As part of Incfile’s ongoing Business Of The Month series, we are profiling some of our favorite clients who are making great things happen with their businesses! We recently interviewed Ashley Patton, co-founder of Hopemont Investment Group, a real estate investment firm based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Ashley and her husband started a business because they wanted more freedom and financial security. They specialize in real estate investing, acquiring and renovating single-family and multifamily assets and property management.
Ashley talked with Incfile about what she’s learned from the journey of starting a real estate business.
Wanting to Leave a Legacy
Many entrepreneurs decide to start a business because they want to achieve a higher level of success in life. Being a business owner can often provide a more lucrative income and a more flexible schedule than a comparable full-time job. When you’re the boss, you get to keep a bigger share of the profits from the value that you create, and you get to benefit the most from the upside of your company’s growth potential.
Ashley was motivated to become a business owner by the idea of having stronger financial security and better long-term success for herself and for her family. “I wanted to become a business owner because I wanted to leave a legacy for my family and for the generations to come after me,” Ashley said. “I've always had a burning desire to own my own business, but I was even more motivated by the desire to break the family cycle of poverty and living paycheck to paycheck. Starting a business seemed like the best way out of that cycle.”
There are so many hardworking people in America who feel underpaid and underappreciated at conventional jobs. If you have ever wanted to achieve more with your life, or have felt like there is a better way to make a living with your talents and skills, then starting a business may be the best career move you can make.
Being the Boss, Learning On the Job
Ashley said that one of the challenges of starting a real estate business was learning how to be the boss, creating a strategic direction for the business and answering all the various questions that come up in the everyday hustle of running a company.
“When you're the boss, people turn to you for answers, so it's scary when the boss feels like they don't know who reach out to for help,” Ashley said. “We've started doing a lot of networking and joining meetups to overcome this, because there is always someone who is willing to be a mentor to help you navigate through your challenges.”
Networking and mentorship are important aspects of running a business. If you can invest some time in networking and building relationships with a larger community of business owners, you can often get new ideas and insights to help overcome your challenges.
Providing Opportunities for Others
If you want your business to grow, you’re going to need help from others — whether that means working with independent contractors, freelancers, suppliers, vendors or hiring employees. Ashley said that one of the most rewarding aspects of starting a real estate business has been the opportunities it’s created for her to hire friends and family.
“We've been able to hire friends and family to help with renovations on our properties, which has been very rewarding,” Ashley said.
In addition to the job opportunities created by their company, Ashley and her husband have also been able to create opportunities for other people to live in more comfortable, beautiful homes. By fixing up and renovating houses and apartments, they are creating better-quality rental homes for tenants to have a nice, affordable place to live.
“I feel like I’m helping other people achieve their dreams at the same time that I'm achieving my dreams,” Ashley said. “We always go above and beyond in our rental properties with amenities and features because we want people to feel like it's their own home.”
One aspect of starting a real estate business that has been particularly meaningful to Ashley is the way it has enabled her to create beautiful homes that are available even to lower-income renters.
“We once had a lady look at one of our rental properties before the renovations were completed, and she broke down in tears because she was on Section 8, an affordable housing program for low-income tenants, and we told her that we would accept Section 8 vouchers for the rental,” Ashley said. “She was so surprised and grateful. She couldn't believe that anyone would offer a Section 8 recipient an opportunity to live in a such a beautiful property. Well, she did end up moving in to the rental, and she is by far one of the best tenants we've ever had.”
Not every real estate business is so personally interested in affordable housing, but that’s a generous choice that Ashley and her husband are making. And when you’re the boss, you get to make the rules and decide how your company will do business!
“I would say the most rewarding thing about being your own boss is setting your own rules,” Ashley said. “When you own your own business, you get to set the rules and are the ultimate decision maker. But that level of power means that the buck stops with you!”
Building for the Future
Ashley loves life as an entrepreneur, and starting a real estate business has put her on track for continued future growth. As her business has grown, Ashley believes that her company’s operations have been getting more efficient.
“I definitely see my business scaling and I see us acquiring more properties,” Ashley said. “We've started implementing repeatable processes so that we become more efficient with each acquisition. We want to move out of the single-family rentals and into the multifamily space, so we expect to make that switch within the next year.”
That’s another wonderful aspect of being an entrepreneur: over time, you can hopefully get better at running your business, get smarter about the markets you serve and create repeatable, scalable processes to build more value and earn more income with less effort.
Congratulations to Ashley Patton and her husband on their success in real estate investing! Learn more about their company at HopemontInvest.com.
Are you ready to start a real estate business, form an LLC or reorganize your business structure to meet the changing needs of your company? Talk to Incfile today! Our incorporation experts can help you evaluate your options with state-specific advice.
Ben Gran is a freelance writer from Des Moines, Iowa. Ben has written for Fortune 500 companies, the Governor of Iowa (who now serves as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture), the U.S. Secretary of the Navy, and many corporate clients. He writes about entrepreneurship, technology, food and other areas of great personal interest.