Alex Martinez was making sandwiches for $10/hour. Ryan Zomorodi was working in sales, staring down the gloomy corporate tunnel that ran between his 20s and retirement. Both spent hours researching the real estate market. They were convinced it was the way to financial freedom through becoming real estate investors.
They were right—they’ve both made millions from investing in real estate. Today, Martinez (founder and CEO) and Zomorodi (founder and COO) run Real Estate Skills, where they teach others their proven system for wholesale real estate and flipping houses.
Here, Martinez and Zomorodi dig into the secrets of their success.
What’s made you successful in business?
We’ve found success through relentless prioritization and focus on what matters most, coupled with an obsession with personal development and acquiring skills that make us more valuable to our organizations and the communities that we serve.
A guiding principle that we live by at our company is striving to be world-class in all that we do. There’s a saying that goes, “How you do one thing is how you do everything.” We take this to heart, and our team applies this concept to both work and personal matters.
We push ourselves to not only excel in all departments of our company—from product to client fulfillment to marketing and sales—but also in our personal lives. Our company culture focuses on optimizing aspects of our daily lives like sleep, diet, exercise, physical environment, the vocabulary we use to communicate, and the information we consume on a regular basis.
How did you meet and start working together?
We met during our college years at San Diego State University while participating in extracurricular organizations, such as the Entrepreneur Society and a personal development mastermind called Junto Global.
At an Entrepreneur Society meeting, Martinez invited a mentor to speak about the house flipping business. Zomorodi was in the audience listening intently. Zomorodi had recently purchased his first rental investment property. He was intrigued by Martinez’s early success in the house flipping and wholesale real estate business.
After graduating college, we crossed paths again in a mastermind, where we grew closer and eventually started doing real estate business together, wholesaling and flipping houses in San Diego.
After operating real estate businesses on our own for a number of years and being real estate investors, we noticed a pattern of friends, family, and acquaintances reaching out to learn more about our real estate successes. Seeing the opportunity to scale our impact and reach, we joined forces to form Real Estate Skills.
What trends are you seeing in real estate investing?
Since the pandemic-induced stay-at-home orders and the resulting volatility in the job market, more people want to be their own bosses and work for themselves than ever before. After seeing mass layoffs and disruption in many industries, people see risk in remaining an employee and working for someone else’s company.
Many budding entrepreneurs are opening up to becoming real estate investors as their opportunity to own their own businesses. With the historic rise in asset prices across the board these last several years, people have a fear of missing out, and understandably so.
We continue to remain bullish on housing, as the demand for single-family and multi-family properties is still strong. We do see more favorable laws in the pipeline relating to housing density. Specifically, these refer to rezoning and creative redevelopment of obsolete and underutilized properties.
This is certainly an exciting aspect of the investment industry going into this next decade since small developers are a large part of the solution to provide more housing in supply-constrained markets.
How do you see the real estate industry evolving in the next couple of years?
Over the coming years, we expect homeownership to become even more out-of-reach for the majority of people who hit prime home-buying age. As a result, the overall homeownership rate may drop, and the divide between socioeconomic levels is likely going to continue to increase.
Real estate ownership is the most proven path to creating wealth in this country. So there will be many people unable to ride the wave of property ownership. In its place, though, there will be easier access to real estate investment vehicles. This includes fractional ownership, real estate investment funds, and shares in individual properties that trade like stocks. However, these newer investment methods lack the same benefits of full ownership of real estate assets. These things need to be thought through when becoming a real estate investor.
This is why we are passionate about distributing real estate education to the masses. We want everyone to have a shot at participating in wealth creation through real estate. Before it becomes too much of a hurdle to overcome.
What’s a valuable lesson you’ve learned throughout your career?
We invest heavily in coaches, masterminds, and personal development. So, we’ve been fortunate to have a variety of mentors along the way.
One lesson from a mentor that sticks out is this quote: “Partnership is a commitment to conflict.”
This gave us caution before formalizing this business together, as well as in our various other real estate partnerships and as real estate investors. It taught us to anticipate and plan for disagreements when building something of significant value over a long period of time with other people.
Business partnerships have a lot in common with getting married and having a child. You’re dealing with contracts, long-term commitments, accountability, emotions, stress, and incredible responsibility. This is all while your business becomes a living, breathing entity that needs constant attention. Or else it will cease to exist.
Having been friends and business partners in prior years, and coming from similar backgrounds certainly created a level of trust that has allowed us to thrive in times of uncertainty, pressure, and ultimately, transformation.
What motivates you to get up in the morning?
We’re motivated by becoming the best versions of ourselves. This is so that we can give our fullest gifts to the world, our partners, our families, and our clients.
Our motivation also comes from fulfilling the promises we make to ourselves, including squeezing the most out of every day. The most accomplished people in the world make time for fitness, family, finances, and friends, among other responsibilities. Therefore, waking up early and managing our time is essential to ensure we hit all parts of the spectrum.
To be frank, motivation also comes from fear of living a life of regret. And denying ourselves and our businesses the opportunity to reach our full potential. We wake up every day and welcome the challenge of rising to the occasion. Knowing that in order to be great, we must work relentlessly towards our mission.