Q:- Please give our readers an introduction to your business. Please include what your business is all about, in which city you are located and if you have offices in multiple locations/ cities.
Ans:- We are a full service real estate and mortgage company located in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida and serve the Jacksonville, Florida area. We originate mortgages for clients such as Conventional, FHA, USDA, and VA residential loans.
Q:- Please give us a brief description about yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).
Ans:- Born 10-16-1980 in Trenton NJ.
Grew up in Princeton – West Windsor NJ.
Graduated from Hun School of Princeton in 1999.
Graduated from University of Tampa in 2003 with Major in Finance from Sykes Business. Worked in sports finance for the New York Yankees and played
Professional Tennis until 2010. Became a Licensed Mortgage Broker in 2011 and formed Carbon Capital in 2014.
Highest rated mortgage broker in Jacksonville on Google and Zillow. Currently resides in Jacksonville Florida.
Q:- What inspired you to (start a new business venture) or (to make significant changes in an existing business)? How did the idea for your business come about?
Ans:- We were trying to buy our first home through a major bank here in Florida. After several months we were actually denied even though we had good income and credit scores. We were referred to a mortgage broker who closed our loan in three weeks. We were so impressed that I was intrigued by the occupation and did not ever want to deal with a big bank or have a housing problem ever again. I was recruited to get my license by this mortgage broker and did so and transitioned from tennis professional to mortgage broker over the course of a couple years. The service a mortgage broker like myself can provide is infinitely greater than the service that a large bank can provide based on my experiences.
Q:- What three pieces of advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Ans:- 1. Follow up with all your leads.
2. Invest in technology.
3. Track your return on investment – 10X multiple on your investments.
Q:- What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Ans:- 1. Ability to sniff out real deals and work on those instead of wasting time with clients who can’t or won’t close.
2. To keep going even when you feel down just get back to basics and hit the phones especially during down times work harder.
3. Making sure you are getting at least a 10X multiple return on your investment. example invest 1K and must make 10K off of that.
Q:- How many hours do you work a day on average?
Ans:- It varies day to day. Somedays I will work a lot and others I will lay back but I do work just about all 7 days though. My phone is available at all times unless I am sleeping. I’ve never actually tracked my daily work hours but I am typically available 24/7. I like to focus on quality of work over quantity.
Q:- To what do you most attribute your success?
Ans:- Working hard even when the times are slow and not giving up. When business is slow I need to work even harder and make even more calls and even take on deals I would not usually take on in order to build momentum. It’s easy to get down as a business owner and staying out of that rut is important. It’s real easy to give up and hit a dry spell so setting financial goals or closing goals help keep me going. Persistency to reach out to clients and also seeking expansion whether it be through people or technology.
Q:- How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
Ans:- We market on Zillow and SEO. We also reach out to local realtors. We don’t track the return on the investment like we used to but Zillow used to be our highest return on investment. We were getting 20X and 30X returns on our marketing there.
Q:- Where did your organizations funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?
Ans:- We have no investors. It is 100% owned by myself. It all came from my previous profits and reinvesting my money back into the business. It was very difficult at first and we had to seek out a lot of free marketing campaigns or negotiate a lot. We still do this so we can maintain proper margins and remain profitable.
Q:- What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
Ans:- Expansion through people and always doing better each year.
Q:- Where do you see yourself and your business in 5-10 years?
Ans:- In 5 years I would like to run for political office and focus on financial issues and regulations. I hope I can have someone run the business by that time so I can do both.
Q:- Excluding your own, what company or business do you admire the most?
Ans:- We admire innovative companies who just want to make great changes. Even Apple who changed the game. I’ve noticed it’s so difficult to change the game and it takes a lot of money and political pull in order to change the financial game. We are trying to make as much as possible because the money being made gives us the power to eventually change the entire financial structure in the United States.
Q:- How important have good employees been to your success?
Ans:- Very important so important that it makes or breaks deals and I track all new people very closely to see if they are a good fit. If not I have to let them go it’s for the best for us and them most of the time. This is a very sales business and if we can’t identify competent closers then we can’t spend time with people because time is money.
Q:- How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?
Ans:- I have found my passion and the idea will never be given up on.
Q:- What motivates you?
Ans:- My family drives me to do well but always getting better motivates me. Profits motivate me even though people don’t like to say that it’s important because it gets to a point where the profits just fund the business. I’m supporting wife and children and other people and in order to do that profits are required. At first it was making money but now it’s building my company to live past myself so that it can operate and be of high quality without me if I ever was no longer around or passed.
Q:- What are your ideals?
Ans:- We aspire to have a great organization located on the beach offering high quality of life and income for our employees.
Q:- How do you generate new ideas?
Ans:- This is something I have never had a shortage of. I’m innovative in my thoughts it’s the implementation that actually matters.
Q:- How do you define success?
Ans:- A good balance between personal and business.
Q:- How do you build a successful customer base?
Ans:- Persistently making the phone calls. A phone can make you a millionaire, or even a billionaire.
Q:- What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Ans:- Unlimited earnings and flexible hours.
Q:- What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Ans:- Earning enough to support my family.
Q:- What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
Ans:- Ability to close and make it happen. If you can learn that the close is for the customer it may be easier to get there for some people.
Q:- What kind of culture exists in your organization? How did you establish this tone and why did you institute this particular type of culture?
Ans:- Speed and quality to close. Quality customer service and transparent communication with our customers.
Q:- In one word, characterize your life as an entrepreneur.
Additional Questions (Extra Credit)
Q:- If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
Ans:- I would start doing this when I was younger. I essentially go started really in my 30’s and would have done this many years ago.
Q:- How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
Ans:- My wife was skeptical for many years until I started having some big months. Once I could string enough together she wanted to come work with me.
Q:- What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?
Ans:- When my fear is too great my skills become low. Mental toughness is important and my greatest fear is that I won’t be as successful as I want to be.
Q:- How did you decide on the location for your business?
Ans:- My family lives in the area and the area offers a high quality of life.
Q:- Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
Ans:- Persistent efforts and making the calls.
Q:- If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?
Ans:- Abe Lincoln
Q:- Who has been your greatest inspiration?
Ans:- Grant Cardone, Tony Robbins, My father
Q:- What book has inspired you the most? (Or what is your favorite book?)
Ans:- 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing.
Q:- What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made?
Ans:- I’ve argued with clients when I should have been more patient. I also sometimes offer things that I should not to clients when I feel desperate which usually kills the deal. Sticking to my values is important and lowering them too much is the biggest mistake I make because I only resent myself.
Q:- How can you prevent mistakes or do damage control?
Ans:- This is mostly preventative in nature. I make few mistakes because I am a defensive person like a defensive driver. If a blunder is made the key is to stay positive and move on quickly from the mistake. Attempt to learn something from it if possible and move on. Sometimes you cannot learn anything from a mistake and that is a lesson in itself. Damage control is almost impossible. If a mistake is made I can either admit it or fight it. If I admit it then the other party will usually burn the bridge. If I fight it then I might when control back. It’s a tough decision to make because admitting a mistake is hard to do because burning the bridge is not my goal. The balance is so difficult.
Q:- What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
Ans:- Tennis, personal training, reading books, chess, basketball, ping pong. Am a high level chess player and former tennis pro.
Q:- What makes you happy?
Ans:- Walking on the beach with my family.
Q:- What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?
Ans:- Time is the largest sacrifice. I have to constantly choose my children or work but without work I could not put food on the table or put them into good schools or have a nice home for them to live in. This balance is difficult but the more success achieved the more time I can spend with my children.
Q:- If you were conducting this interview, what question would you ask?
Ans:- My long term goal is to restructure the entire financial picture in America. I believe that there is corruption at the lower levels that goes unnoticed because the focus is on retaining money from larger companies because they have larger fines. I believe we should pull banks out of the mortgage business altogether and delegate a certain number of companies to manage mortgages in the United States. This type of regulation should prohibit abuse and may be impossible to even implement but it is ideal in having a level playing field.