BIO: Shane Torres is the CEO & Founder of Road to $20 Million. He is committed to helping people achieve real estate business success with life balance through valuable resources, business planning, and consulting for both entrepreneurs and real estate professionals.
STORY: Shane started a home building company and roped in his wife as the designer and his friend as the project manager. He got overzealous with the business, took on more projects than the team could handle. This led to penalties from the US EPA and the ultimate closure of the business.
LEARNING: Do not force your employees to be like you, or have your personality. Great people still need coordination and leadership. Have a realistic perspective when exploring new business ideas.
“Be upfront about expectations and processes. Also, ensure everybody understands what’s expected of each other.”
Shane is committed to helping people achieve real estate business success with life balance through valuable resources, business planning, and consulting for both entrepreneurs and real estate professionals. Regardless of industry or whether you hope to accomplish $1 or $100 million in production–Shane can help.
Shane knows first-hand that success does not come easy. He faced countless personal and professional roadblocks, but he went from bankrupt, broken, and facing foreclosure to selling $20M in real estate in just four short years. Shane has built a highly productive team at his own company and lives a life he had only dreamed of living.
Shane’s mission now is to help others to achieve personal and professional success and a balanced quality of life.
Worst investment ever
Shane always loved building houses, so he figured it would be a good idea to start a construction business. He brought on his wife to be the designer and his friend to be the project manager.
Everything was working out well, but Shane got a little overzealous and went from doing two projects to 20 something projects, building both rehabs and new homes. For the rehabs, Shane was, at the time, using some money lending facilities that had penalties for not getting done in a specific time.
And next thing you know, Shane had six to 10 projects all come up to their maturity date at once. He was penalized a ridiculous amount of money by the EPA because the construction crew had not handled asbestos siding properly. He lost well over six figures in penalties in his first year of business.
Fortunately, Shane had built up some money reserves, so he could weather the storm and not have to close shop as he had done back in 2009.
But, tragedy kept following his business. His friend, the project manager, had some severe health issues, so Shane had to fill in for months, which he did not enjoy.
Time to let go
While holding his friend’s forte, Shane realized that he did not want to continue running this business. He talked to his wife about it, and they agreed that they would close shop once his friend got better.
Shane later spoke to his friend, and he was also in agreement that they close down the business so each could focus on their other individual ventures.
Do not force your employees to be like you
Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. Do not force your employees to be like you or have your personality. This will only blow in your face.
Be realistic when exploring new business ideas
When expanding into a different area or trying out a new business idea, often, things may seem easier than they appear. This could be quite deceiving, so always try to have a realistic perspective on things.
Great people still need coordination and leadership
One mistake most leaders make is to assume that great people know what to do and do not require guidance. But great people can do exactly what they know how to do and still go off in very different directions. So the job of a business leader is coordinating all your people’s efforts, including the great ones.
There’s a difference between having a company culture and imposing one
There’s a fine line between a company culture built around the leader and imposing the leader’s culture on employees. Understand where to draw the line.
Do a little more homework before you get started. Once you get started, be upfront about expectations and processes and make sure everybody understands each other’s expectations.
No. 1 goal for the next 12 months
Shane’s number one goal for the next 12 months is to see his commercial development projects get a little farther along.
Andrew Stotz 00:02
Hello fellow risk takers and welcome to my worst investment ever stories of loss to keep you winning in our community. We know that winning investing, you must take risks, but to win big, you've got to reduce it. And I bet you're exposed to investment risk right now. To reduce it, go to my worst investment ever.com and download the risk reduction checklist I've made specifically for you. Based on the lessons learned from all of my guests. Fellow risk takers, this is your worst podcast host Andrew Stotz, from a Stotz Academy, and I'm here with featured guests, Shane Torres. Shane, are you ready to rock?
Shane Torres 00:43
I'm definitely ready to rock.
Andrew Stotz 00:46
All right, let's go. I'm going to introduce you to the audience One moment. So Shane is the CEO and founder of rose to 20 million. He's on a mission to redefine the journey to success and make it attainable for everyone. Shane is committed to helping people achieve real estate business success with life balance, through valuable resources, business planning, and consulting. For both entrepreneurs and real estate professionals, regardless of industry, or whether you hope to accomplish $1 or $100 million in production, Shane can help. She knows firsthand that success does not come easy. You face countless personal and professional roadblocks. But he went bankrupt. He went from bankrupt, broken and facing foreclosure to selling $20 million in real estate in just four short years. Jane has built a highly productive team at his own company and lives a life he had only dreamed of living. Jane's mission now is to help others to achieve personal and professional success and a balanced quality of life. Shane, take a minute and Philly further tidbits about your life. Yeah, no,
Shane Torres 02:04
thank you. And thanks for the introduction. Yeah. So quick background about me think that what I just went through was my worst thing ever. But it was a life lesson. So I was I've always been an entrepreneur, since I was 22. built up, become a builder lost it all in 2009 financially, almost lost my house 1.5 million in debt, came out of it and got my real estate license and just kind of took off from there. I never dreamed I would be where I am now or even back where I was in 2012. So it's been pretty good. Ride so far. And you know, I'm enjoying it. So
Andrew Stotz 02:47
it's interesting, because before we turn on the microphone, you mentioned about that, you know, loss in that 2008 crash. And you said, That's not the story I want to talk about because that was kind of more of a like a lesson. And I just curious, what did you mean by that?
Shane Torres 03:02
Well, I realized when I was getting started in real estate, that I was really, prior to that an absentee father and husband, because all I cared about was work. My motto used to be without work, there's nothing else. So it kind of it really put my priorities in perspective. And it stopped being about the work and it stopped being about the money. So in a sense, I was able to, you know, refund my family refund my health, you know, I was in poor health back then. So I died, I learned a lot of, you know, my priorities.
Andrew Stotz 03:41
It's interesting, because I know when we're young, sometimes we get so obsessed with our work and all that. And sometimes even when we're old. I get obsessed with work. And I think, you know, I live with my 82 year old mother who moved here when my father passed away about five years ago. And you know, I do have very busy days, luckily, I can work out of my home office. And so I see her every day. One of the little tricks that I did is that I know, every morning, I always have a cup of coffee. So why not set that coffee time to be with mom. And so we've created a ritual, no matter how busy I am, even if I've worked for a couple of hours before, or I've gotten rushed to work right after, at about 745 we sit on our balcony here. And I brew up a cup of coffee, and I go through the brewing process of you know, pour over brewing, and then she doesn't drink a lot of coffee. But you know, just the process of that checking in with each other. It's just one little tool to kind of make sure we don't lose ourselves in our work in our business. So I appreciate you, you know, sharing about that because it makes me realize the value of reinvesting in our existing relationships.
Shane Torres 04:54
No, it's true. Yeah, it's very important.
Andrew Stotz 04:56
Yeah. All right. Well, now it's time to share Your worst investment ever and since no one ever, ever, ever, ever goes into their worst investment thinking it will be v. Tell us a bit about the circumstances leading up to it, and then tell us your story.
Shane Torres 05:12
Yeah, so circumstances leading up to it, were, you know, I started dabbling, investing a little bit, buy an empty land here there to build on, you know, I buy the land, and I get a custom house for a builder, a builder buy for me, and then I, you know, we, they build the house. Well, after a while, I started to think, you know, you know, I kind of miss building, you know, I want to do that again. And so, you know, I've got the resources, I've got the funds, I thought it'd be good business builder for a good relationship builder for my wife, and I, and I would have her, you know, do design. And then I would have a friend that I have helped me with it and kind of, you know, do the project management and stuff. And it started out pretty good. And things were going well, and I in my mind, I was going to be behind the scenes, I wasn't going to be involved in any of it. That's not what happened. Um, and then I just got a little overzealous, and I just, you know, I went from doing two projects to Next, you know, we're doing 20 some projects between rehabs and new homes, and the rehabs I was at the time, I was using some hard money lending. And, you know, I'm not sure who all is super familiar with that. But, you know, they've had penalties if you don't get done in a certain time they penalize you. And next thing, you know, I had six to 10 projects all come up to their maturity date, and I was penalized ridiculous amount of money got fined by the EPA, because of not handle construction crews, not crews not handling asbestos siding properly. And it was tough. I, you know, is well over six figures that I lost in that venture. Just in that, you know, that first year, um, because of how overzealous that I got, you know, fortunately, very fortunately, you know, I built up some reserves, so that I, you know, was able to weather the storm and not have to, you know, go out, you know, like I did in 2009. But, you know, I just got to the point, you know, there was a really, you know, I had a tragic situation, with my friend who was running it, he had, he had some serious health issues that I had to fill in for that for months, and I just, with every phone call, I hated answering the phone, I just didn't want, I didn't enjoy it, you know, I have to do what I enjoy. Or I have to enjoy what I do is stopped being about the money a long time ago for me. And so if I can't wake up and enjoy it, I just can't do it. So, you know, I told my wife, you know, once Scott got better, I realize couldn't do anything more. And she agreed she didn't want to do it anymore, either. And Scott, and I sat down, we talked through it. And it was amazing, because, you know, it was like this whole, just like relief opened up, or was off my shoulder. But then my business, his business, because he had a separate business. It all just everything else just blew up. And we just started focusing on what we enjoyed. So I'm looking, looking back in hindsight, you know, I shouldn't have done it lost a lot of money on it. I still have some parts of it. I'm digging out work from right now. So this is just noise to yours.
Andrew Stotz 08:36
And can you remember the day that you had that, you know, epiphany that this is, you know, I can't do this anymore. Maybe a conversation you had with your wife or a moment yourself that you had?
Shane Torres 08:48
Well, I had a moment with myself probably. It was probably november of 2019 my conversation with my wife that I said I couldn't do this anymore. That was the beginning of February in 2020.
Andrew Stotz 09:08
Okay, just just to recap back on to the story. I'm curious, at the beginning, when you went into this idea. What was it that you thought, you know, was such a why it was such a good idea.
Shane Torres 09:20
Um, the system was set up in such a way that you know, he's very good at what he does. You know, my wife's very good at what she does I have a bookkeeper that handles all the books. I thought that you know, I would just be behind the scenes and you know, just you know, answering questions when need be. And it was, you know, there was a potential for some good return there on investment. But it wasn't like anything that was overly crazy. So, you know, when I did it, I honestly in my mind, I thought I missed it. But I was doing it because I wanted to help my friend but also Again, I thought I thought it would make my wife and I be closer because we were going to spend more time together. That's not what happened. whatsoever. Not whatsoever, it was actually opposite effect.
Andrew Stotz 10:11
Okay, so let's, let's review what you learn from this experience, how would you How would you list that out?
Shane Torres 10:17
Well, the biggest thing is, and this is kind of what led to the detriment of it, because it probably could have worked. But what I found was when I got overzealous, so I'm, I mean, you said a minute ago, I think, before we even started, that I'm very structured, and very calendar oriented and very disciplined in my, my systems and my processes. I tried to force all that on my friend and my wife, and I tried to get them to move at my speed. And what it did is it made them both collapse underneath of it, which then is what started to cause all the projects to delay and delay and delay for a variety of reasons. And in that wasn't fair to them, I shouldn't have tried to force them to be me, or have my personality. In at the time. You know, my wife and I talked about it a lot. But you know, neither my friend nor myself would were able to say, you know what, this is too much. I can't, you know, so it just Yeah, when we finally you know, we did finally have that conversation, but it was, you know, when things started going sideways, so.
Andrew Stotz 11:33
So maybe I'll share a few things that I take away from your story. There's a few things. First thing is kind of, whenever we look at our businesses, and we look at expanding into a different area, it oftentimes is like that mirror on the car that says things may seem closer than they appear, you know, things may seem easier than they appear. And it's very dangerous. So that's why we need kind of a realist, you know, realistic perspective on things. Right. The other thing is this idea that you mentioned about, you know, I felt like I could be behind the scenes, you know, you had qualified people, people that knew exactly what they were doing. And it reminds me of a story of my own experience, where I was an analyst on a team, a research team in an investment bank. And the boss was a really nice guy. And he hired the best people, the people I was working with, were excellent. We were all really good by far, the best team of individuals that existed in the market. And yet, we never received any rankings or any major market share any major recognition. Later, I led teams of lesser, competent people to become number one. And I always look back on the net and wonder why was it was such great people. And what I realized was that great, people still need coordination. And they still need leadership. So sometimes a mistake that we can make, and say, I gotta get great people, and they know what to do. But great people can do exactly what they know what to do, and go off in very different directions. So the job of a business and a business leader is coordinating the efforts of great, or of all your people. And so it feels to me like that's part of maybe what you missed, that, you know, you really did have to coordinate this. And then that brings me down to the final one, which is there's a fine line between a company culture, let's say that built around the CEO built around the leader, most of the time, particularly in small business, and that culture may be structured, disciplined planning, there's a fine line between, you know, the importance of having that, but yet the challenge of imposing that. And, you know, how do you work with people who, let's say, are very right brained, and they're, they're not as structured as the logical left brain person, let's say? And how do you have space for both of those, but yet still developed, like a company culture? And I think that your story kind of, you know, highlights that challenge. So those are some of my takeaways from your story. I think I got a lot from it. But what would you? Yeah, that was Yeah,
Shane Torres 14:27
those are those are both very accurate. So is there
Andrew Stotz 14:29
anything you would add to that?
Shane Torres 14:33
No, I mean, you're like you're, you're 100% accurate. You know, they I, I couldn't I was very naive and thinking I was going to be just behind the scenes and, you know, trying to get them to do it. My way, not knowing their personality is not the same as mine. So no, I mean, I think you hit it pretty Elementary.
Andrew Stotz 14:53
Right. So based upon what you learn from this story, and what you continue to learn what one actually was. Do you recommend our listeners take to avoid suffering the same fate?
Shane Torres 15:05
just be more open upfront about expectations and processing processes and make sure everybody understands what's expected of each other. Just do a little more homework upfront, you know, I kind of rushed into things.
Andrew Stotz 15:22
Slow down. All right, last question. What's your number one goal for the next 12 months?
Shane Torres 15:29
Okay, so this is gonna sound funny, but my one of my, one of my big focuses is actually I got a few, but I really enjoy commercial development. So I've been putting some time and effort into that. So I've got some big projects that I'm working on. So I'd like to see my commercial development. Get a little farther along.
Andrew Stotz 15:49
All right, well, we'll check in in 12 months.
Shane Torres 15:53
Yeah. All right. It's gone. Alright, so far, so good.
Andrew Stotz 15:58
All right, listeners. There you have it another story of law to keep you winning. Remember, to reduce risk in your life. Go to my worst investment ever.com right now, to download your risk reduction checklist and see how you measure up. As we conclude, Jane, I want to thank you again for coming on the show. And on behalf of a starts Academy I hereby award you alumni status returning your worst investment ever into your best teaching moment. Do you have any parting words for the audience?
Shane Torres 16:30
No, I think we covered everything. I appreciate you having me on. It's been good.
Andrew Stotz 16:34
Yeah. great having you on. And that's a wrap on another great story to help us create, grow and most importantly, protect our well fellow risk takers. This is your worst podcast host Andrew Stotz saying. I'll see you on the upside.
Connect with Shane Torres
- How to Start Building Your Wealth Investing in the Stock Market
- My Worst Investment Ever
- 9 Valuation Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
- Transform Your Business with Dr.Deming’s 14 Points
Andrew’s online programs
- Valuation Master Class
- How to Start Building Your Wealth Investing in the Stock Market
- Finance Made Ridiculously Simple
- Become a Great Presenter and Increase Your Influence
- Transform Your Business with Dr. Deming’s 14 Points