Brazilian immigrant Marcos Jacober is an investor, author, international speaker, and teacher. He moved to the US in 1998 with only a dream and $100 in his pocket, and worked a number of blue collar jobs before saving enough to invest in real estate...but he lost everything in the crash on 2008. After learning about Tax Liens and Tax Deeds, he was able to finalize hundreds of property deals. Today he is an authority in the real estate business, with more than 500 transactions in his portfolio. Father of two beautiful children, Jacober has helped thousands of individuals from different countries start their real estate investment career here in the US. His new book Eat This Mr. President was released in 2018.
How did you get into the industry?
After I started as an apprentice at Virgil’s Café, I became the head chef/owner of the restaurant and I realized “slavery” to the restaurant business. I was working 7 days a week. Yes, I was making good money, but I didn’t have much time to enjoy.
My business partner was going through a rough divorce, and I could see that it was going to affect the business. I had gone to Florida for vacation 6 months prior and an opportunity came up to buy a FedEx route from a relative there in Florida. It was perfect timing. I sold my part of the business, moved to Florida, and bought my FedEx route.
I was single at that time and was looking to live “La Vida Loca”. I wanted to work only Monday thru Friday. Driving a truck was as fun, as I thought it would be (even while being the owner).
Later, I realized that it was time to work on the second pillar of wealth… Real Estate. That was how I started to shift. After watching so many HDTV shows that I thought I had it all down pat, I decided to start investing. By 2004 I had 12 properties. I was leveraging like everybody else, and my second pillar of wealth started to take off. That’s when I received a book that, 5 years later, would transform my life. At the time, I was too busy being busy to invest my time in learning. Like many of us today, I thought I knew all I needed to know and didn’t need to learn anything else. I tossed the book into my office and never read it. I kept doing what I was doing and ended up going into early retirement, selling my FedEx business, which I had grown to 3 trucks.
In 2008, I lost everything due to the real estate bubble bursting in 2007. I’d had 17 properties, and 16 of them were just… gone. I had to move to Houston and live in the only property I was able to salvage. I had to go back to driving truck so I could keep my family afloat. Near the end of 2008, five years after my friend had given me the book that I’d had no time or desire to read, I found the book in my desk at home. Taking it out to read it, I learned about the two most profitable forms of investment. These forms will embarrass the best financial advisor if I compare my results with his! Now you know a little about me, and the rest is history.
Are there any emerging industry trends?
I compare that with the 1million dollar question, and I guess I have the perfect answer and the 1.4 million answer. When I go to real estate meetings, workshops or conferences and I start to talk, investors look at me as if I have the third eye in my forehead. Why? Because I’m either talking ahead or talking backward.
I’ll explain. Let’s talk backward first. Here we are looking for new real estate trends. Ninety-five percent of Americans are ignoring the 2 oldest and more lucrative forms of investment, which are Tax Liens and Tax Deeds. With these investment strategies, you can make anywhere from 8% to 36% guaranteed by law, or you can buy properties, for example, let’s say $50. It is estimated that the average county around the US holds a whopping $80 billion in inventory that is waiting for you and me to show up and acquired those properties for pennies on the dollar. And that is the $1.4 million answer. In fact, I made a $1.4 million transaction in just one property alone! I bought a property that is worth close to $1.5 million and I paid only $6,342.79.
Now, what I mean by thinking forward, the perfect answer to the question of the emerging industry trends, is what we call share economy. There are so many examples of share economy, like Uber, Lift, Turbo, and Airbnb to just to name a few. Not too long ago, people believed that you must own a piece of real estate in order to make money from it. What if I told you that, by just tapping into Airbnb, an industry projected to hit $10 billion in 2021, you can start making money without owning or buying the real estate? That is a trend to look into. Most investors are stuck on the RICH DAD—POOR DAD era, now it’s time to be the SMART DAD.
Are there any industry opportunities or challenges?
Where there are challenges, there are also opportunities. Both come side by side. The question is which side are you on? For example, I was on the wrong side of the equation in 2008. I lost it all while other people made a fortune. Another crash is about to happen. Houses hit their peak in many markets. We had the lowest numbers on mortgage applications in July. For the first time since 2006, subprime auto loans hit a record default. People will stop paying for their fancy ride before they will stop paying on their house. Well, we all know what they will stop paying next. That was the scenario in 2006. Besides the upcoming crash, there is already a house crisis in the US. Hard working people have money to buy a home, but they can’t get qualified for a loan. Affordable housing is the key.
What were the inspirations for the business idea, and your vision for the business?
At the end of 2008, the beginning of 2009, I read a book called “The 16% Solution”. This book changed my life and kick-started back my business, which, in effect, changed the lives of hundreds of people, which is the whole purpose of my mission. We are creating a platform called Life hack’s wealth where our purpose is, not only to be an example to our students but to teach them to, first, became financially free. That doesn’t have anything to do with becoming a millionaire, driving a Ferrari, or any wealthy notion that is sold on social media nowadays. It’s about showing you simple strategies that can, at first, help you create the same income you have now.
The majority of people make less than $5,000 a month. They are carrying, on their phone, access to apps and strategies without even knowing it that can produce the same results they have on their 9 to 5 job. Would you like to know the most important detail? Their job is limited. There are only so many work hours in a day. The strategies we are talking about can be leveraged over and over. There are no limits. Once you have the same amount of money coming in passively, you can consider yourself financially free—not rich but financially free. In finishing, I started to teach people what I know and what I’ve learned because my mission is to teach anybody how to actually live the American Dream.
What’s next for the business in the near future?
The mission evolved, and, with that, so did the business. I used to be the tax deed, tax lien guy, and, for too long, I was able to fit into that world. As I continued to evolve and grow on a personal level, I discovered that our contribution can be greater than just two strategies. Make no mistake, those two alone can change your life, but there is more to it. If you learn your current profession, you can learn how to make money and how to manage money. This is also a learnable skill. We are working in a new platform that will facilitate just that, Life Hack’s Wealth. We are producing new courses, testing new strategies, having meet up groups—the one that I’m most excited about being the Life Hack’s wealth camps.
What are your key initiatives for the success of the business?
Being active is the main initiative for success in the business—not just in the English market but also in different languages as well. I am fortunate to speak 3 languages, and that has opened the door to different countries. We have been holding several meetings throughout the world to teach the world about the sale of Tax Deeds and Tax Liens and how to be successful in the business. The most important thing they are learning is how they can invest in the United States.
Another key initiative we have is to mold great business leaders. Investors are, in effect, business owners, and business owners have to be strong leaders if they are going to succeed. In order to lead their team, find business partners, and overall do what needs to be done, this is necessary.
We also want to teach our students to team with great partners. As “early” investors, it’s good to have partners in the business. Having people in your back pocket that will invest, themselves, in your business will make a big difference. It will bring in money to cover big purchases and provide those who wish to go half-and-half on an investment, which gives someone the opportunity to take on half of the expenses, though they also take half of the profit.
We, as a company, also seek to team with great partners. We have learned from the get-go that business partners are important to success. I remember working 7 days a week, 14-16 hours a day, getting our training material completed. We finally started putting together live presentations at hotels around the area. I remember, for our first event, we gathered some friends to attend so it’d look like we had more people there and so visitors wouldn’t feel so alone or uncomfortable in the empty room. Soon, we made a partnership with a Brazilian-American, offering a commission. We later made a partnership with a big company, Experiencia de Sucesso. These partnerships, along with advertising, allowed us to grow.
What was your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?)
I had 17 properties by 2008, but by October of that year, I had lost 16 of them due to the 2007 housing crisis, which had just hit Florida at that time. I was broke, my credit was ruined, and my early retirement was over with. Moving my family to Houston, Texas, I found myself working for FedEx, barely able to make ends meet. I wasn’t even able to scrape enough money together to fix our water heater, so my family could have a hot shower. It was because of this crisis, although it was 2 years later, that I ended up going through my desk, coming across the book that was given to me 5 years prior. I’d never read it due to pride, thinking I didn’t need to know any more about real estate than I already did. This book, “The 16% Solution”, changed my life, my business, and the lives of hundreds of others. I learned through this experience to stick with it even through the tough times. If God brings you to it, God will bring you through it, and He always has something better waiting on the other side!
Name an ideal experience for a customer/ client?
My clients always say that it’s a great motivator to know that I went from zero to real estate millionaire in 4 years. They also tell me that knowing that I came from being a humble truck driver to where I am now shows them that anyone can do it.
Another key point is that our students receive support that no other company in the field offers. Knowing that they will have a specialist answering their questions whenever they stumble at a roadblock helps them feel more confident in doing their first investments. Nothing brings me more joy than to see them succeed.
How do you motivate others?
I do several things in my steps to motivate others. I will cover only a few. The first thing I do is to make sure that the people on my team know exactly what is going on. If you don’t know what’s going on, and what’s going to be going on, it’s hard for you to be motivated about the present and the future.
The second thing I do to motivate others is to be motivated myself. We lead by example. I‘m passionate about what I do. It transformed my life and the lives of many others. I put my money where my mouth is. This is a different strategy than many other mentors in the industry do. They figure that it’s easier to just teach than lead by example. I’m an active investor, and all my knowledge comes from my experience. I’m out there closing deals, researching properties, building Airbnbs, and showing my students what’s possible. I’m showing them that if I can do it, they can do it too.
Thirdly, I listen to my team members and do so without rushing them. In today’s world, people never get listened too, and, when they do, they are rushed through and made to feel like they are not important. People need to be listened to. If they feel important, they will be happy and motivated. Happiness tends to rub off on others, motivating others as well.
Give some career advice to those in your industry?
I would like to answer this question differently. I don’t think there are many out there that are doing what I do. Since my goal is to include as many readers as possible, I have a piece of advice that wasn’t created by me, but. once I followed it, it transformed my life. Not a day has gone by that I don’t remember and don’t apply this.
It doesn’t matter where you planning to go and to achieve career-wise, find someone that has achieved the same thing or more, and follow their system. Having a mentor is key, not only to go further but to go faster. They’ve already made all the mistakes. They’ve already learned from it. Now you don’t have to go through making the same mistakes. All you have to do is avoid them, and you’re a step ahead. If you try to figure it all out on your own, it may cost you.
I invest close to $40,000 in mentorship a year, but it saves me time, saves me headaches, and, I guarantee you, it saves me money. When it comes to business, mistakes equal loss. Why haven’t I made $30 million? Because I haven’t figured it all out yet. If I knew it, I would be done by now. So, I can continue to try to figure it out on my own, or I can find someone that has done it and absorb the knowledge from that mentor. This can put me on the fast track in my business. If I learn from my mentors, there will be fewer mistakes and less friction, and my work will be more efficient.
If you’re not in the position to invest $40,000 in self-education and mentorship, start by reading a book. Most people don’t realize it, but there’s a simple book that some can read in as little as 3 hours that has compacted 10-20 years of experience into its pages. Remember that $14 book that transformed my life?
Once you’ve acquired that knowledge, take massive action. That is where most people fail. I can show you how you can acquire a property for $50 in 60 seconds. If you just move on and forget you read this, what good will that do for you? Nothing, right? Knowledge is gold. Applicable knowledge is fine gold.
Seek more advice and less opinion. What’s the difference? This very simple. Opinion is what you get from friends, family, and loved ones when you’re about to do something that you’ve never done before and they likely haven’t either. Opinion is usually based on ignorance, lack of knowledge, and lack of experience.
Advice is what you get when you ask someone that is successful in what you want to accomplish. Their advice will be based on results, experience, and knowledge. Let’s say you have the idea of writing a book. If you ask for an opinion, your family might show you all the reasons why you should write that book or might convince not to do it. Now, if you receive advice from any best-selling author, you might have a sit-down, talk out, and take notes kind of session. He’ll tell you all the steps you need to know to write a best seller. Please, please, please seek more advice and less opinion.
If you’d like some advice that could better you, not only in life, in in your business, please head on over to www.marcosjacober.com. You’ll find a link to our store, our blog, and to some testimonials about our courses. It’s an all around good place to start or better your career!