Ben Mallah is the guy who plays Monopoly for real. His description, not mine. He is a Tampa Bay real estate mogul with a net worth of $250,000,000. That’s a lot of money if you ask me.
Ben is also a pretty cool and straightforward guy, who likes to keep it real. He started from nothing, growing up in Queens, New York, dropping out of high school, and getting to the position he is in now — it makes for quite a fascinating story.
His childhood wasn’t easy, living in the slumps, surrounded by criminals, raised by a lunatic mother according to his words, in a shitbox bungalow.
Often, individuals raised in the hardest conditions built resilience and mental toughness that others could never achieve. Living in such environment and surviving in there for many years teaches you life lessons that can’t be described by the textbooks.
Everything that Ben’s parents did, he did the opposite.
Bad parents can set good examples of what not to do. Unhappiness, hatred, and other strong negative emotions can be a strong motivator for achieving success.
You don’t want to be a failure as everybody around you. Overcoming all these challenges that come from your surroundings, makes you almost immune to failure.
When I was a kid, I always wanted to make a lot of money.
I’ve heard this phrase from other ultra successful people, who just knew that they want to make a lot of money. That was their ultimate goal and they managed to achieve it in one way or another. I don’t say whether it’s good or not, but the fact is that setting up your mindset towards money from a young age and just pursuing this dream no matter what — just makes the difference with anybody else who half-wants to be rich. Being fully-committed is the game changer.
“I bought the worst crap that nobody else wanted, and fixed it up, and made money from that, and took the profits to refinance and buy other stuff. “
It’s a simple formula, but it takes a lot of hard work, big balls, and huge determination. How many of you would take the risk and buy the worst crack house to try fixing it, and then manage to sell on profit. Most won’t do it. They wouldn’t even approach such a neighborhood.
There might be an opportunity in your business area that nobody else want to take because it seems to difficult or it takes too much effort, or whatever. Don’t take the easy road, but rather go after the crap and make it work. It’s too difficult for the rest. All these new entrepreneurs who want to be successful overnight want to alto do it from the comfort of their sofa. The problem is that it doesn’t work this way. You have to solve real-life problems to get paid.
One of the biggest challenges for Ben over the years is dealing with properties from a distance. He says:
I like to touch the real estate, I like to get my hands dirty, I like to deal with the problems easily, and when things are far away it’s hard to deal with it. You don’t want to hire management companies because then you are not in control of your own investment and they can do things you don’t want them to do.
Nobody else will care about your business as much as you care about it. Don’t leave it in the hands of agencies or third party companies. The core of the business has to be with you. If you start biting more than you can chew, that’s when the troubles begin.
At the end of the days, it’s about creating value, it’s about making something better than what already exists, and there will always be a place on the market for it. New opportunities keep coming, new jobs are created, creative technologies are developed, something is constantly happening. If you go out there, you may even find what is for you.
There is always a house to fix somewhere out there.
How does somebody learn all of this?
Just by doing it, experiencing it, and finding that there is a true value to something. We learn by doing stuff. If you start a new job, you learn at least 80% of the tasks by doing them. Even if it’s something very complex and time-consuming, you will learn it eventually by doing it. Of course, there are some limitations to it, but in most cases — that’s it. Trial and error without too many errors if possible.
It’s not even about the money, it’s a sense of accomplishment when you can take a piece of crap and turn it around into a valuable asset. It’s rewarding.
A lot of truth in these words. We don’t really want something easy in life, even if we think that we do, we really don’t. You feel happy and accomplished when you achieve something meaningful which comes after a lot of work, sweat, failures, and persistence. The easy things are not rewarding. They are easy to forget and don’t mean so much to us.
To be in real estate, you gotta live it, you gotta breath it, you gotta eat it, it’s gotta be your life.
That’s the essence of it. If you put everything in it, you might eventually succeed. It’s not necessary that you will, but the chance increases tremendously.
Put the hours that nobody else would. 16 hours a day, 18 hours a day. It makes a whole lot of a difference.
Here’s an interview with the man himself.
Truly a fantastic story and something to learn from.
You will find even more of Ben on the KONCRETE YouTube channel.