Don’t ask others to do anything that you don’t or won’t do yourself. Work harder, smarter, and be of service to others. Remember, we are here to help others solve problems. If we do that, the rewards come to us in spades.
As a part of my series about strong women leaders of the Real Estate industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Holly Williams.
Holly Williams spent 25-years building her career as a successful advertising executive before getting into multifamily real estate investing. For years, she dabbled in real estate while in her day-to-day job, having purchased a Manhattan apartment and a few single-family and multi-dwelling homes. Now, with over two decades of multifamily real estate investment experience, owning properties and investments in New York, Texas, Ohio, and Mississippi, Holly has grown her wealth and has retired as an advertising executive. Holly is the founder of KeepMore.com, which has over 20 communities, encompassing over 4,500 and offers passive opportunities designed to minimize risk and maximize cash flow. She is also the author of Hidden Investing: What the Wealthiest 1% Know that We Don’t.. Together with Ashcroft Capital, she is currently a General Partner in projects throughout Texas.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the Real Estate industry?
I read Rich Dad, Poor Dad about 20 years ago, which opened my eyes the real estate industry a bit. So, I understood that real estate was an excellent investment, but I didn’t realize you could get into equity investing passively. So, I plugged along in my career and invested in single-family homes, but I was paying too much in taxes, in my opinion. So, I began to search for a better way to invest.
I discovered multifamily syndication when a friend of mine who knew about real estate investing called me and said that he was going to start buying large apartment complexes and needed investors. I invested with him mostly just to help him get started. Now, I have friends in this business, and we invest in things like apartment complexes. Prior to investing in multifamily properties, I spent 35 years in the market research and advertising industry in New York. I left that in October 2018, when my passive income became high enough that it made no sense for me to work any longer.
Can you share with our readers the most interesting or amusing story that occurred to you in your career so far? Can you share the lesson or take away you took out of that story?
This past winter, one of our apartment complexes in Dallas was hit by a tornado. If you have 400 apartments in seven buildings and one gets hit by a tornado, you’re still collecting rent from six other buildings. Tornados aren’t amusing, but it was a big learning lesson. People still need a place to live and people in other areas that were hit in Dallas still wanted to move into the complex. We had to hang on because we can’t do the renovations we had planned at this time, but the insurance will fix up the apartments the way we were going to do it.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I have just finished writing a book titled Hidden Investments: What the 1% Know That We Don’t. I decided to write this book to debunk investing myths and help people better understand how to invest and make their money work for them.
In a time when people need hope just as much as they need a deeper level of understanding about how money really works, Hidden Investments provides a practical glimpse into what the wealthy know about cash flowing apartment communities that have been a best kept secret. It’s time for the hard-working middle class to stop looking at investing the way our parents did. They will walk away with a new knack for building and keeping wealth through passive real estate, and multifamily syndication investments.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
My company is called KeepMore and that says it all. I want to help people, especially the shrinking middle class, to keep more of their money and not lose it to taxes. Moreover, I want to be the friend to my client that everyone wishes they had, that is, the friend who brings you into good deals. I understand how my clients feel. When I first began learning about passive real estate partnerships, I was afraid of losing money or of not having enough information. I know that there are others who are like I was, who think about money in the old school way. At KeepMore, we educate and share tax-friendly and often more secure private investment opportunities with accomplished, high-earning professionals, whose financial advisors do not want them to know about these possibilities. We teach people how to develop the proper mindset about money, how to surpass current obstacles to investing, and how to develop strategies for making their money work for them. Then, they can earn more and live more because they get to keep more of their money.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My friend came to me one day and asked me to invest in this apartment building with him. I knew him for years and trusted him, so I did it. This is how I began my journey into multifamily syndications.
Ok. Thank you for all that. Let’s now jump to the main core of our interview. The Real Estate industry, like the Veterinarian, Nursing, and Public Relations fields, is a women-dominated industry. Yet despite this, less than 20 percent of senior positions in Real Estate companies are held by women. In your opinion or experience, what do you think is the cause of this imbalance?
First of all, I’m a real estate investor and when I attend investor conferences, women are definitely a minority. I see many women real estate agents, but that’s not what I do. Also, I’m a real estate entrepreneur, not a real estate agent.
As far as women in business, in general, there are a few of us in senior positions in the corporate world in many industries in addition to commercial real estate. You have to remember that women have been in the workforce a relatively short period of time. It takes many years and often generations to change the culture of a society. Many women came before me who were an inspiration to me. I hope that I’ve done, and continue to do, my part to pave the way for the women who will follow me. The best way that we can continue to help women get to the top is to be generous, helpful to others, and kick ass in the business world!
What 3 things can be done by a)individuals b)companies and/or c) society to support greater gender balance going forward?
I think that we are doing a lot, and gender balance is getting better. In my book I talk about the victim mentality. We are not victims, and we need facilitate the changes that we need and want to happen. We need to all develop a girl’s network, use it, and women will continue to make great progress.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by women executives that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?
Again, culture. When a woman speaks loudly and firmly she’s labeled a bitch, or emotional, all of those things. Believe me, I get very frustrated and I’ve most definitely experienced the glass ceiling, and everything else. The only way to fix things like that is to rise above it and lead the way. I’m a firm believer that you can’t legislate people’s thoughts and opinions. My husband was Mr. Mom when my daughter was young, and I can assure you that he was not the only one in the class. Stereotypes are fewer than they used to be. We have a long way to go, but there is no question that my daughter has many more opportunities than I did, and I had many more opportunities than my mother did.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Real Estate industry?
I’m excited by the freedom it provides me to make my money work for me. It also allows me the freedom to spend time with my daughter and husband. The second thing are the tax benefits. I love that I get to help others discover this passion and learn how to invest like the 1 percent who have access to information that the rest of us lack.
Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest?
1. Eliminate any “get rich quick” real estate programs. Real estate investing is about getting rich slow.
2. Real estate investing is not easy. It’s a lot of work, taking a lot of time. There is no such thing as passive income, and people have no idea of the work that is actually involved.
3. Some people are making risky decisions without informing their investors of the risks. That’s not good for anyone, anywhere. If a syndicator doesn’t have time to speak with you and/or is hesitant to provide information, run away.
What advice would you give to other leaders to help their team to thrive?
Don’t ask others to do anything that you don’t/won’t do yourself. Work harder, smarter, and be of service to others. Remember, we are here to help others solve problems. If we do that, the rewards come to us in spades.
Ok, here is the main question of our interview. You are a “Real Estate Insider.” If you had to advise someone about 5 non-intuitive things one should know to succeed in the Real Estate industry, what would you say? Can you please give a story or an example for each?
My primary advice to those interested in investing in multifamily real estate syndication are:
- Study the 1%
- Get in with a good group of investors
- Make sure the investment is worth it
- Think of money logically and not emotionally
- Read Rich Dad, Poor Dad then Hidden Investments: What the 1% Know That We Don’t.
Because of your position, you are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
I wrote a book, as I mentioned above, to help others learn how to make their money work for them. This is not your average real estate investing book. This is a practical guide is the ultimate wealth-building myth buster and the unfolding of my personal journey from successful advertising executive to multi-family real estate investing mogul.