John Trautman – Real Estate Knowledge Institute

I go through my goals constantly. I meditate on what I want to accomplish in a day and make sure I do it.

John Trautman has spent his entire adult life in real estate. Purchasing his first property at 23, he learned the process of flipping and real estate holding from the ground up. Real estate continue to be his passion while he spent eight years as an account executive and later a vice President for Washington Mutual in the mortgage division. Holding the position of President’s Council and several years of President’s Club, he learned the lending business from the mortgage office perspective and lender perspective. Throughout his life he has also been a small business owner, commercial real estate holder, property designer, and house flipper.

During the downturn, John followed the deal to Detroit, Michigan, where he invested in single family rentals and multi-family dwellings. Once his returns were realized, he moved quickly to Arizona to invest in another distressed market.

His passion for making a deal and real estate has lead him to create a hands-on real estate investment mentoring club called Real Estate Knowledge Institute.

Where did the idea for Real Estate Knowledge Institute (REKI) come from?

REKI has been forming for a long time and has been literally a long time coming. The big reason is because I was working with foreclosure groups for a while and we found that a minimum of 20-40 new people would show up per week at meetings. We decided we wanted to help erase the fear associated with foreclosures and help bring the market back in our own way.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

Well that is a hard one! I wear a lot of hats in a given day. In the morning, I am up by 5:00 am and I work until around 7:00 pm each night. In between, I am checking on properties and meeting contractors earlier in the day. Then I am in the office in different meetings, working with our sales and coaching teams, making sure we are all in alignment. Then I work with the marketing team, which usually includes discussions about message, properties, lead generation and more. Finally, I work on my own projects and then go back into the field again. It is a long day but worth it and at the end of each day I have a true sense of satisfaction because I am doing what I love, even though I have so many different roles within day.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I guess I would say that when I get ideas and in my gut I believe in them, I just implement them. I don’t let myself get into analysis by paralysis mindset. I have learned to trust my gut and I run with it.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

I think one of the most exciting things is being able to do the majority of what I need to do from literally anywhere. Technology has made that possible and I have learned that every dollar I spend on the correct technology brings me at least a 10X return.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

My OCD about things and the fact that I have really learned to trust my gut makes me more productive than I ever imagined. As we get older and more accomplished, we learn to trust ourselves more. That has certainly been the case for me.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

The worst job I have ever had wasn’t actually that bad. For me, it would have to be working in a gas station in San Diego in college. Every day I had to check the main gas tanks with a stick and baby powder. That smell drove me nuts and even today, I can’t stand the smell of them.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I would have made changes in my career quicker. When I hated a job when I was younger, I should have trusted my gut and made the change to what I do now sooner and submerged myself into what I really love. It is a huge difference!

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I go through my goals constantly. I meditate on what I want to accomplish in a day and make sure I do it. This practice has helped me become more efficient and productive without losing sight of the other things in my life.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

I meditate for focus and I empower my team to achieve. Even though they are technically employees, we are a team. Period.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Although this isn’t a failure, I would consider it one. Years ago, I opened three retail shops. I quickly realized that although I like people, retail wasn’t for me, so I sold the shops and exited that business. It just wasn’t my passion. For the people I sold them to, it was their passion and I financed them on that business because of it. In the end, it was a win/win for everyone!

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Financing in real estate. I want to start a business down the road to find, help, review, fund, and possibly manage real estate for people. What a great way to help get new businesses off the ground.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I love this question. I regularly go to the store and buy watches for my team. At Costco, they have watches for around $100 each that truly look like they are $10,000 each and they come in big cases. I use those as spiffs and/or rewards for team members on a regular basis.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

I use Redfin, LoopNet, Houzz, and Ebay. I love Redfin because it is a simple app you can use anywhere to find real estate and properties, comps, etc. LoopNet is like the commercial property version of Redfin. Houzz gives me fantastic ideas for projects and for properties; and, Ebay is the best because I can have so many items delivered where I need them for inexpensive prices. Together, they are a perfect technology suite for my business.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Do You Want Truth or Comfort About Real Estate Investing? I wrote it. It is being published now. Contact me for a copy. I also really like The Creature from Jekyll Island by G. Edward Griffin.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

Bill Gouldd. He isn’t out there anymore on the speaking circuit but when he was, he was a great one! He is a mentor of mine through his tapes and training. I would also say my father. He taught me to “do what you do and say what you mean.” I got my work ethic from my dad.


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