Building an Empire With No Handouts? Follow This Entrepreneur's Roadmap Charting a course for entrepreneurs determined to achieve big.

By Terry Rice

Photo credit: Hillary Jeane

To be successful at pretty much anything in life, you need to take the right actions, leverage the right tools and have the right mindset. And look, I know I'm oversimplifying it, but at its core, that's all you need.

That's also why some people just seem to excel at any venture they take on. They just follow the same process. Actions, tools, mindset. So, what does this mean to you? It means you can learn from other successful people, even if you're pursuing a different goal in an entirely different arena.

I'm bringing this up because our most recent guest on the Launch Your Business podcast, Soli Cayetano, is an expert real estate investor. But this episode isn't about how you can make money in real estate.

My hope is that you'll gain inspiration and tactic-level direction you can use to build your own business, regardless of the industry you're in.

Soli graduated from college in 2020, and like a lot of fresh graduates, she landed her first real 9-5 job shortly after. But unlike most graduates, she bought her first real estate property at just 22 years old. And before you ask, no, she wasn't given the money to buy the property. Instead, she invested all the money she saved during college.

Soli continued to work 9-5 at her job while working 5-9 to build her real estate portfolio. She went on to buy 25 units in less than two years — replacing her income, quitting her job and becoming a full-time real estate investor.

Ready to hear more?

I'll share a few key takeaways from our interview.

Sharing before you have a finished product

When Soli decided to dive into real estate, she also started an Instagram account to document her experience with purchasing her first property. This was in the middle of her senior year of college in 2020 — so the usual outlets for finding mentors or pursuing education were out. While it wasn't her initial intention when she created a new Instagram account, she ended up learning a lot from this new online community.

"I found online that there were thousands of people who were real estate investors who were willing to help me," Soli said. "I found this crazy helpful network of people who are willing to kind of show me the way, jump on calls with me, support me, you know, pick me up when I was down in a virtual landscape during the pandemic."

This is one of the many benefits of sharing your journey before you have everything figured out — you're giving yourself permission to try new things, and you're also giving your new audience someone to root for.

Advice for beginners

Soli said that if she were giving advice to someone considering breaking into real estate, she would start by having them break their frame of reference and expand what they think is possible.

"There's a lot of reasons why it shouldn't be successful, but if you surround yourself with people who have done it and have been successful in it, then they can show you that it's possible and this is the way to do it."

On a more practical level, she said it's important to know what your goals are – to have specific numbers and a framework for what success looks like. You'll also want to determine your strategy early on — are you interested in long-term "buy and hold" rentals or a quick flip? If you'd like to rent a property, will that be short-term or long-term?

Going in with a plan will help you chart a clear path forward and say yes to only the opportunities that are truly a good fit for you as an individual.

You can't – and shouldn't – do everything

This is the number one thing Soli wishes she'd learned earlier in her business: You can't do everything, and that's okay.

"Maybe it was a pride issue," Soli said, "But I was like, I want to do it by myself. And I will do everything. I will fly out there. I will renovate this property. I will lease it out. I will do it all because I want to say this was my baby and my project, but it's not a very scalable model. You're really limited by your own time."

When you free up your time by hiring other people to work in their area of strength, that means you can work in your Zone of Genius and focus your time and energy on scaling.

What next?

Here are a few ways you can learn more about Soli and up your real estate knowledge.

Terry Rice

Entrepreneur Staff

Business Development Expert-in-Residence

Terry Rice is the Business Development Expert-in-Residence at Entrepreneur and host of the podcast Launch Your Business, which provides emerging entrepreneurs with the critical guidance needed to start a business. As the founder of Terry Rice Consulting he helps entrepreneurs make more money, save time and avoid burnout. He writes a newsletter about how to build your business and personal brand in just 5 minutes per week and created a revenue optimization checklist to help you multiply your income potential. 

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