Look at the big picture and do not have any “blinders” on.
Jim Eischens is the owner and CEO of Millennium Management, a property management company in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Throughout his two decades of experience, he has been able to successfully run various real estate companies, giving him a diverse portfolio to work with. From student housing at the University of Minnesota, to the DoubleTree Hotel on the University’s campus. With his expertise dipping into various styles of real estate, Jim has committed to making his properties stand out among the competition.
Over the years, Jim Eischens has learned just how difficult yet also how rewarding the real estate industry can be. In his role he know that it takes a great deal of hard work and a substantial amount of risk. The real estate industry doesn’t rest for anyone so Jim has made sure to utilize a personal investment of time and resources in order to thrive. Jim Eischens uses an innovative, forward-thinking, vertically integrated approach to business. This has always allowed him to maintain a competitive edge in the industry. Jim is always interested in uncovering new trends and staying up to date on sustainable practices. For example, several of the properties that Jim Eischen’s companies support feature rain gardens for water runoff from buildings and sustainable landscaping. The most recent and prolific practice, however, has been the incorporation of solar energy into as many buildings as possible.
After twenty-plus years in the industry, Jim Eischens continues to find real estate to be an incredibly fulfilling and rewarding career. One of the most appealing aspects is having the opportunity to work for himself, as it offers him the luxury of time flexibility, giving him the opportunity to spend a great deal of time with his family. When Jim isn’t busy overseeing his extensive portfolio, he is likely traveling with his family. Having visited many places around the world, Jim has found himself always engaged in the culture that he is visiting. In his eyes, there is no better way to truly experience a culture than fully immersing yourself in their traditions and ways of life.
Where did the idea for Millennium Management come from?
I was looking for a place to live during my final days at the University of Minnesota. I realized that if I purchased a house, I could rent out the spare rooms and it would help cover the cost. Once that proved to be working well, I found another piece of rental investment property to do the same, and so on. The real estate industry was an unexpected turn in career for me but I am more than pleased with the way that it has turned out! My situation proves that an idea can come from anything even when you least expect it.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Every day is different, and I try to make the most out of it by allowing enough time for both work and play. I am always attending meetings to discuss how to further grow my business and I keep my mind open to new business ventures, no matter how out of reach they seem.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Brainstorming pros and cons of the idea. If it’s profitable, find staff to help implement it. You have to take the next steps quickly in order to get the ball rolling. If an idea is worthy I would next, gain access to the proper financing and practice continuous follow up skills. As soon as an idea catches my eye I want to make sure that it is obtainable. Being realistic in this industry is key and if it is stretch, maybe it’s best saving it for another time when it is more within reach.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
The micro apartment world and online efficiency – new software for leasing, payments, maintenance requests, etc. In this profession there are so many legal regulations and being able to access all of them online is going to make a huge part of this industry more efficient. So many things can get lost in the jumble of life, so making sure that everything is well organized is crucial. Online resources for the real estate industry is doing big things for property owners and renters alike.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
The ability to multitask and make the most out of every spare moment I have. It is very important that all of my tasks are completed by their deadline. I am always pushing to complete something in time, whether it be for me or someone else. Even when there is “downtime” there is always something that can be done to make life easier down the line.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Look at the big picture and do not have any “blinders” on. Most people are often afraid of the risks but that is sometimes what will guide you down the most successful path. The overall outcome of something is what is most important. It is human nature to let the little things get to us, but sometimes it can be the biggest waste of time. At the end of the day, if it won’t impact your life drastically, it isn’t worth getting too involved in.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Overall production for an employee is greater when tasked out to work alone rather than on a team or in a group. This allows for no “piggybacking” and having someone do more work than you. True efforts are revealed, and it allows you the ability to measure each individual employee’s production more effectively.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Always write everything down or log it somewhere so that you don’t forget it. This goes hand-in-hand with keeping your calendar constantly up to date and always be punctual. Showing up to meetings on time allows your associates to acknowledge the fact you do not take their time for granted. If all of these things are brought together it makes for a very efficient use of everyone’s time. When you know what is going on you not only look more professional but you exude confidence and people respond well to those who at least seem to have their act together.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Maintaining positive working relationships. It’s all about who you know. We often find ourselves trying to gain more skills and knowledge. While all of that is wonderful to have, one of the key ways to advance in any field is to build your network. The people who know and respect you most are the ones that will and can truly advance your career.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Entering into a business partnership before clearly vetting all possible right or wrong ways it could go. I overcame it by pouring enough resources into it than anticipated and created a new, clear plan until the project came to an end. Though it was deemed a failure, I came away from the experience with more than I could have ever imagined. Sometimes you just have to get on with something even if it isn’t going well but finishing is the most important.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Although the real estate investing industry is doing well these days, those who aren’t involved most likely have no idea what it entails. As common as talking stocks is in our world, I would love to see the same effect regarding real estate investing. A business that could come from this would be courses to educate people in the real estate investing world. Of course, actual real estate classes do exist, mostly for brokers and agents. I would love to see some sort of online tutorial or class open up to communities to help accelerate their knowledge of the growing industry.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Treating old friends and acquaintances to dinner and drinks. It goes a long way to be a generous person. I have found that spending money on those you value can mean more than just a verbal “thank you”. Truly showing people your gratitude for things as simple as their friendship, can really shape how others view you.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Using a CRM database for all my rental properties. This allows me to see a detailed breakdown of each property’s profit and loss. As the technology world advances I am really looking forward to see how it will impact the real estate industry, property management in particular.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Titan”, the biography of John Rockefeller. He was looked at through many different colored glasses throughout his whole life by society. Coming from tough beginnings, as his father was not well-liked, he, in ways, followed in his footsteps but then made a name for himself as a great philanthropist. It shows that people have many sides and that sometimes in the industry, you aren’t going to be liked. Staying true to your morals is important to most but the book gives a well-rounded perspective of what it takes to be a “titan”.
What is your favorite quote?
“If I had asked what people wanted, they would have said faster horses.” – Henry Ford
- Always write everything down or log it somewhere so that you don’t forget it.
- Maintain positive working relationships.
- Even when there is “downtime”, there is always something that can be done to make life easier down the line.
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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.