Meghan McCallum, founder of McCallum Real Estate, joined us for our latest “Those That Inspire” feature. We thoroughly enjoyed hearing Meghan’s story and have a feeling you will too. With a background in firefighting you will want to read on to find out how Meghan has started 10Xing her real estate career…& all aspects of her life!
Let’s dive in…
Landlordette: Let’s start from the beginning…give us a brief recap of who you are, where you came from, etc.!
Meghan: My name is Meghan McCallum, I’m 39 and I was born and raised in Chicago. I was a 3 sport athlete in HS, two in college, and was a women’s professional football player with a national championship after college. I was a third generation firefighter (bounced from Park Ridge to overseas during the Iraq war, to the DoD where I was Obama’s medic on multiple motorcades, and I ended my career with the department of Energy at the world’s only nuclear disposal site 200 feet below the surface in a salt mine as the Deputy Chief of training) Now, full time real estate investor for 2.5 years.
Landlordette: What inspired you to get where you are at today?
Meghan: Freedom! As my mom put it, I was unemployable (I was fired from being a chief for some shady reasons, but being outspoken for what was right and not falling in line didn’t help). She pushed me to buy my first duplex and live in one unit. It’s just grown from there. I watched my mom grow a business from nothing after getting her four kids through college. I thought, why can’t I do that? I was the only child she didn’t employ and it made me sad not to work with her. She said to me, “You don’t want or need to be in my business. You were born to be in real estate. We’ll partner on something soon.” That day never came as she passed 3 years ago. I have that dream (and now know how) to share that vision with my own daughters if they so choose to follow in my footsteps (better than the fire service).
Landlordette: We love the grit and determination in this industry to pursue your passion – but like anything else, it’s not always easy. Overall, how has your journey been? Lots of ups and downs? Smooth sailing?
Meghan: Its hard, almost every day. I always tell new investors that I mentor to “put on your cup when you wake up, because you’re gonna get kicked. The days you don’t, celebrate”. This is not a weak person’s game. It helps to be fearless and intimately know the difference between risk and risky.
Landlordette: If there have been ups and downs how did you overcome them? What advice would you give to people in that position?
Meghan: Like mom used to tell me when life was hard for me at the firehouse or any aspect of life: “This too shall pass. AND Just keep swimming!”
Landlordette: If you could, would you change anything?
Meghan: YES!!! I did it wrong. I thought way too small of myself. I should have started bigger and bought much larger buildings. I don’t think most people should start there but, we can’t make more time. You should really do a personal evaluation of who you are and match your investing style to your resources and personality. I had better resources than most and some experience before I got into the game. I do believe that that’s why I have grown so much in this industry though.
Landlordette: Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and/or business?
Meghan: If my grandmother was right, Luck = Hard work + Opportunity (problem solving), then yes. Highlight the hard work.
Grant Cardone (my mentor) says, “Problems=Opportunity and solving those problems will make you a $hit ton.”
Landlordette: Tell us a little more about your business. What must we know?
Meghan: I’m always adapting as I garner more knowledge, grow my network, and partner with the most brilliant people I can find in the industry. I didn’t make it here being shy. If you want something you need to start telling people who you are (even before you make it) and what it is you need, then ask everyone you meet if they can help you get closer to your goal. But, that’s everything in life.
I am currently starting up a new company with other amazing investors, each with what I call their super power, and they are all different in their super powers. I like to think we are the 10X Men (Grant Cardone “10x” reference there). We are working to be stewards of others’ wealth and analyzing syndication’s across the US that are brought to us from other Sponsors of syndication’s. We will grade each one put in front of us and present the opportunities that we think are least risky and best match our investors preferences. The plan is to eventually syndicate or own.
Landlordette: Let’s talk real estate…what do you think will be the biggest changes in the industry over the next few years?
Meghan: Agents will be using Virtual Reality to show potential homes, thus reducing driving time to properties all over town and will better be able to hone in on their clients true interest, making their time more profitable. Agents will have to REALLY up their sales game. My suggestion would be to get a mentor to increase your ability to sell, cold call, and close deals. There will constantly be innovation in the industry with how technology is giving people greater exposure to information. Anyone who wants to excel in that industry will have to be completely adaptable.
In investing it’s very similar. We are currently in a period where everyone thinks they can make money in real estate. I’m always hearing people telling me they want to buy investment properties, house hack, flip houses. I ask them what their business plan is to succeed and I get a deer in headlights look. THERE IS NOTHING COMPLETELY PASSIVE ABOUT REAL ESTATE INVESTING, unless you invest in an apartment syndication and let the guys who know what’s going on in the market steward your wealth for you.
If anyone is interested in me helping them place their wealth in risk averse highly profitable investments I’m always willing to help. Or, I may have a syndication myself that would have an opportunity available. Definitely BEWARE of the market correction…it can’t go up forever. We are due for a correction based on the historic property valuation cycles. But, investing is cyclical in all localities…they don’t all happen at one time.
Landlordette: Any shout outs? Any mentors? Who has played a meaningful role in getting you where you are today?
Meghan: As far as mentors go, Grant Cardone, 7 time best selling author is currently my guy. I’m in his mentorship program and I hope to soon be an educator in his sales and business empowerment training series. He’s really helped me out of a dark time of my life that had me frozen. Now, I’m accomplishing more faster and at a 10X pace.
Kathy Fetke has also been great. There are so few women working at such a high level in Real Estate investing. Kathy is an innovator and a great person to look up to and learn from.
Both have written books and have podcasts. Read their books, listen to their podcasts…that’s the fastest way to make them your mentor, too.
Landlordette: A couple fun questions…If you could travel anywhere, for free, where would you go?
Meghan: Well, I would plan a 3 mos. trip around the world to see more of it and 10x my experience. I don’t believe in setting ourselves back by limiting thoughts so I have given up thinking any way but illogically. Because, that’s the only way to push yourself harder than anyone else and making it happen. I will take that trip one day when my daughters are old enough to come with. I will take an abbreviated 3 week trip around the world in 2019.
Landlordette: Would you rather have an all expense paid wardrobe or vacation?
Meghan: Free is great, but I need more help in the wardrobe department. My background was being a firefighter for 14 years and I’ve only been out for 2.5 years. I’m someone who loves a uniform so without the firefighter uniform I can usually be seen in gym clothes or jeans, a deep neck V T-shirt, and a cute jacket. I could use some age appropriate adult clothes that venture outside of my current “uniforms”.
It’s safe to say that we’ve been inspired with Meghan’s story. All it takes is believing in yourself and asking for help! If there’s someone in the industry that’s inspiring you right now let us know! We’d love to have them as our next feature. Contact us here and let us know about it!
Until next time, happy investing!