916: The Power of Positive Habits with Commercial Real Estate Expert Ken Wimberly

July 9, 2020
Serial entrepreneur Ken Wimberly started his real estate career back in 2002. In his first year as a commercial real estate broker, Ken took home a “substitute teacher’s salary,” just under $22,000. The very next year, however, he made six figures. If you ask Ken, positive habits and dedication were the secret to his success. On today’s podcast, Ken shares how positivity and commitment can help you accomplish your goals in business and in life. Plus, he discusses how he chose to preserve the memories that matter and the app he created to help parents store and share their most precious moments.
Ken Wimberly, CCIM Listen to today’s show and learn:
  • Ken’s brief bio [2:33]
  • Ken’s career in commercial real estate [7:23]
  • How Ken’s first major deal almost fell apart [14:06]
  • The global financial crisis’ impact on commercial real estate [19:39]
  • Triple-net investment properties [23:43]
  • Ken’s advice on getting business [29:39]
  • The power of positive habits and systems [32:50]
  • How to preserve the memories that matter [38:55]
  • One of Ken’s favorite journal entries [45:46]
  • An app for passing love and wisdom down to your kids [48:55]
  • Ken’s parting words for listeners [55:44]
  • How to break through your goals.
  • Plus so much more.
Ken Wimberly Ken, the founder of Legacy of Love, is an entrepreneur and father based in Fort Worth, Texas. Ken also serves as Chief Visionary Officer for KW Net Lease Advisors, specializing in single-tenant NNN retail and medical office investment sales with a strong background in land sales, lot sales and acquisition, syndications, site selection, bank REO’s, and buyer/tenant representation. His clients include high net worth individuals, REITs, institutional funds, private family endowments, and commercial developers. Prior to joining KW Commercial, Ken served as a Senior Advisor at Sperry Van Ness. He is founder and managing member of a real estate investment firm, Noble Crest Capital, LLC (NCC). Wimberly served his country during Gulf War I as an aircrew member flying aboard EP-3E aircraft as a CTR (cryptologist technician – Morse code) for the United States Navy, stationed in Misawa, Japan. He has also worked in the insurance/investment field and has held the Series 6, Series 7, and Series 63 investment licenses and the Group I insurance license. He received his CCIM designation in 2010 and is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). Ken is a member of the Greater Fort Worth Association of Realtors, the Texas Association of Realtors, and the Society of Commercial Realtors. Additionally, he served as the 2008 Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Society of Commercial Realtors in Fort Worth. He was presented with the 2012 Charles D. Tandy Award for his exemplary professional standards as a commercial Realtor. He previously served on the RCA/Governing Council of the Texas Association of Realtors. Ken received the 2012 William C. Jennings Award for the most outstanding commercial transaction in the entire state of Texas. He is also one of only ten members across the country to serve on the Executive Leadership Council for KW Commercial. Ken is the Operating Principal/Franchise Owner of Keller Williams in Abilene, TX. He is active in his community and is proud of the 9 years he served as a “Big” in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program. He has three children, Grace, Knox and Kai, and is married to the girl of his dreams, Amber. The family enjoys spending their time travelling, snow skiing, spending time outdoors, playing board games, and playing Texas Hold’em Poker! Related Links and Resources: Thanks for Rocking Out Thank you for tuning in to Pat Hiban Interviews Real Estate Rockstars, we appreciate you! To get more Rockstar content sent directly to your device as it becomes available, subscribe on iTunes or StitcherReviews on iTunes are extremely helpful and appreciated! We read each and every one of them, please feel free to leave your email so that we can personally reach out and say thanks! Have any questions? Tweet meFacebook me and ask Pat anything. Don’t forget to head on over to Bare Naked Agent for Pat’s answers, and advice. Thank you Rockstar Nation, and keep rockin!

Aaron Amuchastegui: Rockstar Nation, this is Aaron Amuchastegui and I am back for an episode of the Real Estate Rockstars. Tell you what, I am super excited today about the interview that I’m about to do. This one is going to be pretty unique. I get to talk to my good friend Ken Wimberly today. I met Ken several years ago. There’s so many things about Ken that you guys are just going to love.

We’re going to talk about real estate. I bet we’re going to talk a lot about habits and different things that he does in his life to set up systems that helped him create success in real estate and all these other things. He’s got this awesome app, this system that he does for his kids called The Legacy of Love, which is really like– We’ll talk about how he got to be successful in business and now what is he doing for Legacy as a result.

Buckle up. We’ll be ready to really just knock this out over the next, I don’t know, little while. Thanks for joining us again. Ken, thanks for joining.

Ken: Hey, thanks so much for having me. Appreciate it.

Aaron: Yes. You and I have been dying to get to talk on the podcast. It’s funny how often we get to see each other and other things and when we were chatting I said, “Hey, have you been on the podcast before?” And you’re like, “No, not yet.” Today is the day and I am lucky that Pat didn’t interview you a year ago because I think I get to have a lot more fun with that.

You are calling in from Fort Worth today. Tell everybody just a little bit about yourself, your family. Then what’s Fort Worth like right now? Quarantine is turning on and then turning off and around the US, it’s changing a lot.

Ken: Sure. That’s right, Fort Worth. Fort Worth is in Tarrant County. Our county just went into the mask-in-every-place ordinance. It’s like you said, it’s on again, off again. There’s a lot of folks that had started to venture back out and now I think you’re seeing people peel back a little more.

Me; father to three amazing kids, husband to a beautiful wife, Amber, my soulmate. Amber and I have Kai who is our four-year-old, just hell-on-wheels, amazing, awesome, little kid. Then we’ve got two older kids from a previous marriage. Grace, who is 17; and Knox, who just turned 16, just got his license last week, actually. That’s my family and what guides me and gets me up and motivated everyday.

Aaron: I love that Knox is now old enough to drive a car. I don’t think my kids are ever going to learn- have to learn how to drive cars. Maddie just turned 13. Maybe she’ll have to, but I think there’s a decent chance that cars are going to be doing such a good job. I know that my son Brax isn’t going to have to learn how to drive a car.

Ken: That’s what I said when Kai was born. I said, “I doubt that Kai will ever get a driver’s license.” Now, we’re four years into it, four and a half years into his life. The technology, while it’s there, it’s the regulation that I’m concerned about with the self-driving cars and having all the regulation there by the time he’s 16. There’s definitely a chance that he doesn’t get a driver’s license, but it’s pretty cool that Knox has gotten his.

Cool thing about this little 16-year-old, he actually wants to get a stick shift now and learn how to drive a stick, which I think is a cool skill set to need to know.

Aaron: Yes, that is a dying skill set. There are plenty of people out there that don’t know how to do that. I think, listeners, you know. My son Brax is the same; four-year-old, crazy, little boy, and so when our boys get together they sure get to chase each other.

Aaron: Ken, you’re up in Fort Worth so that’s near Dallas, Texas. You have been doing real estate for how long?

Ken: 20 years, actually- almost 20. 18 years. I got into real estate and in commercial real estate in 2002.

Aaron: You started in commercial?

Ken: I did.

Aaron: There aren’t a lot of people that we get to interview on here that start in commercial. I know that it’s a different skill set. Rather than just fire away with some of the questions, why don’t you just take us through what it was like getting into real estate? New in real estate, what are the things that you learned to really start driving business? Because you had built some teams and a business that had really, really, really got huge, so just have the mic for a few minutes.

Ken: Sure, I did. Got in the commercial real estate business in October 2002 and honestly, look, I didn’t know what I was going to do. I interviewed a friend of mine that was a RE/MAX agent about coming to work with him in the residential side. Then my uncle had introduced me to a gentleman that had a small commercial real estate firm and I interviewed with him. His name was Tom

Tom gave me his pitch. He said, “Look, if you get in commercial real estate, it’s probably going to take you about a year to make any money. We’re a small shop so we don’t have a formal training and because of that, you won’t get pigeonholed into any one asset class. You can work on whatever you want to work on. We have no salary, no draw. You need to bring your own phone and bring your own computer.”

He had an office phone for me. Said, “You’ll have a desk and an office phone and everything else you’re going to bring on your own, and you probably won’t make any money for at least a year.” [crosstalk]–

Aaron: If I can stop you for a second because that is– It’s great real estate lessons there but right now, there’s so many talks of teams and what can your broker do for you and things like that, and you’re talking about– That’s a bit old-school. Maybe it’s not all that old-school, but just the idea of like no, you won’t make any money for– Talk about great expectations.

You won’t make any money for a year. You’re not going to get a draw. We’re going to help provide you a little bit but it’s on you. It’s like, “Ken, it’s going to be on you to succeed. These are the things that you’re going to do. I’ll let you have a desk and a phone and some guidance but to be successful, it’s going to be on you.”

Ken: That’s exactly right and true to his word– First of all, who says no to that kind of offer, right?

Aaron: Yes, you’re like, “Thanks. I can’t wait.”

Ken: [chuckles] I said, “I’m a self-starter.” I think I was drawn to the commercial real estate side. I liked the business aspect of it. I had family that had done some development and did a little bit in the development world, so I felt pulled to commercial over residential real estate.

It was true. It was 11 months when I made my first commission check and it was $1,837 was what I made 11 months in. It was a stretch. It was really, really a stretch. Luckily, I had a little bit of savings that were saved up. Of course, they were about gone in that 11 months but on my 12th month, I made my first $20,000 commission check. Because what I had been doing in those 12 months was building a pipeline. Slowly building a pipeline and prospecting and learning– And it was the old-school.

Internet was out there but not a lot of the tools that are out there now. I was mostly in the land business. The first four or five years of my career, I was strictly a land broker. I had these taped task maps. I had printed out task maps, taped them together, put them all over my walls with highlighted different parcel boundaries with who are the properties owner. That’s what I would do. I would make my own handmade maps and identify property owners that owned these properties, and then start prospecting, calling on these people to figure out were they sellers.

What happened about six months into my career, I met a guy who was a real estate developer. I’m actually still good friends with him today. 18 years later, we’re great friends. He was my first real client. I went up to him and I said, “Jim,” I said, “I’m a relatively intelligent guy. I’ve got a finance degree, I’m a spreadsheet guy, I like to analyze things. I’ve never been in this business before. I don’t really know exactly what I need to do.” I said, “You tell me what you need, I’ll get to work for you.”

He took me under his wing. He taught me what he was looking for and the questions to ask and what to go do to help find him properties, and that’s what I did. I was out there bird-dogging properties to go find for this guy. Then I met some other people in his firm, in his development company, started doing some work for them and started to build a big business.

My first year, I made $2,200, my year-one income, all made in the last two months of year-one. I call that my substitute teacher’s salary-year because that’s about the equivalent of what I made, but then in the second year I made six figures. After that year, the guys I was working with came to me and said, “Hey, we’d like to make you a partner in what we’re working in.” Because they saw what I was doing and they said, “We want to bring you in as structural partnership,” and so I became a partner with those guys, a family-owned firm.

That worked out really, really well for several years, until I started identifying deals to start doing on my own. About four or five years into my career, I saw I was making good money, I said, “Hey, I actually see people making deals, I need to get in on the deal-making side of this now, not just the brokerage side on it.” As I started trying to put some deals together on my own, the guys I was partnered with came and said, “Look, more and more of your time seems to be focused on trying to put together some of your own deals, and that doesn’t really line up with what we want.”

Actually, one of the guys was totally fine with it but the senior guy said, “I really want just a broker on my team here and not necessarily a hustler going to go make his own deals.” I parted ways, ended up starting my own group and started putting some of my first real estate deals together. I started buying some land and entitling some land and getting some of that done.

Then along comes 2008, a few years later there. I remember, I had closed one of the biggest deals in my career in July 2008. I sold a multifamily parcel at the apex of pricing. I mean, I got record price for this parcel in our town. It took four lenders to get it done because the market was falling apart [crosstalk]–

Aaron: Yes, 2008 it was starting to turn. There was some foreclosures [crosstalk]–

Ken: We closed it in June of 2008. In July of 2008, the markets froze. The markets absolutely froze, so we got in just under the wire. Interestingly enough, that 15-acre parcel that I had sold, they ended up developing half of it, losing half back to the bank, basically. They lost half of it, developed half of it, but that was as the market was falling apart.

Aaron: Before we go too deep into 2008, so you’re working with those guys and then you said you were doing some of your own deals, and they were like, “Well, there’s a difference between that.” What do mean by doing some of your own deals? You were buying them yourself, you were finding an investor and doing this stuff, or you were going and finding a seller and a buyer?

Ken: Well, I’ll tell you. The first deal I tried to put together is a buddy of mine and he was new in the development business– I say new. He was about four years into the development business and I was about four years into the brokerage business, but we became really good friends. We had identified this really, really great land parcel. I think it was about 8 acres of land, across from a 30-acre parcel that just got announced for a hospital system that was coming into the town.

It was on a hard corner, we felt like this was going to be a great deal. We put that under contract. We put it in escrow, put it under contract for us. It was $3 million. We didn’t have $3 million, but we had the plan and a vision for what we were going to execute. We put that in a contract, brought that to one person who said, “Hey, I’ll be your equity partner in the deal.”

This was a great lesson learned so to the listeners out there, listen to this and don’t do what we did. It was a really great lesson learned here. He says,” I’m going to be your equity partner on the deal.” I said, “Okay, great.” “Assign the contract over to me, I’ll reimburse you guys for the escrow money here. Assign the contract to me, then I’ll finish putting everything together and we’ll close it.” We had a handshake deal on how it was going to work.

We did. He was actually a family member. [chuckles] We assigned the contract over to him and we’re marching along. We’re working on the layout of the plans, the potential tenancy, who we’re going to bring in there. It was going to be multiple pad sites up on the corner. Either a self-storage, or an assisted living, or something in the back. We’re doing our work and all that. About a week before due diligence ends on that deal, our investor comes back to us, says, “Guys, I couldn’t put together the money.” “What do you mean you couldn’t put together the money? You said you were the money.”

Aaron: You were the money.

Ken: “You were the money. What do you mean you couldn’t put together the money?” We learn there. He was not the money. He thought he had the money from other sources in places and was going to put it together. He eventually says, “Look, I’m punting the deal.” He told me, he said, “Look, I know you brought the deal as a broker, you’re in there–” I think it was like $50,000 our commission or something on there. He said, “If you want to go try to have someone else pick up the contract, you’ve got a little bit of time.” There was a week left to do this.

Here’s another great things of having people in your rolodex. I picked up the phone, called a guy that I’d never met him before but I’d heard his reputation. I called him, he says, “Come on over to my office.” I go in there and I pitch the vision for the plan, and what we were going to do, how we were going to lay it out. Everything for the price on the property.

I was very transparent with him. I said, “We were trying to do this on our own. Our equity fell out. I’m bringing it to you. If you want it, here’s the contract.” Because if this contract goes away, the seller has other people lined up to buy it and it was not for me. He picks up the phone and he calls his secretary that he’s working with. He says, “How much money do we have in X, Y, Z account?” He says, “Okay.” Hangs up the phone. He says, “Okay, we’ll close it next week.” [laughs] The guys writes a $3 million check, closes this property the next week. [crosstalk]–

Aaron: Did you get to keep working on the deal after that or were you just a broker and then he did the rest?

Ken: I was just a broker on that. He actually sat on that land for a lot longer than I expected him to sit on it. He ended up selling it to another development group. He did development on his own but he just sat on the land, sat on it for eight years, and then ended up flipping it to this other group. I looked at his total return that he made and he made a decent return on it, but I would have been involved a lot sooner on that. I did end up making a fee on it.

That was the first deal. Then I put together another one and we actually bought attractive land. We had it in title for an office development. We took it through zoning, got it entitled, scraped the land, scraped the buildings that were on there. Another lesson learned on asbestos and what you have to do there and what a racket, shake-down asbestos can be if you find asbestos.

Aaron: Yes, you see an old house, you’re like the demo costs more than the house.

Ken: It cost an extra $10,000 to go abate the asbestos on something we were just about the demo. It was asinine [crosstalk]–

Aaron: Before you could knock it down. You started as an agent, you were working at this commercial broker’s office. He told you, you’re not going to get paid for a year. You’re going to have to work really hard and you’re going to have to do it all. Then there’s somebody you reached out to and said, “Can you be my mentor? Let me help you. Let me take my energy, combine it with your experience.” He started teaching you somewhere along the way, so you started doing some land deals.

By your next year, you made some commission. By the second year, you really made some commission. Then you saw all these other people that you were representing and said, “Why don’t we also become a buyer?” You we’re going to still be an agent and you were also going to become a buyer. Did some really, really big deals. Then I cut you off in your story is then 2008 happened and you sold a property at the peak, and then the market crashed.

What did you guys do when the market crashed in ’09? I remember being a home builder when it crashed. I was working for this home-building company. For us in California, it pretty much crashed in 2007, early 2008. By the time 2009 hit, there were just foreclosures everywhere in Sacramento, California. You were saying, 2008 you sold a deal, 2009 it sort of crashed. What was Forth Worth like?

Ken: Yes, this is July 2008 and everything just stopped. Everyone in my industry around here, everything just halted. Every land deal that I had under contract that people were looking at, done. Because no one could get it financed at that point and frankly, no one wanted to pull the trigger on any development, which was the business I was in. All of my- what I was working on in the brokerage business, it just stopped.

One of the land deals we had put together for a big office development, I ended up- in 2009, sold my interest in that thing because I was– The markets were dying, brokerage was dying. I was working on whatever I could. I ended up getting a pretty good relationship with Frost Bank, a big regional Texas bank here, helping them do REO dispositions on some of their commercial assets. That helped me get along.

I did some small industrial. I did a little bit of everything. I became a generalist, which I generally recommend that people are not is generalists but from probably mid-’08 to beginning- well, to probably 2010, I was a generalist; just slinging and hustling whatever I could. Still ended up making six figures a year even in those years. I did okay, but it was a whole lot of hustling to scrape that up.

Aaron: That wasn’t just land REOs. That was just you got a relationship with the bank and started doing REOs [crosstalk]–

Ken: No land during that time– Actually, I take that back. There were some vacant lots that got REO by the banks and stuff. We’d take that to some investors and wholesale the lots to some investors. Barring that, that was some of the only land that we did. This was industrial properties, office properties, just things that were vacant that banks took back- some retail properties. It was a little bit of everything across the board, but it was all owner-user-type stuff back then.

Aaron: You went from there to five, six, seven years later, you had built this team with this giant system and database where you were able to get leads coming in the door. How big did your team get? How did you build that team and what was the secret to success?

Ken: In 2010, I hired my first business coach and that was a big key right there. In October 2009, I joined KW Commercial. In 2010, a few months later, I hired my first business coach. One of the first things he did was looked at my transaction volume over the past several years. He said, “Wimberly, actually your deal flow is pretty damn good. You’re doing a good number of transactions a year,” but the size of the deals was pretty small.

Again, budget just random REO stuff and deals that came my way. He said, “So we’ve got to get you focused on bigger transactions and I really want you to focus on a specialty.” I was a generalist for the past several years. My only specialty had been the land business years ago. He said, “You need to look at a specialty that’s got a high volume of turnover and a high price point so that you can actually do well in this business.”

Ended up settling on the triple net investment asset class. That was late 2011 is when I really started moving into the triple net asset. It’s interesting story about you kind of put what is going to be out to the world. I started telling everyone I knew that I was 100% focused on triple net investment properties. I’d have to, frankly, explain what those were to a lot of people, “Let me tell you what a triple net property is. It might be a CVS, or a Walgreens or a Dollar General.” A lot of people would just assume [crosstalk]–

Aaron: Tell our listeners. What does triple net mean?

Ken: Triple net refers to the taxes- the three nets are taxes, insurance and common area maintenance; all of which you’re typically paid by a tenant of a building. If you are a landlord leasing to, let’s say, a Dollar General, the Dollar General acts like- you get not only the rent check from Dollar General, but Dollar General also pays for the taxes on the building, the insurance on the building and the maintenance of the building.

Aaron: It’s a totally different equation. If you own a property and it’s a triple net lease, the amount they pay you in rent is your return.

Ken: The rent is your return, which on a single-family, you’ve got the rent, less your taxes, less your insurance, less your [crosstalk]–

Aaron: Yes, you rent a house for $1,000, you’re going to pay $200 for taxes, $100 for insurance, all that. Triple net is the amount they pay in lease is that’s your true return because they’re covering all your expenses [crosstalk]–

Ken: Yes, for an absolute triple net, your rent is in fact your return right there. That money gets calculated in your return. I got into that asset class and I started telling- I put it out to the world. I’d tell everyone this is what I’m doing. I called everyone on my database, “Here’s what I’m doing.” I let title companies know, lenders know, “This is what I’m doing.”

This is so interesting. Before I ever had my first really even lead in the triple net space, because I’d been putting it out there for several months, “This is what I do,” I had two referrals come from another commercial real estate broker that said, “Ken, I know you’re the triple net guy. Can you handle this?” My first two deals came from a commercial real estate broker referring me triple net deals because I had put it out to the world, “This is what I do.”

There’s a lesson right there. Put it out to the world [crosstalk]–

Aaron: Tell everybody what you do.

Ken: Tell everyone what you do. Even when it hasn’t manifested yet, tell everyone what you’re intending to do so that it will manifest, and it did. I started focusing on that and then I started slowly building a team. I hired an admin to start helping me with all my transaction work and marketing. Hired a second admin to do more of the marketing stuff. I had one doing the transaction stuff, one doing the marketing, then started hiring some junior brokers that came on. We ended up building a business.

When I had joined KW Commercial, it was doing about $6 million a year in volume. That was again 2010, right there. By 2015, we had grown to about $100 million in volume. We were just steadily growing and growing and growing our volume on that team. We were cold-calling machines. We picked up the phone. We smiled and dialed. We talked to a lot of people. We brought value to the people we talked to.

We were figuring out, how can we bring value? What kind of information can we give? What kind of connections can we make? What kind of deals can we put together to help bring tenants to developers? We were developing relationships with tenants. Making introductions to other developers right there. Let me tell you, when you make a tenant introduction to a developer that starts a long-term relation, they remember that.

We built a pretty sizable business, got to a little over a $100 million in annual volume there. Through that it was interesting because it opened up a whole lot of other doors going through that process. I got back to investing in properties, investing in retail, investing in office, invested in a Keller Williams franchise, into a Keller Williams Market Center. Eventually, invested in the laundromat business. Then eventually into our app business that we created.

That real estate success in brokerage opened up a whole lot of doors that allowed me to pursue some other avenues there.

Aaron: I can’t wait to get into those other avenues and we’ll get there in just a second. Right now, so you have been in real estate for a long time. You’ve made money. You have a lot of friends that are agents and all sorts of different stuff. You’ve done a little of everything and had your specialties.

If you were going to give advice to a new agent right now- and right now the world is a crazy place. Somebody comes to you and says, “I got my license in February right before COVID hit. What do I do now?” What is some advice that you would give them of how to be successful? What’s some advice you’d give them of how to get deals? What would you be telling somebody if they said I’m new at this, what should I do?

Ken: First thing I’d tell someone is to get a great database; get and use a database. One of my favorite coaches that I’ve had use to tell me, “A database is to be fed every single day. That’s names, properties and then information about those names and the properties that you’re putting in the database.” What would I do? I’d get a database. I would start talking to people. Number one, start talking to your sphere. Let your entire sphere, that’s your friends, your family, bankers you know, lenders you know, folks in title relationships; let everyone you know understand what you do and the business you’re in, and start contacting them on a daily basis.

I make a list. I tell people, “Make a list of your top 50 people in your sphere of influence and contact those top 50 people every single month.” You don’t have to call them every month, but you have to be in contact with them. That could be a phone call. It could be a text. It could be a comment back and forth on social media. It could be a number of things but if you’re in contact with that top 50 people every single month, they will start to know you.

Make sure those comments are- not all of those comments but some of those comments, you’re mentioning what you do, how you just helped someone and not, “Give me business. Give me business. Give me business.” That’s one of the worst things you can do, I think, is go out and say, “Hey, will you sell?” Or, “Hey, will you give me business?” It’s trying to figure out how to add value. There’s so much you can learn about people from- I mean, these days- social media stalking. The other thing is just picking up the phone and talking to them, figuring out what’s happening in their world.

That was what my coach used to always telling me. He was like, “When talk to them, every single conversation should have something. Go into your database. You’ve learned about them. You’ve learned about their family, about their interest, about the properties they own, about the struggles they’re facing, about any of that.” I can tell you that some of my absolute best relationships in business have come from me helping people outside of the real estate business. I’ve helped people with their accountability. I’ve helped people with their fitness goals. I’ve helped some really, really successful people and connecting them to others, and those have developed some of the most amazing relationships.

It’s finding a way that someone could use some help and then being a source of value. [crosstalk]–

Aaron: I love that. To really do that you’re targeting your top 50. Then you’re making sure that you reach out to that top 50 every month. That could be just check-ins and saying hi. That could be making sure that on social media that you’re replying to a couple of their pictures. Even better if you get to reply, you can go, “Oh, that reminds me of when I was doing this this week for another client.” I admire that. That’s great.

For listeners out there, Ken has said a bunch of stuff today, right? He’s talked about making sure that your equity partner is your equity partner. He said make sure people know what you’re doing. What I really liked about what he started with, too, is he said even if you have to manifest it. Even if you haven’t done a deal yet, you can tell somebody, “I specialize in these deals. I specialize in this kind. This is my favorite kind.” Manifest what you want to be, tell people. That’s how this stuff happens.

Ken, also, you just mentioned habits. Before we got the call started, you reminded me that you’re on– How many days in a row have you exercised? Ken is one of the masters of habit. First time I met him, I was amazed at how fit he was with everything. Every other day online at 4:00 AM, he’ll post a picture of his watch saying, “I’m up. I’m getting started again.” How many days have you been working out in a row right now?

Ken: Today, 551 days.

Aaron: 551, and it’s your birthday. You’re a guy that has great discipline. How do you workout 551 days in a row? What do you tell yourself on the days that you don’t want to workout? I workout a lot. I do a lot of training. I have what I think is really, really good discipline. I have dozens and dozens of dozens of times though that I wake up planning to get my thing in and I don’t, and I have an excuse like I’m going to get on a plane today. I have an excuse I don’t feel really good.

551 days. You got through every excuse. How do you get through those excuses? How do you workout 531 days in a row?

Ken: Well, it certainly wasn’t always this way and I would hear things– I remember seeing a Kevin Hart Nike commercial where he was talking about no excuses, no days off. Really, really cool commercial that he did. That had motivated me. That was four or five years ago. When I saw that I was like, “I want to do that. I want to workout every single day for a year.”

I would have some starts and stops like that but last year in 2019, I had made the commitment I was going to workout every single day of the year. 365 days. No freaking excuses. Just none. For me it was the commitment to myself. I said I’m committing to myself not to anyone else. It’s just to me to workout everyday. Systems and routine really helped me in business, in relationships, in exercise. I had a system to make it really easy. I didn’t have to think about it, what I was going to do that day.

My system, I started the year off with 400 reps a day. I started in December actually with 300 reps a day. When the year started in January, I did 400 reps a day of either push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, squats, lunges, pull-ups and burpees. I could do whatever combination of those, but I would do 400 reps a day every day in January. February, I went to 500, then to 600, all the way up until I was doing 1,500 reps a day in December.

It was just systematic for me. It was super systematic. I’ll tell you if anything, just counting the reps and the numbers started getting confusing to me towards the end. When I’m doing 1,500 reps, I’m having to write them down. This year I decided, look, I’m going to keep on with that and just because I completed the goal of 365 days, I’m not going to quit because I felt really good about who I was becoming.

This part of me was this person that was really true to myself and true to my word and committed to what I said I was going to do, so the people could look to me and go, “If Ken says he’s going to do something, he’s going to do it.” I was really happy about the person I was becoming, so I kept it along. Then this year, I actually wrote out a little note card for every day of the week that had the exercise and the number of reps that I was going to do.

Monday, I just pull up my note card and I follow what’s on the card. Tuesday, I pull it out and follow what’s on the card [crosstalk]–

Aaron: I tell you what, that system there is a hack because so many of the times, people go, “Yes, I’m going to exercise today,” but if there was an option or if there was a way, then that can get in the way. Because then if your plan is to go do this and then it rains, or you’re thinking it out or then, “Then I’ll do it later,” but instead if you’ve got this really detailed thing of you know you’re going to do it, “Here’s my card. I got to go do it,” there’s no–

Most of the time, you do that first thing of the day? Do you get your card and get started? Is there a different time [crosstalk]–

Ken: 90% of the time, I get it done around 6:00 AM in the morning. 6:00 to 7:00 is when I do my workout.

Aaron: Do you have any times like nine o’clock at night or ten o’clock at night, you’re like, “Crap, I got to go do it right now or I’m going to miss my day”?

Ken: That’s why I do it 90% of time in the morning because it’s painful to go do it- not always. Now, this year I also added in that I’m going to run a mile and a half or more a day in addition to my workout. I’m going to run a mile and half a day, too. I did my reps this morning and I’m going to run this evening. It’s not always that bad but most of the time if I have the time, I’ll knock it all out in the morning because there’s always an excuse. There’s always something.

I can tell you, Amber has a listing appointment tonight. I’m going to have Kai, so I’m going to be taking Kai on the stroller and we’re going to go hit it [crosstalk]–

Aaron: Yes, Kai is going to be on your back as you’re running. A few years ago, you and I are at a GoBundance event together. I don’t remember if this was like in Canada, if this was Whistler, one of those places. Everybody did GoTalks where at the very end, they pick four guys to get up on stage and share their stories. You and I were two guys who got to go share our stories out there.

I was talking about kind of life and life is short. My dad had died and this is how quick I went. You shared stories about memories and sharing memories with the kids. As a guy about discipline, you have been writing stories to your kids forever. Something that a lot of people admire and say, “I should do this or I should do this,” but you were the only person I’d ever met that you’re like, no, when this would happen I would–

Tell us a little bit about that. I know you can’t retell it, but tell us a little bit about sharing the stories and the process that you’ve been doing.

Ken: Yes, it’s been a 17-year journey [crosstalk]–

Aaron: Yes, that’s the craziest part. 17-year journey.

Ken: Yes. My daughter turns 18 this year and when she was 1 and my son was in the womb, I made a commitment to start something so that I could capture memories to later pass them down to my kids. I was like, “Well, how can I do that?” What I came up with is I can write. I can journal to them. I enjoy writing and telling stories so I was like, “You know what? I’ll just write,” and I thought, “Do I do it on paper?” I mean, this was my big debate. “Do I do it on paper or in some type of digital format?” I said, “I’m going to do it digitally because frankly, I can type faster than I can write on paper,” which is why I started.

Aaron: Yes, everybody can, right?

Ken: I started doing it in just a Word document. I just started telling stories about what was happening in their lives. Again, back to me and systems and hacks, I wanted something that I could live with. How could I do this such that I would continue with it and it wouldn’t seem overwhelming? What I came up with was like, “I’m just going to commit to one entry per month.” One entry per month per kid, I was like, “I can do that. 12 entries a year.” That’s what I started doing.

On average, once a month, I would jump in and I would write a story about what was happening with their development or their lives. Then I started telling stories about my life and what was happening and sometimes a little bit of historical context, but mostly just what’s happening in real-time in our lives. It has evolved over the years where you start telling a story– Now, you easily do it. “I’ll go through the pictures that I’ve taken over the past month, which will remind me about what we’ve been doing.” Because you take pictures of all these fun and cool events.

Aaron: Especially the memorable stuff.

Ken: Yes. The pictures would remind me, “I need to write about this time or that time,” or sometimes I’ll jot a note, “Don’t forget to write about this.” Another time something will happen, I’m like, “I got to write this down before I forget. It was so funny,” where people will say the funniest things. It’s taken me across this beautiful journey of writing about their development, their milestones, their major events, too. I’ve documented every family vacation we’ve ever taken.

I’ve written a story about the trip. Usually when I’m on the vacations, each day I’ll document a little synopsis about what we did, who we were with, what the highlights were, what the arguments were as a family that we were struggling with, anything like that. There’s so much depth and texture to that that frankly, I would forget. We just forget the details and it’s fun now to go back and read some of those old entries because I couldn’t remember the names of certain people we met on vacation even if they showed up in a picture.

Now, I’ve got their names. I’ve got how we met them, I’ve got where we like to eat together. It will trigger the recall in my children’s memories when they read these years later and then hopefully, to my grandchildren and great-great-great-grandchildren one day, they’ll be able to read these and see the love and the story that came from this father to his children.

Aaron: I remember when my dad passed away, I looked for any video I ever saw him talking on. Anything that he ever sent to any- a business email, anything, just trying to get just a piece of anything. When I get to think about the gift that you’re giving everybody with that– I mean, if I scroll through my phone– One of the things I think is really cool about what you said and that you’re doing.

If I scroll through my phone right now, I’ll see the big events, I’ll see the big trips. I’ll also see a picture of a random night I was going for a walk with my kids and something happened that made me smile. We take pictures of the stuff that really triggers us and some of the memories are we went to Disneyland and we went big, or we went to Cuba and this. Another time it’s like remember that night when we all went for that walk and the light hit us this way and you told that joke and we all laughed so hard. It’s the little stuff that gets captured that’s really easy to forget. Life is full of those memories.

You’ve been [crosstalk]–

Ken: I was just scrolling through the LegacyofLove.app, I was scrolling through and one of the entries that I came upon was something I wrote to my daughter. I was having a really shitty day. It was a bad day. It was just if something could go wrong, it had gone wrong. She had left me just the sweetest little voicemail and it was just her checking in on me to tell me she loved me.

I saved that voicemail, I put it in the app and I wrote a story about– Not a story, I wrote three lines just about how much that meant to me on an otherwise miserable day to get that message from her. She has no idea and so she’ll get that story to her. Actually, this all along was designed to be my high school graduation gift to each one of my children; 18 years of your life through my eyes.

Aaron: I get chills every time you say it, especially now as Grace is about to graduate. She’s got a year. She graduates next year. You’ve been doing this forever. I told you guys at the beginning that talking to Ken was going to be one of the most interesting interviews that I’ve done because it is real estate but it’s also about persistence and discipline, and being able to workout every day or being able to actually once a month.

In one sense, you go, “Writing a story once a month that’s not that hard.” In another sense, we all know as people that one thing a month is really hard to do for 18 years or somebody has– But for you listeners out there right now, too, if you’ve got a 10-year-old, a 15-year-old, a 16-year-old or maybe– There’s no reason to not start this even in my adulthood.

Again, when I lost my dad, man, it would have been great if there had been a couple stories that he would’ve just told me when I was 30. [crosstalk]–

Ken: For me, even though I’m going to give this to my children when they turn 18, I will keep writing to them until the day I die so that they’ll continue to have– When I pass, they’ll have the rest of the story of me to them.

Aaron: This started as you grab a Word document and you would tell story. It just kept kind of growing. That started in 2002. That was probably Microsoft Word or text or Word ’90- I guess Word 2000 would have been there. You started with these and then along the way, it has morphed. I guess before we go into how you do it now, can you think of a story or two that stands out in there? If you feel comfortable sharing it, something that when you captured, later you were like, “Man, if I wasn’t doing this, I wouldn’t have shared that story,” or anything that is just [crosstalk]–

Ken: Yes, I’ll tell you one of my favorite entries. You may have heard this before because I’ve shared this story, but same thing with my daughter. Grace and I were driving around- it was several years ago- and we went to REI to go pick up some clothes from REI. It was in a shopping center that had just been finished and they were still adding new tenants into the center. We pulled in there- she was 14 at the time- and pulled into the center.

Grace saw one of the new tenants and told me, she said, “Hey, Dad, we should take Garfield there.” Garfield was our 15-pound orange tabby kitty cat, and so I’m thinking it must be a vet or something like that. I look up and I saw the logo that she was talking about. I look back down, I thought for a minute, “How do I respond to this?” She was old enough that I could maybe be jovial or not. I said, “Grace, they work on a different kind of kitty at that store.”


Ken: She looked confused. Then I paused for a minute, I said, “Grace, it’s a Brazilian waxing store.” She turned so red and started laughing so hard, and then I started laughing and we literally both had tears in our eyes crying. Laughter is such a connector and that was such a connected moment for us right there and I knew it. There’s some moments you know, it’s like, “Oh, this is just it.” When I went home, I journaled about that moment that night.

By the way, before I left, I’d snapped a picture of the logo. When I got home, I took a picture of our kitty cat and that’s one of my favorite entries that she’ll read one of these days. [laughs]

Aaron: That is so good, man. Laughter is absolutely the– When I think about my best memories, it’s that or the most fun memories of my kids are– A lot of that, those times happened at the times you least expected. A lot of life’s greatest memories were at– You were doing a very random thing for your work at the last time you thought you’d be laughing-crying holding hands and the– I had a moment like that with one of my daughters about a month ago.

I was scaring her by flashing the– I was flipping the lights off and on from my phone. She was in her room. She’s looking up going like, “What’s going on? What’s going on here.” She starts to get nervous and she runs out her to her door. Right when she gets to the doorway, I’m standing out there and for us, it shouldn’t even be that funny of a thing. She looked at me and she just fell down laughing and I fell down next to her laughing. We just laughed for 15 minutes, all teary-eyed because– Without even saying a word. Some of those small moments that I think right now, I hope she remembers that one in 10 or 15 years, or maybe I needed to take a picture to go capture that.

Fast forward. We got a few minutes left to be able to crash all this in. Now, you have the LegacyofLove.app. There’s so many people said, “Ken, this is an amazing idea. Ken, this an amazing idea. You should build an app. You should make a You shouldn’t just be using a Word document.” You finally said, “Okay.”

What’s that been like and what should our users do? How can we support this vision of yours?

Ken: Sure. It’s been a heck of a journey to get in the technology world. [chuckles]

Aaron: Yes, I’ve learned that up quite a bit.

Ken: Yes, but you’re exactly right. So many people would encourage me to and honestly, I didn’t have the mental bandwidth or the space to do it. I’ve made some changes in my life, my business that opened up that space, that allowed me to go pursue this dream, really, because it has been a dream of mine to– Now, I will tell you, over the years just telling people about it. I was like, “Just do it.” Whatever you do. I don’t care if you do it in a handwritten or not. I’ve had so many parents that have sent me texts over the years of pictures of their journals of their children and that has been so rewarding to me.

Eventually, I said, “Look, I am. I’m going to do it. I’m going to go create an app to make it the easy button for other parents to do this, to capture the moment really quickly, easily before they forget about it.” We released it last year. It’s called Legacy of Love. You can learn about it, LegacyofLove.app, that’ll tell you the whole story and about the product. You can find it on the Apple Store and the Google Play store, apps for both iOS and Android, and the phone and the tablet versions as well.

It’s just this beautiful, cool thing. It’s private, it’s secure. It’s unlike social media where everything gets thrown on there and more gets thrown on there, and they sell your data and market it to you. It’s not that. This is a very private, secure– It’s a freemium model. Meaning, we’ve got a free version we put out there to the world. We earn revenue so that we can support and build the product by the premium and family versions of it. They’re just feature-based. We’ll go through all the features on the website. I’ll tell you what’s available and the different versions, but it’s been really, really well-received so far.

Aaron: How does the easy button work? Somebody goes and downloads the app, how does it [crosstalk]–

Ken: Yes, download the app. The first thing you’re prompted to do is set up your profile, so you enter your name and your birthday. It says, “Okay. Well, add some family members.” Why do you add your birthday? So that it can track your age. Every entry you make, it has your age and your child’s age in there, so that you can look back on these or that your children can look back on these years later [crosstalk]–

Aaron: Yes, we’re growing up, too.

Ken: -and go, “Wow.”

Aaron: As adults, we’re growing up every month.

Ken: Yes. It’s like, “Dad was 49, and I was four when this was happening.” They can go look and see all this stuff. Your information, you enter your family member’s information, and then you can just launch and start an entry and write. You can tag the entries. If you’re on our premium versions, it’s really, really cool because you can have a timeline and a milestone view that you can look at everything, and you could tag any of your major events in your child’s life. I’ll use Kai, a four-year-old, right?

Aaron: Yes.

Ken: His first milestone entry is his sonogram. Next one, the day he was born. Next one, the day he rolled over, then the day he walked. I can see in a timeline view the date that happened and how old he was and how old I was all on a timeline view. It’s so cool right there.

Aaron: Man, I wish this would have been around the- and I would have been following your advice for the last 10 years with this. [crosstalk] I’m super excited to see what you get to do with the app. You also mentioned at the beginning that real estate became that thing– As an agent. Being a real estate agent helped you also become an investor.

We didn’t even get to talk about your investments in laundromats and things like that but now, you’ve transitioned into being a real estate investor across a lot of different ways. That’s been able to get you to a point where now you can focus on a project. You still do real estate, you still make money on real estate, but what you do with your money or what you do with your extra time is you work on this app. You work on creating these family memories because this is that legacy thing that literally, for you, is about changing the world, right?

Ken: It is. I believe it’s the way that I can have the largest impact in the world of anything I’ll do.

Aaron: What a fun, admirable thing. Then tell everybody, what’s your Instagram handle, your Facebook handle for you and for your app? I think you’ve got two.

Ken: Me, I’m @ken.wimberly on Instagram. Our app is @legacyofloveapp is our Instagram for Legacy of Love. A really cool Legacy page there. Facebook, LegacyofLove.app is our Facebook page and personally, I’m Lord Wimberly on Facebook. [crosstalk]–

Aaron: All right. I get to follow along with Ken quite a bit on Instagram and all of the social media stuff. It is fun to get to watch and grow. When we get to get our families together, it’s a lot of fun. When we get our boys to get together and chase each other that’s always a lot of fun, too. A little bit less of that right now, but maybe we’ll get to see you in the next couple of months when you get to come down in our neck of the woods, or maybe when we’re back up in yours.

Listeners that are out there, I hope that you learned a lot from Ken today. I hope that you learned about some of those early real estate tactics, how to focus on those 50 people and really do that outreach. That’s a very simple, actionable plan. He had a whole bunch of other tips, too, at the beginning of real estate that you can do there. Then he talked about making promises to himself as he made these really big goals. He has the discipline. He’s worked out 551 days in a row and what it’s like and how by creating systems, he’s able to accomplish things that are really difficult.

If you guys are out there, you’re trying to come up with a new goal for something, coming up with that system, backing into it– If you’re going to run a marathon, you’re going, “I need to do this this Friday and this next Friday,” come up with your system, back into it, make it simple. When you make it really, really simple it’s much easier to follow along.

Then the most exciting thing that we saved the best for last today was really the Legacy of Love. If you don’t want to go get the app, do what Ken is saying, and you take a picture and you start sending emails. You could create an email account and send it. You can do it in a Word document, you can do it that way.

I bet though, if you want to learn– Just like you go get a business coach. Ken has been doing this thing for 17 years. If you think what he’s doing is exciting, I would say go check out his app because if he’s the guy that’s been doing this forever, I’m sure that he’s built that app to make it work for everybody. I’m going to go download the app, I’m going to go start using it.

Ken, thanks for coming on here. Any final thoughts, any last stuff you want to say to all of our listeners?

Ken: Yes. Stay positive, please. There’s a lot of unpositive happening in the world, so I just encourage the listeners to really stay positive and realize that people are good, the world is good and everything is going to be all right.

Aaron: I definitely agree. I definitely want to second that. Stay positive. If you see somebody around that isn’t doing very good, take that serious, too. Try to bring them back into positivity with you. Real Estate Rockstars, thank you for being here. Ken, thanks for being here. That was another great podcast episode for Real Estate Rockstars Radio.

Ken: Thank you, my friend.

Aaron: Bye-bye.

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