Q. Kindly 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.
A. Hi Matt Gerace with Avannah Properties. We are a real estate company that specializes in maximizing the returns in land, homes and commercial real estate. We specialize in the state of Colorado to include Denver, surrounding towns and the Colorado Mountains.
Q. Kindly give us a brief description about yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).
A. I am a long time residence of the state of Colorado. I have been working in real estate since 2003 and have worked in many different states. I have done everything from wholesaling houses, fix and flipping, rentals and land sales. Through my real estate career I have learned to create value in real estate by purchasing distressed properties at steep discounts and maximizing the returns through creative sales and rentals.
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?
A. The reason I started my business is because I have always had a knack for turning something with little value into something worth more. (crating diamonds out of dirt is my motto) I have always been attracted to real estate and what it can provide. So it was a natural fit to find properties that have little to no value and fixing them up to make them a desirable commodity. Real estate can provide many ways for you to grow your income, retirement or time freedom. If it is done correctly you can build great wealth along with the time freedom. I also wanted to have the residual income that real estate can provide.
Q. What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
1. Decide what you want out of life, pray to God about it and go after your dreams.
2. Don’t get analysis paralysis. By this I mean don’t over think things to the point you never take action on your dreams and desires. You will miss out on all the opportunities
3. Realize that it doesn’t take a lot of money to make a lot of money. Never borrow money and always grow your business at the pace you can safely afford.
Q. What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
1. First and foremost you must have faith and trust in God
2. You must have the ability to make decisions and be able to make changes in a moment’s time.
3. You must understand how debt can affect your business and personal life. It has been my experience that debt will hold you hostage to the lenders. The less you have the more freedom you have.
Q. How many hours do you work a day on average?
A. In my business I would say that I work about 5 hours a day.
Q. To what do you most attribute your success?
A. I attribute all of my success to God. Once I understood what it meant to having a relationship with him, that is when my business really started to grow without the stress of wondering if I would have a job or income the next day. God owns all and I am just his manager of it.
I would also attribute my success to the sheer desires of my dreams of being financially free and working towards that every step of the way.
Q. How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
A. I currently market my business through craigslist. That has been my best result and is where 95% of my clients come from.
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?
A. When I first started my business I raised capital through private investors and use hard money lenders. I learned how having lenders on you bank roll can affect your business and personal life. When you are not getting paid they still have to get paid or you can lose it all.
I decided back in 2010 that I would no longer borrow money to build my business. I sold all my properties that had debt and figured out a way to increase the revenues on the remaining properties.
Q. What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
A. The best way to achieve long-term success is to never give up on your dreams and desires. Always understand how money can affect your business and always have a reserve of 6 to 9 months to carry you through the slow or tough times. Invest well and prepare for change because it always comes. Don’t let anyone tell you that what you are doing is wrong unless you know they are a professional in what you want to do. At the same time seek out other business owners and make it a point to see what is working and what hasn’t worked for them. Surround yourself with people who will motivate you and not tear you down. Remember you will become like the people you most spend time with good or bad!
Q. Where you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?
A. I see myself in the next 5 to 10 years still working my real estate business. ( It is true when you find something you love you will never feel like you are working a day in your life)
I will also be traveling more in and out of the Country.
I will be leaving a legacy not only for my family but through Gods good grace I will be changing others lives through giving to those in need.
Q. Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
A. The Lampo Group created by Dave Ramsey,
Q. How important have good employees been to your success?
A. I currently choose not to have employees but as a former Human Resource Manager, I feel it is very important to have great employees who want to be a part of a team and have a sense of self worth that builds and empowers others to be successful.
Q. How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?
A. I am a believer that if you continue to do what you are doing and it is not working you must do something different to get a different result. My mind is always working on new ideas. This allows me to move quickly to the next thing if something is not working. Change is a part of life and if you don’t embrace it that way you will miss out on the opportunities.
Q. What motivates you?
A. What motivates me is creating value in everything I do.
Q. How do you define success?
A. Success to me is when you have a relationship with God and use him to guide your every move. Success is when you have a positive can do attitude and you know the direction of your desires and your results are working towards your goals and dreams.
Q. How do you build a successful customer base?
A. To build a successful customer base you have to understand their needs and fulfill them.
Q. What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
A. The thing that excites me about being an entrepreneur is that I have nobody telling me what, when, where and how to do my job, and having the time freedom and flexibility it provides.
Q. What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
A. Every day that I get to go out and do what I want with my day and not feel like I am letting someone else down.
Q. What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
A. The entrepreneur has decided to take their own steps to create a vision and achieve a goal and put the working pieces together to meet it. Someone who works for someone else typically is working to achieve someone else’s vision and goals.
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?
A. A positive attitude towards our customers, coworkers, friends and family. A debt free environment and a belief that you can do whatever you set your desires to do. I believe that a positive attitude along with a debt free lifestyle allows all to be free of the daily stress of not having enough that so many live today.
Q. In one word, characterize your life as an entrepreneur.
Q. If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
A. I would start from the get go with no debt.
Q. How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
A. Being an entrepreneur has allowed me to spend more time with my family on a daily basis.
Q. What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?
A. I fear losing control. I always have to remember that no matter what happens that God has my best interest in mind and that he is ultimately in control anyway.
Q. How did you decide on the location for your business?
A. Proximity to my home office.
Q. Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
A. You have to have the ability to dream and strive to achieve a higher purpose. Maintain a positive attitude and work towards you final goals.
I believe you have to be willing to try something new and adjust to the continual changing environment we live in.
Q. If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?
A. Jesus Christ, because he had such compassion for all humanity and he lived a life of righteousness and devotion to God.
Q. Who has been your greatest inspiration?
A. My Wife, She is such a dedicated person to the needs of my family and is always tentative to our needs.
Q. What book has inspired you the most? (OR what is your favorite book?)
A. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
Q. What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made?
A. Letting others control my emotions and thoughts.
Q. How can you prevent mistakes or do damage control?
A. By understanding everyone makes mistakes. The key is learning from the mistake, and not continually making the same mistake.
Q. What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
A. My hobbies have always been incorporated in my business one way or another. This allows me to continue to enjoy the work I do.
Q. What makes you happy?
A. Having the ability to continually direct my day how I want it to go.
Q. What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?
A. The first 2 years I had to learn how manage my time to allow me the time to spend with my family.