It seems like more and more people today are getting interested in investing their money in real estate.
But what does that really mean? Is it just buying properties and then flipping them? Does it involve renting them out to generate an income? Or do you have to renovate your properties before re-selling in order to start making money?
These are all valid questions that a new real estate investor may be wondering. And even before you begin, where do these entrepreneurs get the money to make these purchases in the first place?
During this week’s episode of Do The Damn Thing, Laura Foy discusses all you need to know about getting started in real estate investing while speaking to one of the industry’s most successful tycoons.
Marco Cabrera is a thriving real estate investor that has helped thousands of new investors from all over the country to get their first deal under contract. Marco’s passion for watching others grow their own investing businesses has motivated him to share his tips and tricks through his coaching program.
But how did Marco know how to get started in real estate? And where did he get his capital from to begin his investing journey?
Be sure to watch our video now to find out how he did the damn thing!
Read the script:
Laura: Hello, everybody. Welcome to another episode of Do The Damn Thing, the weekly show produced by HipCat Society… opens in a new tab to HipCat Society website…, where we talk to entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, and anyone out there doing it, dig their brain, get their wisdom and learn about their story.
This week I am joined by Marco Cabrera. Hi Marco, how are you?
Marco: Good. How are you, Laura?
Laura: I’m doing well. Thank you so much for joining us. We wanted to talk to you about your business and your background. I know that you specialize in real estate investing, which is personally very interesting to me because I’m just starting to dabble in real estate investing. I’ve got my first few properties, and I’m kind of figuring out what to do with them. But I want to hear more about your story. So, tell us what exactly you do? I know you’re a serial entrepreneur. What is that?
Marco: So, when I come up with an idea, or I have a passion for something, I pursue it. That’s really where my passion is – the process of building businesses. And it’s really what I love to do. And I’ve been doing it pretty much my whole life. I started at a young age. I opened my first business at 18, and I’ve been pretty consistent since. Even at a young age, I used to figure out ways to make money.
Laura: So you had the lemonade stand on the side of the road?
Marco: My father used to bring me lollipops from Columbia, and they were bigger than your average lollipop. So I was able to sell those for more. I used to make money when I was like 10 years old.
Laura: Nice. I’ve always been fascinated by people like you because I’ve always had sort of a worker-bee mentality, where you go to school or whatever. You get a job. You work for someone, and you work your way up in that company. And I think a lot of people are like that. And maybe it’s rooted in fear. So, what drives you? What gives you that entrepreneurial spirit and the amount of bravery that you have?
Marco: I think it’s a balance that I get both from my mother and my father. My mother is actually the entrepreneur, the one that comes up with the ideas and really has the cojones to move forward and to make things happen. And my dad’s always been more of the networker and also the nine-to-five manager guy. He was always up at five in the morning. With his work ethic, he never missed a day, no matter what. He would never take a day off. So I got a glimpse of that when I was younger. And my family actually got into real estate when I was young. So I saw the fruits of it at an early age.
Laura: They say that if you want to build long-term wealth, real estate is always a good option. Shannon says, “A lot of people are interested in real estate right now. But, given the current climate, what are the possibilities?”
Marco: To get into real estate?
Laura: I guess to make money. Do you flip them? Do you rent them? Do you hold them for a long time? What is your suggestion in the real estate market?
Marco: Well, depending on where you are, it’s always great to buy and hold. But it’s also great to flip as well. So it’s really where you’re at in life. But for somebody getting into real estate and starting new, I think it’s great to get an understanding of how it works from A to B. You need to understand how closings work and how to deal with negotiating, especially as an investor. So I would think flipping or wholesaling is a perfect place to start for somebody looking to get into real estate.
Laura: What’s wholesaling?
Marco: A lot of people don’t know about wholesaling. It’s a strategy in real estate investing where you don’t have to use your own money to get a deal. It’s negotiating a contract deal, getting it under contract, and then selling that to an end buyer – pretty much assigning your rights to that contract for a fee.
Laura: Wow! I like that. I liked not using my own money.
Marco: That’s always great.
Laura: Just speaking from my own personal experience, I just bought a house where my goal is to eventually rent it out on Airbnb… opens in a new window to Airbnb website…. Now, just going through the process as someone who doesn’t really know anything about the industry – it’s so confusing. For example, why is your mortgage rate this, but then your payment is that? And then you look at these fees sheets, and you’re like, “What is that?” So I can definitely see how having someone who could walk you through that process would be beneficial for you.
Now, I know that you do a lot of educating as well, right? So talk to me about that. What made you get into that side of the business?
Marco: I’m part of a church based out of Lyndhurst, New Jersey. And in our church, there’s a group called Men’s Transform, where we actually help men win in four different areas of life. And going through that process, I found a passion for helping people in life. And since then, I’ve been sharing tons of information that I gathered. I saw how much it could affect somebody in a positive way to help them get started and to give them some drive and direction, no matter what type of business that they want to get into – not only real estate but also just having the mindset of an entrepreneur. Just sharing that info and seeing where people could go with it has brought a new passion to my life where I actually want to help people get started.
Laura: I came across you on Instagram. Do you find that social media is a really important part of your business?
Marco: Social media is a very important part of every business. Nowadays, if you’re not on social media or don’t have some type of presence, then you’re doing something wrong. You’re losing business. You’re just not getting your point across. It doesn’t even have to necessarily be business. Just something that you’re passionate about.
At the same time, social media could also be very dangerous in the sense that it’s distracting. You might be on there, and you claim that you want to do business or get some exposure, but you’re really not. You’re just wasting time.
Laura: Going down the wormhole of Instagram hashtags. It’s interesting because I wouldn’t think that, as a realtor, being on social media was that important. Do you find that social media is important for the investing side of the business or just for your courses?
Marco: No, I think it’s very important for the investing side. If you’re a realtor, it’s definitely important. It’s just important overall in your presence. Back in the day, we used to use a business card. Nowadays, people look at your Instagram profile. So that gives them an idea of who you are. When I’m dealing with a seller, and I’m getting a deal under contract, as soon as I leave, they’re checking out my Instagram to see who I am to find out if I’m somebody they want to do business with.
Laura: Even before checking out your website?
Marco: Websites nowadays are pretty obsolete, in my opinion. What matters the most are sales funnels and social media presence.
Laura: We’ve got a question from Melissa here. She wants to know, “How do you make time to be an educator while running a real estate business?”
Marco: Everything requires balance. Having a calendar and really prioritizing what you need to do is so important. But when it comes to real estate, you’re getting tons of emails and phone calls. It’s just balance and taking away time to work on something that you’re passionate about.
It really comes down to organization. For example, we have a day set for social media – Media Mondays. That’s the day where we come up with content and come up with different ideas of what we’re going to post. Some people think I’m always on my phone, and that’s not the truth. I just plan ahead, and I organize it to make sure that all my tasks, including educating and social media presence, get done on time.
Laura: Do you have certain tools that help you with organization? What can you not live without? What software is really pivotal for your business?
Marco: There are so many different platforms, but I use something called a CRM system. It guides you with everything. It controls all the business that you have going on. For example, it’ll show me exactly where a real estate deal is in particular. Did we get the contract signed? Are we close to closing? Did we get the title? So it pretty much has a timeline set for you. So investing in a CRM system is huge.
But there are a lot of free platforms as well. Trello… opens in a new window to Trello website… is a platform that a lot of people use. You could even use that for your social media to be tactical with when you’re going to post stuff. It helps you know at what time to post in order to get you the best results.
Social media is a very important part of every business. Nowadays, if you’re not on social media or don’t have some type of presence, then you’re doing something wrong. You’re losing business. You’re just not getting your point across. It doesn’t even have to necessarily be business. Just something that you’re passionate about.
Laura: Did you start out as a realtor, or did you go right into investing? The name of this show is Do The Damn Thing. We’re hoping to inspire people who might have some sort of a block in their life, but they want to start their own thing. They want to be an entrepreneur like yourself, but there’s something stopping them. And so we want to inspire them to get over that hump. When people normally think about real estate, they think of realtors. So did you start there, or did you go straight into investing?
Marco: No, I went straight into investing. That’s the thing that people don’t really realize. They think that to get into real estate, you need tons of money. Or they also feel that to be on the selling or buying side, you need to be a licensed realtor. And that’s not the case. I mean, it’s definitely an advantage to have a license if that’s what you want to do. But for me personally, I didn’t want to be your average realtor. I didn’t want to spend too much time doing that. I wanted to get into the investing side. It’s just really figuring out what you want to do for yourself and figuring out what your passion is.
Laura: Did you have a mentor? How did you learn?
Marco: I knew I wanted to get into real estate. My family was in real estate. My family came from Columbia. We lived in Patterson. My mom’s idea about buying property, flipping property, and renting out property – they made it happen. Next thing you know, they had five deals under them within a couple of years. And that’s what helped us get to the next level in life.
And seeing that, I always knew I wanted to get into real estate. And one day, while I was driving, I heard a commercial. It was like, “Hey, you want to get into real estate?” I was like, “Yeah.” So I went to a seminar, and I got tons of information. I was blown away. But the only problem was that their mentorship was going to cost $80,000.
So I came home all fired up. I told my wife, “I’m starting a new business in real estate.” She’s like, “Here we go again.” And I’m like, “No, you don’t understand. I know exactly what I’m going to do. I just need 80 grand to get started.” And she’s like, “Babe, slow down. Calm down. 80 grand? Listen to what you’re saying.” And I’m like, “Oh yeah, you’re right. Let me do some more research.”
And I came to find out that that company really didn’t help people. It was kind of a scam. A lot of people were paying $80,000 and weren’t getting anything out of it. So I started doing some research. I ran into a guy who was very successful in real estate and flipping houses without using his own money. So I wanted to get to know him. I shot him an email. We talked a few times, and he agreed to give me a mentorship. He would give me direction and pretty much all the paperwork and documents that I needed to get started. And through that, I was able to get my first real estate deal without a license or without my own money in just 30 days.
Laura: Wow! You mentioned that you came across something that was a scam, right? And I know there are tons of scams out there. One of the things that we preach here at HipCat Society is this term called Marketing With Love, which is essentially about authenticity, being genuine, serving the right audience, and really coming from a place in your soul that’s true and honest. And that’s how you connect.
How do you think that overarching philosophy correlates with your business? And do you find that having been scammed before makes you be more honest because you don’t want to be like them?
Marco: Yeah, for sure. I mean, Marketing with Love – I love that! I stand for something, and I say it all the time. I really believe that helping each other, teaching what you know, and sharing your knowledge is not going to take away from you. I think a lot of people fear giving away secrets or talking about certain things that they’re doing in their lives because they feel like they’re giving something away for free. But they don’t really understand that you benefit from sharing. You benefit from giving love. And when I say giving love, it’s just information.
I ran into that wall of $80,000 for a mentorship, and I don’t want anyone else to ever feel like that. So my education is actually very affordable to help people get started because it’s not about the money. It’s about helping people and giving love.
Laura: That’s awesome. Well, you are totally aligned with everything we stand for. I find that that’s very inspiring, and I love that. So let’s talk about what it’s like to work with you. What is it like working with Marco Cabrera?
Marco: Well, I’m an optimistic person. I’m very supportive. I like to encourage everybody. The moment I sense a little negativity, I shut it down immediately. If I’m around one of my guys and they’re being negative, I’ll help them change and bring them back to life. I know how much of a cancer negativity is. Once it’s implanted, it starts spreading. So you’ve got to get it out.
I’m very patient. I listen to people. I listen to both sides of the story. I try not to make decisions when I’m tired or when there’s emotion involved. If somebody calls me at six or seven o’clock at night to talk about something and I’ve had a long day, I’ll tell them, “Let’s just revisit this in the morning when I have a clear mind.”
And the moment I feel some type of anger or aggression coming from my heart, I immediately shut that conversation down and get my thoughts together. I might say a prayer real quick and then get back to it. Having a clear mind and not working off your emotion – you can make a lot of bad decisions or say things that you really don’t mean. So I try to keep my atmosphere filled with encouragement and positive vibes.
Laura: I love that. We’ve got a question from Lexi here. She wants to know, “Were you always an educator? What was the process you had to go through to find your unique take and way of coming to the table to educate your clients?”
Marco: I wasn’t always an educator, but I’ve always been passionate about what I believe in. Once I see it, and I believe it, then I just run with it. It doesn’t matter who I’m in front of. I’m going to make them believe it too because I’m passionate about it. I stand behind it.
That passion is what helped me in education. I believe in what I’m talking about. If I didn’t know what I was talking about, then that passion wouldn’t be there, and I probably wouldn’t be a good educator. So whatever you’re educating about, be passionate about it, and everything will flow from there.
But, of course, there are different things that you could do, like reading books about speaking in public. Things like that are important to help you because every skill needs to be sharpened.
I really believe that helping each other, teaching what you know, and sharing your knowledge is not going to take away from you. I think a lot of people fear giving away secrets or talking about certain things that they’re doing in their lives because they feel like they’re giving something away for free. But they don’t really understand that you benefit from sharing. You benefit from giving love. And when I say giving love, it’s just information.
Laura: So, how do you find your clients? Is it mostly through Instagram? Where do most of your clients come from?
Marco: In real estate, we do a lot of mass marketing. We do Google ads. We also send direct mail. We have signs that we put in certain areas just to gather attention and get phone calls. That’s our marketing.
Laura: I think that as a teacher, your audience is global, right? You can teach anyone about this. But some of the things that you mentioned are more localized, right?
Marco: Yeah. When it comes to my personal flipping – those types of clients – I use what I just mentioned. But when it comes to educating, Google is definitely a huge platform, as well as Facebook and YouTube.
My course is a digital course. I’m not sitting there in front of a whole classroom, even though I do monthly coaching calls. But YouTube is probably the main thing to reach a broader audience right across the country.
Laura: How many people can you work with at one time? It sounds like you’ve got your hands in a lot of different plots. I know that the digital course is something that is evergreen. People can take it without you actually being there. But in terms of helping people be investors, do you have a limit?
Marco: I haven’t reached that limit, but I’ve been getting a lot of phone calls lately. On my Instagram… opens in a new window to Marco Cabrera Instagram page…, I have 50-minute coaching calls and stuff like that. It’s great to see how many people have been picking my brain and asking questions. So I haven’t reached the limit where I don’t have enough time in a day to coach people or to just help them get started.
Laura: Are you leaning more towards the coaching side?
Marco: Right now, it’s about 50/50. It’s kind of funny how it came about. The coaching really started from COVID, believe it or not. It’s always something that I wanted to get started. I had it in my goals. But being consumed with my day-to-day and real estate, I never had a lot of time for it. But during COVID is actually when I was able to focus and just geek out on how to get a course started.
Laura: So you built this whole course in just the past six or seven months?
Marco: Yeah. It’s a pretty interesting story. Once COVID hit, everything shut down. My whole real estate business stopped instantly as soon as the country shut down. My funds were frozen as well. I didn’t know how long it was going to last. I have a family. I’m married. So, of course, I had to support my family.
So, my entrepreneur self just started getting in motion. One of the things that was on my list was an educational platform. I didn’t know how I was going to fund it. It costs money to do ads and everything. So I started working DoorDash… opens in a new window to DoorDash website…. And everything I made in DoorDash was able to cover the investment to get my educational platform started during COVID.
Laura: And you said it’s taken off in just that short amount of time?
Marco: Yeah, it has. We’re still tweaking some things. I like to get feedback from the people who are taking my course to see what they like and what they don’t understand. So it’s still growing. But it’s definitely helping a lot of people to get started in real estate.
Laura: Awesome. I’ve always been interested in real estate. So it’s great to know that there’s a resource like the course that you have out there. So let’s talk to the people out there who want to get started, but they don’t know where to go or what to do. What would you say to them? What advice do you have for them?
Marco: Start educating yourself. Learn exactly what it is that you want to do. If you’re fascinated with HGTV, and you love the whole flipping process, or you’re a project manager, then I would suggest learning about flipping and how it works. Understand that you don’t need a license to do it. Understand that you don’t need a bunch of money to do it either.
And then just surround yourself in that atmosphere. A lot of people don’t know this, but there’s an app called Meetup… opens in a new window to Meetup website…. And in Meetup, you could find your niche. For example, if you like snowboarding, you could find stuff about snowboarding. And you could find stuff about real estate locally in your town. So if you go on the Meetup app and you enter “real estate, real estate investors, real estate agents, buying and flipping,” you’ll find a group of people that meet weekly.
So start networking. Surround yourself around the people that you want to be like. Find a mentor and start modeling them. See what they do day-to-day, how they get up in the morning, and what do they read? Learn how they react to certain things. Start modeling somebody, and then you’ll get a clear direction from that.
Laura: So, you mentioned networking. Did you do a lot of networking with your church members? You had mentioned them earlier.
Marco: That’s where I got my leadership. But as far as networking, I’ve always been a networker. I was in nightlife a few years ago. And to have a successful event, you have to do a lot of networking. That was one of my main businesses for years. So, I’m like a professional networker.
Laura: That’s good. You’ve gotta be able to do it. That’s probably my biggest downfall. I just can’t do it.
Marco: It’s very important to get comfortable feeling uncomfortable, and just talking to people and just being in that atmosphere.
So start networking. Surround yourself around the people that you want to be like. Find a mentor and start modeling them. See what they do day-to-day, how they get up in the morning, and what do they read? Learn how they react to certain things. Start modeling somebody and then you’ll get a clear direction from that.
Laura: What would you say to entrepreneurs to help get them up and over that hump we spoke about?
Marco: A lot of entrepreneurs are stuck with the idea that they have to be the first ones to create something. And I think they drive themselves crazy doing that. There are a lot of successful businesses. You just got to find one and model it. Later on, you can start tweaking it and make it your own. But that whole concept of reinventing the wheel – if you’re not that type of person, you might get lost in it.
There are inventors out there. That’s their passion. That’s what they do. But a lot of times, entrepreneurs try to be the same, but that’s not always the case. Find something you like. Find somebody who does it on a large scale and model them. And later on, you can make it your own.
Laura: Having done this for as long as you have, are there lessons that you had to learn the hard way? Maybe even some that you can share so others can avoid them?
Marco: When I got into real estate, I got my first deal in 30 days. And I made money right away. I put tons of money into marketing, and that was a bad choice. I tried to go from zero to a hundred way too fast. I ended up losing a bunch of money. But that’s the important thing about being an entrepreneur – failing. But fail and learn. Don’t beat yourself up over it. You’re going to fall down. You’re going to have tough days, especially in real estate. You have to be a problem solver. Don’t throw fuel on the fire. Learn how to diffuse the fire. You’re gonna fail. Don’t beat yourself up over it.
Laura: I love that message. What are some things that you know now that you didn’t know going into all this? Even when I opened my own business, I had no idea about some of the work that was required, some of the paperwork that was required, and some of the legal stuff that was required. So what are some of the things where you just had no idea about?
Marco: I think the accounting side is the downfall of a lot of entrepreneurs. They don’t take it that seriously. As an entrepreneur, we wear a lot of hats. We think that we could do everything. And that actually gets in our own way. You need to really find what your talents are and stick to them. Hire and outsource everybody for everything else. It’s just gonna make your business more successful. By trying to do it all on your own, you’re going to learn the hard way that it’s not going to work.
Laura: You can’t do everything, right? As much as we think we can. Are there tools or resources that you use to take some of the load off? Do you automate certain things? How do you find these people to outsource your work to?
Marco: Automation is huge. And as an entrepreneur, you should also have the mindset that you want to remove yourself from the business. At first, you have to give it your all, get it started, and get the wheels going. But eventually, you gotta hang up the ego and back up.
Ask yourself what you’re doing it for? Are you leaving your job to create another job for yourself? That shouldn’t be the case. In my case, it’s to spend more time with my family, more time at church, more time traveling, and doing the stuff that I really want to do. And in order to do that, I have to remove myself from the business. So we’ve got a lot of passion cause it’s kind of like our baby. But at the same time, our baby’s got to grow up, and we got to let him go to college. So that’s the way I try to look at it. It’s important to remove yourself from your business.
Laura: I’ve never heard it like that, but you’re right. At the end of the day, having more time is really our most valued resource. That’s the one thing we can never have more of. It’s the one thing we all want more of. So that’s a really good way to look at it.
Marco: You just have to realize where you want to be in your business. As far as automating, there are tons of things that you could do. Just hire somebody who could do all the admin stuff, like sending emails and making sure the contracts are in place. That takes tons of time off of my back. And those are things that are not really helping me or my business. So it’s better to give it to somebody who specializes in that to get those things done.
Laura: Awesome. We are almost out of time. If people wanted to work with you, is there a certain level of experience that you’d expect them to have? Do you take newcomers?
Marco: Yeah, I take newcomers. I take people that have been doing it for a long time. There’s always something that we can learn from each other, whether they’re a newcomer or a veteran that’s been doing it for a while. I just love to learn. I love to work with people. I’m working with everybody.
Laura: Well, I love speaking with you. I love your message. Everyone check out his Instagram. In fact, now is your chance. If people want to work with you, where should they go to find you? And we will have all this information down below as well.
Marco: So you can follow me on Instagram @marcopriceless… opens in a new window to Marco Cabrera Instagram page…. Also, my course is the Investors Vault. You could go to the website at www.investorsvault.club… opens in a new window to Investors Club website…. And it also has an Instagram @investorsvault… opens in a new window to Investors Vault Official Instagram page… where you could get tons of information and my coaching for real estate.
Laura: Awesome. Well, thank you so much. It has been a pleasure talking to you. I may hit you up after so you can help me through some of my investing. But I really appreciate you taking the time to speak with us. And I wish you the best of luck.
Marco: Thank you so much, Laura. Thank you for having me.
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