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How to Figure Out Your “Work Optional Number” as a Loan Officer

I sat down recently with my dear friend, Scotty Hudspeth, to discuss making work optional. It’s all about waking up in the morning and having the freedom to say, “I don’t have to go to work, but I want to go to work.”

Scotty reminded me of a time I asked Perry Belcher, who was working a lot of hours and making a ton of money, “Why do you keep working so hard? What’s that about?” And he said, “I don’t know. I guess I’m trying to buy two aircraft carriers so I can ski behind them.” He didn’t know the end result he was looking for. 

I know life isn’t about a finish line; it’s about a journey. But I do believe we have to set our eyes on some sort of financial goal or we’re going to be wandering aimlessly.

Know What You Want and Why

When we talk about wanting to double our business or whatever, what are we aiming for? What’s the why behind that number? If you don’t have a reason why, you’re probably not going to get there. A why is so powerful, so motivating. 

As a loan officer, you really can have everything you want. But you have to know what you want. Don’t just pull a number out of thin air. There’s a better way to do this. It’s called reverse engineering. My wife, Maria, and I did this over a decade ago where we sat down and wrote out what our dream life looked like. It’s this amazing exercise that I’d recommend everyone do. Sit down with your significant other and map it out. I’m not talking about setting realistic goals. Don’t cheat yourself. Go for what you really, truly want.

For example, I love motorcycles. I don’t want just one; I want a handful. How much will those cost? I want a motorhome. What does that cost? I want a Jeep to pull behind it. What does that cost? I want someone to clean my house and cook meals for me. What does that cost? 

Get a crystal clear picture of what you want your life to look like when you wake up in the morning. What’s your view when you look out the window? What are you listening to? Who are you with? What do you have for breakfast? Who made the breakfast? What clothes are you putting on? What are you driving to work? Figure out all the details of that perfect life, and then total up the cost.

After you’ve added that up, let’s say it’s $500k a year. Add 50% for taxes. I need to make $750k to bring home $500k. Now, it’s time to figure out how to get that done.

Reverse Engineer the Money You Need for Your Dream Life

If you want to make $750k in a year, and you make $2000/loan, you’ve got to close 375 loans a year. That’s 7 a week. To close 7 loans a week, you need 28 leads a week. If you work a 4-day week like we do, that’s 7 leads a day. As soon as I’ve solved the problem of getting 7 leads a day, I’ll be making $750k/year. That small number sounds more doable/realistic to us.

Once you figure out your target and figure out how to get 7 leads a day, things start to snowball and they happen faster than you think. I made more money in the past three years than I made in all the other years of my life combined.

Figure out your target and surround yourself with people who believe in you. They can help you get to your goal. We have so many people and stories in our Freedom Club of loan officers who have gone from a handful of loans a month to making millions of dollars of W2 income. Find people to hang out with who will pull you up, hold you accountable, and not let you give up.

Figuring Out Your Work Optional Number

What’s that point where I could wake up in the morning and not go to work if I didn’t want to? What’s my work optional number? (For the record, Scotty and I have both hit ours, but we love our work and keep going. That’s loan officer goals right there.)

Scotty loves helping people figure out their work optional number. Maybe you can work three days a week to hit that number. When we say “work optional,” there are two ways to look at it. 

When you’re leveraging a team, you don’t have to put the hours in. You know the old saying that 20% of your activities are bringing in 80% of your money. You can just work 20% of the day on the most productive activities while other people do everything else for you.

The best part of work optional is that you have to make that 20% something you absolutely positively love. Get the stuff off your plate that you hate, because then it just turns into fun. You’re getting up every day, looking forward to what you get to do. 

The other “work optional” is where I could literally shut the door, walk out, and still have enough money for my dream life. 

Most financial planners would say, if you want to retire, you need enough money so that you could withdraw 4% to 5% a year. So, if you save $1 million, and you withdraw 5% every year, that’s a very modest $50,000. You need a lot more money than you think.

Giving Back Is One of the Best Parts of Success

We don’t throw around these huge numbers just to go drive a new Ferrari. There’s nothing wrong with a new sports car, and we like nice stuff—toys, vehicles, rings, watches, whatever—but it’s not our primary driving purpose. Scotty and I are both associated with an organization where we take a good chunk of money and help people. We just put a young woman through law school. She wanted to go and her family couldn’t afford it. We also built and completely funded a center for abused women in South America.

We raised money for our dear friend, John Hinks, to build a huge summer camp for disabled children in South Carolina. This was John’s dream, for disabled kids to have an amazing experience where they don’t feel disabled; they just feel like kids. At a Freedom Club meeting, our awesome loan officers donated to literally pay for every single kid to go to this camp for an entire year.

We’re not looking for credit or trying to brag. We just want to inspire you. When you make this good money, you not only get to buy toys and set your family up for success, but you also get to help so many people who might not have had the same breaks you had.

You Are Worthy. Period.

We want other loan officers to know they’re worthy and they can do it. You just have to believe in yourself and surround yourself with people who believe in you. No one in my family has made the kind of money I’m making, but I have people in the Freedom Club who know this kind of success and can spur me on to bigger and better things. I’m surrounding myself with high-producing people, and we celebrate big wins with each other. We call it spiking the ball. I’m excited and happy, and I know they’ll be happy for me and share my joy. I can’t do that with just anyone. They wouldn’t understand. It would be insensitive.

It’s all about this daily success plan that we stick to every single day because it works. We’re selling a lifestyle here. We’re selling memories, getting people in homes, and we get paid really well for it.

Map out your dream life. Put a dollar amount on it. Add in the cost of taxes. Figure out how many leads you need each week. Make a plan to go get them. Stick with it. We see some very non-special people pull this off. Normal friendly people willing to put in the work. 
If you need help figuring out how to bring in seven leads a week, set up a call with Scotty. He’d love to walk you through a step-by-step plan of how to get those leads—what activities to do, what your team needs to look like, what loan officer scripts to use. The call is FREE and it’s the best part of Scotty’s day. Click HERE to choose a 30-minute time slot TODAY.