The Story of Five Pillars...

We made over $1M in GCI and closed 500+ transactions within
2.5 years in real estate.

Now Agents within our community 
are doing the same:

THE FULL STORY

Before Real Estate

Army life.

Fort Jackson, SC
Fort Lewis, WA
Fort Benning, GA
Fort Bragg, NC

6 years.

Year 1
KW

GCI: $152,421.96
Closings: 48 (solo agent)
Rentals: 16 units

Keller Williams Rookie of the Year for NC & SC.

Founded Pints & Properties.

Year 2
KW/eXp

GCI: $225,031.91
Closings: 128 (new team)
Rentals: 40 units

Founded Five Pillars in Fayetteville, NC.

Grew to 7 Agents.

Year 3
eXp

GCI: $486,477.01
Closings: 216
Rentals: 74 units

Late in the year, Five Pillars expanded to Charlotte, NC.

Grew to 21 Agents.

Year 4
eXp

GCI: $494,556.70
Closings: 163 (half-year stats)

Mid-year, Five Pillars converted from traditional team to eXp model & exploded to 100+ agents.

Before Real Estate

I grew up in a military family and by the time I hit high school, I’d lived in more states and countries than I had fingers to count on.

I wanted to go to college out of state but needed someone other than my parents to pay for it… so I sold my soul to Uncle Sam, joined ROTC and owed the Army a few years of my life in exchange for my highly coveted degree in Anthropology from the University of South Carolina.  

After my Basic Officers course, I was stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington and had the most magical time exploring the Pacific Northwest in the 17th Fires Brigade.  I was the Distinguished Honor Grad of my Air Assault class and won Adjutant General (AG) Officer of the Year twice for our Division.  Good times, gooood times.

Next up was the Captains Career Course, followed by a brief stint at Fort Benning for Airborne school (Honor Grad again… suck it, boys).

When I arrived to the 2-508 Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina I was on high alert… I’d heard (from literally everyone) that ‘Bragg’ was a weird mix of badass and stupid, and I was ready to see for myself.  Spoiler alert:  The rumors are true.  

After a few months of being jerked around by the Green Weenie, I decided I was too old for this shit (at 26) and that it was time to get out of the Army.

I stumbled upon BiggerPockets, Robert Kiyosaki and the concept of Financial Freedom and that was all it took.  Real estate investing was my future.  I decided to get my real estate license as a way to make active income to fuel my passive income investments…. an “easy side hustle” — HA.  Let the games begin.

My First Year

“Palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy… nervous, but on the surfacing looking calm and ready…”  Yep, year 1 of Real Estate is basically an Eminem song.

My first day at Keller Williams Realty was mid-January of 2018 and, just like every newb agent, had no idea what to do with my hands.  After going to a few slow-paced trainings at my firm and Googling “how to be a real estate agent” on the internet, I realized I was NOT on track to becoming a badass agent.

What I needed was to find the agents who were straight crushing it and learn directly from them, on-the-job instead of in a classroom.  So I went to my firm’s CEO and asked for a list of the top performing agents and made it my hit list.  I called them, texted them, emailed them, showed up at their house, hid in their bushes, watched them sleep… I didn’t ask them to train me, I just asked them if I could exist in their presence.  And YES, they blew me off in the beginning but persistence — with a smile — wins.

I absorbed more in a month than many did in years.  I implemented the good & left the bad.  

Within 6 months I’d capped, within 9 months I’d hired a Transaction Coordinator and full time Assistant, and within 12 months I was the Keller Williams Rookie of the Year for “The Carolinas Region,” closing 48 transactions as a solo agent.

I also created “Pints & Properties” a Real Estate meetup, and used my newfound connections, street smarts and commission checks to build my own real estate portfolio, which amounted to 16 rentals by the end of that first year.

Winning Keller Williams Rookie of the year NC & SC 2018

Founding Five Pillars

Midway through my first year in Real Estate, I was introduced to Michael Glaspie as a potential investor client.  

Mike was Active Duty Special Forces and minutes into our convo, I realized the dude was an A-player.  Smart, creative, hard working, confident, polished and borderline intimidating… he was exactly the type of person I wanted to share the path to greatness with.

A few months later, Mike called me up, said he was going to get his Real Estate license and was looking to hit the ground running.  He asked if I’d considered starting a Team… fast forward about 12 seconds and we’d founded Five Pillars Realty Group together.

Five Pillars was originally created for two reasons:  

1.  To bridge the gap between Agents, Investors & Military Members (mindset, language, hustle), and help our clients crush their goals.

2.  As a hub for the most badass humans to kickstart their businesses, and thrive with like-minded people.

Mike and I were fire and gasoline.  Our vision caught wind and spread seemingly overnight, engulfing Fayetteville in real estate enthusiasm.  Our small, close-knit team went to conferences together, devoured books, ran Spartan races, volunteered and even flew to Costa Rica for our first ever “Team Trip.”  We made waves.

The Pillars challenged eachother, supported eachother and suffered together.  We closed out our first year as a team with 128 closings between 7 Agents, as well as adding over 80 rentals to our combined portfolios (I was up to 40 personally)… and we made the decision to move the team from Keller Williams to eXp Realty.

 

Growing the Team

 Year 3 for me, year 2 for Five Pillars.  The momentum continued to build and our energy was contagious.  

Our agents were performing, investing, taking action and making shit happen.  We were everywhere you looked:  In-person, on socials, on podcasts, in articles, speaking at events… everywhere.  

And with that, go getters were coming out of the woodwork, wanting to work with us or join us.

But for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction:  Midway through the year, team growing pains hit me like a freight truck.  

Learning how to be a stellar agent is insanely tough.  Trying to package and transfer everything you’ve learned in a way that resonates with a ton of different personalities is next fucking level tough.  (Especially when using the old school “Millionaire Real Estate Agent” guidelines… but more on that later.)  

To make it even more fun,  near the end of the year Mike & I decided to expand to Charlotte… right as my BiggerPockets podcast [Episode 406] was released.  

And the flood gates busted right open.

Shelby Osborne Johnson on the BiggerPockets Podcast
Five Pillars Team Trip 2020

 

Our Evolution

It’s our third year as a team and Agents nationwide were hitting us up, hoping to join… but we were still running the old school team model — high leverage, high splits, and highly localized.  

We had a full staff, in-house:  a COO, several Transaction Coordinators, a Listing Coordinator, Admin Assistant, Runner, Marketing Director and Social Media Manager.  

We had everything an Agent could dream of:  training, systems, leads, adventure, camaraderie, shit talk.  We had “Operation Extreme Hand Holding” for the newbs, leadership opportunities for the studs, a keg in the office to celebrate wins, and a trampoline out back to burn off steam.  If they could dream it, we’d implement it.

But how do you pay for all these dreams to come true?  With 50/50 splits, that’s how.  Mike & I knew the splits were high.  We knew everyone, both Agents & Admin, wanted more money… and we wanted them to get it. 

So how do we have our cake & get to eat it too?  Our solution:
– Help our Admin start their own businesses
– Have our Agents hire our Admin directly
– 
Transfer ownership of success / failure back onto the shoulders of our Agents
– Send out leads as referrals
– Use eXp Realty’s framework as intended, and remove team splits entirely 

And so we did it. Just halfway through the year, after closing 163 transactions with $494,556.70 in GCI, we updated the team model.  We kept the value & removed all splits.

We evolved.

Our Vision

Was the change from a traditional-team to modern-team perfect? Nope. Was it seamless? Not even close.  Are we stronger now because of it? Absolutely.

Every bit of what we learned, built and implemented over the years is filed.

All the value that helped us grow from zero to 100+ Agents in 4 years…
All the systems that helped me scale from 0-74 rental units in 3 years…
All of it, is right there for our Agents for FREE. Ready to expedite their own company’s growth, and their own financial freedom.

And the best part? We’ve only just begun.

Our vision is to continue to be a hub for the most badass humans to build their businesses, and thrive with like-minded people. 

To continue to attract and retain the go-getters who want to build, grow, and impact on micro and macro levels.

To be the community for high-performing Real Estate Agents who choose to BE MORE in life.

We are Five Pillars.