Real-Estate Investment

How Real-Estate Investing Can Help Take Back Control Of Your Life

Welcome to Boostly Podcast Episode 547.

Liam is the host of the Behind the Host podcast, where he interviews hosts from around the world to get an insight into their business, tactics, trainings, and tools that listeners can implement into their own hosting business.

In this episode, he is interviewing Lauren Havens, a real estate investor and host from Utah. Lauren owns and operates Home Havens, a short-term rental business, which has allowed her to take control of her schedule and finances.

She and her partner got into real estate investing in 2017 and now manage over 150 units. Lauren shares how they got started by buying two investment properties near a National Park in southern Utah and then purchasing a neighboring property after chatting with the owner who was an elderly woman from her hometown.

Here's the video for this episode:

Timestamps (audio)

00:00 – Intro
00:55 – Lauren Intro
06:15 – When did the transition happen?
11:06 – When did you start to need a team?
17:18 – What would be the best way to look for a VA?
23:30 – Was there any defining tech moments?
29:36 – How has your day to day routine changed?
33:58 – Quickfire Questions
35:45 – Outro

Whilst you’re here

Follow Boostly on the following channels to get more tips, tactics and knowledge on how you can increase your direct bookings

Visual – YouTube

Audio – Boostly Podcast




Transcript from the Episode

[00:00:00] Liam: Okay, so welcome to another episode of Behind the Host podcast, uh, being shared across the Boostly podcast. Uh, this is a podcast where we get to interview hosts from all around the world and really to dive into their business to see what. Tactics, trainings and, and tools they use so that you as a host may be able to implement some of those, uh, tactics and trainings into your business today.

[00:00:25] I'm excited because we've got Lauren Havens joining us, and, uh, Lauren is a host all the way from Utah in the usa. Uh, she owns and operates Home Havens. Uh, she's got two boys, Sage and Mo, and along with her partner is involved in real estate. Uh, today we're gonna hear. Real estate investing and particularly short term, uh, rentals has allowed her to take her control of her schedule, uh, their lives financially.

[00:00:52] And, um, yeah, we are excited to, to dive into business. So welcome along Lauren. ,

[00:00:57] Lauren: thank you. I'm so honored to be here. It's fun to be a [00:01:00] part of something you've watched before , so thank you for having

[00:01:02] Liam: me. That's cool. We love, uh, we love having people from all across the world and um, so I'm not gonna take any funder away from your, your business is, is amazing.

[00:01:13] And, uh, what I'd love to do is if you can just introduce yourself, uh, your business, how many units, and how long you've been hosting for, I'd love to. Give the listeners some, uh, uh, in insight into your business.

[00:01:28] Lauren: Yeah, you bet. So my name is Lauren and I run Home Havens. My last name is Havens. So there's the connection there.

[00:01:35] Um, I've been, so we got into this in 2017, just the last part, December of 2017. And it has just slowly grown and snowballed since. Right now we manage just over a hundred and I, I'm not sure if we're in the 148 or 150. We add units fairly regularly. Uh, we are adding a number this week, . [00:02:00] It's a really fun ride and I don't always know exactly when new Li li uh, listings list.

[00:02:07] So I guess, there you go. Yeah, so we just kind of got into it. Got into it when we bought two investment properties. My husband and I bought two. They were just outside in National Park, in southern Utah. And when we were down there getting those ready to go, we thought, hey, I think these would do better for like tourists than they would do for long-term renters.

[00:02:30] So let's give it a try. And we lived five hours away, so we were just down there visiting to kind of set them up. They were very, they were almost tiny homes. They're pretty small, four or 500 square feet. And we actually bought the neighbors home while we were down there cuz she was from my hometown and elderly.

[00:02:44] And we just got to talking. And so those three are what started our journey. Um, and so it started our real estate investing journey as well as our short-term rental journey. Which in turn turns into, you know, a company and a cleaning company and content and [00:03:00] all of those fun things.

[00:03:02] Liam: Wow. So let's back up a second.

[00:03:03] Do you. we're investing in two houses. And you got chatting to the neighbor and you bought her Yeah, her, her property

[00:03:09] Lauren: as well. We did. So, um, really unique community. Very small homes, very small, lots, but a fun experience. Uh, kind of that tiny home vibe that you've seen now is becoming very popular. Uh, little less popular then.

[00:03:24] We had to kind of convince and explain to guests that they were staying in a sort of a tiny home. Uh, but yeah, we, we had a, started chatting with the neighbor and she was old and, and moving into a facility to help care for her health and she needed to get rid of the home. We grew up in the same town, so we just started talking about that.

[00:03:42] And, uh, she let us by her home too, so we had three all right next door to each other.

[00:03:46] Liam: That's perfect, isn't it? And I mean, that's just the power of building relationships and introducing yourself,

[00:03:52] Lauren: being. Being brave. Yeah. I, I mean it took two seconds to wave at her instead of just kind of, you know, avoiding while moving [00:04:00] boxes in and, and look what it turned into.

[00:04:02] Liam: Definitely, definitely. I know some people as you wave or or duck like that, you know, so it is one of those, uh, one of those ones where being brave, building these relationships can, can lead to things. So take us back to the mindset around at that time you've decided to launch on, uh, I assume Airbnb. Is that where you Yeah.

[00:04:19] Project and. What did you learn in those first few months about the difference between. Short-term rental. Oh,

[00:04:28] Lauren: mostly what not to do. I think that's what we all learned at the start of our journey, is we make some pretty good mistakes. Um, we made some pretty good ones about, um, I would say when we first launched our listings, I came from a, a marketing background in copywriting and websites.

[00:04:44] And so, man, I made those listings sound fantastic. They were luxury. They were this, they were that. And like when you were there, I don't know if they were quite all those things. So we made some mistakes and learned to be super accurate in our listings. Just as [00:05:00] honest as possible, if there's something that hadn't been, um, fixed or updated, a, a number of our properties will redo the interior now, not then, but.

[00:05:09] We'll redo the interior and then slowly over the next year we'll do the yard. And so we always put that in the listing at the bottom. We include a picture of the backyard that may not look fantastic and we say, Hey, we're working on updating it. We just did the inside. Cuz people want, people want to be impressed.

[00:05:24] They want more than they signed up for, not less. When they come. So me being good at fancy words really did us no favors. We learned that lesson pretty quick. Uh, also about cleaners. We learned to pay for our cleanings and to have really reliable, uh, cleaners who did a really detailed job. We learned about checklists and documentation.

[00:05:44] All those boring things. All those mistakes. Uh, . But once you learn 'em, they help.

[00:05:49] Liam: Yeah. And that's one of those things that we we're always saying, this underpromise and over-deliver. Yes. And those boring things is just part of the, the stuff that you have to just have as, as, as [00:06:00] hosts, especially as you grow from, you know, few units to, to multiple units.

[00:06:04] So when you go in from, you start off with those three, when did, and they were owned, um, owned units,

[00:06:12] Lauren: is that correct? Mm-hmm. . Yep. They were owned by us, just me and my husband.

[00:06:15] Liam: When did the transition happen into managing or co-hosting other people's listings?

[00:06:21] Lauren: Yes. So, um, my husband and I saw the value of meeting people just early in our careers, early in our lives, and so we started networking.

[00:06:29] He was really interested in getting. Into real estate investing further, and so we'd go to networking events and people would say, well, what are you doing? We'd say, well, we're running this Airbnb thing in Southern Utah, and they would ask questions about it. We ended up teaching a lot of classes about our numbers and how much we paid for the properties, what they were making, what we had to do to make it go.

[00:06:49] And people were scared. They were like, wow, that's really good money, and that sounds awful. And so we had people start coming to us saying, will you do that? Can you do that for us? Like if I give you [00:07:00] money, can you do that? If I give you a property, can you do that? And so at that point, um, it took some, it took some.

[00:07:07] Twisting of my arm that we took on our first management client. And after we took on our second and third, I just really started falling in love with working with a team. And that's when I started hiring and getting some help. So I wasn't the one doing all of the work. And I had so much fun. I had so much fun hiring, working with team members, building out all the documentation, just something I enjoyed.

[00:07:29] And so it made it fun to scale. Um, but really we just, again, being brave and talking to people is how we originally. .

[00:07:37] Liam: I love that as well. This, um, you know, the, the fun stuff of documenting as well, you just said. So the fun stuff of training, you know, that is, um, you've gotta enjoy this, haven't you? You, it's gotta be something that you, you, you enjoy.

[00:07:48] If, um, if you're gonna do it, and this is something where, what would you say to people who are listening to this going, do you know what? I just don't like getting out there. Networking. Um, [00:08:00] you know, I'm worried about sharing some of my figures. I'm, I worry about being too open and, and sharing stuff. What, what would you have to say to those people?

[00:08:07] Lauren: I think it's easier online. Mm-hmm. . So if you're looking for a baby step between, like, presenting at a conference and not doing anything, uh, Just posting like pictures on your Instagram, like things like that just to let people know. Cuz people will notice, even if it's just friends and family, if they're talking to someone else and they know that you have an Airbnb unit or that you're wanting to get into it, even.

[00:08:35] Things will come up if you don't put it out there and you don't have to put it out there the first time by getting yourself on a stage or anything like that. If you just put it out there with friends, family, social media is a really easy one to like close your eyes and hit post and just forget about it.

[00:08:50] Um, I think it's a great bridge and a great way to start. Um, I've been shocked honestly at social media and how I feel like networking for me currently is [00:09:00] more effective digitally than it is in person, which I think is rare. That might be controversial. Uh, but for me and my setup right now, it really is.

[00:09:09] Liam: It's, it's one of those ones where you find, uh, you find your, your X factor and you go strong on it, isn't it? And that sounds to me as though, and, uh, for anybody listening, do go and check out, uh, Lauren's, uh, Instagram. I, I will read it out again at the end, but that is at home underscore havens and just the reels that you're posting, regular content, putting yourself out.

[00:09:30] Um, is just, just awesome. And that must, how, how has that helped being out there on social media to, with the scaling of the business? I

[00:09:39] Lauren: have never marketed, I've never paid a penny for marketing. So, um, all of the clients that have come to us are word of mouth or they've seen my social media. And for people out there, they're feeling intimidated, like, well, that's a lot.

[00:09:51] Like, look at her page. There's a lot up there. I only started trying on social media in like April or May of this year, and this is being recorded in. [00:10:00] And I took three weeks off because I had a, a health thing, uh, in July. And so it really shows you, I told myself, Hey, I'm going to, I'm gonna be active on social media for the first time in my life for 90 days straight, and I'm gonna see what happens.

[00:10:12] And at this point it's basically completely replaced me speaking at events and other things like that. And I can do it from home with my kids and on my time, which is really nice.

[00:10:23] Liam: I love the. The fact that you just decided, and this is, this is one of the things that we see, uh, with, with, with hosts. And certainly from my experience, you do have to just decide to take that action and not just once ever, it's gotta be that consistency of, let you say, over that 90 days.

[00:10:39] Uh, one of the, um, one of my mentors that, that I follow says that, you know, you can't. , put a seed in the ground and expect a tree to be there the next day. It is a case of you do a, a little bit, a little bit of watering daily and that will grow into something big And, uh, that sounds as though that's what's happened and I feel inspired by, uh, by your Instagram journey there.

[00:10:58] So thank you. [00:11:00] When it comes down to you, you touched briefly on having a team. Now, when did the transition, how many units were at when you started to transition to need more of, uh, a team and a structure around you?

[00:11:12] Lauren: I think about it, I think I started crying at about 20, 25 units . I think that's your my first break.

[00:11:18] I'm gonna mention these breaks cuz I think it's really important for hosts going through the process to like kind of note, so this might be relatable when you have a baby, right? There's all these apps and books about milestones. Hey, they should be doing about this at about this time. I wish there was a milestone marker somewhere.

[00:11:35] Infographic for hosts as they're growing and so I can share my experience. About 2025, I started saying, oh my gosh, I cannot be the runner. Bring the extra toilet paper when the cleaner can't answer all of the guests. Messages and the new owner inquiries coming on and be the accountant and I can't do it all at the same time.

[00:11:55] So that was the first time I started looking for help. Um, and at that [00:12:00] point I got a generalist assistant, which I would highly suggest. Um, they happen to be local. Knowing what I know now. I think they could have been online, but just somebody who believes in what you're doing and is. at most things, they were like decent.

[00:12:13] They can kind of pick anything up. If you say, Hey, we just need a plumber today. Call around till you find someone they can do that. They could also talk to a guest. Um, around 50 units is when I started specializing, um, saying, okay, generalist, I'm taking away this. So we're making more of a defined role around.

[00:12:33] Owner communication. So it's not just like whose day it is yours or mine to answer the phone calls. We're gonna have like a dedicated owner rep. We're gonna have a dedicated owner email. So we started getting dedicated, looking for more accounting help, more specialized help. Around that point, at about 70 units is when I was able to hire like a full-time handyman, um, and a cleaner manager.

[00:12:57] To help manage. So then we had like a level of management [00:13:00] in between the cleaners and myself or the assistant, kind of the top level. That's also when we started adding additional virtual assistance and really digging into virtual assistants and what they could be doing. Um, by the time we're at.

[00:13:13] Probably 50, 60 units. I wasn't personally messaging anyone, any of the guests anymore. Um, I was auditing messages and then about 80 to a hundred units. Uh, it kind of varies cuz some of ours kind of jumped up fairly quickly at that point. Mm-hmm. , um, we had a VA manager come on, which is probably the best decision with VAs I've ever made.

[00:13:32] Uh, and then also an HR part-time VA that helps with. They help manage our cleaners satisfaction overall, just kind of coordination. Um, and now that we're at, honestly, once you hit over a hundred, um, I think it gets easier. There's less jumps because at that point you have a pretty sustained team. So at least in my business, I'm kind of expecting there's only one hire between 100 and 200 units.

[00:13:59] Mm-hmm. , [00:14:00] um, and. And they're a local, in-person kind of assistant type role. Uh, just to me personally, to be able to organize things a little bit better.

[00:14:10] Liam: That's amazing. I mean, that, what a great insight that is. First of all. I mean, I'm listening to that going, wow, that is the, you know, that is clearly structured as to how you've managed to scale there.

[00:14:20] One question I'd have is, as you were adding these, these roles and these team members and, uh, you know, building out your, um, your, your power team really and uh, Was the jumps in in properties. Did you, you mentioned that you were around 50 properties and you hired this person, but when you got the majority of your staff, how quickly does that allow you to scale at the, at the stage you're at now?

[00:14:43] How quickly do you feel you're able to to scale now?

[00:14:46] Lauren: Okay. I'm gonna have to ask. So like from when I hired them to where they were like effective, is that the time period you're looking for? Yes. Okay. For us, the time period to effectiveness for a like a guest [00:15:00] service manager. So somebody who's replying to inquiries on Airbnb is about three weeks.

[00:15:04] Um, We didn't have three weeks when we brought on some of them because we were just scaling really quickly. And so we just said, Hey, we're just so honest. When we're hiring, we say, Hey, we're in an extreme growth phase. It's gonna feel like a wild ride. You're probably gonna be lost for a month. Are you okay with that?

[00:15:21] Because if they don't have the personality for that, then it's not gonna be a good fit if you're really growing that fast. Um, at this point, we can kind of see three weeks into our future. Mm-hmm. , we start when people are interested. We ask them when they're onboard. That we know when to hire, but then we didn't.

[00:15:36] It was like sweet business. This is a panic now. Um, for other roles, it takes longer. I would say. Any service that you're using, like an accounting service, a platform onboarding, a pricing service, anything like that, that's not an individual that just works for you is like kind of a team of per people or a software.

[00:15:57] I think it usually. Two to three [00:16:00] months to really feel like you're in a groove with something. Uh, three months is kind of my rule, which is so crazy when you're moving from doing everything yourself, where you can be running one system one day and the next day you can switch the system entirely and it didn't affect anyone but you.

[00:16:15] Business also changes slow down the larger you grow. And so at this point, my business, I really wanna switch something around. I expect it to take three.

[00:16:24] Liam: That's cool. And that's a great insight because, um, you know, when you're small and that's just, you, you make a decision and you change. And that's changed, you know, whereas, you know, there's the communication within your team, people getting used to the new, uh, systems.

[00:16:38] Uh, what I loved about that was when you're taking, uh, new staff on and you, you're actually given them upfront, you know, this is gonna be a bit of a rollercoaster. This is trial by fire, but actually some of them skills you kind of need in hospitality because you never know what's about. You know, is um, you know, is, is a little bit unpredictable.

[00:16:57] So, um, it sounds as though you've built a [00:17:00] really good team there and for the people who are listening to this, cuz there'll be people going, do you know what? I think we're ready to take on our first generalist? And that you mentioned that was the first hire. Just somebody who can kind of jump in and do.

[00:17:10] A little bit of everything and take over for that day so you can go and have a, uh, you know, go and do something without the phone and constant messaging from from guests. How would you suggest to tho them, and in your experience, what would be the best way to look for a va?

[00:17:25] Lauren: Yeah. Um, My first piece of advice with hiring a generalist, whether they're a VA or they're in person, is a one of you.

[00:17:32] If there's two of you, you and a generalist, one of you has to be techy. You just so that criteria, if you are not feeling like you know what a V I O P phone number is and how to reroute things like how to, if you're working with your physical phone, how to get that phone online so they can run it from the Philippines, if that is not immediately making sense to you and you can't figure out how to do that within a couple Google searches.

[00:17:56] Analyst needs to have those cuz if you're gonna work virtual [00:18:00] online, one of you needs to be pretty tech savvy. Um, as far as how to find that person, my number one for hiring VAs and I didn't have this when I was just looking for one person, but my buddy I was talking to on Sunday just. He's hiring his first generalist va.

[00:18:17] If you are hiring a va, my best advice to get the right person the right time, um, and the first time is to hire somebody to help you hire them, specifically somebody from the place you're hiring. So there's a ton of virtual assistants in the Philippines. It's a very common job there. Um, culturally they've really well trained.

[00:18:37] It's a very much. Status job. It's cool to be a virtual assistant in the Philippines. Um, I hired an HR manager on Upwork from the Philippines to help me hire people from the Philippines because I do not, I've never been there. Now my family is not Filipino. I don't understand the intricacies of culture.

[00:18:58] Um, honestly, if I was [00:19:00] hiring somebody from the uk I would probably do the same because there are cultural nuances. If you're hiring somebody from your hometown, you would be able to see in an interview, but from half a world away, you may not be able to. So I paid somebody. Gosh, and I still work with him.

[00:19:17] If you need his info, please just DM me. His name is Albert. He works in the Philippines. If I was hiring from South America, I would find kind of an HR hiring manager there to help me screen as well. Um, that's my biggest thing as far as the cost, uh, I usually pay. 20 to $30 to have somebody screen and be that kind of voice of reason and cultural understanding for me when I'm hiring somebody.

[00:19:42] So it's really not that expensive to have a second set of eyes help you as well.

[00:19:46] Liam: I think, um, there's a universal, um, sort of lesson there where if you can. , you know, it will cost a little bit, but it'll save you so much cost, money, uh, you know, money and time in the long run [00:20:00] to find experts in these areas to be able to help you to, to find the right person.

[00:20:04] So I think that's a fantastic, um, insight there. And when it comes down, we touched briefly on, on tech. You mentioned, you know, one person's gotta be a techie person, so this is a great time to ask. In your business at the moment, what tech stack do you use currently? And then we'll come onto house changed since the early days.

[00:20:26] Lauren: Yeah, sure. So specifically for short-term rentals, we use Hospitable as kind of our channel manager, if you will. Um, also all the messaging, the why on that one is I've been with them since the beginning and they change very quickly as we know. The platforms also change very quickly. So you don't want your, that's my criteria with a lot of hospitality software is how quickly are they changing because the platforms are changing so fast.

[00:20:52] Uh, we use price labs for our pricing. Um, And then most of our other integrations is more like [00:21:00] business integration. So we use to pay vendors that allows you to pay people all across the world. Um, we use Slack for our inner team communication. We use for our task management and that one.

[00:21:12] Highly, highly recommend as far as like my whole stack and my favorites and hospitable. If I didn't have them, I could not run my business the way I do. Um, we currently use RingCentral for our phone communication. Uh, they're also global can help anywhere. And then I'm trying to think if there's anything else.

[00:21:32] Last pass for passwords, if you're cross sharing, that's, that can be when people forget it's free. A lot of these, again, most of. Have a free component you can start with, which is awesome too, cuz then you can kind of try out the software or the company, whether it's a free trial or Slack. I think I'm still on the free version, so there's lots of options.

[00:21:55] But that's our current

[00:21:56] Liam: stack. I mean that's amazing Stack and I love the fact that you're [00:22:00] including why and particularly. , um, you know, PMSs and, and channel managers in general, they're going through such a change in growth phase because mm-hmm. 20 years ago, 10 years ago, there wasn't the kind of tech there is now.

[00:22:13] We're in a growing industry. The, uh, people like OTAs, like Airbnb, vrbo, the options are changing regularly. And like you say, it's just been with somebody who is dynamic enough to keep up. The changes on, on these. So, um, yeah, that's a great shout. When deciding on a PMs, that's a great question for people to ask is how quick do you react to changes?

[00:22:34] Mm-hmm. on, on the online travel agents, and I can think of ones which are quite big companies, which don't. react very quick. So sometimes there's, you know, being with one of the, uh, ones which can react quick is so important. So you've got price labs there, which helps control your pricing. And for anyone listening, uh, you know, it's a case of, uh, that will help you with not leaving money on the table, making sure you're getting the right price per night, uh, each of your units and, um, the [00:23:00] free ones that you mentioned, I mean, last pass for me has saved me so much time.

[00:23:04] I used to be that guy. A password and was constantly requesting, requesting the new one. So just having those, and like you say, some of the free technology that you can use, slack. Um, last pass, I used one called Grammarly because my emails would be a mess otherwise, and that's a free, um, plugin that will just spell, check everything I write.

[00:23:24] And, um, these are all tools people can use to, to grow. So, um, I love that tech stack. Was there any defining moments where you. where you remember thinking, we need to improve our tech to go to the next, the next level, or did it just gradually happen over time?

[00:23:42] Lauren: No. So this December, this last December, so eight months ago, I was, everything was in my head and that was really difficult for me.

[00:23:52] So I was hiring people, but it would take so much of my time and effort to like get it out of my head and on paper or [00:24:00] directly to them is how, that was the mistake I was making. As I would hire people, I would spend all this time training them with words, not documenting it, telling them what to do. . And then if for any reason they needed to move on to another role or we needed to hire another person, um, suddenly if they trained them, it would be a game of telephone in which information is lost.

[00:24:21] Or if they left completely or moved to a different role, then I would have to invest that time over and over again. So I, at that point, I said, I need it outta my head. I at least need a rough draft of everything I do, everything anyone does in my. Somewhere and I need to be able to automate pieces of it.

[00:24:39] So at that point I also kind of hit, um, hiring has been different than it's been for years in the last two years. Mm-hmm. and I was having a harder time finding talent that I actually wanted to hire. And so I said, okay, can I get rid of talent with automation? And so I documented everything. Took me a. [00:25:00] To document everything I do in my business.

[00:25:02] I used Loom. Um, I still use Loom for everything to this day. It's a free video recording software. You can use it for free for a certain amount of time, then you have to pay, um, to just video everything we do. So if I have to hand it off to somebody, it, they already know how to do it. They can go there and just click all the same buttons.

[00:25:19] Um, Just a massive amount there. And then I started using to track everyone, cr r m, anyone who was inquiring guests who had stayed, um, onboarding units cleaner, quality, all of the above. And the reason that I specifically chose is there's so much automation that I could do by just clicking buttons, no coding.

[00:25:41] I don't know how to code at all. Um, it was just like, Hey, I want this and this, it was like, Ordering off a menu allowing me to create what would've been, I mean, 50,000 to a hundred thousand dollars worth of custom development. And, and it took me two, we two months of focus [00:26:00] work to document and automate the majority of my business and allowed me to eliminate, when I say eliminate, we didn't actually fire anyone.

[00:26:07] We just didn't have to hire them cuz we were growing pretty quickly. Probably two to three staff members. That amount of, of automation that we got from Monday dot.

[00:26:15] Liam: Amazing. Amazing. And I mean, if I was listening to this, this podcast or, or listening to the live, I would have a long, uh, list now of, of tech, which I'd want to go and find out about because, um, having

[00:26:27] Lauren: these, can you tell I'm the techy person between me and my

[00:26:30] Liam: generalist

[00:26:31] But it's, it's great to have and, and what I've learned from, from that answer, Just getting it out of your head. As, as usually the business startup is, is is the person who's got the vision for where you want to get it to. And sometimes the most frustrating thing is actually how do you get it out of your head and onto paper and document it.

[00:26:49] Because I, I can remember thinking that wasn't very fun when I was documenting and, and we still document regularly, but the first time you start to do it, I remember thinking it wasn't very fun to get that out. But once it's [00:27:00] done, the relief that you can, that you can have, and just knowing that, um, You know, people understand that roadmap of, of where the company's heading is, is so important.

[00:27:09] So it sounds like it's been really successful. So one of the things I'd like to ask is there'll be people listening to this and, and you said one of the, um, breaks, you know, that you had was around 25 units. Has there been other, um, uh, pressure point sort of stages with the amount of units? Is there, is there other times where you think actually between these number of units was difficult or at that stage it was d.

[00:27:34] Challenges

[00:27:36] Lauren: probably about, um, yeah, kind of an interesting number there. Anytime you double the amount of units that you were adding in a month, I think you're gonna break no matter where you're at. So if you're used to adding a unit a month and you go to two, you're gonna feel it. If you're used to adding five units a month and you go to 10, you are gonna fill it.

[00:27:56] So a lot. Those. So I think a lot of it can be [00:28:00] avoided if you kind of like slow your pace of growth. But as far as like just overall, another perspective, just overall number of units probably around that 50, 60 mark. Mm-hmm. . Um, in my business, I haven't been smart enough yet to not, uh, I'm in pain before I'm hiring and making fixes.

[00:28:22] So that outline I gave earlier, I was in pain at 25, 50, 80 to a hundred ish. Um, I was in pain at those points. Um, in terms of documentation help, just total information coming in, finding softwares, it's a lot. So I think those are the breaks that I've run into so far.

[00:28:42] Liam: One of the, the things with that though, as, um, you know, entrepreneurs and, and there's people who want to grow, grow the business as we solve the problems, our reward is a bigger problem often, isn't it?

[00:28:52] So we solve one thing and then we get busy trying to solve the next growth stage. And that sounds as though you know that you've gone through these, uh, [00:29:00] Uh, somebody said seasons. I thought it was great on the last podcast that we don't, somebody said, you go through seasons of going, well, this is my season where I'm documenting and growing by this number, and then I go through the next season.

[00:29:10] And um, you know, each time you're pushing through that pain point. And that's one of the things which, um, you know, there is hard work in hospitality. There is days where you. You know, be pulling out, you're here. That's why I haven't got any, or, or you're gonna be down in tears. But the result is that you can build a really good business, which cash flows well and actually, um, you know, that you can build, uh, your lifestyle around.

[00:29:34] And speaking of lifestyle, how has your day-to-day routine changed since the early days to how it is now? Um, if you was to say, Back in the days where you had all the different hats on, whereas now you're able to, uh, let's say audit things. What, what has happened in your day-to-day routine? Which has changed?

[00:29:53] Lauren: Yeah, so. Setting that routine is so important and I've really learned that lesson in the last year. [00:30:00] Like I enjoy to-do list and I enjoy just doing things. So respond to emails, like anything I can like check off and do. Running out to this property is enjoyable to me. , but having too many things on my to-do list really has overwhelmed me, and I've hit different breaks personally as I've gone through.

[00:30:17] I've said, this is too much stress. I'm literally just doing too many things in a week, which everyone has their own struggles. Some people have a hard time motivating themselves to do enough things. I mean, we all have our own things that we kind of struggle with their um, Originally I thought everything was urgent.

[00:30:35] Every guest inquiry, every owner inquiry, everything was urgent, had to be done really, really well, and it had to be done right now. And as I have developed personally, I have learned that it's, it's more so about how they feel. So like if an owner has something and they're requesting a certain, uh, I don't know, financial document that we don't usually provide, that we need to custom make for them or something like that, um, it's more about [00:31:00] how they feel about it.

[00:31:01] So replying, even if you can't reply and get it done that day past Lauren would've. Scrapped my day, scrapped the activities with my kids. Got it done. Cuz I thought that's what business was. But replying to them and being like, oh my gosh, that's so exciting. Like, why do you need this document? Are you buying a new property?

[00:31:18] That's great. I can have it to you on Thursday. So setting really clear expectations and also always addressing the emotion behind it. That's something I learned with guests, right? Addressing the emotion. Most of the problem when you run into problems is the emotion behind it, right? I don't feel safe.

[00:31:34] It's not really. The door doesn't lock, right? It's that they don't feel safe. So how can you address that? Uh, first, and I've learned that that's true with everyone, employees, owners, everyone in your business. It's about their emotions first. Um, I used to drop everything. I used to sacrifice my own health. I used to sacrifice my own sleep, and I don't do that anymore.

[00:31:55] And it's not that I've made it to a point that I don't do those things. I [00:32:00] still reinvest in my business. Some months I'm just as poor as I was in the beginning. I mean, you know, it's all goes through f. Phases, but I've learned that I can do this better and I can do this longer. And if I have more respect for myself, other people will too.

[00:32:14] So I have a cutoff time. I don't work past a certain hour at night no matter what did or did not get done. I have a cutoff time. Um, I spend two days a week with my kids. And we just like kind of play. And I have rules as to what meetings I'll take those days and not if it's a 10 minute phone call on the road, I will take it.

[00:32:31] If I need to be anywhere in person or be doing a large amount of computer work, I won't. So I pretty much at this point work three days a week. I work 12 hour days on all three of those. And I do a lot of delegating to my staff, but I think I've kind of trained those around me of my expectations. And I think a lot of people actually prefer my business now.

[00:32:51] To when I was freaking out and doing everything immediately.

[00:32:55] Liam: Wow. Is what I'd say to that because people, and listen to that. And one of my questions was gonna be, what would [00:33:00] be your advice to have a host? But actually that advice in itself is so important and, um, people. Often say, you know, when, when you're dropping everything and, and reacting to emergencies, actually we are not in control necessarily of the business.

[00:33:15] Whereas when you are choosing to take care of your health, making sure you've got time for your family, your sleep, all of a sudden you're gonna make better decisions and how you feel is gonna help to make your guests and your employees feel better if you are in control of your own emotional state. And just touching on something which we touch on from time to time, which is people forget what you.

[00:33:35] What you said, but they never forget how you made them feel. So when you come to mind, your guests, your employees will go, I remember how I feel when that person was around. And that is an important way to, to leave them. And the owners as well as you said, the owners is so important. So, wow. I've, I've, we've been going already for about 35 minutes, so as, as we come to an end on these, Podcast.

[00:33:58] What we'd like to do is do a couple of [00:34:00] fun, uh, quickfire questions. So Perfect. Um, there was so much more that we could dive into, and certainly for everybody who's listening to this, please, please go and follow, uh, Lauren and, uh, see the reels. There's just so much, um, knowledge shared as there's been today.

[00:34:15] Uh, we'll give you the Instagram handle at the end, but just quickly with some quickfire fun questions. So, where do you see yourself in five years, Lauren?

[00:34:24] Lauren: I see myself working three days of work week and play with my kids. Um, I don't know if I'll stay in hospitality. Mm-hmm. , I love it, but I'm not gonna limit myself.

[00:34:36] I'm young and I think there's a lot of adventures to have.

[00:34:39] Liam: Love it. Love it. Um, what song would you sing at a karaoke bar?

[00:34:44] Lauren: Ooh,

[00:34:48] probably don't Stop Believ.

[00:34:50] Liam: Nice. That ties in with today's podcast really is, uh, you know, there you go. And who is your hero as the final question?

[00:34:57] Lauren: Oh, that's a great one. I think my hero is [00:35:00] my husband. Um, he, yeah, he just, everything about him, I, I aspire to be.

[00:35:08] Liam: Wow, that is, uh, it's, it's brilliant and I'm sure, um, I've really enjoyed today, so I'm sure everybody else has.

[00:35:15] Um, if they want to get in touch with you, um, the best way to do so is, is where?

[00:35:21] Lauren: Yeah. So I still manage most of my socials. That's kind of a little secret. If you reach out to my company, you have to like make an appointment to talk to me specifically. Uh, but I still manage my socials. That's something I do for fun.

[00:35:32] Other. Definitely reach out there if you're running into questions. Um, I always read through all the dms and I actually only make content around what the questions I'm getting my dms. So if you want a special answer, you can actually get a lot more in the bargain for if you DM me.

[00:35:45] Liam: Amazing. Amazing. And for everyone listening, all you need to do go to Instagram, and that's at Home underscore havens and, uh, as, uh, as you've seen from today's episode.

[00:35:56] There's gonna be a lot of knowledge shared, so thank you so [00:36:00] much. Lauren, did you have any, uh, last moments sort of, uh, thoughts or, or anything else you want to share on today's episode? Yeah, I

[00:36:07] Lauren: just, I always try to present the real side as well, because hosting is hard, and growing a business is hard, and developing personally is hard, and it's okay that it's hard.

[00:36:18] So if you're frustrated, if you're having a bad day, if you feel like you're having your bad days in your business too often. That's okay. We're in it together. If anyone seems perfect, they're not. Just learn from each other. Be open about your mistakes. Those, that's helped me immensely to feel both better about them and actually find solutions and improve.

[00:36:36] And I just want everyone to feel loved and supported throughout this journey. So, and I think that the podcast doesn't. Awesome job with that. So.

[00:36:45] Liam: That's brilliant. Uh, thank you so much Lauren. Well, I'm sure you're gonna have a lot of people reach out to you after this and, uh, thank you so much. We wish you all the best and uh, I'm sure we'll speak again.

[00:36:55] Awesome. Thanks Steve. Having a blast. Gonna get it on the Bruce Lee podcast. Bruce [00:37:00] Lee. Let Bruce Lee cuz it's so hard on the teas loose leaf, making up those rhymes. Don't write it, just do it loosely.

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