? 


 John
 When it, when? Well, actually there's two stages that I would say there's two favorite parts. One is when you're getting the guy's vision, like I said before, when you see his vision and you feel like you can contribute to make it happen for him, that is a big left. Cause you're like helping somebody complete something, their dream or whatever it is. So you're living through that. You're, you're a huge part of it to make it happen. That, and also when things just come together, when everything is structured and it comes together, everybody's in agreement and it's, it was going to go pro I mean, nobody's sitting there doubting, no, one's going to wake up and say, Hey, I'm going to go to Disneyland today. Screw it. So, I mean, those two pots, I mean, yeah. I mean, the payday is always nice obviously, but it made success. 


 John
 You, you're not even the payday just completing it, but I guess there's three parts of it. Really. You think about it, the beginning of stage, when everything comes together and one crosses the finish line and everybody's happy. You hope. 


 Josh
 David and the world of deal-making can't make everyone happy. 


 John
 No, there's always somebody. So now I got screwed over. 


 Josh
 Yeah. There's always someone out there to screw something up when we're having a conversation with someone and we're starting to engage in like, should we do a venture together? Our red flag for me is when someone goes, we're looking for someone. We don't want to invest any upfront fees or something like that. We don't want to invest in the peace. No. Even if they're like, we'll consider it, but this is not how we do. I'm just like, I feel like with those kinds of engagements, I find that I'm spending all my time afterwards, like consistently reminding them of the value instead of like looking at the actual goal. I just don't find that as a good partnership. What, what red flags do you see. 


 John
 If you got to sell yourself and you gotta be on top of them to convince them and, but it's not worth it. Yeah. That, that's a huge red flag. If I gotta, if I, if you're not gonna believe me and you're not gonna trust me. I mean, everybody doesn't, mutton finance, nobody trusts anybody. 


 Josh
 Right. 


 John
 Which I get at that. Usually you get over that if you talk to somebody for, but if the person is still questioning, and like you said, if they coming back saying, Hey, what? I don't want to put money in. I don't want to. I'm like, you know what? Maybe you should call someone else. 


 Josh
 Totally. Yeah. I find when people pay, they pay attention, they value what they've invested in. If they don't do that means they don't believe it. 


 John
 Right. You hit it right in the head. 


 Josh
 If they don't have any money for whatever reason, but they're an investment group or they're, builder or whoever they are. If they don't have of scratch, if they don't have then I have to question the business model when I don't have money. It's because I haven't done a good job in sales. I haven't done a good job serving people when other people don't have money. Now, life happens. I've been bankrupt. I've been on food stamps. I I've, but it's because my business model was broken. I need to fix that before I take on investor capital, I need to fight it out. Right. Cause that's risk mitigation. That's when money shows up is when you've mitigated the risk and you showed an actual plan, right? It sounds like you're really good at that. The looking at, or it might be really wrong. 


 John
 Well, I I've been around put it that way. I've been around. 


 Josh
 Alright, ready for a game. Best deal. Ever. Worst deal. Ever. 


 John
 Best deal ever worst. Well, the worst deal. Well, I mean what me personally, or it does me, I guess say the worst deal I did was I ended up, this was a few years ago prior to me selling, I ended up working with an investment banker and were gonna buy agencies together, turned out that, I'm not going to really say much, but it was, it didn't work out because the person was not safe. He who he was and he went belly up. That was another hurdle I gotta to get over. But that was probably the worst deal. The best deal. I gotta say, I, I had a client that called me up and he said, oh, I need this and that. He had a whole, I forgot. I was like, I don't know. We get a lot of inventory. It was a big community. He called me up and said, John, I got your name from so-and-so. 


 John
 And he said, oh, all right. I just went to and put something together really fast. He signed everything. It went through within two weeks, I was like, holy moly. 


 Josh
 Type deal. 


 John
 He had to deal with it. He didn't, he didn't balk at anything. He disliked. I was just like, wow. And he was a hundred percent legitimate. Did everything exactly from start to finish. And I got a nice big payday. I was like, huh, that's the way it should work. 


 Josh
 How do we do that again? 


 John
 It was just that, we kind of meshed and he just trusted and it was a referral. So it just kinda, it just went very easy. And, and the group that I was working with, the guy I had a relationship with, and he kinda, I don't know if he was trying to make some kind of quota or something, but he pushed it through. Like there was like, 


 Josh
 John, do you mind if we have of fun here? Like, I mean, we've had, we've been having a lot of fun. That was, do you mind if I turn on the fun game? So I'm going to type a word. Do you see your chat box? I'm just going to send a message. Do you see what the chat. 


 John
 Box? 


 Josh
 Okay, cool. All right. So we're going to have a game. It's a fun words to hear new Yorkers say, all right, we'll just do a few of them. I'm going to, we'll send that out with it with an easy one. I'm going to type in a message. And it says, 


 John
 Josh, where are you originally from. 


 Josh
 South Florida, 


 John
 South Florida. 


 Josh
 I'm a Florida boy. Listen, my daughter's nine. We've lived in nine different homes. We've we've in south Florida. Well, I've lived in south Florida, central Florida, Jacksonville, Dallas, New York, Orlando. We've, you know, homina entrepreneur rollercoaster, baby. I've had an investor call me a dumpster fire at one point. That's a, that's a really good, 


 John
 That's not good. That's not a good thing. I wouldn't talk about that. 


 Josh
 I don't, I don't mind sharing my past failures because man. 


 John
 Just don't talk to another investor that say someone said I was in. 


 Josh
 Yeah. If you're listening, like the, the goal with this is like, I, I want to share as much as I can about my past successes and failures. One, someone can look at this and go, wow, look how far you've come, Josh. Right? Like, Hey, you've accepted it. You've owned it. More importantly, like I told you about my impact show and some of the work that we do with some dudes and my is to be on the front line and just be, I call it like open kimono, cold, wet day, just stand and just say, as transparent as I can, this is who I am. I've had more billionaires and investors and super cool people go, Hey, thanks for sharing. Let's do a deal together. I'm like, didn't you just hear like this? They're like, yeah, let's do it together. You've learned your lesson. That's an, that's a lesson I don't have to pay for now. 


 Josh
 That's what they've taught me. And I was like, wow. All right. So you ready here comes. I'm going to do a few of them. Ready? Read this word, 


 John
 Coffee, 


 Josh
 Coffee, C a w F E. All right. You ready? Cool. See AWS. All right. Last, let me try this woman. GA. 


 John
 Garage. 


 Josh
 You got that one. You nailed that one. All right. 


 John
 Got. 


 Josh
 It. All right. Last one. 


 John
 Off. 


 Josh
 Oh, WFF off. 


 John
 Well, my wife, she's from Pennsylvania and she says, John island to stand you in New York and New York accident. And she's like, oh, thanks, honey. 


 Josh
 Thanks. 


 John
 I really don't think I have an accent, but I guess you, everybody says that. I'm going to Carolinas for 14 years. 


 Josh
 Really? 


 John
 I can't say one word you all or whatever else. I cannot say that. 


 Josh
 Yo. 


 John
 Does. It does not flow. 


 Josh
 It's hall with a Y. 


 John
 Yeah, I know, but I just refuse to say it. 


 Josh
 I get it. I get it. That's how. 


 John
 You believe me. When I first moved down here, people, not thinking southerners or anything, but they were saying, bless your heart. And I was like, wait a second. You know what that saying? 


 Josh
 You're special. 


 John
 You're special. Right? 


 Josh
 I just want to pick you up. 


 John
 Bless you. That those sound right. Like up north. They're like, yeah. Okay. Screw you, buddy. 


 Josh
 I love yourself. Listen, there's a guy that he was one of my mentors, uncle Sal, and he, he straight from New York, like had, all sorts of fun adventures there, but the way he talked to Greg, he talked and he gave you, the real way he needed is so cool. Like hearing that out. So shout out to uncle Sally. He's no longer with us, but love that. Love the guy, new Yorkers. You guys are one of a kind John for dudes and deal makers and people out there who want to do a deal and look at, maybe some financing options or some of the services. What's a good way for people to connect with you and do a deal with you. 


 John
 I probably my email, which would be john@capitalpreferredpartners.com. 


 Josh
 Cool. That's probably another place where people could go to connect with you is capital preferred partners.com that could take a look at your services. So favorite kind of deals are what. 


 John
 Mostly I'm used to working with real estate deals. So, I mean, anything, real estate related from residential to commercial. The other thing I, I, which, you have the big whales or the green energy projects. 


 Josh
 Yeah. Those are fun. 


 John
 Yeah. There are a lot of money in them, but it does serve a purpose. You know, those are fun to structure. I got to say, but just a lot of work. It's a lot of work. 


 Josh
 What's a question I should have asked you in this interview that I screwed up and didn't ask you, 


 John
 I think you asked me a lot of questions. I can't think of it. 


 Josh
 So one more question. If, if you can be in any movie, right. Past, present, or future, like you get to be a star role. Like we go back in time and get you as you can get plugged into the movie. You're one of the star actors, what movie would you choose to be in? 


 John
 You know what, it's kind of funny. I always wanted to be in like a gangster movie. 


 Josh
 Because. 


 John
 I just, I, when I was younger, I used to be into bodybuilding and I used to work out a lot, I'm in my fifties now. So, but I, I, I used to love working out and I used to go away and, back then, I'm going back in the eighties. We used to walk around with like these tank tops. I used to be like all built out, like, and I had doc can slick back. We told him, I walked in and says, are you part of the mob? Are you. 


 Josh
 So Sopranos or godfather or Scarface? 


 John
 Scarface. Untouchable. Yeah. Any, any of those moves like Goodfellas. 


 Josh
 My clown? Do I amuse you? 


 John
 I always laughed at the movie, my cousin, Danny. That was a funny movie. 


 Josh
 So good. That chick was amazing. Wasn't she? 


 John
 Yeah. Marissa. Yeah. 


 Josh
 You send then. She like tore apart the engine and all. 


 John
 That. Yeah. So cool. 


 Josh
 Awesome, man. Yeah. I love my wife and I will go on a kick and we'll watch all like all of the godfathers or untouchables. Like, we'll just like, we'd love that, like the, the, the history behind that and how things were built and how things move. So super cool. Maybe the next time we do a, a movie deal or something like that. We'll we'll right. We'll do a movie together. Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. So, John, thanks for being on the show. Fellow dealmakers out in the audience of, Hey, if you're working on a green construction project, or if you're working on some ground-up construction or some real estate deals, and you want some conversations around that, about structuring or about moving it to the finish line, reach out to our guests and say, thanks for being on the show and maybe do a deal with them. 


 Josh
 If you are working on a deal or want to talk about a deal here on the show, head on over to the deal, scout.com, fill out a quick form, maybe get you on the show next till then talk to you all on the next episode. 


 John
 Thank you. 

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John Titolo Jr

Construction-Commercial-Project Finance

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