Every flourishing community starts with a positive mindset of cooperation. That’s the motivation that fuels the movement Impact Investor Network in their real estate deals. Lisa Hylton interviews apartment investor and podcast host of Ask Me How I Know, Julie Holly, to dive deep into her multifamily home venture. She explains how she navigates through the real estate sector thanks to proper planning, partnerships, and time management. Most importantly, Julia shares how believing in her skills and embracing her innate nature to help others serve as her primary motivation to do well in her work. Thus, making her a significant player in building helpful and collaborative real estate communities.
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Building An Impact Investor Network With Julie Holly
I have on the show, Julie Holly. She helps people like you find freedom through multifamily real estate investing so that they can live the life of their dreams. She has invested in single-family homes, house-hacked before it had a name, and managed properties from 1,000 miles away and passively invested in multifamily assets. Julie has passively invested in nearly 300 doors. Her podcast called Ask Me How I Know: Multifamily Stories of Struggles to Success is designed to fuel the mind and soul through weekly interviews with industry leaders as well as mindset episodes. Julie’s experience connects well with bridging the gap of moving out of education and then moving fully into being a real estate investor. Julie, thank you for coming on the show.
Lisa, I am so honored and excited.
As my guests know, my show is broken into three parts. The first being a little bit about your background, then we’ll get into the experience of the show, and then we’ll end up with reflections and my level up questions. To kick things off, can you share with my audience where do you live?Different knocks in life can serve as a springboard to helping others. Click To Tweet
I live on the Canadian border in very far North Idaho. It’s a huge reason why I began a podcast because how do you do anything when you live in this remote location 2.5 hours away from a city? To give people context, the nearest Target is 1.5 hours away. That resonates with a lot of women because I did not grow up in this area. I’ve lived here for a few years. I was in California, outside San Francisco. Outside means very inside in Modesto, California. Anyone who knows California knows what I mean by saying that. I was in Denver, Colorado as well. Geography plays so much into the story because particularly with real estate, you see how growing up outside San Francisco and then having an influx of people, I was a very aware child. I could see what was happening with housing because I had a family involved in real estate. All of those lessons learned partially by osmosis and observing stick with me.
We’re going to get into how your journey of investing in real estate started as well. Before we get into that, can you share with our readers as well what you love to do?
For fun and recreation, I love doing anything out in the wilderness or anything outside. We do a ton of mountain biking. In the first season, our kids are crushing it. It’s a very fun stage of outdoor adventures as a family.
What was your job before moving into your current role?
I have a background as an elementary school teacher, but I also have a parallel career with real estate, which is very interesting. I didn’t know to put it like that until a few months ago. Both of those adventures began in my early twenties and probably after just a few years of teaching, I left teaching and went into residential sales. I returned to teaching but then I was investing. They’re very woven together.
When you were in teaching, what did you teach?
I taught mostly little first and second graders but also third graders. They’re so adorable. Teaching kids how to read and turning that light bulb on, knowing you’re giving them such a tremendous gift for all of their life. If that doesn’t make your day, I don’t know what does.
You have children of your own. How many children do you have?
We have two. Also, I’ve homeschooled during some of these parallel career moments. I used to remember homeschooling my son when he was in kindergarten. I have contractors going through this house. There’s a roof off and there’s a floor off. I was using that opportunity to help teach him, “Let’s look at this.” The roofer said, “Do something different because roofing is hard on your body when you get my age.”
He’s getting real-life lessons from the experts themselves. Jumping into the experience section, I wanted to start a little bit with, how did you get started investing in real estate?
As I mentioned, I come from a family that was in residential sales. The investing part began when my dad started teaching me about equity and he pushed me outside my comfort zone to get my first house. It was toilet sinking in the subfloor and needed everything new. This is in my early twenties. I tackled this and then I brought on a roommate. I had somebody else helping with the mortgage payment and everything. I’m like, “This is interesting.” There’s a very common light bulb moment for people when you do that. I’m so blessed to have a dad that pushed me and he knew. He’s like, “This is going to work out fine.” I was terrified of the mortgage payment because I was young and how am I going to do this on a teacher’s income? It worked out. Life finds a way.
From there, my husband and I had the shared heart of being able to serve others and to provide housing. I went through a difficult time in my early twenties with that same house. I almost lost it all through a divorce in all reality. What happened through that experience was it tempered my heart. It gave me an immense amount of compassion and empathy towards people that get caught in life’s struggles. I was ready to leave all this hard work and leave everything behind. Meanwhile, I tried to go find another place to live and I have a dog. You start facing these things. I have what I call a second chance life.
My awesome husband and I would lay there and we talk about like, “Wouldn’t it be great to be able to provide housing for people who were in situations like that?” Women who are escaping abusive situations. Women, families or whoever it is. If you live a long life, you’re going to go through some hard knocks that might put you in an uncomfortable position. We wanted to posture ourselves as landlords to be, “If we manage our own properties, we get to decide who our residents are.” We started doing that with the houses that we would buy. We buy a house and live in it, fix it and then we would end up being able to rent that to an appropriate resident.
That brings me nicely to one of the items that we talked about, which was your current initiative on Impact Investor Network. Can you talk a little bit about what is the Impact Investor Network?
This is my entire life going full circle. If you’re reading and you’ve maybe had a few knocks in life and everything, those knocks in life are a springboard to serving and helping others. The compassion and empathy that I have towards residents are now magnified. Impact Investing Network is bringing investors together who want to marry purpose and profits. We know that we don’t have to compromise the bottom line in order to provide a powerful opportunity for residents, communities and our world. In doing that, I noticed what happened in California and Denver along with the front range, the expansion of the real estate markets, and it’s so expensive. I’m passively invested in Huntsville, Alabama and it’s starting to happen there.
I’m thinking, what do I do? There’s a better way. Can we create a replicable blueprint? A DNA of sorts that investors could tap into and say, “These residents that are maybe part of the workforce can’t afford to be commuting from so far.” This is my genesis moment of reaching out to other investors who I had heard via my podcasts and interviews. They might have already cracked this code. From that, we decided to bring all sorts of investors together for this Impact Investing Network. We are inviting active investors. Now, it’s amazing. It’s just a magnet because we have all these active investors that are making this significant impact in communities by maybe converting motels or schools.
You’re taking blight out of a community and you’re creating an opportunity for another resident to live. We also have people that are in the affordable housing sector. We have people that are working with local nonprofits and integrating some marginalized community members into this process to raise them up. This Impact Investing Network has tentacles that are unending. It’s as far as your heart can go and the profits are still there. The idea for the active investors, let’s create a think tank so that you can come and there’s no perfect solution. There isn’t a blueprint. It’s about exchanging ideas or whatever opportunity you have in the immediate moment. If you’re working with other active investors who are doing this, the creativity and the ability to think outside the box is far.Your dollar can serve your livelihood, but it can also be used to change lives. Click To Tweet
I feel like this is limitless. The possibilities in this network are unlimited. There’s no cap. There’s no seal.
There is and the logo that we’ve been working on is people, purpose, planet, profits. Impact investing includes how are we showing care towards our world and environment. All of these things are creating an impact on lives and integrating all of those. Ultimately, the dream is to take this global. There’s no stop to it. The passive investors now have an area where they can say, “I want to invest my money. I know I need to have my money working. I want my money doing so much more than over in Wall Street.” There’s nothing wrong with Wall Street. I’m not anti-anything, but people want to be diversified with their portfolio. They want their money to be doing something philanthropic. At the same time, it’s giving them returns. It’s like, “Why can’t your dollar wear multiple hats?” Your dollar can serve you and your livelihood and your future, which is being responsible, but it can also go and change lives. It’s extraordinary.
When I listened to this project that you’re working on, what comes up for me is what I said to you in my email, which is super–attractor. In the sense that it’s the way in which the opportunities are just attracted to the pureness of the energy to do good and to continue to make a positive impact in the world.
It’s so true. The world and people are hungry for it. In the early 2000s with Enron and all the corporate scandals, that’s unfortunate. Not all corporations or companies are doing those practices. Unfortunately, some nonprofits are now caught in some compromised positions. The trust factor isn’t quite as high. This is a friendly opportunity for passive investors to be able to say, “My money is doing more than just one job.” I love money. I think you’re with me. How many jobs can I give the same dollar? To be able to drive by and say, “I know where this is. I know I could drive by it,” all the things we already love about multifamily is tangible.
Is your current focus all different types of real estate outside of just multifamily for this particular initiative?
On this initiative, my focus is still multifamily at this time. The initiative like the Impact Investing Network, the genesis of it is we want to start small and then grow it out. It is already trying to grow faster than we can keep up with. The newsletter was launched towards the end of April 2021. Here we are trying to not let it get ahead of us. We are like, “Let’s just start with multifamily investing.” We’ve done this in our own small ways. We meet with single-family housing but I haven’t done it on the large scale. Having that network coming together is great. Ultimately, it’ll expand outside of multifamily. The other people involved in the network who are already involved and engaged, they’re also doing things outside of multifamily. It’s not me personally. The active investors involved at this moment, they’re doing all sorts of things.
I think that’s one of the beautiful things about real estate. Playing in real estate at the commercial level is that as you meet other people, you can leverage some of those skillsets. Those other active investors are coming that might have knowledge and experience in multifamily. Through their journey and years of experience in real estate, they might also be bringing knowledge and experience in some other areas of real estate that enables you to leverage their experience. Investors who are interested in your Impact Investing Network are able to benefit from that because now they have the expertise that that individual is coming with.
Complementary to that point is it’s like my dad who gave me that nudge to hop into my first opportunity. If we can have a pool of active investors that are participating in a different way in impact investing, we have role models now. The ceiling is broken and we can say, “There’s that way to do it or that way.”
I want to pivot a little bit to your podcast, which is called Ask Me How I Know. Can you talk a little bit about how long have you been doing that particular podcast?
Ask Me How I Know started on March 2, 2020, which is my daughter’s birthday. I’ve celebrated over 100 episodes and it’s grown. I’ve grown tremendously and the content is getting richer and richer.
I want to share with my readers some of the things you have learned from interviewing the many guests on your various episodes, maybe one on real estate, two on mindset, and three on anything else that I didn’t think about.
I had such a variety of guests. Everyone at every single level of their investment journey has something to offer. The biggest thing and the overarching theme is that our belief in ourselves and our abilities is the only thing that is limiting us from taking that next level and living the life of our dreams. When I look at recognizable names that I’ve been blessed to have on, they overcame that. I’ve had newer investors on as well because I like to give space for everyone. Everyone’s story brings something unique to the table. You can see how they’re just breaking through that and creating that new belief about themselves. That is an overarching takeaway that I’ve had from all the guests in general.
When you decided to create your podcast, talk about that moment when you realized, “I have something to say. There’s something I need to create.“
I’m a creator. I have a background in writing and I’m always creating something. I love that. This isn’t in everybody, but I just love people. I love the stories that create a journey for someone’s life. I realized, “I’m going into multifamily investing.” This wasn’t part of my plan. Listing to BiggerPockets, I come into this awakening awareness of, “This is what I need to be doing just because of who I am.” I just knew. I’m like, “This is a path for my life at this time.” I also knew I’m so far removed from meetup groups and from being able to network live with people. I was still working in the classroom as a teacher. I can’t just leave and go to seminars all the time. The podcast was a natural fit. I love communicating with people and trying to create space for them to shine. It also gave me the opportunity to speak with a lot of extraordinary people.
When you started your syndication journey for multifamily, were you still teaching?
I was still teaching. I want to jump into this, but I want to go back to the last question for two seconds and say, “All that to say, you are the only person in your way.” I looked at all the restraints that I had and said, “These options don’t work, but this might work and this might be my way to get out there.” That old adage of where there’s a will, there’s a way. To anyone reading right now, you can figure out whatever you’re trying to solve in your life. Treat it as a puzzle. There’s a solution out there that’s going to fit. It will push you outside your comfort zone but it will fit.
Going into investing and teaching at the same time was an interesting transition to make, and to have my colleagues start to look at me as, “What are you doing?” Nobody understood. It’s just that apartment thing. That’s fine. I kept it to myself largely. It was interesting. I would be talking to brokers while kids were at recess if I didn’t have duties. Every little moment that could reasonably be mine while maintaining the highest level of professionalism. We all get lunch breaks. We all need a lunch break. It’s using time very strategically in order to make those little small advances. Everything adds up.
As you talk about using time strategically, my readers have full-time jobs and are working to build wealth for themselves and their families. I feel that time management is one of the key areas that a lot of people want to continue to improve in, regardless of whether they have a full-time job or not. Could you share some of the ways in which you manage time that could be helpful to others?Our belief in ourselves is the only thing limiting us from taking that next level and living the life of our dreams. Click To Tweet
Time management is a struggle for many people. The biggest thing or the number one thing that will help people level up your time management is being honest with yourself about how you’re using your time and what you want. For me, when I was still working, I used to spend that fifteen-minute recess break that I had free. When you’re engaged with kids, we all have to tap out and let our brain rest for a moment. Am I scrolling on social media? How am I using and repurposing that time? What do I want? Am I coddling myself or making excuses at the end of the day and saying, “I just need to sit down and have a glass of wine and relax?” You do need to relax. That’s important and healthy. However, is that relaxing taking up the rest of your time? We can use our kids as excuses as well and that might be very sensitive for some of you mama bears out there. I would use my kids as an excuse and be like, “My kids do need me to be present,” but I can be a fantastic mom and I can also manage my time well. When you know what you want and you know how you are using your time, you will make some better choices.
With that, I want to move into the reflections part of my episode. Can you talk a little bit about some of the challenges you may have faced through your investing journey here in multifamily and how you overcame them?
One of the biggest obstacles I had overcome was realizing, “I can’t do this alone.” I’m so ambitious and if you are a woman reading this like these amazing professional women who just kick butt at what you were doing, we speak the same language. We’re self-sufficient and we’re independent. We are very competent. We are very capable women. When you reached that point and you realize, “If I want this, I need to be partnered up. If I want to do this, I need to have the right relationships in my life.” That was the biggest obstacle because I am so all of those self-sufficient women thing that’s inviting and saying, “Somebody’s going to do it as good as me.” It’s like, “Oh my God, they did it better than me.”
I’m not the best at everything but we all have that insecurity of like, “Are they going to bring their A-game? Are they going to do it? Am I going to be happy with that?” Finally, it took me a year to overcome that and looking back at such a lost year. There’s also acceptance of the mindset component. That is the growth that I had to make as a human being. I had to grow past that. It was a year in the scope of a lifetime. I’m glad that I learned that and it only took one year and didn’t take ten years. Instead of lamenting over it, I’ll just accept it and say, “Great. You figured it out. Let’s move on and let’s go crush it.”
That is so powerful because commercial real estate investing is a team sport and I can resonate with every word you said. Moving from there, what do you love and not love about apartment investing?
I don’t think there isn’t anything that I don’t love, except that I can’t buy every apartment complex out there. What attracted me to apartment investing were all the reasons we already mentioned about. My money can do a lot of different things at the exact same time, but as I’m sure many people pointed out and you’ve probably explained to your audience before, I love that I’m getting appreciation. I’m getting the depreciation. I’m getting those distributions that are coming through. Not banking my livelihood necessarily on my distributions, but I also know that at the end of the hold period, I’m going to have a very nice chunk of money coming my way. All of those elements and knowing that I have a hard asset that’s nicely hedge against inflation. I’m truly diversified.
I’ve learned to love teamwork. It’s exciting to be able to say, “I’m so grateful that I don’t have to be the number one numbers person.” That is not my number one strength. I’m honest with myself. I am so grateful to have someone that loves numbers so much in my world. Guess what? Everybody on the team is very grateful for what everyone is bringing. Not everyone wants to go out and be on podcasts and be the face of anything. To be able to have someone that’s going out, reaching investors, creating workshops and such has played to everybody’s strengths. I love that.
Any remaining advice? Anything else that has come up that I didn’t ask you about that you think would be beneficial to share with my readers?
I want to touch back to time because it is a sensitive spot in a lot of lives. I will say the moment I would encourage everyone to do a time audit. This is the way I’ve come to look at this. We will count our calories. We will count our exercise time. We wear these watches. How much time did I sleep? We do all of that and yet we don’t look at the calorie-counting of our time. I would encourage everyone to take a challenge for two weeks to write down every fifteen minutes, “How I am using my time?” Map it out. The moment I did that, it changed my life. That was the linchpin that changed everything and allowed me to see. I did it for an entire month.
Now, I’m using my time so well because I’m very accountable for it. I have tasks that were carried over and I started to realize, “Why am I carrying this over?” Either the task does not need to be on my plate or I’m avoiding it. Why am I avoiding it? It provided more clarity and I was able to break the task down into manageable pieces and then take action on it. For anyone reading, whether you’re investing or not investing, if you’re struggling with your time management, that was a pivotal point in my life. It was a game-changer.
This point then leads me into my level up questions that I ask all my guests. The first one is what are you grateful for?
I’m grateful for the opportunity. There’s an abundance of opportunity out there when you just simply hold your hands out to receive. There’s so much goodness out in this world and I am grateful.
You’re a super-attractor lady. The energy comes from within. The pureness of wanting to make an impact in a positive way attracts everything that you need to have come to you. Secondly, what has attributed to your success and continuous growth?
The willingness to be committed to it. This is probably going to be sensitive to a lot of my fellow ambitious women out there, and I’m getting all teary-eyed again. Self-acceptance is a huge thing and being able to accept yourself where you are for better or for worse. To say, “I’m not into this for perfection and there are always areas where I’m going to grow as a mom,” because I’m sure there are lots of moms out there. I have this conversation with my children all the time. I’m like, “I’ve never been a mom to this kid this age before.” I’m growing and learning, but I’m committed to that. That willingness to accept and receive and allow it to grow and say, “Life is a journey. I’m not the same person I was twenty years ago. I’m continually growing into the next best version of myself.” That’s all I can ask for. Be nice to yourself.
What do you now know that you wish you knew at the beginning of your journey?
Action trumps everything. If you are willing to simply take action to move forward, you’ll go forward. It’s so simple but a lot of times we resist taking that very first step towards action. I did that. I had a workshop and I’ve been wanting to have this workshop for months. I allowed myself to not take the action. The power of action is tremendous. If I would have known then what I figured out, it did not go perfectly but I had a lot of people show up and I had a lot of very good feedback from a lot of people who were grateful that I did that. It’s like, “I’m on my way.” The more I can say, “This isn’t about you, Julie. This is about reaching, serving and helping other people unlock this part of their life,” why would I put off? Take action.
This was an amazing episode. I want to recap quickly some of the key things that I enjoyed. One is when you were talking about your Impact Investing Network, I feel it embodies the energy of super– attractor, of being able to attract all the investors who want to make an impact, as well as all the active individuals who also want to make an impact. It’s an amazing community. Also, believing in yourself. That is so powerful. I have to say to myself all the time, “I believe I can do this. I believe in myself.” It’s like a mantra to constantly be able to move forward because you can get in your own way. When you said that, that is super important.
Being honest with yourself about how you’re using your time, time auditing and time management are also super important. I know from working full-time for a long time that life comes at you and your day just gets away. It’s hard to manage your time. I’m now moving to a place in my life where I am able to design my life and take back my time. This is super powerful to know because it’s almost like you go from one end of the spectrum to the other where now you’re in control. Those time audits being able to manage that time is super important.
The last two ones were the last two on the end here, which was the self-acceptance of who you are and action trumps. I’ve told folks in the past that when we take action, action informs. It gives you feedback and you know, “This works,” or “Nope, this does not.” You know that you need to pivot and make changes. Julie, this episode was jam-packed. There are still more things that you said that hit home for me. I know that my readers have also felt that impact. Thank you so much for coming on my show. Thank you for sharing your stories, your lessons, your gems and your journey. I appreciate it.
Thank you so much, Lisa. It’s so fun to share space with you. You’re amazing.
If my readers want to learn more about you, where are some of the best places they can go?With a lot of people not looking at their calorie-counting of time, many find themselves cramming to do everything. Click To Tweet
Go to JulieHolly.com and my whole world should be there. I’m going through rebranding at a new website. There’s a book list on there because I run book clubs. I do a lot of fun things to bring people together. That’s the best and easiest way.
I love books, so I’m curious what book are you reading or what’s your last book out?
We just finished StoryBrand. We read High Performance Habits. We’ve read The Obstacle Is the Way. This was not supposed to be a book club. It just turned into that through my time management and through inviting other people to join me on that journey. It turned into this, “Julie, what’s the next book?” I’m like, “I don’t know.” I want to encourage people reading to check out two kids’ book because they are powerful and coming from a teacher position. Pick up the kid’s version of Who Moved My Cheese? It’s fantastic. Also, pick up, What Do You Do With a Chance? I cannot remember the author’s name. The illustrations are fantastic. He has, What Do You Do With a Chance? What Do You Do With an Idea? What Do You Do with a Problem? Just buy them all. I don’t care how old you are, these books will serve you well.
Thank you for coming on the show. I appreciate it.
Thank you, Lisa.
- Julie Holly
- Ask Me How I Know: Multifamily Stories of Struggles to Success – Julie Holly’s podcast
- High Performance Habits
- The Obstacle Is the Way
- Who Moved My Cheese?
- What Do You Do With a Chance?
- What Do You Do With an Idea?
- What Do You Do with a Problem?
About Julie Holly
Julie Holly helps people like you find their freedom through multifamily real estate investing so that they can live the life of their dreams! She has invested in single-family homes, house-hacked before it had a name, managed properties from 1k miles away, and passively invested in multifamily assets. Currently, Julie is passively invested in nearly 300 doors.
Her podcast Ask Me How I Know: Multifamily Stories of Struggles to Success is designed to fuel the mind and soul through weekly interviews with industry leaders as well as mindset episodes. Julie’s experience as a public school teacher, ability to relate with people, and genuine care for their financial well-being allow her to raise capital for the team’s offerings.
Her free time is filled with backcountry mountain biking with family and friends, baking delicious treats to share with others, and writing grants for 9B Trails, a local non-profit and leading book club to stimulate minds and build community.
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