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How Steven went from near bankruptcy to building a thriving STR business (Ep 610)

Ep 610

In this episode, Jasper Ribbers interviews Steven Suarez, the founder of Argest Rentals, about his experiences in property management and the challenges he faced in scaling his business.

They discuss the importance of building strong relationships with virtual assistants, navigating partnerships and breakups, and the art of renegotiating in business. Steven shares valuable insights and lessons learned from his journey, emphasizing the need for clear communication, restructuring, and perseverance in the face of adversity.


Building strong relationships with virtual assistants is crucial for success in property management.
Navigating partnerships requires clear communication and setting expectations from the beginning.
Scaling back and reevaluating properties and clients is essential for long-term growth.
Managing stress and emotions is important for staying focused and making sound business decisions.
Appreciating and supporting virtual assistants fosters loyalty and improves team morale.
The art of renegotiating is a valuable skill in business and can help navigate challenging situations.


00:00 Introduction and Catching Up
02:22 The Rum and Coke Story
08:07 Challenges and Lessons Learned in Property Management
14:07 Navigating Partnerships and Breakups
19:23 Scaling Back to Scale Up
23:41 Managing Stress and Emotions
27:41 Building Strong Relationships with Virtual Assistants
30:11 The Importance of Appreciating and Supporting Virtual Assistants
35:00 The Art of Renegotiating in Business
37:51 Where to Find Steven Suarez

Grow your short-term rental business OVERNIGHT SUCCESS

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Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts.

Read The Script Here

Jasper Ribbers (00:00.766)
What's this up everybody? Welcome to get paid for your pad. Today I have one of my favorite guests, Mr. Steven Suarez. He's the founder of Rjust Rentals out of Texas, Fort Worth, Texas. He's been on the show a couple of times and he has his own podcast as well. Live, let, thrive. So always fun to have another fellow podcast host on the show. So Steven, what's up, man? Good to see you.

Steven Suarez (00:28.238)
What's up my brother? How you been Jasper? I haven't talked to you since probably a couple days ago.

Jasper Ribbers (00:35.135)
Yeah, so we actually recorded a podcast this week that we're going to be posting up on both our podcasts. So that one will come out next week or the week after. We still need to figure that out. But anyway, it will be there. It was a good conversation. And I'm doing good, man. Like the rain just stopped here in California. There was a lot of panic down here because it was raining. And I guess…

when you live somewhere where it doesn't rain a lot, then when it rains, it causes a lot of problems. There's like floodings and mudslides and whatnot. I come from a country where it rains every day. For me, I look out of the window and I'm like, yeah, it rains and it's windy. Well, that's like 80% of the time where I'm from.

Steven Suarez (01:04.804)

Steven Suarez (01:18.55)
Right, right. Yeah, I used to go to Southern California a lot. And I remember one time it was like, it was like barely sprinkling or something. It wasn't even a lot. And it was all over the news. Every channel was talking about this little sprinkle of rain that's happening and stuff. I was like, well, what is this? So, you know, I'm from this area. We get storms, thunderstorms, a lot tornadoes, all kinds of stuff, all kinds of fun stuff over here. So they don't get a lot of precipitation in Southern California.

Jasper Ribbers (01:44.49)
Yeah, which is one of the reasons why I like living here. Because I kind of like that sun in the morning.

Steven Suarez (01:49.914)
Yeah, the sun's good, man. We're gonna dive into it today. I love chatting with you because like, it's not like, to me, when we get together, me and you, it's not like an interview. It's just like, we're talking about like old friends talking about the industry, about what we're doing and stuff like that. Real quick, I want to hear, I want to, this is my favorite story, my favorite Jasper story ever. And it doesn't even have anything to do with short term rentals. It's so funny because when you first hopped on our show many moons ago, you told us the rum story, the rum and

Would you mind telling me that story again? Because I've told it to so many people. I know I've messed it up, but it's such a cool story.

Jasper Ribbers (02:22.3)

Jasper Ribbers (02:28.35)
Yeah, that's from the Philippines, right? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yes, I got two Roman Coke stories, believe it or not. So I don't know which one you're referring to. Now, I'll…

Steven Suarez (02:31.065)
Yeah, yeah.

Steven Suarez (02:38.796)
I'm sure there's a lot of Roman Coke stories, but anyways, what would the one where it costs? You know, the price was different. The more the Roman. Yeah, yeah, I want that one.

Jasper Ribbers (02:45.79)
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, so, all right, so, you know, I traveled in the Philippines a lot. Like, it's an amazing country. I really feel like it's overlooked by travelers. But, you know, I was on this island in pretty remote in the Philippines. It's an island called Siargao. So it's S-I-A-R-G-I-O. Siargao. And it's, you know, probably like if you talk to people in the states, like probably

0.01% of people have ever heard about this place. It's very remote, but it's cool. It's a very cool island. And it's so unknown that like, you know, you have the beach to yourself, but it's got the most beautiful like white sand beaches. And it's so cheap out there, you know? Like it's crazy how, you know, the cost of living can be so different in different places around the world. Like, you know, people there, like you make a couple hundred dollars a month and that's a lot there.

because everything is just literally so cheap, right? And so I'm sitting there and I'm sitting at a restaurant, right, and I'm looking at the menu and I'm thinking like, what am I gonna order? Right, and the drink options is not a lot because it's remote, so everything has to be flown in, you know, or going on those little Filipino boats. I can't remember what they call them, but they're very typical.

Anyway, so I'm sitting there, I'm looking at the menu and I see they have room coke. And room coke's pretty much the only thing they have except for beer, right? So I'm like, you know what? I don't really feel like beer, so I'm gonna order a room coke. And I look at the menu and I'm like, a single room coke was like 60 pesos, which is about a dollar, right? A double room coke was 40 pesos. No, 50 pesos. So a little cheaper. And then a triple room coke was 40 pesos.

which is like $70 cents or something. And I'm looking at it and I'm like, wait, someone put drugs in my drink. Am I, I didn't have anything to drink yet, right? This is upside down. Like this guy made a mistake, right? And the owner of that restaurant was, he's an Italian dude. So, you know, I went up to him and said like, bro, I want to order the rum and Coke, but you know what, since you flipped the prices, I guess I'll just order the triple then, you know? And he's like, what do you mean?

Steven Suarez (05:07.974)
I'm sorry.

Jasper Ribbers (05:10.534)
What do you mean, you know, flip the pricing? And I was like, dude, like, don't you look at the menu, man. Like the triple is the cheapest one. And he looks at me, he's like, yeah, that's the way it is. And I'm like, well, that doesn't make any sense, bro. And he's like, yeah, dude, you know, what a bottle of a local room costs like a dollar. Yeah. It does the cans, the Coke after import from the States, like they're way more expensive and I was like, this is a weird world out here.

Steven Suarez (05:40.302)
a bizarre old world man. It's funny though because over here of course a triple would cost you like $20 for a triple something right? And yeah I love telling that story I'm like it's backwards because it's more expensive to get coke to that island than to make rum and I think your other rum and coke stories you're walking at some fair over there in Philippines and you ordered a rum and coke and they gave you a whole bottle of rum and a coke for like a dollar

Jasper Ribbers (06:07.218)
Oh man, it was so funny. Yeah, I was trying to explain like, okay, I want two glasses with, you know, a little bit of rum and then topped up with Coke. Right? And she just looks at me like, what are you talking about? And people speak English down there. That's cool. That's the one cool thing about the Philippines. Well, there's many cool things about the Philippines, but one of the cool things about the Philippines is people speak English. You can go to the remotest place. You know, I'll tell you what, in Siargao, like, and this is, it's gotten more popular now. So, you know.

Uh, this is like 2009 or something or 2010. Like I can't remember. I had people coming up to me that want to take pictures with me because saying like you look like from the movies, you know what I mean? Like that's how remote it was. Like there, there was people literally like I would go rent a motorbike and you know, drive across the Island and like people will be really looking like, wow, like just, you know, this is like, uh, somebody who looks very different than us, you know? Um, that, that.

Steven Suarez (07:04.949)
Jason Statham, yeah.

Jasper Ribbers (07:06.898)
Yeah, that's how, that's how I wrote it is, you know? So, um, but everybody speaks English. Like you can, you can drive. I was driving through the jungle and like, there's people like living in little, you know, little shats that they build and there's little, they have their own pigs, their own chickens, and they're pretty self-sustaining, I think. And I would stop and I would just chat to these people, you know, they, everybody speaks English. So that's what's cool about the Philippines. But anyway, like this lady was looking at me weird and I was like, trying to explain it and she's like, we don't do that.

Like I have a can of Coke and I have a bottle of rum for you. And then, you know, and I'm like, well, how much is it? And it's like the ball of rum, it was a half a bottle, you know? And she's like, uh, 60 pesos, you know, like one dollar. And I was like, really? Okay. Well, I guess I'll just take the bottle. I walk up to my, uh, to my buddy. It was there and I was like, Hey, uh, we got to kill this, uh, you know, this half bowl of rum cause this is the smallest to have.

Steven Suarez (07:54.374)
You don't gotta tell me twice.

Steven Suarez (08:05.999)
I bet you had fun over there.

Oh man. So let's dive. Yeah. I wanted to talk about today. Well, I can give you like a little refresher on myself because back long time ago when I was on the show, I think I was around 70 properties, my management company, Argest rentals, right? We're around 70 properties with my partner, Federico and all that. And, um, and then, you know, we got up to a hundred. It was like a big celebration moment, right? Got up to a hundred properties under management, but along the way we picked up a lot of properties we shouldn't have that we shouldn't have managed.

Jasper Ribbers (08:08.834)
Ah, yeah, it was a good time.

Steven Suarez (08:37.812)
a lot of bad properties, stuff like that. So, we kind of dropped down. We kept the good ones, got rid of the bad ones, got rid of the bad clients. And then we hovered around 50 properties. I'm still around 50 properties right now, but they're good properties, right? So, we tend into the garden, got back around 50 properties. And then last August, me and my partner in the business, Federico, we kind of went our separate ways. So, and I'll touch on the partnership thing.

Jasper Ribbers (09:05.799)
You mean you kicked him out?

Steven Suarez (09:09.893)
Oh no, it was, um, breakups are hard, man. I mean, and, and I want to touch on that a little bit. Breakups are hard. If you're going to go into something with a partnership, you have a partner and that's great. Um, and you could probably give me a lot of advice on, on successful partnerships, but any kind of partnership in life, everybody on the show, you know, had a boyfriend and a girlfriend been married, whatever it is business partnership. And, and, you know, it's hard if you don't really, you know, lay out the terms ahead of time.

about you know especially in business about who's gonna do what uh who's gonna be in charge who's gonna have final say you know and actually write it out and that's what i've i'm not looking to get into another partnership anytime soon because you know especially with friends with a friend you know because that that's the part that hurts the most when something goes

a rye and then your friendship kind of takes a ding as well, you know, because you know, we got feelings, we're human beings. And so anyways, so around August last year, we went our separate ways. I kept our just, you know, Fed has started his own company is great. He's doing great. I'm happy for him. And I was in, man, I was in, what's it called?

transition mode, but like, uh, trying to, trying to keep the business afloat. Cause it was, it wasn't in the best shape. And which caused a lot of the conflict too. And, um, so I had to dig in on the business and really, um, go over every single expense, every, every single app we have, we were doing this and that. And so I, I was just, I was just, um, cleaning house, man. I was anything that, that we didn't need.

100,000% was gone. I wanted to simplify the business and strip it down to its core, right? And then after I got all the apps cleared that we didn't need and what can we do with, just elbow grease, our own, everybody hands on deck trying to keep this thing afloat. I also started the renegotiating. Unfortunately, I had to go in and talk to the team and say, the salaries are here.

Steven Suarez (11:22.876)
and they need to be here. And the way I did that, if you don't excuse me, if I keep talking, but the way I did that as well is I talked to our team leader, which speaking to Philippines, a lot of our VAs are in the Philippines. And we had around six or seven employees at the time. And I said, listen, I know we're paying out. We're doing the way this thing was built before was, we managed it ourselves, the leaders of the company.

and we hired a bunch of different VAs. But here's how I wanna structure it. And I talked to my lead, her name's Princess, shout out to Princess. I said, I want to pay one person. I wanna pay you. You're gonna be lead and you're gonna form the team. You can keep who you wanna keep from the Philippines. You know all the employees already or you can form your own, you know, you can form your own team. But you're gonna, I wanna talk to one person. I wanna reach, I want you to run the team.

and run it the way you see we should run it. Of course, I'm going to have my input and stuff, but I want to deal with one person. I don't want to manage every single six or seven people, you know, and so I transformed the company in that sense. So I was just dealing with Princess. And another benefit of doing that, when you're paying out all these different VAs, especially like in the Philippines or other countries, right? When you're building your short-term middle business, management business or whatever you got going on,

any business. It's a lot of different, you know, sending a lot of different, what's it called, sending the money overseas, you know, it gets, they take a chunk, the company you're using takes a chunk, the trend, the rate that, the exchange rate takes a hit of it. So if I'm sending it to one person, they can afford to pay people over there using their kind of Zelle that they got, you know what I'm saying?

send one chunk of money and I could bring my expenses down as far as salaries down but she could actually build a team for the same amount of money you know you know I'm saying and so

Steven Suarez (13:37.858)
I cut expenses. I got rid of a lot of the fat in the company. Cause when you start growing a company really big, you know, it gets really, get a lot of stuff you don't need. And then, um, I renegotiated salaries and, um, while doing that, I also bumped up the bonus structure because it sucks to take away something from people. But Hey, if you hit these marks, you're going to get bonuses. So you could actually make more. So I was in, um, survival mode for, for a few months.

to really dig in and learn my company because you know when you get two partners into something a lot of it gets okay this partner is going to do this and I went and focused on corporate but I had to dive back into the short term side and so I had to cut expenses, dive into my company, learn my company, learn pricing, learn all the basic stuff right that was just someone else was doing and so it was a rough few months but and it happened right at slow

which made it even more fun. But luckily with the help of my team, I was able to steer the ship and get it back on track. So that was a lot I just dumped on you. But yeah, so partnerships, breakups, saving the business and then getting it to profitability again. That was a…

Jasper Ribbers (14:57.88)

Steven Suarez (14:58.59)
It was stressful dude. So I know a lot of heavy hitters come on this show and my show too and talk about how awesome they're doing and hunky dory. But man, it's a lot of tough stuff you got to deal with in business.

Jasper Ribbers (15:15.19)
Dude, a hundred percent man. And this is what we talked about on the other episode that we did for your show. Right. Well, it's like, uh, you know, when you go on Instagram and you see the ads, like it sounds like it's really easy, right? You get a couple of AirBBs and before you know it, you have a Ferrari and you're making a million dollars and this and that. But the reality is, uh, it's yeah, it's, it's a hard business, right? Any business is hard, you know, otherwise like everyone would start their own business, right?

Um, but there's a lot, there's a lot that you said that I recognize. And, you know, one thing, one thing that comes to mind is I remember we, we did our first mastermind in 2019 in Puerto Rico. This is when Eric and I started working together. And on the topic of partnership, I remember when we, when we decided to partner, I remember he was saying like, all right, well, congrats, you know, you're married now, you know, and, and it's funny because I was, I thought he was joking, but like, now I'm actually married and now I.

I understand why he said that because to your point, right? When you're a business partners, man, like, you know, it's almost, it's almost like a marriage, right? You have to, you have to be really, really clear and like there's emotions and like there's expectations and there's all this stuff and you have to manage it. Right. Um, but anyway, we were down there in Puerto Rico for very first mastermind. Um, and. You know, back then, like the market was so good. Everything was just like.

Everyone's focused on like, just bring on more properties. How do we get more properties? We need more properties. Right. And a lot of the properties came from word of mouth at the time. Right. No one, most people didn't really have like a, a sophisticated, like marketing strategy and marketing channel set up to attract new business. It was more like, you know, it was just coming to them. Right. And no one was focused on like, well, are we actually like onboarding the right properties? Like.

Are these, these clients that we onboard, are they people that we want to work with? Are they aligned with like our culture, the brand that we're building, like all that stuff, people were just like, just give me more, just give me more. Right. And then when COVID hit, you know, we started doing the virtual masterminds. And after, after a couple of months or so, what we realized is we, everyone started talking about, we need to, in order to scale up, we need to scale back first, because in those good years, like a lot of.

Jasper Ribbers (17:33.154)
properties were onboarded that shouldn't have been onboarded, to your point as well, like when the money's flowing, you're not focused on expenses, right? So you're like, oh yeah, let's get this tool and let's get that tool and this looks fancy, let's get that. And you know, let's get some more people and you know, let's raise the salaries and it's all good, right? When the money's flowing. But then when, you know, the downturn hits, suddenly it's a different story, right? So that's a term that I'll never forget is like,

you need to sometimes you need to scale down a little bit before you scale up before you can scale up right sounds like that skating downside is where what you went through and i'll tell you one more thing and then i'll pass the mic to you again um you know you know our legends x course like it's a course that was designed for to help people scale right uh but the first thing that we go into is vision

is actually getting very clear on like, what's your brand? What kind of culture do you want to build? What kind of people do you want to work with? What kind of properties, what kind of guests? Like all those hard questions that when the times are good, you can kind of skip over it because you just toss anything on Airbnb and makes money. But when we get, when we take students through that first module, the vision module, the first thing they end up doing after they go through that is actually like off board a number of properties. It's already off board a few clients. Like they get rid of the bad apples, so to speak, right?

And I always find that funny because they come into the course and they're excited. They're like, all right, where's tell, give me the marketing strategy, you know, give me, tell me how to grow my portfolio. And then they go through the vision module and they're like, all right, I got to get rid of like a few of these, you know, clients or if you use property. So they always end up, it's so funny. Like almost 90% of the students that join that course, they get rid of the bad apples first. All right. Mike, back to you.

Steven Suarez (19:23.834)
Hmm. That makes sense. That makes sense. Um, I, one thing I will say to that. And, um, once I was able to, you know, take over the company a hundred percent and, um, I, it was, it was at a, it was at a tough spot as far as I couldn't just start dumping properties and dumping clients, you know, I kinda, I needed that cashflow just to stay afloat, just to pay off the bills, you know? And so I, I was initially holding on to clients.

I shouldn't have held onto, you know, I was making profit, but it was a lot of headaches. And I was holding on to properties I shouldn't have held onto, but because they were profiting, but I say, I can't cut them off now. I need that cash flow because I'm paying off this. And you know, I was left with a lot of debt and I was paying it off. And I was just in a, in a, in a weird spot, man. It's like a cash 22 damned if you do damned if you don't kind of thing. And so as, as the company stabilized.

And I used any tool to my disposal. This is what I did first. I went in there and went to every site I could imagine and tried, you know, this is the benefit of putting your company in your LLC. Of course, you know, that's rule number one. Put your company in an LLC and then get all your credit from your LLC. Put all your leases, master leases, arbitrages, if you have any, put those in LLCs. Put all your contracts with your people, your clients that you're doing business with in LLC.

an LLC or several LLCs however you want to structure your business but don't use your own stuff and so what this what this helped me do I went in there and I used the you know I had good credit with the LLC I used it to get as many lines of credit as possible right because this is what I had to do to kind of restructure things I had to I got as many lines of credit access to credit

whatever, you know, business credit cards, anything I could do to help stay the company. I didn't use them all, but I like to have them at my disposal just in case, let's say a big opportunity came up and I was able to get in on something that I knew was going to be very profitable. I could do that. And, but anyways, that being said, I did all this first and then I went to negotiate some of the existing debts that were really, really weighing on the company. I guess, I don't know if a lot of gurus talk about that, but

Steven Suarez (21:50.056)
there. You can talk to these credit card companies and say, listen, there's no way I can pay this. I'm making this, this is, you know, I'm in a tough spot here. What can you do to help me? They're going to resist, resist. And then finally you're going to get ahold of somebody that can help that could either lower your interest rate. Cause there's just rates too. Cause interest rates have been going up like crazy. People just talk about buying houses and the window went up from 3% to 8%. Yes, but credit cards went up from 19% to 30%, you know, for having the money. If you have a lot of debt on a credit card, you're, you're just getting,

you're in a bad spot. So you can negotiate with these credit card companies to bring the rates down and if they push comes to shove, there's companies that will kind of be a mediator with you and come up with a solution and then bring your rate down to 0%. That's very much a possibility. Like I said, my personal credit is still around 700, good credit score.

All this stuff that I did to restructure my business, restructure the debt, all this stuff didn't affect my personal credit at all. So that's the power of putting your company into an LLC and putting everything into LLC because let's just say, I mean, you have to heaven forbid it didn't happen that hadn't happened to us, but you need to walk away from some leases, right? If some arbitrage is

okay you know they can um i guess go after your llc they can't go after you personally uh let's say you have a falling out with a client like i said you were dealing with my llc you weren't dealing with me personally so your own assets are protected and then um and you could you can do some maneuvers with your business that you really couldn't do personally

Jasper Ribbers (23:26.82)
Mm-hmm. Yeah, that's good advice, man. That's good advice. And it sounds like you went for a tough stretch, you know? So how did you handle it? Because I know you have kids and like, you know, like how did you handle that emotionally? Like, how do you stay sane when you go for something like that?

Steven Suarez (23:41.608)
Ah, you, you…

You notice, you told me on the last show, I have a lot more grays and I do, man. It was, it was very stressful. It was very stressful. It was probably lowest point. Uh, I've been through an old, in a long time. Um, but, but as they say, sweet are the uses of adversity. I was able to, um, that's a Shakespeare. That threw some Shakespeare at you. Uh, but, um, you know, I guess, you know, all those cliches, you know, going through the, the fire, you know, forges iron and all that stuff, but, but it's true.

and I always knew I'm good at, I'm good at…

figuring things out. And I always had that in mind. I said, and of course that crossed my mind. Let me just scrap the whole company. Screw it. It's not worth it. It's not worth this headache. You know, I still had, I still had my day job, you know, even though I was going less and less, I gave away most of my shifts, but I still had that to fall back on, which made it a little less stressful. Right. Um, and so I just had, I just, I was at the point. Yes, it was very stressful. I had the wife, you know, have the wife and kids. Um, but I knew, I knew there was this business

on paper is very profitable. You know, there was a lot of debts weighing it down, a lot of expenses, but I was like, it's making a lot of money. A lot of it's spoken for already, but I know if I just rearrange things, restructure things, I can add that profitability's there. Even if I have to go talk to an outside source and say, hey, here's my books. This thing's making, let's just say $20,000 a month, right? It's making $20,000 a month in profit.

Steven Suarez (25:18.444)
whatever that number is around there. Um, but I need to pay these debts off or I need to, I need to do this and do that. Um, do you want to invest in my company? That was another, that was another, um, option for me because, um, I could sell a chunk of my company, someone's going to make profit from it, you know, kind of like, kind of like stocks in a way, right? Sell a chunk of my company, stay afloat, use that cash infusion to pay off some

salaries and just there's always a way. So, so it, it was very stressful. Yes. And more stressful. So with the family and all this, and there was a lot of other stuff going on too. One of my longterm rentals, rent rental properties, the people that left, they just totally destroyed the house. So I was going through that. I was going through a lot of stuff, man. I don't want to cuss, but, but I was able to pull out of it. And the company is at a very strong point now because I was able to,

Jasper Ribbers (26:11.214)
Thanks for watching!

Steven Suarez (26:18.184)
to do a lot of things to maneuver, to get it to a strong point. And morale is way up at the company. And we can talk about, you know, the kind of like my management philosophy. You know, I'm learning a lot of this on the fly, but I like to let my employees, you know, figure things out. And I like, I don't sit there and micromanage my employees, but I do look at everything. And one thing I do still,

have hands-on is the pricing. Every morning I go in there and I look at the multi calendars and I see all the properties and I might tweak the pricing a little bit this way and that, even though I run everything through price labs and hospitable. Those are my, you know, tech stack. But even though I have the pricing in place and plus I do pricing rule sets inside of Airbnb. So I've learned from some fellow gurus in the industry how to do the pricing, even though

do that, I still like to go in there and tweak it in the mornings. Plus it gives me a whole visual that multi calendar gives me a whole visual of the company. And so I'll tell the team, Hey, you know, these two properties, what's going on here? Maybe you should do some things to get the bookings up or, you know, so I can give directions. So I do that every single morning just so I have my eyes on the company. And so yeah, just that.

Jasper Ribbers (27:41.178)
Right on, man. Right on. You know, and I'll say one more blessing in disguise from this whole thing that you went through is those gray hairs look pretty good on you, man. Makes you look very wise.

Steven Suarez (27:49.878)
distinguished man distinguished

Steven Suarez (27:55.178)
Yeah, yeah, thank you, sir. Thank you.

Jasper Ribbers (27:56.778)
And by the way, if you're paying, if you have VA's, WISE is a good platform to use to send international transfers. That will save you that. Because I think international bank transfers in the States are pretty expensive. It's like $40 or something to wire some money outside of the country. So.

Steven Suarez (28:15.554)
We were using Wwise. We were using Wwise and then we switched to Deal. D-E-E-L. They suggested that one and it's a bit cheaper than Wwise. There's different ones out there. Deal. Yeah. D-E-E-L.

Jasper Ribbers (28:20.795)

Jasper Ribbers (28:24.168)
Okay, D E L you said

Jasper Ribbers (28:30.374)
Awesome. And by the way, on the topic of virtual assistance, uh, we just did a call in our mastermind a couple of weeks ago. And what I recognized is, you know, there was, there was how important it is to make your VA's feel like they're part of the team and, you know, uh, show them appreciation for when they're doing well. Um, because, you know, they're out there in the Philippines, like they're literally on the island and they feel, oftentimes they feel a little disconnected from, from the business.

Um, and we have one, one person in our mastermind to a show. I should bring them a podcast, but he, he was just like, he, he literally did like a little, a little speech for like five minutes where he was telling us how he was managing his virtual assistants. I was like, wow, this is really, really good. And one of the things that he did was he actually went to the Philippines. He actually like went and met his VA's took him out, you know, to come out, rent it out. There's like a couple rooms in a resort for the weekends to come out, you know, had dinner with them.

And I was like, yeah, it's such a good idea. And it, um, we have a lot of people in our mass, man, who were saying like, oh, we'd love to do that, but, you know, never been to the Philippines. Like, you know, I feel kind of uncomfortable traveling there. So I was like, you know what, like I've been there like 15 times. I know the best spots. I was like, you know what I'm going to do at some point? I'm going to organize a trip to the Philippines for short term rental operators who have VA's and then we'll go for two weeks. First week you go meet your VA's, you go hang out with them, build that relationship.

get to know them and then I'll book out like a hotel on the beach somewhere and we'll just spend one week on the beach chilling, talking business, having a good time. What do you think about that?

Steven Suarez (30:11.498)
No, that's a great idea, man. That's so cool. I would love to go meet my Philippines in person and do something like that, man. The morale of it, you know, just to meet them would be so cool. I've heard people, I might've heard them on your talk, on your podcast about meeting their Philippines and hanging out with them. And I think that's the coolest thing. It makes them feel special. They do want to, I'll say this, you know, from my experience, Filipino VAs are

amazing workers man they are they are a bit sensitive i've learned that the hard way they don't like that strong american talk thrown at them they get they go into a shell from my experience you know it's not it's not how they do business and they take things really personally to heart so you do you got to watch how you how you speak to them and like you said praise them they love the praise they love to use emojis it's like a big thing of that and so we had a client a client that we're no longer um

Jasper Ribbers (30:52.558)

Steven Suarez (31:10.286)
we kind of no longer do business with. They're like, what's up with these? Cause they're in one of the message groups. What's up with these, all these emojis that these workers are doing and this and that. That's just how they communicate. It's nothing, you know, that's not very professional. Whatever. But yeah, so I love our workers, our VAs. I couldn't do it without them. And here's the thing too, going back to, like you said, when things were like, we're going crazy and everybody's making money, hand over a fist

this industry trying to grab as many properties, paying whatever, because the Philippines for the Filipino VAs for a minute, they were like the most, you know, the prettiest girl at the ball, you know, they like, they could name their price. It went from like, we could get them for like three or four bucks an hour. So all of a sudden they want like 12 bucks an hour, 15 bucks an hour. Someone wanted 20 bucks. I was like, I mean, wow, they were in so high demand. I guess the secret was out on these, you know, the Filipino VAs. And then, and then all of a sudden the whole Airbnb, Airbnb busts

whatever they call it happens. And so many of them lost their jobs, man. So many of them. And they were back to, okay, we'll take, we'll take three or $4 or $5 an hour again, you know? So it is ebbs and, everything ebbs and flows, right? When the, when the things, everything's going up and everybody's making money, they expect more money in the salaries, but.

But conversely, when things start going down and you're saying, hey, you gotta save the company. I'm sorry, we gotta figure this out. What can we do? And that's what I was saying with the pay structure I did with my lead VA. I said, here's how much I can pay. And I know you can make this money go farther by paying a team over there, instead of me paying a whole bunch of different people. So in other words, you can still make around the same amount of money.

can't afford to be paying this much in salaries, I have to bring it down. And so, I mean, you have to, you have to learn this in business. It's the hardest thing in business. I think it was the art of renegotiating. Everybody knows, you know, learns and reads these books, how to negotiate and get the deal and all this stuff. But when the stuff goes south and you're not making any money and you're losing money left and right, you have to renegotiate everything. And so there's the need to write a book, the art of renegotiating. I have, I've looked for it. I hadn't seen one yet.

Jasper Ribbers (33:30.458)
Yeah, there's one book that I read. Well, I didn't read it. I listened to the audio book, but it's called, I think it's called Crucial Conversations. And all they talk about is how do you manage a difficult conversation? How do you manage a difficult conversation to where the other person is not going to get on their heels? And you…

you lead the conversation in a non-emotional way. It's a very interesting book. If you need to have a lot of conversations that are difficult, I highly recommend listening to that book. And in business, there's always uncomfortable conversations to be had, right? It's to your point, when you have to take something away, it's always great to give people more, but once they're used to it, and then if you have to take something away, whether that's like, you know,

amount of hours that they're working or like, well, whatever benefit it is, taking something away is that's, that's hard.

Steven Suarez (34:30.158)
Hmm. Yeah, it is. And, and, but I mean, as long as you're honest and truthful, cause I mean, I came from a point, a point of view. It's like, I sat down and had those tough conversations, right? I'm like, listen, this business won't, can't continue if, if we're still doing it this way, you know, and we have to pay this much in salary. And then here's what we got to do to save the business. Because if we don't do these things we need to do, it's just going to

close the business down and everybody's gonna lose their jobs. I don't want that. I want to, I want to, I want, you know, and understand this is going to be some tough times ahead. Salaries might go down a little bit and not only that, but I expect y'all to do more work than you were doing. I'll expect more shifts to be covered. I expect more tasks to be done.

Jasper Ribbers (35:04.131)

Steven Suarez (35:20.63)
And it's a weird thing, man, because you're asking for, you know, every all hands on deck. I said, I'm in, I'm gonna jump into this business too. I'm going to work, you know, a hundred hours a week as well to save this thing. But everybody else has to bring up what they were doing before and double that. And then I'm going to have to bring down the salaries, but I, you got to let them know the same forever. Once we get back to a stable place of, of good profitability, I'm going to gradually bring back and gradually afford to bring those back up, but if we don't do something now and restructure.

Jasper Ribbers (35:43.755)

Steven Suarez (35:49.924)
and redo the, you know, the pay structure and stuff, it's just gonna fail. And they understand that because a lot of them came from failing short-term rental companies. I mean, so many short-term rental companies failed, not just the small ones, not just the mid-level like us, but the big dogs. I mean, so many of the big dogs failed as well. So a lot of these, even Airbnb laid off a crap load of Filipino VAs, but it's not just the small, everybody was laying them off. So they understood.

If y'all fight for me and fight for the company, I'm gonna fight for you guys and I'm gonna keep your jobs and I'm gonna keep you getting paid. And then we're gonna revisit this in a few months when everything gets stabilized again.

Jasper Ribbers (36:31.627)
Mm-hmm. Yeah. Awesome, dude. Yeah, a lot of good learning lessons in that phase that you went through. So I appreciate you, you know, like opening up and sharing all that.

Steven Suarez (36:45.894)
Oh yeah man, it's been um, it's been weighing on me for a while and-

You know, I don't get to bring it up too much on my podcast. I, you know, cause I'm doing interviews like you are interviewing, you know, heavy hitters, big hitters, uh, big people in the industry. Um, but it is, it is, um, it's important. And people, and people will find that out once they start their own business. It, the challenges involved. Um, but if you follow people like, like Jasper and get into Jasper's mastermind or follow people like live, let thrive my, my mind, and, um, there's a lot of help out there, man.

Um, and don't be afraid to ask for help and don't be afraid to, you know, talk to people about what's going on. There's a lot of people that have great, you know, they've been through it and they can help you. So, so reach out for help.

Jasper Ribbers (37:31.078)
Mm hmm. 100%. Yeah. Well, on that on that topic, I guess we're wrapping up this podcast, like, where can people go to listen to your podcast? People that are in Texas that want to connect with you talk about, you know, potential clients maybe or, you know, just people want to connect with you on business, like what's the best place to find you?

Steven Suarez (37:51.11)
All right, you can go to live let thrive.com behind me. It's behind me on a poster. L I V E L E T thrive.com. That's the podcast. And if you got a compelling story, we'd love to have you as a guest on the show. Um, of course go on there and hit that button and become a guest. Um, also are just rentals, a R G E S T. Rentals are just the largest. So are just rentals.com is where you find my company.

those you can you can go from there and find me you know and send out an email send out a you know hit up the phone line the business phone line and you can talk to me and I love talking to people connecting with people helping people out because it always comes back it comes back to you right Jasper

Jasper Ribbers (38:37.29)
That's right. It's Karma, bro. Karma. We had somebody sign up a while ago for one of our programs who was like, yeah, I listened to your podcast for so long. You really helped me so much. I just figured I'd support you, sign up for your course. Karma comes back. Nice website, Argeisrentals.com. Nice Boosley website. Shout out to Mr. Mark Simpson of Boosley. He's awesome. One of the most awesome people in space.

Like to give him a shout out and your website looks great, man. So, arejustrentals.com. Check it out. Check out what Stephen's up to. Uh, if you want to be on his podcast or you want to connect with him, it's let Liv thrive. Liv. Sorry. Oh man. It's early. It's six, six 58 AM. All right. Oh my, in my defense. Yeah. Early, early bird catch the worm.

Steven Suarez (39:20.598)
live let thrive yeah backwards cool brother where you at oh you're in california that's right you're in california

Jasper Ribbers (39:35.123)
You know, I get up five in the morning every day.

Steven Suarez (39:35.178)
Yeah, and one more thing on tough conversations. Um, do like Jasper and get a, get a bottle of rum. It helps with the conversation.

Jasper Ribbers (39:43.626)
Exactly. Go to the Philippines and you can buy one for $1 pretty much. All right, brother. It was great to see you. Uh, thank you so much for, for jumping on the show. I'm sure we'll have you back and to the listeners. Hope you enjoyed this conversation here. I reached out to Steven. He's a, he's awesome dude. And, uh, we'll see you soon. We'll be posting up, uh, our, another conversation that we had, uh, on the Steven's podcast, we'll post that up.

Steven Suarez (39:46.812)
Ha ha!

Jasper Ribbers (40:11.754)
as one of the next episodes. So you'll hear more from Stephen soon.

Steven Suarez (40:15.642)
where I grilled you on that podcast so that was even better.

Jasper Ribbers (40:19.224)
That was even better. All right, Stephen, appreciate it, man. See you next time.

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