RG 248 – The Evils of Corporate America w/ Jerome Myers
This week my guest, Jerome Myers, has a heartfelt and emotional story of why he left the corporate America game and chose investing as a career instead. Jerome couldn’t stand the way people were treated in the corporates and even had to deal with one of his colleagues committing suicide because he lost his job. Luckily though, Jerome is now a successful real estate investor and gets to live out his childhood dream of helping people manifest the things they imagine and create social proof that dreams should be real. He drops by to tell us how to start an investing business from scratch and what newbie mistakes you want to avoid.
Jerome Myers (a/k/a “J”) is a developer of people and places. He is the founder and Chief Inspiration Officer of DreamCatchers and The Myers Development Group. Since leaving corporate America after building a 20MM division, J has become one of the most sought-after thought leaders in the multifamily development space. His company, The Myers Development Group, built a multi-million-dollar portfolio following the principles of Myers Methods.
This success has led to him being featured on top podcasts such as Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever with Joe Fairless, Apartment Investing with Michael Blank, Multifamily Investor Nation with Dan Hanford, Target Market Insights with John Casmon, and at least two dozen others.
We dive deep into:
- Why leaving corporate America was the best thing Jerome ever did.
- How to start an investing business on a strong foot.
- What mistakes people make when starting out.
- Why people give up too easily.
- You can’t just read books and listen to podcasts in order to launch an investing career.
So what are you waiting for?
Be Bold, Be Brave and Go Give Life a Crack!
Listen to Podcast
Jerome Myers (00:00):
And so what I really encourage people to do, who want to be active operators is to go do a joint venture, right? Get them tuna in the boat. That’s what I call it. If you’ve ever been deep sea fishing. Yeah. Have you ever been deep sea fishing? You go do one of these smaller deals. If you go and really dig into every educator’s background, that’s what they did. They did. One of these smaller deals got started and then they came back. They made some money. And I liken this to, when you get back to the dock, after you’ve been fishing all day, they lay out all the fish so people could see what your take was. And guess what, if you got a bunch of fish, when you come back, there’s going to be people who want to go out with you next time you go out on your boat, right? And so that’s how you start building your reputation. You start building a track record, and honestly that word of mouth referral, that’ll bring you the investor that you need to go do a syndication.
Reed Goossens (01:04):
Welcome to investing in the U S a podcast for real estate investors, business owners, and aspiring entrepreneurs looking to break into the U S market join Reed. As he interviews go getters risk takers and the best in the business about their journey towards financial freedom and the sheer joy of creating something from nothing
Reed Goossens (01:25):
Good. I get a ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to another cracking edition of investing in the U S podcast from Los Angeles. I’m your host, Rick. Goossens good as always every with us on the show. Now, I’m glad that you’ve all tuned into learn from my incredible guests and each and every one of them are the cream of the crop here in the United States. When it comes to real estate, investing, business, investing, and entrepreneurship, each show, I try and tease out their incredible stories of how they have successfully created their businesses here in the U S how they’ve created financial freedom, massive amounts of cashflow, and ultimately create extraordinary lives for themselves and their families. Life by design. As I like to say, hopefully these guests will inspire all of my cracking listeners, which are you guys to get off the couch and go and take massive amounts of action.
Reed Goossens (02:12):
If these guys can do it. So can you now, as you know, I’m all about sharing the knowledge with my loyal listeners, which is you guys, and there’s absolutely no BS on this show, just straight into the nuts and bolts. Now, if you do like to show the easiest way to give back is to give us a review on iTunes, and you can follow me on Facebook and Twitter by searching at Reed Goossens. You can find the show wherever you podcast on iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and Google play, but you can also find these episodes up on my YouTube channel. So head over to Reed goossens.com, click on the video link, and it’ll take you to the video recordings of these podcasts. We can see my ugly mug for the beautiful faces of my guests each and every week. All right, enough of me let’s get cracking. And indeed a days [inaudible]
Reed Goossens (02:59):
Have the pleasure of speaking with Jerome Meyers. Jerome is the preeminent authority of dream realization. I believe that dreams can and should be real Jerome left the corporate America gig when he realized that his role offered financial gain, but yet offering little significance. Today is the founder of the Meyer’s method and the Meyer’s development group he’s been featured in business insider and numerous top rated podcast on iTunes. His company, the Meyers development group has a multi-million dollar portfolio following the principles that he has created in his Myers method to top it all off. Jerome is hugely passionate about workforce housing in the multi-family space and using this investment vehicle to help the community, but also help his investors achieve financial freedom along the way. I’m really pumped and excited to have him out here on the show. But after to me, let’s get him out here, get a mate, welcome to the show, how you doing today
Jerome Myers (03:50):
And read so good to be with you. I’ve been following your journey for the past few years, man. And it’s just super cool to see somebody leave all the way from Australia and come here and make a fortune man. So inspiring. Sure. Well, thank
Reed Goossens (04:04):
You. Thank you, my friend. I, uh, I didn’t know. You’re a fan, so thanks a lot. Well, I’m glad to have you on the show and we actually connected on LinkedIn and all your stuff you’re doing there. And I want to talk about that in a minute, but before we get into what you’re doing today, let’s rewind the clock and tell me how you made your first ever dollar as
Jerome Myers (04:21):
A kid. Yeah, I think the real dollar that I can remember was cutting grass for neighbors, right? I, I was the kid who took my dad’s lawnmower and his gas, and I went to other people’s yards and I cut their grass. Cause I had to cut the grass at home for free. And I’ve realized that, uh, there were some folks who lived in my neighborhood when we had daughters and the dads didn’t want to cut the grass. And so I was the guy who would get 20, $40 depending on how big the yard was. And I did that and I did it for the whole summer and it was hot and, but it was worth it. And it got some shoes and some other stuff
Reed Goossens (04:59):
Spending it, all the good things that you want to do when you’re a kid. Right. Without
Jerome Myers (05:02):
A question, man. Right. So tell
Reed Goossens (05:04):
Us a little bit about your upbringing and how you got involved in this freedom mindset. That, that we’re going to talk a lot about on today’s show, but where did it all start? And maybe walk us through the journey to get to realization that you, you know, as I said in the intro, you were in a corporate gig, but you didn’t love it. So that’s where it all start.
Jerome Myers (05:23):
Yeah. It’s kind of when I got my innocence stolen. And so were you you’re out in LA, right, but for me, I grew up in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and I’m in the front yard with my mom playing one day, I got my Tonka trucks out and I’m moving them around and I hear the trash truck come around the corner and he stops. And we were the third of 4,000 and he gets to our yard. He just runs over there. He pops the lid off. It just kind of spins around in a circle, falls down. He grabs the trashcan, spins around, dumps it in there. And then he does the most important thing where he what’s he doing? He pulls that lever, baby. And I go nuts. I go nuts. He pulled the lever in front of the house. He crushes the trash and I’m like, mommy, I want to, to be a trash man.
Jerome Myers (06:04):
And she looks at me and says, baby, being a trash man, isn’t going to afford you. The lifestyle you want to live. I said, but mommy like Lonnie gets to play with his kids every day after school because he gets off around three o’clock and my daddy doesn’t come home until six because he works Carolina half-days he leaves before six, it comes back at sex. And she said, but your lifestyle is different. You can’t buy Nike’s and have nice cars and live in a nice house if you do that. And I, uh, but I want to be like able to play with my kids and she stopped. I understand you need to go find a career job. That’s going to pay you to live the lifestyle you want to live. And you know, that whole, I dream of being a trash man was taken away.
Jerome Myers (06:53):
She said, maybe you could own the trash company, but being the trash man, isn’t it. I’m going to give you a life you want to live. And so I put that in my pocket and I started growing up and as I got ready to leave high school and Sean figure out what I was going to study in college. I asked my physics teacher was Mr. Airs. You know, I like solving problems. I don’t know if I want to be a psychologist or an engineer. He said, well, Jerome, I think it’d be good at both. But one phase is a whole lot different than the other. So I went back to five-year-old where my mom’s living. I mean, you’re telling me I can’t be a trash man. And I say, okay, well, I guess I’m going to be an engineer. Cause those salaries, they’re almost double what a psychologists would be starting out.
Jerome Myers (07:33):
And so that’s what I go do. And you know, we get a degree and then we go work in corporate and we Excel, Excel, feel like our career is on a rocket ship. And then 2009 happens. My sponsor get laid off. His position gets eliminated and I’m stuck in the job. I hate for three years and a few months and days and hours. I can’t remember. Now it’s been so long ago. And eventually I get out of that fast forward to the end of my corporate career, I was not employee number two in a division that went from two to 175 employees over the course of about eight months. And by the end of the year, we did about $20 million in revenue. I had the P and L responsibilities. We had 30% profit margins and I get the phone call on Christmas Eve and I go, something like this, Hey Jerome, we’re going to lay off about half the folks.
Jerome Myers (08:29):
I need to know exactly who you need to have. And we’re going to do it right after the holiday. And I started bickering and arguing saying, no, I need these people. I need everybody because all these people have made adjustments in her life to help me do the thing that you gave me the task of doing. And he gets support 59. He says, it’s five, o’clock on Christmas Eve. I’m going to go enjoy my family. You should do same. And I didn’t, I didn’t enjoy my family. I didn’t enjoy the holiday. In fact, I have a hard time with the holidays read if I’m totally honest, that thing turned me inside out. And I realized that I’m not good at being the guy. And so we put Humpty Dumpty back together again. And we went through the next year and the way that I got through that, because I’d stopped eating for a couple of days because of the impact. I said, I’ll just never do this again. This will never happen. Two days before Thanksgiving, I’m having a similar conversation, but with the folks that are on the team now, Hey guys, I’m not sure what’s going to happen. Please don’t spend your check on black Friday. And that was when I knew that I was going to be a corporate America drop out. And before the end of the year, that’s what I did and decided that I was going to go buy an apartment building that didn’t work out the way I thought it was going to, but that was the game plan. Well, first of all,
Reed Goossens (09:50):
I want to say, you’re not the first engineer to be on the show. So what engineering did you study? I’ll might be talking to another, I’ve a civil engineer as well, a recovering civil engineer, as we all like to say, but, um, yeah, that would have been pretty hard. And it sounds like you really, you were able to help build a business, but then the responsibilities or being in the business of being the Axe, man, as you said, sound like a white pretty heavily on you. And that’s more of a personal thing and that’s, it’s awesome. But it would also add some demons, you know, is that you didn’t eat for two days. So how did you mentally get over that to say what a Duck’s back and let’s move on and let’s keep pushing this ball down the fairway.
Jerome Myers (10:33):
Yeah. I mean, at the highest level, I’m still dealing with it. I consider that a traumatic experience. And I mean, I don’t usually say this on podcasts, but one of the folks that I laid off, his family left, he didn’t find work. So he lost his home and eventually he committed suicide. Right. And I, in some ways I’m responsible for that. Right. And sure I can shrug it off and say, yeah, well, he didn’t have to do that. You didn’t pull the trigger, et cetera, et cetera. I get all of that. But you know, decisions that we made along the way led to this unraveling of this person’s life. And if you are okay with just distancing yourself from the humanity of all of it, good for you, I’m not right. I see people as people is super important for me to act in love.
Jerome Myers (11:20):
And if I can do that, then I’m feel good about looking myself in the mirror. But if I can’t, then I struggle and it eats at me. And so, you know, the approach that we have to, oh, well, it’s just business, not personal. I struggle with it because I think everything is personal. When you tell somebody, Hey, you got to figure out how you’re going to eat next week. Right. And I was working extra for you. I had no problem calling people at nine o’clock at night and say, Hey, I need this before we start at eight o’clock tomorrow, I didn’t have any with it because, and they were willing to do it because I did care about them as people. And I would do it for them if they needed me to do it. And that’s just the type of culture and team that we built in that organization. And I just wanted to continue to treat people with that dignity and respect throughout our relationship. And if they chose to leave understandable, but I didn’t want to treat them like they were a commodity because I didn’t see them that way. And that’s what we get to when we are dealing with the larger organizations. I think, no, it’s,
Reed Goossens (12:22):
It’s, it’s really powerful stuff. You know, dealing with humans as commodities is, is what a lot of businesses do, right? That’s how they make profits and how the world goes around. And it is that dichotomy between your self-belief and then what the belief of the business is. Plus combining a culture that you’ve helped build. And then it sort of seems to, you know, you’ll mind probably crumble away because you’re eroding at that because you don’t respect them or the business doesn’t respect them or to see you doesn’t respect them. And thus it plays heavily on you. So no deep stuff there. And, and, and would have ultimately put you on a path, which we’re going to talk about now, which you know about your freedom and your, your ability to want to achieve freedom. So talk to me about the time that you did actually eventually say enough’s enough and I’m I’m quitting.
Jerome Myers (13:07):
What was that conversation like? Then we came back and he was like, okay, well here’s what’s going on? And I was like, I just, I don’t have the stomach for doing this again. If this is what it looks like going forward, I don’t want any parts of it guys. Like, and so I started digging in on something that I figured out sophomore year of college. I mean, me and my buddy sitting on the Snoop and I’m like, oh, I paid 3 95. I got two roommates to do the same, started doing a little bit of calculation in my head. You’re doing this too. And he was like, yeah, we’re doing this. And so I look at Darren, I was like, man, this guy is making several hundred thousand dollars a year. We’ve never seen him or talked to him. He was like, what? I was like 700,000 brother.
Jerome Myers (13:46):
It’s like, I can live off of 700,000, forget that I could probably live off 70. How do we do this? Right. The guy who owned the complex was making 700,000. We never seen him. We’re talking to them. This is what we want to do, but we didn’t have access. Right. I told you, my dad was a soldier. Right. My mom stayed home with me. Nobody was a multi-million dollar portfolio. Nobody liked Reed. Goossens was coming over to the house to eat at my, at my place of fine chap. Right. A great, uh, great may he’s not coming over to eat dinner with us and you know, that’s, that’s okay. Right. But it’s the proximity is the access to the people that are actually doing it. That makes a difference. Like when people say your network is your net worth, it’s a real thing. And this came back to bite me read.
Jerome Myers (14:33):
So when I walk out and I was like, okay, apartments is the next thing. I’m going to build a portfolio. I’m to live off the portfolio. I go into the banks and I tell them, Hey, don’t you want to give me a million dollars so I can go buy this deal. And they look at me like, why would we give you a million dollars? Let’s say, let’s just build a $20 million division. I got my engineering license, all these things sound really good Delta, you know, like, yeah, no. I was like, well, what about a six Sigma master black belt MBA? Any of that? No, we don’t care about the 800 credit score. No, none of that matters. What matters is that you haven’t signed the loan. You haven’t executed this business plan on a deal of similar size before. And because of that, you’re a risk. I said, so what do I do you go find somebody with experience to do the deal with you? I don’t know anybody. And that was when it hit me. I almost went two decades and I hadn’t changed my network in order to get me to a place where I could do the thing that I knew that I should be and wanted to do. Talk about a slap in the face, made this money, build this business. And I still was no better off or any closer to that dream that I had. Man. One
Reed Goossens (15:43):
Is very self-aware of you, but I want to quickly rewind back. How did you even put one and two together when you sit on the stoop and talking about the rent, because the average 20 year old or however old you were at that stage, you know, young professional, probably thinking you’re crushing it, you know, getting a bit of money in your pocket. How did you even do that? Math? Because I know when I was in my early twenties, I wasn’t doing that math. You know what I mean?
Jerome Myers (16:08):
So I think we were 19 and we drawn and I used to trade black enterprise magazine worth the, for the Robb report. We used to trade all these magazines because we knew that we were going to be able to have this crazy life one day. Right. And so we would talk about what we knew, the little that we knew about investing from the resources that we had access to. And in black enterprise, there was somebody who was investing in real estate and we started just find a count up, well, how much money can you actually make there? And like, how do you actually do it? And just, it expanded our concept of what was actually possible. But within that construct, we realized like, well, maybe this isn’t for us because you know, it’s hard enough to count to half a million dollars, let alone a million. So how do we actually do something like this, I think is a game, but that’s it. We have those periodicals that we were looking at and having discussions about,
Reed Goossens (17:07):
Right. Let’s talk, right. It’s, it’s better than great because to take that and is try and take snippets of things. And that’s what I think the engineering mind does when it’s cured. The curiosity in the mind that says, I can read this and then look up and think, hang on, I’m a renter, hang on. I pay 900 bucks a month. Hang on. There’s 50 units in there. I’ve just read something in here. I’m putting one and two together. And that’s the engineering brain working it out. And it’s being one self-aware. But to that observant of your surroundings to have those blinkers come off to then say, ah, ah, ha I see how things go, how the world works. Uh, it’s a very interesting and kudos to you, man, for doing that in such a young age, because at 19, I definitely wasn’t doing that. But now fast forward to where you’re talking to the, and talking about, you’re trying to get leverage. How did that conversation go? And how did you ultimately go and fix that in order to get you to the position?
Jerome Myers (17:57):
Yeah, it didn’t go right. I went to 10 different banks and they all told me the same thing because I’m stubborn and persistent. And so I said, all right, well, great. Uh, now what? And so I started fixing the flipping houses and I’m sitting on the stoop of this 1920s build $90,000 rehab that we’re doing. And we’re getting closer to the end. And the guy pulls up in a white Dodge Ram. You hops out. He’s like, Hey man, I’m an investor in the market, in the neighborhood. I love to come in and check out your finishes and see what you’ve done in here. We’re going to do a project down the street. I say, oh, come on, man. Let’s let me show you around. Oh, cool. You took that wall out. And you put that granted in and nice big island. And you got the sink in there.
Jerome Myers (18:40):
That’s pretty snazzy. And no, this tire looks really good. He refinished a hardwood floors, man. We might have to up our game a little bit. So he’s getting ready to walk out. Hey, thanks for the tour. Any positives? And he says, Hey, you don’t really think about that. 23 unit building down there behind the Chimbote mark. Yeah, I do. I tried to buy that four or five months ago. Well, I’m thinking about making an offer on that. Can you give me an Anto? I don’t really have anything. I went to a bunch of banks. They told me I needed an experienced partner and I just don’t know anybody that I was any multi-family. Oh, okay. Do you own anything? He’s like, yeah, we’ve done a couple of deals. We’ve done a few deals. So is that you’re the guys I’m looking for? Don’t leave me out.
Jerome Myers (19:26):
And he said, well, what are you going to bring to the deal? I said, look, man, that doesn’t matter. You you’re the guy I’ve been looking for for the past six months. Don’t leave me out. Like we just got to figure out that stuff. Don’t worry about that. Just don’t leave me out of this deal. And he just kinda shrugs, not committed. He’s like, all right, man, I’ll see you later. You know, ops in his truck. He drives off and he forgets about me. He goes and makes offer on the property and you know, I’m crushed. Right. Cause I don’t hear from them. And I’m thinking, oh man, I miss my opportunity to get my apartment building fast forward a week or so. And I get a phone call. Right. And he’s like, look, man, uh, the guy came to me. He presented the same deal we were talking about back in January, February.
Jerome Myers (20:09):
I told him only way I do the deal if you were in on it. Oh yeah, yeah, man. We’re going to meet at such and such and you should come by so we can all try to get this thing hashed out. Okay. I’m there. Right? And so the three of us and then two other folks join up and we buy this deal for 1.3 million in Richmond, Virginia. And we think we’re going to do one business plan and it goes off the rails. We have to do something completely different, but it got me in the paper. Right. That’s that part was super cool. I never forget that part read. And so the headline says something along the lines of rising star partners was proven real estate investors to rehab Churchill, townhomes. Who were they talking about?
Reed Goossens (20:56):
Yeah. Yeah. That’s
Jerome Myers (20:58):
All talking about me. So I’m like, okay, here we go. And then the phone starts ringing and read and it’s the banks that didn’t want to lend to me before. And they wouldn’t tell me about their products. They want me to talk about refinancing. They want to understand if I got anything else in pipeline, I just closed one deal. I wouldn’t even know what a pipeline we’re here. Now we’re going to make it look like it. We gonna make it look real good. And so that’s a story, man. That’s how we got in and connected. Yeah. Yeah. So
Reed Goossens (21:33):
It was through that one gentleman that brought you in the deal and kismet universe. Woo. Whatever the hell you want to call it, like that’s, that’s bloody awesome. And you’ve got no, I wouldn’t say it’s a lucky break because you’d already tried. It’s not lucky you put yourself, you create your own luck. Um, and so tell me a little bit about the deal. Cause you mentioned earlier on in the piece that you didn’t quite go to plan, it went a little bit off the rail, the railway tracks. So what actually happened and, and how did that deal go? And how did that partnership go? Because, and I just want to say to all the listeners out there, this is exactly what Drome has done. He’s got his foot in the door. It wasn’t about how much money he made on the deal, but he got his foot in the door that help prove social proof to himself, to others, but helped improve to the banks that he can do it. So drone go, what is the, what happened with the deal? And do you still have it today?
Jerome Myers (22:23):
Yeah, we do still have it. And so I’ll try to give it a sequentially, right? So we bought the deal. Average rents are about 6 95 and we think we are going to go in and we’re going to renovate on turns. And as soon as we get there, everybody stops paying rent and they, property manager starts evicting. And next thing we know, half the unit is empty and we’re looking around like, oh, and so we’ve got some construction, we got a construction loan from the bank. We got some money in the deal. We’re doing the roof, we’re doing the side and landscaping holding off on the parking lot. But we know we got to do that too. And we’re renovating units or trying to renovate units and then, oh, we don’t have permits, oh God, here we go. Right now we got to get the permits and that delays it and still paying the bank every month, the interest only.
Jerome Myers (23:10):
And then eventually we get through this stuff, right. And we do everything right. I’m talking about, add a half bath on the first floor. You got a jackhammer at out cause this one slab, uh, we had a crush, uh, plumbing pipe, the main drain pipe was crushed. And so we had to pull the old one out, put a new one in, uh, redid the electrical added HPAC. This was the funniest part about the whole thing. So half the buildings had HPAC the other half didn’t. So we budgeted to do the other half. Well, somebody came in while we were waiting on permits and went through the cages and disassembled all of the HVHC units on the back half of the ability. And so now just so people get idea, I mean, HPAC unit is $4,000. And so for half of those units, we’ll just call it 10 to make it easy.
Jerome Myers (23:59):
I mean, it’s actual 40 grand that we hadn’t budgeted because we had that stuff there already. And so we keep going through this and put in, take out the wall so that it’s looks and feels bigger on the first floor. Grant is fabulous. It’s beautiful. This immaculate. Oh. And we added a laundry room inside on the first floor because, you know, we just want to be fancy smancy. We get to the end of the road and it’s like, okay, here we go. We budget. We plan when we did our pro forma, we were going to get 8 95, maybe 9 95. If we’re lucky we go to market and we get 1195 and like, oh boy, here we go. This is a totally different game than what we thought we were going to get. And so we basically, you know, double the top line and increase the, the expenses very much. And so that for us as a game changer. And so we’re still holding that property. Um, you know, we’re taking distributions and evaluating whether we refinance a long-term permanent debt or keep playing with the community bank money so that, uh, if there comes opportunity to liquidate, we can do that without worrying about any of the penalties.
Reed Goossens (25:16):
That’s awesome. That’s such an incredible story of tripping. Uh, when you first get started and everything going wrong, what does it Murphy’s law when it all goes wrong at once. And then, you know, you finally see light at the end of the tunnel and your performance are completely smashed that’s. That’s awesome, dude. Um, so, so what’s now we spoke in the green room before pressing record here. We talked a lot about, you know, the, thes