A lot of people are held back from doing what they love doing or pursuing their passions because of fear. Sometimes, it’s the fear of uncertainty, of change, or failure. For business owner and real estate investor Anna Scheller, it was the fear of objection and stepping out to do something she wasn’t sure she could pull off. Anna leads the corporate housing industry in South Central Texas. On today’s show, she chats with Moneeka Sawyer about how she overcame her fear which led to opening up more doors for her corporate housing company. Don’t miss these golden nuggets from a real live real estate investor!
Listen to the podcast here:
Getting Rid Of The Fear: Lessons From A Real Live Real Estate Investor With Anna Scheller
Real Estate Investing For Women
I am excited to welcome into the show my friend, Anna Scheller. Anna is an award-winning podcaster, speaker and TV show host. She coaches entrepreneurs to develop strategies that result in more sales for their businesses while creating profit for future growth. She began her business career as a real estate investor, which is why she’s on the show, and has learned many lessons as a result. She is the Executive Member and Founder of Capri Temporary Housing, and still actively invests in real estate, albeit with more experience. She co-hosts the Black Belt Selling with her daughter Stephanie and has her own show, Sales Mastery, which airs on iTunes and Roku TV. Why Black Belt Selling? Anna just achieved her fourth-degree black belt in Taekwondo at the age of 58. Anna is the mother of seven children, is married to Phillip Scheller, and they live in Del Rio, Texas. Anna, welcome to the show.
Moneeka, I’m looking forward to being on your show. Thank you so much for inviting me.
It’s my pleasure. This is going to be fun. You and I have only talked about investing. Tell us a little bit about this other company that you’re running.
It came out of the real estate investing situation. It could be a very long story, but the short version is we started buying properties and we ended up with a fourplex in the midst of all of that. Someone had come to me when we had the fourplex and said, “What would you charge me to furnish it?” I gave him the price and he goes, “No, I can do it for cheaper, but I still want to rent from you,” which sparked the idea of, “I wonder if there’s a market for this.” In that fourplex, as people started to leave, I set up one apartment for furnished, just furnishing it. I can go into more detail later about how that ended up working out, but that started the temporary housing business. We hit a place where we were doing extremely well and we rapidly grew.
We went from 8 units up to 30 units in a space of three months, which is rapid growth. It was hard and difficult. I wasn’t prepared for it. Hence, some of the fun little mistakes I made. What ended up happening when that market changed, because it was very much government-driven and there was a change in administration, that market dried up. The problem was I didn’t know how to find more people who needed what I was providing. That sent me on a search to figure out what I needed to do. I had very little marketing experience. I didn’t have any sales training. I felt very lost. The following year, I ended up getting sales training and discovered that I was afraid of objections, which was what was holding me back.
Corporate housing is a pricey item. I was afraid that people would say, “That’s too expensive,” or they would personally attack your price kind of situation. When I was going through that training, using that training opened up more doors for the corporate housing company. I was so excited about the training. I started telling people how to sell and my trainer at the time, Eric Lofholm, invited me to become one of his trainers and sell his program. That’s how I ended up in sales training. My daughter came on board. She went through his program, and then she and I started the podcast Black Belt Selling. Everything’s morphed to where I am doing both. I am doing the coaching and the podcasting, as well as the corporate housing.
They work well together. I stay in the sales training space because like everybody, I need to be reminded of the things I should be doing. You can get so complacent to where you get a flood of people coming in and you think that’s going to be your bread and butter for a while. Suddenly, you’re not working on your sales process. Before you know it, you don’t have any more clients. That’s whether you’re a real estate investor, whether you are renting properties or whatever you’re doing.
I think that’s true. Our place where we need real reminders is a great place to focus even a portion of our daily work. I grew up in a place where I was bullied, tormented, and became a very depressed person. Bliss has been my journey my whole life. Part of why I continue to focus on it is for that daily reminder that this is important for me. I need to continue to work my skills. I’m a blissful person now. There are times when I fall off the wagon and I stopped doing my practices. I realized that I’m not as happy and not as blissful as I normally am when it continues to be a part of the things that I’m focusing on through my day. This show helps me to keep that focus so that I can stay more blissful. This show serves me in many ways. I love that it serves many women, but part of it is that it reminds me of what’s important for me too and keeps me focused on that. I totally get that.
I was sharing with you a story that was a costly story. Thankfully, not as costly as it could have been. As I was getting ready for the podcast, I kept thinking to myself, “I’m doing this for the good of my family. I’m doing this because it’s fun.” The situation’s not fun, but there’s bliss to be found. There’s joy to be found even in that situation. The fact that I only lost $500 and not $2,100. Those are the kinds of things where I thought, there’s real truth in choosing to be joyful because stuff’s going to happen every day. Are you going to let it pull you down or are you going to look at it, see the lesson you can pull from it, and move forward? That is also a journey that I’ve had to take through my investing years as well.
I love how you say that because it is a choice. My book is called Choose Bliss. It doesn’t mean that challenges don’t come up. It doesn’t mean that you don’t have bad days. It doesn’t mean that you don’t fall off the wagon. It doesn’t mean that you get depressed or angry or whatever. Life is still happening, but if your focus is on living a blissful life and that’s your priority, then you develop the skills to continue to come back to that place. Over time, as you practice, it gets easier and easier. It becomes your default. You are able to rise back to that so much more blissfully and easily rather than it being work. When life tries to pull you down, you’re able to pull yourself back up and the people you love also. Thank you for that. Let’s back up a little bit. Talk to us about how you got started.
It’s one of those funny, merry stories if I might say so. A friend of my husband’s and mine gave us this book and said, “You guys need to read it.” My husband wasn’t into that stuff. I was probably 6 or 7 months pregnant with our seventh child. I bought the book and started reading it in bed. We had been investing in other things. We had invested in mortgage securities. We had that situation going. My husband was looking at how he could do the stock market. Investing wasn’t something new, particularly to him. He would come to me and say, “What do you think about this?” I didn’t know squat. I was thinking, “You’re the smart one. Make a decision.” I let him pretty much make most of the decisions. I’m reading this book. We’ve never invested in real estate.
We bought a couple of homes. We have about three homes and we’d never invested in real estate beyond our own homestead. Rich Dad Poor Dad talks about the absolute benefit of real estate investing. We’re both in bed reading our separate books and I’ve got a little bit of a belly and I’ve got a kid kicking me in the meantime. I’m reading this book and I said, “What do you think about real estate investing, honey?” He goes, “It’s too risky.” I go, “Okay.” I put the book down. I continued to read the book, but now I’m thinking. I don’t remember saying anything to him about it again. Two years later, he picks up the book and in picking up the book, he goes over to me. We’re reading our books. Our baby now is two years old. He looked at me and he goes, “What do you think about investing in real estate?” “I think that’s a great idea.”
We actively started looking for real estate. Robert Kiyosaki at that time had a real estate investing school seminar type of thing. It was a three-day event in Scottsdale. We paid all the money. I think we spent about $15,000 by the fees and then staying in the posh hotel and eating out and doing all these things that we were like, “This will be cool to make this happen.” Right after that, I had spotted a property. By what I do now, I wouldn’t say it was a bargain back then, but to us, it was a bargain. We invested in that property. That was a three-bedroom, two-bath house with a two-car garage. We still own that property now.
Real Estate Investing Lessons: Things happen all the time. Are you going to let them pull you down, or are you going to see the lesson you can pull from it and move forward?
I’ll be honest with you, it has probably been the steadiest rental property we’ve ever owned. As a matter of fact, I was talking to my husband about selling it so we could pull the equity out and start investing in bigger things. He’s like, “Why would we do that? We make so much money.” I’m laughing going, “There’s so much more money to be made. Stop it.” That’s how we got into real estate investing. That was probably our biggest success story. We bought the house for $95,000. If I sold it now, I could sell it for easily $160,000. We’ve owned it for about sixteen years.
You started getting into multifamily. Tell us a little bit about that journey.
All of the books tell you, you should get a mentor. We got a mentor and I spotted this fourplex, but I wasn’t ready to step out. I was looking at single-family homes. By this point, we had picked up two more single-family homes by the time we saw this quad. I mentioned it to the mentor and the mentor said, “Go for it. You need to get it.” I’m like, “No. I don’t think so.” He took us through the steps to start negotiating for the property. This property was not a great bargain, but the potential cashflow is good. What ended up happening was by the time we got around to putting the offer in, another offer had gone in. We were the backup. We were encouraged by the realtor to put in the offer. I guess realtors must talk. She said, “This one looks shaky. It looks like they’re not going to be able to pull this off.” Sure enough, their offer fell through and ours came up on the table next.
Up until this point too, we’d also done some spec homes. We built some homes and sold them. We had a little bit of cash. We also had some prop land that we had purchased. Our portfolio for beginners, we were doing okay. We ended up with this fourplex and that was our first fourplex. We went on to pick up another fourplex maybe a couple of years later when we were able to start getting the furnished housing underway. We picked up a couple of duplexes. We’ve since sold all of those properties. I’ll share some of our fun little mistakes in that. The thing that we did was we took the steps anyway. I’ll be honest, I was scared. I was afraid of stepping out and doing something that I wasn’t sure I could pull off because I knew my own tendency to drawback when I was talking to people. I knew my tendency to let people go when they offered objections to renting from us. It was too high. It was this, it was that. I was scared and yet it turned out to be a big turning point in our business. It was there that opened up to us the corporate housing, which is the ongoing business that we have now. If it wasn’t for that, I would not be doing what I’m doing.
Tell us a little bit about the evolution and some of the mistakes that you made. I’m not trying to put you on the spot, but I want the ladies to know that mistakes happen and it’s okay. We can do things in spite of our fear and be successful. We can make mistakes and be successful. I’ve had people in the show that built a business, lost everything in the 2008 crash and have built multimillion-dollar businesses since then. Part of what you and I had talked about before is that there was a lot of these moments of fear that you had to step through.
There were a lot of mistakes that you made that you had to say, “I need to learn from this and move on instead of giving up.” The thing is that if you make a mistake and you stop, then you stopped at the mistake. It’s counterintuitive. If you make a mistake and you move, then you didn’t stop at the mistake. Now you get to experience success. This is one of those things that you’ve done very well. Not that you’ve made a lot of mistakes, but when you make the mistakes, you’re able to move through it. That’s the conversation that I’m interested in having.
I was so eager to buy the property. I think this is very common among early investors. I was eager to start scooping up the property. I would drive-by something and I’d go, “I think we should get that.” My poor husband, I was driving him crazy. There was this one I did. There was this one property that was being sold by a pastor and his wife. They’d moved on and they were trying to sell it. At the time it was $96,000, but for us to buy it was going to cost us. It wasn’t even the normal cost. We were going to have to pull money from somewhere else to do this and that. We paid to sell the property to us.
I can’t remember how it worked, but I remember my husband thinking, “You’re screwing up, Anna.” I’m like, “No. It’s all going to work out.” We had that property and sold that in 2020. We purchased it in 2007 and that property ended up becoming a money pit. The mistakes I made to the property were number one, I didn’t sit down and I didn’t look at what was a realistic rent that we could get for that property. We weren’t looking at it as a flip. We were looking at it as a rental. There are two ways to invest in real estate. One is that you can do the buy and hold. You turn it, you flip it, you buy something needs repairing or has cosmetic issues. You turn it around and then you sell it for profit.
This particular property, I didn’t do good due diligence. I tried to force my husband into taking it because I wanted it that bad. Initially, we were able to get a good rent on it, but because I wasn’t conscious of the location, I wasn’t conscious of what other rents in that area would be. It got to the point that I was starting to get desperate for tenants. Often, I rented the property out at the cost of the mortgage insurance and taxes. If something went wrong with the property, there was no money there. When things would go wrong, I’d have to take money from other properties to take care of this one.
Ultimately in the end, with the last tenants we had, we’re always paying their rent. I should have kicked them out months before we finally were able to move them. It turned out that the property had so many problems. We were expecting a $30,000 profit. I think we ended up with $15,000, which is still good. I’m not complaining, but here’s the thing. I didn’t judge character well because I allowed my desperation to make sure that the property was filled. I compromised a lot of the things that I shouldn’t have. I compromised making sure that the tenants had good background. I compromised with the rents and it ended up being a huge other valuable lessons that I’m taking with me now as I do more investing and work to grow our portfolio some more. When you look at that, especially if you have a disagreement with a spouse or a significant other, that can erode your confidence at recovering from a mistake.
If I can encourage your readers, here’s the thing to keep in mind is that you can’t always pick the people who are going to be supportive and help you through a mistake. I hope you can. If you can’t, then we’ll be talking about practices that can help you. The bottom line is that when you fail, you have to get up and you have to keep moving forward. Yes, that property was a problem. I may get another problem property. If I do, I will handle it differently, but we’re moving forward. You make a mistake, you dust yourself off. That’s where mentors and support system come in. You get people around you who can help you go back to the experience. See where things could have been done better, could have been maybe smoother or you could have avoided certain mistakes. You implement those things the next time around. Quitting doesn’t give you the opportunity to try again. Surround yourself with people who are going to help you analyze what you need to do different so that you can pick yourself up and start over again.
Were there any decisions that you regret?
There’s a lot. I’m sure I’ve made a lot of poor decisions that other people have made. With the corporate housing business, we learned about a model where we could grow our inventory quickly without having to go through the process of purchasing. We did a lot of subleasing and that’s still part of our model. It’s a great model. However, the challenge that I ran into was that I was so excited with this. Remember I said earlier that that business grew and multiplied rapidly? I didn’t have the infrastructure in place to manage the funds. You’ve heard the saying, “Easy come, easy go.” That’s what happened. I didn’t have the experience and I didn’t have a team helping me to manage the situation. I can’t tell you how many thousands of dollars I have lost from not working with a team.
Real Estate Investing Lessons: There are two ways to invest in real estate. One is to do the buy-and-hold you and keep it, or buy something that needs repairing, turn it around and then sell it for profit.
One such situation that happened was that when the market was booming, we had the Eagle Ford Shale, the fracking that was going on here in South Texas. What I did is I took out a number of apartments expecting to fill them. Saudi said, “We’re not going to have any of this,” and they glutted the market with oil. Overnight, those jobs disappeared. Overnight, my market disappeared, but I had all this inventory that I had taken out to satisfy a need that was no longer there. I would sit here in this office and I would weep because I didn’t know how I was going to solve this problem. My husband was upset. He didn’t help. He was trying to be supportive and understand, but he was also scared.
He wasn’t as involved in the business as I am still. I use him a lot for bouncing decisions off of him now. Back then, all I kept seeing was $10,000 draining out of my already impoverished bank account. I decided I wasn’t going to break those leases because breaking leases usually ends up costing you three months of rent. Why not keep the leases and at least try to get them filled, even if it was at cost? That was a three-month period of a lot of misery and pain. That is a decision I terribly regret, but I was working with a guy at the time and he said, “I want you to know, Anna, no matter what happens in your business, you’re still valuable.”
I felt so inadequate. I felt so foolish. I felt like my value was what was in my bank account. This guy helped me to realize that I brought the value in and that the bank account would recover. I had to borrow money. I had to take funds. I had to do things that I’ve told myself I would never do. It wasn’t illegal. No cartels. Taking out inventory, not staying in tune with the culture to know what was coming down. There are two things that are good news. One, there was another company that did the exact same thing, except they were bigger. They were losing more money than I was. I wasn’t the only one.
Second is that it became an extremely valuable lesson. It was a lesson in humility to realize that I was subject to making decisions that had consequences I didn’t want to deal with. I think that’s also a life lesson because the more you do, the more mistakes you’re liable to make. You have to accept the fact that those mistakes are going to come. While you want to mitigate loss to the very best you can, you have to go out and you have to keep doing what you’re doing. I’m successful now because I didn’t quit. I’m successful now because I found the means to take care of the problems. My credit score suffered for a while there, and that’s something I’m still recovering from. On the other hand, we’re still standing and we now have multiple opportunities in front of us to grow our business. Would that have happened if I quit? Absolutely not.
Tell us about your biggest triumph.
It was in adopting that business model that helped me grow the company because that has been something that has helped me throughout my years. Another big triumph is I hired a consulting team that I’m working with right now, helping me to grow the business. Those two things plus having seven kids.
Do you mind giving us a little bit of what’s that business model that you adopted?
It’s the whole idea of subleasing. Your client leases the same way you’re leasing. For example, you go into an apartment community. Let’s say I have somebody that comes to me and they have a team of ten people that they need to house. We researched partner communities in the location that can do that work. Depending on the requirements, we’ll find how we can get that many people. If they want to double bunk them, if they want to give them each their own apartment. We look to see what’s available. The other thing you have to do is there’s several pieces to it. One is you have to arrange for furniture rental or purchase the furniture yourself. I’m bringing in linens, housewares, and all of that good stuff because essentially you want to set it up like a fully furnished and full service house.
You set up the electrics, the cable, the utilities, everything, and then you put that together. You figure out how much money you need to make on top of that for your company and yourself. You present that to the client and they have a decision to make. I like working with companies because they understand the value. Working with individuals is a little tougher because a lot of times, they’re trying to save money over a hotel. We’re often comparable to a hotel in terms of price, but we’re not always saving the money because what we offer is so much more space. We can do a lot of things price-wise comparable to a hotel. That’s the model. You go in and you sublease. You set everything up and then you’re managing it for your client, whether it’s a company or an individual.
You go in and you lease something first and then you sublease that to your client. Is that what you’re doing?
You don’t own the properties?
Not all of them. I had some that I owned like those fourplexes. Those were all set up fully furnished apartments. We sold them as fully furnished, which was able to get us good profit on the sale of the property. We also created a little bit of competition here for us, but because we’re so unique and we’re so specialized, I don’t worry about that. The Airbnbs don’t frighten me.
Real Estate Investing Lessons: You’re going to be a better investor if you take care of yourself and step back when you need to.
I know in EXTRA, we’re going to do a deeper dive. We’re going to talk a little bit about how you were sabotaging yourself and what you learned about that. We’re also going to talk about a scary time when you were losing $10,000 a month and how you pulled yourself out of that. That’s what we’re going to cover int EXTRA. I’m excited about that conversation because I know there have been many people that have been through it. First of all, frequently we self-sabotage because of our own fears. The other piece is I know most real estate investors have been through a time where they were like, “How am I going to make it?” I’m excited to hear your story about what happened around that. Could you tell everybody how they can reach you, Anna?
If you want to get in touch with me personally, I would go to my AnnaScheller.com website. I’m still very active in the sales training space. I would love to have a conversation with you about how you’re approaching your investing because everything is a sale. You can go there and you can download my ten sales tips on how to close more sales. You can also get on my calendar. We can have a fun conversation and I can learn more about you and possibly learn more about me. There’s always a lot to learn, isn’t there? Go to AnnaScheller.com. Go ahead and download that. It’ll pop right up for you. I follow all the little guru rules about doing that stuff, but I would love to have a conversation with your readers and see how I might be able to help them close more sales, make more deals because sales is all about the deal and I love the deal and you will too.
Thank you so much for that. Thank you for the free gift. Are you ready for our three rapid-fire questions?
Anna, tell us one super tip on getting started investing in real estate.
Do it anyway. You’re going to be scared. Just do it. Take the time to make sure that you can, but here’s the thing. This is something I’m being encouraged to do. Don’t be afraid to put out multiple offers. Here’s why. You can make sure that you’ve got conditions to where you don’t have to follow through if something doesn’t happen. If you wait for all the conditions to be right, then you’re going to limit what you can do in the marketplace. Whether you’re putting out 1, 2 or 10 offers a week, go ahead and do it because the means to accomplish it will come as you move forward.
What is one strategy on being successful in real estate investing?
I think one of the most successful things I did was starting to take care of myself. It can be so urgent that you’re so busy taking care of this and that, and doing all this stuff that at the end of the day, your mind is spinning. What happens is you can work that way for a little while, but you have to take the time to get your exercise, get your sleep, have your meditation, quiet time, however you spend that time. Eat properly and make sure that you’re taking care of yourself and your family because in the end, they’re the ones you’re serving, not the person who’s going to buy the real estate or not the renter who’s going to rent it. Ultimately, it’s for the personal goals that you have. You’re going to be a better investor if you are taking care of yourself, and stepping back when you need to and breathing. Take care of yourself. That’s the most important person you have that’s going to run the deals and meet your goals, whether things go well or things require some creative problem-solving thinking.
That leads us into the next question which is, what is one specific daily practice that you do that contributes to your personal success?
I would say that it is my quiet time. It’s a place to pray and to ask God for wisdom. When I feel like things are spinning out of control, God is always so faithful to help me if I will take the time to speak to Him, to read His word. Those are the things that I think the most paramount to my success because He promises never to leave me or forsake me. The ultimate mentor and support system is God Himself. There are other things I do, but that’s the bedrock of my life.
Thank you so much for sharing that.
This has been wonderful. I can’t wait until we chat more in EXTRA. In EXTRA, we’re going to be talking about how Anna got through a tough time where she was losing $10,000 a month and what she did to pull out of that. Also, what you learned about how she was self-sabotaging her own business and how she pulled herself out of that too. We’re going to be talking about that at EXTRA. If you are already subscribed, we’ve got a lot more for you. If you’re not, but you would like to be, go to RealEstateInvestingForWomenExtra.com. You get the first seven days for free. You can get this EXTRA and as many as you can in the first seven days for free, and then you can decide. If it’s for you, you stay subscribed. If it’s not, nothing lost. You get a lot of juicy content. Thank you so much for joining us for this portion of the show. I look forward to seeing you next time. Until then, always remember, goals without action are just dreams. Get out there, take action and create the life your heart deeply desires. I’ll see you soon.
Special Code: moneeka
About Anna Scheller
I am a dynamic Keynote Speaker with a heart to help people create more sales. As an educator for over 20 years, I have the skills to provide learning in a fresh and engaging perspective.
I have a unique style that combines sales with training. As a 3rd degree black belt in TaeKwonDo, I combine the black belt mindset with sales training to provide engaging and thought-provoking training.
Every month I lead a free sales training workshop and I attend regular keynote speaker events to help sales professionals expand their network and practice sales skills in a safe environment. My passion as a sales trainer is to empower people to elevate their results and realize their significant contribution to life. Among others, I have spoken to dealerships, financial institutions, as well as leadership classes for the local Chamber of Commerce. I am currently conducting sales training workshops for the Small Business Development Centre for Rio Grande College along the Texas-Mexico Border, as well as conducting webinars for clients all over the world. My passion is fueled by experiencing the change in my own businesses as a result of investment in professional sales training. In one year, I increased the revenues in my corporate housing business 50% and doubled the volume in my network marketing business. I am available for free motivational talks to any size organization.
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Moneeka Sawyer is often described as one of the most blissful people you will ever meet. She has been investing in Real Estate for over 20 years, so has been through all the different cycles of the market. Still, she has turned $10,000 into over $5,000,000, working only 5-10 hours per MONTH with very little stress.
While building her multi-million dollar business, she has traveled to over 55 countries, dances every single day, supports causes that are important to her, and spends lots of time with her husband of over 20 years.
She is the international best-selling author of the multiple award-winning books “Choose Bliss: The Power and Practice of Joy and Contentment” and “Real Estate Investing for Women: Expert Conversations to Increase Wealth and Happiness the Blissful Way.”
Moneeka has been featured on stages including Carnegie Hall and Nasdaq, radio, podcasts such as Achieve Your Goals with Hal Elrod, and TV stations including ABC, CBS, FOX, and the CW, impacting over 150 million people.