Robert Wagner is the founder and CEO of Private Rental Houses, a rental search company that serves different locations in Florida. The company started operations 23 years ago, and its longevity and growth are a testament to his business acumen. Robert has guided the company to where it is, by instilling in it a culture of fairness. He has always believed that everyone should be treated equally irrespective of their sex, race, religion, and nation of origin or any of the other factors that are often used to advance discrimination. Over and above adhering to fair housing laws, every employee at the company knows that Robert does not allow any form of discrimination. Robert also strongly believes in giving back to society and has over the years strengthened the company’s corporate social responsibility activities to mirror his passion for charity. Recently, the company was involved in a drive to raise money for children suffering from diabetes. In his capacity, he has given to this and many other charitable endeavors that have been helping children all through the COVID-19 period. Despite a busy schedule running his company and actively participating in philanthropic ventures, Robert is also a loving family man. He never misses an opportunity to bond with his family and catch up on the ongoings in their lives.
Where did the idea for Private Rental Houses come from?
I got the idea while interacting with some friends in a social gathering. One of them was complaining of how much of a hustle it was moving around looking for a rental property. This was during the dot com era, and I decided to leverage tech to solve their problems. The rest, as they say, is history.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical day involves meeting with the technical and marketing teams. They update me on the latest happenings both in terms of platform stability and market growth. To make my day productive, I time all my meetings. This helps me avoid time wastage and get more achieved in the day.
How do you bring ideas to life?
To bring new ideas to life, I first run a proof-of-concept pilot. If it works, then I go ahead and implement it.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I am very excited about artificial intelligence. As A.I gets smarter, it could help my business cut costs, and also serve customers better.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I use communication technologies a lot. They help me cut on the time that I would, otherwise, spend meeting people physically.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to set big challenging goals and work towards achieving them. It is the best way to grow.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
This is a hard one. There is nothing in particular that I find true and the people around me disagree.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I am always on the lookout for new opportunities. I would advise entrepreneurs to always be hungry for new ideas, and actively seek them out. It’s the only way to stay competitive and grow.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I have always pursued an aggressive customer satisfaction strategy. I am always trying to understand customer needs and find new creative ways of solving their needs.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
In the excitement of the dot com era, I started an online music company. Due to inexperience on how the industry works, the business failed terribly.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I have none at the moment. If I had one, I would have implemented it already.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I recently gave $100 to a church charity that helps diabetic children. It felt good knowing that my efforts were helping keep a child, safe during these trying times.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I use Zoom a lot. It helps save time by holding virtual meetings.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I would recommend “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” It offers insights on how to get a lot done in a day.
What is your favorite quote?
That would be “Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming” by Richard Branson. This quote reminds me to never FOMO into business fads, as new better ideas will always come along.
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.