Isaac Jr. Olowolafe is the President of Dream Maker Corp., and organization that helps provide capital to seed early-stage, emerging and emerging growth companies. Follow them @dreamakerrealty.
Who is your hero? (In business, life, or both.)
My heroes are my parents, who sacrificed all they had to provide a great foundation for my siblings and me. For over 25 years since we moved here from Nigeria, my parents have done all they can to position us to chase our dreams.
What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
My best piece of advice is to dream big and write it down. I was around 20 when I first dreamt of being in real estate and owning my own company. By the time I was 21 years old, I owned my first real estate property, and before I hit 29 years old, I purchased land across one of the largest luxury malls in North America to develop a condominium. I don’t think I would have achieved these dreams so early in my life and business career if I didn’t dream big and write down the steps to achieve it.
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
The biggest mistake I’ve made was with my first business in marketing. While it was lucrative, I didn’t have the passion for it. I ran the business for almost two years and eventually sold it to pursue my true passion in real estate. The lesson I learned was to follow your heart and your passion, not to just make money.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
The first hour of my day is centered around thanking God for another day and for family, then going through emails sent the night before while catching up on business activities on CNBC and BNN. I do this first to get in the right mindset, organize the day ahead, and to be current with the business news.
What’s your best financial/cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Try to run a lean operation. It’s very easy to get caught up in overspending because you feel that every dollar spent leads to potential business. I believe every dollar saved can also be a positive change to the bottom line.
Test the product out in the most cost effective way as possible, until you know it’s a working product that has a market and demand. Also, be willing to sacrifice and to take on responsibilities you may not want (e.g. late-night hours) so you can get extra capital to fund your business and reduce the amount of debt you have to take on.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Study your industry and become the expert in that space, because clients and business professionals respect experts.
What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
As the president of an asset management company that focuses on real estate and venture funds that were built over the last decade, I am blessed to be where I am at 33 years old.
Many people would say success is receiving multiple awards or having their company take off at a young age. However, to me, success comes in different ways, namely: creating a company that has been able to benefit several friends and family in a positive way, makes my three daughters proud to be part of it, and allows me to spend time with my wife and daughters while building my business.