Zacgary Lundgren is an American born real estate investor based out of Panama City, Panama. Born in 1985 in Seattle, Washington, he was raised in the state but traveled throughout the country with his father as a child. After graduating high school in the US Virgin Islands, his father invited him to Panama with the hope that he would stay and help to build the family’s real estate portfolio. Over the next fifteen years, Zacgary worked alongside his father helping him grow his business.
His primary focus now is on managing the company portfolio and investments, as well as maintaining the open-door policy with his tenants that has helped to cultivate the company’s overwhelmingly positive reputation in Panama City. Most of the company’s business comes from tenant referrals, a statistic that they are very proud of.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
The idea came from my father. He started his real estate investment path long before I was born, and not only do I remember growing up surrounded by the business but I followed in his footsteps after I arrived in Panama.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I wake up, and I do something active, such as exercise, to get my body going. Then my wife and I spend some time with our kids before they go off to school, and after that, I can face whatever the day has to offer with an active mind. Before I go to the office, I like to make a brief list of the things I would like to get done throughout the day. I’ll keep that list in my pocket and look at it throughout the day to make sure I’m always focused and working toward what needs to get done and not letting the day-to-day fires get in the way of that. In real estate, it’s easy for a leader to focus entirely on the fires that arise, without leaving time to focus on the company’s growth. But that won’t get a company anywhere.
How do you bring ideas to life?
It’s a planning strategy. Getting ideas is easy. Ideas come from listening to people with other experiences, having an open mind, looking around the world to see how things are shifting in your business, and seeing how to innovate into the future and not get stuck in the past. The services we offered five or ten years ago are nothing compared to what we offer today.
It’s about listening to ideas and listening to the client’s needs. Client needs are always changing, especially in real estate. The style of rentals and the style of services they’re looking for are constantly evolving. As long as you’re listening to those clients and innovating to meet those demands, you should always be one of the top offers for your target clients. You need to listen to what the client needs and have an open mind toward adjusting the business to meet those needs.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The way the world connects virtually is very exciting to me. The way business can be done now, almost anywhere in the world. How people are able to connect through the internet, through apps, and through these platforms that are arising every day. It’s intriguing and is something that I’m enjoying watching as it’s implemented throughout the world.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Take a moment of reflection every day to see how you as a person can grow as well as how you can provide growth throughout the company. I think the best habit is taking a moment and organizing that. You could do it mentally, but it’s best to write it down. Write it down and look at it every day, and know what you’re working for, whether it’s a personal goal or a goal for the company. Visualize it. Let it motivate you.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Never be afraid of trying something new. If you have an idea that’s screaming in your head, never be afraid of that, and pursue it like it’s your dream. Live every day to your fullest, with no regrets at all.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
That there is more than one pathway to success. What works for someone may not work for somebody else. It’s all about trial and error and being the best version of yourself.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Wake up every day with a positive attitude.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
It all comes down to being a team player. Any company is based on its leadership, but any leader knows that the equation for success is filled in by the team you put together, and how you motivate them within the company. There’s no way I could do this alone, and understanding that you need a team to be successful is what my strategy is all about.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
My biggest failures have come from not seeking multiple opinions on certain things, but only going with the first one that was available. I think that if you’re being advised on something that you do not fully understand, it is not wise to simply go with the first suggestion that you felt comfortable with. Instead seek out multiple opinions and evaluate those opinions well to make a more educated decision, especially when it is legal advice.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I have different ideas depending on whether we’re talking about local opportunities in Panama, or worldwide. Going back to what I said about virtual connectivity and ways of doing business online from anywhere, I think it would be great if there were easier ways for people to become nomads and be able to work and live¨where you’re treated best¨, as Andrew Henderson from Nomad Capitalist says. People need to connect to the rest of the world, and with only 3% of the US population having passports, it really amazes me how many people don’t take that step to go out and explore. It needs to become easier, and people need to start exploring the rest of the world. There’s a lot to see.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
This is a little funny. Yesterday, we celebrated my eight-year-old daughter’s birthday, and $100 went to a fairy godmother who came to visit her and a couple of her friends for a royal tea party. She received a class from a fairy godmother on how to properly sit at the table, how to properly serve her tea, how to drink her tea, how to excuse herself from the table, how to enter a room, where to place her hands on her lap, and so on. It’s funny, because I spent 8 years trying to teach her these things, but the way she paid attention, listened and learned to the fairy godmother made it well worth the $100.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Google. A hundred percent Google. We use Google for all of our team needs. We use it for our information storage – documents, pictures, spreadsheets, rental reservation systems, forms, all sorts of stuff. Google is a lifesaver, and I’m sure my company is just one of many that can say the same. So, thank you Google.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Andrew Henderson from Nomad Capitalist is the author of a book called Nomad Capitalist, and that has certainly been helpful for me as I’ve been creating a career and a lifestyle for myself outside of where I grew up, which was the US. Many times, he says “Go where you’re treated best,” and I think that has stuck with me very well. As long as you apply that wherever you are, you’re definitely in control of where you’d like to be and what you’re doing. So that’s the book I would recommend.
What is your favorite quote?
My favorite quote is by my father. He says, “You can always turn a no into a yes, but you can never turn a yes into a no.” When I think about it, I can see how it can apply to so many things. He always says that if you’re not sure, you should just say no. And 99% of the time, you can turn that no into a yes. But if you say yes right out of the gate, it’s pretty hard to go back on that.
- Don’t be afraid of trying new things.
- Keep your goals fresh in mind, so you don’t lose track of them in the day’s chaos.
- Seek ideas and opinions from people with different experiences.
- Listen and be willing to adapt to the needs of your clients.
- Be a team player.
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.