Matt Shields – Wiring Your Way to Wealth & Impact (400)

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Life is often a journey of trials and triumphs, and Mike’s guest, Matt Shields, has certainly had his fair share of both. Matt’s story begins on rooftops, hammer in hand, at the tender age of 10, and takes us through his ascension in the real estate market. Tragically losing his father at 16, he transformed his grief into drive and determination to create a legacy of his own. His tale is a testament to how pain can push us to our full potential.

The entrepreneurial spirit runs deep in Matt. It led him from being an electrical apprentice to becoming a multifamily real estate expert, and further to founding Virtus Technology—a company dedicated to helping businesses innovate and thrive. He shares his unique approach to business and personal growth, focusing on the power of positive thinking and the necessity of learning from successful trailblazers. His story of developing an app using the language of the first iPhones is a testament to his knack for spotting knowledge gaps and, more importantly, filling them.

Matt’s resilience and relentless positivity are infectious. He has set an ambitious goal of impacting the lives of 1 million people, and he is well on his way to achieving it. Matt has a unique approach to property management inspired by his mentor, and carries a vision of creating a community filled with positivity. Tune in to learn from Matt’s journey, and let his story inspire you to create your own legacy.

Connect with Matt Shields:

LinkedIn: Matt Shields


Podcast: Invest In Sqft

Check out the video version of this episode below:

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Episode transcript below:

0:00:00 – Mike Malatesta

Hi everyone. Mike Malatesta here and welcome back to the how it Happened podcast. On this podcast, I dig in deep with every guest to explore the roots of their success, to discover not just how it happened but why it matters. My mission is to find and share stories that inspire, activate and maximize the greatness in you. 

0:00:19 – Mike Malatesta

On today’s episode. I’m talking with Matt Shields, an electrician, a serial entrepreneur and a multi-family real estate expert. 

0:00:28 – Mike Malatesta

We talk about how Matt started roofing houses when he was only 10 years old, losing his dad when he was 16, and buying his first home at age 19. We also talk about the power of thinking about things in a positive way. I really like Matt’s take on how he’s learned to do that, and near the end we even talk a little pig Latin, which is kind of fun. 

0:00:51 – Matt Shields

I believe in evaluating all the assets, whether that be tangible or intangible. What is it that you have currently today and how can you reutilize that in some other capacity? Look at where your experiences, where your connections are, where you have built up some type of knowledge or assets, and try to find a way to be able to utilize that. So you’re not starting from absolutely zero. You’re taking this thing and maybe spinning off into something completely different, but you’re not starting from zero. 

0:01:24 – Mike Malatesta

I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I enjoyed having it. Hey, Matt, welcome to the podcast. 

0:01:39 – Matt Shields

Thanks for having me. This is going to be fun. I’m excited to be here. 

0:01:42 – Mike Malatesta

Yeah, thank you. I’ve been looking forward to this and I gave all of you listening a brief little teaser about Matt Shields and some of the things we’re going to be talking about today, and now I’m going to tell you a little bit more about Matt, so you can get as excited as I am to have him with us today. So welcome to the world of Matt Shields. Matt is a multifaceted entrepreneur and an expert in digital transformation processes, which, essentially, is the streamlining of your business process using technology. Is that be a fair way to say it? 

0:02:15 – Matt Shields

A great way to explain it. 

0:02:16 – Mike Malatesta

yes, Okay, excellent. So Matt has always had a passion for innovation and transformation. This passion that he has for the digitally transforming your business has led to the creation of Vertus Technology, which is one of his companies, and this company is dedicated to helping businesses grow and thrive through innovative technology and expert guidance. With his expertise, Matt has been able to help countless businesses increase their impact and streamline their operations. Matt’s worked with tech startups mom and pop shops, healthcare providers, real estate moguls. I watched a video of you working with a franchise like Basement Repair. 

0:02:55 – Matt Shields

Yeah, waterproofing yes. 

0:02:57 – Mike Malatesta

Waterproofing company. So, obviously, what Matt is teaching and what he sells has applicability throughout a lot of different industries, or maybe all industries, and Matt’s always focused on making a positive impact on the lives of his customers, employees and stakeholders. So his vision, though and I love this vision and passion go beyond just helping businesses. He’s also a multifaceted entrepreneur with a deep commitment to impacting the lives of 1 million people. Why 1 million? 

0:03:30 – Matt Shields

You know it was a round number but we so we invested multifamily real estate as well. So that number tied in very well with where we have our 30 year goals at. So we were part of a couple of different groups where we put together what’s called a compass. So there’s three, five 10, 15, 20 and 30 year goals. So that number tied into with the number of units that we wanted to be able to acquire in the next 30 years. 

0:04:00 – Mike Malatesta

Okay, All right, we’ll get to more of that, then, because I want to. I’m very interested in that. Through his multifamily real estate investing business and various mastermind event programs, he’s bringing together like-minded individuals who share his vision and passion for making a difference. Whether you’re a business owner looking to increase your impact, an investor with a desire to make a difference, or someone looking to learn from an expert in digital transformation processes, matt Shields is the partner you need. He’s got the knowledge, the passion and he can help you transform your business and make a lasting impact on the world. And who wouldn’t want that? Right, I know right. So, matt, I ask everyone the same simple question to get started on this podcast, and that is how did it happen for you? 

0:04:45 – Matt Shields

Yeah, so I grew up in an entrepreneurial family. My dad started a country craft business when I was young and I can remember and thinking that this was normal, that everybody did this. But I can remember being I don’t know six, seven years old and we’d go to JCPenney’s the local JCPenney’s and set up the display of their stuff, right, and I thought this is something that everybody did growing up but come to find out that that was relatively unique. So my dad was an entrepreneur. I kind of grew up with that whole mentality and we had a desire to start getting involved in real estate. We always wanted to buy houses and fix them up and sell them. So I actually started putting roofs on houses when I was about 10 years old or so and by the time I was 16, I pretty well knew how to do everything, how to fix everything in a house right, drywall, plumbing. The only thing I was a little bit weak on was electrical. So I set my sights on, rather than going to college, I joined a local electrical contractor and became an electrical apprentice out of high school. 

Unfortunately, when I was 16, my father actually passed away. He drowned in Cape Hatteras, so it was a complete shock, and before that I could call him my best friend. I didn’t really have that terribly many friends growing up. I was always kind of reserved and quiet, but that event really brought me out of my shell and I basically just said you know what? Life is too short to worry about what everybody else thinks about me. So I started to really come out of my shell and be more outspoken, vocal, had a lot of friends, a lot of popularity, and that really, I think, shifted my trajectory in life right. That gave me the confidence to go out and start buying those houses. 

I actually purchased my first house when I was 19. I flipped it and that started rolling into some other rental opportunities or we did other flips, and that too when I was 20, I think it was 21, 22, something like that. I had enough hours in the industry to be able to take my state certification. So I went and got my electrical contractors license and opened up my own electrical contracting company and still was buying and flipping the houses. What worked really well is, if the electrical contracting company was slow, I would send the guys to the house or houses and we would work on those to bring them up to the point where we could either rent it out or sell it. So that was going along well until 2008. This was all in the Cleveland Ohio area. That was going well until 2008, when the market hit its last bumpy patch. I had some people that owed the electrical contracting company some money and unfortunately, that put the contracting company out of business. But shortly before that we started getting involved in energy management projects, so that meant we were controlling building lighting systems and HVAC systems remotely. 

This was 2005, 2006. We had a little bit of software design back then. Software experience In 2008 was when the first iPhone came out, so the app stores started hitting the markets and I said, well, let’s give this thing a shot, so started developing apps and then more companies wanted apps and that’s slowly morphed into what furthest technology is today. As you explained, we go in and evaluate how companies’ processes currently run and then we’ll develop custom software or applications to be able to help streamline or manage whatever that process looks like. 

And then in 2017-ish or so, I started to get the itch to get back into real estate. I pretty well stopped in 2008 investing in real estate. The more that I did more and more research in 2017, I kept coming across multifamily real estate and said that makes a lot of sense. So I joined a couple of groups and found a partner and we started purchasing multifamily apartments and we’ve got about 750 units right now. We just sold some assets last year, so well, on our way to be able to achieve that goal that we talked about earlier. So, in a nutshell, that’s how it all happened for me. 

0:09:34 – Mike Malatesta

Okay, thank you for all that, so let me ask you a few questions, if you don’t mind. Is your dad a surfer or? 

0:09:41 – Matt Shields

He wasn’t no. So, again, we lived in Cleveland and my parents got a divorce. When I was younger, he got remarried. They never took a honeymoon, and this was actually supposed to originally be a family vacation when this happened, but it was at the end of August, which would have meant that we would have missed the ever so important first days of school, picking who you’re going to sit with at the lunch table, and all of that. So we said no, we don’t want to miss any of that. So they left the kids behind and he and my stepmom decided to take the honeymoon that they never had. So they were just waiting in the ocean, and we learned this afterwards. It was a full moon, which messes with the tides, so a big wave came in, washed them out. A surfer actually picked up my stepmom and, unfortunately, my dad got caught in an undertow and they did find him, but it was too late by that point. 

0:10:41 – Mike Malatesta

So that’s horrible. The kids so you mentioned the kids stayed behind. What are your siblings like? 

0:10:51 – Matt Shields

So I have a sister, a biological sister. I’m very, very close with her. And then the stepmom had a daughter and a son, which I don’t really talk to anyone on that side of the family anymore. After my father passed away, it just erupted into this big fiasco where, quite literally, my sister and I were fighting for our bedroom sets and our clothes. My stepmom just basically wanted to take everything. 

0:11:23 – Mike Malatesta

So I haven’t really had a relationship with her since that time. 

0:11:30 – Mike Malatesta

So you were all living together when this occurred. 

0:11:32 – Matt Shields

Yeah, yeah, we were. 

0:11:33 – Mike Malatesta

Okay, so your dad drowns, and then it’s your stepmother with you, your biological sister and then her kids. 

0:11:43 – Matt Shields

Really, and we lived in that same house for a while Actually, none of them thinking back on it, it probably wasn’t that one, maybe a month or so and then we moved in with my mom and stepdad so stepdad are still in our lives today, but we did end up moving out of that, you know, out of that situation relatively quickly. 

0:12:07 – Mike Malatesta

Oh, I see, and as you moved out, it was like it sounds like there was a little bit of a free for all for stuff. Yeah, I think kind of. 

0:12:15 – Matt Shields

I don’t remember exactly how this worked, but my dad had a will that was still in my real mom’s name and essentially what they did was because the marriage superseded the will, I think at the time. I don’t know if this is still the same way now, but they basically just replaced my real mom’s name with my stepmom’s name. So, you know, everything was basically going to her and she, you know, would have should have been overseeing things in a fair way, you know, per the will. 

0:12:46 – Mike Malatesta

I see. 

0:12:47 – Matt Shields


0:12:49 – Mike Malatesta

And you mentioned well. First of all, quick question on the country craft for people like me who don’t know what that means, what is that? 

0:12:58 – Matt Shields

So they had this whole line of wooden figurines. They were like there was swans and actually interesting story, they had this bugle player and he was kind of almost looked like he was flying right. It’s the best way to be able to describe it. 

About a year ago or so I was on Facebook Marketplace and big, big title it says Folk Art, signed, and there was one of the bugle players. I’m like, can you take a picture of the signature? I think my dad made that and it was in a city not that, probably about an hour or so away from me, and she’s like, oh, I have to save this for you. She took a picture for it of it. It was. He would always date everything too. It was made in 1984. 

So, it was one of the earlier pieces, but I was able to go and get that back. But I’m going to say they probably had I don’t know 30 different pieces that they would make and they had some pretty good accounts. I mean, their stuff was in pennies and again, this was way, way, way, way before any of the internet or anything like that. 

But they were getting into these various different accounts and displaying things A lot of boutique type shops and that. But the country craft is essentially the style. It was like country. You know what we consider today like farmhouse type stuff. That was like early 80s. Like country was the. You know the term for it. 

0:14:29 – Mike Malatesta

I was in thanks for explaining that, because now I get it. I was in Waco, texas, at Magnolia. Have you ever been there? 

0:14:37 – Matt Shields

I haven’t. Is that chip yeah? 

0:14:38 – Mike Malatesta

Yeah, chip and Joanna right, chip and Joanna Gaines. But there’s there’s a on their compound there which is pretty cool. Actually there’s the guy who started out making the signs for them for their properties and stuff. His name’s JJ or I forget. It’s a good old boy type name, but he’s got a whole shop there where he sells these some. It’s not exactly the same, but it’s. It reminds me of what you were doing, because it’s a retail thing and he has a factory, he makes them, brings them in and all because I mean, what a story. All because he happened to be somebody that worked with them, you know, on a project way back when. 

0:15:21 – Matt Shields

And he spun off this whole. Thing. 

0:15:23 – Mike Malatesta

He came friends with them and yeah, it’s like he’s on the Magnolia gravy train. It’s pretty cool. 

0:15:27 – Matt Shields

Awesome, yeah, that’s awesome. 

0:15:30 – Mike Malatesta

So you, you talked about confidence and sort of coming out of your shell. So could you? I’d like you to dig into that a little bit more, because you’re you know, you’re sort of working with your dad. It seems like you were well before we started recording. You said you’ve been an entrepreneur all your life and I didn’t know it started at 10 on the roof. So that reminded me of Ken Hendrick’s story, the guy who started ABC supply, which is a huge roofing supply company. I don’t know if you’re familiar with them or not. 

0:16:00 – Matt Shields

I’m not, but Okay, yeah, there’s yeah he’s, he’s, he started similarly. 

0:16:06 – Mike Malatesta

He’s passed away now. But but the confidence thing, what you said, it started to come out after your dad passed away and I’m wondering how because I would think the very opposite could happen. You could just stay closed up because you’re, you, know your dad passed away, you have this splitting of the step family and then you’re back with your, with your mom and her new husband, and oftentimes that can be. That can keep you feeling like you know, not yourself, I guess. 

0:16:37 – Matt Shields

Yeah, so I can remember being a kid standing in front of my closet and, you know, thinking about what I’m going to wear that day, getting ready for school in the morning, and I like I would pick out oh, the last time, last time I wore that shirt, that was a good day, you know I whatever whatever made a good day back then. 

You know, maybe nobody picked on me that day or whatever it was. That’s the way that. That’s the way that I thought about things, like I would think back and fixate on, you know, the different experiences and I was like tying it to. Maybe it’s the way that I look that day. Or, you know, I had a cooler shirt on or whatever. It was right, just very, very much so in my head and very analytical, and I actually tell this story all the time. 

I feel like that point in my life made me realize that I should focus on the positive, no matter the situation, and this took years and years to be able to come to this realization. But this is when I, when I tell this story today again, that that time was so transformative for me and I think that it all goes back to positivity of things and thinking about things in a positive way. So I would do anything to have my dad back, but what I took away from that was, you know, I did develop that confidence and I did. I did come out of my shell and you know, I’m able to talk to people and you know I’m told all the time like you know you can go in and start talking to somebody who I’ve never met before and start getting really deep really, really quickly. 

It’s just something I’ve always been able to do. So and I look back to that point in my life and I realized that it all comes back to having a positive, you know, mental attitude and positive outlook on on situations. So obviously, I’ve had other things that have happened that are that are negative in my life, and I always, today, now that I’ve learned all of that, I always will try to go back and find the silver lining, and whatever that thing might be and this is this is something that entrepreneurs, I think, go through quite a bit there’s always going to be failures and you have to go back and pick out those golden nuggets. 

Go back and pick out. What did you learn? What was it that you know, you can take away from that, so that the next time you’re presented in with that situation or, you know, in a similar scenario, you’re not going to do the same thing again? So for me, it’s it’s. It all goes back to being able to, you know, gain a positive attitude, positive light on whatever this situation may be. So I don’t know if that answers your question or not, but that’s kind of the way that. That’s what I’ve, that’s what I’ve taken away from that point in my life, and it’s served me well over the years of being able to approach different situations like that. 

0:19:37 – Mike Malatesta

Yeah, as you were, as you were talking about, I was thinking about how hard it can be to do what you just described as being something you’ve sort of taught yourself how to do because it feels like, well, one negative is easier to focus on than than positive. Generally speaking, Two negative gets reinforced in a way that’s a little bit stronger sometimes than than positive, and then, I think, three sometimes. Just, you know, a series of negative things predisposes a person to think negatively, and that they’re not in control about what they choose to take out of a situation. Does that kind of what you’re saying? 

0:20:17 – Matt Shields

It does. Yeah, yeah, it absolutely does. And for me, you know, even in my everyday life, I choose not to be around negative people. I choose not to listen to negative things. So that’s the news. I don’t listen to any of the, whatever they are the murder mystery, unsolved mysteries, whatever those podcasts are that everybody listens to. I don’t like listening to any type of negativity and people. I’ve had people say well, you know you’re putting yourself in a bubble, that’s not really realistic, but I choose to again live around positivity and not focus on those situations in life that can bring you down and can demoralize you. 

And you know, I choose to take the take the positive road on the various different situations that life presents itself with. 

0:21:12 – Mike Malatesta

So you know, I’ve made a similar choice probably 15 coming up on 15 years or so ago, when I stopped watching the news almost any news I don’t watch, because I really end talk radio because I realized or at least I think I realized, matt that I was under the impression that all these people were trying to educate me. But it finally done on me that they weren’t trying to educate me, they were trying to indoctrinate me into whatever it is that they were selling. And the way they would indoctrinate me in is by, you know, it’s just sort of always feeding me a dopamine hit that I knew something that other people didn’t know. But the reality I discovered was that most of the people talking about stuff don’t know anything about what they’re talking about. They’re just using a platform that’s louder than other people’s platform or scarier than other people’s platform to get you know inside my head. 

0:22:12 – Matt Shields

Yeah, that actually kind of goes to one of my philosophies Whenever I so. I’m a huge believer in going out and finding the person or the company or whatever it is. That’s done what you want to do before right. Don’t try to blaze your own trail. 

But, what I’ve. I’ve gotten stuck down this path a few times, where the person that I’m taking advice from maybe hasn’t done exactly what I’m trying to do, or maybe they did it 20 years ago and things are completely different today. So I always look and try to find people who are actually doing what I want to do today and then, you know, try to learn from them and try to, you know, get into their circle of influence, so that I am learning real, tangible things that actually work today and you know, not just the way it could have worked 20 years ago, or even in theory. Even worse, right they’re? They’re doing this off of a theory and, like you mentioned, these are people that have never done this, don’t have any experience in this particular field or whatever it is, and yet they’re trying to teach whatever that, whatever that concept is, or that topic. 

Right. So I always try to find people that are actually actively doing what it is that they’re saying, that they’re doing act. You know, doing it today, so that you know, learn from their mistakes and everything. 

0:23:48 – Mike Malatesta

Well, so smart, Matt, and good advice, because the worst advice that you can probably get is advice from someone you know, love and trust, who’s never done and has no clue about what you are trying to accomplish. But you feel like you need to ask them anyway. And they say it’s a crazy idea. Let’s say, because it’s a crazy idea to them and you’re like, okay, well, what do I do with that? You know, so very smart, very smart. I’m really fascinated by this decision you made after high school to, you know, become, get into an electrical apprentice program and then, not many years later, start your own electrical contracting business. That sounds like it ended up. I don’t want to use the word failing, but I just did. 

0:24:27 – Matt Shields

Yeah, it’s all good it kind of did. 

0:24:29 – Mike Malatesta

Like for people out here you know that are listening and listen to your story, it’s like what you went through when you were 16. And then two years later or whatever you’re like okay, this is, I’m going to, you know sort of sort of go all in on my skill set that I’ve learned since I was 10, you know, helping my dad build houses and stuff that’s one thing, but then you know, to get your own business started in just a couple of years after that. So tell us about how that happened and because that’s a transformation not just in roles but in like. I think there’s a lot of transformations going on in there. 

0:25:05 – Matt Shields

So I feel like I always have known that I was going to be an entrepreneur. And actually in high school, you know your senior everybody’s doing the whole college tour thing and all of that and working with guidance counselors what are you gonna do? And so I didn’t even. I never, I never went to any guidance counselors or anything like that. I didn’t. I didn’t even try to go to any of the career days or whatever it is that they said. 

I did apply to one college and that was nyu, and I applied for motion picture technology, something that I had absolutely no, no experience with whatsoever. But I thought it’d be pretty cool to work on the special effects or whatever for the movies. And I found out after I applied. Obviously, I didn’t get in. I found out afterwards that I should not have made a claim as to what it was that I wanted to do, because it’s such a you know, such a competitive field and competitive industry basically had to know somebody or had immense experience in order to be able to get accepted Into that. So didn’t get accepted to that, but again, I was not. 

I don’t think I’ve ever really felt like I don’t know what I’m going to do because I had all of this knowledge of you fixing houses and all of that. That’s what I, that’s what I thought that I was going to do very, very early, very early on, which I did again. I bought my first house when I was nineteen. I thought I was going to start investing in real estate and it wasn’t going to be a big deal. And, you know, I just needed a little bit more experience with this electrical thing to, you know, kind of round out my, my, my skill sets, and my dream was always to bring my friends into this opportunity and you know, we can all work on these houses together and that’s that’s what I thought, that’s what I thought going through high school. I’m just going to, you know, start doing this. So that’s kind of the path that I went down. 

I started again when I was nineteen, bought my first house, did well with it, and then friends started seeing like, oh yeah, this, this is interesting. Some of my friends had a little bit more time Then they had money and other people had more money than time. So I kind of combined the two of them together and we, you know, we ended up buying a couple houses together and you know, those ones worked out well. So I feel like again, it gets back to that confidence, positive outlook on things that this was. 

I saw all of this, you know, I, when I was seventeen, eighteen years old. That’s why I never, I never had a backup plan. I never went to college and never felt like I needed school. I did go to some community colleges for business classes and some real estate classes, but I never went for the piece of paper, I just went for the knowledge. I didn’t even you know, I didn’t even care about any of the credits or anything like that. So For me it was again just exploring, building my knowledge base and you know, to get to this means to an end of, you know, being able to buy these houses and build this. You know, build this ability to be able to invest in real estate. 

0:28:09 – Mike Malatesta

So and so, at the same time that your electrical contracting company is being impacted by the great recession, the housing market, of course, is being significantly disrupted as well, and it sounds like you sort of well. 

First, before I go there, the byproduct that came out of your country, your company, that you then turned into a bird, is. I think that’s a fabulous story there, I think, because I and I’d like you to just talk a little bit more about that before we go back to the real estate, because one of the things that I believe in is that inside of every company, there’s a tremendous amount of Intellectual property that you create and it’s very, very valuable. The problem, because it helps make your company, your company, right, it helps make your company unique or whatever you, you, what it improves, whatever you do, that so many people are so close to their intellectual property that they just discounted as being something that just everyone Does, and they could never see a path where they could take something that they were doing and be like, oh, this is valuable to someone else, like this is like it. I think is what you said you did. 

0:29:21 – Matt Shields

That’s exactly, and this is another thing that I’ve. I feel like this has always been present in my life as well. I believe in evaluating Call it assets, whether that be tangible or intangible. What is it that you have currently today, and how can you read, utilize that in some other capacity? So in this situation, I knew that we had some programming experience. When the first iPhones came out, that entire, that entire language was released to us. I don’t maybe it was there before that, but I believe that that was a completely new language that came out like. X code is what you develop apps on. That was never. That was never a thing Before the app store. But to me, it’s all programming and. 

I knew that we had programming experience, so let’s, let’s jump over into that and again that just kind of spawned into something else. So so yeah, I I tell people this all the time look at where your experiences, where your connections are, where you know you have built up some type of knowledge or assets, and try to find a way to be able to utilize that, so you’re not starting from absolutely zero. 

Right you know you’re, you’re, you’re taking this, this thing, and maybe spinning off into something completely different, but you’re not starting from zero. So, yeah, we talk a lot about that in on our podcast as well. You know, just evaluate what you have, evaluate your assets and how can you really re utilize that, rather than starting from from scratch. 

0:30:58 – Mike Malatesta

Right, and sometimes you, you benefit a lot from having someone come in with fresh eyes or someone who’s done that before, just like what you were saying before about talking to people who’ve done it before, to help you open up, open your eyes and realize what you actually have instead of, you know, poo pooing it as, yeah, just normal or, and you know, the other thing is, what’s normal to you could be extraordinary to somebody else. Exactly. 

0:31:25 – Matt Shields

Exactly, yeah, and that’s kind of where where the technology piece comes in as well, because we were doing this now for other companies, where we are evaluating all you guys are building all of this over here. That’s, that’s something that could be realized across, you know, across your entire industry. You know, why don’t you? We build like a platform that you can go and, you know, sell this or use this with other, with other companies as well. 

So right just being able to go through in a granular way and see what’s being built and where you where that that customer goes through your company and how you know this department is actually going to be able to do that, adding this, this and this, and then it goes sent over here and this company’s adding this, this and this and then you know at the end you have your, your finished product, your customer, whatever it is. Being able to do that in a fatical way, to be able to see all of those steps really helps with being able to identify where those where those intangible assets might be that might be typically looked over. 

0:32:29 – Mike Malatesta

Okay so so who is, who’s the ideal client for? 

0:32:36 – Matt Shields

for Veritas, yes typically it’s a lot of people that are in construction. So construction companies that have been around for you know, probably more than 10 years, and the reason why I say that is because today there’s various different platforms. There’s a sauna and Trello and a bunch of other, you know, off the shelf management, project management type platforms. So if you’ve built your company around those platforms, you’ve kind of already you’ve got an element of digital transformation. You know, going for yourself already not saying that there couldn’t be more, or maybe there’s an app or something like that to help you sell your products. 

Actually that waterproofing contractor. They have I think it’s 13 franchises, if I remember correctly. But we’ve built, I don’t know probably 15 or 20 different apps for them that help them sell their products into all of their different franchises. So the apps that we’ve built have literally sold more than $100 million worth of products and services Across their different you know their different franchises and whatnot. So there might be, you know, even though you’re building things using these standard platforms, there might be other elements where your customers are confused or wondering how something happens, again like in the waterproofing industry why, why do I have this step crack that’s going up you know my brick wall? Or why is there water coming in? You know, through the floor and not through the wall? So we built all of these apps and these animations to be able to show what’s happening because of this right, and then then you can explain how you have to fix that right. So so just just you know, being able to see those, those you know pieces of information and deliver it in a way that your customers are able to understand it. That’s, that’s part of the whole digital transformation as well. 

But if, if you’ve built your, your company, around these other platforms. You probably already have, again, a good part of this established. If you’re older than 10 years old, you probably have a hodgepodge of different things right. There’s probably different spreadsheets and maybe some people have tried to use asana and you know a department maybe is using it, but then you know it goes to the next department and they they don’t know anything about that system and there’s a lot of conversion and you know or or confusion, I should say when they’re trying to convert what they’ve built through asana, you know, into the next department, or maybe it’s even more manual than that. 

Maybe you’re building manila folders, like you’re putting all of the contracts and checks and financing things into this folder and then that folder is being passed around from department to department and the customer calls in. Then it’s a mad dash. Who has the folder, where’s the folder at? They can’t find it right. So for us long, long answer to your simple question for us, typically, it’s a company that’s 10 years older, 10 years or more older, who has not developed their systems around some type of a platform, and again, they probably have a hodgepodge of different things that are being used to cobble together what’s being done today. 

0:36:02 – Mike Malatesta

Okay, so you’re. In that case, you’re not only helping them maximize the availability of their information and, I guess, usefulness of it as well, but you’re always it’s. It seemed like you were also sort of saying that you’re teaching the company how to talk about what they actually do. Again, right, with the apps and stuff. It’s like hey, here’s a differentiator, here’s why it’s important. So it’s, is there like a combination, like a marketing sort of component to it as well? There? 

0:36:29 – Matt Shields

there is a little bit. You know really what we. What we like to say is where are the knowledge gaps at? What is that you know that the customer doesn’t know? 

and right yeah those things that you’re constantly having to update them on or teach them. Those are the opportunities that are sort of low hanging fruit, to be able to create these different assets as a way to be able to explain whatever that thing is or whatever that learning experience is Okay. So so, wherever you have those gaps at, that’s typically an opportunity where there’s something that could be built there and, you know, communicate better. And what always ends up happening is, once you build that, you’re like oh well, now we have this over here. You know there’s there’s an issue here, or maybe we can streamline this now that we understand that. So it’s sort of this, the spidering effect as you do some things, it starts branching out into other areas as well and you know them before you know it. You know You’re going through that, the complete digital transformation process and streamlining all of your business, and this is really important to, especially today With the labor force that we have. 

People, especially younger people, are expecting to have these systems in place. They don’t want to be creating manila folders, you know. They’re expecting everything to be on the computer. And obviously we just went through, you know, the, the pandemic where everybody had to be remote. So those people that were creating the manila folders. Now everything’s back at the office. And what do you do when you’re trying to communicate all of this stuff out to everyone, so being able to have that central hub of how your business runs and having everyone being able to access that and Getting plugged into it very, very quickly from an employee standpoint? So if you have a new person, come in, everything’s right there for them. There’s instructions, there’s directions. 

0:38:25 – Mike Malatesta

There’s not such a learning curve Trying to bring them up to speed without the company right, okay, yeah, and imagine how your customer is feeling when you tell them that you have all their stuff in a folder, in a you know somewhere, and you can’t get back to them until you get the folder and nobody expects that anymore, right, okay, so, so let’s, let’s get back to the impacting 1 million people. So 2017, it is that when you make, do you recommit and commit in a much bigger way to your interest in real estate. 

0:38:57 – Matt Shields

Yeah, yeah. So again, going back to the idea of finding people that are doing it today, I mentioned that I was doing a lot of research and I’m sure a lot of the listeners probably know who Grant Cardone is. He’s all over the place, obviously multi-family, he’s very much so in your face. So I, I, I said you know, I really like what he’s saying, but I just don’t like his personality. 

0:39:21 – Mike Malatesta

So I yeah, you don’t like how he’s saying it. Yeah, exactly, yeah, that’s how I feel about that Yep and some others. But anyway, go ahead. 

0:39:31 – Matt Shields

I. So I found I found a group called Jake and Gino Still the same thing. They’re talking about multi-family real estate, but really down to earth, good family people. I just connected a lot better with them. So I joined. I joined this, this, this group that taught you how to do this. Because this was the other thing too Is. I didn’t want to learn how to, you know, buy multi-millions of dollars worth of real estate on my own. I knew that I wanted to go and learn from someone who was actually doing it. So Jake and Gino were actually doing it. They created this program, joined the program and, you know, met my, met my partner. 

So at that point we were we’ll say we’re a fledging, fledgling real estate company that didn’t necessarily have that terribly much Direction to it. My partner met a, an older gentleman named Well, I won’t I won’t say his name, but he had about 20 years or so of experience in the In the real estate investing field and he had a very unique way of Approaching the property management aspect of the business. And I say that because in multi-family real estate a lot of companies will, you know, you’re the tenant in apartment 1a, you know, pay the rent or get out right. It’s very transactional like that in our communities we are. We’re building communities. That’s that’s first and foremost. We don’t have tenants, we don’t have residents, we have members. People are applying for membership into the community. We have membership coordinators rather than leasing agents. 

Our property managers, referred to as the mayor and all of this stuff and how this all works together, was all All the brainchild, I guess we can say, of our mentor, who had done this, you know, 20 years ago. The problem was, as I mentioned earlier, he had been out of the business for so long and, you know, the people have changed, the markets have changed, the Software’s have changed. So we ran into a lot of learning experiences, I guess you can say, with what he was, what he was teaching us and the reality of things. So that’s, that’s one of those cases where you, again, you want to go back to make sure that the advice that you’re taking is from someone who’s actually doing it today, because Great, great ideas and concept, but some of it is not applicable to today’s, today’s market. So so, along with His direction, he also got us Very focused on what it is that we were going to do. 

So we started, you know, creating our core values and you know our driving, our driving values and actually the company name is significant and that was that was created because of our very first core value, which is Significance. We want to find significance in every situation. We want everyone to feel significant. That is part of our community Investing with us the employees. We want everyone to feel significant. So we thought, first, core value that’s a great name to name ourselves. We’re gonna be significant lifestyle communities. And so I started laying out the font and I was using the scripted font and at the end of Significant is I can’t, and this the way the scripted font was being used, that’s all I could see. I was like, well, that doesn’t work. So we got rid of the T, so it would be I can. So now, we’re significant. 

So that’s, that’s how the company name started. 

So that, though, those, those processes where you start going through and evaluating your business at a very, very granular level and and establishing your goals, have been refined over the last five, six years where, again, we’ve joined some other groups, and these other groups have a process called a compass right, and this is where the, the, you know the, the various yearly goals come in what your mission statement is, what your B Hag is and, crossing this over into the personal side of things, you know Health, family, what your personal goals are. 

Outlining all of this so that you’re building toward Whatever those goals are, so that you know where you’re going and not just Going. You know going in every day and not necessarily understanding how all of this fits together, so that that entire thing is all part of this process of again putting together those plans and and understanding you know how this, how this step is going to impact us in a few years from now and how that can achieve what we’re trying to do. So that’s that’s kind of where the impacting a million people came from. Is that okay? Planning process. 

0:44:32 – Mike Malatesta

I like how you talked us through this significant, significant, can’t significant, I can’t Significant to significant. And I also heard you talking somewhere about the power of having a Val as the second to last letter in a name, and I don’t know enough about that to ask you a better question. So what, what? What is that? Is that real? Is that psychology? What is that? 

0:44:59 – Matt Shields

So I don’t remember. I I’m so happy that you brought this up. I don’t remember where you heard this from, but yeah, so this is when we just use this as well, I’m I’m on the board for another startup when we just use this to name this product as well. So what you? What you do? This is a very, very interesting way to be able to name a product, a service, a company. What you do is you find words that Relate to whatever it is that you’re trying to achieve, right? So so this could be physical words or this could be descriptive words, whatever, what you ultimately are trying to do is find words with the second to last letter is a vowel, and then you combine that with a second complimentary word where, essentially, the, the first letter, the first and second letter, are the last two of that first complimentary word. So when you, when you think of the word Pinterest right, what is Pinterest? You’re pinning all of your interests Across the internet. So they combined pin I? N with interests. I n t r e s? T. 

Right created that new word so that Pinterest is an example of exactly how that, how that works. So, again, it’s a great way to be able to Do half of the battle when you’re creating a brand, creating a name, is being able to describe what it is. That, that that you do, and if you’re able to take these two descriptive words, that’s a big step in the right direction. Right, you can kind of understand what it you know, without even knowing what Pinterest is. 

You can kind of you know, put the words together and okay, I’m pinning my interests, okay, and when it first came out, like, what does that exactly mean? But then, as soon as you see it, okay, yeah, I’m gonna go around the internet and you know, essentially bookmark tag all of the things that I want and it’s all gonna, you know, get pinned on my board. So yeah. So that’s how that that whole naming process works. Okay, I’ve used that a number of times, so well, thanks for taking us to that. 

0:47:07 – Mike Malatesta

As you were saying, I was thinking to myself okay, well, that’s now I can just prompt chat GPT with yeah, that. There you go, that formula, and it’ll come up with all kinds of things for us to consider and we’ve actually tried that and it doesn’t work that terribly great, at least it doesn’t okay, yeah, it doesn’t work that great, at least as of probably a month ago, and I know it. 

0:47:29 – Matt Shields

Obviously they’re always refining and changing it, so Okay we just went through this exercise and the exact same thing. We went to chat GPT and this is gonna be so much easier. We’ll just do this, and it didn’t. Didn’t quite work out that way. 

0:47:41 – Mike Malatesta

Okay, so not not, not yet there, but I’m sure it’s gonna get there pretty soon. 

Exactly because that’s pretty simple prompt. So the community thing, the member thing, you’re, you’re buying, you’re, you’re you’re purchasing multi-family Apartment buildings I guess that’s what I would call. A lay person would call them and then you’re basically creating. You’re not just saying, oh, I have this apartment building, do you want to lease a spot. You’re saying you’re creating really a story around the, the apartment building. And well, you’re creating a significance or a meaning behind why you would want to live there and be part of it. Is that am I getting that right? 

0:48:18 – Matt Shields

That’s, that’s exactly right. Yeah, like so. Right now I’m in a community that we have that’s 275 units. It’s six different buildings. They’re not not continuous, they’re all right next to each other basically. But you know we are. Can we go out of our way to be able to connect people, learn about people, find out what their interests are? So Just a couple of days ago I was talking to a couple of women who love gardening. So we’re gonna be putting a garden actually right, like right on this corner. There’s gonna be a garden. That’s that’s going on outside of this building. 

So it’s, it’s a matter of, you know, just learning about people, learning what their interests are, and then, you know, connecting these people together. Hey, you know, you know you’re into cars. You got to see this guy’s car. He’s got it all covered up over here. He’s always watching on the weekends and all of that right. So it’s just learning about people and then connecting them together and and you know that creates a bond and a relationship Between these different members. And then you know, before you know it, you have, you know more and more, you know interaction and we have events all the time and, and you know, you just build this bond, you know, between everyone and yeah before you know it it’s. 

It’s just like the old neighborhoods, right? I don’t know what where you grew up at, but you know we used to know our neighbors and you know we’d be out riding our bikes until all hours of the night. And well, actually, you know I shouldn’t say that when the street lights came on, that’s when we, you know, that’s when you had to go home. 

Yeah, but but yeah, I mean, everybody knew everybody’s neighbors and all of that and that kind of has, you know, to an extent Fallen by the wayside. So we’re trying to bring that, that sense of community, back in our various communities. 

0:49:59 – Mike Malatesta

And you take every community as its own and create it a separate Sort of identity for it. It is. 

0:50:07 – Matt Shields

So we actually again this goes back to our mentor. He had a term for his, which I think we’re called a Vistole, if I remember correctly made up name. But once the communities got to a certain level where you had this culture I guess you can say that was being built inside of them, he would say that that was the Vistole community. So we’ve done the same thing. We created our own name. My partner and I have a habit of saying this is fantastic, that’s fantastic, everything’s fantastic. Again, going back to that positive vibe. So one day he and I were down in Tampa looking at multifamily properties and he looks at me. He’s like what is fantastic in Pig Latin? So we took some spelling liberties but we came up with antastaphate, which is essentially fantastic in Pig Latin, but all of our communities now are called antastaphase. So when we create this community, we’ll say that that’s now an antastaphate community. So that’s another one of the founding stories as to what this is. And it’s interesting too. 

And again, this goes back to the same mentor. He told us a story. He grew up in Chicago and he told us the story about billboards. Billboards used to be obviously big advertising still is to an extent but he told us this story about how, in Chicago, many years ago, all of these billboards started popping up that had this that just looked like a brown mound of dirt, and it started getting the community buzzing. Like what is it? There’s no words or anything on it, just this brown mound of what looked like dirt. And he said it. Really it started generating a buzz. And what is that? What is going on? People would talk about this all the time and before you know it and again, I don’t know exactly how they rolled this out, but at some point it was revealed that it was Folger’s coffee. It wasn’t a mound of dirt, it was coffee. 

But, it got everyone talking without actually having to go out and say this is Folger’s. And then now, oh, that was Folger’s. And then everybody’s talking about oh, do you see what those brown mounds were? It’s actually coffee, so it’s still resonating. So the same thing has happened with Intastaphite. It’s like I was driving by and I’m how do you pronounce that name? And I hear this all the time where essentially the entire, all of the neighborhoods, all of the local area that are always driving by, yeah, what is that? I mean, we’ve had some community outreach and whatnot. Yeah, I was wondering how you pronounce that name. So again, we’re creating the exact same type of buzz around the communities, simply by not explaining what it is. And then I tell the story about Fantastic, and oh my God, that’s great. Again, it’s a great foundational story. And then once people understand it, then there’s more to it than just some made up name. 

0:53:27 – Mike Malatesta

So smart, like you’re doing a lot of smart things, because I’m a huge believer in creating languages inside your business that are different than what everyone else is using, because of a couple of things. One, and you explained it. One it creates a community or a club, an admission right, because people want to belong to something that’s different. They don’t want to be called the same thing that everybody else in the industry is called, for example, and from the customer experience, when you have a name like Intasif, it’s no longer like so-and-so apartments, it’s Intasif, right, and so you have people’s attention, like the Folgers Coffee, for a minute at least, where you can have an opportunity to talk about your differentiation in a way that they ordinarily would not give you, because they’ve defined you as an apartment complex. I know what that is, I’ve been trained on that, that kind of thing, so I think that’s really smart, really smart. 

0:54:30 – Matt Shields

Yeah, yeah, that’s smart. Again, we’re trying to be different in the market and this goes back to again making everyone feel significant. Right, we want to be the people that stand out. We want to be the company that yeah, they’re thinking differently. Right Goes back to Apple think different, but just having that thing that you’re known for can be incredibly, incredibly powerful to be able to kind of brand and stick into people’s heads. 

0:54:59 – Mike Malatesta

And so now, matt, as I understand it, you’re talking to or teaching people how to think about multifamily real estate and get involved in it. And while we’re wrapping up here, could you explain kind of the people you’re looking to connect with and help? 

0:55:19 – Matt Shields

Yeah, yeah. So really, what I’ve been doing again seeking out other advice is trying to tie together all of these various assets that have been sort of segmented before in the past. So our goal is to again work with companies that they’re looking to create passive income for themselves. Right, so better your business through the software side of things, streamline things, manage things better, be able to sell more because you’re able to describe whatever it is that you’re doing. So we’ll help you generate additional revenue, which then you can reinvest passively into multifamily real estate, and these are the types of things that you should be looking for in real estate. 

Don’t get sucked into some of these opportunities that sound great, but there’s these issues that you should be paying attention to. So it’s kind of leveraging the technology side of things, the real estate side of things and also the podcast. Invest in square feet, which is, in my opinion, one of the core things that a lot of people sort of breeze over. They don’t necessarily understand how important it is to really understand what the opportunity is, because essentially, that’s what you’re doing You’re investing in a square foot of real estate, right, no matter what type of real estate. That is that you’re investing in. 

I’ve seen a lot of OMs, typically these syndicators. They’ll put together these great looking OMs and they’ll say, well, we’ve got this competitor over here. Whatever. $2,000 a month for rent for a two bedroom apartment. Our two bedrooms are $1,000. So we’ve got this huge runway where we can create additional revenue here. But what they don’t necessarily focus in on is maybe that $2,000 apartment that’s being rented for $2,000, that one could be 2,000 square feet and maybe yours are only 1,000 square feet. So you have to know what the square footage price is that you’re able to get and apply that back to your comp so that you’re comparing apples to apples. And it’s not just we have a two bedroom and their two bedroom is this. You have to compare apples to apples because that’s exactly what the tenant is going to do when they’re walking into these various different communities. They’re going to say, well, I can fit my bed over here and this one’s too small, or this one’s just right. 

So you really want to focus in on that. So, anyway, to answer your question, it’s really entrepreneurs, business owners, who are looking for additional ways to be able to generate revenue. So we’re helping them generate more revenue through that streamlining process and then reinvesting those revenues into the passive real estate investment. 

0:58:29 – Mike Malatesta

Matt, is there anything that I should have asked you or I didn’t ask you, or didn’t ask you clearly that you want to leave us with before we end today? 

0:58:37 – Matt Shields

I feel like we really dove deep into a lot of different topics and some things that I’ve never talked about before. So kudos to you for being so inquisitive there. But I just say again focus in on the positive things in life. I know I mentioned that many times before, but it really does help when you drown out all of the negativity that’s in the world today and again find those learning experiences, finding those points that you can leverage and learn from moving forward, no matter what it is that you’re going through Right. 

0:59:17 – Mike Malatesta

That’s a great message. To end on, matt Shields, thank you so much for being on the podcast. We will have all Matt’s info, website socials all in the show notes for the episode. And, matt, I thank you very much for being on the show and for those of you listening. Thank you very much for investing your time with Matt and I today and until we meet next time, please maximize the greatness that’s inside of you and make your future your property, a property that you are very proud to own. 

Hey everybody, thanks for listening to the show and before you go, I just have three requests for you. One if you like what I’m doing, please consider subscribing or following the podcast on whatever podcast platform you prefer. If you’re really into it, leave me a review, write something nice about me, give me five stars or whatever you feel is most appropriate. Number two I’ve got a book called Owner Shift how Getting Selfish Got Me Unstuck. It’s an Amazon bestseller. I’d love for you to read it or listen to it on Audible or wherever else Barnes, noble, amazon you can get it everywhere If you’re looking for inspiration, that will help you unlock your greatness and potential order or download it today so that you can have your very own copy and, if you get it, please let me know what you think. 

Number three my newsletter. I do a newsletter every Thursday and I talk about things that are interesting to me and or I give more information about the podcast and the podcast guests that I’ve had and the experiences that I’ve had with them. You can sign up for the podcast today at my website, which is my name You do that right now. Put in your email address and you’ll get the very next issue. The newsletter is short, thoughtful and designed to inspire, activate and maximize the greatness in you. 

Alexi Cortopassi

Alexi Cortopassi

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