10 Tips For Real Estate Investing

Written by Victor E. Bomi, ATLCO REAL ESTATE ADVISORS

1. Don’t Speculate – A lot of beginner investors watch shows like HGTV and think that it is as easy as buying a property for $80,000, putting $30,000 and somehow they will sell it for $300k and make a $189k profit. The key for you to be a successful investor is to set a reasonable expectation from the beginning. You need to know what properties in excellent condition within a 0.5-1 mile radius of your target investment property are selling for. We call these COMPS. You also need to know what properties with the same bedroom/bathroom as your investment property are renting for if you intend on renting.

Invest based on real numbers that you can actually see, not based on what you “want” them to be. Also, when it comes to renovating homes always be conservative with your repair estimates. Get bids from licensed contractors and add a 10-20% contingency for unexpected expenses to that estimate. If you do these things – you will sleep better at night when investing in real estate.

2. Not All Agents Understand Investors – Real Estate Agents are great to have on your team, however a lot of them don’t understand the real financials that go behind actually investing in real estate. Most of them come from a traditional retail background and don’t actually invest in real estate themselves. So it is important to work with experienced real estate professionals who can educate you on the market and professionals that understand key metrics such as cap rate, vacancy rates, return on investments, holding costs, cash on cash returns, net income, cash flow and some of the other financial metrics that investors need to know.

Ask the agent and professional what types of returns have they been able to get their investors? Do they even have experience working with investors? What type of investors do they usually work with? These are 3 simple questions you can ask to qualify your agents before ever deciding to do business with them.

3. BUY GOOD DEALS! – Don’t Pay Retail for an Investment Property – You make your money when you “buy” – this is an age old saying in the real estate investing industry. It is important as an investor that you focus on buying “good deals” because this increases your overall return on investment. Good deals can be defined as any investment in which you are acquiring the property at steep discount to retail.

Typically most of our investors look for 65-70% “all-in” discounts off the retail price. all in means the purchase price + renovation costs added together can not equal more than 65-70% of the actual retail value of the home. Regardless of whether you aim to be a landlord or a rehabber, this rule of thumb will keep you in business longer and leave you with a lot of equity in your investments.

This rule works mainly for single family residential acquisitions but for commercial acquisitions the key to understanding if it is a good deal is to pay attention to the net cash flow of the investment and look at the expenses / debt service. To determine the value and overall returns for those types of investments. At ATLCO, we specialize in finding this types of opportunities for our investors and educate our clients on a lot of these key financial metrics to make sure that they understand the profitability of each investment. The key here is to be patient and not jumping on the first opportunity you get just because you really want to do a deal.

4. Teamwork Makes The Dreamwork – Don’t try to do it all by yourself. The most successful investors have a team of people around them that work together to help them accomplish their real estate investment goals. Who is your real estate attorney? Your licensed agent? Real estate investment advisor? Your contractor? Insurance agent? Your asset manager?

The key to being a successful investor is to focus on your own strengths while letting the real estate professionals around you focus on their strengths. When you have a great team working with you then you will be able to accomplish your real estate goals in a much more efficient and prudent manner. Since its inception, ATLCO has spent a lot of time building relationships with key resources that our investors would need in order to be successful; all in house.

5. Learn Your Market. – It is also good to be proactive and educate yourself. Don’t just rely on the information other people give you. The real estate market is cyclical. It goes up and it goes down. Pay attention to which market cycle you are in. Educating yourself about the market is key when you first decide to invest in real estate so learn what areas are hot, what areas to stay away from, and where the market is trending.

Pay attention to where corporations are moving into in your market, where there are a lot of cash sales going on, where there is a lot of construction activity and positive percentage of population growth, where the schools are great, and upcoming plans by the city to create new developments, commercial centers, in the area. Those are some key indicators to notice when trying to educate yourself about your market and trying to decide what areas to invest in.

6. Don’t Get Emotional – It can be very easy to fall in love with a project that you are a part of however this is where most beginning investors start to lose their money. Focus on your numbers when investing and your key financial metrics that must be met for you to generate the most profit and most net return on your investment. Basically, don’t take on a project like it is a house that you will be living in. Instead, know what amenities other retail homes which have recently sold in your area have. There is no need to reinvent the wheel or try to be “super extravagant” when it comes to flipping / renovating homes, because it can cost you money and increase your project costs.

Don’t ever fall in “love” with a deal, just because you really like the house, or love the area . Make sure that numbers actually work first before deciding to move forward with any prospective real estate investment. Don’t OVER-RENOVATE your projects. its okay to save money by going with mid-grade appliances or fixtures if it means you will get to keep some cash

in your pocket. Always remember, it is better to pass on a deal because it doesn’t fit your required return on investment than to OVERPAY and buy a bad deal.

7. Have A Realistic Plan – It is important for beginning investors to set realistic expectations for what they can accomplish in a given period of time. Have a good understanding of your current financial situation, your monthly income, monthly expenses, and what you can realistically afford to invest into real estate investment projects. Real Estate Investing, like other investment strategies, involve risks and is not for everybody. One of the things I enjoy the most at ATLCO is being able to sit down with each investor, learn about their story, their background, discussing their financial goals, and putting together a practical and executable real estate investment plan that can help them accomplish their financial goals.

8. Define Your Key Strategy – There are many ways to make money in real estate such as wholesaling houses, buying tax sales, renovating houses, buying rentals for cash flow, developing new construction, acquiring commercial properties to lease or flip, etc. These are just a few of the ways that investors we work with at ATLCO tend to invest. The key tip here is to make sure that you have a focus and a niche.

Don’t try to be a jack of all trades in the beginning of your investing career. You will be better off picking a specific investment strategy and surrounding yourself with the resources needed to be as successful as you can in that investment strategy. There is a lot of money to be made in all those niches I mentioned above. When first starting out, pick a strategy and give 110% to be successful at that strategy, then move on to newer strategies if you desire to do so.

9. Be Flexible – Yes, I may have said having a “defined” strategy is important, which it is, however something that is also equally as important is to be flexible. What will you do if your primary strategy is flipping and you decide to invest in an area that is more suitable for is more suitable for buying & holding properties? Will you give up or will you look for an alternative?

The correct answer is to look for an alternative, such as considering another market that may be more suitable for that strategy, or consider implementing a new strategy such as buying & holding. The key here is to not think small and limit yourself to just one place or one market and consider expanding your horizons (and working with people who are local experts in those new horizons in which you are considering).

10. DON’T OVER LEVERAGE YOURSELF – Did you hear about the slaughter that happened in the 2008 housing crisis? If you did, you are not alone. Many investors lost everything, their entire net worth, cash flow, and wealth were wiped out during the housing crash. A lot of the investors who were wiped out over-leveraged and speculated, believing the market was going to keep rising (speculation / counting on appreciation). Instead of over-leveraging, try to maintain a good mix of properties in which you have financed and work towards adding a few free and clear acquisitions to your portfolio as well. That way in the event of another financial crisis you won’t lose “everything” because you can still count on the monthly cash flow from your free and clear investments, especially if they have a low vacancy rate.

This New Mobile App Allows Users To Win An Instant Cash Jackpot

A new concept in mobile game apps was just recently released: Three years in development, the explosive 33 Numbers is a totally free app that allows users to win an actual cash jackpot instantly. While there are other game apps out there promising prizes, most if not all of them are either sponsored gift certificates or a nominal cash prize of a few dollars. 33 Numbers, however, boasts a growing jackpot in the thousands. As of the writing of this release, the cash jackpot is just over ten thousand dollars.

The app avoids gambling restrictions in most locations by making the game totally free to play. There are no in-app purchases and there is no paid-version available. The jackpot is supported by advertising revenue in the form of industry-standard banner and page ads unobtrusively displayed during the game. A play for fun version is available for a few certain states where playing any game for a monetary prize might be considered gambling. The app checks the users’ location services on download and formats the game for that location.

The game itself is easy to learn, fun to play and somewhat addicting. The object is to fill in a game board of 33 spaces with numbers between one and one thousand in ascending numerical order.

“The most often asked questions we get are, ‘Is this real?’ ‘Is it actual money?’ and, ‘where does the money come from?'”, said David Mintz, managing partner of 33 Numbers, LLC. “This reinforces the idea that our concept is so new that the market is struggling a bit to understand and accept it. Actually, it’s a very common business model, similar to say TV game shows where revenues from advertisers help support a prize for winners. We’ve just applied it to smartphone gaming. It’s not gambling because it’s totally free to play. And the more players we have, the bigger the jackpot grows.”

33 Numbers is available for download on the Apple App Store, Google Play Store and directly from their website at www.33numbers.com.

Veteran Files: PTSD and Entrepreneurship

Written by Antwan Hamilton

PTSD( post traumatic stress disorder) is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault.

Im going to give you a first hand account on my personal experiences and journey of being an entrepreneur with ptsd.

I’m a United States Navy veteran and spent eight years on active duty during the height of our last war in Iraq and Afghanistan. After my final enlistment I decided to go back to college to pursue my art career. During my sophomore year I started an art company entitled“Artificer. The company was an art design consulting company for private and commercial entities. I would eventually gain management and interns as well as a global list of clients within the first year the company was established in 2010.

During that initial year as I was trying to grow the business I was dealing with PTSD. I never told anyone. I tried my best to keep it under control and remain efficient in my studies. After returning home from deployment,“I never came off watch .”I would constantly remain on high alert scanning my surroundings and living like I was still overseas.

I would eventually stop attending my own art shows and other events the company was associated with. I would just hire someone to represent myself for the evening. I didn’t want to be around anyone. The only thing I wanted to do was grow the company, graduate, and cope with my problem however I saw fit to do so.

This next event that happened to me was not only almost fatal it was the final blow for me to realize that I needed help outside of my self.

It was January 2011 and I became involved in a shooting incident during my last semester before graduating. As a result, I had been shot twice. Thankfully the wounds were non-life threatening and I was released from the hospital the following morning. I was beyond thrilled that I was still alive, but personally knew my problem was just beginning.

A few months later after my incident, I was struggling just to keep my sanity and graduate. I had lost a majority of my interns and the company’s sells were declining fast. The prior three years I had poured all of my energy, time, and finances into this company only to see it dwindle away in less than six months. The only thing I had left was an over abundance of was final exams, bills and a ton of questions to answer from clients, friends, and family.

We know that entrepreneurs take risk, and for some of us battling PTSD that risk is doubled. Your’e not only responsible for yourself but for employees, as well as clients. You cannot deliver on your product or service and tell your client your’e battling ptsd.

I would love to end this article telling you how I ordered some magical french fries, ate one and brought the business back in a week with sales going through the roof! That never happened. I even debated on writing this article but after thinking more about it, I knew I had a duty to do so. According to The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs National Center for PTSD studies show that suicide risk is higher in persons with PTSD. Many veterans have very disturbing thoughts and extreme guilt about actions taken during times of war. These thoughts can often overwhelm the veteran and make it hard for him or her to deal with the intense feelings.

I’ve always had a competitive mindset and an exquisite taste for winning. I didn’t know how I would come back but I knew I would. I managed to graduate college and five years later I’m finally picking up the pieces and starting over again. I changed the business name to“Artifiseur”and re-established the entity in Atlanta, GA. I published a book in 2016 entitled“Artifiseur”about my experiences. That was a healing point for me because even though I had nothing tangible to show for the company I could at least record what happened. Someone else can now pick up the read and develop a zero tolerance attitude for quitting while they are on their business journey.

We all have hurdles to jump over dealing with life and some hurdles are bigger than others. You can fall down as many times as it takes to get back up and finish the race. You cant depend on doctors, information, or people. You have to take care of yourself and protect the only intellectual property you have which is your mind. Keep a plan (a few of them), activate, and move on it.

Apple’s Inclusive Campaign Expands with New Disabilities Emojis

Photo from CNN.com

Written By Aysha Chaudhry

Since the introduction of emojis into the Apple keyboard in 2011, the tech company has been expanding its selection, especially in ways to make the images more inclusive. This time, Apple submitted a request to Unicode Consortium, the organization that approves new emojis, thirteen emoji options that help represent people with disabilities. Some of the possible new emojis include a prosthetic arm, a person in a wheelchair, as well as a guide dog. Not since the 2015 update, when Apple introduced the ability to select different skin tones, has there been such an overhaul in the name of representation to the emoji keyboard.

Smart Strategies to Make You Richer in 2018

Written by Benjamin Roussey

Prudent financial planning can ensure that you are richer by the end of the year than you are now. Here are some strategies that can help you achieve this:

Track Your Credit Reports

Make it a habit to monitor your credit reports periodically. This can help you spot any mistakes or fraudulent transactions instantly. TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian are some leading credit reporting organizations that can provide you with free credit reports each year. And free means free here unlike so called free health care which is never free because taxes are higher in this case so free health care actually is an oxymoron.

Be Prompt With Bills

Your credit score stays healthy when you pay bills immediately without being penalized for late payments. Also, if you pay off all such dues immediately after payday, it’ll be easier to steer clear of unnecessary spending.

Create an Emergency Fund

We live in uncertain times and it helps to have a nest egg stashed away in case of an emergency. The cash that you save can come in handy if there is a medical emergency or if you are unemployed at any time. It is suggested that you should have enough saved to meet at least three to six months of living expenses. Gradually you can build this up to a year’s expenses or more.

Budget is Key

Drawing up a monthly budget can keep you on track as far as income and spending go. Begin with a list of recurring expenses like rent or EMIs, utility bills, etc. Make your list so that the important expenses figure at the top with the least important making it to the bottom. This way you can simply start making expenditure cuts from the bottom up if your spending exceeds monthly income.

Reduce Your Credit Card Debt

Set some targets for paying off part of your credit card debt this year. For instance, you could start with 15% of current debt and work towards it by paying off the ones that charge the highest interest.

Increase Your Income

Look for ways in which you can boost your monthly income (don’t eat out so much and don’t waste time with ridiculous Star Wars movies, Thor III, Neighbors 2, Inglorious Bastards, and so on). Securing a pay hike or a promotion might help you achieve this goal. Or you might want to seek a change of jobs and look for one that pays better even if it involves moving out of your comfort zone.

New York Tech Startup to Pre-launch Schools Security and Communication App Come Spring 2018

Varsity Maps, a New York Tech Startup, is proud to announce their mobile app “Varsity Maps.” At the moment, most schools in the US have no means of ensuring adequate security and easy navigation. This has led to insecurity and confusion, especially for new students and staff members. Varsity Maps makes it easier to navigate the campus by helping the user search for buildings, locations, events, room numbers, and equipment. It also helps to improve communication between students and staff and comes with an alarm feature to alert campus security of an emergency. Varsity maps is set for pre-launch, spring 2018.

For more information, please visit www.varsitymaps.com.

“Varsity Maps is the solution to the many of the security and communication challenges we currently have on campuses and other schools. Now, anyone can search for a location on campus and get quick and easy direction. No more wandering about looking for an event on campus, no more asking scores of people for direction and yet you can’t get to your destination. Our app is efficient, interactive, and provides complete security for campus staff and students. Now, education can be more fun,” said Mike Morris – Director of Business development, at Varsity Maps.
The three main features that will make Varsity Maps one of the best startup techs that will transform the educational sector includes:

Easy Navigation – With the app, anyone can search for locations, buildings, room numbers, and events, and easily find it. This will help make campus navigating less confusing, thereby increasing productivity.

Better Communication – Communication is key in every campus and school environment. Varsity maps offer tools that allow staff and students to share information about campus closures and classroom changes, and highlight evacuation areas in real-time.

Safety And Protection Of Staff And Students – Varsity Maps comes with an alert feature that makes it easy to alert school security of an emergency; be it a fire, accident, or even a violent breakout. Once school security receives the alert, they are immediately provided with the location of the incident, which can save valuable time.

Protecting The Future Of Our Children
Our children need to be protected because they are the future. An application like Varsity Maps provides the perfect tool to ensure adequate security in campuses, through effective alert and response. The Pennsylvania State University shooting and the recent Wake Forest University campus shooting is a reminder of the sad security situation in the institutions of learning. Varsity Maps is an effort to combat violence and sexual assault in the education system and institutions of higher learning with the use of modern technology.

The Best Advice Mark Cuban Has for Entrepreneurs

Written By Aysha Chaudhry

Mark Cuban, serial entrepreneur, billionaire, and judge on Shark Tank, has always been “life goals.” The no-nonsense man is smart, forward-thinking and hard-working. And along the way, he has always been open about the road to his success and has given great advice on how to make it as an entrepreneur/business owner. Here, we rounded up some of the best advice Cuban has shared over the years:

1. “Don’t follow your passion.” “Or, if you have been able to have some success, what was the key to the success? Was it the passion or the effort you put into your job or company?” He suggests looking at how you are already spending your time and “follow your effort” instead of your passion.

2. “Work harder and smarter than most people in the businesses.” It seems simple, but more often than not, people try to take the easy way out instead of seeing something all the way through.

3. “It doesn’t matter how you live. It doesn’t matter what car you drive. It doesn’t matter what kind of clothes you wear.” No matter how much money you make, living beyond your means is guaranteed to get you in financial trouble.

4. “Rather than trying to convince people you are the best, let the quality of your work do the talking.” This goes back to working hard. Show people your success instead of just telling them.

This Sneakerhead Turned His Passion Into His Paycheck

Written by Abner Jackson III

Alex Johnson is a sneakerhead that turned his passion into a paycheck and started his own business. Alex started his own business XanderCustomz and has his own sneaker brand The Xander Collection. The Pontiac, MI native is a young entrepreneur and one of the best at what he does.

 

Tell readers about Xandercustomz and how long have you been in business for?

I’m a sneaker customizer based out of Pontiac, MI. I’ve been doing shoes since 2015

How long have you been a custom sneaker designer for and did you take any specific training to become one?

I’ve been doing shoes since 2015 and I pretty much started customizing shoes in my dad garage. I was playing around never had any specific training, I just learned from the years of me doing them.

What is your biggest accomplishment in your field of work?

My biggest accomplishment that I’ve made is now I have my own sneaker brand (The Xander Collection) and I’m looking forward to having them in stores very soon.

What is your favorite shoe to design and why?

My favorite design of my custom sneakers would have to be the Air Jordan 11 BHM (Black History Month) Collab with Jc Customs. Cause it feels good to do a shoe Dedicated to the culture.

What current items are your best sellers?

Custom Air Jordan 11 “Royal blue”

If you could give any entrepreneur/ business owner any advice about starting a business, what would it be?

Stay consistent and stay hungry. Never give up

What is unique about your business?

That I can make any color sneaker you may need for any occasion. Things you cannot get in the stores.

Tell readers about your Xander Way Promotional Tour and are you going to do one this year?

The Xander Way Promotional Tour was crazy lots of love and support from the cities I visited. I want to do a bigger tour this year and take it to the west coast

What habits helped make your business successful?

Being hungry and just getting my name out there. I’m a very consistent person. I also feel like I have to make it happen.

Do you design anything else other than shoes? If not have you thought about designing other items.

At this time just sneakers, maybe in the future I’ll get into clothes.

Where do you see your business in five years from now?

To have my own store front where you can bring your kicks in. Have them customized and also teach sneaker customizing classes.

Thank you again for your time and letting our readers get to know you. Please let everyone know how you can be reached ( twitter, IG, FB, websites, etc.)?

( Instagram) @Xandercustomz ( FB) Xandercustomz (Website) www.xandercustomz.com

Entrepreneur Spotlight: Clothing Designer Roosevelt Broome IV

Interview by Dominique Bancey
What’s your name?
– “Roosevelt Broome IV”

How old are you?
– “22”

What is the name of your business?
– “Rich Apparels.”

When did you begin working towards said business?
“Rich Apparels began as a hobby. I remember sitting in my room on a group chat with two of my friends at the time and they were persistent that I should create something for my 30 thousand followers. After a couple of hours of thinking, I decided to create my first ever Rich Apparels t-shirt. I remember it was a black shirt, with a black/white floral print with the word ‘RICH’ in the middle. After creating my first Rich Apparels shirt, my cousin and I went Downtown and had a mini-photoshoot and once I placed the shirt online, to my surprise, my followers loved it!”

How long have you envisioned starting it?
– “Starting a clothing brand was an idea that I always had. Back in High School, I would experiment with many different styles to test boundaries and set trends of my own. I would shop at thrift stores for jackets, flannel button-ups, jean jackets, etc and I would rip them up myself or add patches to create them into a fashionable garment. Then when I would go to school, my classmates would ask “Hey Roosevelt, where’d you get that jacket from?” Happily, I would let them know that I created it myself but purchased the pieces from the thrift store.”

Have you always wanted to become an entrepreneur? If yes, why?
“I knew at an early age that I wanted to do something artistically whether it was being a clothing designer, an acting, a singer, etc. I still plan on pursuing those ventures however I am starting with my clothing brand Rich Apparels to be a stepping stone.”

How would you describe being an entrepreneur?
“Being an entrepreneur is rewarding. You have to maintain tough skin in order to be in the industry of entrepreneurship. You have to accept failure as a learning experience and challenge yourself to step away from your comfort zone and test boundaries. In the fashion industry, in particular, there are so many individuals out there creating clothes and you have to think “What exactly sets you apart from the rest?” and “What is my purpose?” Allow those two answers to propel you and inspire you to never quit.”

What pushed you to  start this business?
– “The necessity for diversity. I wanted my clothing brand to have meaning and purpose. I want my brand to exude and embody empowerment and diversity. For example, for my last collection “Revolt”, I had shirts such as ‘only want you’ and ‘savage’ alongside a male crop top with the word ‘masculine’ across the front- I wanted to show that men can be vulnerable and masculine at the same time. I use Rich Apparels to speak out for topics I deem necessary and important to discuss. My slogan of my clothing brand is the “the t-shirt for any occasion” I want to show my existing customers as well as my new customers how to dress up or down a Rich Apparels t-shirt.”

What would you say has been the most difficult thing so far in being an entrepreneur?
– “The most difficult part in being an entrepreneur/fashion designer is relevancy. Things are changing constantly and there is a ton of pressure on keeping up with the trends and grasping people’s attention and keeping them engaged. With my brand Rich Apparels in particular, I think I have gained enough of people’s’ attention to keep them engaged in wanting more pieces from my future collections. Once individuals recognize your growth, hunger, and consistency for success and recognition, oddly enough, your buyers recognize that and will buy into your business. Anyone can start a business, however, not many businesses maintain longevity and that is what I am striving for.”

What would you classify as the best part of being an entrepreneur?
– “The best part of being a fashion designer is inspiring individuals. There are times where I want to completely put up the white flag and give up however, I will have someone message me on social media or telling me face to face how much my clothing brand has inspired them to start their own business or the positive impact my brand has had on them. I want to continue the path of inspiring generations before and after me, to take those dreams and mold them into your reality. Sometimes our biggest competitors are ourselves and once we overcome that and our fears, opportunities are endless.”

Would you advise others to become entrepreneurs as well? And why?
– “Absolutely! I believe that every single person in this world has a gift/talent in some way that could contribute to their entrepreneurship goal and could bring something radically different to the business world. At times, we battle “What would people say or think about this idea?” and people end up talking themselves out of possibly changing the world. This world is filled with dreamers and thinkers who are so creative however they should be pushed into putting their ideas out there in the world.”

What would you say to someone who is thinking of starting their own business?
– “To anyone who is wanting to start their own business, my advice would be to take your ideas and run with them. When starting your business, always think of your purpose- Why am I starting this business? What do I hope to accomplish? Who am I trying to impact? Once you discover your purpose, everything will fall into place. I am always pushing my best friends as well as people I encounter to always push yourself beyond to what you can think. There are no limits to growth because there are no limits of human intelligence and imagination. Limitations only exist if you force them upon yourself within your mind.”

Finally, tell us what to look out for as it relates to your business and any other information you would like to contribute.
– “A lot of people think I have reached my goal of getting my clothes into stores doing, doing countless number of press and doing fashion weeks, however, people have not even seen the half of what I want to accomplish. Only my three best friends know my ultimate goal. I will share my ultimate goals once I have achieved them but in the meantime, I am constantly setting new goals for myself each and every day. In 2018, I myself as well as my brand are taking a shift in a different direction. Next year makes 5 years for Rich Apparels which means growth so I will just say everyone needs to buckle up because it will be quite the ride.”

As Mr. Roosevelt Broome IV stated, being an entrepreneur is a difficult task, but you have to be aware of what you want and the impact you want to have on others. I think it is safe to say that there is much to look out for at Rich Apparels.

If you are interested, you can check out Mr. Broome’s clothing like at richapparels.bigcartel.com and his Instagram is soberichs.

Until next time.

Actor Julian Brittano Partners With International Association of Women on New Venture To Honor Women

Julian Brittano is not only a rising actor on the move, but an activist and voice for various cause based organizations for women. We spoke with him about his new partnership with IAW ( formerly NAPW,) along with taking a deeper look into the man in front of the lens.

Most fans know you from being apart of the “Greenleaf” show cast, which is produced by Oprah Winfrey. What were you doing before acting, and how did you get started.

I owned a club and restaurant in Virginia. Fortunately for me, I ended up having to be shut down. It messed me up for a little while, but I bounced back. I was alone one day and came to a place of clarity within myself of who I am. So the path began from there starting as a background actor for two weeks to landing on Greenleaf.

As a previous club owner and entrepreneur, how did that experience prepare you for life as an entertainer on the big screen?

Well, on the big screen and tv it is my responsibility to (entertain)engage the viewer, and have them connect to the story. So I’m able to use all of my life experiences as an entrepreneur and club owner, which has allowed me to connect and interact with many different types of cultures and lifestyles.

We know that preparation is key with anything you want to do in life. What are some things you do to prepare your each role you take on?

First I like to look at the overall vibe of the story/ agenda. Once the main characters are identified, then I imagine how my role assists in the story.

Touching a little more on entrepreneurship, what are some things you learned about overcoming failure, being persistent and consistent?

My perspective on failure is simply another opportunity to perfect ones ability to handle a given situation. We all have differentiated learning. So each consistent and persistent attempt at something allows you to learn every aspect of your business, which is a core value of being an entrepreneur.

You seem to have a deep connection working with various women’s organizations. Tell us about your experience with them, and your connection to these organizations as a young male.

As a man that was raised by strong minded women, I was privey first hand to their perspectives and views on different social issues. I’ve also been blessed to have some close female friends that confide in me. With that said, when I realized I had a platform that I can help open up conversation amongst the community by stepping into a gap that most would run from. I’m learning more and more each day that I lend my support and time to help the women empowerment movement.

Speaking of women’s organizations, Tell us about your new partnership with IAW ( formerly NAPW), and was it so important for you partner with them in particular.

They offer a valuable resource of collective networks amongst women of three generations due to the commonality of entrepreneurship and business. I feel like partnering with groups like IAW in particular adds a component to my SOW (Save Our Women) initiative. Which at the end of the day thats is why RTB is a great platform for all women to come together, celebrate and learn from one another.

What are some of the goals that you hope to accomplish through your partnership with this organization?

I would like to see more balance in our society at large between men and women. I also am believing that this will serve as a platform that other male supporters can join in and assist.

What are 3 things your fans don’t know about you that you want them to know?

1. I play multiple music instruments.
2. I used to be 320lbs at one point. But thru dedication and patience, I dropped down to 240lbs, now Veggie Life is what I enjoy.
3. I can only come up with 2.

What advice do you have for upcoming actors and importance of having patience on your way to the top?

You must be patient as well as equally aware of YOUR timing. Not what other people expect or intend for you. Know your own intentions, and why you want to attain certain levels of success. Many people want it all for the fame and popularity. I say, that will all be there if you commit yourself to serving humanity first with your gifts and talents.