Frank Roessler grew up in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania and has a degree in electrical engineering from Bucknell University and an MBA from the Anderson School of Management at UCLA. At Anderson, Frank focused on finance and real estate. In spite of graduating into one of the largest recessions in 2008, Frank forged ahead and took an entry level internship at M&A Real Estate Partners. Once there he quickly climbed up the ranks from intern to acquisitions associate to asset manager of the entire $500,000,000 investment portfolio.
After a rewarding and educational tenure at M&A, Frank made the difficult decision to leave the company in 2015 to follow his entrepreneurial dream of founding his own investment firm, Ashcroft Capital. Ashcroft Capital grew quickly due to the implementation of Franks experience and direction. As of 2017, the firm has a portfolio of approximately 3,000 apartments units valued at just under $250,000,000.
Where did the idea for Ashcroft Capital come from?
I grew up in the suburbs of central Pennsylvania and my father owned a small pizza shop in town. It was just a mom and pop business but he loved it and watching him run the restaurant planted an entrepreneurial seed in my head for a young age.
When I was first turned on to real estate investment, I actually wanted to start my own company immediately. But I knew that wasn’t practical and that I needed the experience and knowhow in order to be successful. This is why starting off as an intern just after grad school was more than okay with me. I wasn’t working for a salary, I was working to learn and absorb in order to do this on my own someday.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
As founder and managing member of Ashcroft Capital I oversee all aspects of operations. We own a dozen large communities and I’m in constant contact with our regional managers to ensure that we’re meeting or exceeding our budgets on income and expense.
Additionally, I’m overseeing the acquisition front as we look to new properties to acquire. For each property we buy we underwrite approximately 50 to 75 properties that we pass on. This is a very time intensive process but we pride ourselves on our conservative and thorough approach to acquisitions.
How do you bring ideas to life?
In order to start the firm, I couldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. There wasn’t an actual person standing in my way, but in order to buy a $15,000,000 property when you have less than $100,000 in your bank account and no wealthy friends or relatives you really need to think creatively. In spite of years and years of failing I just never gave up. I put everything I had, and then a lot more than I had, at risk and somehow put the pieces of the puzzle together in order to step out on my own. Starting Ashcroft Capital is by far the most thrilling and rewarding aspect of my career so far.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
Micro apartments are very intriguing to me. Presently our firm doesn’t own any but efficiency seems to be a growing need for millennials which creates a lot of new opportunities in urban living.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I’d have to say, what creates productivity for me is a cocktail made up of 1-part passion, 1-part desire and 1-part competitiveness. I don’t know why but ever since I was turned on to multifamily investment in 2006 my passion and interest in this industry has never waned. That makes it easy to continue to be productive. Add in the burning desire to become an entrepreneur and a healthy sense of competition and that’s what got me to where I am today.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
The worst job I ever had was working in the entertainment industry. I was 22 years old and I hadn’t found my place in life yet so I decided to work at a large talent agency in Los Angeles. There are many great aspects of that industry but I had the misfortune of working as an assistant for an executive who created a work environment based in anger and full of yelling- Think Ari Gold from Entourage. I learned that not only did I not want to be in this environment but that if I ever started my own firm I would make it a point to foster and promote positivity. In my career, I’ve found it to be true that most people are more productive when motivated through positive encouragement.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would have wealthy parents. That’s always my advice to any young entrepreneur. Try to be born into a family with lots of money… I’m being facetious of course, but it does greatly reduce risk and stress when starting your first venture. However, the sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that I have knowing that what I created was truly from my own hard work and determination has been tremendously rewarding. Based on that, I wouldn’t change a thing.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Just keep asking yourself, ‘is this the best that I can do?’. Seriously, do it even when things are going really well. Whatever your industry is, no matter how well things are going just say to yourself, ‘is this the best that I can do?’ and I bet more often than not you’ll know that you can push yourself even harder to create additional value. From an outside observers perspective it might appear that things couldn’t be better, but we can’t lie to ourselves and we know when there’s still even more room to refine and grow.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Having absolutely no ego. You need to do whatever it takes in order to do what’s best for business. Often this means losing small battles in order to win the war. Don’t let these minor defeats cloud your understanding of the bigger picture.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Failing for years to even become an entrepreneur was my biggest one. I wasn’t a serial entrepreneur and I didn’t start a tech firm at the ripe age of 20. My path was led by a series of ideas that just never got off the ground. However, I just stopped believing in myself and therefore I never quit. It would be false to say fortune wasn’t ultimately on my side, however if I wasn’t attempting to create something new every stage along the way I wouldn’t have had the luck to become successful in the first place. My mantra has been; try something, fail, learn from it, try again, repeat.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Has anyone ever really tried to bring voting in the U.S. elections online? I am sure that some clever tech entrepreneurs are all over this already, but I would love to see this implemented in the next election.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
A standing desk. I have had minor back problems my whole life and this had given me such a relief of pain. I also find I’m a bit more alert and focused.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
In the apartment world the largest providers of management software are Yardi and Onesite. We use a new startup called Resman that is bucking the industry. I’ve found their product to be extremely user friendly and just as good if not better than the rest.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. This a great start for future entrepreneurs to show what it takes to become successful.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
I owe my entire career to the inspirational teachings of professor Eric Sussman. He taught a class called Cases in Real Estate at Anderson and it was primarily about multifamily investment. If you’re considering a career in this industry I recommend you audit his class.
Tim Ferriss has an excellent podcast where he interviews several top business professionals each day. The Ray Dalio interview was very inspirational.
- Push yourself to create additional value
- Do whatever it takes in order to do the best for your business
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.