My Story: Part One
By Robert Nichols
(Transcript) Hey guys! It’s me, Robert Nichols, your Boston-based real estate entrepreneur. Today, I want to share a little bit of my story, let you know where I’m coming from and how I came into real estate. I think it’s really empowering knowing how others have started, so that we have an example to see how we can get to where we want to be in our careers and overcome those obstacles and barriers that stop us from achieving that level of success.
So, I’m Robert Nichols, born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts. To start, when I was growing up, my father was an electrician (a union electrician) and my mom was a hair stylist. My family is from the Caribbean. My dad side of the family is from Barbados, and my mother was born and raised in Jamaica, who has a very very crazy story herself.
My mother came to America illegally through Mexico, and she actually didn’t even know she was coming here. Her aunt told her one day that she was going on a trip, and she told my mom “Get ready, pack your clothes, you’re going on a vacation.” She didn’t think anything of it.
Long story short, she ended up going with another relative through the desert, crossing the border into California at night. There were all kinds of crazy circumstances, and was afraid of getting caught. She was kind of thrown into a rough situation as a teenager and came here to the United States to live and create a life for herself.
That’s how I came to existence. She and my dad met here in Boston. It didn’t work out for them – they ended up getting divorced when I was around 8 years old. At that time, my dad got laid off – it was recession. Needless to say, we didn’t have a lot of money. We didn’t have a lot of income. It was tough growing up – just really struggling financially, and struggling with abandonment. My mom had left my dad, so my father was a single father. He ended up getting remarried, and it was my sister and I.
I tell you this to kind of show you that life is not easy. It’s not always what we think it is as far as like guy had a silver spoon in his mouth (and this and that). (However) We really have to stop making excuses for ourselves to really start to understand how to overcome obstacles in our lives. From that perspective, life wasn’t easy for me. From there, I grew up, and went to a public high school. It wasn’t the best education. I ended up going to college and finished there.
I realized that at that time, I didn’t want to work in corporate. I had a job at a local grocery store chain and worked my way up to corporate. I decided that it wasn’t for me. That’s when a family friend had told me about real estate. From that time and transition, I decided, “You know what? Let’s try it”.
I bought my first property, saw the process. Decided to go get my license, and then eventually, I left my corporate job. I was doing real estate part-time from 2004 until 2008. In 2008, just before the market crashed, I went and started working for a new construction company. The crazy thing here is that I found that job is on Craigslist. Yes folks, Craigslist!
Craigslist took me out of a corporate job and brought me into real estate development. I’m interviewed for the position and I was hired within (I think) the next day. They hired me on the spot and I started two weeks later.
That (job) kind of really got me my foundation for getting into the development and flipping side of the business. I really knew nothing about that side of it. I bought my first property – it was a buy and hold. I helped a few people buy properties over the years (investment properties) but as far as the construction process, how to flip and all of that, I really had no clue. However, joining the new construction company as a sales and marketing agent and then eventually the property manager and then eventually the project manager, gave me invaluable insight and experience into how I could use that knowledge to grow and develop a successful real estate investment company (or flipping company) on my own and that’s exactly what I’ve done over the course of the last ten years.
So, I think it’s important to understand that it’s different buying and holding than it is flipping. It’s like apples and oranges – but both skills that can be acquired over time.
I think from this story, you can kind of see it didn’t start off with any special privilege or anything like that. As a kid, I did come from a good household. My father really cared about us and did everything he could to provide the best life he could, and I’m forever grateful for that. It was definitely a struggle at times, but outside of the obstacles, I was still empowered to try hard to make things happen and to really build the life that I wanted to build for myself.
I’m really satisfied with what I’ve been able to accomplish, and I still have a lot more to accomplish. However, I think it’s important to draw power from stories where people come very different backgrounds and situations, and not to focus on the obstacles but to focus on how you can overcome those obstacles to achieve the success you want.
The biggest thing is getting into the right environment. If you want to change your life (and I say this all the time to people that know me) you have to start by changing your environment. Once you do that, it really becomes much easier to achieve the level of success when the people around you mirror what you want to be, what you aspire to be, and how you aspire to live.
(It’s) so important that we surround ourselves with people who are on the same page – who equally yoke (that’s a term from the Bible) but I truly believe that it’s so important. Not just with a spouse or a life partner, but your friends and your associates. You’ve all got to be on the same page, otherwise you’re really going to be wasting time first and foremost and you’re not going to achieve that success or change any part of your life if you still continue to remain in the same environment.When I transitioned to that new construction company, it really put my life on the path to becoming a developer, and I really started to achieve the level of financial success that I’d like to achieve for myself.
Be encouraged, continue to stay focused and you can achieve whatever it is you desire to do as long as you’re committed to the process and you understand that changing your environment is really a staple of making that change in your life. Stay tuned for more! I’ll be sharing more of my story and different situations that arise as a flipper. Have a fantastic day!
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Father, Husband, House Flipper, workout enthusiast, Boston-based real estate expert, and Broker & Founder of Boston Trust Realty Group. When I’m not helping local residents sell or buy their dream homes, I’m spending time with my wife and kids, exploring Boston’s bustling and ever-changing neighborhoods!