Justin French on Business Strategy, Leadership, and SDIRA Wealth

Justin French is the kind of CEO who understands collaboration is the core of innovation. With a growing team that is now nationwide, French’s focus is on the strength of its people.

“I have always believed one of the best investments you can make, as a leader, is in the people you surround yourself with,” French said. “Great leaders never try to do everything on their own. They know a great company is built by everyone performing at their peak level. I spend most of my day working directly with my team and our affiliate partners so I can better equip them to be successful. In return, all of us at SDIRA Wealth are collectively raising the bar and achieving our goals.”

French uses his business-oriented insights to empower his team. He takes inspiration from one of the greats.

“Steve Jobs is a true innovator of our time,” French said. “He wanted to change the world. He did. He made an impact on everyone. He was successful not because he suddenly realized personal computers were his passion. That was not it at all. He knew computers could change the world. He wanted to be part of something bigger than himself.”

French said he admired Jobs’ dedication for making things simple to use, and this simplicity mindset is something French helps cultivate at SDIRA Wealth.

“What we do as a company is remove the barriers of having to deal with headaches of real estate, leaving our clients to enjoy all the benefits of it inside of their retirement accounts,” French said. “Making something simple requires harder work on the front side. You have to have the right talent and put enough time in to define the process. It’s worth it in the end because you have a product that is innovative and easy to use.”

His big-picture thinking combined with detailed actions has helped French make SDIRA Wealth a game-changer for retirement planning.

“The traditional way of retirement investing has been broken for a long time. Many people don’t know the 401(k) plan was never meant to be the main source of retirement funds that it is today, and sadly, pension plans have almost disappeared entirely. The problem is the money people are setting aside for retirement isn’t producing enough of a return for them to actually live on and maintain their standards of living in the future.”

To solve the problem, French said they had to answer three questions. What do people want? What do people need? Can we bring value? SDIRA Wealth’s solution answered all three.

“All great companies solve a problem and create value,” French said. “We don’t look at ourselves as a real estate investment company. We are an education company that provides a great product and solves America’s retirement epidemic. Real estate just happens to be part of that solution. We made the process simple and easy for everyone.”

French and his team are passionate about educating people about the benefits of real estate and Self-Directed IRAs.

“Our team is obsessed with educating others about all the benefits that Self-Directed IRAs bring with the power of real estate,” French said. “Most of the wealthy are already doing it. Look at Mitt Romney. He educated himself and took action for him and his family.”

Many people who invest in real estate are doing it the hard way, according to French.

“People expend a lot of their time finding properties, dealing with the headaches of being a landlord, trying to find ways to finance and leverage, and connecting all the players it takes to make a real estate transaction work,” French said. “That’s ok if you want to be an active investor. But what if you wanted the investment to be passive and to use your retirement dollars while still following all the rules and regulations?”

Complexity mixed with French’s drive for designing simplicity created perfect storm for a solution.

“Where there is complexity there is opportunity,” French said. “When companies focus on making things simple and easy for the end client, that’s when you start to innovate.  We made real estate as easy as a stock.”

French said part of making it easy has been about solving challenges.

“People want protection from market volatility, they want a higher rate of return, they don’t like hidden fees, and they want to have control of how their retirement plan is designed,” French said. “We have been able to solve all four. We do this with our solution by utilizing an asset that has been creating millionaires for decades. That’s residential real estate.”

From those four problems, SDIRA Wealth created the acronym PACT, which stands for People Achieving Change Together.

“PACT started out small but now has become a movement across the country with our affiliate partners,” French said. “It also represents the four main benefits our clients love about SDIRA Wealth’s investment solution, which are protection, acceleration, control, and transparency.”

After building and honing the solution, French started focusing on telling people about it by launching a nationwide affiliate campaign.

“We are blessed to work with some amazing affiliate partners who are wealth advisors, investment firms, and big-name influencers. They have same values and beliefs we do of disrupting status quo when it comes to retirement investing. They have been waiting for something like this.”

SDIRA Wealth helps affiliate partners best serve their clients in their market.

“By offering an additional product to accelerate their clients’ portfolios and reach their goals faster, our affiliate partners stand out in their market and attract more cliental,” French said. “Many say it’s the ace in their back pocket that has allowed them to satisfy their clients needs in ways they were not able to before. Their clients see they truly care to represent all the investment choices allowing their clients to win in the end.”

French said affiliate partners are passionate about solving America’s retirement challenges.

“Our affiliate partners understand the benefits of real estate,” French said. “They are excited about what we are doing and see the benefits of what our solution solves. Every week we interview new potential partners. Most of them come through our website or meet us at events.”

French’s success stems from his skills of finding and developing talent.

“The people you surround yourself will always determine your success,” French said. “One of my mentors always reminded me, ‘Show me your team and I’ll show you your success.’ This has always stuck with me and has always been true. With every successful team I have built over the past 20 years, the one thing I have always been very involved with is the interview process. It is vital we are always selecting natural market leaders and influencers who fit our culture and have the ability to make our company better.”

French has three tips for entrepreneurs who are striving for success.

One, “take time everyday to reflect and be thankful.”

“Always remember to have gratitude for the things you already do have,” French said. “Practicing thankfulness has changed my mindset and my life. It’s easy to think about what you don’t have as we are always working toward building our future. When you develop an attitude of gratitude you become thankful for everything that happens to you in life. Don’t be so focused on the finish line that you forget to enjoy the journey.”

Two, “stay true to your vision.”

“Find something you are good at,” French said. “Create something that will bring value to others. Focus on it. It’s easy to get sidetracked into creating new features, getting involved in wrong projects, listening to too many people’s ideas. In the end if you believe in what you do and your product can solve a problem, you are going to bring value to a lot people. If you can do that, success is just the byproduct of adding value and serving others.”

Three, “write down your goals to create accountability.”

“It’s proven people who have their goals written down attract more success,” French said. “As soon as you start working toward a goal you will encounter resistance and hurdles. By writing things down you will overcome these obstacles by focusing on your goal, making the challenges feel like small road bumps. Even more effective is sharing these written goals with someone who can help follow up with you. If you focus on your goals and take action the results will soon follow.”

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