Leon Barnes – Collective Genius | Florida Mastermind

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Leon Barnes – Collective Genius | Florida Mastermind

Bill Fairman of Carolina Capital is joined in by Leon Barnes to talk about Collective Genius.

The goal of The Collective Genius is to help you scale your business, build you wealth, and to also give back. They have helped many businesses like yours in the past to scale profitability.

Their mission is to passionately help our privileged members create an amazing lifestyle through growing and protecting their real estate businesses by providing an environment that fosters community, connection, collaboration and contribution.

Bill Fairman (00:00):
I’m saying yay because Leon was found. He was too busy down there at the beach drinking cocktails.

Leone Barnes (00:14):
I have not had a cocktail yet, Bill.

Bill Fairman (00:16):

Leone Barnes (00:18):
It’s still early. I have had plenty of water and lunch and so I’m geared up now.

Bill Fairman (00:23):
Excellent. By the way, thank you so much for joining.

Leone Barnes (00:26):
Sorry I’m late and out of breath.

Bill Fairman (00:29):
We are on the second floor. Did you take the elevator or the stairs?

Leone Barnes (00:33):
Wendy got me right in the elevator quickly, I felt like I was doing a television production and she was like, “You’re late, you’re late. You gotta be on camera, let’s go!”

Leone Barnes (00:41):
So, by the way, Leon Barnes, Collective Genius. He doesn’t just work for Collective Geniuses, you’re a Member Relations. Is that your title?

Leone Barnes (00:55):
The title is Director of Member Results so Director of Membership. Makes sure that members of the collective genius get everything that they signed up for.

Bill Fairman (01:04):
I can tell you from experience that Leon is one of the best connectors that I have met. If you have a problem or a need, you go to Leon, he’s going to hook you up with the person you need to talk to within this group. Now we just had a day, a pair of gin and brits, not grass on talking about a Generous Genius.

Leone Barnes (01:28):

Bill Fairman (01:28):
For the 30 minutes of the show. Because it’s really important that we understand that it’s not just about making money, it’s about giving back. But let’s talk about Collective Genius right now. Before I get into that, this man just moved in his family in Kansas to Tampa.

Leone Barnes (01:47):
That’s right.

Bill Fairman (01:49):
Where, I guess he likes the humidity. Doesn’t mind the wind because he’s already from Kansas. Right? It’s windy there anyway, but at least the wind is a lot warmer, right?

Leone Barnes (02:00):
It’s a lot warmer in December, January and February. There are a lot of similarities. The ocean, obviously, it’s not one of them but we do have a lot of lightning in Kansas and this is the lightning capital of the US. We have a lot of wind, so there’s a lot of similarities minus the ocean and the warm weather.

Bill Fairman (02:22):
And the hurricanes.

Leone Barnes (02:23):
Yes. Well, we get tornadoes so it’s a wash, right?

Bill Fairman (02:26):
Your tornadoes are a lot bigger than the ones you get here, that’s for sure. So we got settled in okay?

Leone Barnes (02:31):
Yeah. We’ve been here for going on two months. My son, I have two sons, eight and a three-year-old. So I move with two kids. I’ve moved across the country several times, but never with kids and so that made it a challenge, finding schools for the oldest and transitioning that way has been the most difficult part. Obviously during a pandemic doesn’t hurt, doesn’t help it either but, you know, kids are resilient and I was told that by a very wise man and I would have made the move if I didn’t think it was going to be the best for their longterm, not just for us as a family. It was most important for my kids that this was the right move for them. I just was telling someone down at the bar that I wasn’t drinking with that, you know, they will high five me in a couple of years. Thank you so much for moving us from Kansas to Florida, especially in January in December.

Bill Fairman (03:25):
It’s not much of a secret but I would love to spend those three months in Southwest Florida is so I haven’t been actively looking for a place on a canal so I can go fishing when I want. It has been on my radar for a while and here’s one of the things that you always fail to do when you’re on live camera is turn your stupid phone off, my apologies. So, I know you’ve been your own, um, real estate investing prior to getting involved in Collective Genius. You want to talk to me about it?

Leone Barnes (04:06):
Sure. So I joined as a member first in 2015, Wendy was a member at that time. I remember Wendy was one of the first members that I reached out to that helped me. I’ve been looking to set up a fund. We did about 50 and 60, then 70, then it got all the way up to 80 flips a year for the company that I was working for at that given time. I was the COO of that company and had learned a lot, had a lot of fun there, built a great team and then looked at, you know, can I do this on my own in the future? And did I want to work for someone else? I think a lot of people go through that and the investing world is just, I want to be my own boss but I think you said something earlier that drew me to this, in this role and I am still an active investor. We’ll do 25 to 30 deals this year and continuing to grow in the year and a half that we’ve started back doing it but it’s, I always tell Jason, I’m so appreciative of this opportunity because I feel like I’ve found what I’m supposed to do and this is my calling and I really truly feel like that and that’s one of the reasons we made this move. Not just because of the beautiful Florida but because I feel like on a daily basis, I’m able to help our membership base better because I’m sitting next to Jason on a daily basis versus assume called that we might be once a day and so that was a strategic move behind it, of why we wanted to come here. Um, and I will say that being a flipper and or an investor group is the best community I’ve ever been a part of and that comes from also my 11 years in corporate America. Prior to this, as a regional sales manager, I didn’t have this type of community. We had a corporate community, but it was never like a giving community like this. You talked about Generous Genius, beyond Generous Genius. It’s just what people are willing to help like Wendy didn’t know me from Adam. We had never met before, called her to talk about a fund after my first meeting because I was told you need to talk to Wendy and she took an hour to know me from Adam and that’s the type of community that we have here.

Bill Fairman (06:16):
Well, you know, you’re talking about the corporate culture, it is completely different. A corporate culture is all about how you get ahead, not helping others raise their game and then when you help others raise their game, guess what? Your game gets raised as well because it’s all reciprocal and part of the traps that we fall into and this is good because you guys help keep us focused as well. Is that when we get here, we hear all these great ideas and we want to go and implement all of them and I remember being in the office with Wendy and Larry going and every time they came back from CG, they’d say, all right, they’re changing everything! Now we’ve got to do it this way and I would just shake my head, understanding that you need to focus in on one thing, get good at that and then just start adding things that make sense for your business.

Leone Barnes (07:13):
That’s so spot on, Bill. See, I always have a follow-up call with our new members. We call an onboarding call and it’s really, it’s a give all the resources but in addition to that, to always leave that call with, to not try to do too much, you just were drinking from a fire hydrant over there, now I feel like a glass of water and take that glass and then move on to the next one because if we see people fail within this community, it’s two reasons. Number one, they haven’t engaged people like yourself or Wendy, or the two gentlemen that you talked about before Brett Snodgrass and Dave Payerchin and these are great examples of people that are willing to always help you. If you engage them, they will help you. And the second part is try to do laser focus on one per quarter. Cause you can do that, you will grow your business instead of stunt your growth because you’re trying to do too many things. Because they’re all great ideas, they’re all shiny, shiny objects but there’s the one for you that makes the most sense that you need to implement it right away.

Bill Fairman (08:20):
Yeah. And anytime you take on a large task, it’s that saying about how do you eat an elephant one bite at a time? It’s the only way you’re going to be able to accomplish that and if you’re trying to do too many things at once, you’ll never be good at any of them and that’s always been a problem. So how do you think the hybrid meeting went? Because this was the first time we did hybrid, we usually either all met together or we were all virtual. I know there was a couple of hiccups at the beginning but it seemed like it turned out pretty well.

Leone Barnes (08:56):
We called those hiccups lessons that we learned from, you know, so I have a broadcast journalism background, I was in radio and television in college and writer, actor and it reminded me of a live sporting event. We had the live event going on while trying to bring and incorporate the virtual world, which is the audience and make sure that they feel like they’re interactive with that and the technology was there. It just, we had to tweak it to make sure that we got it right. So I will tell you, traditionally, just to give you some more background, we traditionally meet for five days at the leadership team at our quarterly meetings. Each group comes in for three days but we’re there for the entire five days and were, as you can imagine, typically pretty exhausted at the end of those five days. I can tell you this morning was a struggle getting up because we had two days versus the typical five but what we crammed in from 12 to 6, Tuesday and Wednesday, it felt like it was two weeks worth of work because you could never take your eye off of the virtual audience. You had to make sure that they were getting the same experience as possible as the people live and making sure that everything was going smoothly. Usually I’m just focused on the audience and connecting those members in house but so now you’ve got the chats and the virtual and it was a fun experience. One that I think, I feel like the feedback that we got, that the virtual audience got just as much when it came to connection because they were connecting with each other while we were breaking and connecting, they were connecting on the chat as well as in their room. So I think overall for our first experience, we leave this game. We can do this in the future. Yeah.

Bill Fairman (10:54):
Yeah. Cause there are people that for some reason just can’t make it and it would be nice for them to be able now at the same time you want to incentivize people to come.

Leone Barnes (11:05):
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. But we do know that there are people that just cannot or do not want to travel anymore and I get that completely. It’s a small percentage because the true magic of our group is always going to be personal connection. Having said that, if you can’t make all four meetings and you’ve plan on one being virtual to give you that option, it’s something that we know we can accomplish and do it at a high level.

Bill Fairman (11:30):
And I want to just step back just a minute about the, we had breakout rooms, by the way. After we have a lesson, we want to try to implement that last thing or practice that lesson right after it’s given so what we’ll do is we’ll break out into these little breakout tables and we’ll practice what we just learned and how do you do that virtually and you do that locally as well, which is really kind of cool that they automatically take, you know, let’s say eight people move them into a room and then take eight more people and move them into a room all virtually and they all show up and it’s awesome. It really is.

Leone Barnes (12:09):
It was fun. And now I will tell you that the exercise that we did with Chris Voss, therefore three hours of negotiation training. It was one of those that, it sounded easy on paper but to pull it off and have separate rooms with our members to accomplish that feat, it was cool, it was done well, but there’s a lot of moving parts behind the scenes and the breakout was the most fun because I did a couple of them myself while being in the room and it’s funny cause you get in there with room, with people that you maybe haven’t had a conversation with in a long time and you’re engaging on that particular subject to get deeper into it. It was fun on both sides.

Bill Fairman (12:53):
We’re being hassled out here by our friends on the porch This is why we’re doing this live. And by the way, Tom, you’re asking where, where we are. This is beautiful, Clearwater, Florida and this is the Opal Sands Hotel and it’s right on edge of the inlet that takes you into the bay and then you’ve got the beautiful Gulf of Mexico right behind us, not to mention the pool and the bar.

Leone Barnes (13:24):
Beautiful clearwater beach. Rated usually one of the top three beaches in the United States. And again, one of the reasons that it was easy to move here. Outside of the weather today, it’s usually pretty nice.

Bill Fairman (13:40):
And we were talking about an incentive to come to the meetings. Well, this is one of the incentives.

Leone Barnes (13:46):
Yes. Especially in December, again, usually in Florida in December.

Bill Fairman (13:52):
You know, it’s funny. And I have to mention this, the plan we have our meetings quarterly and one meeting is in San Diego and one meeting is typically in Tampa. And every year it seemed that the Tampa meeting was right during hurricane season and then at the same time, every meeting that was in San Diego was during fire season. So we had a great idea to swap it around so we’d have it differently but then COVID kinda came in and messed that up and sure enough, as soon as we’re flying in, there’s a hurricane right off the coast of here. Fortunately, it just got a little rain from it.

Leone Barnes (14:33):
Brilliant ideas usually work out. But sometimes you’re not expecting a a hundred year pandemic. Unfortunately, that mess things up but the good news is that I know there’s a lot of people that have been affected by this hurricane season. It has missed us a couple of times here and we’re getting some of the effects of that right now. This is my meteorologists background would go into now.

Bill Fairman (15:00):
Your broadcast meteorologists. See, this is how I tell people what the weather is. Look out that way. Now you can also step out the door and do that, right? So, geez, I forgot what the heck I was going to ask you. Oh, if someone is a top notch, real estate investor in their market, how would they, I know it’s a lot of it, most of this is invitation, but if they don’t know anyone, that’s a current member, how would they get ahold of someone to see if they’re a good fit for our group? It’s a great question. So the first thing that they do is they go to our website, thecollectivegenius.com, thecollectivegenius.com and on that, first and foremost, they’re going to learn about us before they look at joining or applying, there are ton of testimonials on there from great members like yourself and to see if it’s a good fit before you start any of the process, this has to be the right fit for the investor and the community and that investor has to be able to give something back to this community and not just take. Having said that if you do feel like you’re someone that’s a high caliber investor, you do a minimum of 50 transactions a year or half 50 doors or been an investor for a very long time, there’s an application. It says How CG Works. You click on that button on our website and then you can apply. We are exclusive for territories up to three and major metros and so there are some that are locked out, but we have a lot and we have some open markets that are still available. But I will tell you this, I personally do a consultation with every single applicant that is qualified and we are first and foremost, not selling you on this. This has to be the right fit for you, if it is the right fit, then we can move forward and your annual membership includes four meetings, including a meeting like this but the process starts with an application and a zoom call. Let’s see if you’re the right fit before we move forward. We’ve been doing zoom calls way before it was popular, because we want to make sure we have a face-to-face with someone to see really what their goals are and if we can help them accomplish those goals, if we can’t, we’ll part as friends and we’ll stay in touch.

Bill Fairman (17:20):
Excellent. Well, I know that one of the things that Wendy and I harp on on every single broadcast that we do is the importance of being involved in a community of people that are basically the same culture as you like-minded. Even if it’s just your REIA group or a meetup group but the importance is when you’re a small business owner, you’re by yourself and you need to be a community that’s going to help you and I tell you, it has being involved in masterminds has just lifted our game consistently and it actually has made me a better learner because I was kind of stagnant for awhile and it really got into me that I needed to have a little better. How do I want to put this? I needed to lift my own game personally, not just business wise and being involved in these different mastermind groups has allowed me to continue to learn and continue to be excited about what we do.

Leone Barnes (18:29):
We’re all human beings. And there are days that it’s harder to get up more so than others and you’re just looking on a daily basis to be inspired, to continue to grow and we’ve got a community of 150 members now, all across the United States that some want to scale and grow, most do. Their A type of personalities, but some of them, they just want to protect, have some cash flow, continue to grow and, you know, exchange money instead of time for money and so there’s a great blend within the group and in any mastermind or local REIA, you’re looking for people that inspire you to continue to grow because I, we were talking about this earlier this week, someone’s grandfather, they said that their grandfather is like 77 years old and he still goes out and works construction every single day because he believes that when he stops that body in motion and that mind in motion he’ll die. That’s the inspiration. I think all of us as human beings sometimes need.

Bill Fairman (19:39):
I think there’s a lot of truth to that when people retire, if they don’t move on to their next, they do start falling behind health wise and mentally, I believe. You can only fish and play golf so often.

Leone Barnes (19:54):
It’s fun, but you need, I think we all need purpose.

Bill Fairman (19:58):
Absolutely, I agree.

Leone Barnes (19:58):
Whether that’s real estate or whatever you do in your life, find your purpose because it’s the old cliche of, you’ll never work a day in your life.

Bill Fairman (20:09):
All right. Well, listen, thank you so much for joining us.

Leone Barnes (20:11):
Thanks for having me. Sorry I was late.

Bill Fairman (20:12):
I’m sorry I had to pull you away from the beach and the cocktail bar, which he was not taking advantage of yet.

Leone Barnes (20:18):
Don’t be sorry because you’re pushing me right down to there now.

Bill Fairman (20:22):
But thank you so much.

Leone Barnes (20:25):
Thank you for having me.

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