[quote style=”boxed”]Successful people leave behind clues. If you model what successful people do and stay persistent, then you should start seeing amazing results.[/quote]
Jeff Leighton is the owner of Action Homebuyers, a Washington, D.C. real estate investment and solutions company that buys and sells distressed properties. He specializes in purchasing residential and commercial property in a timely and flexible manner. Leighton is a former college basketball player and was born and raised in the Washington, D.C. area.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on building Action Homebuyers into one of the premiere real estate solutions and development companies in the Washington, D.C. area. We have been working closely with Fortune Builders, from A&E’s Flip This House, to develop strategies for buying and selling real estate in any market.
Where did the idea for Action Homebuyers come from?
Having worked in the real estate industry for about a year, in both the residential and commercial segments, I saw the potential for an investment company. I saw a lot of things that worked–and a lot of things that didn’t work–and used that experience to develop the idea of buying and selling properties.
What does your typical day look like?
I wake up at around 6:00 a.m. and read or study different real estate books or direct marketing books. At about 8:30, I start my work day, usually by making sure that my marketing is going out and that I’m getting the right amount of leads per week and per month. Typically, there are phone calls back and forth with different sellers; I usually set up meetings to see their properties later in the day. In between, there are usually calls with my investors about any new properties.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Typically, I will learn of a new strategy, do a little bit of research, and start implementing it right away. It is much easier to change an idea that’s already in motion than one you haven’t tried yet. Even if your strategy isn’t perfect, you can always tweak it and improve upon it.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
I’m excited by people using IRA money to fund real estate transactions. A lot of people have lumps of cash sitting in their IRA accounts, getting minimal returns. When I show people what they can earn on their IRAs by funding distressed real estate deals, versus what they’re doing now, it really surprises many of them. It’s especially appealing because they don’t have to do any of the repairs or deal with tenants; they are just private lenders who make a fixed return, secured by real estate.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
The worst job I ever had was working overnight shifts at a home furnishings store. It was a great learning experience, though, and it taught me that everyone on a team has a role to play. Nobody is going to give you anything; you have to work your way up.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
If I were to start again, I would make sure to surround myself with positive, motivated people who are looking to grow. Early in my real estate career, there were plenty of people telling me why this or that wouldn’t work.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I am constantly learning and using every setback as a learning experience. I know people who are doing very well in real estate, and they still take the time to go to different seminars, read books, and join mentorship programs to help take their businesses to the next level.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Successful people leave behind clues. If you model what successful people do and stay persistent, then you should start seeing amazing results.
Tell us a secret.
I got a D+ in an entrepreneurship class during my last semester of college.
What are your three favorite online tools and what do you love about them?
- Carbonite is great because it automatically backs up anything and everything that you save on your computer. You never have to worry about losing data, and it’s not very expensive!
- Lending Club is helpful; as an entrepreneur, you can get access to small business funding, at acceptable rates, which a normal bank would never take on.
- 99designs pools people’s resources together; it’s a great place to go for designing logos, business cards or websites.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I’d recommend Magnetic Marketing by Dan Kennedy (or any of his other books). He is truly a business genius, and his ideas are rarely–if ever–taught in business school.
What’s on your playlist?
My rotation includes lots of Jimmy Buffett and Kenny Chesney.
If you weren’t working on Action Homebuyers, what would you be doing?
I’d probably be traveling the world. I love adventure, and I get bored easily.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
- Tim Ferriss has a very unique perspective on entrepreneurship, time management, and being more effective.
- Blake Mycoskie has built a great business around a social cause (he donates a pair of shoes for each pair that his company sells) and is a true inspiration.
- Jim Gaffigan is one of the funniest people I have ever heard do comedy.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
I recently laughed out loud when I was looking at some papers from college that I’d written; seeing the perspective from which I was writing them was pretty amusing.
Who is your hero?
Larry Ellison is my hero. I love how competitive he is. He’s built Oracle into a powerhouse, and he still has the same drive and passion for running the business as he did when he started it.
What has made the biggest difference in your business?
I saw the biggest difference by seeking out a mentor and paying him what most people would think is a crazy amount. I saw it as an investment that would give me the fundamental skill set for buying and selling real estate for the rest of my life. Many people in real estate don’t have a system for buying and selling, but seeking out a coach helped me build one.
What are your favorite hobbies?
I enjoy working out, reading and traveling. I love staying active, either at the gym or by playing basketball or soccer. Reading is an absolute passion of mine, and I try to read at least 60-70 books per year so I stay sharp. Traveling, of course, is a big one. Who doesn’t like to travel?
Jeff Leighton on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/jeff-leighton/14/645/a80
Jeff Leighton’s email: [email protected]