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Willie James Mandrell III of The Mandrell Company: 5 Things You Should Do To Become a Thought Leader In Your Industry

One of the best things a business owner can do to build a personal brand is educating others within their industry. I started a meet-up group 8 years ago with the intention of showing others how I was buying investment real estate. The growth of the group started off slow and then took off like […]

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One of the best things a business owner can do to build a personal brand is educating others within their industry. I started a meet-up group 8 years ago with the intention of showing others how I was buying investment real estate. The growth of the group started off slow and then took off like wildfire. Today there are roughly 2300 members in the group and many of them attend our meetings on a consistent basis. I think the consistency comes from the members understanding there’s a true desire to share information without out quid pro quo. I never ask for anything I just share information and make connections but it has lead directly to the growth of my business. I’ve now been branded as an industry expert just by sharing a little information and making solid connections.

As part of our series about how to become known as a thought leader in your industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Willie James Mandrell III, a Boston-born real estate investor, broker, coach, lecturer, and author, who went from growing up in the projects in Boston to becoming a self-made multi-millionaire by the age of thirty-three. Inspired by his grandmother, who had been investing in real estate since the 1950s, he opened his real estate investment firm, The Mandrell Company, in 2012. Subsequently, The Mandrell Company was recognized in 2019 as one of the “Best Entrepreneurial Companies in America” by Entrepreneur magazine’s Entrepreneur360TM List. Willie believes in giving back to the community he grew up in. Bucking the gentrification trend where lower income families are forced to move out of the neighborhoods they have been in for decades for lack of affordable housing, he focuses in building multi-family units that are upgraded and suited for the community. In 2019, he was also awarded by the City of Boston the Mayoral Certificate of Recognition for his leadership as the organizer of Boston Wealth Builders and his commitment to educating communities on financial freedoms through real estate.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

From early on, I had a desire to follow in my grandmother’s footsteps; a black woman with a sixth-grade education who invested in real estate in the 50s and 60s, a time where the investment opportunities for blacks and all women were rare. Before launching my career in real estate, I obtained a finance degree from Northeastern University and worked at various financial institutions where I earned Investment Industry Licenses, including theSeries 7, 24, 63 & 65. Working in the finance industry, I quickly came to realize that there is a cultural wealth gap, and that real estate was an excellent means to bridge this gap. My goal is to educate people, especially those from communities of color, about opportunities within real estate.

Can you briefly share with our readers why you are an authority about the topic of thought leadership?

I’ve been running a mentorship and coaching program for over a decade.

13+ Years In Boston Real Estate | Both Good & Bad Markets

Personally, involved In 300+ Real Estate Transactions

Personal Real Estate Portfolio Valued @ $10,000,000 +

Licensed Financial Advisor & Mortgage Broker

Founder & Organizer Of 2,200 Member Real Estate Education Group

Recruited & Trained 50+ Local Sales & Leasing Agents

In a nutshell, how would you define what a ‘Thought Leader’ is. How is a thought leader different than a typical leader? How is a thought leader different than an influencer?

I think a leader is someone who heads in a direction or takes a path that they truly believe in without knowing if anyone will follow. I thought leader just does this intellectually rather than physically. Thought leaders of people who share information and encourage other people to follow their ideas.

Can you talk to our readers a bit about the benefits of becoming a thought leader. Why do you think it is worthwhile to invest resources and energy into this?

No matter what business you’re in or professional knowledge you have, there are people out there that are seeking your “thought leadership “. When you spent time educating others and sharing your professional knowledge you tend to build a following. Anytime you have a large following there are thousands of opportunities that will follow. I’ve always been taught that “your list is your business”. The bigger following you create the more money you tend to make.

Let’s talk about business opportunities specifically. Can you share a few examples of how thought leadership can help a business grow or create lucrative opportunities?

Becoming a thought leader in your professional space can certainly help grow your business. Many thought leaders may start out with selling books and courses about their professional expertise. With a decent following, you can also jump into memberships sites were your following can receive more detailed and higher level content from you. I’ve personally used my following to help grow my consulting business. Short informational videos are dripped out on my social with the idea that people will want top contact me for more. Especially when it comes to personal finance, people always think their situation is extremely unique and love personalize a personalize plan from a local expert.

Ok. Now that we have that behind us, we’d love to hear your thoughts about how to eventually become a thought leader. Can you share 5 strategies that a person should implement to become known as a thought leader in their industry. Please tell us a story or example (ideally from your own experience) for each.

One of the best things a business owner can do to build a personal brand is educating others within their industry. I started a meet-up group 8 years ago with the intention of showing others how I was buying investment real estate. The growth of the group started off slow and then took off like wildfire. Today there are roughly 2300 members in the group and many of them attend our meetings on a consistent basis. I think the consistency comes from the members understanding there’s a true desire to share information without out quid pro quo. I never ask for anything I just share information and make connections but it has lead directly to the growth of my business. I’ve now been branded as an industry expert just by sharing a little information and making solid connections.

In your opinion, who is an example of someone who has that has done a fantastic job as a thought leader? Which specific things have impressed you about that person? What lessons can we learn from this person’s approach.

Gary Vaynerchuk is the first person that comes to mind. He’s probably inspired more new thought leaders than anyone else. He’s a brilliant guy and preaches that consistent and relevant content on your social platforms is the key to becoming a leader in your given space.

I have seen some discussion that the term “thought leader” is trite, overused, and should be avoided. What is your feeling about this?

I don’t believe it’s an overused term. I believe you’ll actually see growth in this area and the term/ meaning will evolve. Social media has given anyone and everyone a voice. So many people are passionate about so many different things and with the use of social media anyone can quickly become a thought leader on a variety of topics.

What advice would you give to other leaders to thrive and avoid burnout?

Use leverage. I remind myself that anytime I feel burned out it’s because I’m doing too much myself and I’m not properly leveraging the skills and talents of other people. Leverage also comes in the form of money, systems, and tools. McDonald’s is the example that I always go back to. They found the perfect way to do something and created a system so it can be repeated all over the world. Almost everything you do in life can documented, systematized and duplicated by someone else. Using people leverage frees up your time to do more important things or just sit back and relax for a bit. There is no reason to be burnt out.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would inspire people to take better care of our planet. There is only one Earth and we are destroying it. I would encourage others to spend more time and energy creating ways to reduce our carbon footprint.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”. — Wayne Gretzy

I’ve missed a lot of big shots and I’ve made a lot of big shots, but I’m never afraid to take them. If you want to win in life, you must be able to shoot.

We are blessed that very prominent leaders in business and entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you would like to have a lunch or breakfast with? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Denzel Washington because he’s the coolest dude on the planet, a fabulous actor and deeply involved in human rights and helping his community.

How can our readers follow you online?

Your readers can follow me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/WMandrell, Meetup https://www.meetup.com/Networth-Investors/, BiggerPockets https://www.biggerpockets.com/users/wmandrell, YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbIQnhc6EhiAO5JxtjUDDIg?view_as=subscriber

and finally on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/wjmandrell/

Thank you so much for your insights. This was very insightful and meaningful.

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