Think Realty shines a light on some of the many women who are making waves in the real estate investing industry.

The first home Heather Self purchased was through Habitat for Humanity. She was a single mom in her 20s, working full time, teaching life-skills classes to welfare recipients, the same classes she was a student of years before.

“I held on to the feeling of empowerment and freedom I received from having a safe, affordable home for me and my children to live. That experience ultimately connected me to a bigger purpose in life. I believe that once you experience a problem, it becomes your duty to solve it for others. I knew from firsthand experience that lack of affordable housing options can be a huge barrier to success. People need two things to change their circumstances: education and action. So, I implemented that thought process and began my self-education journey,” she said.

This experience and path to real estate knowledge led Self to over 600 real estate transactions in just a few years; including wholesales, fix and flips, vacation rentals and affordable single-family homes.

“It was important for me to take my story of domestic violence, poverty, and homelessness and make it matter. That mindset is what encouraged me to share my story in my book Don’t Quit: Stories of Persistence, Courage and Faith.”

Today, Self’s financial investments are focused on creating opportunities through syndications for Residential Assisted Living Facilities. These investments do so much more than create outstanding ROI’s, they provide the ever-growing elderly community with better and much-needed housing options.

“My impact investments (as I call them) are focused on giving back. 2019 was a big year for me to see my story come full circle as I was able to make a substantial donation to our local Habitat for Humanity Restore program. My mission is to empower female entrepreneurs to connect with their true magic and embrace their greatness,” she said.

What are characteristics you exhibit that have made you a successful investor?

I learned a long time ago that if I’m headed in the same direction as the crowd, I’m most likely going the wrong way. We are trained to take the path of least resistance in order to avoid obstacles. I get up everyday hunting for those obstacles because I know that opportunities are hidden in the same location.

I view failure as nothing more than a perception, so I do not fear it. I know that at the end of the day (or the end of the deal), I will either WIN or LEARN. Both are equally important.

When things get tough, how do you get going?

The better question for me is “When things get easy, how do I get going?” When things are tough, there are problems to solve and questions to be answered. I thrive on learning and being challenged. If my investing career isn’t “tough” I’m probably not reaching far enough outside of my comfort zone.

What is something you plan to do differently with your real estate investing business in 2020 that you haven’t done before?

2020 is going to be an exciting year for me and my team. Years of hard work, dedication and persistence will come to fruition as we open our first Residential Assisted Living Home. We decided to redirect our investment goals and business model after experiencing the insufficiencies within senior housing firsthand. Once we became aware of these problems, it became our duty to create the solutions.

We are also excited to offer these investment opportunities to others through syndications. The senior population will soon outnumber the child population for the first time in U.S. history. This is creating a huge void in the current senior housing structure. Syndicating these deals, will allow us to create a larger impact on our communities by providing more housing options in a shorter amount of time.

Best advice for seasoned investors?

It’s important for seasoned investors to remember there was a point in time when they didn’t know what they know now. Nobody knows how to ride a bike until they ride a bike. It’s your duty to help the next generation of investors succeed. Always focus on creating a ripple effect of knowledge and support.

Why is real estate industry good for women?

It is no secret that women and men think, act, and approach business differently. Instead of holding on to the thought that women can do everything that men can do, I would challenge women to think why we are created differently in the first place?  Women are specifically designed to do things in a way that men can’t. If we all had the same abilities and knowledge, we would all be obsolete. In order to have a more powerful impact on the economy and individual lives, we need more women stepping into their greatness.

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