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We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Tom Cruz: My name is Tom Cruz. I am from Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. I moved to the US when I was six and grew up in Chapel Hill, NC.
I went to college at UNCW and once I graduated I started wholesaling properties and then moved on to low-income single-family units.
My management & holding company now handles hundreds of rentals in 4 states.
2020 and 2021 threw a lot of curve balls into business on a global scale. Based on the experience gleaned in the past couple years, how can businesses thrive in 2022? What lessons have you learned?
Tom Cruz: There weren’t any curveballs thrown at me during the global pandemic. It was business as usual because Section 8 continued to pay their monthly rent as it is guaranteed.
The only thing that was different is that tenants weren’t moving out due to the pandemic, so we had much less turnover and much higher profits.
The pandemic seems to keep on disrupting the economy, what should businesses focus on in 2022? What advice would you share?
Tom Cruz: The best way to hedge your risk is by getting into real estate. Section 8 low-income housing is the real estate vehicle I chose because it is predictable, guaranteed, and recession/pandemic-proof.
Focus on building an income that can be protected by federal/state guarantees such as S8.
How has the pandemic changed your industry and how have you adapted?
Tom Cruz: The main thing that was affected in our business is the way that annual Section 8 inspections were conducted. The inspectors no longer walked into the houses, instead they did it via Zoom & Facetime.
We had to streamline our business by creating new processes and systems to make this inspection process easier. There were no other major changes to the rental market due to the pandemic.
What advice do you wish you received when the pandemic started and what do you intend on improving in 2022?
Tom Cruz: Buy as many properties as possible during the pandemic. Many landlords were desperate and were selling properties at very cheap rates. Their non-section 8 tenants lost their jobs, or were furloughed and weren’t able to pay their rent,
but they still needed to pay the bank. If I had to go back over and do it again, I would have made a lot more offers to motivated sellers/landlords before values started to skyrocket.
Online business surged higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for 2022?
Tom Cruz: Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for 2022?*
They will continue to surge higher, everyone is now used to this new normal, and it will be very difficult to get people to switch back to the way things were.
How many hours a day do you spend in front of a screen?
Tom Cruz: I spend 6-8 hours a week in front of my phone or monitor. My properties are managed by my property management team. The majority of my screen time is around building content for my education/consulting business or looking for properties online.
The majority of executives use stories to persuade and communicate in the workplace. Can you share with our readers examples of how you implement that in your business to communicate effectively with your team?
Tom Cruz: I tell stories every day on my social media platforms. If you aren’t telling stories to persuade or entertain your audience, you will never have strong engagement.
I have a story about “Sticky,” one of my section 8 tenants, he has caused a lot of problems for me in the past, but it is still entertaining. I use his stories as cautionary tales of what can happen if you don’t screen tenants before letting them into your units.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as the real challenge right now?
Tom Cruz: The biggest challenge I see is finding enough units to buy to continue growing my portfolio. As for my education/consulting business, the biggest challenge is creating enough content to people engaged and provide constant value. so they can learn about the low-income housing world.
In 2022, what are you most interested in learning about? Crypto, NFTs, online marketing, or any other skill sets? Please share your motivations.
Tom Cruz: I am most interested in learning about online marketing and sales. I have already mastered real estate, now being able to effectively teach as many people as possible is my main motivation along with growing my real estate portfolio.
A record 4.4 million Americans left their jobs in September in 2021, accelerating a trend that has become known as the Great Resignation. 47% of people plan to leave their job during 2022. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace. Do you think leaders see the data and think “that’s not me – I’m not that boss they don’t want to work for? What changes do you think need to happen?
Tom Cruz: Of course, a lot of managers/leaders feel like it doesn’t apply to them. I felt this way as well until I spoke with my employees, and then I just adapted how I ran my business.
I no longer require anyone to come into a physical office; I have more performance-based incentives and just recognize good work performance and acknowledge the employees.
On a lighter note, if you had the ability to pick any business superpower, what would it be and how would you put it into practice?
Tom Cruz: The ability to convince/persuade anyone I spoke to on a sales call. This is the most important superpower.
What does “success” in 2022 mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Tom Cruz: Success means creating as much value and educating as many people about financial freedom and personal finance as possible. I find that the more people I house via Section 8 and the more people I teach via my education platform, the more fulfilled I feel.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Tom Cruz for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Tom Cruz or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
Disclaimer: The ValiantCEO Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.