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Accelerate Student Case Studies

Greg Greenwood

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Greg Greenwood has been around real estate for the past twenty-five years. He owns a construction company that specializes in custom home-building and remodeling. Through the years Greg had opportunities to flip a few houses, but had never looked at real estate investing as a business. About two years ago Greg decided to look into expanding what he was doing. The construction industry had just come through a tough four or five years that reinforced for him the need to create some residual opportunities or look at diversifying his income in some way. As close as he was to the industry, he never really looked at real estate as the answer.

One day Greg came across something that Susan had posted about real estate investing. Greg liked her style and approach, liked what she was about, and liked her presentation enough that he decided to jump on board. He started following what Susan was saying and began to use her as his go-to person for learning the process. He put himself in an information-gathering mode and spent the next year learning. “I wasn’t really going to act on anything for the first year because I was in that realm of ‘I don’t know what I don’t know.’”

Every time he turned over another stone he was amazed and excited. Because he didn’t know what was out there, he didn’t know which real estate investing path would be best for him. Greg used the time to establish his new investment business, set up his website, and investigate what it would take to be successful. He dove into Susan’s program and learned the techniques and processes she was teaching. “All of the things that Susan talks about, from going to the REIA and meeting people to letting everybody you talk to know what it is you’re doing – I lived that, and I still do today.”

As it relates to private money and the raising of private money, Greg thinks he was somewhat blessed. He was not afraid to talk to people, and the people he had the opportunity to talk to all seemed to have a lot of money. Everyone, including both his past and present clients, knew that in addition to construction he was also investing in real estate. “I let everyone know that my business had changed from being a construction company to a real estate investment and development company. Construction is a leg of that, and people recognize that they have some opportunities to participate with me.”

To date, Greg has raised $3.5 million in committed private money, but says there is as much as $20 million available for the right deals. “If I can put the deals together, the money is going to be there for them.” He recognizes that people who go out and get the deals before they get the money to fund them will have a difficult time. Saying “If you have a deal, the money just comes” is not always true because of the timelines associated with the deals. “Money doesn’t just fall out of the sky. If you share with people what it is you’re doing and what the deal is that you’re putting together, and you can get those people excited about it, it’s the concept of the deal that will make people want to participate. Then you just set up the structure for that to happen.”

Of all the concepts Greg has learned about private money real estate investing, mindset is among the most important. He found that when people in his position approached a potential investor about money, they felt like they were asking to borrow money, and nobody likes to ask for money. But you should never feel ashamed about asking for what you want to do. Instead you should feel like you have the greatest thing in the world and you would feel embarrassed or ashamed if you kept it to yourself. You should want to share it with everybody you know. “If that’s the attitude you have when you share the opportunity, people are going to relate to it, like, “Wow, this really is great, and I want to be a part of it!” He found that all you need to do is share the possibility of an opportunity with somebody else and let that person decide for themselves. “You’re not going to try to persuade them. You’re just putting yourself in front of them and then they make their own decisions.” Greg contends that because they’re a professional, they will do what they need to do. If you have that mindset, passion, and excitement, and show you’re committed to what you’re doing, people will want to participate. Coming in with the right mindset will blow away a lot of the fears that people have of being rejected. When you’re not looking for them to give you money, there is no rejection. It’s all about the mindset.

When asked how Susan’s approach and teachings influenced his business, Greg had this to say: “Susan is probably the most influential person in my real estate learning – as a person, and in terms of her grasp of all of the techniques. That’s something I love about her, too; she’s very, very savvy in all the ways of investing. I think that lends itself to being successful in this business. You don’t have to be doing all the techniques, and you don’t have to be excellent at all the techniques, but it’s great to have them in your bag of tricks if you need to pull one out to close a deal.”

Brenden Kanakaole

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Brenden Kanakaole was brand new to real estate investing. Business was not good for this Hawaiian-born investor; he had no money to fund deals, no lead flow and no confidence to approach people. Something about Susan grabbed his attention, so he signed up for a few of her courses. Brenden was blown away not just by the content but by the inspiration that Susan gave him. “I didn’t even know her, but I felt if I could just be a part of her coaching program, I could break barriers in my business.”

Brenden was right. He recently purchased a large house in his home town of Waipahu, Hawaii, that he plans to fix and flip. Just last week he raised an additional $135,000 for his business and is now participating in a joint venture on a multi-family property in Texas. “My partner in this Texas joint venture needed some help establishing some deal-flow channels, so I was happy to use the knowledge I learned from Susan.” Susan’s program helped give Brenden the tools he needed and the confidence he lacked to present his ideas to his new private money partner. “I had known this person for years, but I never had the confidence to approach him for private money.” Brenden will receive 50 percent of the equity and cash flow for the Texas multi-family property, and has access to funds totaling $1 million. “I originally pitched him on my Hawaii business, but he was not interested. He later said that he wanted to invest with me, but just not in Hawaii.” Who was the prize? Brenden was the prize!

Things are taking off for Brenden, but it wasn’t without a little sweat. “Be ready to work!” he warns. “You can’t be passive about this stuff.” He also had to figure out what strengths he had working for him in his business. He was fortunate in that he either personally knew some people with money or was able to network with the right people from clubs and associations to fill up his three buckets. Because he had two jobs, it was harder for Brenden to develop his social media marketing strategies – his website, Facebook page, and LinkedIn page – than it was to raise private money!

Brenden’s business has turned around, and he was happy to share his thoughts about Susan and her team: “Susan’s company is unique in that they are not just real estate coaches, but life coaches as well. She has helped bring life to my business and has given me the courage to talk to people.” He went on to say, “She was blunt, but I respect that because she walks the walk and talks the talk in a really great way. My wife has more confidence in me, as well as my partners.” The program itself was challenging, but through it Brenden found a rhythm that he maintains even today. “I just don’t want to stop. My weeks are busy, but I’ve been striving to make one or two private money presentations a week.”