About Our Guest
Robert Fehlen leveraging global commerce for local communities.
Robert has consulted for 20+ Shark Tank companies, startups, and Fortune 500 organizations. He has assisted in 4 exits – 2 of which were SaaS companies.
If you’re looking to create 7-figure net worth, then this episode is for you.
On this episode of the Chasing Financial Freedom Podcast, we’ll be talking with Robert Fehlen—a former Head Analyst for a $2.5 billion private equity portfolio who achieved a 7-figure net worth at 26. Today he’s an entrepreneur who has consulted for 20+ Shark Tank companies and startups as well as Fortune 500 organizations. He’s assisted in 4 exits (2 of which were SaaS companies), and he runs two private equity funds totaling $10M in real estate assets.
In addition to his professional accomplishments, Robert is passionate about spending time with his wife and kids. He considers himself a Personal Development Junkie and spends much of his free time reading books on personal growth and development, taking courses, and working on himself in order to improve his life.
So whether or not you’re looking to build your own fortune or just want to learn how someone else did it so you can use their strategies for yourself, this episode will be sure to inspire you!
How to Create a 7-Figure Net Worth
[00:00:00] Ryan: Hey guys, Ryan DeMent from Chasing Financial Freedom Podcast. I hope you guys are having a great day this week on the podcast. We have Robert Fehlen and I think I got his last name, right? Cuz I hate butchering last names. Robert is an entrepreneur. He’s started two businesses. He’s got some great background for you guys that are doing Johnny side hustle that wanna.
[00:00:24] Ryan: Out of working your nine to five and getting into your business, being an entrepreneur. Robert, welcome to the show.
[00:00:31] Robert: Hey, thanks for having me, Ryan. Super happy to be here. Hopefully, there’s no storm noise in the background or where the walls came in from the tsunami. It seems like we’re having but we’ll keep rolling with it.
[00:00:42] Ryan: Awesome. Stay safe. We don’t want you to float away out there. Absolutely. So tell the listeners a little bit about your background before we get into your journey.
[00:00:52] Robert: For sure. So at a high level, I’m in Cincinnati, Ohio right now. I’ve got a wife and one great child and another child. [00:01:00] No.
[00:01:00] Robert: And they switch back and forth at times. No, they both love both of them. Yeah, so been in the entrepreneur space for wow. Almost four or five years now at this point. The previous path I started out as a lot of entrepreneurs do mowing lawns early on and jumped into roofing when I was 14 years old, just saving cash for college.
[00:01:19] Robert: Ultimately with a goal of, Hey, how can I graduate college debt-free? While I was finishing up was blessed with the opportunity to start just at a financial assistant position with a private equity group outta the Midwest and work my way up the ranks there. Before, ultimately deciding to make the scary leap.
[00:01:37] Ryan: So I, I have to ask at the age of 14, you were in the roofing business. Were you physically working on roofs or what were you doing in the business?
[00:01:45] Robert: Yeah, so I, at, towards the tail end of it, I was actually laying shingles at the top. In the beginning, it was just carrying shingles up on the roof and doing the grunt work of cleaning up everything on the ground.
[00:01:55] Robert: My old boss, if he somehow came across, this would probably hate this, but he gave me a [00:02:00] hard hat on the clipboard and said, Hey, if you see a white truck pull up make sure you have this on you look like you’re just taking inventory and not actually working on the roof. But in that industry, they make it work.
[00:02:10] Ryan: Hey that’s pretty awesome because not to, bash generations, but a lot of the younger folks. And I’m not, I’m a little older than you. We’ve lost the ability to work hard in and go through that process. And that’s really cool that you did it at the age of 14.
[00:02:24] Robert: Absolutely. No, it’s a challenge to start to show up and start to see that trend happen even more with what these generations have been through with COVID.
[00:02:32] Ryan: So you are seeing that, or you’re not seeing that, sorry, you cut out.
[00:02:36] Robert: Yes. Yeah, no. We are seeing that even, one specific example, I’ve heard multiple stories around even individuals.
[00:02:42] Robert: I know with their children that we’re able to be on unemployment for a time and get a taste of that throughout the pandemic. It really set them back in motivation and opportunity as well.
[00:02:54] Ryan: And are you, and are they actually seeing them readjusting and coming back, or are they still set
[00:02:59] Ryan: back?[00:03:00]
[00:03:00] Robert: There’s been a few, even in the past week, I heard a story that their son is still set back at that point. Still staying at home, lost that motivation to grow once he started to see some of those checks coming in.
[00:03:13] Ryan: So how does, and I’m not, we’ll go down a path, but I gotta ask. The last question is how does that sun.
[00:03:19] Ryan: Support himself is his parents supporting him or is he as, or does he actually have a side gig or,
[00:03:25] Robert: Right now he’s staying at home. So he’s right. That college age could be a freshman in college at this point. But the parents are in a way enabling it at the same time.
[00:03:35] Ryan: Wow. We just opened up a whole nother conversation that we talk about. So I apologize. So let’s talk about your entrepreneurial journey and so forth. It started at 14. We I like that. Or, sorry, before that you were mowing lawns, what got you into wanting to be an entre?
[00:03:52] Robert: Yeah, so I can point back to the time.
[00:03:54] Robert: So my grandfather down in Georgia, before he passed away, he and my grandmother owned a small sub shop.
[00:04:00] And during the summers when we’d go to visit we’d get the opportunity to sweep the floors and wipe the tables at a young age, he would take me on delivery orders and in the summer. Where he passed away.
[00:04:13] Robert: I gotta spend time down there and get to sit next to him. Whether on the couch or next to his bed and just ask a lot of questions and learn so much about Business being a business owner, the tool, it can be to impact people and provide jobs and really create the life that you want for your family.
[00:04:30] Robert: So I was fascinated by that. You could even look back at that point after that conversation, my high school grades, my first two years of high school, weren’t that great. And then after that summer, I actually started to take things seriously moving forward, but I always had the edge from then on. I knew I was gonna be in business just wasn’t sure what it was gonna be at the
[00:04:46] Ryan: time.
[00:04:49] Ryan: So did you actually go to college and graduate?
[00:04:53] Robert: I did. Yes. I finished my financial management bachelor of financial management.
[00:04:58] Ryan: Got asked a big question. [00:05:00] Yeah. What did you learn in college? How often do you put that to play in your businesses?
[00:05:06] Robert: That’s a great question. So for me, I went through, so I did my bachelor’s degree in three years.
[00:05:10] Robert: And for me, it was more about getting that piece of paper. I was lucky enough that the firm that hired me probably should have had a bachelor’s degree before I did get started with them. And obviously, what I learned there, I was being able to take back to some of the more complex classes already, having the answers from being able to learn in the field.
[00:05:28] Robert: As well. So I think it’s a great opportunity to push yourself and set a goal and sure you can consistently get through it. But there’s nothing like learning in the trenches.
[00:05:38] Ryan: So would you say college has benefited you in your entrepreneurial journey or would you say that learning in the trenches is giving you a better grasp on how to be an entrepreneur?
[00:05:52] Robert: I’d say the one, one piece that I can pull out of my college degree that I would encourage most entrepreneurs to have in their pocket. [00:06:00] If they can, I was able to take two different accounting classes, one, it gave me the benefit of knowing ahead of time. I did not wanna be an accountant. when I grew up.
[00:06:08] Robert: And two, it gives you a good Understanding of baseline understanding of, Hey, how does the profit and loss work, your balance sheet, those numbers there inside your business. That way you can have more educated conversations with your accountant, with the experts that are in that field as you’re growing your business.
[00:06:26] Ryan: So if you had to do it all over again, would you go to college, or would you actually just try to learn the things that you’ve actually taken away from your businesses?
[00:06:34] Robert: I think it’d be easy to say, Hey, no I wouldn’t go to college again. But even looking into, the industries and the opportunities that are out there are most, I still have a foundation inside of a corporate world that I was able to give because I was pursuing a degree or had a degree that without that knowledge I was able to gain there, I probably would not have been able to go as far as fast in the entrepreneur side.
[00:06:57] Robert: So looking back I still probably would go. Through [00:07:00] that again. But at the same time, recognizing it’s not for everybody, we’ve had people we’ve hired on our team. We didn’t realize they had an MBA until after they started with us. Cuz that’s just not a place. We put a level of emphasis and we’ve got other folks on our team that have nothing in the way of college education that are still great.
[00:07:17] Ryan: Wow. It’s amazing that it’s just two different sides of the story. Cuz I, I have a bachelor’s degree and I have a master’s degree and I don’t put a lot of that to work in my businesses and I don’t know if I’m honest I’m on the fence. Some of the things I learned in my master’s program, would say yes.
[00:07:34] Ryan: Okay, go do it. But at the risk of racking up student loan debt. I don’t know if it’s worth it or not. I mean that today if you can put in hard work and time and learn on the job and you’re smart enough, I think anybody can become an entrepreneur if they truly want to. And it’s their passion. But if you’re truly not excited about that, I don’t know why people are.
[00:07:57] Ryan: Really downplaying the [00:08:00] trades in where that’s going, because we need plumbers. We need electricians and roofers. We need all these things to keep the economy going. What’s wrong with that? I just read an article the other day. Walmart is paying their drivers a hundred thousand dollars a year for entry-level drivers to come out and work a hundred thousand dollars a year.
[00:08:19] Ryan: No, no college education.
[00:08:20] Robert: No. And you brought up such a great point with the student loan debt. I encourage folks. Don’t go to, don’t go to college to find yourself while racking up debt and at the same time get a job. What you want to do with your life is gonna change. And yeah I have other friends and individuals around me that because they racked up that student loan debt.
[00:08:38] Robert: I’ve always, on a couple of occasions have said to me, man I always wanna make that. That leap in entrepreneurship, but I’ve got this cloud of debt that, my spouse would be unhappy or I’d be unhappy or insecure jumping out with that burden. So
[00:08:52] Ryan: it’s hard. It is hard. I jumped I’m, I’ve got two businesses that failed and a third business I’m, succeeding it’s and it’s always after passion, but the [00:09:00] first two businesses, I was carrying student loan debt and it was.
[00:09:03] Ryan: It was tough. But it’s a matter of what you wanna do and are you willing to put in the time and effort to get there? And I think that’s where there’s a little bit of a disconnect between the generations. Unfortunately, the internet has become instant gratification for a lot of people and they think that’s how life is, but they don’t realize below the surface of the water.
[00:09:23] Ryan: There are all the problems that entrepreneurs go through in the sleepless nights and living on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It’s tough. It’s not meant for everyone, cuz if everyone could do it, then we would all be doing it.
[00:09:35] Robert: Absolutely. No. One, of the most ironic terms that I hear throughout there, of course, all the time is passive income and that could be a whole conversation of the individuals that are out there striving for passive income.
[00:09:46] Robert: Don’t realize the active, the activities that have to take place in order to achieve that. So-called passive income.
[00:09:53] Ryan: Yeah. And I’ve never understood that all my life, especially in the real estate space, everyone talks about this passive income. Guess what? All the work you’ve [00:10:00] gotta do front your due diligence to make sure you can’t get that passive income cuz otherwise it’ll flop.
[00:10:05] Robert: Absolutely. Absolutely. It’s and on the I’m sure you’ve seen of where you have other people that are doing it for you, right? Whether it’s through funds or syndications. You’ve had to have a lot of action activity in your life to build the income and the savings in order to be able to invest in that.
[00:10:21] Robert: It’s still not passive at the end of the day.
[00:10:24] Ryan: No, it’s not. And you have to work for it. It just, boils down to how bad do you want it? Is it your passion? And then once you’re passionate about it, then you find a way to do it and you just don’t give up. Is everything gonna succeed?
[00:10:36] Ryan: No, but it depends on if you get back up every single time because ultimately you’ll find a way if there’s a will in there. And I don’t know how many, all the entrepreneurs I bring on the show, they all have the one, they have one consistent theme they’re persistent and they stay there. I don’t know a lot of other people outside of entrepreneurs or small business owners that are wired that way.
[00:10:59] Robert: [00:11:00] Absolutely. Now, if you. If you are idolizing the end goal and not enjoying the journey along the way it’s gonna, you’ll burn out very fast.
[00:11:10] Ryan: And it’s tough to stay at that pace and to continue to go it’s a daunting task, to say the least. So let’s digress I, I got down a hole and I always do.
[00:11:18] Ryan: So let’s talk about, what you’re doing and your entity. So what got you there and, why did you start these businesses?
[00:11:26] Robert: Yeah, absolutely. So if I take it back to one of my, one of my goals in life is just to be able to pursue passion and opportunity regardless of time and location.
[00:11:38] Robert: so I don’t have a dollar amount attached to that. I don’t have a revenue amount necessarily attached to that because I know if I’m focused on the revenue and the dollar amount, that’s going to be a distraction. It’s gonna be heartburn along the way. Versus if I can reflect back on what my why is as an individual and what I want from myself.
[00:11:57] Robert: Family and community and people around me. It can help me go [00:12:00] a lot further and have that stomach for the pain along the journey. So with that in mind, my journey started in the entrepreneur space, going to my wife, we had a great income. I had worked my way up to head analysts on a portfolio.
[00:12:14] Robert: We had about two and a half billion dollars of real estate at that time. And the company that I was working for. Great salary. We were flipping a house. We had a rental property and life was good. We were in the Midwest like this is supposed to be the American dream. And I went to her and said, Hey, what if.
[00:12:29] Robert: What if we got rid of all that, what if we tried this thing on entrepreneurship? And of course, I think our jaws hit the floor. We had multiple conversations over a few months. And at that time I started to sit back and reflect on my schedule, and what I was doing, and realize, Hey, I’ve got a wife and two and kids.
[00:12:45] Robert: If I wanna keep those in my life, like something in my life has to change. We ultimately made the decision to leap out into Colorado. This is the. The first point really in my life was that I didn’t have the a to B to Z planned out. Wasn’t sure exactly [00:13:00] what I was gonna do. But knew we needed to get the kids near the grandparents and my wife near her family and have some support system around her.
[00:13:08] Robert: Through that started consulting. I fell into financial planning really as a, Hey, I’ve got investment management experience. I like to build personal relationships. Let’s do that. Built-up a planning practice and realized. My passion was around ha having conversations like these, every day with business owners that are up to big things that are impacting their communities and wanted to build a life around that.
[00:13:32] Robert: So my personal goal was to sit down and talk to over a hundred entrepreneurs and ask question after question of what their challenges were, what their opportunities were. Where they got their advice from, and the challenges there. And there were a few key sticking points there that I realized, Hey, the service that I’m providing now, doesn’t allow me to leap out and do that and treat, talk to them about the specific things I wanna work with them on.
[00:13:55] Robert: So ultimately had to sell the financial planning practice book of business to another advisor in
[00:14:00] town and took the leap. Into more of a personal CFO role getting to work with startups to larger organizations as well, and getting to sit on the personal and the business side of life for these entrepreneurs.
[00:14:15] Robert: Ultimately at a high level that took us down the path into real estate back again, and to invest in that and merging the marketing agency outta Cincinnati as well, which is why it’s brought me back to back to the Midwest again. So 10,000 or 30,000 foot view. But that’s the story there are there.
[00:14:34] Ryan: So during that journey in, in, in all the changes. What would be the, three things that you would take away from each of those steps to get you to where you’re at today?
[00:14:44] Robert: Yeah. So I’d say the three main takeaways. I’d have one. If you’re starting to explore this world of entrepreneurship, or if you’re in a business and you’re trying to scale up put an emphasis on asking questions.
[00:14:58] Robert: It’s amazing what you
[00:15:00] can learn the relationships you can build and the connections you can have just by asking the right questions to the right people. I had someone tell me, they use the phrase, leaders are remembered by the questions that they ask and that stuck with me. So there’s that the other thing I’d add is people always say, it’s who, it’s who, it’s who, and I’d argue, it’s not who, it’s how they know you.
Because they may know you, but if they know you as a young kid that used to grow up in their neighborhood and raise hell around the neighborhood like that’s different, you may know them that may have a lot of sway and power, but that doesn’t matter.
[00:15:35] Robert: How do they know you as an individual? And the third is for me, at least every time I figured out the five-year plan, it changed. So realizing over time that it’s more about the journey than the destination was huge because it allowed me to sit back and allowed me with my co-founder now to sit back and say, Hey, we can pivot and operate and still see that as success versus [00:16:00] now where we’re headed in the trail that we’re headed may have slightly adjusted in.
[00:16:03] Robert: The target may have adjusted. It gave us that Liberty really to pivot as necessary.
[00:16:10] Ryan: So with the five-year plan, And the pivoting did the five-year plan pigeonhole you to where you couldn’t pivot, cuz you were trying to hit the five-year plan or were you able to say, okay, I have a vision for five years, but it might not look like that in five years and we’re gonna pivot and then readjust or did you just flat out say, okay, we’re scrapping the five-year plan and making changes to.
[00:16:34] Robert: Yeah, that’s a great question. And it’s honestly led to a change in our entire strategic planning structure with our team, how we even operate inside of our year, year by year. But for me, yes, early on it was, Hey, this is the goal I’m laying out. I back into the actions I have to take and I was headstrong and these are the actions I keep having to lay it.
[00:16:55] Robert: And there were other opportunities that were popping up that I was turning away or pushing away or [00:17:00] not even seeing. Because I was so focused on Hey, this is the target. This is the number I want to achieve. Versus realizing, Hey, things, change markets, change opportunities, change. We have to be willing to pivot.
[00:17:12] Ryan: So do you think there are blind spots for entrepreneurs when it comes to planning? When, when I say planning it’s very broad. So let me narrow that down. When to plan for scale growth in financial success.
[00:17:26] Robert: Okay. Let me just repeat the question, and make sure I heard correctly. So what are the challenges?
[00:17:30] Robert: Are entrepreneurs pigeonholing themselves in the areas of planning, whether it be for finance and scale and growth, is that correct? Yes, that’s correct. A hundred percent agree. One of my favorite questions early on to ask entrepreneurs is when was the last time you got out of your business and created that longer-term plan?
[00:17:49] Robert: and then the follow-up question to that is when did you pull that plan back and check-in with how you’re doing? And a lot of times, I’ve got, when it comes to financial forecasting specifically, like I’ve got a really [00:18:00] large philosophical difference in how financial forecasting today in the world works versus how it should work best for entrepreneurs.
[00:18:07] Robert: And a lot of times we build that long-term plan and then it goes into the filing cabinet and into the trashcan because three months from now, The life and the businesses change, we undersold, we oversold that, that plan at that point it’s even irrelevant.
[00:18:24] Ryan: So how would you suggest an entrepreneur attack that?
[00:18:27] Ryan: Because everything is fluid. Everything changes on a day-by-day basis. And one of the things that, I can tell you from my side from an entrepreneurial standpoint is if I don’t know my numbers, I don’t know my cash flow and I don’t know what we’re doing. I’m useless as a business owner, entrepreneur, whatever.
[00:18:42] Ryan: So first step of course knows your numbers, but as things expand contract you like you said you oversell something or you undersell something. How does the entrepreneur react to that? And what should they do with those, with that data?
[00:18:57] Robert: Sure, absolutely. And some of that has to do with what [00:19:00] are we tracking towards.
[00:19:01] Robert: So if we’re tracking towards, Hey, this is our target income and that’s the highlight. And if we’re with a team or solopreneur, and that’s what we talk about in focus on at all times, are we even tracking or looking at the right things? Is it the amount of income? The income really just a result of all the actions and activities that we’ve done over the past 30 to 90 days.
[00:19:21] Robert: In most cases, So for us where we’ve adjusted has been coming up with more of an annual theme of here’s the core theme. So for us this year, it’s been building a scalable team of experts that we can basically out, not outsource the work to, but almost duplicate ourselves on the work that we’re doing.
[00:19:41] Robert: Because if it’s taking all of our time, there’s nothing, we there’s only so much you can grow when you’re trading hours for dollars. So coming up with, what is that theme overall direction where we’re heading, and then I’m a big fan of the 12-week year, the book that’s out there. And we’ve adopted a majority of those principles where all we’re looking at is, Hey, over the [00:20:00] next 12 weeks, what are the three core areas we’re working on in people, purpose, and profit.
[00:20:06] Robert: And then inside of those, here’s the major activities that we’re gonna work on and we keep it as simple as possible. And there’s one name attached to each one of those. And what happens is it gives us enough over 12 weeks of Hey, we can probably project out with a reasonable expectation of what we can do over the next 12 weeks.
[00:20:24] Robert: Versus if in the growth mode that we’re in looking out a year. I can’t tell you what a year’s gonna look like. So it allows us enough. And two, as these opportunities pop up, it gives us the grace to say, Hey, we’re gonna push these opportunities off for now because we’re focused here within, inside those 12 weeks.
[00:20:41] Robert: But at the next 12 weeks, mark, we can refresh and look, Hey, does this make sense to bring in or pivot at that
[00:20:47] Ryan: point? So do you bring so whatever points you’re working on during the 12 weeks, do you bring all those? Items tasks, whatever you wanna call them to the finish line after 12 weeks, [00:21:00] or do a percentage of, ’em not make it what does that look like for you?
[00:21:04] Robert: Yeah, absolutely. So in, in operations, we break it down further into sprint plans. We’re working off in two weeks and it’s simply, Hey, we use, we’re a big fan of click up. We use the cards, we attach everyone’s name on the team to it. Here are the deadlines inside of that. We meet weekly. And then we do one of, one of the things.
[00:21:23] Robert: If you’re managing a virtual team, we found it to be successful rather than trying to find a time to do a daily huddle. With everyone that works for everyone’s schedule across multiple time zones, we do a video huddle where people can check in and say, Hey, here’s the sprint items I’m working on today.
[00:21:39] Robert: Here’s where I’m stuck. Here’s where I need help. And then if they have the capacity, they can help others. And then it goes into our slack channel. We can see that throughout time. So our goal, like our goal, and we did, I’d say we did well very well early on of like a hundred percent of the items that are gonna be in our sprint.
[00:21:55] Robert: We’re gonna complete if that takes Saturday and Sunday like we’re gonna get it done.
[00:22:00] As things have grown our targets are closer to 80% of those items. Can we get that done? Cuz there are gonna be things that we get stuck on or we’re waiting on an outside party from that we can’t push across the finish line, no matter how much we want to
[00:22:15] Ryan: So as you grow in as an entrepreneur and also on the other side of the world when I worked in corporate America our sprints and our forecasting and our updates, weren’t 80% successful. It was more like a 50-50 at times, just for the simple fact of the sheer size, we’re talking tens of thousands of employees.
[00:22:32] Ryan: So just sheer you can’t, there are only certain things you’re gonna be able to get done. And that’s corporate America, unfortunately, but from an entrepreneurial standpoint, What should an entrepreneur look at when he, or she’s trying to scale and build that team, whether it be virtual or in-person or a hybrid of both, whatever, where do they start?
[00:22:54] Ryan: Let’s, I don’t know if you want to pick a business type and we can go through that because I know. We have [00:23:00] listeners that are struggling to scale or struggling to get out of their nine to five to get that business off the ground. And they’re looking for help and they need to find a way to get out of that nine to five and into that entrepreneurial role, but not at an expense that they kill themselves basically.
[00:23:20] Ryan: And living in the business 24 hours.
[00:23:23] Robert: Absolutely. No, that’s an excellent question. Where I start first is what do I value in life? And then where do I get my energy from? I do not get my energy from. Printing out files, scanning uploading emails. Scheduling is a huge one. My calendar’s super important to me, but I don’t wanna be the one managing it at the same time.
[00:23:43] Robert: So I had a mentor that encouraged me early on to regularly track energy gain, drain both in your personal life. So we’d go through this exercise of okay. In my business life. Here’s where I’m gaining energy. Here’s where I’m draining energy. The same thing on the personal side.
[00:24:00] And then it starts to take action of okay, is there something we either need to cut out?
[00:24:05] Robert: What we’re doing, rethink how we’re doing it or automate it. Or lastly, is there someplace that we can outsource it to others and ultimately those tasks will accumulate where you can start to bring on another person onto your team to take care of those. And there’s plenty, we’ve used virtual assistance in the past.
[00:24:21] Robert: That’s been helpful when you’re specific and manage it appropriately. . And then there’s the other piece of balancing between putting all your chips on the table for a future date versus taking income now and that’s where it’s really up to the individual business center of what’s really important to them.
[00:24:36] Robert: Is it super important to replace my income for my job so that I can leave as soon as possible? If that’s the case, like hiring somebody else to take on these tasks, we may have to just step up and be willing to do that for a time. At the same time,
[00:24:50] Ryan: I just want, I’ll give an example, cuz I know somebody that I’m talking to and this could potentially help ’em so they’re still working there nine to five.
[00:24:57] Ryan: They have a concept that’s working, it’s in [00:25:00] the real estate space. It’s a little different than most, it has some technology behind it. But it’s also. Real estate investing. They want to raise capital. And there are so many ways you can raise capital and so many different ways to do all that for you.
[00:25:15] Ryan: What would be a suggestion since you’ve got real estate experience? Also, how could an individual that’s still working? Has the concept marked up all ready to go, has the presentations and the, and he is actually practiced on me and some other individuals for investment. And I’ve shot him down on some stuff and he’s getting better.
[00:25:34] Ryan: But from that point, let’s say he works out his pitch deck and he’s got everything going. Where does he go to get his first million dollars?
[00:25:42] Robert: Absolutely. So, one of the greatest pieces of advice I got early on was to start talking to people that have the capital before you need the capital. We early on, like on, on the analytical type, like I want everything to be perfect.
[00:25:56] Robert: I want the pitch deck. I want to have my note cards [00:26:00] bulleted out. And many in that, one of the greatest ways to build these connections with the people that have the capital is to just ask for advice and people can be afraid of, Hey, I, I need an NDA to protect my IP and things like that. Be willing to go to people and share your idea and ask for advice there and ask them like if you know that they have the capital, they invest in things like that in the past, ask them what would they need to see?
[00:26:26] Robert: In order to be interested in a project like that and have the market. And those people tell you how to present it as well. And also realize you’re gonna get a ton of no
[00:26:35] Ryan: along those lines. Yeah. And the nose is the biggest piece, but I wanna back up one step, even further backward. How does one connect or find individuals that have capital?
[00:26:47] Robert: Yeah. So one place to start. Of course, it can be linked. It’s obviously on the scale of like warm to cold, very much on the cold side. But it’s, starting back with who do you know, in your circle that may know other individuals and so asking them for [00:27:00] advice, asking them for those introductions.
[00:27:02] Robert: and the other side of this may be difficult inside of a nine to five job. But networking events, I’m not a huge fan of traditional networking as it stands, but there are some after-hours and BC equity groups after hours as well that you can start to meet up and collaborate and share ideas.
[00:27:19] Robert: So just putting yourself out there before you have all
[00:27:23] Ryan: the answers, what would you suggest then? If you’re not if you think the traditional is not. The route. What other route would you go?
[00:27:32] Robert: Yeah. So if I’m starting, I have zero connections. I’ve got an idea formulated. I’m not sure where to start. I probably would start inside those networking events and see who I can connect with outside of the event.
[00:27:44] Robert: So go in there and get the right names to connect with and sit and just ask a lot of great questions, get to know them, see if I can provide value to their life. And then ask them specifically, most of the time people are pretty good about, Hey, what do you need help with? How can I support what you’ve got [00:28:00] going?
[00:28:00] Robert: And one of the greatest things early on is asking for those introductions there,
[00:28:07] Ryan: are there specific groups or types of groups you would suggest?
[00:28:11] Robert: So depending on where you’re, where you are in the country I’m a huge fan of 1 million cups. They’re all across us. Yes.
[00:28:18] Ryan: They’re all across us.
[00:28:19] Ryan: Yes.
[00:28:20] Robert: There, it depends heavily on the city you’re in, if there is a VC or equity if there’s a higher percentage of that industry in your city, there’s a lot of VC or angels like after-hours as well in events that are good to attend. My, favorite place to go when I’m looking for events is just event bright and it’s just searching for business.
[00:28:37] Robert: This is the city, and you’re gonna find a lot of groups that you don’t wanna be a part of. And you, along the way, you’ll probably find one or two that you’ll enjoy.
[00:28:47] Ryan: That’s good. That’s cause you’d be amazed. How many people ask and say, Hey, I need to raise capital. I’m like, don’t we all work at it, but it’s how much time and effort you put into it.
[00:28:57] Ryan: I know myself. I know I was [00:29:00] over 50 no’s before I got a yes. And I did traditionally but I also, did a little net networking on LinkedIn, but mine was more just talking to people within the industry that I was in at the time and working in corporate America. And then that led me to other people and it led me to another group of individuals and they just kind.
[00:29:21] Ryan: Started going down the road, one of the things, if you go back and look when I was doing this, is six years ago, five years ago, six years ago, my videos were horrible and I was putting videos out back then and they were atrocious. And I look back on ’em, I’m like, oh my God, who would want to do any type of business with me?
[00:29:39] Ryan: And the funny thing that happened was two weeks ago, a gentleman called me out of a video that I did four or five years. With an investor group and it was horrible. And when I say horrible, it wasn’t, it’s not like I’m afraid to talk or speak or anything like that. It just, I was all over the place because I was so excited and there were so many people in the room and he’s oh yeah, I [00:30:00] saw your video from four or five years ago, whatever it was.
[00:30:02] Ryan: I’m like, oh my God. And what, and I had to ask what you, what do you think about it? And he. It’s interesting, but I’ve watched all your videos leading up to now. And all of a sudden he says you’re like a totally different person on camera. And I’m saying, yeah, I’ve worked on my speech and my pitch and in, in what I’m doing.
[00:30:19] Ryan: And I said, guess what? Five years ago, I wasn’t doing it for my heart or for my passion. It was all, it was truly all about the money. It was all about driving the dollar. and now I’ve got, it’s all about the passion. And once that hits your heart and you start doing that, I joke about it. My, we’re for-profit and a byproduct is we make money, but we help people along the way.
[00:30:42] Ryan: it’s a great feeling, but. Oh, man. I, you know what? I might link my old video in the show notes when we launch this out so people can see it. I’m embarrassed, to be honest, but I’m also not embarrassed to show that there’s growth. And that’s one thing that I tell people is don’t be afraid of your failures because your failures are teaching you [00:31:00] something to get better in life.
[00:31:02] Robert: Absolutely. I had a mentor share with me. And I’ve heard this phrase from a few others as well, but if you’re not looking back at what you were putting out and doing a year ago and laughing at yourself like you’re not growing and developing enough there’s that benefit of Hey, it’s great to look back and laugh and see where you’ve come from.
[00:31:18] Robert: It’s also nice in the moment to know, Hey, when I’m stressed out or worried about putting out there. Into the universe someday, I’m gonna look back and laugh at how much emphasis or how much concern I had around it.
[00:31:30] Ryan: Yeah. And it’s it. It’s amazing what you put out back then versus now, but how you grow.
[00:31:36] Ryan: But tying it all back into individuals, go out and put videos out on YouTube TikTok or wherever you’re talking about social media and they think it’s gonna be an overnight success. And then they see, oh crap. It’s not that easy. And I, and then I always come back and tell ’em guys that’s entrepreneurship.
[00:31:53] Ryan: It isn’t easy at all. And it’s not for the faint of heart. And it’s, you’re [00:32:00] not gonna put out one video. And then all of a sudden it’d be perfect. And your life changes. But we all go back and we look at the Steve Jobs of the world and then all these unicorns that are out there getting all this money, dude, tho those are like so rare.
[00:32:14] Ryan: That’s why they’re called unicorns. And one guy was telling me, oh, look, what about Gary V? And I said, now Gary V. If you go back and look at everything he’s done. Look where he started and look at some of these old videos that he’s selling wine in his dad’s shop in New Jersey and how horrible they are, but guess what he never gave up.
[00:32:33] Ryan: And he always just kept on going. He’s not an overnight success. He’s 15 years of overnight success.
[00:32:40] Robert: Oh, you’re exactly right. To, your point earlier about, the challenges around social media and. These generations as well. One of my challenges inside networking. And of course what on social media.
[00:32:51] Robert: We all, it’s easy to share the highlights. , it’s not easy to share challenges and the pain points that we have going on right now. On, on Facebook, [00:33:00] what are folks putting out as the success, the client stories, look at me, look at what I’ve done. Versus being able to see behind the scenes what we’re actually going through.
[00:33:09] Robert: So that was to my point of why traditional networking for me. Is a challenge because you walk around and hand out business cards and everyone’s business is going great. And it’s Hey if it was amazing. You were selling and you were beating all your goals. Like why are you here searching for
[00:33:23] Ryan: more business?
[00:33:25] Ryan: Exactly. And just being honest and truthful about that and where that actually goes. And that’s the biggest piece I try to tell these guys is, you know what, it’s not gonna be all roses. It’s not gonna be perfect, but your fighting for what you want to create is the biggest thing. And it comes out as passion and investors will.
[00:33:45] Ryan: And they’re like, okay, there’s something there. Of course, whatever you’re selling or making in widgets, whatever it has to be viable too. But if you’re just bought in for the money piece, it’s not going anywhere. Absolutely so
[00:33:58] Robert: quick to your the [00:34:00] investment question two. The other thing I found, there’s a gentleman that I know here and actually up and date, and that hates going out and talking to folks hates, doing pitches, anything like that, but he loves marketing and where he started to find successes and the crowdfunding space where you can be extremely broad with your audience.
[00:34:16] Robert: You can practice and prep and do your videos and your pitch deck ahead of time. And then leverage, his knowledge, and marketing to reach people and raise funds versus having to go out and knock on doors.
[00:34:28] Ryan: Yeah. And that’s it’s last year we started a nonprofit it’s. One of the things that we’re looking at is once we get our 5 0 1 C three wrapped up from the IRS that’ll take forever.
[00:34:37] Ryan: But anyhow that’s what we’re gonna do. Crowdfunding. That’s really where it’s for us. It works because we’re in the affordable housing space and a lot of people don’t understand that, but being able to put the right video together, the right pitch deck, and then be able to hit a broader audience from that standpoint, yeah, it we’ll get 10 or $15 donations or raises.
[00:34:56] Ryan: That’s fine. Cuz every dollar just goes towards the building of homes. [00:35:00] That’s what we’re looking for and that’s the audience that we go after. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So I’ve gotta ask, we gotta get into your real estate before we wrap this bad boy up. Talk a little bit about your real estate journey.
[00:35:13] Robert: So that was another one of those things that were on the five-year plan, where the organization that I had left, there was a little bit of time where I wasn’t able to enter that field very quickly. So I had to wait out a couple of years. My goal inside of the equity and the real estate was, Hey, I’m gonna help these business owners grow and scale.
[00:35:34] Robert: And most of the individuals that I talk to, in their business, they viewed that as a risky enough asset. That the stock market and the Mon market may not have been as attractive or exciting, or they really just wanted to limit that to their 401k, and the people around them, were talking about real estate and it’s, again, it’s all over social media, the coaches and training that’s out there.
[00:35:55] Robert: People are more familiar with. With that concept. So after being a [00:36:00] year and a half into launching into that more personal CFO work that I was doing was approached by a couple of potential investors slash business owners that were like, Hey, we know this is your background. why aren’t you doing this?
[00:36:13] Robert: And I couldn’t come up with a good reason. And so that was one of the opportunities to pivot. So I ended. Looking for other people in the field that got to touch other parts of the industry that I gotta see, but didn’t necessarily touch the day-to-day, got us together in one room. And we’re like, let’s come up with all the excuses as to why we’re not gonna do this now.
[00:36:31] Robert: And we couldn’t come up with anything. So we ended up launching our first project. We spent a lot of time diving into the markets we wanted to focus on. Close on our first project in 2021. And then our second pro, which was 78 units. And then our second project, we just closed on a month and a half ago, which would’ve been 56 units as well.
[00:36:53] Robert: And we’re still looking to grow and expand there. But we’re really taking our time with this market, making sure we, find the [00:37:00] right deal.
[00:37:02] Ryan: Hey that’s pretty awesome that you’re able to do that and take down that many doors. So that’s a positive I know a lot of people that syndicate in, in are in that market, it’s competitive, but you can find some really good deals per door.
[00:37:15] Ryan: For me, I would love to do it. I just, my plate is full and I do enjoy the hunt. The one thing that we’re trying to get into is in looking at is commercial. There are some strip malls that are coming, to market. And there are different things that you can definitely look at to be creative in that commercial space.
[00:37:31] Ryan: So we’ll see where that goes. But at some point, we’ll look at syndication, but it’s. Little further down the road. What’s more, it’s probably my five-year plan.
[00:37:42] Robert: five years. We’ll hopefully, then for you it’ll show up in the next year or two then
[00:37:46] Ryan: yes. We’ll see how that goes. So how could everybody get ahold of you if they wanna reach out to you?
[00:37:53] Robert: Sure. My favorite place to start would be LinkedIn. Just shoot me a message on there. And then I love doing virtual [00:38:00] coffees or for, local or.
[00:38:02] Robert: For some reason than love getting together and grabbing lunch but more than happy to people, for people to reach out and connect, I’d say, just mention where we came across. So if it’s this podcast here with Ryan, make sure to call that out. Yep. But happy just to have
[00:38:14] Ryan: conversations, I’ll put your LinkedIn profile in the show notes so people can reach you there.
[00:38:21] Ryan: Excellent. Excellent. Sir, I thank you, Robert, for coming on. It’s been a great conversation. Lots of good information, and I’ll be honest. I wanna probably have you back. Cause I think we didn’t get deep enough in and I didn’t go down a couple of rabbit holes that I wanted to. So definitely be looking out for you to come back.
[00:38:41] Robert: Yeah, absolutely. Thanks for having me on Ryan. Love listening to some of the other guests you’ve had on as well. And look forward to chatting with you. All right. Thank you, sir. Thank you.