by Shravan Parsi, CEO and founder of American Ventures, and author of “The Science Of The Deal: The DNA Of Multifamily & Commercial Real Estate Investing“
If you try to make a buck on the side with an extra job that inspires you but doesn’t really pay the bills, you’ll likely hear this sobering and uninspiring advice: Don’t quit your day job.
But some people do manage to turn a side hustle into a main hustle – and prosper in the process.
It definitely takes effort, energy, and a willingness to step out there, but the rewards can be great.
I was a full-time pharmaceutical research scientist working 9 to 5 and dabbling in real estate on the side when I realized my regular job was hampering my real estate deals because I wasn’t available to talk with people or show a house during the day. Eventually, I bid farewell to my old career and launched my new one in commercial real estate.
Here are a few tips for those who long to shake loose from their current careers and venture into something that drives their passions:
1. Be bold and flexible.
A willingness to take chances and adapt to changing circumstances is critical. Even in seventh grade in my native India, ambition boiled in me. I realized that to become the kind of global leader I aspired to be, I’d need to know English. So, I transferred to an English school. My parents supported my decision even though they knew it would be challenging.
2. Be interested in everything and observe closely.
You never know when opportunities to expand your knowledge – and be inspired by new ideas – will present themselves. I learned this lesson at age 14. My father was a doctor who himself invested in real estate as a passive investment, and was having a two-story house built – one story for the family and one as a rental.
He pointed out that I had time to kill over summer vacation and recommended I watch the process. So my brother and I watched the construction and supervised the contractors. It left a strong impression on me.
3. Pivot when necessary.
Life doesn’t always go as planned, so you need to be prepared to change direction. As an example, I originally planned to follow in my father’s footsteps and become a doctor. But admission to medical school in India is highly competitive and I missed the cutoff criteria by one-tenth of a point. That’s when I pivoted and became a pharmaceutical scientist instead.
4. Learn how to sell anything.
At different periods in my life, I worked in a cell phone store, sold Amway products, and sold nutritional supplements. Those experiences weren’t always the best, but I did gain something from them.
I realized that if I can sell the products and a story and recruit others, then I can sell anything. Selling is a pivotal skill most entrepreneurs must have.
Oh, and about that “don’t quit your day job” advice. There actually is something to that.
I did not quit my pharmaceutical job right away. I had an objective to stay in that job until the real estate income was twice the value of my salary. When I hit that objective – when real estate was no longer a side hustle – I decided it made sense to invest more time in real estate than the scientific position.
Now American Ventures is a successful multifamily and commercial real estate investment firm with a proven track record.
Never settle for less.
Shravan Parsi is CEO and founder of American Ventures, and author of “The Science Of The Deal: The DNA Of Multifamily & Commercial Real Estate Investing“. He is an entrepreneur and innovator with a background in the diverse fields of real estate investing and pharmaceutical research. He has been involved in Texas real estate since 2003, and has acquired several apartment complexes in aggregate of over 4000 units and several commercial properties by co-investing with private equity groups, pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and accredited investors.