Anything is possible with hard work and often times it is only yourself that is telling you your dreams are impossible to achieve.
Craig Cecilio is the CEO and founder of DiversyFund a crowdfunding real estate platform that gives average investors access to institutional-quality investments through the power of crowdfunding. Craig has worked in the real estate industry for nearly 20 years and has participated in the development of over 1,000 single family residences as a joint venture equity partner, lender or sponsor. Over the course of his career he has financed nearly $1 billion of real estate assets and raised over $100 million in debt or equity for real estate transactions. Craig has been an entrepreneur for all his life, never even having a boss, he has worked tirelessly to turn opportunity into reality. By focusing his passions for real estate and technology, Craig has developed an online alternative asset investment platform known as DiversyFund.
Where did the idea for DiversyFund come from?
DiversyFund had been an idea percolating in my mind for a long time. I got my start in real estate with syndicate lending which is a natural precursor for crowdfunding and the idea for DiversyFund – pooling capital for real estate investments. Ever since beginning my career I have been looking at ways to revolutionize the industry. I wanted to give the next generation of investors the opportunity to participate in these incredible investments by leveraging technology and my passion for real estate. Following the passing of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act of 2012 which made crowdfunding as we know it today possible, I started DiversyFund. Our mission is provide investors with opportunities to invest in high-quality real estate through our simple, easy-to-use and transparent crowdfunding platform.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I love starting my day with a morning workout at CrossFit or a jog by the bay, I can never miss it! I make no excuses and always give 110 percent. Then it is straight to the office where I juggle phone calls, meetings with potential investors, visiting our construction sites, checking in on the team and more. All the while I’m continuously reviewing measurables for our crowdfunding platform and strategizing for the future.
How do you bring ideas to life?
As CEO, I focus on establishing the most efficient process for helping my team work collectively to identify and achieve goals.I work hard to ensure that I have the best people at DiversyFund to help bring our revolutionary ideas to life. The best way to bring ideas to life is to have a motivated, smart group of people working efficiently to make it happen.
What’s one trend that excites you?
We are beginning to see individual investors understand the importance of diversification in a portfolio. Stocks and bonds are great but you limit the potential of a portfolio – and your ability to grow wealth. Leaving your investments to the whims of the stock market is very risky. Now with the rise of crowdfunding, owning alternative assets like private real estate has never been easier. People are adding investments that provide them with additional income and are backed by real assets to their portfolios. As crowdfunding continues to evolve, millennials especially, are investing more and more into real estate assets because of the low barriers to entry, streamlined process and great returns.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I am constantly networking and surrounding myself with smart and successful individuals. I love to learn about people and what they do which has led me to develop deep-rooted relationships and an extensive network. As an entrepreneur in the real estate industry I have built many relationships with renowned designers, builders and marketers that have truly helped me grow my business.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Buy or invest in more real estate!
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on?
The only person holding you back is yourself. Anything is possible with hard work and often times it is only yourself that is telling you your dreams are impossible to achieve. There is always another way or solution to a problem and you can find that solution if you remove your own doubt from the equation.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I have learned to say no. A lot of entrepreneurs get pitched with “offers” to help their business grow. Sometimes saying no is the best option and not enough people are doing it. Some of my best real estate deals are the ones I have said “no” to and they ended up not working out – saving me a lot of time and money. Take time to evaluate every offer and understand the potential value, not every deal has that.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Use technology to stay competitive, changes in tech can either make or break your business. For example we just converted to an IOS system from Microsoft, to improve our design and interface. We work to stay ahead of curve when it comes to technology because that is a driving business force in today’s world.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I wouldn’t say I had one major failure, however I persevered through several minor mishaps and failures that sparked an ah-ha moment leading up to the founding of the DiversyFund platform.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I have a vision for a great app burning in my head for DiversyFund, I want to migrate our investment platform from the web to an app to make it easy for our investors to manage and view investments at the palm of their hand. Any business that operates on the web and has the capabilities to build a mobile app that mirrors the web experience should do so.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Definitely on Fierros Signature meal prep services, their meals have been a true blessing in helping me reach my fitness goals. If you are a busy entrepreneur running a business who cares about your fitness and health, try meal prepping or have it done for you like Fierro’s Signature. As a CEO, father, husband, and fitness addict, I understand how important nutrition contributes to your overall well being. It works!
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Recently DiversyFund has transitioned onto Basecamp an online platform that condenses everything from company goals to emails and word docs into one centralized place. It acts as an internal, online headquarters for our team keeping everyone organized and informed on what we are focusing on now and what we have lined up for the future.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Law of Success by Napoleon Hill. The book is a series of booklets that have some of the best business advice I have ever come across and would highly recommend it to any entrepreneur looking for business guidance.
What is your favorite quote?
“To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
- Constantly surround yourself with smart people and always build your relationships.
- Work hard to remain organized especially as your company grows – this will help makes things more efficient and goal-oriented.
- The only person holding you back is yourself. Everything is possible with hard work and dedication.
- Leverage new technology to revolutionize the way investors can diversify their long-term investment portfolios.
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Craig Cecilio on Twitter: @CraigCecilio