What it Takes to Climb to Greatness with Jake and Gino
By Yuresh Shayzer
January 1, 2023
In today’s episode, we have the opportunity to feature Jake and Gino. These guys have notched up some impressive wins in the multifamily arena. What sets them apart is not just their real estate victories but the human touch behind their success—their mindset, approach, and the strategic steps they took to climb the ladder. Whether you're eyeing multifamily ventures or dreaming of building a lasting legacy, this episode is a must-listen. Get ready to peek into the minds of these winners, challenge your thinking, and perhaps feel a bit uncomfortable. So, armor up, open your mind, and let's dive into this episode.
[2:05] Jake, Why should I listen to you?
First and foremost, I never initiate conversations with strangers at a coffee shop. These days, I tend to keep to myself and spend time in the woods. Despite this, I believe you should consider my perspective due to my extensive experience. Jim and I have had a successful journey in both the general business and multifamily sectors. While many individuals in our field offer coaching services, what sets us apart is our team of over 80 dedicated members. We've cultivated a portfolio of $70 million in multifamily assets, actively managing them, and one of the things I am particularly proud of is our real-life experience and consistent success, achieving a remarkable 20% year-over-year increase in top-line revenues for an extended period.
[4:15] Gino, Why should I listen to you?
To me, building a connection starts with genuine curiosity. I'd want to learn about Anthony Trucks first, his story, and what makes him tick. I believe this approach applies to any relationship or business interaction. People are interested when they feel heard and valued. As for my partnership with Jake, it all boils down to value-based decision-making. When we connected in 2009, we didn't realize it, but our values aligned perfectly. From family to integrity and hard work, our core values were in sync. That alignment has been the key to our successful partnership for over 15 years. It's about not letting each other down and doing things for your partner that you wouldn't do for yourself.
[8:18] You've mentioned that partnerships often don't work. Can you share instances where you've seen partnerships fail and identify common pitfalls or mistakes people make in such situations?
One thing I want to emphasize is that whenever I undertake something, I always have my kids in mind. Every endeavor I pursue and every dollar I earn is for the benefit of him and his family. I come from a hardworking background, having started working at the age of eight. This is not an exaggeration; I've genuinely held a job since then, and I've been running my own business for over 20 years. I've faced numerous challenges and persevered through various hardships. I won't tolerate someone younger than me suggesting I need to step up my game. If that's the case, they should work for someone else because they're not suited to be a partner. It's a harsh reality, but that's the truth. Entrepreneurship can be tough, and at times, it can feel isolating. I can't have someone telling me to step up when I've been working hard my entire life. I believe in being a man and facing challenges head-on. I've never had to ask Jake to fulfill his responsibilities, even when he had COVID during one of our events. He showed up, took the stage, and didn't make excuses. That's the mindset and commitment I expect from a partner.
[15:14] What led you both to venture into multifamily, especially coming from backgrounds in sales and the pizza business?
My mom, as an immigrant, owned a couple of buildings, and I saw the power of real estate. I wanted something passive. I wanted to make a little bit of extra income, and I just wanted to start with a couple of small buildings with Jake. I didn't want to buy single-family homes because I think that multifamily is scalable. If we buy a 10-unit, you can buy a 30-unit, then a 50-unit. So that, for me, is why multifamily. I didn't know the tax benefits. I didn't know the principal paydown. I didn't know about the forced appreciation. I know all these other benefits of multifamily. I just saw the cash flow. I wanted to get paid every single month for owning a business. I didn't know at the time that if you look at real estate, you should buy it not only as an actual asset investment but also as a mini-business.
[17:00] Were there any hesitations when transitioning to multifamily from your previous pursuits, and what is the typical mental barrier that people often encounter in this shift?
Jake: Jacob is the key factor - it's all about mindset. Many believe real estate is only for property owners, but, like solving the credit issue for your first car, it's attainable. Back in the day, listening to audiobooks like "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" and "Man in Babylon," I started shaping my mindset. The final push came with the Sunshine Act and healthcare reform. My pharmaceutical career, initially a good fit, turned into a mismatched quasi-government job. Feeling out of place, I sought a new path. Influenced by Geno, Dr. Nashi, and various audiobooks, I lacked formal real estate training until Gino became my mentor. Together, with boots on the ground, we made it happen.
Gino: Before meeting Jake, my investments were scattered across various areas. However, once I established a framework and committed to multifamily, things took off. It took 18 months to secure the first deal, but afterward, momentum built rapidly. The key is to start small, focusing on one deal at a time. Don't let the initial challenges deter you; multifamily is just another investment, and the learning curve pays off. Believe in your ability to navigate the commercial space, regardless of your background. Constant practice, learning, and surrounding yourself with multifamily-focused individuals are essential. Don't be afraid to start anew; the transition will be worth it in the end.
[24:23] Did you approach the decision to enter multifamily with a step-by-step mindset, or was it an immediate commitment?
I recently read "Mindset" by Carol Dweck, a book I believe everyone should read. It explores the fixed and growth mindsets that can exist in different aspects of life. This distinction is crucial, especially for parents, as the way we encourage our kids can impact their mindset. A growth mindset, as exemplified by Jordan, involves constant learning and perseverance, while a fixed mindset, like McEnroe's, tends to blame external factors. In the context of money, understanding the psychology of money is vital. Examine your relationship with money—do you have a fixed, abundance, or scarcity mindset? The key is recognizing that real estate or multifamily opportunities aren't holding you back; it's your perspective. For me, discovering my growth mindset in certain areas and fixed mindset in others led me to be mindful of how I communicate with my kids to avoid instilling fixed mindsets in certain aspects of their lives.
[26:45] Did you encounter opposition or skepticism from individuals who were against your move into multifamily?
Jake: Yeah, it just happened recently with him going public about his mom, mentioning he had 300 to 200 units before sharing it with her, and now they're in business together. In contrast, I kept my real estate ventures quiet initially. While working at a pharmaceutical company, I started investing but didn't share much with family or friends. Only my wife knew about my deals. It wasn't until we reached 800 units that we went public, wrote a book, and started a podcast. Initially, I was like a "closet case" with it, perhaps due to fear of rejection or not thinking it was cool enough. However, we eventually reached a point where we felt comfortable sharing on a larger scale.
Gino: Progressing in life requires a shift in identity. Despite being known as the "pizza guy" with a restaurant for 20 years, I had to work intensely to adopt a multifamily investor mindset. This involved consistent actions like calling brokers, participating in podcasts, doing property tours, and engaging with investors. I immersed myself in the role, shedding the old identity. Weekly podcasts and conversations with notable figures like Robert Kiyosaki boosted my confidence. Having Jake as an accountability partner was crucial. While working in the kitchen, it's challenging to see myself as an investor, but regular calls with Jake reinforced my commitment. At some point, you have to declare, "I'm all in," and that shift in identity was transformative for me.
[30:00] What unexpected positives have you both encountered in your multifamily journey? Are there aspects that pleasantly surprised you, perhaps hidden behind the initial fears, such as newfound freedom or control?
The realization of my deep desire for autonomy pushed me out of the corporate job faster. Creativity stifled in the corporate box surfaced, leading to the creation of fun and amazing projects with no limits on working hours. The thought of retirement is daunting; I want to stay engaged and active in business, as it fulfills my competitive spirit and provides opportunities. Autonomy was a significant factor in my journey. Gino's understanding of the business, coupled with the scalability of the model, allowed us to stack successes and create a snowball effect of cash flow. Learning about cost segregation studies, tax benefits, and financial strategies like refinance and roll came through hands-on experience. A big shout-out to Gino for helping me transition into the entrepreneurial space, where the chains came off and we sprinted together. My passion for this journey is evident, and the excitement continues.
[33:05] What's a surprising and unique positive outcome from your multifamily journey that you didn't initially foresee?
In the early to mid-2000s, I was immersed in the teachings of mentors like T. Harv Eker, Zig Ziglar, Jim Rohn, and Robert Kiyosaki. Fast forward to today, and I'm not just learning from them; they're in my inner circle, featured on my podcast. It's mind-blowing to share ideas with them. Finding something I loved and transitioning from a challenging restaurant business to an enjoyable venture was pivotal. I wanted my children to see work as both fulfilling and enjoyable, moving from a scarcity mindset to an abundance mindset. Now, I understand that money is a result, an opportunity, not the sole reason for business. Creating impact and exploring various opportunities are equally significant. My mindset has evolved significantly over the last decade.
[36:38] What legacy do you aim to leave through your education company? Is it about brand recognition or the impact on individuals?
Family and relationships are paramount for me. Working with my wife on our podcast, "The Julian Gino Show," has been incredibly fulfilling. I challenge the misconception that working with a spouse is difficult. I'm passionate about helping people understand that money is a tool, teaching them its value, and instilling these lessons in their children. Family is the most crucial aspect of life, and the breakdown of family dynamics over the generations has visible consequences. I've been married for 25 years, and while it comes with challenges, the commitment is for the long term. Raising children is one of the most gratifying experiences, contributing to the legacy we leave through them. I encourage fathers to reclaim their role as role models and providers for their families.
[45:00] How do you assist others in entering the same world you currently navigate?
Our approach is grounded in the "By right, manage right, finance right" process. This framework, applicable to various ventures, ensures a methodical approach. Whether buying a single-family home or a business, understanding how to acquire it is crucial. The management aspect involves constant motion, backed by extensive resources like in-person boot camps, coaching, weekly lessons, and monthly mastermind calls. The emphasis is on accountability, providing coaching, and a supportive community where individuals can share experiences, seek advice, and find encouragement in their real estate journey.
[48:03] What promise did God or the creator make to the world when they created you?
For me, it's about being a role model for my kids and taking care of my wife. Ensuring the well-being of the family is my priority. I resonate with Jake's sentiment of putting effort into what I do, emphasizing continuous improvement, and leaning into every opportunity.
[19:20-19:23] Knowledge isn’t power unless you implement it
[22:40-22:44] If you have a dream that can be done by just you, you don’t need more people; that dream is big enough.
How to connect with Jake and Gino