JF1812: Starting An Investment Club, Renting RV’s & Building Indoor Sports Arenas with Ryan Enk
Ryan is here to share his story today, which will have a heavy focus on hard work and passive income. Ryan’s passion is helping other working class people earn passive income to better their own futures. If you enjoyed today’s episode remember to subscribe in iTunes and leave us a review!
Best Ever Tweet:
“Some people have no money and no network, they can start with wholesaling” – Ryan Enk
Ryan Enk Real Estate Background:
- Founder of Columbia Real Estate Investment Club, the author of Rolling Real Estate Formula and owner of an RV rental fleet
- Has built 2 two million dollar indoor sports arenas
- Based in Covington, LA
- Say hi to him at www.cashflowdadlife.com
- Best Ever Book: Rich Dad Poor Dad
Evicting a tenant can be painful, costing as much as $10,000 in court costs and legal fees, and take as long as four weeks to complete.
TransUnion SmartMove’s online tenant screening solution can help you quickly understand if you’re getting a reliable tenant, which can help you avoid potential problems such as non-payment and evictions. For a limited time, listeners of this podcast are invited to try SmartMove tenant screening for 25% off.
Go to tenantscreening.com and enter code FAIRLESS for 25% off your next screening.
Theo Hicks: Hi, Best Ever listeners. Welcome to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I’m Theo Hicks and I will be the host today. Today I will be speaking with Ryan Enk. How are you doing today, Ryan?
Ryan Enk: Doing great. I’m glad to be on the show, Theo. Thank you.
Theo Hicks: Yeah, I’m glad to have you on. I’m looking forward to our conversation. A little bit about Ryan. He is the founder of Columbia Real Estate Investment Club, the author of Rolling Real Estate Investment Formula, and the owner of an RV rental fleet.
He has built a few in-door sports arenas – I’m looking forward to talking about that. He’s based in Covington, Louisiana, and you can say hi to him at cashflowdadlife.com. We’ll have that website in the show notes of this episode.
Before we get started, Ryan, do you mind telling us a little bit more about your background and what you’re focused on now?
Ryan Enk: Yeah. The main thing that I’m focused on right now is helping people achieve passive income, specifically through real estate investing… And enough passive income to replace their working income. The reason that I’ve got a heart for that is because I’ve got five kids, I’ve got five boys (I don’t know how to make girls, but I’m not a quitter, so we’ll see what happens there), and when I was going through corporate America, and had a corporate job selling copiers – I don’t know if you’ve ever seen that movie Office Space, where they take the copier to the backfield and beat it with a baseball bat… That was how people felt about me when I walked in the door unsolicited to sell them a copier.
I was really at this crossroads, because I was having all these kids, and I just got chewed out by this [unintelligible [00:03:57].11] who I sold a copier to, and I was like “Man, I’m in a really bad place right now…” And I asked myself a critical question that I think everybody should ask themselves, and that’s “What would you do if money didn’t matter?” Because if money didn’t matter, I would be more present for my wife and my family and my kids, I’d be able to serve my community better… And I just chased that rabbit all the way down the hole, and the vehicle I used to achieve that was real estate investing… So that’s what I help people now.
Theo Hicks: That’s such a great business model, and I’m sure people really appreciate you helping them out with that. So when you’re helping people achieve their passive income, is it more you’re helping them set up their own real estate business, or are they investing in some of the deals that you do, or is it a combination of those two things?
Ryan Enk: Yeah, it’s a combination of those two. A lot of real estate mentors sometimes pigeon-hole you into one strategy or another, and as you know, there’s tons of strategies out there… So what we like to do is we like to reverse-engineer the situation, because some people might not have money, but they have a big network. Or they have a lot of money but they don’t really wanna spend a whole lot of time going out and finding deals… So we focus on creating single-family portfolios and multifamily portfolios as the main two strategies.
But that being said, some people have no money and no network, in which case sometimes we’ll say “Well, let’s get started with wholesaling.”
So we really kind of figure out where people are with their current capital situation, their current time constraints, their current network, and then we recommend a strategy and educate them from there.
Theo Hicks: Okay, that’s great. That’s how you’ve gotta do it; you don’t wanna just present one strategy and say “This is exactly how you have to do it”, because as you mentioned, it’s based on where they’re at right now, and everyone’s situation is different, so… That’s a great strategy.
As we said it in your background, you’ve built a few indoor sports arenas… I’ve personally never met anyone who’s done that before, so do you mind telling us a story about that? How you determined that that’s what you want to do, and then maybe kind of walk us through the numbers on one of those deals?
Ryan Enk: Yeah. So as part of the story I was giving you earlier, I asked myself what I would do if money didn’t matter… I was actually driving across the bridge from New Orleans – it’s the longest bridge in the world, across Lake Pontchartrain, and I just prayed for a little bit, I asked God to help me, because I was miserable; I was waking up every day with anxiety with what I had to do for work… So it popped in my head, “Well, what would I do if money didn’t matter?” I’ve always loved played soccer and football, and I was previously a teacher before Hurricane Katrina hit… This school I was at was six feet underwater.
So I was like “You know what, I’d like to do something where people are happy when I walk in the door, they want to know me… And something that people look forward to every week.” People look forward to their games every week, and it makes a positive impact on the community… And I also played guitar too, so I was like “There’s three things – I would either mentor people, help people, I’d open up an indoor sports arena where people can come and play sports, have birthday parties, whatever it is, or I would play music, if money didn’t matter.”
So I called my wife – and we had never had this discussion before – and I said “Obviously, you see me coming home unhappy and miserable, and not totally present to you and the kids… What could you see me doing if money didn’t matter?” She said “I don’t know, maybe opening up an indoor sports arena, playing music, or mentoring people.” So I was like “Alright, that’s my golden ticket to remind her that’s her idea, as I try to pursue this.” [laughs]
And at the time I didn’t have anything in my bank account really but overdraft fees. For anybody looking to get started, most people think that that’s a huge brick wall… But there’s a saying that I heard – I think it was Tony Robbins that said “Most people’s problem isn’t the lack of resources, it’s a lack of resourcefulness.” So I just decided whatever brick wall I was gonna come across, whatever I didn’t have, I would go look to find who had that.
So I began, I created a business plan, started looking for money, looking for capital, met with investors, met with banks, I got a consultant… One thing just led to another until we got our first deal. I think we built it for 1.7 million dollars. We structured like 11 investors in order to build that arena. So it was 1.7 million for the actual building, and then it was like another 380k just for the furniture, fixtures and equipment, the indoor turf and whatnot.
So that was just an experience, and all I brought to the table at that time was sweat equity. It turned out to be a pretty good deal. I don’t know if that answers your question, but if you’re looking at a little bit about how that was structured, I basically got investors to help me build it.
Theo Hicks: And at this point had you done anything like that before?
Ryan Enk: No. [laughs] That was actually a huge problem, because when I first started, I was like “Alright, I know that I’ve gotta get a consultant”, and a lot of people when they first start something – and you can apply this to multifamily apartments, to anything that you’re starting for the first time – a lot of times the question that you’re gonna get is “Well, what’s your experience with this? Have you done this before?” And the biggest advice that you can give is it’s not like going to a job interview, where you have to present your own resume. I think too many people are trained in that mentality, like “This is just my job resume.”
When you’re pursuing something in investing, or a business, whether it’s an indoor sports arena or a multifamily apartment, you basically can give everybody else’s resume as part of the team. So you start creating a team around you, and that’s what I had to do – basically, look to leverage other people’s experience, other people’s money in order to prove myself to investors and to bankers.
Theo Hicks: And how did you find these team members? Because this is a very specific and unique niche, indoor sports arenas… Obviously, when you’re talking to investors for multifamily – it’s not easy, but it’s not super-difficult to find a multifamily consultant. How did you find an indoor sports arena consultant? And the rest of your entire team.
Ryan Enk: The biggest thing I can say is I kept on saying if the door closed, I was like “Well, what’s another door?” With consultants, I just did a Google search; I found this one guy, called him, he wasn’t interested. Then I found this website, USindoor.com. They had a bunch of consultants listed. I called them all, interviewed them all… It was gonna cost $15,000 for the consultation. Obviously, I didn’t have that, so I took a second mortgage on my house in order to pay for some of it, and then I offered the guy equity in the arena if we were to get it off the ground. That way, I could say to the bankers and whatnot, not just “This is my consultant” but “This is my business partner.” That gave them more confidence in moving forward with it.
And then as far as finding the other partners, I went around and I had this airtight business plan that my consultant had drafted. It was this 40-page thing, it was very good… And I got so excited about meeting with investors once I had that business plan, because it really made me look like I knew what I was doing. But then everybody started telling me no. So I was like “I’ve gotta have some sort of experience here”, because everybody’s looking at me like “Well, you are a teacher and a copier salesman. I have no confidence that you know how to run an indoor sports arena.” And to be honest, I would probably say the same thing, too.
So I started a daytime business for the arena called SoccerTots. Basically, it’s this small franchise — I don’t think it’s around now; I’ve since sold it. But it’s this child’s sports development franchise. You can rent out a gym, like a basketball gym, a local recreation center, or even a church gym, and pay them a percentage of your revenue, and just basically train two-year-olds and four-year-olds how to play soccer.
So as soon as I had that, I was like “Alright, I now have the daytime business for an indoor sports arena.” That changed the conversation, and I ended up connecting with this one guy, connecting me to another guy, and they pooled together some investors; then this other guy knew another guy, and it just snowballed once I had a couple of those pieces in place.
Theo Hicks: That’s a great story. You explained how you went from not necessarily having any experience whatsoever, it was just kind of a dream of yours based off of that money question, “What would you do if money didn’t matter?”, and then you kind of just hustled your way to get it done. Every time, as you mentioned, you faced one of those brick walls, you just figured out a way to overcome that. That’s great advice.
As you mentioned, all these strategies we’re discussing can be applied to any strategy… And if I’m being honest, it’s probably gonna be easier if you’re doing this for multifamily, as opposed to doing it for a sports arena. That’s awesome.
Ryan Enk: Way easier.
Theo Hicks: Yeah, seriously. So what types of returns are you getting on that deal? You mentioned how much money you invested… What’s the return factor that you use, the cash-on-cash return, or whatever, and how are you making money on this sports arena?
Ryan Enk: Yeah, the sports arena is mostly the business, and actually at first we got investors in just the business, and not necessarily — the real estate investor was separate. Three years into it, we’re like “Wow, this is incredibly stupid. I wish we would have thought of this before, to actually own the real estate, instead of just the business…” Because we’ve got an exit strategy with the real estate. With the business, you either sell it, and what is the market for that…
So three years later we ended up negotiating with the landlord to “Please, help us out and sell us the building.” He sold us the building for two million dollars. So he built it for 1.7, and three years later – he basically make 100k a year – sold it for 2 million.
We didn’t make any returns the first three years. In fact, we lost money. As soon as we started owning it, we were looking at closer to 20%-30% returns.
Theo Hicks: So how did those conversations go with your investors when you didn’t make any money those first three years?
Ryan Enk: It wasn’t fun. But we did have business projections… When you’re starting a new business like that, not a whole lot of people make money their first three years in business. I think they say that your first 3-5 years you actually lose money. So we actually projected losing money in our business plan. That being said, presenting that business plan, a lot of investors are like “Yeah, I understand, you’re being conservative”, but then they kind of expect that you make money.
So the first year all the silent investors were silent. By the third year, all the silent investors were not silent anymore. They were constantly “What are we doing here on this management?” So that part was not fun. But as soon as we owned the real estate, it changed things around.
Theo Hicks: And then on that second deal, did you apply all those lessons and did you actually own the real estate from the get-go?
Ryan Enk: Well, the second deal was a little bit of a different situation, where we didn’t have to own the real estate. We kind of took over a foreclosed business on the other side of the lake. It was a foreclosed sports arena, because the guy – I think he was a doctor – who bought it didn’t manage it himself; the people he thought were gonna manage it kind of ran it into the ground.
So we ended up being able to get the actual business – you’re looking at 380k to 500k just to start the business for the assets. We got the assets for free, and we took over a lease that was half the cost of our lease on the [unintelligible [00:15:13].24] building. Ideally, we would have liked to own the property, but because the cost to lease it was so little and we could get the assets for free, it was a little different of a situation.
Theo Hicks: Okay. And transitioning to the other business model, which is the RV rental fleet – do you mind telling us a little bit about that business plan?
Ryan Enk: Sure. I call it rolling real estate. It’s basically Airbnb, but for RVs. Once I had done enough with real estate — and the indoor sports arena was more of a passion investment; it is an exciting story and I’ve put a lot into it, but I had most of my success developing single-family and multifamily portfolios in real estate. That really gave me the comfort and the passive income to do all these other things… So once I’d gotten to a certain point, I told my wife that I wanted to buy a boat, a little cabin cruiser or something… And she was like “No, I’ve always wanted to do an RV trip.” So from that standpoint obviously we had to get the RV, because “Happy wife, happy life”, right?
So I didn’t want to just have a liability. I wanted to see — kind of taking the page from Rich Dad, Poor Dad, instead of saying “I can’t afford it. How can I afford it?” I could afford it, but at the time I was like “How can I make this into an asset, something that cash-flows, instead of something that I’m just wasting $600/month on a payment?”
So I looked into it, and there’s a couple platforms out there – RVshare and Outdoorsy are two of them. Basically, like the Airbnb or the VRBO of the internet world. It looked like there was some demand for privately-owned RV rentals. So I went ahead and got a class A RV, traveled all over the country with my family for a couple weeks, and then listed it on these platforms just to see “Alright, let me see if I can get enough rental income to cushion my payments.”
Well, I ended up making $32,000 in profit in that first year, so that’s when I was like “Okay, this could be a really great business model.” Kind of a real estate play, but it’s rolling real estate; the same thing as the house, but on wheels, and you can take advantage of the trends in the short-term rental industry.
So I ended up getting three others in the fleet, but using other people’s money and other people’s RVs instead of putting my own capital towards it. It ended up being a neat little business.
Theo Hicks: That’s interesting. So you bought your first RV, and then once you had the proof of concept and saw that you were able to generate profit, you would reach out to other people who already had their RVs, and then rent their RVs out too, and sharing the profits?
Ryan Enk: Yeah, I basically said “Hey look, this RV is doing nothing but costing you in storage fees your monthly rent. We’ve got an airtight operation.” We basically outsourced and created a small little management company that was part-time.. And we were like “We’ve got a pretty good operation, so if you want to share in this trend and some of the rental revenues, then why don’t you go ahead and put it in our fleet. We’ll cover you on the insurance, and you can make money on this instead of losing money on it when you’re not using it.”
Theo Hicks: Wow, very interesting. Alright, Ryan, what is your best real estate investing advice ever?
Ryan Enk: I would say if I had to go back in time and slap myself around, the first thing that I would tell myself is that there is a difference between speculating and investing. Speculating is kind of like your flipping houses type thing, where you’re going in and you think you might be able to get this, but you’re susceptible for market crashes; you don’t know if you can get a tenant in there. You might research the demand and see that there’s a demand for rentals in the area, but you’re not sure. You’re not sure if you can sell; you think based on days on market you can… So that’s speculative.
And there is a way to do it in a low-risk way, but at the same time there are better investments out there, such as apartments and multifamily, where you know without doing any value-add or any improvements on day one – you know what you’re gonna make when you go in there and rent something… Because you see the T-12, you see the P&L statement. So on day one you’re getting the money that the property has been able to generate for the past 20-30 years.
That is the biggest advice that I give people when they wanna first get started in investing. A lot of them come up with all these ideas. “Let’s see the foreclosure sale, let’s see this…” – look, all those can be fun and lucrative, but they are still speculative. The best thing you can do with your capital is to invest it and not use it for speculation.
Theo Hicks: That’s solid advice. Are you ready for the Best Ever Lightning Round?
Ryan Enk: Yeah, let’s do it.
Theo Hicks: Alright. First, a quick word from our sponsor.
Theo Hicks: Alright, Ryan, what is the best ever book you’ve recently read?
Ryan Enk: Recently read…
Theo Hicks: It can be within the past few years. Recent subjective.
Ryan Enk: I’d say my best ever book – not recently read; read like 10-15 years ago was Rich Dad, Poor Dad, by Robert Kiyosaki.
Theo Hicks: If your businesses were to collapse today, what would you do next?
Ryan Enk: I would syndicate multifamily apartments.
Theo Hicks: How would start over today if you had little or no capital?
Ryan Enk: Little or no capital… I always say the biggest domino is to find the deals. So if you can perfect that skill, finding deals, I would go find deals anywhere in real estate. Once you do that, with little or no capital, the money tends to follow. Now, there’s strategies to find the money, but I would focus on getting out there and finding any real estate deal and then getting started.
Theo Hicks: What is the worst deal that you’ve done?
Ryan Enk: I can tell you exactly what it is. I started playing around with different strategies, and I heard that coworking was an up-and-coming trend. Like WeWork, and whatnot. So I decided to buy this million-dollar building in the downtown area where I live, which is on a very nice street… And the downstairs wasn’t occupied. Totally speculative, again. I planned on getting the same kind of rents that you could get for a coworking facility. Well, it’s a little town with a big ego, and I had the big ego, and nobody else really understood the concept. It had a few people that understood it, but most people were interested in just regular office space. I ended up hemorrhaging about $3,000-$4,000 a month on just that one real estate deal. So that’s where the earlier advice comes in on – know the difference between investing and speculating.
Theo Hicks: And then lastly, what is the best ever place to reach you?
Ryan Enk: Best ever place to reach me… Probably on Facebook.
Theo Hicks: Well, Ryan, this has been a very fascinating conversation, a very interesting journey, and also very inspiring because of all the obstacles you overcame. Just to summarize what we talked about today – you talked about right now you’re focused on helping people achieve passive income in order to replace their full-time income, their full-time jobs. The way that you do that is you don’t just have a one-size-fits-all formula, you reverse-engineer a specific strategy based on this person’s specific current situation.
Then we dove deep into your indoor sports arena, and we discussed the most important question you asked yourself was “What would you do if money didn’t matter?” You decided on investing in this indoor sports arena. We talked about some of the numbers, and how much money you paid for the deal, and the investors… But more specifically, you talked about how you were able to complete the deal without having any experience in that indoor sports arena. This advice can apply to really any real estate or business niche in general, and that is to find someone who has done it before and leverage that person’s experience when you are going out to raise capital.
Specifically, you talked about how you found your consultant through a Google search, and just reached out to a bunch of people until someone was interested. And you actually had to take a second mortgage out on your house, as well as offer equity to the consultant in order to have them come on board.
Then you talked about once you had that business plan, you still weren’t able to get investors. They still wanted to see some sort of experience from you, so you actually went and started a business just to gain that experience in order to raise that capital.
We also talked about how in business you expect to not necessarily make money those first few years, but for this sports arena, once you actually bought the building, you were able to achieve 20%-30% returns.
Then we also quickly talked about the story behind your RV rental fleet, and how you wanted to buy a boat, your wife wanted the RV, and you didn’t want a liability, so you decided to check out a way to make money off of that, and you ended up making about $32,000 a year by renting out the RV to other people, in kind of like an Airbnb form, and ended up turning that into a business.
Then lastly, you provided your best ever advice, which is to know the difference between speculating and investing, and that it’s great to have all these ideas of what you can do with the property, and it’s fun, and it could work out, but at the end of the day, the best course of action is to invest in deals that you will know what you’re going to be making from day one.
Again, very fascinating conversation. I learned a ton. I appreciate you coming on the show and speaking with us today. Thank you to everyone who listened to the episode. Ryan, have a best ever day, and we will talk to you soon.
Ryan Enk: Thank you. And is it okay with you if I offer your audience my book?
Theo Hicks: Yeah, absolutely. You asked a question earlier about what would you do if you had to start from scratch – I actually wrote a book called The 7-day Real Estate Survival Blueprint: How to Create $10,000 Out of Nothing in Less Than a Month. It deals with wholesaling and sandwich lease options, and it’s basically an hour-by-hour, play-by-play of what I would do in seven days to make sure I had a check at the end of the month. So if your audience is interested in picking up that book, it’s got nothing but five-star ratings on Amazon. We’ve been selling these books like crazy. A lot of people are getting a ton of value out of them.
You can get it for free if you just cover the shipping charge at cashflowdadlife.com/7.
Theo Hicks: Alright, cashflowdadlife.com/7. We’ll make sure that the website will be in the show notes.
Ryan Enk: Perfect.
Theo Hicks: Alright, thanks for coming on, Ryan. We will talk to you soon.
Ryan Enk: Thank you.