Recently, I released the 500th episode of my podcast, Multifamily Insights. I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing a multitude of investors, entrepreneurs, business owners, marketers, and industry professionals. Through these conversations, I’ve uncovered a number of key lessons that have helped me and my listeners.
To succinctly capture the insights and ideas from 500 episodes is virtually impossible without leaving out some key elements. Nonetheless, these five ideas stood out the most. Here are five things I learned from interviewing over 500 guests.
1. The Importance of Taking the First Step
They say the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, but the next best time is today. This is true for investing, launching a new venture, or anything else that requires time and patience. However, many people will tell you they are not ready to launch today. They must reach a certain enigmatic level of knowledge or achievement before they will be ready to start. Many of these people never get started as they await this magical level of accomplishment that never seems to materialize.
Instead, successful people simply take the first step and figure it out from there. The key is to identify your MVP — a minimally viable product — and launch with it. You can always make improvements, but if you wait for the perfect product, you’re more likely to fail to launch altogether.
The good thing about this is you can adjust and incorporate feedback. If something no longer serves your needs, you can make a pivot or even a wholesale change.
You can’t raise money if you never talk to investors. You can’t buy a property if you never make an offer. You can’t be a real estate investor if you never invest in real estate. Take the first step and figure the rest out from there.
2. Failure Is Part of Success
When I was starting out, I hit a rough patch with my investing. One of my advisors told me I was “failing forward,” and I thought it was the biggest crock of garbage I had ever heard. Here I was flailing on two flip projects, trying to salvage what I could of my cash and confidence (and ego), and this guy was telling me the virtues of failing…and he was right.
It took some time for the message to sink in, but failing allowed me to face my fears and acknowledge what went wrong. It forced me to own up to my weaknesses and lean into my strengths. It also gave me the courage to play bigger than I was playing because I recognized that the main reason I failed is because I was playing scared.
“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” —Mike Tyson
Mike Tyson has a famous quote, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” But the key is what you do next. If you can absorb that blow and keep fighting, you’ll learn how tough, resilient, and determined you really are. You may also learn that the thing you feared most wasn’t that scary after all.
Every successful entrepreneur I’ve ever met has taken a punch and made the decision to keep fighting. One question I ask guests on the podcast is to talk about a failure or an apparent failure that set them up for later success. Inevitably, each of them had an ambitious goal, failed, learned, and adjusted to achieve greater things. Failure was just a stepping stone to their success.
3. Every Market Has Desirable and Undesirable Locations
Recently, I spoke at PassiveInvesting.com’s MFINCON in Charlotte, North Carolina. I shared images of properties in two markets: one a beautiful, spacious lakefront house, the other a boarded-up bungalow in a rough part of the city.
One of the properties is located in a growing metropolis consistently attracting new employers and residents, while the other market has seen decay and declines spanning the last 40 years. One market added 170,000 people to the metro between 2021 and 2022 alone. The other, however, has been deemed “the most miserable city in the U.S.” and has less than 70,000 residents in the metro after losing 33% of its population since 2000.
One of the markets is Dallas, Texas.
The other is Gary, Indiana.
The beautiful, spacious lakefront property is in Gary. The boarded-up bungalow is in Dallas. Let that sink in.
When I started Multifamily Insights (then called Target Market Insights), the show was focused on finding the best markets and submarkets for real estate investing. More specifically, I wanted to know which metrics top investors focused on and how much weight they gave to key factors. When I talked with investors in less desirable markets who were also crushing it, I began to realize that there are desirable and undesirable parts of every city for real estate investing.
If the “most miserable city in the U.S.” can produce a stunning home with daily rates that match or exceed monthly rents for an average home in the fastest-growing metro in the country, then certainly there are desirable and undesirable parts of every city.
This is not to imply that population growth, job growth, and other key metrics are not important. Instead, this underscores the importance of identifying drivers for a marketplace and the sustainability of those drivers. As real estate investors, it’s important to focus on not just the macroeconomics of the market, but the desirability and drivers of the submarket.
4. The Secret to Raising More Money for Real Estate
Raising money for real estate isn’t as easy as some would lead you to believe. However, if you can learn how to talk to potential investors and position your opportunities with these prospects, it becomes markedly easier. There is a saying that people invest with those they know, like, and trust.
One of the biggest secrets to raising more capital is simply focusing on making and building relationships. While everyone in your circle may not be an ideal fit to invest with you, almost everyone in your circle knows someone who is. Therefore, every relationship has value, and focusing on building relationships could lead to warm introductions to investors that are looking for the opportunities you have to offer. The more you can focus on making new connections and strengthening existing relationships, the easier it will be to raise capital for real estate.
The best capital raisers do not focus on raising capital. I’ll say that again: The best capital raisers do not focus on raising capital. They focus on building connections and strengthening relationships. They show up and present themselves as honorable, trustworthy, capable, and consistent. They spend time listening to the needs of others and addressing their questions or concerns to help them make informed decisions. They see themselves as providing a service for those investors, not as salespeople with a quota to hit. If you want to raise more money for real estate, focus more on building relationships.
5. Comparison Can Be a Valuable Learning Tool
The multifamily investing community is relatively small, and it’s easy to see what others are doing and feel like you should be doing more or achieving greater success. If you see those “Just Closed” posts and feel a sense of frustration or FOMO with your own investing, you’re experiencing a case of entitlement as Mark Manson calls it. Or more simply put, you’re just being a hater.
“Success leaves clues.” —Tony Robbins
Some will tell you to be grateful for what you do have, and there is certainly wisdom in that approach. However, it is important to recognize the success of others and look for clues to identify how you can replicate those results. Kobe Bryant often talked about how he studied Michael Jordan to emulate his game. Tony Robbins says to model someone who is already getting the results you want. Instead of comparing where you are to someone else, recognize what they’re doing and figure out how you can model those behaviors.
There is great value in comparing yourself to others, but only through the lens of learning. You are not in competition with other investors or peers, and most are happy to share key steps and insights that have helped them succeed.
Interviewing over 500 guests has produced an incredible number of insights, ideas, and strategies that would be impossible to dwindle down to one post. With that noted, it’s critical to move beyond just the consumption of content into the comprehension and application of those ideals.
What have you been thinking about doing for a while? What are you seeing other successful investors do that you want to emulate? What can you start with today?
There is no need to be afraid of failing, as failure is part of success. Over 500 interviews have certainly left a multitude of clues for success. Now it’s just a matter of what you will do with those clues to fuel your own success.
About the Author:
John Casmon has helped families invest passively in over $100 million worth of apartments. He is also the host of the #1 rated multifamily podcast, Multifamily Insights. Prior to multifamily, John was a marketing executive overseeing campaigns for Buick, Nike, Coors Light, and Mtn Dew: casmoncapital.com
The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as an offer to buy or sell any securities or to make or consider any investment or course of action.