I had the pleasure of interviewing Calvin Brock, Founder and CEO of Jack and Landlords, 2000 Olympian, and former #1 world ranked pro heavyweight boxer. In, 2006, challenged for Wladimir Klitschko’s IBF/IBC world heavyweight championship titles at Madison Square Garden televised live on HBO)
Can you tell us about your back story and how you have transitioned into your current business?
After my boxing career ended due to a detached retina in November 2007 I became a commercial real estate broker. Some of my deals would fall through due to an upfront security deposit. I do agree, in commercial leasing, a security deposit is needed to ensure a good tenant. For tenants will default on paying their commercial landlord if business fails. But this made me look into security deposits in residential leasing. And security deposits, even from my own experience of leasing my own property, didn’t ensure a paying tenant or a space left undamaged. But one thing security deposits did ensure was a haggle over the return when tenants left damages. Tenants would still want a full return and I would want compensation for the damages. Then I researched and found where landlords across the country were doing away with security deposits and assuming the risks of damages due to the haggle, escrow laws, and court proceedings. Most States would side with the tenant costing the landlord more than the security deposit. So I founded Jack and Landlords to bridge the gap of security deposits that would be mutually beneficial to both tenants and landlords.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your business?
When I first mentioned the idea of Jack and Landlords, my wife asked what will I do to bring in money throughout the time I’m putting Jack and Landlords together. I told her Jack and Landlords was going to jump off in 6 to 12 months. It took 16 months to put Jack and Landlords together. Then It took 8 months to land my first client.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting?
Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that? Linkedin is a valuable site to target prospective customers. But pitching to connections by copying and pasting is something I learned to be extra careful about. I once messaged a connection and my message had another company’s name in the body. Fortunately, the connection did not take offence and still responded to my pitch.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
Blewberrie Private Rental Leasing, a national property management company, has partnered with us, as a third party security deposit guarantor, to lease to tenants without a security deposit. On Oct. 1, 2018, Blewberrie is launching 4600 properties using Jack and Landlords. So we are gearing up for Blewberrie’s 4600 properties.
Can you share one piece of advice you wish you would have known before beginning your business?
We first begin prospecting and marketing to apartment landlords. After much time and marketing money spent, I talked with a friend I new that developed and owned apartments. My friend advised me to prospect single family residential landlords. Single family would take off much faster. Holding companies of apartments are large and well leveraged and would resist the change. We targeted single family and my friend proved right.
Can you share 5 tips that you would would you recommend to your celebrity/athletic colleagues to help them to thrive and not “burn out” as they branch into new endeavors?
1. Don’t be in a rush.
2. Learn through working for someone else before starting a business.
3. Keep eyes and ears open for pain points on your job and from customers. Pain points is the niche where you need to start your business.
4. Get to know your customers. They may become your business customers or lead you to customers when you start your business.
5. Have your business but don’t let your business have you. Pace yourself with a balanced life.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start 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. :-) Start your own business even if you’re employed. Everyone owning a business would create a workforce of brighter and more creative minds, fuel the economy, lower personal tax liability, decrease unemployment, and increase the U.S GDP.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“In the U.S., you can make it if you try.” Presidents have quoted that. It resonates to me because this is a land of opportunity for everyone rich and poor, home and homeless, parents and no parents. Our government, organizations, and citizens keep a second chance alive.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My parents. They have always been by my side with love and support even to this day. They invested in my company.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. :-)
Oprah Winfrey, I would love to be among the great business people, stars, and presidents that have been on her show or interviewed with her. She is one of my most influential people.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Yes, LinkedIn and Twitter
Jilea Hemmings is the CEO & Co-Founder of Leaf Tyme. She is running a series on celebrities transitioning into entrepreneurship.