When you know you are right, keep trying until you succeed.
Bill Shopoff is the President and CEO of Shopoff Realty Investments in Irvine, California. With more than thirty-five years of experience in real estate and finance, Bill is well-known in his field and has been an invited speaker at many events. He is a true entrepreneur, having never worked for a company other than his own.
A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor’s in Marine Science and a Master’s in Business Administration, Bill began his first business immediately after graduation. A decade later he formed a partnership with three professionals and found success through investments following the savings and loan crash. His perseverance and ability to see beyond what is happening now, and invest by focusing on future trends has made him successful.
Bill holds several professional designations, including Certified Commercial Investment Member. He is also a member of the Building Industry Association and the Urban Land Institute. In addition, he is active in several charitable organizations and collegiate councils.
Where did the idea for Shopoff Realty Investments come from?
My company, Asset Recovery Fund (which later became Shopoff Realty Investments*) was born through a friendship I had while in college. We wanted to work together with a focus on the distressed debt situation following the collapse of the Savings and Loan industry. Our business consisted of purchasing distressed or displaced properties and taking advantage of market inefficiencies. We would offer a fair market price for the assets, but with our knowledge of how to increase the property’s value, we were able to monetize the assets at a higher price.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I am an active planner. My days are pretty heavily scheduled with in person meetings, and phone calls. If I have any open slots, I know what I want to get done and fill in that time. I am still working 10-14 hour days during the work week, and then working on weekends as well. I want to accomplish all that I can with my work. I want to contribute, not just to my clients, but to my community as well. I’ve always thought by now I would be slowing down, but if there is work to be done, I want to accomplish it.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I do a lot of journaling. Part of the time I set aside each day is to do this, which includes goal setting. I have been journaling for more than twenty years and I include both short-term and long-term goals. When I have one, I will break it down into the smaller steps necessary to accomplish that goal. If I need to delegate, I do it. It’s an everyday behavior for me to always be reaching for the next goal.
What’s one trend that excites you?
One of the things that has gotten my attention recently is the shift in our overall society towards ridesharing and other alternative transportation ideas that utilize new technological advances. In my field, space is essential. More so, the effective use of space. In an urban apartment setting, for example, the space we use for parking could be put to better use. As new, autonomous transportation emerges, I think we will see an overall decline in personal car ownership. I also see technology entering the real estate field at a rapid pace. We are constantly looking for a better way to build, and innovative technology that will allow us to do so better, faster, and easier. That’s something I will be following closely as technology continues to advance.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
My desire to be responsive to people in a timely manner has been my mindset from the very beginning. I think this has helped me be more successful as an entrepreneur. I make sure that I am returning phone calls and answering emails within 24 hours. No one likes to feel like they are not being listened to. Whether it’s good or bad news, I like to make sure my clients know that I am hearing them, and that they receive a response in a reasonable timeframe.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would say to myself not to be afraid to make mistakes and to not beat yourself up when they happen. You learn just as much from mistakes as you do from success. It took me some time to come to that realization, so if I could have let myself know that when I was just starting out, I think it would have been helpful.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I believe that anyone can accomplish anything if they put their mind to it. The classic American Dream is something that I think has been a little lost over the last many years. A lot of people feel that they are kept down by their circumstances, so they don’t push themselves outside of their comfort zone. But I have seen far too many success stories in my lifetime to believe that. I really do feel that, no matter what, as long as you put in the work, you can achieve whatever goals you want.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Having clear objectives and having a way to measure the progress of those objectives is one of the best things I have done. The journaling and goal setting I have done have been the most helpful for my career. I definitely recommend it to anyone in any field. I also recommend being in tune with your health, both physical and mental. You have to be mindful of burnout. I started later in life with meditation, but I find it extremely helpful in keeping my mind clear and my goals where I want them.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
My belief that we can accomplish things that others don’t believe we can has been the best strategy for my business.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Factoring in the recession was a challenge. I wanted to purchase a piece of real estate and I had to go out and get equity partners for it. I kept getting denied from probably more than 60 groups. It took me considerable time and I had a lot of capital invested myself. I just knew it would be a good business opportunity, but it was difficult to get others to see that. I kept at it and secured the investors and it turned out to be the best investment I have ever made.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Always be looking ahead to where the next opportunity is, not where it was. Entrepreneurs have to make the invisible become visible. They have an idea that no one else has had, or could not articulate, and they figure out how to make it visible for all. They see a need and find a way to bring that to life.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I buy my wine like I buy my real estate. I am very selective. I bought a bottle of wine recently that was a great value because I believe I purchased it for less than it was worth. I was then able to share that bottle with some great friends, and that made it an even better purchase in my eyes.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
My day is built around financial modeling, so Excel is still my go-to tool every day.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I am currently reading a book called Mastering the Market Cycle by Howard Marks. He’s the founder of Oak Tree, which deals with private equity investments. I have always been a fan of his writing. This book talks about how you may not always know the market perfectly, but it helps to put the odds in your favor.
What is your favorite quote?
My favorite quote is “integrity is the essence of everything successful” by R. Buckminster Fuller.
● Stay informed of trends
● When you know you are right, keep trying until you succeed
● Learn from mistakes as much as successes
● Focus on your own well-being
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.