There are many paths toward financial independence. But which can take you to it faster? Nicole Rueth, the Producing Branch Manager of The Rueth Team, believes it is in using home equity. In this episode, she joins Bob Roark and Jaime Zawmon of Titan CEO to tell us why that is so and how she helps people get to them and capitalize on their biggest asset and liability. Featured as one of the 2020 Titan 100, Nicole then shares what characteristics make a Titan of Industry and how you can build a company with the best version of yourself—from habits and rituals to mindset. Join today’s conversation as Nicole takes you into her journey of leaving a legacy and helping people.
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Leaving A Legacy Through Home Equity With Nicole Rueth, Producing Branch Manager, The Rueth Team, Fairway Mortgage, And Co-Host Jaime Zawmon, President of Titan CEO
We have our co-host Jaime Zawmon. She is the Founder and President of Titan CEO. Our guest is Nicole Rueth. She is the Producing Branch Manager of The Rueth Team at Fairway Mortgage. Thank you for taking the time.
I appreciate the opportunity. Thank you for having me.
Nicole, if you would tell us about your business and who you serve?
As a lender, I serve people who own homes and want to refinance or buy homes but that’s 1/100 of what we do. What my team does and what differentiates us in the market is the fact that we come alongside our clients to evaluate what is the swiftest way to get them towards independence financially using home equity. How do they capitalize on appreciation, principal reduction and rental income? How do they capitalize on what is the biggest asset and liability for most people? We solve the problem of how to finance that first purchase, that move up purchase and that investment property that’s going to help take care of your family.
When you first started on this path, was that your service offering?
I first started as most lenders do dropping off candy at real estate offices, trying to connect with a divorce attorney, and trying to figure out who the financial planner that I was going to get referrals from. I operated it small and I was thinking about how do I get the next deal in my pipeline? It was a couple of years later when I started down this path of creating a team. I come from Corporate America so I manage large scale projects. This is back in the day of Andersen Consulting, now they’re Accenture. I knew how to develop teams, strategies or solutions. I had no idea how to track that in mortgage lending.
When I got out of the corporate business to have three amazing kids who are now young adults and then got back into a job, which that’s all I thought it was. It happened to be in lending but I was trying to originate a loan. I started figuring out that I could originate more loans if I had people beside me that believed the same thing and then I got my first investment property. I had somebody come alongside me that cared enough to spend the time to teach me about what that meant because I didn’t know, even though I was in the business.
I started teaching other people. I had to pay it forward because I was generously given and I had to give it all away. As I’m giving it away, people want some of that and they’re like, “I don’t know how to build wealth.” Not real wealth where you invest in the stock market and right now that might be going well but next year it might not be. “How do you create that stability in that foundation?” It was that incremental change that somehow you don’t even see coming until it’s starting to build on itself and then it does. You realize that you want to start to build something that you’re proud of, you can leave a legacy and you’re impacting other lives. That’s the cool part. I started focusing on building a team and that’s what I have. I have fifteen amazing people that work with me, like me, for me and for the clients.A Titan can't be afraid to fail. A Titan has the need to build. Click To Tweet
Was there a catalyst that took you from, “I want to be able to do another loan,” to this vision that you started pursuing?
There was. The catalyst was a gentle older man. Back then before Meetups and before you use Facebook for this, you had an investment breakfast club, where you went to a hotel and into one of their conference rooms. It was one of those where I met this gentleman where I was going to pick up realtors. I was going to build my business to generate another loan. He was going to find people as clients and we happen to bump into each other. I think he won. I ended up buying a fourplex from him. My first ever investment where I jumped all the way in. I still own that fourplex. I bought it for $400,000 in Arvada. It’s worth almost $1 million. It was a phenomenal opportunity that I would never have even thought of had he not walked beside me. For the months, it took me to buy that thing because I wanted to say no. I did say no a lot of times but he taught, he leaned in and helped me through the whole thing.
You’ve been incredibly open to the possibilities and things that present themselves to you in your life. For those of you that are reading who are already captivated by your story, Nicole is one of the 2020 Titan 100 recognized here in the Colorado Metropolitan Area. I’m holding up a copy of the Titan 100 book in which she was recognized. As an intro to how we get started with this show, I always love to ask all of the Titans that we interview in the series, what characteristics that they believe it takes to be considered a Titan of Industry? I’d love to get your take on it.
A Titan can’t be afraid to fail. A Titan has the need to build. I don’t want to build because I get paid money to do it. I build because I have to provide an experience for my team and my clients. I have to continue to build that next thing and continue to grow the services that we offer to our clients and our referral partners. A Titan doesn’t believe in sitting still and wants to leave the place a better place than they found it.
There was the before and after. Before the lending business, what you did and understand the family transition and then going out, back into the workforce. If you would walk us down the path of what you were doing before you got into the Fairway Mortgage world. What did you do in Corporate America? There was that point where you decided to leave Corporate America and there was that transition when you went to Fairway.
At first, I started in technology. I was programming. I went into change management helping those executive sponsorship level and the workforce level in identifying and capitalizing on the change of technology on how do you implement it from a workforce perspective and efficiencies. I did that and it took me traveling and working a lot. Eventually, I had my first baby, my second and I was pregnant with our third. We decided we couldn’t work like that anymore and so I hung out with the kids for a while until I called up a friend of mine. I said, “I need a job. I don’t want a career because I don’t want to work that much. I need to get off the floor and have adult interaction.”
He happened to be in mortgage lending and that’s when I entered into the broker world. This is thirteen years before Fairway. I landed in the mortgage world looking for a job, not realizing that wherever I went, there I was. I worked that hard. I don’t care what my job was. I just did. I ended up working all those hours anyway but for now, it was building something. I started in operations and mortgage lending because that was my vein. I did that for 8 to 9 years. I went over to originating in the sales side with the same passion that I had for building the business. I love that part too. I started building financial futures for my clients. The transition was a little wonky in the sense that there’s a lot of backstory to that one but once I leaped over, I never looked back. At that point, it was always working with the clients.
It sounds that success is in your DNA and it’s a matter of where you point yourself in the direction of where you want to go and you continue to find a way to be successful in that discipline, which is nice. I know that many women can relate to your experience with the grind and then what happens when children enter into the picture and how do you balance both. It’s incredibly difficult for many women. It’s great that you were able to take the time to be with them and grow with them and then say, “I’m ready to go back and start dominating again,” which is essentially what you did and it was awesome. I have to ask you, if you could go back twenty years plus of experience that you’ve had and offer the less experience version of yourself, some advice about building a company or to shape or define the experience that you would love to have many years ago, what would that be? What would that look like?
I’ll say two things. First, I’ll start on the personal and then on the work side. On the personal side, my husband and I had some turbulence in our marriage. We figured out who we were as parents, working adults, and a married couple. We’ve been married for a long time but it wasn’t always easy. It was challenging trying to figure out our roles and who we were. If I could tell myself back then, I would tell myself to be patient with the growth that we were both going to grow differently, sometimes together and apart. That meant that we were going to land exactly where we were supposed to be. We had to give each other a lot of grace and forgiveness. Regretfully, we went through some turbulent times where we didn’t understand that.
Now, he’s my partner. He works with me on my team and he’s an incredible asset. He helped raise the kids. He was that primary caregiver when I was working all the time, I kept landing in front of myself. I kept figuring out that wherever I went, there it was and I kept working as hard as I always did. I wish I would have learned that lesson a little sooner. We would have had some more happy times than we did along the way. As a business person, I would say, “Allow yourself to fail and promise yourself to give it all away.” We give everything away. I don’t track dollars, not even a little. My husband tracks the P&L and makes sure that I don’t spend more than I make but I don’t worry about the money. The money takes care of itself. I continue to give it all away.
I’m a deeply spiritual person and we don’t necessarily need to go down that path on this show but I believe that God has given for me to give away. He’s put me in this position because I have the skills to make a difference. If I hold that back, even a little, then He’s going to stop giving it to me. I want to continue to receive so I have to give it all away faster than that. We do that constantly whether it’s my work effort, time, teaching, guidance, counsel, my advisory ship with the mortgage lending or tithing and my gifts financially. We give everything away as fast as we can. I continue to put myself out in front.
We joke about, “I’m a little further ahead this time than the usual.” That’s one of those things where if I keep putting myself out there, I believe he’ll catch me and it will be for the betterment of many more than just me. I have to be willing to fail. Without that, I’ll stay contained and I won’t be able to have the success nor provide the success for those around me. If I can help others build wealth through real estate, to build investments, legacy and multi-generational wealth, their success does not threaten mine. We can all get there together. They can buy even more investments than I even dreamed of owning and have even more success than I’ve had, yet it doesn’t infringe or limit mine. It continues to push me to give it all away.
Profound thoughts are the way that your mindset works and your thought processes. I haven’t come across many interviews in my experience and I’ve been interviewing CEOs for many years. I love everything that you’ve said. It’s inspirational which makes you incredibly unique and rare, Nicole.
In the day-to-day operations, people were fascinated by your rituals and day-to-day routine. A lot of times this is what you should work hard and we all got to get that. What are the rituals, habits or self-talk that keeps you going daily?
I am big on setting up my day and ending my day. How I start and end my day, week and the year is all become extremely pre-programmed or destined. I start each day at 3:30 in the morning off work, early time and it’s dark. I started that a long time ago. I was in college and I always setting my class schedule for 8:00 AM. I’d go to the gym at 5:00 or 5:30 when they first opened up. I’d get home, get ready and get to the classes and then I’d be done. I have my afternoon free. That’s how my brain was always wired to do it that way.A Titan doesn't believe in sitting still and wants to leave the place better than they found it. Click To Tweet
I didn’t go to all the parties in college because I was asleep or falling asleep at the parties which have happened a couple of times. That was not my lifestyle. When I had kids, that was my time where they weren’t awake yet, the house was quiet and I could think, do, get a bunch done and preset my day. Now the kids are grown and they don’t wake up even if I didn’t wake up early. I like getting up at 3:30 and having my rituals. I get up at 3:30, I start out by reading the Bible, prayer gratitude, ironing out my day, and scheduling it. I have my Dot Matrix planner that’s empty and I schedule my own day every day.
I think about, “What it is I need to do that day or in the next couple of days in advance,” and then I get on my email. A lot of people say, “Don’t get on your email that early.” I get on my email because I have a great a team and I push everything out that needs to be done. I delegate at that time. They get a blur of emails from me at 4:30 in the morning. I’m at the gym at 5:00 still to this day. Every day I have to work out. It energizes me and allows me to do the things that I want to do. I get home and I get the rest of the team up or make the green smoothies and do the rituals. I’m writing that down. I work until 7:00. It’s not uncommon to see me work until 8:00. I’m shutting that down no later than 8:00 so that I can be in bed no later than 9:00.
That particular path of success and there’s so much work that’s done on ritual observation, The Miracle Morning. For the people that are reading, getting up at 3:30 sounds challenging. I’m up at 4:00. I’m an ex-military so I was always up early. I was a pre-med kid so all my classes were early. Some people develop the button and some people have the button. Did you always have the button? Did your people give you the early morning button?
My people didn’t. I was raised by a single mom. She gave us everything that she had. We didn’t have much. She was in sales. We’d get a lot, we go to Disneyland. We’d get a little, we get food stamps. It was across the board growing up but she did have a deep passion for success. Her big thing was like, “I want to give you a better life than I had.” That’s a whole another story but she was always putting the next thing in front of her like, “How do I give you more? How do I give my grandchildren more?” It wasn’t about money as much as it was about strength and the fortitude to be successful, whatever success is defined by you. Waking up early was not her thing.
You are so driven, Nicole. It’s incredible and inspiring your routines that you stick to. I believe in the whole adage that success breeds success. What you do is successful and it self perpetuates that success as I continue to see. I have to ask you about advice that you would offer to a respective entrepreneur or a new CEO, assuming the role for the first time. What advice would you offer them?
I would tell that CEO that they have to go first. A lot of bosses that I had would have cut out of work early, taking Fridays off, go on a month-long vacation or disappear knowing that they had a strong team and it’s their right to do that especially after they’ve built something up that self-sustains. I operate a little bit differently. I work more than anybody on my team. My whole thing is I had to be willing to go first. I have to be willing to show them the path, make the mistakes, honor those mistakes and to be vulnerable in that.
If I don’t show them that I went in front of them, sometimes I made a good decision, and sometimes I made a bad decision and own that, then it doesn’t allow them the opportunity to fail, exceed or to push beyond their current limits. They’ll think inside the box. I need them to think outside the box. That’s part of what makes this team good is because we can solve mortgage and financial questions or situations that other lenders can’t. it’s not because they’re not able, it’s simply because they don’t try. My team is constantly pushed and allowed to fail. You have to model that. You can’t expect them to feel safe to do that if you haven’t done it already.
It’s the same mindset. I’m ex-military and I’m thinking the best lead from the front. You can’t teach marksmanship unless you know how to shoot. There’s a lot of parallels in the leadership space. How do people find you on social media?
They know where to find you. Fertilizing the mind early in the morning and parts of the day, what’s a book or a publication that you’ve read that’s influenced your thinking?
I’ll give you three. One, I finished but I’ll give you the other two first because you brought up one and that’s The Miracle Morning. I loved how he divided his morning and his evening up. He did it in ten-minute increments and I can’t get anything done in ten minutes. The next book that I read after that was The 12 Week Year. It is all about taking those year-long goals and condensing them into quarterly goals. It’s a game-changer. When you stop thinking annually, you start thinking quarterly. The one that I finished is The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. That one struck home. I and my team are far from perfect. I have ideas, visions, and goals. We stretch ourselves but we’re still dysfunctional. Reading that did help highlight some things that I want to work on in 2021.
It speaks volumes more to Nicole’s mindset. She is like many other Titans that we talked to, a lifelong learner. The fact that she continues to strive, learn, read and absorb, it speaks volumes. It’s one of those reasons why entrepreneurs or CEOs do well is that they seek to continuously learn. I love the books and I’m going to read The Miracle Morning myself because I could use some help in that area. I listened to you, your drive, and passion which I love. It’s one of the reasons why she is a Titan 100.
For those of you that are intrigued by Nicole’s story and mindset, you can go to our website at www.Titan100.biz, you can click on the page that will list all of the 2020 Titan 100. You can find Nicole and read more about her and her inspiration. I wanted to make sure our readers knew that. It’s been great interviewing Nicole. I’ve taken so much from you. Thank you for being an inspiration to our readers.
You’re welcome. Thank you for having me.
Nicole, I appreciate your leadership style. I can’t ask them to do it if I haven’t done it. The fact that you’re still pushing, reading, and go, “I’m tuning, tweaking and observing.” The quarterly look backs and all of the things to remind yourself and get your mindset squared away is admirable. For the people that are reading, if you’re trying to figure out how you accomplish the goals, break them down. Thank you for being on this episode. We appreciate your time and that smiling face the whole time.
Thank you. Bye.
- Titan CEO
- The Rueth Team
- Titan 100
- Facebook – The Rueth Team – Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation
- LinkedIn – Nicole Leidel Rueth, Fairway Independent Mortgage
- Instagram – Nicole Rueth
- The Miracle Morning
- The 12 Week Year
- The Five Dysfunctions of a Team
About Nicole Rueth
Her success is a result of experience, integrity, dedication and the desire for excellence!
As Top Originator for the state of Colorado and #60 Nationally as well as the #1 Producing Branch Manager at Fairway Mortgage, she thrives on providing the BEST SERVICE in Denver, Colorado!
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