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Affordable Housing Developer Innovates With Evan Holladay [EP074]

November 9, 2021

Affordable Housing Developer Innovates With Evan Holladay [EP074]

Do you want to learn more about becoming an affordable housing developer?

Evan Holladay is 31 years old and has been focused on real estate since he was 19. His expertise is being an established affordable housing developer. He believes there is a large need for quality affordable housing in the US. He innovates by leveraging thought leadership platforms such as his Monumental Podcast and his coaching mastermind group to help educate people on the cause and teach people how they can become successful as an affordable housing developer.

This podcast provides you with direct insight so that you too can take action towards achieving your goals! Are you ready? Let’s go!!!

Table of Contents:

Five-Step Process For Passively Investing In Real Estate
Five-Step Process For Passively Investing In Real Estate

A Housing Developer Who Is a Big Believer

A Housing Developer Who Is a Big Believer
Photographer: T.H. Chia | Source: Unsplash

Darin: Evan Holladay started as a pre-med student. He had such a curiosity for real estate that he pivoted and went all in. He's a big believer in tenacity and persistence. He is also a big believer in marketing a concept before you build it. He’s a highly accomplished investor in over 1,400 units and has a heart for teaching others how to get involved.

Evan has a podcast, the Monumental Podcast. I was a guest on his show two or three years ago, after I did my first syndication deal. He was extremely kind and shared a lot of info. When we stopped recording, I was picking his brain on, "What's the deal with podcasts?" He gave me a bunch of great advice. Can you share how many properties and how many units you're currently invested in?

Evan: Over the last 10 years I've worked on over 1,400 units. We currently hold interest in just over 400 units. We've developed eight properties over the years. We currently have ownership in four.

Darin: You look like a young guy. When did you start? How old are you?

Evan: I’m 31 years old. I got started when I was 19 and was lucky, fortunate, whatever you call it. I’ve figured out I love real estate in college. I was going down the premed route, and took science and chemistry. Then I saw the student housing development. I don't know what it is, but it's pulling me towards it. And I gravitated towards it and convinced the developer to hire me. One thing led to another, now I'm 10 years in.

A Successful Housing Developer Counters All the Excuses

Darin: A lot of people come up with excuses on why they can't be successful. I forget the name of the book but it was like, Think Big, Bigger Thinking, and it talks about age. There's younger people that are like, "I'm too young, I don't have the experience. I don't have the money." Then there's people that are too old. I'm too old. I don't know what I'm doing. Different reasons not to get started, but you started at 19. You went and the first thing you did is you convinced a developer to take you on. A lot of other young people used excuses, how did you counter that?

Evan: I got that question quite a bit, especially on TikTok, of all places. We've been making a push on TikTok lately. Honestly, it was a weird college experience for me in some ways. I was like, "I want to work. And I want to get dirty. I want to do things, I want to build things, I want to break things." So I still had fun in college, but I was always looking for that fix of how can I do something? How can I learn something, how can I gain responsibility, and how can I take leadership?

That, for me, was the development world. What I tell people is to find what makes you super curious. Chase curiosity because curiosity is going to help push you. It will help you put in the work when you wouldn't otherwise want to. It's that curiosity that drives us all, that's what drove me.

I didn't know what it was, but I was like, "I'm curious, how do they do developments, how do they change communities?"

Why Knock on the Door of a Housing Developer

Evan: How do they invest, in this case,$55 million? What do they do with all that money? How do they make that money into a building? All of that curiosity just really pushed me to knock on the developer's door until he would give me a job. The crazy thing was he didn't even give me a job. He said, "Prove yourself." And so I basically had to get a bunch of people out to this groundbreaking. He had a big groundbreaking event and he expected me to get 20 or 30 people. We ended up getting close to 200.

That's what helped him hire me. But, even after that, I couldn't get a hold of him for six months. I still had to keep calling him. It's just having that mixture of curiosity and persistence and realizing that anybody can get anything you want. You just have to be able to not give up or put in the will long enough. So that you get the outcome and knowing that you can actually have it.

Darin: You're the first person that used that word, curiosity. That's a great word. That curiosity drives your passion, but there are a lot of people that are curious. There are a lot of people that have an itch inside them but then they let something hold them back. You didn't only have curiosity, you went and knocked on the door and said, "What do I need to do?" Then, you over-delivered.

Evan: Trying to get creative too. We were hiring somebody on our development team and I was speaking to one of his references.

The Story That Sealed the Deal

Evan: I love this story because I was already sold on him just being a rock star and joining our development team. But when I heard this story, it just sealed the deal. Right out of college, he was working at CBRE and was selling retail space. He would just walk up and down, he had the low end of the totem pole. So he had to go out and search for new clients.

He would walk up and down these strip centers all day long, all day, all night. Eventually, he walked into this big potential client and took one of his shoes that had a hole in it. He said, "See this shoe? This is how hard I will work for you and this is actually one of my shoes." That got him the deal. Now, even the guy at CBRE, eight years later, is still telling that story. That's the cool thing. If you can get creative, mix creativity with curiosity and persistence, you have a winning formula that people aren't going to forget.

Darin: Add confidence to it. I’ve read, and I didn't think I was going to like Matthew McConaughey's book, Green Lights, he had confidence in himself. He told a story where he ended up going in for one of the John Grisham movies and he was reading for a part. They said basically, "You're perfect for that part." He had thought about it prior and he actually asked the guy, "Who have you got for the lead?" He's like, "You know what? We don't know yet. Do you have somebody in mind?" He was like, "Yeah, me." And he was still super junior.

Every Housing Developer Has a Unique Journey

Every Housing Developer Has a Unique Journey
Photographer: davisuko | Source: Unsplash

Darin: Three weeks later, they called him up and gave him the part. Now if he didn't have the thought and the confidence to actually ask for it, he most likely would not have gotten that gig. That movie has propelled him forward. You ended up working for this developer. How long before you transitioned from being an employee to actually being able to put some skin in the game?

Evan: There were multiple steps in the process for me and everybody will have their own unique journey. From working with that developer, I ended up segueing that into entrepreneurship classes in college. They said, "Go start a business." It was more or less just for a class, but I just had so much fun with it. I was like, "Let's make this real." So, I helped lead a team. There were about five of us on the team.

We did modular, sustainable development where we took houseboat manufacturing plants in Kentucky. I went to the University of Louisville. We took houseboat manufacturing plants, more or less the same layout as a houseboat, turned it into houses. We’re putting them on foundations because the houseboat companies had laid off 1,100 skilled workers with the housing market crash.

They were looking at ways to bring people back online, bring their facilities back online. Give people jobs again, and be able to provide affordable housing. We're like, "Well let's look at grants, let's look at any sort of public funding we can get for this and let's do a mix of housing." We were very green. We really didn't know anything.

Working for the Largest Housing Developer

Evan: We’re just scratching the surface but we were like, "We might be onto something," when we started winning competitions. That's when we were like, "Let's take this out of a class and let's actually build this into a company." That was really the first time that I had skin in the game. We were really trying to scale that up. Find partners who knew what they were doing and had the capital.

That's when one of the companies we were looking at partnering with said, "How about you come work with us? You can learn from us and we'll do deals together?" So, right out of college, I started working for the largest affordable housing developer in the country. I really cut my teeth there. It was a sink or swim opportunity where they said, "You source deals and you can get a piece of the deal. You can make it happen. If you can't do that, then we'll send you on your way." It was a really phenomenal experience.

I was 23 years old out in Brownsville and McAllen, Texas, looking for deals for affordable housing. I started down there actually. First week on the job, they sent me down to Texas. I looked at sites in Louisiana and Mississippi and Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, all over the southeast. Eventually, I ended up in Tennessee and Louisiana and ran the development division for those two states.

Darin: That's eight years ago, around 2014.

Evan: I started at the end of 2013.

Darin: You're at this development company. How long did you stay there?

Evan: Under six years.

The Opportunity to Have Skin in the Game

Darin: That's a good long time, it gave you a lot of experience. While you were working, they gave you the opportunity to have skin in the game. You learned how to do it.

Evan: Fortunately for me, most development companies don't give this opportunity to 23 year olds. I don't know what they saw in me. Maybe it was the crazy tenacity, persistence, that helped me get in the door with them. They really threw me in the deep end from the very beginning with little to no experience. It took a lot of mentorship. I was constantly figuring out how to do deals, learning from their mistakes.

They always said, "We made tens of millions of dollars worth of mistakes so that hopefully you can only make millions of dollars worth of mistakes, or maybe not any at all." But I love that mindset of saying, "These guys in total have done billions of dollars worth of real estate. I couldn't find a better group to work with because I had direct access to all the leadership."

Darin: You believed in yourself and you went after it. Most successful people want to help somebody young that has persistence and determination. They don't want to waste their time with somebody that's not going to do anything. Most entrepreneurs want to give back and they want to see the next guy come up the ranks.

Evan: If you show that tenacity, that drive, the commitment, and the passion for whatever you're working on, then really the sky's the limit. I look for those guys now as being an entrepreneur and a CEO and a leader of our company.

Finding a Rock Star Housing Developer

Evan: A big part of my job is finding people like that because we want leaders. We want young rock stars to grow with the company.

Darin: You're looking for people in those areas, but they gotta be rock stars. In 2019 you start your own company, is that when that happened?

Evan: Summer of 2019.

Darin: Doing a lot of interviews with syndicators that own 1,000s of units and I've seen a trend in the last year. A lot of syndicators talked about or have already started the transition from B, C value add deals to either buying A properties or starting to get into new development. I knew from social media that you were into new development.

It was like all these other people, that it was the latest trend. People are moving that direction. I didn't realize that you have a significant amount of experience under your belt in that market. How do you differentiate yourself from other people that are just starting to get into new development?

Evan: Once you get to a certain level of having closed deals, having built relationships across the board from accountants to CEOs to attorneys to investors, and brokers too. Once you build up that rapport, that relationship, and that track record, it's amazing. A huge part of it too is being able to help educate and be a thought leader in the space.

Our niche is within the workforce, affordable housing, doing public private partnerships. We also do some market rate. The cornerstone of all that is really quality development and equitable development. We're figuring out how we can do affordable housing for working class families and make it an actual affordable price point.

Acquiring a Housing Developer Experience

Evan: We've gained a reputation from our education that we put out there from social media. From marketing, from YouTube, from podcasts, to sitting down and talking to you right now, providing that experience for others. That and our track record and doing what we say we're going to do has lent itself to now where we get affordable leads all the time. It’s really a blessing, and that's why we're looking for more rock stars. We have more deals and more pipelines, than we even have bandwidth.

Darin: You want to be that thought leader in your space and your market so you get the call first for a good opportunity. You brought up that you're in that affordable development area. I don't know if you've already started this or you're planning on coming out with it. But, 31 years old and you're going to be coming out with a mentorship program or already have one called ADM. Have you already started it? Is it coming out? What's the deal with that one? What do people learn, what's the value?

Evan: Backtrack to the middle of 2020, especially with all of our thought leadership going out there. All the content we're creating, and then, the pandemic, it brought to light the need for more quality affordable housing. How more families are being affected by that. We honestly got an outpouring of people reaching out to us saying, "Evan, you're the only person I know, I see online, talking about affordable housing. I would love for you to teach me how to do what you do."

A Whole World of Real Estate Investors

A Whole World of Real Estate Investors
Photographer: Austin Distel | Source: Unsplash

Evan: I was like, "I'd love to, but I don't really have the time." Or "We don't have a program set up and we don't really have any education specifically on step-by-step." Eventually, we had enough people asking us. We're like, "You know what, maybe we should create this. Maybe there is an audience for this." It's very niche-specific.

But we realize, "There's a whole world of real estate investors that want to get into affordability. They want to get into tax credits, want to get into public-private partnerships, but have no idea where to even start." Sadly, there's literally limited resources online. There's maybe two YouTube videos that are three minutes long that describe the process. People asked me before we started creating content around it.

They're like, "Where do you go to learn this?" I was like, "Honestly, I can't tell you. I'll send you these two videos and that's all I got." There just wasn't anything out there. So, we saw the need for it and we saw the market. It goes to if you talk about it, if you put the word out, if you market something, then people will come. I started announcing that we had this coaching program last October. The first time I did was on the Bigger Pockets podcast.

Darin: You had a little bit of a listener group there. That podcast hits a lot of people, so that was probably a wise choice.

Evan: Yes. I was like, "You know what? I'm going to mention it on this podcast." We didn't actually have it built out.

A Coaching Program for Housing Developer Aspirants

Evan: We had the plan to build it, but we hadn't even built a website for it yet. And so, I mentioned it. It was the 18th, it was like this day one year ago. I mentioned it on the recording. Then they didn't air it until November 4th or something. In those three weeks, I'm like, "All right, team, we need a website now. Even just something to grab people's emails and put them on a waitlist."

So, we had basically just an intake form. After Bigger Pockets aired, we had a couple of minutes before the podcast started and I asked him. I was like, "How big is your guys' audience?" They said, "Oh, we typically get like half a million people to listen to each episode." I'm like, "What? Oh my god. I didn't realize all those people were going to be listening. Okay, I got to step up my game."

It went off without a hitch. It was an amazing episode. I mentioned the coaching program. "If you go to our website you'll see our coaching program." We put a link to it on our Holladay Ventures website. We’ve had four or 5,000 people look at the website within the first week. We had over 200 people sign up for our intake form. Of those, we picked about 25 people to join our first round of coaching. It's been a whirlwind.

Probably three-quarters of them could make it to our house here in Nashville. We just had a three-day weekend of masterminding, talking about deals, talking about deal flow. Also, we brought in brokers, other developers, and consultants. We toured brand-new construction affordable across the city.

A Female Housing Developer Is Crushing It

Evan: We toured some of my sites we're working on, and it was just a great event. It really showed, within a matter of nine months, what our students were able to accomplish. Some of them have already won grants, won awards, put land under contract, and worked through the design and development process.

One of our clients, she's just crushing it. She just got a $400,000 grant. They're putting out grant money for female developers to get into affordable housing. She literally, within six months of being in the program, got a grant for $400,000. That's just seed money. Doesn't have to pay it back. It's all a grant.

Darin: Where do you live?

Evan: Nashville.

Darin: Your development is typically in Nashville or that surrounding area? What markets are you focused on?

Evan: For the most part, we've just been overloaded with demand. Nashville and middle Tennessee, so surrounding markets. We closed a deal earlier this year in Huntsville and also Louisville.

Darin: When I think of this mastermind, it's like, you're busy in your market. But not only can you make money from coaching other people but you're able to take your knowledge and now provide that seed into people across the country. I don't know where these 25 people came from. You wouldn't have been doing that if you didn't do that mastermind, if you didn't do that mentoring program.

Evan: That's what gets me most excited about it, not the income. It's more like the tribe that we're building around affordable housing and people that are impact-driven developers and investors.

More Affordable Housing Across the Market

Evan: Not only that, but also we're really providing more affordable housing across the market by providing our education. That's a big part of our goal. Our BHAG at Holladay Ventures is 100,000 units either preserved or created of affordable workforce housing. That's a big goal.

I don't even know if we can do that just internally. We need partners, we need other people planting the seed. Lastly, we've gained a few partners out of it. We've gained partners on deals and team members joining Holladay Ventures. It's really been a phenomenal experience. We were unsure if we wanted to do it again. But now we're like, "Yes, we 1000% need to do this again because there's a huge demand for it. It brings tremendous value."

Darin: Every little thing that you layer on is an unknown and it's more work. But then, when you see that you can touch other people and help other people, there's that ripple effect. One, there's a financial benefit. Two, it’s just being a human being and feeling good that you're able to help somebody else.

When we talked about your podcast you had pointed me to a book by Carson Jones called Subscribe, Rate, and Review. If you ever thought about doing a podcast, that was a great book and a great recommendation. I read that book and it just pointed out all the different facets of starting a podcast. It doesn't have to be real estate-related. It could be anything. Talk about why you started the podcast. What benefits have you seen since you started your podcast?

Fake It Till You Make It

Evan: Like we did with the coaching program, we did a little bit of fake it till you make it type of thing. You market it before you build it. Monumental started for me, coming up on four years now. I met this amazing rock star venture capitalist guy from New York. He was in Louisville where I lived at the time, I just met him in passing. I was like, "What could I do to talk to this guy?"

Darin: You're just walking down the street? Just met him in passing just walking down the street. The next thing you know, you're talking about podcasting? I thought it was something different than that.

Evan: It was a Startup Weekend. If you guys know, Startup Weekend is an amazing event. It's 72 hours, Friday to Sunday. Basically, you get into little groups and you legit start a business in three days. Even just for the exercise alone and the networking, it's one of the best experiences. I haven't done it in four or five years. Now I'm like, "All right, I really want to get back into it." I couldn't attend the event that weekend because I had a wedding. But I knew he was going to be there.

I was like, "All right. Some of my friends are going to be there. This guy's going to be there. Let me stop by and introduce myself." But then, I was thinking about it. As I'm walking in, I'm like, "What can I tell this guy to continue the conversation? Why would he ever want to talk to a real estate guy?" Then I thought about it.

A Housing Developer Turned Podcaster

A Housing Developer Turned Podcaster
Photographer: Jukka Aalho | Source: Unsplash

Evan: I was like, "You know what, people love being on podcasts. People love talking about what they're working on. Let me tell him I have a podcast" and I did. I was super nervous but I just told him, "I have a podcast where I interview leaders like yourself. I'd love to have you on." Immediately, he's like, "Sure. Here's my cell phone, just give me a call. Let's set it up."

Evan: Those four weeks I was furiously looking up John Lee Dumas and Smart Passive Income, all those guys. Learning everything about podcasting I possibly could and how to interview people. I was practicing on my buddy, practicing on my girlfriend at the time. And I was so nervous that entire day I did that first interview. It went off without a hitch and the rest is history. We've done over 200-plus episodes now.

Darin: You had told me when I got done with the interview that it opened a bunch of doors for you. What does that mean?

Evan: The really interesting thing about podcasting is it gives you instant credibility in any conversation, any connection, any room. Think about a big part of what we do is building rapport and building relationships.

Building credibility instantly moves you up the ladder of rapport and trust building. So much more quickly than you could through natural conversation and relationship building. It just exponentially moves you up the ladder of relationship building, that's what I realized. Basically, one after the other. You progressively get better guests and more guests with big clout and a big following. Just amazing thought leaders in their space.

The King Cakes That Sealed the Deal

Evan: A little story on how we got Elena Cardone, Grant Cardone's wife. This goes back to being creative and persistent. One year, we went to 10X Growth Con. This was like 2017 or 2018 in Vegas. I knew both Grant and Elena are from Louisiana. They both love anything Louisiana. I sent them two king cakes right before because they do the event in February.

It was perfect timing. I'll send them the king cakes and maybe that will be a great segue when I meet them in person at the event. I didn't end up meeting them in person. There were 10,000 people there, I totally underestimated that fact. I was like, "Oh sure, I'll just meet him in the hallway. No, that's not how it works." But you learn. The next year, I did it again and same thing, but I put in the message that we sent to them.

I sent them authentic king cakes from New Orleans and I put @evanholladay and @jeannettelamada, my wife now. We said they inspire us and the cakes are from us. They tagged us on social media when they shared it on their story and I used that tag. She said, "Thank you so much." I used that to say, "I'd love to have you on my show. I'd love to do it in person." Literally a month later, I'm flying down to Miami to record in their studio. Got to meet Grant, Ryan, Jared, their whole team, and spent an hour and a half with Elena. It was a phenomenal episode.

How to Build Credibility as a Housing Developer

Evan: Going back to how it builds credibility so quickly, I was on the way, I was in the airport. I saw Coach Michael Burt, he was a speaker at 10X Growth Con the year prior. Very highly regarded coach, just a rock star guy. He was in the airport and I went up to him and introduced myself. I was hoping to get him on the podcast. Before I could even ask him he's like, "Oh." I asked him where he's going. He said he's going to Florida.

Long story short, I'm like, "Well, I'm going to Florida." He's like, "What are you going for?" I said, "I'm going to interview Elena Cardone. You know the Cardones really well." He's like, "Yes, they're great friends. Well, can I get on the podcast?" I was like, "Yes, actually I was going to ask you. You kind of beat me to it." Within two minutes, he had a group text with his assistant. Like, "Let's set up an interview with Coach Micheal Burt."

From there, I've become good friends with Coach Michael Burt. I've become good friends with a bunch of the different podcasts guests. It's amazing just how sitting down with somebody for an hour can build an actual legitimate relationship out of it that you could do deals. I've had deals sourced. We're about to close a $65 million development deal that wouldn't have happened had I not had the podcast.

Darin: Those are amazing stories and I've had similar ones. Not to the level that you had. One thing weird is that you have all these superstar guests.

Great Things Can Happen

Darin: I focus on syndicators. Some of them, even though they're a rock star, admire the fact that I've talked to all these other people that they haven't necessarily talked to. A couple of deals have come out of it, partnerships.

In one deal, a guy just said in passing, "I've got this ranch." I'm like, "Oh my son wants to have a ranch." He's like, "Come down." I'm like, "I'll take you up on that." We finished the conversation and started looking at our calendars. Next thing you know, three, four weeks we were there. My son thought I was a rock star for bringing him. A lot of great things can happen. Learning from each and every one of these people that you wouldn't have had a chance to talk to without having that platform, that's awesome.

Let's break it up into two different categories. One is the passive investor. So somebody's listening who never invested in a syndication before, but they want to. They have all their money in the stock market. How would they get involved? Then, we'll come back to how do you get your first deal as a syndicator?

Evan: The best way to get involved from a passive standpoint is listening to podcasts like yourself, getting educated in the space. There's so much free education out there these days. That's where you got to start. Reading books around multifamily syndication, listening to podcasts, listening to Darin's podcasts.

Listening to other great syndicators, and reading great books. Joe Fairless is one of the first ones that I always recommend from a syndication standpoint. To give you an actual anecdote, my dad has never been in real estate before.

The Benefits of Being a Housing Developer

The Benefits of Being a Housing Developer
Photographer: Ryland Dean | Source: Unsplash

Evan: I've been in it 10-plus years because he always saw that as my thing. Well, recently, over the years, I've been preaching all the benefits of owning commercial real estate. Eventually, he's like, "You know what? I want to invest in a deal."

He's a cautious investor, so it took him lots of education. He read lots of books, he read Tax-Free Wealth, he read Joe Fairless' book. And he listened to podcasts like mine, like yours, and got that education. Now, he still feels like he's not educated enough, but he has taken that action. He invested in a couple of syndications now and really enjoyed the pride. Now he's preaching the greatness of commercial real estate.

Honestly, education and surrounding yourself, going to conferences, those are great ways to learn and meet people that are already doing it. They can gladly share information and help you get into it.

Darin: My first syndication that I invested in passively, I had the capital. It wasn't like I was completely stretched, but I was still scared to do it. I was like, "This is my first time doing something like this. It's not like buying $5,000 worth of stock that you could sell tomorrow." It's 50,000 or 75,000 or 100,000 and wiring it to somebody.

Not having the executable order right online, it's having to read documents and sign multiple documents. It's a different process. Anything you do for the first time is a little scary. But when you meet other people that have made money and they talk about, "I've done this. I know, I was there, and I was scared too. But, I did it. I took action and here are my returns."

Get Educated

Darin: I’ve invested in one deal that I was a KP on. Invested like 100 grand 3-1/2 years ago and it went full cycle this year. I got my 100 grand back plus maybe 110 or 115 grand. That was not my experience in the stock market, put my money in IRAs and ETFs and stocks. It went up, but not to the point that I've seen in real estate, so get educated.

When we talk about education, that would break it down to, first, pick your market. If you want to be in Nashville, you want to be listening to Evan. Or if you want to be into another market, pick that market. Find out what syndicators are strong in that market. Get to know them by either podcasts or books. Reach out to them and get on the phone with them. Get to know the people. Once you know the people, then it's the deal. Find out the market, the people, and then the deal.

Evan: The people are very important, you have to resonate with them, you have to get along with them. You have to understand and agree with their theories, their point of view, and their model of the world. How do they see the world? How do they see investment strategy and do you resonate with that? And then, do their deals make sense at the end of the day?

Darin: Everybody talks about know, like and trust, but you know what? People are people. You go into a room and you sit with 10 people. Some people you just get along with and you click with. You're like your tribe. Then, other people could be very successful, but there's just something about them that doesn't resonate with you.

Pushing Boundaries

Darin: Pick the people that you resonate with that have a good track record. Because you could be married to that deal for three, five, seven years. You want to trust that they have your interest at heart. Talk about pushing boundaries and learning. A lot of people talk about syndication. Get in your first deal. I thought when you get your first deal it's done, but it's not.

Whenever you reach a goal, it's like, "What's the next one that I don’t know how to do that I have to stretch? Like starting a podcast. I had no idea how to start a podcast. How do I do this?" The next thing, you're doing the mentorship program. You didn't know how to do that and you went and did it. You’ve found huge rewards from it both financially and also personally. How do you continue to push that boundary?

Evan: It's reminding yourself first off your highest and best self. The version of yourself that you strive to be and the version of yourself in the future. How would the experienced version of Darin or the experienced version of Evan, handle this situation? And how would they handle it well? What steps would they need to take to actually get it done and make it a success?

We all have self doubt, we all have self doubt talk in our head. There are these voices in our head that tell us that we can't do it or it's too big. It's too scary, it's too daunting. I don't have time, the network, the relationships, whatever. I’m not capable, I'm not worthy. We have all these self doubt things. Remember to remove yourself sometimes out of your own head.

How a Housing Developer Achieved the Best Version of Himself

Evan: Take a minute to think and say, "What could the best version of Evan do in this situation?" I ask myself that. Not always literally, but I remind myself, "Don't worry. You've overcome issues and adversities in the past." Looking back to where you came from is a huge part of it, like my coaching program. I was going to be happy if we got five to eight people, ecstatic if we got 10. We ended up getting 25.

I never could've, in a million years, imagine that that was possible, but it happened. Now, looking at it, I would say, "We've done 25. Now, what can we do next year or how can we partner with these people? How can we make an even bigger and better event, and bring in more speakers?"

Just always remembering that you are capable of anything, the best version of yourself is capable of anything. Remember to pull yourself out of the negative self-talk and remember that you are worthy, you are capable. That's honestly what helped me at the end of the day.

Darin: It’s great to hear that here is somebody, a young guy, super successful. Podcast, mentorship program, doing development deals, a leader in your space, thought leader, and you talk about having self-doubt. There are listeners who think they're the only ones who have self-doubt. When I interview different people and ask, "Were you scared? Were you afraid, with the deal, you were paying too much? Afraid that the deal was going to go bad, or the economy was going to go bad?"

Dealing With Fears

Dealing With the Fears
Photographer: Zoltan Tasi | Source: Unsplash

Darin: Over and over again I hear, "Yes, I haven't done a deal where I'm not nervous. But, I think to myself, what's the worst thing that can happen? Will I die if this thing goes sideways? Then, what are the mitigating factors that I can try to control the risk? What's the upside? How likely is that? If that's so much better then I'm going to move forward even though I don't have 100% of the information." Those people that can take action even though they don't have all the information are the people that tend to propel forward.

Look back in the past, when you were scared. It can be a minor little thing. Think about where you took action. It could be as simple as I told my kids when they were growing up, "Hey, first day of school. You're walking by somebody or you sit down next to somebody. Look at that person and smile and say, hi.'" That person is just as scared as you are. But if you smile and say, "Hi," it releases their tension. They say, "Hi," and they smile back. But, everybody is waiting for the other person to do it first. What's the next big stretch goal for Evan?

Evan: We're starting to plan for 2022, planting the seeds now and planting the groundwork for 2022. There are three biggest things that are my scary, daunting goals. We've built a system and a structure. It works to source and close hundreds of millions of dollars a year in affordable housing development projects. We want to really take that to scale.

Darin: To be more than hundreds of millions. You want to do a billion?

Big, Crazy Goals

Evan: Our short-term goal is to get to five deals closed per year. Then within a couple of years after that, get to about 10 deals closed a year. That'd be on the development side. We're also starting a more focused acquisition group. We have big, crazy goals. The three biggest things I'm now working on are team building. How can we grow our team at scale? Bring in people that have that experience, that grit, and that know-how, and then, capital.

How can we pour gasoline on the fire? Lastly is how we can align mentorships with people, the next level of mentor. Getting out of my comfort zone and asking people that are 10, 15 steps ahead of me. Saying, "I want to learn from you. How can I best learn from you?" And so, just aligning myself with people like that.

Darin: You can sit there and say, "I never thought I would be here at 31." But most successful entrepreneurs don't do that. They get there and they're like, "All right, what's next? How do I propel forward?" What do you like to do outside of work?

Evan: I love hiking, hanging out with family, traveling all throughout the country and the world, and mountain biking. Those are usually my go-to's.

Who Can Give You the Shove You Need to Get Started

Darin: If somebody wants to reach out and get to know you better, get to know your program better, what's the best way for them to learn more about you?

Evan: It's www.evanholladay.com. That's got links to all of our websites if you want to look at impact investing with us on deals or interested in our coaching program or our podcast.

Darin: I got to give you props because you definitely helped me get uncomfortable and start a podcast myself. That feedback gave me a little shove, so thank you very much for that. I've met so many great people because of it and I'm very thankful.

Evan's a great guy if you're looking to invest in the Nashville market. If you want to get to know more about affordable housing, he is the guy to go to. Go to a Multifamily Conference, if you see him, make sure that you run up to him and you get to know him. Hope you enjoyed that one. Until next week, signing off.

How to Reach Evan Holladay

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Darin Batchelder


Wealth creation through real estate provided me with a new passion to get the word out and let others know that they have an alternative to investing in the stock market. If I can inspire and educate just one person to take action that results in life changing wealth creation then the work to launch and grow this podcast is well worth the effort.

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My 5 Step Process for Passively Investing In Real Estate

5 Step Process For Passively Investing In Real Estate

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