Engelo “The Real Estate Dingo” Rumora is a successful property investor that quit school at the age of 14, played professional soccer at the age of 18, is known for buying “Australia’s Cheapest House” and is now running a million dollar real estate investment company called Ohio Cashflow.
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- Ohio Cash Flow – Engelo’s company
- Rich Dad, Poor Dad– Book that change Engelo’s life
- Wix– Blogging platform
- Hipchat– Engelo’s Small Business Resource
- Traction by Gino Wickman – Engelo’s Best Business Book
3 Key Points:
- Associate yourself with successful people.
- When you’re at the LOWEST point of your life, the only way to go is UP.
- There is no such thing as an overnight success.
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Time Stamped Show Notes
(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
- [00:52] – John introduces Engelo
- [01:23] – Engelo’s personal life
- [02:04] – Started as a construction laborer in Australia
- [02:31] – How Rich Dad, Poor Dad changed Engelo’s life
- [04:42] – Generating revenues
- Buying, renovating, and selling distressed properties
- [06:20] – This year’s goal –buy 25 – 50 single family homes
- [07:04] – Engelo’s real estate process
- [08:05] – The most challenging part in the process –property management
- [08:28] – Worst Entrepreneur Moment – Grandma died, mom diagnosed with cancer, with a broken left wrist that he couldn’t afford to have treated and over $1M in debt
- [09:19] – “I realized, I really have nothing more to lose. So I picked myself back up.”
- [11:01] – Entrepreneur AH-HA Moment
- [11:18] – Engelo’s breaking moment
- [13:21] – “No matter how many times they knock you down, pick yourself back up”
- [13:33] – Biggest weakness –not having formal education
- [14:16] – Biggest strength –I’m willing to do whatever it takes
- [15:00] – Thing that has Engelo most fired up –reality tv real estate flipping shows
- [17:23] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? –Nothing
- What is the best advice you have ever received? – Fight for what you believe in. Only drop your guns when you are truly wrong.
- What is a personal habit that contributes to your success? – Being in the office all-day, everyday
- Can you share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation? – Hipchat
- If you could recommend one book for our listeners what would it be? – Traction by Gino Wickman
- Imagine you awoke in a brand new world, identical to Earth, but you knew no one. You still have all your experience and knowledge. All you have is $500 and a laptop. What would you do in the next 7 days? I would jump on Wix, create my website, and generate leads…
Engelo Rumora: I'm on fire, John.
Interviewer: Yes! Engelo, the real estate dingo is a successful property investor who quit school at the age of 14, played professional soccer at the age of 18, is known for buying Australia's cheapest house and is now running a million dollar real estate investment company called Ohio Cashflow in guess what – Ohio. Engelo, take a minute to fill in any gaps from that intro and give us a little glimpse of your personal life.
Interviewee: John, to start off with, mate – you would not believe how much preparation I have put into this. I have cleared out my office, dude. Everyone is gone. I've got signs on the front door saying "Do not knock. Entrepreneur OnFire interview going on." So, mate, everyone is out. I'm here by myself and I'm ready to rock, baby. So, hey, mate – look, I moved to the U.S. four years ago with $15,000.00 in cash. I had over a million dollars in debt. I was on a Visa waiver so I was very much restricted to what I could and could not do.
My past background is real estate, okay. So I started as a laborer in Australia. I was working as a laborer on dirty construction sites. As you mentioned, I quit school at the age of 14, played professional soccer at the age of 18. Unfortunately, I didn't see it a feasible option to continue playing soccer. I'm not going to get into too much there. It’s a little bit of a detailed story so I just decided to hang up the boots and try to figure out what else to do with my life.
John, the life-changing moment for me came when friend gave me the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. I'm sure a ton of your listeners have read that book and it just completely brainwashed me, right. It kind of educated me on the difference of assets versus liabilities and how I should invest my money into assets and make those assets produce money so I can go and buy liabilities and generally start living life on my terms. So I was working as a laborer and I started networking with a ton of people, reading books, seminars, advanced expos, podcasts, forums, and one thing led to another, mate.
I got a gig with someone who has a hundred million dollar real estate investment company in Australia right now. So this particular fellow took me under his wing. He literally gave me the foundations of me being the real estate investor and entrepreneur that I am today. John, they say you are who you are with. So everyone listening, associate yourself with successful people, brush all over with the big boys and they will pull you up along with them. So after working with them for a year and a half, mate, I really learned the trade but I wanted to do something on my own. I wanted to just venture out into the world, start my own business, and the only place where I could actually find cash flowing assets, John, because I'm in real estate, was here in the U.S.
The market was on its knees, the housing market was distressed so at the time I decided to pack up, leave Australia, leave everyone and anyone I've known, and anything I've known and I've moved here and with only fifteen grand, mate, started kind of flipping properties bit by bit here and there. I didn't really know much of what I was doing and, mate, I started a higher cash flow and here we are today. We are multimillion dollar real estate investment company. We buy run-down properties, we fix them up, we get them tenanted and then we sell them to investors from all over the world.
Interviewer: Engelo, if you can match my energy but you, brother, are energy on fire, so I just love the vibe that you're bringing. I love the enthusiasm. I love the energy and we're going to hear a lot about your story because that's what we're going to be getting into. You did a great job of giving us the quick rundown version but before we dive into more in-depth stories, give us a little snapshot of how you specifically generate revenue in your business? I love how you said, you know, hey listen – we buy distressed properties, we fix them up, and we put tenants in them and then we sell them to investments. I love that!
What are the different revenue streams that you've created within your business?
Interviewee: Awesome question, mate. Thanks. Well, pretty much our bread and butter business model, John, is buy rundown distressed properties. Okay? We then renovate them to a great standard. We get them tenanted and then we sell them to investors. Now when we sell those properties to investors we make a profit on every property sold. So when you invest in real estate for the purpose of supplementing your current income from a 9:00 to 5:00 job that we don't want to be working, well at least a lot of my investors, that's what they want. They want to start living life on their terms through real estate and that's how I kind of started my journey as an investor and an entrepreneur.
And as I mentioned to you, when I moved to the U.S. I was limited to what I could and could not do. So the only thing that I was allowed to do on my Visa was to sign a contract to buy property and sign a contract to sell a property. I couldn't work a 9:00 to 5:00 or I couldn't work in any other job, so those were my only options. So I had to create a higher cash flow because I had no other choice of buying a ton of properties that are going to produce cash flow so I can retire in the Bahamas and sip Pina Coladas the rest of my life, right?
So that's how I kind of went about creating this business where every property I sell, John, puts a lump sum cash profit in my pocket and once I start building enough lump sums of cash sitting there, then I can go out into the market and buy the exact same product that I'm selling and hold it for my own portfolio. So my goal for this year, John, is to buy 25 to 50 single family homes, buy them outright, and hold them in my portfolio along with continuing to meet the needs of all the investors that are literally – as I said, they are based from all over the world.
I mean, I've got investors from Korea. I've got an investor from Madagascar out of all of the places.
Interviewer: So, Engelo, you kind of broke down the steps that you take. I know you find the rundown property. You fix it up. You find tenants and then you sell them to investors. Without going into any detail – I'm just kind of curious on what your maybe one sentence answer to this is. What's the most difficult of those processes – of those four steps?
Interviewee: Well, mate, great question. Look, I think there's a lot of them, John. In real estate and in this industry that we have, there's a few things, right? No. 1 – you have the money but you don't have the deal. No. 2 – you have the deal but you don't have the money and then No. 3 – you have the buyer but you don't have the finished product. So it's just a never-ending cycle and I feel that right now a higher cash flow has been in business for almost two years. We are just about to have our two-year anniversary in April.
So I'm super humbled to be where we are today and we are just about to hit that snowball effect, John. I'm sure you've experienced that through entrepreneurial OnFire. When you hit that snowball effect, when you start having the money, the deal, the buyers, the operations, then it all just kind of starts flowing in and it is Christmas every single day. You know what I mean? That's where we are right now, mate. I'm working super duper hard, mate, to hit that and get that snowball effect going.
Interviewer: Okay, I’m just going to hold your feet to the fire for this one thing. What's the toughest part? Is it finding the property? Is it fixing it up? Is it filling it with tenants? Or is it getting the investor? If you just had to name one of those four, what's the most challenging part?
Interviewee: Crappiest part of my business, John, is property management.
Interviewer: Property management, boom! Interesting. I would have actually probably guessed that, so very interesting. So, Engelo, let's move now into a story. This is going to be a story about your journey as an entrepreneur. It's had the ups and it's had the downs. I want you, Engelo, to take us to the moment in time that you consider your worst entrepreneurial moment to date. Don’t pull any punches, my friend. Take us there to that moment and tell us that story.
Interviewee: All right, mate, all that here. So it was around two years ago and just before I started Ohio Cashflow that I was at the lowest point of my life. My grandma passed away, my mom got diagnosed with cancer, I broke my left wrist and couldn't afford to fix it. As I mentioned, I had over a million dollars in debt from stupid decisions that I made in Australia – credit card debt, solid business relationships. I mean, John, my whole world was caving into it and it was just the absolute lowest point of my life.
I clearly remember the breaking moment was when my grandma passed. I collapsed to my knees and, you know, I knew that right there and then I had nothing more to lose. They could take everything from me and, of course, I had pretty cool Calvin Klein underwear so that was the only thing that was worth any money on me at the time. Right? Yeah, mate, that was the lowest point of my life. I really couldn't get any lower. When I talk about that story today I tell people the lower I could have went was six feet under, mate. Nothing could have been any lower than that for sure.
Interviewer: Fire Nation, there's just a couple of things that I want you to thinking about when you're identifying with this story, resonating with Engelo, and then just kind of absorbing what he went through in general. It's so critical on so many levels. He was at the lowest of the low. At that moment, where was he going to go? Not six feet under – he was going to go up from there. So when he got to the lowest of the low, he recognized the fact that there's only one way for me to go and that's up. It's not going to be easy, it's not going to be fun, and it's not going to be rainbows and lollipops. It's going to be a lot of hard work but now I'm down here at the lowest of the low and it's time to pick myself up and start moving forward. So picture the worst thing, you know, the worst entrepreneurial moment that you could picture happening and guess what?
Even if that does come to fruition and it will be miserable and it will be tough, there's only one place to go from there and that is up. If you just have that mentality, Fire Nation, then you will take that leap. Now, Engelo, I don't want to linger in this area because, you know, it's important to talk about the failures and the low points and how we recover from them but it's also important to talk about the epiphanies and the lightbulbs that we've had as entrepreneurs and that we've turned into success.
And, of course, Ohio Cashflow was a major aha moment for you and maybe that's the story you're going to tell but I want you to know, Engelo, that this is your choice. You're going to tell us one of your greatest aha moment stories and how you turned that idea into success. Go!
Interviewee: John, you actually said it yourself, mate. You actually said it yourself. Being at that low point of my life, I could not go any lower. I really could not go any lower. As I mentioned, the breaking point was when my grandma passed. I was on my knees. I was sobbing for around 30 minutes and then I know it might sound corny and weird but I really don't care how corny and weird it sounds because it truly is within my heart and soul what I'm telling right now.
I had this feeling of – it was just something going through my body and I realized at that moment there and then that I really had nothing more to lose, mate. I mean, absolutely nothing. I picked myself back up, I went down to my little office. I was paying $150.00 a month. I was sharing a desk. I was eating peanut butter for breakfast, John, and drinking $1.00 gas station coffees. Now, this is not a rags to riches story. It's a rags to [inaudible] [00:10:58] what I'm about to tell you. Right? Mate, I was downstairs and I worked my [inaudible] off, dude.
I mean, I was doing phone calls. I was doing emails. I was doing meetings. I was working Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday ALL day and every day, mate. All day and every day! I got nowhere for nine months. I got absolutely nowhere. I had one breaking moment there where I established a relationship with a hedge fund and I sold 22 properties in two months, cleared my debts, things were starting to look a lot brighter. That’s when I kind of started putting all of the pieces in place to start my own business, which is now a higher cash flow, baby. So how about that?
Interviewer: I love it and I love really highlighting the point within that, Engelo, is that there is no overnight success, Fire Nation. There is no overnight success! No matter what we see in the public, that snapshot or whatever that might be, there is hard work, sweat, tears, pain, and agony before that. Believe me, it took me ten years from 22 to 32 to figure my stuff out to be able to launch a successful business and it is the same story time and time again. So don't be afraid to put in that hard work, that sweat, those tears, and go through those tough times.
Now, Engelo, I'm going to challenge you with just one sentence, my friend? What do you want to make sure Fire Nation gets from your aha moment?
Interviewee: Don’t get caught up in the noise no matter how many times they knock you down. Pick yourself back up. Dust yourself off and keep moving forward. Martin Luther King said, "If you can't run, walk. If you can't walk, crawl. But whatever you do, just keep moving forward."
Interviewer: What's your biggest weakness as an entrepreneur?
Interviewee: Well, mate, my biggest weakness is just not having any formal education, mate. I mean, my math sucks. My grammar is even worse. I mean, when I type an email, it is like Chop Suey. It takes me 45 minutes to compose an email.
Interviewee: Chop Suey?
Interviewee: I guess that's my biggest weakness. There's no turning that around, I mean, I quit school at the age of 14. I can't go back to school now. I've got five full-time staff, two offices. It's just not going to happen, so those will be my biggest challenges, mate, just the basics that everyone in the world has right now, I don't have them.
Interviewer: Wow! Well, I'll tell you what. You've overcome despite all of those weaknesses. Fire Nation, no matter what weaknesses you have or think you have, you can definitely overcome them and, Engelo, what would you consider your biggest strength?
Interviewee: My biggest strength is I'm willing to do whatever it takes, John. I mean, if you tell me to put my head through that wall to get on your podcast, I'll do that.
Interviewer: I believe that, by the way.
Interviewee: So, mate, and I think that's wat it comes down to. How bad do you want it? Are you willing to do whatever it takes? I've taken it to the extreme where it was actually – I was compromising my health. I mean, I'm not doing that anymore but just that fire within, mate, that passion… that desire to make it happen. It literally makes you forget about everything. I feel like superman, dude. I feel no fear. I feel no pain. I feel no hunger. It's just insane so I have to pull back a little bit because I will kill myself if I don't pull back, mate.
Interviewer: Engelo, what is the one thing that has you most fired up today?
Interviewee: Mate, the one thing that pisses me off and fires me up at the same time is all of these reality TV real estate flipping shows. I mean, they're all fake. They're all fake and it's pissing me off and I'm actually on the contract right now with a TV production company and I've got HGTV considering me for a TV show. So this is what I'll say, mate, it's time to make them real again and I'm the guy for it.
Interviewer: Wow! Well, you've got my vote, Engelo, up and down and, Fire Nation, you can tell that we've already brought the thunder and we're about to bring the lightning, so don't go anywhere because the Lightning Round is coming up right after we thank our sponsors. Engelo, are you prepared for the Lightning Round?
Interviewee: Always, mate. Born ready, John.
Interviewer: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Interviewee: Nothing. Just that formal education aspect of things – that's the biggest hurdle that I've always been faced with and, you know, people not taking you seriously just because I don't have that formal education. They just think I’m a bum that quit school at the age of 14.
Interviewer: What's the best advice you've ever received?
Interviewee: Best advice? Mate, this is funny. Okay, I'm not going to take too long. Fight for what you believe in and only drop your guns when you are wrong and pick them straight up again. I got this quote told to me by an alcoholic homeless man in a rundown noodle joint in Sydney seven years ago.
Interviewer: Wow! I love noodle joints, I'm just saying, Fire Nation. Engelo, what is a personal habit that contributes to your success?
Interviewee: Personal habit? Mate, I'm in the office all day and every day. Never say [inaudible] [00:15:37] from dusk until dawn I just make it happen.
Interviewer: Can you share an internet resource, like Evernotes, with Fire Nation?
Interviewee: Yes, we love HipChat, mate. We use HipChat here in the office. I absolutely love it.
Interviewer; If you could recommend just one book for our listeners, what would it be and why?
Interviewee: Right now it would have to be Traction by Gino Wickman. Anyone that's got a small business out there or a medium business, mate, it just teaches you how to run a tight ship, how to make everyone accountable in their role, and it literally changed my life as an entrepreneur and business owner around six months ago – so Traction by Gino Wickman.
Interviewer: Well, Fire Nation, I know you love audio so I teamed up with Audible and if you haven't already, you can get an amazing audiobook for free at EOFirebook.com. Now, Engelo, this is the last question of the Lightning Round but it's a doozy. Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning in a brand new world identical to Earth but you knew no one. You still have all the experience and knowledge you currently have. Your food and shelter is taken care of but all you have is a laptop and $500.00. What would you do in the next seven days?
Interviewee: I love it and I actually had to think about this one for a while but I just went back to the days when I was literally eating peanut butter for breakfast and drinking gas station coffee, so I remember those times, mate. It wasn't too long ago. I would jump on wicks.com, create my own website just like I've done for both the higher cash flow and my personal website and I would go out and buy a phone. Then I would just start calling people, mate. Phone calls, emails, website, you know, generate the leads, I mean, that's what it's all about.
Interviewer: Engelo, I want to end today the exact same way that we started and continued throughout, which is OnFire, so give us a parting piece of guidance. The best way that we can connect with you and then we'll see bye-bye.
Interviewee; Thanks, mate. Look, Google is the best business card, right? If you don't know what Google is… boy, do you have a problem? EngeloRumora.com, OhioCashflow.com, check us out. Send me a message – more than happy to help in any way.
Interviewer: Fire Nation, you're the average of the five people you spend the most time with. You've been hanging out with ER and JLD today, so keep up the heat and head over to EOFire.com. Just type Engelo, that's E-N-G-E-L-O, Engelo into the search bar. His show notes page will pop up with everything that we've been talking about today. Of course, go to his website and that will be linked up there as well or just go there directly. Engelo, I want to thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that we salute you, brother, and we'll catch you on the flipside.
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