In this episode we got to talk to Ashley Little, the woman behind the curtain of Wholesaling Out of the Box. Ashley talks about going from getting her Masters in History to Real Estate Investing and what she does for the company now.
Shawn Bowen: What’s up guys, it’s Shawn Bowen of Full Circle investment Group and Wholesaling out of the Box.com. We’re here today with Miss Ashley Little. She's gonna speak to you a little bit about how she got into this industry, how her and I met each other, and then how she’s been a massive part of a Wholesaling out of the Box and Full Circle Investment Group.
So, Ashley, tell us a little bit about you.
Ashley Little: Hi my name is Ashley and I grew up in Hampton Roads, born and raised. And then I went to a small town in Western Virginia, not West Virginia, Western Virginia for college, went abroad and got my Master’s Degree and then came back and met Shawn via someone that I had worked with before who said that she had someone who was looking for an assistant and thought I would be a good fit and yeah, that's sort of how I met Shawn and sort of how I fell into real estate.
Shawn: Nice, so that will lead us into what got you started in this real estate, basically from where you were to where you got into it, how it got into real estate.
Ashley: It goes a little bit back. Like I said. I worked with Andrea, she’s our bookkeeper now. I worked with her at the local community college in the business office the summer before I went to college and that sort of transitioned me to working at the business office as an undergrad and working - I did two jobs. I worked in the business office of the school and as the office manager of a small restaurant.
And so she knew that I had that kind of business experience going into that, even though my degree, my undergrad degree is in history and art history and my masters in history. The question I get a lot is how does that even relate to real estate and my answer is, have you ever had to write a 75 page research paper and defend it.
My special skill is organization and I had to do that for my master’s degree on top of all the many, many other papers I wrote for undergrad. That’s sort of what I brought to the table. I had a little bit of that business experience but I really came in to help with organization and starting to get stuff in line so that we could grow the business.
I know it's kind of weird because I do have that history background, but it’s, it’s helped a lot. It helps me pick out what needs to be done and be able to prioritize that so that we can keep the business moving because there are some days where I may have a plan, that I'm gonna be working on one specific thing, but this closing is coming in and that needs to be priority number one and I have everything for that closing organized and so I can switch over pretty quickly to grab all that information, push it to the attorney or do whatever needs to be done.
Shawn: Nice. So organization taking the company from an idea and a little bit of organization to very defined organization and very well oiled machine. Very true guys, very true.
All right, tell us what your role is in wholesaling out of the box?
Ashley: My role in wholesaling out of the box is I like to say, I wear a lot of different hats. I’m sort of the man behind the curtain. It's whatever it needs to be that day.
There are some days where I need to be a cheerleader for the people that are in the group, other days where I need to be like the person behind the scenes, making sure that all of the systems work. They’re like, “Hey this button isn’t working, it’s not going to the Seller leads out”. Okay, let me go see what’s going wrong, and let’s fix that. It really does depend on that day and sometimes even that hour but, like I say, I'm the person sort of in the background making sure everything is running as smoothly as possible.
Shawn: Nice, nice. Hey guys she’s not always in the background, she’s at all the meetings, she is very, very in the foreground but yes, she does a lot in the background and makes it work.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given when I guess you could translate it into this real estate world?
Ashley: My best piece of advice is that your first try doesn’t have to be perfect. And so that’s something that we’ve been talking a lot about recently because I'm the kind of person that is like No, it is perfection, it will be done right, it’ll be done the first time and it will be done in a timely manner and that’s not always possible. Like I said earlier, there are times when I have to pull away from what I’m working on to make sure something gets closed and that means that that may not meet the deadline that I set for myself or that I set for the company and realizing that that’s okay, or maybe I have to “turn it in” in quotes because that’s not really a turn it in kind of system, but maybe I have to present what I have unfinished and say okay this is what I got done. And maybe, and crowdsource it a little bit, “What are your ideas from here?” So just reminding myself that first try it can be it, it doesn’t have to be amazing, it doesn’t have to be perfect, sometimes it’s better to just get it done and get it out there and then go back and rework it.
Shawn: awesome, so getting it done does not worry about being perfect it’s just making it happen. That’s awesome! That's a good one guys, that’s really good advice. Either get it done now or you’ll never get it done because you're too worried about being perfect. That’s a really, really good example like, just take action.
What is the best business book you’ve ever read?
Ashley: You guys haven’t heard this interview with Cam yet, we just did it too, but he said he doesn’t read as many business books that he reads a lot of mindset books and I'm kind of in the same vein, where I read probably about half and half.
So the best business book I’ve read has probably been Traction because, like I said, I’m on the back of the house so I do a lot of making sure paperwork gets signed and is put in the right file and I think Traction is really good at trying to make sure that you understand how your business works because when I first started working with Shawn he understood how his business worked but he didn’t really have defined systems in place and so that’s something that over the past couple of years we’ve really been trying to ramp up is to have those systems in place and to make sure you understand what your business is, how it works so that you can eventually give it someone else or give that position to someone else and you can start working on your business.
Shawn: That would be SOPs and delegation?
Ashley: Yes, I'm not good at delegation but I'm trying, I'm getting better.
Shawn: You’re getting better at it, I like it.
Ashley: One of the great, good mindset books that I've read is called Girl Wash Your Face.
Shawn: Ooh -
Ashley: It's basically about all these things that you tell yourself like, “I’m not good enough,” like “It has to be perfect,” things like that that I’ve already talked about and trying to teach yourself to not think like that and I know I definitely get stuck in that rabbit hole and just thinking “Okay, well, I’m not good enough to do this” or whatever the case may be so I really need to get out of that mindset and I think that book and then there’s a sequel but I don’t remember what it’s called. Those have all been really helpful.
Shawn: Good. Okay, so Girl Wash Your Face, and who was the author of that?
Ashley: Rachel Hollis
Shawn: Okay, and then Traction? Good. And do you remember who the author is?
Ashley: No, I was just looking at it though. You know Gina Whitman.
Shawn: Gino Whitman. Okay, all right awesome. Alright, so, let’s talk about what was your biggest setback since you’ve been in this world and industry? What’s been the biggest setback for you?
Ashley: I was thinking about this because I haven't done any personal investing really. So my answer, I think, is a little bit different because we've had these times where we said we were gonna close a deal and it just wasn’t closing for whatever reason and I'm losing sleep at night over that, but there was also nothing I could do in some of those instances. I don’t have the connections for dispositions or things like that like we do. That’s not part of my job in some respects, not that I'm opposed to doing things that aren’t part of my job but it's just, there wasn’t anything I could do to help.
So I think my biggest setback is weirdly enough, buying my own house. I know Shawn can say that there were probably two, maybe three months where I just, I was doing what needed to be done, but normally I'm the kind of person that’s like, ooh, but what if we do this too. There were just those months where I was so focused, my mind was so taken off with, “Okay, I have to get bank statements, I have to get pay stubs, I have to get this, this, this” to buy my own house through traditional financing, that it just sort of made my business creativity go away. And that kind of sucked, to see, especially when I got back into it after we bought the house it was fine, and then it was like, “Oh, this is what it used to be like. It hasn’t always been this awful.”
Shawn: So you would say your setback was probably just the downfall of the time not being able to commit to what you normally do creativity-wise in the business side of things, while you were personally buying your home?
Ashley: Yeah, and I think that’s gonna happen to everyone. There are always going to be personal issues that pop up and you're gonna need to take a step back. And it kind of sucks because you want to keep your business going especially because we were kind of starting to gain traction and this was all right around the time that COVID was happening so we closed and then two weeks later the country shut down which put all our real estate business, kind of at a standstill there as well. There were about six weeks that we didn’t close anything because we were waiting on judgment payoffs from the courts, from Capital One, from whoever, and because they were on skeleton crews and things we just weren’t getting them. So It was all right around that same time and, I mean, you have to forgive yourself a little bit. Like it's admirable for those people that are out there continuing to do their business, and we were fortunate enough to be able to do that, but you know, suddenly if you’re used to working - not working from home and you’re working from home, your kids are home, your parents are home, whoever is home with you it's like “Oh, my business I have to take a step back,” because it's just not gonna work right now.
Shawn: Yeah, okay, so definitely a different type of setback but very real, right, realizing that what you’re good at is not working at the moment because there’s really only so much brain space you can cram information into and then still be creative, so that’s a good one, I like that.
All right, so what was your biggest success so far since you’ve started real estate with us?
Ashley: I think some of my biggest successes have been Wholesaling Out of the Box. I came in and I started working with Shawn in January of 2018 and I think he had started WOB in November of 2017, somewhere around there and so I came in. I actually didn’t get involved with WOB until about April and that was the first time I met Shawn in person after working for him for four months. So then I started coming in and I was like, you know what this is a lot like what I just came off of with my Master’s program. I can set up courses, I can do this and that and that’s sort of what we’ve turned into and just to see where it’s so different from what Shawn was saying when they met up at Panera, you know, to discuss real estate the first couple of times to where it’s grown now. We have in-person meetings. We've got this podcast. We've got videos, and I think a lot of that has been what I've been doing in the background to allow Shawn to be able to help grow the business on the front side and so that’s been my biggest success.
Shawn: That’s awesome, it has been a really, really fast-moving, organized machine that’s been put together in the background by you and it’s been awesome. It's just, I can’t even speak to it because it’s something that it’s a vision I have had for a long time since I started the group and you’ve been able to bring it to fruition and it’s just a really cool thing.
Thank you so much for being that person and having that organization and those skill sets to be able to make that happen because it’s been awesome. All right, so what has been your favorite part of this business? There’s a lot of pieces to this business, so maybe talk to that for a second.
Ashley: Yeah, well, I actually wanted to throw this back at you a little bit. What do you think my favorite part of the business is? So I’m curious to know as to how it comes across.
Shawn: I think your favorite part is the systems and processes that have been built in the background, that you are able to make things flow and just make things work. That is because you’ve built them in this, almost to the point where you’re giving reminders every now and then. You’re like, “Oh man, I forgot we built that”, and then “Oh, we can use that”. Am I on point?
Ashley: Yeah, I really like building things and using that creativity to kind of, you know... it’s going back to my history degree which I know is weird but writing that paper from start to finish, having this idea, doing the research, implementing it and then tweaking it, and bringing it out to the world, whether the world is you and giving you another button to press in our system or putting it out for people to see on YouTube or in a podcast form, so just that building side of it is definitely my favorite part.
Shawn: Awesome, guys it’s a lot back there moving too and when she says she’s like the man behind the curtain it’s definitely like a Wizard of Oz moment because it’s a lot, there’s a lot of things back there that make us work as a company. Ashley has built a lot of things. Hopefully, anybody watching this, later on, that's interested in joining us, you’ll be able to benefit from this. It’s been quite a process of building. Definitely, something to look forward to there if you do join us.
So, what are you looking forward to with WOB in the next few months to come? What we’re trying to build, what you would like it to look like, slash what we’ve talked about. Talk to these guys and tell them what you see happening to WOB in the next few months.
Ashley: Yes, well, the podcast is definitely a big one we’ve been talking about for a little while and trying to play with Instagram a little bit more. I have a “word of the day” gift that I’ve been putting out on Facebook since October and now we’re about to expand into Instagram for that and just getting in front of more people because I think especially the last couple of months with COVID, it’s been hard to meet new people that are interested in real estate, meet new people in general, but just to meet these people because one of the best parts to is seeing people come in, get super excited about real estate and then there’s that period where it sort of sucks a little bit. You’re working a lot, you’re not seeing the payoff and then seeing your first deal close. Like that’s amazing to see people get super excited about that and sometimes I’m a little bit jaded because I also for our business and the closing coordinator - so I’m the one that has to deal with the Sellers being like “Glassware was stolen while the lockbox was on your house - $140.00” and that happened fairly recently. Sometimes I get a little bit jaded by that, because I’m kind of like, “Uh, this sucks.” But then when you’re like, okay the deal closed and people get that check and it’s like “Man, this works. This is real.” So I’m really excited to be able to keep growing the group and start seeing that in person again, start getting to see people’s excitement.
Shawn: That's infectious, it really is. All right, so, the one question I like to ask everybody is, what would you tell somebody that maybe is coming in to do the same type of position for somebody else, like coming into a company not quite organized. What is it that you could recommend to them to ask, look for, and/or be part of when they’re gonna maybe be in your capacity? What can you recommend that you would go back to the younger Ashley of a few years ago and say do this or don’t worry about that? Like what could you tell that person that’s doing right now, maybe move into that spot?
Ashley: Well I think one of the best things to say is to find the right person, I sort of fell into working with Shawn, but I think it’s been great on all sides. It’s worked out for both of us and a lot of that is because I'll come to Shawn and be like “Hey I want to do this”. He’s like, “Okay, sounds good. Come back to me when you're done”. Or “Come back to me when you're half done”, whatever the case may be. Finding the right person so you can have that creativity to do things like that, but also, back to the best advice I was ever given - just get started. I mean sometimes I look back at some of the stuff I did when I first started and I'm like, this makes no sense. Why would I have written it this way, why would I organize it this way? It’s a jumble but it’s because I didn’t know everything I know now and so I have to go back and say, “Okay, well now I have to fix it a little bit,” but that got things out of the way for me to be able to do something else and that works for them but now maybe we have to, I have to go back and fix it a little bit, but it’s fine.
Shawn: So find a person to work with that allows creativity to flow and just getting started, just get it out there, get it done, you know it’s gonna get broken, so what, go back and be ready to fix it. Those are the recommendations that you would tell somebody, right.
Shawn: Good stuff. Anything else that you want to share with the group or anybody that’s listening to this podcast. Anything specific that you - maybe we didn’t have questions for?
Ashley: I guess one of the things I’m really passionate about is, respect the backside of the house because we’ve had a couple of people we worked with semi-recently that didn’t really respect that. You know, the only reason half of this stuff, well at this point in our business, the only reason most of the stuff gets closed is because I’m, like once contracts are signed it all goes to me, and at this point, I looked up the numbers. In the two and a half years I’ve worked with you I’ve helped close/ coordinate 44 deals, so, at this point, even if you’re a big name in the business or you think you are, I've dealt with 44 closings, I have my own knowledge set. I know what’s going on. I can help. So there are always those people that are in the backside of the house that are doing that kind of thing and just make sure to, you know, respect that and to help them.
Shawn: Good stuff! Guys, this is an awesome interview with just a completely different side of the operation. For those that are listening on the podcast or those that are watching the video, this is talking to a piece of this business that is massive, right? So it’s the organization. It’s the systems and processes that stay in play. And then it’s people, Ashley is a massive piece like she said, the back of the house where people don’t sometimes respect that or don’t even think about all the moving pieces that go on in order to make this a smooth-operating machine. Every person has, we all say like everybody has their lane and try to stay in it, and don’t come over my lane because that’s what I do and it’s usually the best way it works,
So for those that are watching this and listening to this, really, when you’re bringing on somebody for your company and working with those people, let them be them. Let them grow, Let them do what you brought them up to do which is help your company.
Thank you so much Ashley for taking the time to be here and take some time away from operating the company and building the company to speak to whoever’s listen to this because it’s very, very impactful and I will always give my kudos to Ashley and say thank you so much for everything you’ve done for me, my company, the guys that work with us.
My life is made a lot easier because of everything that Ashley does and it just makes the business a lot easier.
Thank you so much for everybody that’s listening, thank you for taking the time to be here, we look forward to working with you. As always if you’re interested in checking us out, check us out over at wholesalingoutofthebox.com and reach out to us at Virginia Wholesale Real Estate on Facebook. otherwise, we’ll talk to you guys soon later.