Jeff Cohn, a nationally renowned speaker and host of The Team Building Podcast, is CEO of a tech-powered Keller Williams market center in Omaha, NE. As founder of Omaha’s Elite Real Estate Group, now kwELITE, he led his team from 70 to 700 transactions in 6 years and was awarded the #1 team in unit sales in the world at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices in 2019. Since beginning his real estate career in 2006, Jeff’s team has closed over 5,000 in sales totaling over $1 billion.
We will uncover his journey to success in the latest episode. The highlight includes:
- Who and what inspired his journey to success?
- Experiences that sparked his entrepreneurial mindset at such a young age?
- Strategies that Jeff used for success in building what he built out?
- What would his older self tell his younger self based on what he knows now?
- What coming to Jeff’s space in the next six to 12 months?
Listen to how Jeff Cohn unfolds his remarkable story. Listen to the full episode here:
- Apple iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/underdog/id1534385651
- Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/6FbSDu0aNtuxAEiderUAfB
- Website: https://theunderdogshow.com/
Catch up with Jeff on his social links here:
- Website: https://www.kwelite.com/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/kwELITE_
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jeff.cohn.395
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeffmcohn/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jeffmcohn/
- Email: Jeff@kwelite.com
- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/thecohnteam/videos
Click To Read The Transcript
Jeff Cohn Shares His Secret Formula of Real Estate Success & Building the Fastest Growing Team In History
Hi, I’m Kevin Harrington, an original Shark from the hit television show Shark Tank and you’re listening to the underdog podcast.
Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of underdog today I have the man, the myth, the legend Jeff Cohn in the building, how are you, my friend? Let’s dig right into what nobody knows is that Jeff has a producer in the background making these amazing noises. How’s it going?
Pamela, thank you for bringing me on the show today. I’m super excited to be speaking to you and your audience. Most importantly, you. But hopefully, there are some people listening to this episode.
Absolutely. Since I’ve met you, your energy is super contagious and awesome. And you’re just like, I’m at no surprise how you got to where you got to in this life. Because your energy is just beautiful and amazing. So thank you so, so much for being here today for your time for all of that, my friend. And so I always start off with the most loaded question if you’re ready. What inspired you on your journey to where you are today, my friend?
So I’ve been asked that. So I can give not only a canned answer, but an actual intentional, true answer as I’ve continually asked that question to myself. And it would be the desire to continually improve myself every day in every area of my life. And in so doing, knowing that will create a massive impact and influence on the lives of others.
Love that, Jeff? And so what did you want to be when you grew up?
What point I still not grown up yet, I still want to grow up. So I wanted to be in a situation financially where I could do whatever I wanted. Whenever I wanted and felt like I had no limitations. And I didn’t know when I was six years old, how much income I needed to have to have that. But I always have had a pretty big heart and desire to just have fun and see what all life has to offer me and the people in my world. So for me, money in and of itself is simply ones and zeros. It’s just fake. To what money can do to bless the lives of others. It feeds us, houses us, clothes us. Gives us the ability to give philanthropically, gives the ability to see amazing things travel to amazing places, be comfortable, eat amazing foods.
So for me, what has really been truly motivating, is being able to use what I have built. What we have built to help other people be able to obtain those ones and zeros as well. So that they can have freedom as well. And the more you look outwardly and focus on other people, the more you gain inwardly to become a better version of yourself. So that you can continue giving back to others. And it’s been a really interesting journey. I guess I could say these amazing 40 years I’ve been on this planet.
Hey man, my friend. Amen. So looks to me like you were a wise old soul. Little kid. It sounds like Yeah.
Sunglasses wasn’t their sunglasses or their sunglasses at some point. Yeah, just as a younger man. I liked the story. There’s a couple here and I’ll give the first on the Nintendo I think did we talk about this together? Pamela? We had done a little event in our school I was in kindergarten. Which in the United States is typically when you’re five or six years old. It’s pre-first grade, and in our elementary school and went from K through five. So I was competing against fifth-graders, fourth graders, third graders, second graders, first graders, and I’m in kindergarten. Whoever sold the most candy bars was going to receive this new video game system. No one had ever heard of before called a Nintendo. So this is Atari time, and Nintendo is coming on the scene. It did Sega Genesis about the same time.
And what does a five-year-old want, like the greatest dream in the world, right? owning this little game system. So I told my dad, I want to win this thing. I’ll do whatever it takes. And he said, Really, and I go yes. So he bought 10 cases of candy bars for me, and then took me to a grocery store. Our plan was that we’d spend four or five different days at this grocery store selling these candy bars. And the hope would be that 10 cases got us the win. So we sold all the candy bars the first day at the grocery store. Because I started figuring out that I could go up to somebody that knows $1 A bar and I’d say, hey, I can do three bars for $5.
He tells me the story now I would start working people. And of course, I was just this cute little bald, chubby kindergarten kid I remind myself. As the kid from up and so a couple of weeks passed no idea what’s going on. I hear over the intercom they announce the winner of the new Nintendo what is it? 32 bit system is Jeff Cohn. And like there’s hundreds of kids 1000s of kids at the school and like the kindergarten, kid wins. So you’re like, unpack that story and you look at it. It’s like, okay, I had to go be there, I had to do it, I had to smile and I had to push the candy bars. I had to have a person there though help support me, which was my dad.
Somebody that believed did meet somebody that was willing to take that risk and they put the money towards the bars. Then they facilitated the exchange at the grocery store. And then, of course, I had to be in an environment where the school offered the gift. So there’s a lot of players and people’s success, and you have to recognize all of the things that had to happen for that to happen. But it was a building block. And I have hundreds of more stories like that they don’t want to be selling sunglasses story is when I was 15. I had an uncle, here’s another person who wanted me to set up sunglass stands and this is in Omaha, Nebraska. Where it’s only sunny like two weeks out of the year.
For the whole summer when everyone’s driving around the swimming pools, we set up sunglass stands every day, Monday through Sunday. And we would bring in a couple $1,000 A week selling sunglasses that he would purchase and source out of China for 50 cents a pair. Then we’d sell him one pair for $15 or two pairs for $20. And I would get all my friends and their girlfriends to sit on random corners. We’d rent the corner for 100 bucks, like at a gas station. We set up the sunglass stands, my job was to buy the sunglasses, set them all up, get all the beat like I ran the whole operation. My uncle had the idea and he paid for everything up front and I was kind of like the implementer.
I made probably that one summer made probably $25,000 In three months. And this was when I was 15. My friend’s parents were like you made what? I’m like, Well, yeah, and I’m like, what do you do? And I was like, just sunglass sales like sold sunglasses. So I have a lot of entrepreneurial experiences similar to that since he was five.
That’s so great.
My favorite was the Xbox story when I was in college. And guys, I don’t come from money. My dad was the one that worked and my mom was a stay at home mom most of my life. She got her real estate licence. When I started first grade, she worked for my uncle as an assistant but had her licence. And they had one car until maybe I started third or fourth grade. They’d share a car and my mom would drive him to work, drop him off, come home, he’d take the bus home. But I would say middle class, lower middle class, I think combined, they’d probably make in today’s money, maybe 60 grand a year.
So growing up, I had to generate the revenue for myself to have things which is fine. I’m not complaining about that helped me be the person I am. But I wasn’t the kid that like saw cool shoes and then asked Mom and Dad for I saw cool shoes. And then figured out a way to generate enough income to be able to have the shoes. And that’s why I said earlier was all about the freedom. I never expected someone else to give it to me. Never expected somebody else to solve the problem. I was good working my ass off, I was good looking for the way to solve the problem. Was good finding the things I wanted to spend my money on and I actually enjoyed it.
It was a process that I enjoyed and it helped me gain a lot of confidence at a young age. One of my favourites was college, I was probably 30,000 in debt. Was married very young, I got married when I was 22. So I think I was a sophomore in college. Spent two years actually in Brazil, as a missionary. I speak fluent Portuguese and pretty good Spanish. And so I come back and everybody’s talking about this new video game system. So here we go. Here’s a parallel from when I’m six. It’s the new Xbox, I think it was called the core version. I can’t remember which one of those better ones was $499. One was like $399.
Well to get when you had to wait in line at Walmart for like 12 hours. I lived in an apartment complex, was in a one-bedroom apartment. It was $425 a month in this apartment complex. There were a lot of people that were there from Tajikistan on work visas. So I became really good friends with the TGT people. And I asked them if they’d be interested standing in line with me at Walmart, it takes 12 hours. I’d give them each $50 to spend 12 hours just hanging out at Walmart all day. Because they limited you to 1x box per person. So I came with like 10,000 Cash, I was ready to buy like 30 or 40 boxes, however many I could. And I paid everybody, we ended up getting like 20 boxes, X boxes, and I got receipts for each of them.
So worst case scenario, I could return them all if I couldn’t go resell them right away, which was my intent. And I would have been out the money I paid all these guys to stand in line. I drove directly over to a different electronic store where people were camping out overnight. Instead of starting the process at noon, they started at midnight. And they were going to camp overnight in the winter in Omaha, Nebraska, which is like five degrees outside. So I drove up in a truck with 20 brand new X boxes that these people are waiting in line for all night sleeping.
Not even sure they’re gonna get one and sold them all for $1,000 next box. Well, a lot of people have stories like this. The one that makes this one unique in my mind was I had an insurance policy that if I failed. I could have just gone back to Walmart return them and at that time they’d let you. Don’t know if you could still play that game today. But that was something I did in college because all I wanted was an Xbox for free. I didn’t do that to make profit, I wanted an X-Box, I didn’t have any money. So I was like alright, I’ll figure out how to buy a bunch X boxes and Salomon maybe I’ll get mine free. So I ended up getting 2x boxes for free. Then a couple 1000 of extra money. It was pretty cool.
That’s how he became a millionaire. And that’s how you make a million dollars a year.
Oh my goodness. I love it. I just want everyone to know listening. Jeff is not a drug dealer there was nothing no illegal
Acts on your lease land. It’s leasing the gas station like they charge you are smart on the gas station part. Because like a lot of people we’ll go set up by antiques or pottery, paintings, kites, whatever. People just rent the corner of these gas stations to patrol entrepreneurs. And so the reason I brought it up is I had to deal with the business owner. I was like, I would have assumed my uncle would align that all up.
He’s like, nope, go figure out the spots, figure out how much it’s gonna cost figure out.
He had insurance like it was a legitimate legal business. I did all of it. And he kind of had an idea. It was like here, as far as payment was concerned, he and I kind of split everything. So he made a lot of money. He took the risk initially, and then I kind of ran with it. It was just, it was a win-win.
That’s amazing. Oh, my goodness. I love your stories, though. Because like, you know, like you were a natural-born entrepreneur, period. Like, that’s just what it came down to. And what I love is, you’ve got those cheerleaders in your life that pushed you each and every single part of the process, which is freaking amazing. And I love that.
Yeah, that person’s important. Everybody wants a cheerleader. I think sometimes people look for their cheerleaders in the wrong places. Most of the time, you’re not going to have a true cheerleader on social. People are looking for validation when they go post something on social and they want everybody to say, Oh, good job, or Oh, look at so pretty your thumbs up. Those probably aren’t the people that you really need validation from, even though you think that’s fake validation. Usually, the people that really matter, or you could probably count on one hand. And I don’t know that you should strive for their validation.
But everybody naturally, I think even subconsciously humanitarian is going to want validation from their closest friends and family. And if you’re a person that doesn’t know how to give validation, I know I probably struggle with that a little bit, maybe a little borderline narcissistic. It’s important to be aware that you’re giving validation to not just going in receiving it, but validating other people’s successes.
I absolutely love that. Jeff, I love that. And I mean, throughout your trajectory in growing up, what was your career path. Like, you know, like going from high school to college, and so on and so forth?
Sure, yeah, I just got an undergrad and in business from the University of Nebraska, Omaha emphasis and management. And so in 2006, I graduated fall of 2006. I got my real estate license. I recognized early on the entrepreneurial spirit I had. I was going to not probably do a very good job at taking orders or being limited. With a 3% pay increase every year, I needed to be in a commission environment. Needed to be in an environment where I could go a million miles an hour and nothing could hold me that. So in 2007, was my first year selling residential real estate. My goal was to make $100,000 net and I netted 96,000, I was off by one sale. And I took a third of that and hired an admin.
And I started finding that if I could replace myself and hire somebody and pay them to do something I could. Then make more money doing higher income-producing activities. So I hired an admin for $15 an hour to do work I had previously been doing. So I could spend more time on higher income-producing activities. Which in residential real estate would be like prospecting for leads and going on appointments. And so I just kind of followed that pattern until 2011. I was making around 350,000, a year net, selling about 70 homes. But I had increased my average sales price from probably 116,000 to 350,000. And I was focusing on listings, rather than working with buyers. Because listings took half as much time and then 11.
We launched a real estate team. And my goal for the team was that it within 20 years of launching when I was in my 50s or 60s. It would allow me an exit strategy from selling real estate. And I was able to exit in three years. So in 2014, I stopped selling and I just focused on the real estate team. As well as some other business ventures that I’ve launched. Our real estate team was the fastest-growing real estate team in history. Anyone that can tell me that we weren’t with actual facts. I’ll buy you $100 gift card to the restaurant of your choice. But we went from 70 to over 700 real estate sales a year in six years.
So in 2018, we were at Berkshire Hathaway services. We were the number one team in the world doing over 700 sides. We made $3.2 million in gross commission income, we did about $130 million in sales volume. And in 2019, we decided to leave Berkshire and launch a Keller Williams franchise in Nebraska. So we own the Nebraska kW elite franchise. We went from 30 agents to 150 agents in 18 months. With 500% growth during COVID. And of course, the political insanity that happened during that time. We’ve expanded into the nine offices across Nebraska.
We’ve recently launched an expansion business called e seven. Which partners with existing real estate brokerages to help them launch their own mortgage title insurance and investment businesses. And provides them with the support of marketing and lead generation. So that’s been my latest venture. Then along the way, we started an investment company back in 2015. A title company that services all of our offices here, the mortgage arm and insurance company that services all of our businesses here. And there’s a bunch of other little side ventures as well, but my title now I have no active role.
All of my income is passive. My only active role I would say would be growth. I say I’m the director of growth. I don’t have any business cards or email signatures that say that. Because I have direct implementers and all roles across all businesses. And so I get to spend my time doing all the things that I love. Like being on a podcast and hanging out with you going to Scottsdale and going golfing and traveling all over the country. Learning how to sail by taking my on 1103 and 104 classes. So I can charter 50-foot catamarans in the Virgin Islands. I’ll be doing a 10-day trip to the Virgin Islands.
Speaking of Boomtown unite in April in Charleston, which is a big real estate event. Going to Alaska fishing in June for a week, the list goes on and on. We just got back from a nine-day road trip. 3600 miles to the southwest, we went to the Grand Canyon. And spent some time in New Mexico at White Sands National Park and Carlsbad Caverns. So like I said before, it’s not about the money for me. It’s about becoming the best version of myself and then creating freedom in my life. So I can do whatever I want to do whenever I want to do it.
That is amazing. Jeff, you’re a total badass, and I just sit here and I’m like, he is just like, boom, like rocket fuel. Amazing. And I love your story and how you empower others as well. Because you did not get here just like that. It took a lot of heart, a lot of souls a lot of courage, a lot of challenges a lot. Everything.
My grandpa didn’t die and left me $100 million. And that’s nothing to take away from someone that does have that happen. I wish that happened to me. But I probably wouldn’t be the person I am today if it had.
Absolutely. And I mean, what I love about your journey is how you’ve been able to skyrocket and that you’ve been empowering so many people throughout your journey. But walk me through the beginning phases of your business. Basically like starting your first team and like some of the hardships you had with that and challenges. And kind of like how you navigated past that point because most people will listen to your story. Now they’re like, have a hell-like It’s like mind blown.
Yeah, and I flex a little on the podcast, and I go pretty fast. So when people are overwhelmed, please know that this happened over 15 years. Which for anybody that has perspective on how much it takes to build any business. 15 years is really fast for one successful entity, let alone 15 successful entities, but I could never have done it. And I not have the cheerleaders had I not had banks backing me. Had I not had family and friends out of that not at an amazing, significant other that allowed me to go do all these things while she took care and raised the family. So I didn’t do it alone.
But it was my vision my desire, my passion, my tact, my intelligence, genius, whatever you want to call it. That was able to make all of this come to realization of reality. But I take you back to college and my senior year of college I got really big and you’re listening to podcasts and reading books. There’s a really great quote, I don’t know where it came from. So if anybody knows it, let me know. But it says the difference between you and me are the books that you read, the podcasts you listen to, you, and the people you spend time with. And that’s very true. No matter who’s listening to this today. The only difference between you and I are the people you’ve spent your time with the books that you read in the podcasts you’ve listened to.
So that told me that I needed to start reading books and listening to podcasts and surrounding myself with people that I want to be like when I grow up. Because I’m not going to become something that I don’t know how to become. The only way you can have a path from A to B is to know how to get to be like you have thought of a GPS system. If I knew I wanted to go to the Grand Canyon from Omaha, Nebraska, I can’t just guess and just start driving aimlessly until I come across a huge crevasse. It’s 280 miles long. I need to know the exact route to get there. If I want to get there in the next day and a half. It’s like 26-hour drive.
And so you have to know where you are and be self-aware enough to be realistic about where are you where do you want to go? If you can know where you are and where you want to go. You’ve gotten almost to the end see is how do I get there? That’s the question you just asked. So in my senior year of college, I read a book it was the Top Five Regrets of the Dying. In this book, a hospice nurse helps around 100 Plus patients leave this earth or pass away. And in that process, she started to recognize that they would share everything with her knowing they’re about to leave this earth. They would start sharing with her their regrets.
I wish I had done this, I wish I had done that. I shouldn’t have done this, I shouldn’t have done that. And she was able to narrow it down to five main regrets that people had. So as a college kid, you know, recently married had a brand new baby girl Jocelyn. At the time that was six months old, I’m getting ready to graduate college in 2006, not knowing what I want to be when I grow up. It was an interesting perspective to get to learn from all of these people who had lived their entire lives. It shaped the decision I made out of college of what industry I wanted to get into. What industry was going to give me the freedom so I didn’t have regrets. What job was going to give me freedom?
So I didn’t have regrets, what kind of relationship that I want to be in what kind of a city I want to live in, etc, etc, etc. And so I started doing what’s called informational interviews. Anyone listening, this is free. This is simple. You have to get out of your comfort zone a little bit. But what I did was before leaving college and choosing my occupational path. I decided to interview 10 people that I respected. People that I knew had lived a good enough amount of time that they could give me advice based on the human that I was. I think ideally you meet with people that know you or know your family. So they have a little bit more perspective of what they think your abilities are.
But I’d sit down with someone like you Pamela and I just say Pamela, I have a lot of respect for you. You’ve known my family for 15 years, I know you’ve done a good job in your accounting business, or whatever the case might be. Would it be okay? If we went and got coffee or had lunch, I’d buy it for you for $10 or whatever, I had no money. And I just want to pick your brain. I want to I’m not sure what occupation I want to go into. And I just want to ask you some questions. Then that hour-long would be like a pocket like this podcast. I’d just be like, Hey, I have no real this is super informal. But I’m thinking about getting my real estate license. I’m not sure yet.
As you know, I’m married. I have a six-month-old little girl and we live in Omaha. Do you think if you did things again, how would you have done them differently? What were your biggest regrets? What would you if you today, you were me back 20 years ago, what would have done? I actually did these about 25 times over the course of about three months. And it helped shape my decision to live in Omaha, Nebraska, which is where I was raised. And also become a residential agent, which I started in 2007. So the day I started in real estate in November of 2006, I did the exact same thing with the top 25 agents in Omaha. So I did informational interviews.
Hey, if you’d been a real tour in 2006, and you are 25 years old. With spit and vinegar ready to take over the world, what would you do? How would you spend your time? What kind of database would you use? What would your team love? And then in 2011, when we launched, our real estate team, did it again. I went to 50 brick-and-mortar locations across the country, visited all the top agents. And did the exact same thing. If you were gonna launch team again, how would you do it? What your team look like? What your biggest regret? Your biggest failure? What’s the biggest takeaway that you’ve had so far, building your business. And so this is a pattern.
And I started to recognize that you don’t have to fail in everything because other people have failed before you. You have to choose to be self-aware enough to be able to go to those other people. And ask them to share with you their failures and their successes. So you can learn from their failures, and you can win faster, and the person that fails the most wins the most. But people are so stinking scared these days to fail, because they look stupid. Or because they will feel bad about themselves, or it’s embarrassing, or whatever the case might be. But the truth is the people that succeed the very highest level, have failed more than everybody else. They’re the most successful because they’re the biggest loser.
Oh, my goodness, Jeff, I love that you did that. Because it’s something that’s out of the box that you went out and interviewed these people. It also shaped your decisions, which I really find beautiful. I love it. You take this like research approach, which most people don’t do most people like waste their time going through this and this and this and this. And don’t take the time to say whoa, like you said, let me take a second. And let me ask the people who definitely have been there because obviously, they’re successful. So what did they do differently that made them who they are in their business and whatnot, which I freaking love. That’s like free education, which brilliant.
Yeah, I agree. And people love talking. I mean, I’ve never turned somebody down. We now have a coaching company called elite real estate systems. We have the podcast, we host events. In Omaha, we just got off of an event last few days with 30 people that came from all over the country. Some people from even outside of the United States. So you know, it’s important to have a platform to pay it forward. And I think that’s what it does for you and I pay money to have this podcast. Our podcasts are intended to help give to other people, it’s not about us. We don’t make a lot of money off of a podcast. The idea is to help other people to help change the world.
And you truly can, if you’re willing to open up your mouth and talk and not be scared of looking stupid. That’s why it’s so important to be I think, authentic and real. Pamela has seen me and some pretty vulnerable situations. Even just last couple of weeks, at certain events that we’ve attended, and things that I’ve chosen to share. I’ve never regretted being authentic. Anytime you do, then you regret who you are. Because authenticity is just truthfulness. So if somebody sees me in my authentic state, and they don’t like what they see, then they just simply don’t like me. And I want to better understand why they might not like how I come off in my authentic state.
But I have to be true to who I am. And it’s okay if everyone doesn’t like you. That’s okay. Be who you are. Live your life as a true person. This is actually one of the top five regrets. One of the top five regrets is living a life someone else wanted you to live and not the life you wanted to live. Living the life your son wanted you to have or your significant other or your mom or dad or grandpa, you know, everyone has this pressure to be something. Be what you want to be that pressure is bullshit.
Be your best version and be who you want to be when you grow up. Don’t worry about what anybody else does, and quit comparing yourself to everybody else. Nothing matters except to you. You don’t have to compare yourself to your brother or to Tesla or anyone else and anything else. It’s just all that matters in my opinion is every single day you improve as a human to help your life and in so doing it helps the lives of other people.
Hey, man, Jeff, well, I just love your energy and just how down-to-earth you are like who you are here on this podcast today. Like this is who you are off the record. Like it’s exactly who you are. And I love that it’s so beautiful because it’s so raw and authentic. And it’s like you share those stories with you the work that you’ve done really impacts you at a higher level.
Like you’re thinking about legacy. You’re thinking about your people, everybody that you empowered. Because that you could legitimately stop today and be totally fine for the rest of your life. But you continue and you grind and you keep going and you keep doing that and that’s what I think is still respectable and amazing. Because If you have the money, some people would think, Oh, Jeff doesn’t need to do any of this like he can just, yeah, certainly again.
There’s active income and passive and active income is the income you get from the work you do. Passive income is the income you get from the businesses or investments that you own. And I learned about back in 2016, when I was part of go abundance. They talked about being 100, percenter, and 100, percenter was someone who was able to live 100% of their overhead expenses was covered by their passive income. So you could even be a 200 percenter, where if your passive income. Also, you needed 100,000 a year to live your life, all your expenses, etc. And you were making $100,000 a year in passive than you are 100%. Or if you were making 200,000 a year in passive then you’d get 200 percenter.
It’s interesting, because life, you think, oh, I need 100,000 to live off of or 300 or whatever the number is, it’s arbitrary. Because you don’t know because you haven’t experienced it yet. But once somebody gets to a point where they’re making more money than they actually need to live off of. It forces you to ask a lot of questions like, do I need to keep making more money? Do I need to keep rising in the business that I’m in? What’s the point of even going to work once you’ve made the money? Or don’t need to work any longer what’s the point and Gary Keller spells this out? He’s a billionaire. He owns Keller Williams is the largest real estate company in North America 180,000 agents.
And on the top of his book, Millionaire Real Estate agent says it’s not about the money. It’s about being the best that you can be. And I’ve corrected Gary, I don’t think the word should be being I think it should be becoming. It’s not about the money. It’s about becoming the best version of yourself. Work your job, what do you do for a living should not be for money. What you do should be to become a better version of yourself. You should be able to do that in your personal life. Your physical well life, your mental life, your travel life, your leisure life, your fun life. Like anything you’re doing independent of work or not work for money or not for money. It should always be about becoming a better version of yourself.
And in so doing you bless the lives of the people that are around you in all of those different spaces. So yes, I’m going to still be here, because if I were to say, I’m deuces, I’m just gonna go hang out at home and play Nintendo. We actually have an X Xbox, I don’t think that I’d become the best version of myself. I’d get really good at fortnight maybe be able to beat my 12 year old son. But I don’t know that it makes me the best and all the other areas. So I really want to live well-rounded. And I find the people that are the happiest are not the happiest. Because they’ve got money or because they drive a Range Rover.
The people that are the happiest are the people that are always working to have more. But are always grateful for what they’ve accomplished. And you can’t be grateful for where you are until you recognize that where you are is unique. Or where you are special, you have to have gratitude for it. And the dysfunction in the society we live in is social media has been built. To make people feel bad about where they are because they sell products. So if they make you feel ugly, and there’s a little product you could buy that makes you feel prettier. Because it tells you it will, then you’ll buy the product.
Everybody should feel beautiful how they are everybody should be grateful for the place they get to go sleep in at night where they feel safe. Everybody should be grateful for the skin colour that they have for the religion that they grew up in. Even if they don’t believe in it any longer. Look for the reasons to be grateful for the situations you’ve been in, and then always strive to become better.
I love that. Jeff, thank you so much for sharing that. And I just love it. You’re said becoming the best version of yourself.
100%. I’ve got three kids, my daughter Drosten, 16, Bella 14, bailey. And Levi’s 12. They’ve always talked about their grades. I’ve never worried about them getting ones, twos, threes, or ABCs. For me, it’s always been are you doing better every day. If you are always a B student, and you’re striving and striving, and you’re still a B student, you’ve been a success in my book. My kids know that. That’s my sentiment when my son goes to his football game. And he’s super upset because the team lost. I always get up in his face in a nice way and say. It’s not about your team winning or losing. Did you do your very best and contribute to the team? Did you check in on the players that weren’t playing well, to make sure that they were feeling good?
And that you can affect everyone you touch in this world. Everyone that listens to your voice, everyone that sees you, everyone that watches your facial expression. You can control a lot more than you know you can control. So I’m teaching him these things now and my daughter’s that right now. They it’s all about their mindset, all they need to do is get a little bit better. Because if you do that every day consistently over long periods of time. You will change the world by changing who you are.
Hey, man, Jeff, I absolutely love that. Oh, my goodness, I could talk to you all day honestly. Like seriously, but in your businesses. So there’s, I know, there’s entrepreneurs listening because there’s a lot of millennial entrepreneurs that listen to this podcast. And I know they’re gonna have this question of like. What were some strategies that Jeff used for success in building what he built out?
So it’s interesting, I was interviewed on a lot of podcasts early on in my real estate career because our real estate team went from like 2011 to 2014. We went from 70 deals to 425. And for under 25 Real Estate Sales is unique. There’s not a lot of teams in America that sell over 400 deals a year. It generates a lot of revenue. Without me even having to sell I was making over half a million and then I made it by first million net. Which book gets you to seventh level, which teaches you how to make a million dollars a year. In your real estate business working less than five hours a week. The number one word I’ll use to share with the listeners that are entrepreneurs.
How you do that is leverage. If you don’t have leverage, you’ll never perform at the highest level. Because leverage allows you to make money in a passive role versus an active role. We talked earlier about becoming 100%. Or you can’t be 100 percenter if you have to be in an active role. If you are the CEO of your company, you’re in an active role, and if you’re doing sales, you’re in an active role. You run the marketing department, you’re in an active role and if you’re the CPA for your company, you’re in an active role.
What I’ve learned is over time, your goal should always be to be the best you can be in your active role. With the intent to one day, pass that torch over to the next person, that’s going to be better for the role than what you were. So that you can move on to the next important role that’s higher income-producing. And so everybody that ever comes into our world, I always share with them that in our world. Our intent is to help them make more money in less time with less energy. So that they can live and lead the life of their dreams. And if our organization or organizations are not the solutions to allow them to make more money in less time with less energy. We invite them to leave and go find an organization that can.
Because we want everyone to end up living and leading the life of their dreams. If we’re not helping them to do that, we don’t want them in our world. We want them in our world because they’re able to accomplish their dreams and our world. So we had to create a really big world because some people have really big dreams. And that’s okay. So the first thing is creating leverage, and then it’s recognizing why you’re choosing to work and the active role you’re in. I think a lot of people get complacent. I know a lot of people are entitled. And I feel like a lot of people choose to stay in roles because it validates their identity.
So it starts to get pretty deep psychologically. But when people sell a house, and they make $17,000, there’s an endorphin response. It’s exciting. Oh, I got another sale. Or when I was sold candy bars at six years old, I sold another candy bar. And you start to become addicted to that. But not only that, you start to be addicted to the success you receive. Because in our industry in a lot of industries, they put you on a pedestal, they give you a trophy. They give you all the accolades you become the guy or the gal that everybody aspires to be like when they grow up. When I think about what I wanted to be when I grew up. And when I read all these books and listen all these podcasts and mastermind with all these people.
People always use the phrase Rockstar, she’s a frickin Rockstar man crushing it. No offense, I hate that term. No, no, I’m just saying I know I play music, but like it’s so watered down. He’s said to talk I love my boss told me to talk. I’m not your boss. you’re self-employed. Jeff helped me with that. All right, so rock stars play until they die. They’re on stages playing and playing and playing. And they’re always in this active role. Doctors, Dentists, attorneys, CPAs, all these different roles that our society is taught to respect. They’re all inactive roles. Who wins, keeping those people in active roles?
Professional athletes, they’re in an active role. You can think you’re a professional athlete that you guys love is so amazing. But they have to go play every day. I don’t who’s more amazing person that has to go to work or the person that wouldn’t have to go. If they don’t want to show me a quarterback that plays in the NFL. They can go me I’m not gonna play Sunday. That’s not gonna go over very well. I don’t have to go to work today. In fact, I don’t want to be here right now. I’m going Jayco.
So yeah, exactly. I don’t even know where I left off. But I think creating that leverage and then being very cognizant of the active versus the passive. And always choosing to work in such a role where you know, you’re making more money, less time, less energy. But then the people that are working in your world, always focusing on that as well for them. So I like to talk about sheep. My kids get sick of me talking about this. We were just on this road trip and I kept bringing it up.
In our lives, we will always be sheep, a shepherd, and a wolf. Most people are sheep. 98% 1% are wolves and 1% are shepherds. Shepherds are in a position to protect the sheep, they feed the sheep. They help the sheep have new sheep babies. They protect the sheep from the wolves. And they help the sheep become better the best versions of themselves. Wolves want to destroy wolves’ goals are to take as much as they can from the sheep to eat the sheep. They live off of the sheep, and they hate the shepherd. Most of the time. The wolves can’t beat the shepherd, the shepherd is too smart for them.
And so in my life, I’ve always asked myself today, am I showing up as a sheep? Am I showing up as a shepherd? Or am I showing up as a wolf? And then when I watch others around me, I asked myself, are they a sheep? Are they a shepherd or are they a wolf? Well, if I can recognize that they’re a wolf, I want to kill them. If I recognize that they are sheep, my intent is to help them one day become a shepherd.
And it’s interesting because there’s Gary talks about your Keller talks about the domino effect in the one thing. The book The one thing, if my goal is to help my child graduate from Harvard when they’re six years old. I’m not talking about Harvard with them when they’re six, I’m going to talk about reading the next six-year-old book. I’m gonna talk about going to the museum, I’m going to read. You know, read to them, I’m going to do these small little tasks. So true leaders can see that they can recognize who someone is. Then see what that person’s potential is. And then help provide them with a path to reach their full potential. Recognizing that not all people are created equal, not everyone has the same potential.
And that’s completely okay. We talked about the NFL earlier, some people aren’t meant to be NFL football players. Other people have the genetics to be NFL football players, and that’s fine. So true leaders should give the people in their world the ability to become their best selves provide them with that roadmap to be their best selves. And hold them accountable along the way. So long answer to your very short question earlier, which was, you know, similar to some of the strategies that we’ve come to learn. To help us to grow and scale.
So our group team grew super fast. And all these people would ask me to come on their podcast. We talk and people would come on to Omaha, Nebraska, and visit. And I wanted to really break it down to like a one-hour presentation that I could talk about that really defined why we were successful. So I’m going to share it with you right now. The acronym is class, like stay classy, San Diego, de la SS culture, leads, accountability systems strategies. Every business has to have a strong culture, every business has to have lead generation, and every business has to have accountability. Every business has to have a system, every business has to have strategies for growth.
And if you can get all five, and you can get them all firing together, nobody can stop you. I don’t care what industry you’re in. But we can have a conversation on each of those topics. So that’s what our workshop focuses on. Yesterday, we spent eight hours on that elite real estate systems coaching for residential agents and brokers. That’s all we talk about. Every week we spend, there’s eight hours of classes that we provide. And we help people redefine their culture become what they want to become when they grow up. We’re always looking at better ways for us to improve inside of our world. It’s been really unique because we’re one of the only coaching companies that actually run the business that it coaches other people to run.
So you guys will find in time coaches, a lot of times don’t play like your NFL coach doesn’t play right now. They’re just they’re coaching a team and they haven’t played maybe ever or they haven’t played in a long time. We thought it would make us unique to have a coaching company that ran parallel to an already existing real estate business. That was the number one business in the world, we thought maybe some people would think that was something somewhat advantageous. So like, what I like to tease about is if you want to become an apple, you have to start as an apple seed.
So a little bit of apple seed needs to be like, Okay, what do I want to be when I grow up? I want to be an apple tree. Okay, I need to be an apple seed than to be an apple tree. So if you want to become like something, make sure you’re learning the right things to become like the thing you’re wanting to become. Sometimes people want to be certain about ABC, but then they’re going to XYZ to get their answers.
What Would Jeff Older Self Tell His Younger Self
Absolutely. Jeff, I love that. And I know you’ve dropped so many nuggets and gems. Then I want to ask you this last question, which I love, love, love, love, love. What would your older self tell your younger self based on what you know now business person?
I got it. Slow down, enjoy the ride, there’s no end. There’s no finish line. You’re never done. The journey. Quit feeling like you gotta get that last text. You gotta get the last email, then you gotta go to the next appointment. You don’t have time for anybody. My number one goal is if you call me this afternoon, Pamela. I answered my phone. And I say, hey, Pamela. And you said, Jeff, I know you’re so busy because you have a million things. But hey, Pamela, I’m in my hot tub just got done getting sushi. Hanging out. I’m doing a little bit of Zen moment doing some meditation. That’s why you use you and I just wanted to say hey to one of my friends and have a conversation.
How are you? How are things in your life, if you don’t have space to be present, you’ll never accomplish anything, especially the most important thing. Back to the society, we’re in. It’s there to get a super conspiracy theory. But it’s 100% Sure, and everyone’s gonna go, Oh my gosh, I didn’t know this was happening. Noise happening all the time. The intent of the noise is to get us to buy products. It’s to get us to feel a certain way so that we’ll spend money. So the best thing you can do every day is spent 30 to 60 minutes shutting all the noise off. Shutting the TV off, shut the music off, shutting the car radio off, tuning everything out. And give yourself time to reset give your brain time and your own thoughts.
It’s really interesting because every time I fly every time I go on a long road trip I like really enjoyed my brain. I’ve like really started loving myself more. I’m not in like unhealthy narcissistic way but like it’s just fun to process things. Like I’ll go hours just kind of thinking and like zoning out. I’ve had in my wife a couple times we’ll go over like hey, are you good? Like you glitching I’m like, Oh my gosh, I’m having so much fun. You just interrupted my thoughts. And I’m not like this my personality is like super alpha. So like I’m not usually so like, I don’t know, high on the disk. So I usually am more practical. I don’t usually have like that you know, head in the cloud type of mentality, but you can do a lot with your mind.
And everything starts there, how you think how you show up in your mind the lens, you look at the world, and we’ll define how you feel. Then how you feel will define the work you choose to do. And then the work you choose to do will get you the results that hopefully you’re looking for. So if you want to change everything, change the way you think. Then you can do anything you want.
I love that, Jeff, thank you so, so much for that amazing insight and a Reminder for me to be present. Because sometimes, as you said, when you’re an entrepreneur, you’re gogogo when you’re all the time you’re like. What’s the next thing you know what I mean, even you like, for me, it’s like this constant restlessness of like things going on. Like I have passive income that comes in and all that kind of stuff. But it’s like, my mind is always in the next place. And then sometimes it’s a great reminder to just be
Yeah, and you can plan I mean, this sounds crazy, you can plan space to be not present. So you should plan it. Don’t think you’re just gonna have an extra hour in your day to not think or an extra hour in your day to get your workout in. It has to be on the calendar. So I’m pretty huge on respecting my time box. I time block everything, whatever my one thing is, I have it done before noon, every day. I learned that from my good friend, John Major win by noon.
Whatever is your one thing that you want to have accomplished this year in your life or this week in your life. Put it on your calendar, make sure you’ve done it before noon. Everything else comes after your one thing happens first, you don’t do your one thing. And that could be weight loss. That could be marriage counseling that could be finishing a book doesn’t matter what it is put it on the calendar. That’s your first thing that you’re one thing has to happen before anything else can happen.
I love that, Jeff, you’re amazing. And now what’s up in your world in the next six to 12 months? And then you gotta let everyone know where to find you, my friend.
Yeah, so just go to @jeffmcohn on Instagram and grow with ers.com. If you’re in the real estate space, we give away tonnes of free stuff there. You can join the podcast, we want to check that out, growwithers.com. Yeah, so the next my next six years before my youngest graduates from high school is to spend all of my time building. And scaling a new business venture that I kind of shared earlier called V seven. So we have a belief that the residential real estate agent today that’s getting compensated off of a commission of five or 6%. A lot of people don’t understand how agents get paid. But real estate agents usually split that commission in most places 5050.
So if you’re in California, and a million-dollar house sells there’s a 5% commission attached to that. So $50,000 goes to the realtors, and they usually split it 5050. Or one we get 25 grand, the other gets 25 grand. Well, just like Blockbuster, who was sitting fat eating their Big Block of Cheese thinking nothing’s gonna change. Netflix came over and said, Hey, we’re gonna do an online video thing where you can rent your movies, and they’ll send you DVDs to your house. And then eventually it became online streaming. And blockbuster really wasn’t that concern. Well, that’s the real estate industry right now. Realtors are like, Oh, no, we’re good. We’re necessary.
People are always going to need us, we’ll always make this 5% Commission. Well, big business, big tech is sitting there going? Well, we can think we can do this a different way. But there still will be a real estate agent. Instead of keeping 5%, They’ll just get paid $100. If an Uber driver is willing to drive somebody and make whatever they make 50 bucks an hour. Let’s say, which I don’t think they make that much. But let’s say they did, there should be an Uber driver that could get their real estate license. That would drive to a house, open the door, and get paid $50 to open that door. And the rest of the work can be done online, like Legal Zoom. So what happens to the real estate industry.
The Commission goes away, but that buyer still needs mortgage, they still need title, they still need insurance. And so we’re bringing mortgage title and insurance joint ventures to existing real estate teams. And brokerages in the top 100 cities across America over the next five years. So our intent is that doing so will save the residential real estate industry. Because the agent now can get paid by the third-party ancillary business.
Instead of getting paid off of the real estate commission by assisting the client through the real estate process. And of course, there’s all sorts of legalities around this. We’re still working on some pieces to that. But in a nutshell, the intent was save the real estate industry create the ancillary partner with existing real estate businesses. And that’s what we’ve been working on for two years.
You are a badass. Thank you so much. And I just adored having you here today. Thank you so much for dropping your gems, your knowledge, your everything. I’m so inspired by you. And I’m sure that everyone listening to this like, he’s the man, which I like to sleep. So thank you so much for being here.
Appreciate you and appreciate all you guys listening.
So that’s it for today’s episode of underdogs. Catch us next week, always dropping on Thursdays. And remember, if you’re interested in real estate, or want to learn how to create more money and magic in your life, checkoutmeet withpamela.com and let’s chat. Sending you so so much love.
Tune in to the episode to hear the rest of my incredible interview with the amazing Jeff Cohn.
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The Underdog Podcast host is none other than Pamela Bardhi. She’s rocking the Real Estate Realm and has dedicated her life as a Life Coach. She is also Forbes Real Estate Council. To know more about Pam, check out the following:
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