Why is no one dreaming of opening their own business?

I'm in the process of making a career transition into real estate and currently I'm in an Ivy League grad school. I am absolutely staggered that hardly anyone has any aspiration to set up their own business. Entrepreneurship doesn't even seem to be on anyone's agenda. Everyone is chasing associate roles at big name shops. Am I just around the wrong group of people and getting the wrong impression? Or is this the case? And if it is, why? Surely with a good education and given enough time most people could set up and grow a successful real estate shop themselves? 

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Comments (138)

Most Helpful
Jul 13, 2021 - 11:00pm
Dick Steele, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Starting your own business is hard. Not many ever get in a position where they could go out and raise capital, they don't have the connections to source great deals and you have to remember that when a person does get to a point in their career where they could realistically start their own firm, they're tied down with golden handcuffs. Or they got a decent amount of carry or a family and just can't afford to risk it. Or maybe they become too comfortable with a salary and just lose that ambition they might've had when younger.

I always day dream about having my own firm one day. At 22, it's a long ways off but people underestimate what they can achieve in 10 years. 

Jul 13, 2021 - 11:12pm
BrickandMorty, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This, starting a business (even a lean one) is incredibly challenging.  We salary folks take for granted the benefit of having coworkers, accounting, tax, law, IT, etc. departments.  

  • 2
Jul 16, 2021 - 12:23pm
mef, what's your opinion? Comment below:

100% agree on this. I'm salaried as an analyst at one of the big 3 shops and still want to be commissioned broker one day and then start my own portfolio using my own and OPM. Praying that I don't get too comfortable these next 2 yrs...

Jul 26, 2021 - 7:07am
The_Vulture, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Reeses

Starting your own business is hard. Not many ever get in a position where they could go out and raise capital, they don't have the connections to source great deals and you have to remember that when a person does get to a point in their career where they could realistically start their own firm, they're tied down with golden handcuffs. Or they got a decent amount of carry or a family and just can't afford to risk it. Or maybe they become too comfortable with a salary and just lose that ambition they might've had when younger.

I always day dream about having my own firm one day. At 22, it's a long ways off but people underestimate what they can achieve in 10 years. 

Exactly this. I recently left my job at CBRE to start on my own. Definitely part of the decision to do this now rather than later was being scared of having golden handcuffs in 5 to 10 years and stay as an employee for the rest of my life. 

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Jul 30, 2021 - 10:51am
leveredloser, what's your opinion? Comment below:

It's a Catch 22 scenario. People want experience before they start their own business, but experience means years off of your life.  For me, when I am older and have a family, my risk tolerance will decrease dramatically, and so will my comfort level in venturing into the uncertainty of entrepreneurship.  I have always dreamt of starting my own business, and I plan on doing so in the next 5 years.  Life's too short

Jul 13, 2021 - 11:15pm
Max6655, what's your opinion? Comment below:

On the one hand I agree with the above but on the other hand if you look at a lot of the founders of the big shops, they had much worse odds than a lot of the people have today. The majority of the people on here have a much better education and far more resources at their disposal that folks did 10-20 years ago. I guess golden handcuffs kill dreams. 

Jul 14, 2021 - 12:15am
BrickandMorty, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I think it's the other way around - the influx of institutional capital/companies in the space as well as the increasing efficiency of markets due to data availability have caused the industry to really mature.  It's way harder to find opportunities now than it was 20+ years ago and bc of this way harder to start new companies IMO.  

  • 7
Jul 14, 2021 - 4:45pm
Ozymandia, what's your opinion? Comment below:
BrickandMorty

I think it's the other way around - the influx of institutional capital/companies in the space as well as the increasing efficiency of markets due to data availability have caused the industry to really mature.  It's way harder to find opportunities now than it was 20+ years ago and bc of this way harder to start new companies IMO.  

No it isn't.  It's just that you look at what others have accomplished and think you can't do the same thing, which is true; once someone proves out a business plan, others pile into the space and opportunities dry up.  There are just as many opportunities to make fortunes now, it's just in slightly different products/business models.

As with everything in life, risk and reward are correlated.  It's easier to start a value-add fund these days because it's a proven investment thesis; it's harder to make a killing because everyone else has the same thought.  Say what you will about Adam Neumann, but he became a billionaire by pioneering something new - all the other coworking companies haven't done as well because they weren't first movers.  Extend that to, well, everything.

Jul 13, 2021 - 11:23pm
DPFU1418, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Aim for many is (1) gain experience at reputable firm and then (2) buy your own deals on the side with your own money / friends and family money and then (3) do enough of 2 to eventually live off of that passive income. 

Jul 13, 2021 - 11:41pm
whatsapitchbook, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm 25, started commercial banking about two years ago and at the same time started a tech startup (I have no technical skills, just hired Devs to build what I needed). It's great to be able to balance working in finance and also owning a startup on its way to success. Disclaimer: It's by no means easy, cheap, or fast - quite the opposite on all 3 fronts. The risk is also massive time/money/relationships lost. 

STONKS
  • 2
Jul 14, 2021 - 5:17am
2rigged2fail, what's your opinion? Comment below:

what problem does your software solve?

Jul 14, 2021 - 8:35am
whatsapitchbook, what's your opinion? Comment below:
2rigged2fail

what problem does your software solve?

Intersection of esports and gaming, creates infrastructure that doesnt currently exist for an in demand value offering/market

STONKS
  • 1
Jul 13, 2021 - 11:43pm
m_1, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I thought this way too when I was younger but many people simply are not wired for it and that's OK. Not everyone wants to be thinking about their work 24/7 and worried about their net worth fluctuating around wildly.

Of course this depends on how you tackle entrepreneurship but if you are a true entrepreneur and not a small business owner, then you will be routinely putting 95%+ (if not far more) of your net worth at risk. Making tons of money and losing it quickly is part of the fun but probably not very fun for most people. For me personally, it's hard to get excited about something or even want to work on it unless I have my own capital at risk.

Jul 14, 2021 - 8:34am
whatsapitchbook, what's your opinion? Comment below:
m_1

I thought this way too when I was younger but many people simply are not wired for it and that's OK. Not everyone wants to be thinking about their work 24/7 and worried about their net worth fluctuating around wildly.

Of course this depends on how you tackle entrepreneurship but if you are a true entrepreneur and not a small business owner, then you will be routinely putting 95%+ (if not far more) of your net worth at risk. Making tons of money and losing it quickly is part of the fun but probably not very fun for most people. For me personally, it's hard to get excited about something or even want to work on it unless I have my own capital at risk.

Agree

STONKS
  • 3
Jul 14, 2021 - 5:19am
2rigged2fail, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I found most people at university to be risk averse too. the people I know that have started successful businesses started from nothing, no degree, and quite frankly had no other option to make money. I have a theory that it's not so much brains as it is taking massive risks, which 'uneducated' people are more willing to do.

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Feb 27, 2022 - 9:04am
Herc13, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Yes I find this to be true. Uneducated people are more willing to take risks because they really don't have anything to lose. But again, less educated people aren't the one starting multi million/billion dollar businesses… they're starting small business that earn then MAYBE 50-70k net a year. You'd make the same money with the regular financial analyst job and with a lot less headaches. 

Jul 14, 2021 - 5:37am
[email protected], what's your opinion? Comment below:

People in generally, and especially the ones in top schools with good records are very risk averse. Even while joining to some firms, people seek open oppurtunities. Entrepreneurship involves great amount of risk. Starting from 1990s with the rise of tech, entrepreneurship is more or less glorified and the failure rate which is high is not shown. We mainly see successful start-ups which became big companies but there were hundreds of start-ups which are no longer operating.

Entrepreneurship requires finding good team, having knowledge or at least ability to operate in certain industries, connections, and capital. Not every person graduating from college has enough capital to start a business (+they need to repay college debt).

In initial years of operation, hours are brutal, little to not profits, and constant stress.

  • in a country where I am from, there is a kind of mindset among top school students; "To open a business I don't need a college degree. Why then am I studying here".

I think start-up building is for:

  1. People who accumulated experience and capital
  1. People who because of family pedigree has strong financial cushion
  1. People who are not very risk averse, don't pay attention to brand workplaces, and are naturally gifted but don't want to pursue purely academics

People in category 1 are normally people like where in WSO. People in category 2 are priviliged people. People in category 3 are usually people with good STEM background. (as most start-ups are somehow tech-related knowing how to code in a valuable asset)

Jul 14, 2021 - 6:04am
AlwaysChasingTail, what's your opinion? Comment below:

no balls and to an extent not wanting to, i know a very smart guy (like very smart) who just wants a family and a stable job although he would kill it in the entrepreneurial space (doing anything really, doesn't matter, he's that smart) 

I'm from Europe 

  • 1
Jul 15, 2021 - 12:32am
AlwaysChasingTail, what's your opinion? Comment below:

The way he talks, academic performance, job performance etc 

I'm from Europe 

  • Analyst 1 in RE - Comm
Jul 14, 2021 - 6:33am

Came across an interesting opportunity lately. Could potentially be related to real estate if you bought the buildings…

apparently, at least where I live, there is a massive shortage of dog groomers. It's nearly impossible to get an appointment and business aren't taking calls or accepting new clients. Partly because nobody wants to grow up and be a dog groomer, partly because covid resulted in every lonely single person going out and buying a dog for company. If you wanted to do something where there is a strong demand…buy a dog grooming operation. Kind of random.

  • VP in RE - Comm
Jul 14, 2021 - 10:17am

I had that entrepreneurial mindset in gradschool as well - get a job at Associate level at some XYZ brand name firm, work for 3-5 years, then spin off and do deals with friends with the hope of raising money together etc... That's very naive thinking and life doesn't just happen like that. It's all a fee business, and you wouldn't raise enough money to pay yourself full time by collecting couple dozen millions from family and friends.

I've done the math before, you'd need at least $100MM in AUM to make it a meaningful business. AMF and promotes net to about ~2%/year, which is about normal for coreplus/value-add stuff, so $2MM in fee income a year for 3 principals and 3-5 support staff (accounting, analysts, etc). Even then it's still slim operating margin for the business, considering you have to pay office rents, payroll overheads, operating costs, travels etc.... Any less than that AUM threshold, you won't be busy enough...And it ain't easy to raise $100MM to begin with.

I've adjusted my entrepreneurial mindset from starting from the ground up like that, to joining an entrepreneurial firm. You can still get in early as a principal, and build the company with someone else. I'm not Adam Neumann and won't be charismatic enough to convince people to give me billion of dollars so there's very low chance of me starting from the ground up.

Another option is to keep working for said XYZ brand name firms, for 5-10 years, do deals on the side with friends, and THEN quit once you have enough in the portfolio to justify quitting XYZ brand name firm to pursue the entrepreneurial route full time.

So to answer your questions, it's not that people don't have balls. Most just don't have what it takes to "start a fund" and end up working for someone else. Think about, you're a gradschool kid with little transaction experience, how will you convince people to give you $100MM to "start your fund"? What will you do differently than hundreds of other firms out there chasing the same deals....

Jul 14, 2021 - 10:46am
Dick Steele, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Probably not gonna go and start a fund straight out of school. Even if I could, I'd probably fail due to lack of experience. But doing smaller deals on the side, joining a growing firm, and getting to know the right people over the course of a decade can set you up nicely to go out on your own.

Jul 14, 2021 - 10:23pm
developermonkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

What do you imagine those small "side deals" would consist of?

Even buying and renovating a small house is pretty involved and would take all your free time. I'm sure it could be done though but depends on your full time schedule.

And where would you get the money for that? It takes money to make money.

Jul 14, 2021 - 1:44pm
CRESF, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This is the conclusion I've come to as well - at least for development. Better to join a smaller firm where you can influence decisions in a major way, but aren't the one personally signing on to guarantees and haven't had to go through the initial start up pain. Will you make less that way than starting your own successful firm (huge emphasis on successful)? Probably, yes. But you will take on significantly less risk, your stress will be lower, it'll probably give you 75% of the satisfaction of starting your own firm, and your work-life balance will be better. Starting your own company can be great, but I know people who have started RE companies that have ultimately failed. They made less over the long run, usually ended up divorced, and life in general sucked for about 10 years before they got back on their feet. Again, I've seen more $100M+ NW's from guys who you've never heard of before in real estate, but the low's are very low as well. If I can start at a small firm and have a 50% chance at getting to a $10-15M net worth than start my own and have a 5% chance of $100M but a good chance that failing ends up torching my life, I see the appeal in taking the safer route. 

  • 4
Jul 14, 2021 - 4:55pm
Ozymandia, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I've done the math before, you'd need at least $100MM in AUM to make it a meaningful business. AMF and promotes net to about ~2%/year, which is about normal for coreplus/value-add stuff, so $2MM in fee income a year for 3 principals and 3-5 support staff (accounting, analysts, etc). Even then it's still slim operating margin for the business, considering you have to pay office rents, payroll overheads, operating costs, travels etc.... Any less than that AUM threshold, you won't be busy enough...And it ain't easy to raise $100MM to begin with.

Right, but no one is raising that little money with that much overhead to begin with.  If you have three principals, why have analysts at all?  What's the value add for the principals that you need them?  Be sole principle and hire analysts to do the work.

What you're describing is setting up the infrastructure for a half a billion dollar fund with 20% of the resources.  Frankly, anyone trying to be entrepreneurial is going to need to wear a lot of hats or of course the numbers won't work.  Yeah, you'll have to do your own accounting and be your own HR for a while.  If you think that you'll need half a dozen support staff the moment you go out on your own, I'd argue you don't have a realistic idea of what starting a company looks like.

Which, frankly, is a big blind spot in the collective eyes of WSO.  People see the "smaller" guys who raise $250-500mm per fund and think "of course I can invest the same way those guys do," without understanding that before those fund were hiring monkeys like us, they were struggling along and operating a bit of a fly-by-night operation themselves.  Most of the folks on this forum seem to want to skip straight from analyst to running a $1b+ fund.

And for what it's worth, this is why people go into development.  You could do a $20mm development deal and live comfortably off that for the entire life-cycle of the deal.  It's really tough to raise a fund and operate it and do all the compliance and all that on a shoestring - but it's much easier to do that o the development side, where you need to find one deal that works and hustle to get it done.  This is why comp is lower than in REPE (generally), or in IB - not a lot of people go from being an MD to starting their own boutique bank, but it's relatively common in the development world.

Jul 14, 2021 - 10:29pm
developermonkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Good comments. I agree, three principals and a support staff of 3-5 makes absolutely no sense.

I know a developer in NYC doing notable $100M+ deals by himself with an acquisitions guy who's like 25 and that's it. They have a lawyer, accountant, and hire absolutely everyone else project by project.

There's not enough of a time crunch in development to need all of that manpower for that little money. One person can run an entire deal, even a fairly big one, and just hire everyone else.

I disagree you could live comfortably off a $20M deal for its lifecycle. How? Development fee of $600k during construction, which if you're only doing that single deal needs to be spread out to pay overhead and pay yourself for maybe 4-5 years, not to mention the multimillion dollar pursuit costs that deal would take just to get going.

Jul 14, 2021 - 10:40am
yayaa, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Not easy just starting your own company. A lot of risk involved and pressure to keep the lights on. All these associates roles that you say people want makes sense - they make 200K a year and don't have to worry about the stress of running their own company

Jul 14, 2021 - 10:48am
miketyson´s broker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

if you want to start something in finance you have to acquaire reputation first, if a 24 years old starts raising capital for their private equity first fund, they are just going to raise family & friends money if lucky, but if a guy with a 10-15 years experiencie in the big leagues... its gonna be easier

Jul 14, 2021 - 11:31am
Manila340, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I really think it's your ability to sell and who you know. Anyone can get 15-20 years of experience at a reputable firm but still not be able to get investors because of their personality, background, race, etc. also, most people don't want to make life revolve around work. It's really about knowing yourself and what you want from life and how you plan to get there

Jul 14, 2021 - 1:31pm
Mumbles, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Put simply, not everyone is meant to have their own business. It's not always about being risk-averse. We all play a role is this world.  Entrepreneurship is sexy when it's done for the right reasons. That said, the internet has opened the door for many online businesses that aren't capital intensive and don't require a network.

  • 1
Jul 14, 2021 - 2:29pm
decrebepro, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I think part of the answer is that you're not going to see a lot of people on this forum who have really figured out or matured in their career on this forum. It's mostly people who are in school or fresh out of it, and at that age it's natural to just want to go to a big name firm that you've heard about. That's not to say there aren't entrepreneur types on this forum - there are a lot of great posters and I still find it to be a good resource sometimes. But the majority rules, and the majority here is kids who don't know shit about the business world yet.

Jul 14, 2021 - 2:46pm
Kevin25, what's your opinion? Comment below:

why would you start your own business and chain yourself to grueling and stressful work for decades without having payoff visibility with high likelihood of losing time and money instead of making anything, if you can just work 9-5 (or 9-8 occasionally) in corp fin or advisory shop with good culture, collect $100-300k/year and invest it in established businesses and reap return on investment?

Jul 14, 2021 - 3:28pm
bengraham6969, what's your opinion? Comment below:

It takes 5 years to build a business, 10 to build a brand. Many build businesses, few build brands.

Jul 16, 2021 - 7:07am
cyberpunk, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Based on the people I know who make bank on OF - yes, it may count as a company. You can launch your own brand, go into apparel/merchandise, launch your own platform, etc. lots of money to me made. I understand the risks involved and the "permanent mark" attached to someone's face - but if the successful ones can make 1M before they are 30, why not?

(not saying that this line of work is good or bad, just saying that the people performing this kind of work seem happy doing it)

  • Analyst 1 in RE - Comm
Jul 22, 2021 - 1:23am

I should. They might find it impressive since I'm a guy. 

Jul 15, 2021 - 10:13am
Rubeno, what's your opinion? Comment below:

For risk averse people or for whatever reason if someone wants to stay at his job, flipping RE can be lucrative.

What is possible is to partner with someone smart who has the time you don't have and don't have the money you do have.

Funniest
Jul 15, 2021 - 10:36am
fit419, what's your opinion? Comment below:

We work in finance because we're too much of b****es to start our own business. I'm willing to admit it.

Jul 15, 2021 - 12:54pm
BabyBroker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Based on looking at general population trends and speaking with people who have started search funds, I think a great option for many will be to purchase a LMM family-owned business from someone who wants to retire and lacks a succession plan. In those instances, financial expertise, high-level operational experience, and an ability to sell/negotiate developed through many IB/PE/Consulting roles could lead to the dream of performance-linked equity. Patience and delayed gratification with some risk 2 the moon. 

Jul 15, 2021 - 1:29pm
cyberpunk, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Met quite a few founders/entrepreneurs through our VC unit and also just colleagues who left the business to start their own shop.

1) Founders/entrepreneurs are often people who think outside the box and had unusual career trajectories. Sudden changes in fields, a new interest in a startup idea (with research to back it up), often people who don't fit a mold and want to break the rules. Even create entirely new ecosystems. Folks who are creative, have a huge passion for risk, and the network that is like them. They are problem solvers and much more agile and nimble compared to others.

2) If you look at the structured way of learning, studying, recruiting and working in traditional areas like banking you'll notice it doesn't always breed creativity, or most of the  personal skills required to run your own business. You will learn about accounting, raising funds, the networking aspect and even the legal ones. But my own MD once said that he admires the founders who are in their 20s, came from nothing and made it big through just one idea and good execution.

3) Even though some of us are running a BU or a team, we are never alone. There are huge resources (that are also very expensive) at our hands every single day. HR, compliance, credit risk, etc cost money and none of this is available to a founder. He has to either pay external services or need to wear so many hats that it will be hard to believe a single person or a small group would have that many skills.

4) Lastly, there are many companies, ideas and founders out there. Hard work, a good network, and good employees are a good place to be when you start. However, a huge component is also sheer luck. We funded many companies in the last years and, because of Covid, many of them went under. To us, that was a write-off. To these founders and families this was the single biggest catastrophe they will ever experience - and none of these brilliant people deserved to fail like this.

Jul 15, 2021 - 3:27pm
odog808, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'll mention again my theory on skillset leverage, and this applies to entrepreneurship.
 

You're in finance and say trying to do something capital intensive (like real estate), you're going to need finance people to fund you.  Well, finance people are not going to see you as value add compared to a non-finance specialist person. Therefore, there is at least a latent disadvantage to being a finance-only founder team.  You're not going to be viewed as valuable by capital, out of the gate.
 

- Need to show value beyond finance.  You can do that by being creative/original thinker, show high resourcefulness, being a systems generator/architect, and with finance skills, but I'd say that's rare in this field.  Therefore, most will have to work for the man, but that's fine if you're making bank.  If you're making good money in corporate, your wife will never say why you didn't trade that all to go on your own.  On the flip side, your wife will question you when you are down during your entrepreneurial pursuit.  

- starting your own business is not for everyone.  And even that's not binary as there are lifestyle entrepreneurs and those who press the limits.  Big risk spectrum.

Have compassion as well as ambition and you’ll go far in life
  • 7
Jul 15, 2021 - 4:40pm
Legion42, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Because investment banking / private equity is more based on basic arithmetic / interpersonal skills and a solid understanding of finance all of which doesn't require a super high IQ. While many people in this industry are definitely smart and have had high GPA's and success, they don't necessarily have the skills and business acumen to take it to the next level or if they do they are generally risk averse. 

Jul 16, 2021 - 7:31am
CanadianEnergyBanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I think there might be some timing bias here. In general, entrepreneurship has been something reserved for the upper caste these days. With a few decades of wage stagnation for the middle/lower class, and massive inflation of the lowest tiers on Maslow's hierarchy many (including folks on this forum) simply cannot consider taking such a risk for fear of homelessness etc (given that it takes the common individual longer to build up any safety net for risk taking, if they do at all). I think as people on this forum become more comfortable after they move up social castes the propensity to participate in entrepreneurship will increase.

Jul 16, 2021 - 9:58am
CRESF, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Agree with you on some of this - if you look at a lot of the most successful tech startups, they tend to be started by people who come from a lot of wealth. Not really all that surprising there - it's a lot easier to start a business with seed capital from your family, and you know if you fail you will always have a safety net to catch you. This is especially true in real estate because of the capital intensive nature of the business. That being said, I don't think that most people's concern with starting a business is avoiding homelessness. That's probably a bit extreme for most entrepreneurs. Now blowtorching money/wealth/retirement savings on a failed experiment - I do think that is one of the largest concerns for most. 

  • 1
Jul 16, 2021 - 1:09pm
pythagorastheorem, what's your opinion? Comment below:

yes for many students risk of failing (lost time, lost job opportunities etc.) is way higher because they dont have the family and connections to support them should they fail.

Jul 16, 2021 - 10:32am
marine2008, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I guess this could pretty much depend on the environment. For instance, those COVID years are obviously too risky to engage in horeca, and the similar concerns may arise in other sectors...

Towards The New Economy
Jul 19, 2021 - 5:08am
iridescent007, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I plan to start my own business after working in investment banking (and finance in general) for 7-8 years. By then I'll be like 32. Don't plan to get married before 35 so I will have minimal family risk. 

  • Analyst 2 in RE - Comm
Jul 19, 2021 - 11:28am

It is REALLY hard to get to a point where you feel confident enough to start your own firm in most realms of finance. Usually it requires you to not only be an expert in what you plan to do, but also be able to raise capital all while running a business. An added kicker is your track record usually must be flawless at the start to continue to scale.

Jul 22, 2021 - 2:07pm
Mamba1219, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Definitely dream of going on my own. I think the dream has changed based where we are as a society and the market. I've found that if it's a traditional route it much tougher to do it in area that have any type of good market fundamentals. Definitely a "red ocean" with amount of money chasing deals/yield. It's become way too political on top of that. I find myself more interested in master planned developments. Think Lake Nona (near Orlando), Serenbe (near Atlanta), and Seaside (Florida panhandle).

If it's not something like that I still  see there is a lot of disruption to come CRE from tech. Not towards home buying, brokerage, asset management service or construction (damn Katerra). They're huge inefficiency in the construction draw process. Few companies already working on this (think Rabbet). I also see huge inefficiencies in the affordable housing space and we all know the need for that type of housing will only grow in the near future. 

  • 4
Jul 22, 2021 - 5:28pm
CRE, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm about 6 months away from hopefully starting a business. I think "no one" is a bit overstated, especially on the real estate forum of all things. 

Commercial Real Estate Developer

  • 2
Jul 27, 2021 - 8:12am
CRE, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hah, if it actually happens and gets further down the road, sure

Commercial Real Estate Developer

Jul 27, 2021 - 8:15am
CRE, what's your opinion? Comment below:

An older friend of mine and I are submitting a response to an RFP. If we win it, and thus have a project, we'll start a company together. If not, I'll stick with where I am until the next opportunity arises.  

Commercial Real Estate Developer

Jul 23, 2021 - 4:21am
BrackNelson, what's your opinion? Comment below:

The most common Reason Why People Don't Start Their Own Businesses

According to me, fear of failure is the biggest reason why people avoid starting their own business. Other emotions like self-doubts, societal expectations also play key roles.

Jul 24, 2021 - 4:07pm
basics, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I am a real estate entrepreneur. I don't do fancy syndication or development deals that you all usually mention--95% of the time just 1-4 unit buy and holds, flips, and small commercial projects using country club money. If it exceeds $10mm...it is out of my buy box.

That being said--we usually have a 30% equity cushion in our projects, so it is nothing to turn your nose up at. We have no LPs and only raise private debt for acquisition financing, with bank debt being the take-out lender after stabilization.

I would agree with most of the comments here. Risk adversion, talent arbitrage, societal expectations, and fear of failure top the list in my mind. Plenty of people, certainly in this forum, have the knowledge necessary to success as a business owner. But can they overcome the initial uphill climb that entrepreneurship creates? I don't know.

I was lucky enough to start my company when I was 26...so I climbed that hill alone, living in an apartment, with no family or friends to drag me down. Looking back on it--the best thing I ever did. But I am not sure that I could say today, as a 31 year old married guy, I would be able to do it again. Life changes, and so do we...and that's okay.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jul 29, 2021 - 2:47pm

This. I'm waiting for 1-2 bonuses (I just graduated) but this is the route I plan on taking. It was blowing my mind that no one mentioned starting at this scale- guys above talking about raising a 100mm fund to start with... 

Why don't you have any LPs? Or do you not think of the "country club money" you raise as LPs?

Jul 29, 2021 - 2:52pm
basics, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This. I'm waiting for 1-2 bonuses (I just graduated) but this is the route I plan on taking. It was blowing my mind that no one mentioned starting at this scale- guys above talking about raising a 100mm fund to start with... 

Why don't you have any LPs? Or do you not think of the "country club money" you raise as LPs?

I think it would depend on how you define "limited partners." To me...a "partner" is someone who has equity...a vested interest. All of the money I raise to buy single family houses is private debt--that is--someone issues me a bond that has a 10% yield, secured by the real estate, and I pay them monthly coupons. From there, their exit is the refinance. It might take3-6 months or so, but I carry all of the upside. My investors are pumped up by a 10% interest rate and I am pumped up to transact real estate with little to none of my own cash. 

Jul 29, 2021 - 3:36pm
SafariJoe, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Max6655

I'm in the process of making a career transition into real estate and currently I'm in an Ivy League grad school. I am absolutely staggered that hardly anyone has any aspiration to set up their own business. Entrepreneurship doesn't even seem to be on anyone's agenda. Everyone is chasing associate roles at big name shops. Am I just around the wrong group of people and getting the wrong impression? Or is this the case? And if it is, why? Surely with a good education and given enough time most people could set up and grow a successful real estate shop themselves? 

Speak for yourself every day I spend time thinking and building my own company . A lonely journey but worth the marathon to success.

SafariJoe, wins again!
  • 1
Aug 1, 2021 - 2:28am
DeVry_University_Alum, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Would it be frowned upon, or unethical, or whatever, to raise capital and land clients for a RIA type vehicle while I am working in finance? I am not in PWM or anything close...I am licensed to work in the RIA world

Aug 1, 2021 - 12:56pm
prospie, what's your opinion? Comment below:

because this question was posted in the RE forum, i want to mention there's a Peter LInneman article, not sure if i've found it or not (found something online taht might be it but i can't find the exact paragraph...), on entrepreneurship where he says basically,

If you wanna get rich go work for Morgan Stanley in NY.  the money will come much faster that way.  entrepreneurs aren't typically as young as you think, they often aren't as rich as you think.  an entrepreneur could be a 65-yr old guy worth ten million bucks.  

maybe things have changed since he wrote that and the money's in tech now, i dunno, whatever, but you get the point.

think about some of the stories you read on here or hear from friends about a relatively young guy at a hedge fund personally taking home $150mn in a single year.  that's real money, and that guy never had to go off on his own and hang his own shingle.

Aug 2, 2021 - 4:27pm
Ozymandia, what's your opinion? Comment below:
prospie

think about some of the stories you read on here or hear from friends about a relatively young guy at a hedge fund personally taking home $150mn in a single year.  that's real money, and that guy never had to go off on his own and hang his own shingle.

But how reasonable is that?  For every person who goes to Wall Street, how many of them are having $150mm years?  How many are having $150mm careers, even?  I'd argue the vast, vast majority of those folks who stick it out (so, self-selecting for a lot of people who don't want the grind) end up making maybe $1,000,000 a year.

I agree it's a safe route to make the kind of money that keeps you and your family in a position of absolute financial security, assuming you're not an idiot, but it's not the route to make truly generational wealth.  And frankly, I'd argue this will be more and more true going forward.  One of the things that has always blown my mind about finance is how little accountability there is from a risk/reward standpoint.  Others have beaten it to death more eloquently than I, but isn't this why the hedge fund model is becoming increasingly lean?  Investors are realizing that they shouldering a higher burden of losses and a lesser portion of gains?

And while you might get the occasional trader taking those kinds of huge paydays, you have to set that against the Jeff Blaus or Jonathan Grays of the real estate world.  I think it's disingenuous to state that you can make huge money at a hedge fund without taking personal risk, and imply such a thing won't happen in real estate.

Also, when you live in the Northeast or California, I think it desensitizes you to how rare this actually is.  There are a lot of extremely successful local real estate developers running around Missouri or South Carolina - there aren't a lot of hyper successful bankers in those places.  Sure, not a lot of people worth $500mm.... but probably way more than you think who have mid eight figure net worths.

Nov 17, 2021 - 9:49am
flexomob, what's your opinion? Comment below:

The mistakes that newcomers make in setting up a business significantly affect the future vision. It is for this reason that many people give it up, thinking they are out of luck. When I first started out, I also experienced a few small mistakes that could have changed my mind about going forward, but I got help from the experts at innovation-park.eu. With this kind of help, new opportunities open up for the entrepreneur, so it makes the process of doing business a lot easier. I think that if newcomers went straight to them, they would have more success in this business.

Nov 19, 2021 - 12:14pm
taylorblake68, what's your opinion? Comment below:

There are many highly valued and unusual or unexpected benefits to running your own business. They rarely get mentioned, but they are always there.

Many entrepreneurs will tell you that sometimes these hidden benefits are worth more than the business itself.

One of the most valuable, but also most unexpected benefits are the deep, lifelong friendships that can be forged and experienced with people of a like mind that you get to meet through your business, sometimes in the most unexpected circumstances.

If you use the internet, you're likely to initiate several deep, meaningful relationships with some incredible people, many of which might well be half a world away. In fact, many of these kinds of relationships will be created, nurtured and sustained without ever meeting that person face-to-face.

Strange as it may seem to the uninitiated, deep purposeful relationships can be forged with just email, text, telephone, and video conferencing technology. These are not just relationships held together with common business interests. It goes much deeper than that.

Ask anyone who has been in any kind of business for any length of time if they've ever met anyone of substance, of character, who has subsequently become a lifelong friend, and then listen. You'll be surprised how common it is, and how valuable those friendships are to the people concerned.

Nov 19, 2021 - 12:32pm
NickJordan, what's your opinion? Comment below:

It seems to me that many people are afraid of competition. Now in any destination you can meet people who have more experience. This discourages newcomers.

Nov 24, 2021 - 1:39am
AnEvolvingHomosapien, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Fortune favors the bold. Entrepreneurship or investing is the only true path to significant wealth. You are not alone, my friend. There are many others with similar entrepreneurial ambitions. The ones around you that do are most likely just keeping their cards close to their chest - like me. Oops. Did that slip?

Best regards, DoingItInNYC
Nov 24, 2021 - 1:48am
Teller in Branch - Personal Loans, what's your opinion? Comment below:

In addition to all the rational reasons such as lack of idea, capital, team, connections, business relationships, probability of successful execution, etc., it comes down to whether you have the balls to take the risk. Most people are generally risk averse. Of the few that are risk loving, just a tiny fraction are really ever successful. Perhaps we just don't hear enough about those who had balls and lost them.

VP
  • 1
Feb 7, 2022 - 4:52am
DylanBrown, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I think many of people are just dreaming to open their business and no one does anything to achieve that goal

Feb 7, 2022 - 9:56am
crewbf, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I would love to, but owning RE requires quite a bit of capital. Also, on the capital raising front, I'm adverse to borrowing from friends and family since the first acquisition you make is a huge learning curve. My plan, like many RE people, is to slowly build up a RE portfolio until I have a consistent flow of passive income.

Mar 7, 2022 - 10:38am
Ozymandia, what's your opinion? Comment below:
crewbf

I would love to, but owning RE requires quite a bit of capital. Also, on the capital raising front, I'm adverse to borrowing from friends and family since the first acquisition you make is a huge learning curve. My plan, like many RE people, is to slowly build up a RE portfolio until I have a consistent flow of passive income.

Well, no one is saying you should graduate college and go start a career raising friends and family money to buy real estate. Get the learning curve out of the way at someone else's expense.

I'm also not sure how much capital is required.  One of the beautiful things about real estate is that high levels of leverage are not only okay, but positively encouraged.  Go buy a small building somewhere and put $100,000 down.  With appropriate financing you can buy 5-600,000 building.  Start there.

The problem is that everyone on these boards wants to be Jonathan Gray within 5 years, and that just isn't happening.  Modest goals and an appropriate timeline can turn into a substantial business in 10-15 years.  No, you won't be competing for trophy properties in Manhattan at the end of it, but you'll be wealthy and in control of your own organization.

Feb 27, 2022 - 8:43am
Herc13, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Starting a business isn't easy and not as profitable as you think. Most PE/IB guys make about the same money/more than the average small business owner. If you can pull in a "guaranteed" 200-300k a year… why go through the headache of opening a business? Now if you have a solid business idea and want to take a risk… go for it, but starting another pizza shop or restaurant is BS. Very very long hours and the net return isn't that great. Ya there's some tax advantages to owning a business but every small business owner I've spoken to has literally said "don't do it. Just get a solid degree and work your way up". Every business owners kid is most likely in school and does not want to take over their parents business. The odds of you starting a multi million/billion dollar business are very slim. You have a higher chance of becoming a millionaire if you're in tech imo. They have skills necessary to create valuable software that could be worth a lot.

As a business guy you should focus on acquiring business as opposed to starting it. It's easier to buy a business and profit, than to start one from the ground up.

It's not what you do for work that will make you successful, it's what you to with your money that will make you successful. If you like RE, like me, just buy multi families and keep growing your portfolio. That passive income is so sweet, especially when you hit your late thirties and want to slowly retire. 

Mar 2, 2022 - 2:24pm
Surfboard, what's your opinion? Comment below:

What is the perfect amount of experience prior to starting your own investment shop? 

Mar 3, 2022 - 10:34am
CRE, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Qui sed voluptas quam aliquid vitae sed animi. Modi praesentium soluta nihil error. Fugit magnam veritatis ullam voluptas.

Commercial Real Estate Developer

Mar 3, 2022 - 5:25pm
Surfboard, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Mar 6, 2022 - 11:59pm
DipDevour, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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