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Starting and launching any entrepreneurial venture is inherently daunting. Challenges and barriers can often arise faster and in greater numbers than opportunities are unlocked, and with as many as 9 in every 10 businesses failing within 10 years from the time they are started, it’s little wonder why so many entrepreneurs end up never seeing their ventures succeed. As difficult as launching a new business venture can be, doing so again is an even more daunting undertaking, especially when an entrepreneur has no choice but to pack up their bags and try again from the ground up.
Unfortunately, real estate investor Marco Kozlowski is no stranger to this himself. In 2009, while navigating his divorce and trying to be the best father he could be to his four children, Kozlowski’s now-ex-wife took almost everything he had—monetary or otherwise— leaving him with nothing except the clothes on his back and the will to keep going. Left in shambles, it took Kozlowski the better part of a decade to build himself and his business back up and into some semblance of operating order.
While it indeed has been far from easy, Kozlowski’s drive for success has allowed him the opportunity to restart his business and personal brand from the ashes of ruin. Now, he wants to help other entrepreneurs like him understand the ways they can manage to do this for themselves and their own businesses as well, even when it feels like the entire world is against them.
1. Double-down on what you know
The reason why so many entrepreneurs also hold the title of “subject matter expert” and/or “thought leader” is because they devote themselves to becoming a true master of their craft, regardless of what that craft is or the industry realm it falls under.
When life hit Kozlowski hard in 2009, he knew that trying to start a new business in an area he was not familiar with or knowledgeable in would inevitably lead to chasing shiny objects, a common distraction that befalls entrepreneurs who get distracted by new ideas rather than focusing on the skills and knowledge they already have.
“Instead of letting myself get caught up in ‘shiny object syndrome’,” says Kozlowski, “I had to stick with what I knew — real estate — and double-down on creating an even better business than I had before.”
Initially, Kozlowski tells us, he began this process by restructuring his entire business model to pinpoint areas where it could most be improved upon. Over a decade later, he has not only been able to recuperate his financial losses from his prior business, but build and grow a better and more successful business while also instructing aspiring real estate investors and entrepreneurs in his specific field of expertise.
2. Never rely on your own money or credit
Most entrepreneurs are familiar with the age-old adage of, “you need to spend money to make money.” While in certain situations this can prove to be true, this saying no longer applies to a broad spectrum of entrepreneurial ventures or businesses existing in today’s hyper-digitized world.
For those looking to make a name for themselves in the realm of real estate or similar areas, however, this adage holds absolutely no water.
“In my native Canada,” Kozlowski clarifies, “there are only five banks. All five of these are credit-based, so for entrepreneurs who find themselves in situations similar to the one I was in in 2009, there are zero chances of acquiring a loan from these institutions. In the US, however, there are more than ten thousand banks, including secondary banks, private equity firms, and private lenders.”
The thing is, as Kozlowski explains, all of these institutions in the US operate on one key principle: risk. The lower risk an investment poses—including real estate investments—the higher the chances are of an entrepreneur receiving funds. For entrepreneurs looking to restart and rebuild a business in real estate, this means that going after targeted properties that pose lower risks with higher potential rewards to your lender better positions you to make more money in less time; all without putting any of your own cash, credits, or assets on the line.
3. Understand your process inside and out, then execute it
As an entrepreneur, no one will ever understand how you work better than you do. Building a successful business never comes overnight, but neither does recognizing and understanding your internal processes when it comes time to sit down, put your nose to the grindstone, and put in the work in order to make your business successful.
“When I was forced to rebuild my business and brand from scratch,” Kozlowski adds, “I knew that I couldn’t simply rely on falling back into the processes or systems that I had relied on in the past. I needed to find a new way to operate a new business that I could apply my knowledge, expertise, and skill set to in order for that new business to become successful. This is ultimately what led to me avoiding real estate tactics like property flipping and instead focus solely on profiting from rental properties that would require none of my own money to acquire.”
Kozlowski posed no qualms in saying that, at first, doing this was extremely difficult. Sometimes, it even felt impossible; like he was searching for a needle in a haystack. If nothing else, Kozlowski mentions that he wishes the takeaway from this article to be this: restarting and rebuilding your business from nothing is difficult, but it can absolutely be done through dedication and perseverance.
If your business or brand means as much to you as his own did, and still does, then your entrepreneurial spirit will help guide you along the way to creating an even better business venture than you had originally dreamed of.