Fred Zarbailov is a living example of true courage and determination; a self-made entrepreneur who took the plunge into the practical world at an early age to earn his keep. Despite humble beginnings, Fred was always determined to make it big financially and live out his dreams. His journey has made him one of today’s most successful real estate investors.
After obtaining his degree in Finance and Marketing from DePaul University, he started working as a Financial Analyst/Advisor. He was fortunate to work at the illustrious Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., an international leader in investment banking and asset management. Here he gained valuable experience in offering a diverse range of monetary services to customers worldwide.
Initially, he discovered this field was not a good fit and decided to pursue a more lucrative business in transportation. As the president and owner of his own company, he earned recognition as well as financial prosperity from it. However, when Uber surfaced onto the scene, his initial interest shifted towards real estate investing – which ultimately became his new journey. In addition to acting as an agent/investor for properties nowadays, he is also deeply involved with crypto-currency trading and stock investments too!
Even as a young boy, he was drawn to the logical and orderly nature of mathematics. But as he matured, his admiration for order transformed into a fascination with social studies; an interest in exploring how individuals, nations, and cultures interact at large scale. He understood that life is full of complexities—shaped by our environment and the relationships we establish around us—and it further captivated him to explore these intricacies.
What is your typical day, and how do you make it productive?
I spend my time researching, reading, responding to calls and emails, going to sites, managing properties, showing properties to clients, looking for new clients, and looking for new sites. Talking to people. And so on. In short, my regular day is really busy and my motivation to be financially successful keeps me productive every single day.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Researching and reading allow me to come across new ideas and then I try my best to work on those ideas by talking about them with people around me. Once finalized, I execute new ideas through my businesses.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Honestly, I think most trends are doing the opposite, they make me worried instead of making me excited. The whole social media and TikTok and VR trends are making me anxious. I feel like technology as a whole is improving too much to the point where it’s invading our privacy and rights.
I think most tech is good that helps us to be more productive and helps our lives be more comfortable and convenient. However, this whole social media and TikTok era is making things worse in a number of ways. People are using it to make easy money. People are becoming more entitled and spoiled. Also, the trend of invading their privacy and making content on behalf of other people’s reactions or lives is awful.
What is one habit that helps you be productive?
Working hard and never giving up on my passion for becoming more successful and financially stable. I always stay focused and determined and never fear taking risks to achieve new heights.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Work harder at an earlier age, learn from other people’s mistakes, and don’t be afraid to get into a business that makes you rich ASAP. Surrounding yourself with smarter friends who you can potentially work with is the key. If I can go back to high school, I would give myself the advice of studying Political Science and pursuing a career in politics.
Tell us something you believe that almost nobody agrees with you on?
I think that a college and master’s education isn’t important or necessary but most people disagree on that. Money makes money, not education or degrees. I think working hard and learning with real-time experience is way more important than any education or degree. Most people disagree and think getting a bachelor’s degree and then a master’s and so on will help them become more successful. I think it’s the opposite.
I believe financial education and entrepreneurial guidance are more critical to financial success. If you have a lot of money it’s easy to multiply more money in less time. If you have nothing then it’s tough but not impossible. I am a strong supporter of going out there in the market and earning as early as possible as opposed to spending 7 years studying and then coming out with debt. There are a lot of successful billionaires who dropped out of college. There are a lot of fresh immigrants who came into the US just a few years ago and can barely speak any English and yet they are making 100k a year running their small businesses.
I’m not saying that education is bad, I just believe the chances of you becoming a managing director or CEO are very slim. Out of 1000 people, maybe 1 or 2 will make it that far, the rest of them will be regular corporate employees whose sole job is to work for someone else and help others increase their fortune at the expense of their abilities. Also being an employee has less freedom and flexibility. If they come to work a minute late they can get fired. They have less time to work on their own projects or businesses on the side because they are attached and dedicated to that one low-paying job.
Most people who work in the corporate world spend their whole lives doing that one job and making more money for their employer with no growth of their own. Then one day the company might fire them for a minor mistake and they aren’t able to do anything with their life but find another master for their skills. They can’t grow because they never had the time to polish their entrepreneurial skills or try other businesses or investments that could have generated millions. So then it’s pretty much over for them. That’s why I don’t agree with that route in life. I think it’s better to be doing something that doesn’t hold an impressive title but earns you more money and makes you happier.
What is the one thing you repeatedly do and recommend everyone else do?
I recommend everyone to work on their communication skills because that’s the only way to succeed as an entrepreneur.
When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do?
We are never really taught how to manage finances and credit cards, start and manage businesses, and save and grow on our own. We aren’t taught to think for ourselves and have entrepreneurial spirits. When I feel overwhelmed I remind myself that there are certain things you can’t learn in schools and how to be a better business person. How to take and manage risks and start your own business. My focus is not only on real estate but the lessons that go beyond that.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business or advance in your career?
There are a number of things that I had to do to grow my businesses in the past. You have to have great communication and sales skills. Staying focused and having the ability to learn is another strategy to grow your business. And most importantly, I try to plan ahead, strategize well, stay determined and motivated, do my research well, and work with the right people and partners. The ability to manage your finances well also adds to your business growth. Do the numbers to see if it works well.
Don’t let people take advantage of you so always work on your negotiation skills to win an argument. You have to understand the other person’s point of view, their perspective, and what drives them to convince them of your perspective. You have to understand the rules of the game to win the game. Also, if you’re working with people and have employees you have to be nice and respectful to people. You have to build great relationships and manage them with respect.
When I worked in the transportation business I was very nice and friendly to my clients and my drivers. That’s how I was able to get repeat customers and great workers. I was able to become friends with them. Also, adapting to change is fundamental. Always look out for market changes and trends. Being able to adapt to changes is crucial to becoming a successful entrepreneur and continuing to grow and build your business.
What is one failure in your career, how did you overcome it, and what lessons did you take away from it?
I had many failures, such as I didn’t invest at the right times and didn’t commit myself to the right business or moving to the right city. But now I have learned (the hard way) to face my fears. Now I avoid delaying decisions. I am a lot more focused and determined today. Now I just try my best to do what I can with the resources I have at hand.
What is one business idea you’re willing to give away to our readers?
A lot of great ideas are taken in this day and age, but I think anything to do with real estate would work. I’m a little biased since I am in the real estate industry, but I think real estate investing, and property management are lucrative business ideas. A unique idea I recently had is opening a restaurant with really old 1920’ prohibition-style renovations. So it would feel like you are in the 1920s when you walk in. It would be very different and new. I haven’t seen too many like it.
What is one piece of software that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
I like WhatsApp and Zoom because they allow me to keep in touch with family, friends, and clients. Both of them are end-to-end encrypted and relatively safe to use. Zoom is a great communication tool for business services especially during and after Covid-19.
Do you have a favorite book or podcast you’ve gotten a ton of value from and why?
I would recommend reading the book “Rich Dad Poor Dad“. This book teaches valuable lessons in real estate and business in particular and money and life in general. It teaches us about financial literacy, that is how to manage our finances and be productive members of society. I believe it is a grave issue that we never receive a financial education in schools or colleges. We are just trained to become excellent employees and help employers increase their profits.
What’s a movie or series you recently enjoyed and why?
To be honest, I’m not a movie buff. Yet when I feel completely drained or bored, there’s nothing more entrancing than watching something absorbing – whether it be a movie or web series. Last week was no exception; as sleep eluded me late at night, my aimless scrolling through Netflix landed me on Kodachrome.
One of the many aspects that drew me to this movie was its focus on life’s winding roads. The film emphasizes experiencing each moment and never looking back in remorse, something I think is truly important for us all. When it comes to road tripping movies, the journey itself often speaks louder than any destination- which is exactly what this movie highlights so well! From beginning to end, an unforgettable adventure awaits viewers with captivating presentation and lessons lasting long after credits roll.
- Keep reading and never stop expanding your knowledge! Education is the key to success, so make sure you’re always learning something new.
- Always remain focused on delivering exemplary work that follows industry standards and be the go-to premium choice who is always sought after.
- Embrace your fear and take a daring risk.
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.