Not everything is going to work out the way you expect it to, but if you don’t try, you will never know. Embrace your mistakes and learn from them.
Ricky Martin Chu is a real estate and business investor in Vancouver, Canada. He finished his undergrad of the University of British Columbia and continued with graduate studies in synthetic organic chemistry at Simon Fraser University. He began his foray into the business world just out of college by opening a professional trading account. While he found some success, he felt it wasn’t the right fit.
It was the renovation and building of homes, combined with a hot real estate market that led Ricky to one of his current business. He was fascinated by the process of seeing ideas become reality. He found he had a knack for negotiation and staying on top of local real estate trends. What started as a small side business soon became a successful endeavor.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
The idea for property development began when I renovated my own home. I then eventually built my own home. I started by purchasing homes that needed repair and doing the renovations. After some time, I moved into investing in larger pieces of real estate.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I usually have several meetings throughout any given week. Those have to be done during regular business hours, so in a day I could spend time sitting with city planners, architects, lawyers and investors. Between those, I will visit sites and also look for future projects. I like to be available for the people I work with. I make sure that things are progressing as they should be, on time.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I collaborate with other investors and we combine ideas. We stay on top of any changes to market trends and project availability. We also have to keep in mind that each municipality will have its own set of opportunities. I prefer to work locally, with rules I am most familiar with. In regard to investing in real estate, I team up with the ideas of other property developers and try to come up with something new.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I would have to say the market changes. I try to ride the wave of the market being hot, then when it cools off, there is time to breathe and plan for the next project. There are several Canadians living in Hong Kong and there has been some unrest there lately. While the cause isn’t exciting, it is helping to bring many back to Canada to get away from the drama and that has caused a sharp rise in buyers here. I love to see things get busier and to get more customers from across the world.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
My habit is to never stop thinking about the projects I am working on. I stay focused on each job until they are complete. Even when I am doing something else, I keep them on my mind. I think it’s a double edged sword, honestly. It definitely helps keep things on track, but it is also something I can’t help but to do.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would advise to be more patient, to pay closer attention to the opportunities that come up. I would recommend to network more and be mindful of who I spend time with.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Success takes consistency and hard work, not luck or brains or money. A lot of people just don’t want to put the time in to gain the actual knowledge they need. Some people think they need a certain amount of money or level of education, to ensure success but I have found that my determination has been my most helpful tool.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
You have to be willing to take risks. If you strongly feel like something is going to help your business, try it. You also have to be ready for failures. Not everything is going to work out the way you expect it to, but if you don’t try, you will never know. Embrace your mistakes and learn from them. It is also very important to learn how to negotiate.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I always invest profits back into the business. I spend enough to live the lifestyle I enjoy, and the rest is mostly invested. I am always looking for ways to evolve and participate in different businesses. I always find ways to stay enthusiastic and motivated.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
There have been times where I lost interest in a project. Things that needed my attention did not get it and I fell behind and mistakes were made which resulted in lost profits. I found myself having to work even harder to catch back up and that is how I learned to always be on they lookout for changes.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Each person has their own way of doing things. You could give the same idea to two different people and they would approach it in very different ways. I don’t know of any one idea that would work for everyone, but I can say that whatever you choose to do, do it with passion. Choose something that brings you joy and consistently work to be your best.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I bought a bean bag chair for the office. Sometimes I spend the whole day in meetings or driving around. I love having it there to just lay down in when I really want to relax and stretch out my body.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I like how you can always rely on YouTube to learn something new. You can find tutorials on pretty much anything, from simiple DIY’s to professional advice. I think it has helped me out tremendously.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I recommend Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. It gave me a glimpse into all the little things that people overlook, things that come together at the same time to put a person where they are in their life. It is very inspiring to read, and I think it made me focus on the bigger picture.
What is your favorite quote?
“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants” by Isaac Newton.
- Keep focus on your goal.
- Stay consistent in your work
- Be sure to enjoy your success!
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.