This interview article originally appeared on Military Money Matters. Its original published date is September 26, 2021.
Today we have the pleasure of featuring veteran entrepreneur, Andrew Dorazio who started a property management firm and is syndicating properties in Chicago. We’ll take a look as he shares his experience as a veteran entrepreneur below.
- Tell us a little bit about your property management firm. What got you into property management and real estate?
I have always had an interest and passion for real estate since I was younger, and started investing in multi family properties at my first duty station right out of college. As the years progressed I started to grow my own portfolio and started to dabble in different parts of real estate, first getting my brokerage license, then syndicating deals, then building a property management arm once we grew to a size where it made sense to start turning it into a profit center.
Oddly my property management company team consists of 3 veterans; a Naval Academy grad, an Air Force Academy grad, and myself, a West Point grad. We decided to name our company “Beat Coast Guard, LLC” or BCG Real Estate Group for short or for those that don’t get the joke or the irony. We operate really well together and despite the odds, have become great friends throughout the years. While we have been managing only a small portfolio of properties in Chicago for the last few years, we decided to start growing and building systems in order to take on outside clients.
- What would you say drove you to start the company?
The company came out of necessity at first. We were buying properties in Chicago and realized that we had a very specific expectation of service, and we wanted to try somewhat unique experiments with our properties that we didn’t think were suited for most property managers. We were focused on value add opportunities, which meant we wanted to get the most revenue out of each property and required some creativity. We would convert cluttered garage space into parking spots, turn basements into storage and laundry, add internet packages, and converted units into furnished short term rentals, all to make the properties cash flow at their highest and best levels. Once we got decent at this, we started to grow, and realized we could help others do the same thing.
- What resources have you found the most helpful from day 1? Do you have any tips for aspiring veteran entrepreneurs?
I would say two things here; networking and social media. Networking has helped our team and myself individually the most over the years. Real estate is a team sport and requires a cast of people to get things done, and through local and virtual events we met some incredible people that put us in positions to succeed. I also joined a couple of mastermind groups that made my networking more intentional, and got me surrounded by people that wanted to succeed as bad as I did.
On the social media front, I had so much apprehension over the years to ever put myself out there, but I realized that as long as I was doing things that helped people, I should be more vocal. Once I got over that, and went on a few podcasts, many many doors started opening for me.
- What has been the biggest challenge thus far as you’ve looked to grow your business?
We have had many challenges, but I would say the biggest that I have faced personally has been my focus. I had to learn early on that I should not be doing the $10, $20 or even $50 an hour tasks, and needed to focus on the big dollar items like bringing in more business and finding deals. It is hard to sometimes see that though when you are deep in the weeds and want to get things done, and I still struggle with it, but I have gotten better at not wanting to step in and paint units when there is certainly someone better suited for that job than I. Also everyone loves to look at shiny objects, myself included, and I often would look at deals and even invest in opportunities that I had no business even looking at in the first place. That is still something I am working on today to get better at. I think what has helped me recently was better goal setting and visualization around what I wanted my company and my future to look like. That is making me understand where my focus and priorities should be, and everything else is something I need to say “no” or “maybe next time” to.
- How would you say that your military service prepared you for your role today?
I believe my military service built and fostered a work ethic in me that drives a lot of my performance. It also made me dependable and good at working with a team. My partners and I have an inherent trust of one another to get things done and that trust and dependability is paramount to accomplishing our goals, whether small or giant.