I believe in working smart but focusing on the most important things first. You also must be able to delegate and let others take on some responsibility.
Elias Markos is a real estate developer in Toronto, Canada. He also owns and operates a short-term vocational rental company that manages multiple properties. He grew up with parents who were realtors and brings his life experiences of that, as well as realtor licensing and course work to his business.
Elias graduated from The Schulich School of Business, the business school of York University in Toronto, with a bachelor’s and a Master’s in Business Analysis. He attempted an online business just out of college, a real estate investment network. However, he decided his next logical step, would be in real estate as a broker.
Saving money from his realtor position allowed Elias to start his development business with a small investment. He is now owner/manager/operator of a dozen different locations with two development sites under construction and projects in Greek islands as well.
Much of his free time is spent traveling and a lot of that is to Greece. He also enjoys weight training and skiing.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
It came from buying a home initially. Purchasing my first residential house with my father, who then renovated it (it was a total “gut job”) and then we sold it. I think that sparked the whole idea of real estate for me, and the potential as a career.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
When I wake up, I head to the gym and try and do as much work as I can on my phone while on a stationary exercise bike. I think making a productive day is about having a healthy routine. Multi-tasking and using time in the most efficient way is key. You also must be able to make wise choices without sacrificing too much of your wellbeing.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Bringing ideas to life is best done when you can validate them with others who are in positions of authority.
What’s one trend that excites you?
First and foremost, the basic idea of owning real estate is the spark that started everything for me. What I am most excited about now is the segment of short-term vacation rentals, which is growing, and literally exploding right now. Sites like Airbnb have really democratized the possession of real estate (as opposed to ownership) and that’s really exciting to me.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I believe in working smart but focusing on the most important things first. You also must be able to delegate and let others take on some responsibility. That will allow you to have a more flexible and freer schedule.
What advice would you give your younger self?
You know, I really wish I could have been taught what I know now, much earlier. Things may have been different for me if I had. It would have saved me 10 years; I would have been somewhere else by now. I am here now however, am thankful, and the sky is still the limit.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
It’s a mistake to be too conservative. You miss opportunities and end up with a life of mediocrity. For some folks that’s okay, but there’s others that will have regrets. If you’re not taking chances now, you might regret it later.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
If you’re going to dedicate your life towards something, it’s okay to risk everything. Don’t be afraid to take chances. If something doesn’t work out, then keep it as a “lesson learned” and move forward no matter what. There is no other alternative.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
When I find something that appears rough around the edges, like a property for instance; I try to look past the rough exterior. Being a visionary is being able to see the true potential of something in its greatest and best use. Having a vision and a plan will make you unstoppable, and enlist others to follow in suite.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
That would probably be having a partner who’s failing you. It opens the opportunity for them to exit, which in return provides a new opportunity for you.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I would tell them to buy or lease a house or apartment, then rent it out, to short-term guests. The first half dozen properties are fairly easy to manage on your own. Anything more than that would require a team to help manage the different aspects of the business.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Many of my support staff are from overseas and for some of them $100 is a lot of money. $100 goes a long way in many countries outside of North America. In most cases my staff in non-westernized countries are much more grateful for the $100 that they earn from me, in comparison to many contractors I’ve hired locally here in Canada that I have paid over $1000 to in contrast. Investing and taking a chance in others doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune, but it is essential for growing a business and your fortune.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
One that has helped up a lot has been Wunderlist. It lets you delegate tasks and check list to-do items. My main tool for making money is Airbnb
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“How to Win Friends and Influence People” is a must book to start with. Having a superior command of the English language is essential in business. Maybe a good book on persuasive writing and using the AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) concept. I believe if you apply this technique in your writing, it just makes your writing that much more powerful.
What is your favorite quote?
One would be by Napoleon Hill- Every adversity carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.
A personal quote I tell myself is: “Sometimes in order to win all, you must sometimes risk all.
• If you’re going to dedicate your life towards something, it’s okay to risk everything.
• Don’t be afraid to take chances. If it doesn’t work, keep the lesson learned benefit as you move forward. You may regret not taking the chance later.
• Being a visionary is being able to see the true potential of something in its greatest and best use. Having a vision and a plan will make you unstoppable, and enlist others to follow in suite.
• Investing and taking a chance in others is essential in building a fortune.
• Work smart, not hard.
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.