I was born in Romania and moved to the United States with both my parents at a fairly young age. It was always a dream for my father to come to the US and make his “American Dream” happen. We came to the states in 1991 and started like many immigrants who left for a better life. My father worked ridiculous hours at a job that paid next to nothing for some time, while my mother was getting her RN license, who in the meantime, was also working long hours. It was quite difficult for them, but they always made sure I was taken care of.
In high school, I started looking at my options for the future and what I could do to make my life easier and better. I started small little businesses to make a few bucks on the side, but always had a feeling and somehow knew that I wanted to be my own boss and did not want to rely on others and do what they told me to do. My guidance counselors and many others told me to go be an analyst or to get a real job, but I chose to ignore them. I never wanted to be a robot for someone else. I started investing in real estate at a very early age and it started working out quite well. After I graduated from high school I started college and found myself hating the days that I had to go to class. I found that for the most part, most of the information that was being taught was complete and utter $*%^. I couldn’t handle it so I dropped out and continued to invest in real estate and started other small businesses in search for that one hit.
My dad’s first business in the states was a small owner operated carpet cleaning business. He worked long hours and it wasn’t easy work. He contracted with apartment complexes which kept him really busy. When I wasn’t in school I would go out with him and help him do the work at the apartments. Can’t tell you how many things I saw and really learned from that experience. That first business really motivated him and I to work smart, rather than hard. I know that is kind of a cliche to say, but it’s true. I also learned that I should never ever give up on a dream and do whatever it takes to make that happen.
You’re right, most immigrant families do definitely push for higher education and to their credit, it can truly be something important for most people. I didn’t feel it was in my case. My mother always pushed me to get a degree and I believe that she was very disappointed when I dropped out. However, my father always supported me and let me make my own choices. He said if getting a job and finishing school won’t make you happy then what’s the point? That was very encouraging and helped me push for something higher than the average out there.
When I got started with real estate investing I saw what other people were doing, and really got amped up when I met another mentor of mine. I saw that fad and saw the massive appreciation that regions of the states where having so I obviously wanted in. In just like everything I have done, I did it together with my father. He is more like a friend and mentor to me than just my father. So together we went to Phoenix Arizona which at the time was an incredible market and was booming.
Unfortunately, the real estate market crashed and crashed hard for me and many other people around the US. I lost a lot during that time and essentially had to start over. 2008 and 2009 was very hard, but I believe that it was actually a blessing to go through that at a young age and not when I was older. The lessons that I learned are priceless and now I understand what to do and what not to do. The truth is, when we want something bad enough, no matter what, we will always find a way to make it happen and bounce back from whatever took us down. So when everything was falling apart and everyone was complaining, my father and I together started a new senior care business that would pull us back up.
I would like to say I never regret anything I do because I learn from it, but the reality of it is that yes, I do sometimes. Even to this day I look back and wonder “What if? However, that hasn’t done anyone any good so we just move on. If I had the financial power to sustain all the properties and investments during the downturn it would have paid off tenfold, but it is what it is. I am extremely grateful for the experience and the real life education I received during that time. It was a very expensive education, but it was an education that I would have never gotten if I didn’t do what I did. I am just happy that by pushing through and working hard and smart was able to turn things around, and was able to get back on the right path.
The idea actually started because of the experience my mother had as an RN (registered nurse) and the past experience my father had in the industry. We saw that there were so many amazing opportunities in this field to not just make a great living, but to truly help seniors. We saw that more times than not, the news and media were reporting negative things about peoples’ experiences in these types of facilities, and I really wanted to create something with a higher class of living and the highest possible level of care for the seniors in the area. We knew that RCFE (residential care facilities for elderly) investing was an awesome opportunity now and in the future because of the huge increase of the age demographics in the United States. The baby boomer age needed and still needs care so here we are. We tapped into a market that was pre-existing and just did our best to make it better.
The RCFE business is quite cool and can be quite a lot of fun and very rewarding in a personal way. We provide our customers with only the nicest locations possible in the area and something that is comfortable for them. I have actually had customers say that the homes are too nice for them, and that they aren’t used to something of this caliber. The whole goal with the senior care business is to create a level of comfort for our senior residents and to make sure that they are as comfortable as possible. The customers get 24/7 around the clock care, home cooked meals, activities, and essentially we can customize our programs to meet their specific needs and wants. For us, it’s all about the customer and their family at all times, and because of that I feel that we have built a strong reputation and name in the area.
The first customers where referrals from doctors that toured the facilities and knew the level of quality that we offered was beyond what the other competitors had to offer and knew it was where they wanted their patients to be. To this day, we get referrals from doctors along with referrals from families that have been at the homes and can speak from experience of the care that is provided for their loved ones. We really don’t even use many other means of advertising.
Out of all the hurdles I would say that staffing has been the hardest part of the business. It cracks me up when people say “there are no jobs out there” because we are always hiring. The problem is that most people don’t want to work. It was hard to get a solid staff line up that we could truly have confidence in. As time passed we nailed down our team and can happily say that our staff is outstanding and I love working with them every day. It really has blossomed into a business that is not only now beneficial for our residents, but also beneficial for our awesome staff. The cool thing about owning your own business is that you can not only help your clients, but also help the people looking for work and if they choose to help themselves first; you can then also step in and further help them secure their future.
When it comes to RCFE investing, real estate or any other type of business, I can’t stress enough how important due diligence has been for me. Learning the hard way has been an amazing teacher. When it comes to businesses, I now spend countless hours researching and making sure that the market will be able to sustain the idea, and there is not only room, but a completely open door for whatever the business is. There is no excuse for losing money because you don’t take the time to research. So as important as it is to have a good gut feeling, it’s even more important to make sure the data proves you correct and that way I can comfortably invest and move forward in whatever the project may be. That, along with using creative financing, has been a huge help for me in moving forward and expanding the RCFE business along with the other businesses as well.
I actually think this is an awesome industry for people to get involved in because there is not only currently a HUGE demand, but also because the demand is growing at a rapid rate and will continue to grow. One of the biggest pieces of advice I could give someone would be please don’t be cheap. What I mean by that is don’t try and skimp on prices by getting subpar locations, resources, staff, or anything in the business. If you put out a quality product you will be rewarded with quality. I feel the same about any business though. I actually apply that to anything like RCFE, real estate, retail, my new businesses, and anything else in life. Always be a stand up person, full disclosure, and always provide the best for your customers. Put out quality and you will get back quality.
Currently I am working on a lot of projects and there are a lot of new things coming down the pipeline. I am still running the senior care business and will continue to do so for some time. However, I have 2 new businesses and projects that I am even more excited about. The first one is a software company that I launched and we are building out some really great stuff for clients whom unfortunately I can’t discuss, but it has been something that I have been working on for over 2 years now. I am very excited about what the future holds for this business. Every day that goes by things keep getting better and bigger, and the future keeps looking brighter and brighter. Really excited about what it holds.
I have had a passion for cars since I was young. I’m a little obsessed to be honest. I really have wanted an exotic for the longest time, but until now it was never the right time. I had a few opportunities to get something prior to my Aston Martin DBS, but on every occasion I chose to use the money elsewhere. I feel that even though I just now picked up an exotic, it was well worth the wait. I initially always wanted a Lamborghini and I will be adding one to the garage in the near future, but something about Aston Martin has always appealed to me. I love the fact that they are like a rolling tuxedo, and somewhat understated. I love most Astons, but the DBS has had my heart and has for the longest time. It’s been on the top of my list for some time now.