Marco Bitran is an entrepreneur based out of Boston, Massachusetts. Whether meeting with potential investors or searching for new and exciting business opportunities, Marco Bitran strives to leave an impact on everyone he meets. When he and his wife created Isalia Property Group, they had no idea just how successful or impactful it would become for their family and their community. More than a decade later, they continue to grow.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
We started Isalia as a family project, named after my kids and developed after the real estate crash of 2008. I’d always had an interest in real estate, but initially believed engineering would be my career. Suddenly, a lot of properties were available for a relatively inexpensive investment. We started slowly, purchasing properties that didn’t need any work. From there, we grew to include properties that were more dilapidated and fixed them up. We eventually grew into new construction projects. We were fortunate to have a good foundation of friends who helped with investments. Our growth was organic, naturally progressing as we found more success. Now we are able to partner with community-based corporations like the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts and Madison Park to bring affordable housing and job training to some underserved areas in Boston.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Each day is different, which I love. Some days I will spend traveling to different work sites or new areas we are looking into. Generally, I spend a part of my day meeting with investors or architects working on current projects. We also manage several properties, so there are days where I am in the office taking care of the day-to-day business needs. I love the flexibility. It allows me time to spend with my family and I can also find time to work out. It also affords me the opportunity to volunteer with Angel Flights and Patient AirLift Services, which are organizations that help sick people get between cities safely when they otherwise couldn’t. I got my private pilot license several years ago, but more recently connected with these groups so I can use this hobby to help others.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I really believe in team building. Some of what we develop have previously been industrial or dilapidated. We turn it into beneficial real estate for the community. We have been fortunate to work with so many talented people, from the architects to the community groups we partner with, everyone brings something to the table and we work to incorporate it all into the project.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The revitalization of cities is exciting for me. Over the last several decades, many cities were blighted and underinvested. Seeing these cities revitalize and come back to life has been great to see. A lot of more affordable housing is being developed now in these areas, giving new housing options to some previously underserved communities. I also think the newer trend of working from home has had an impact on real estate. We’ve also become more environmentally conscious.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I am well organized and work consistently. I like to look at things from many different perspectives when I am working on something. It may seem tedious, but I enjoy working things out and seeing the end result.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Take your time and trust your gut. Looking back now, I think I had a lot of anxiety when I was younger. I would do things too impulsively as opposed to letting them play out more organically. I’ve learned to be more patient.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
That success is not an individual triumph. I work with a team of industry-leading professionals and all of our achievements to date are the result of open communication and collaboration.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Organizing your day so that you’re spending your time being productive instead of winging it can make a big difference in how much you accomplish. People tend to let things that pop up guide them throughout the day, like getting lost in emails. Creating a plan and sticking to it not only makes the day more productive but also alleviates stress.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
We have partnered with a lot of really good people. We are happy to have a small part of a project and having that project be much larger and much more successful by involving other people. We’ve also brought in some of our friends and that has been very helpful in our growth.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Getting wrapped up in smaller issues that seemed so big at the time caused some issues when I was younger. Over time, I have learned to become more self-aware and more patient with things. That shift in mentality has helped me take a step back when needed and really evaluate a situation more clearly.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Technology-based web services for real estate have already taken huge strides, with sites like Zillow, but I believe there is room for more innovations relating to the industry. I think as we continue to move more services online, we will see more of this.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Whenever I volunteer with Angel Flights or PALS, I spend a couple of hundred dollars on fuel. It is such a rewarding experience for me, being able to help someone in real need. I love being able to use my hobby as a service for others.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
We use a few different software programs to pull data on home values and look at trends in different cities. It helps us learn what areas we may want to develop in and what those areas may need.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Good to Great by James C. Collins. It provides an in-depth look at how some of the world’s leading companies got to where they are now.
What is your favorite quote?
“There’s no shortage of remarkable ideas, what’s missing is the will to execute them.” – Seth Godin.
- Don’t try to rush success, trust your gut
- Surround yourself with good people
- Give what and when you can
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.