If you have attended a Think Realty event in Baltimore, you have probably met Presidents’ Circle member Andre Johnson, leader of Deal Mastery mastermind and Deals Meetup, an online, nationwide networking opportunity for investors to put together profitable deals. His expert-guided tour of wholesale/REO deals and rehab projects is a huge hit at the Think Realty Baltimore Conference. On the tour, Johnson shares expert strategies used to find great deals on and off market; how to structure win-win deals, and how to choose the best floor plan and designs to sell or rent your properties quickly for top dollar. This is just one opportunity Johnson thrives on because he gets to exercise one of his passions sharing knowledge with others and helping them achieve success. 

Just as not all business owners are success, not all are apt to teach others who are walking a similar path. But that’s not the case for this “Deal Engineer. Perhaps a natural-born mentor, Johnson always believed he would be a business owner one day.  

When I graduated from college with my chemical engineering degree, I went straight into the industry working for Merck, a pharmaceutical company doing vaccine biologics research and development. At work, I would look around my office, my laboratory, and I noticed the guy in the cubicle next to me had been in the research lab for 10 years, and he was working from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and that’s what I was doing as a new hire. I thought to myself, “Do I really want to be doing the same thing for the next 10 years?”  

When staring down 12-hour days became too tiresome, Johnson started directing his eyes to different opportunities. As it goes, when looking for other paths, we often call upon a little help from our friends. Johnson’s friend-turned-mentor, the late Shawn Black, taught him the most valuable real estate investment lessons. But it didn’t happen overnight.   

My friend Shawn was already investing and wanted me to partner with him to buy more properties. I told him, ‘Bring me deals. Then we will talk. He started bringing me deal after deal. With my very analytical engineering background, I over-analyzed every one of them. It was paralysis by analysis. I couldn’t get out of my own way. It took me 18 months to finally pull the trigger to do the first deal,” Johnson said. 

The partnership didn’t happen; instead, Johnson hired Shawn to be his mentor. Now, years later, Johnson’s preference when it comes to his REI business is helping others. He teaches his clients how to build marketing funnels to find deals.  

I also enjoy the process of deal engineering and creative deal structuring to find win-win solutions for buyers and sellers,” he said. “The thrill of negotiating a deal will never get old. It serves a competitive drive I have. I prefer holds with creative financing. 

He tells beginning investors to focus on the process of building a business and not solely focus on chasing deals. 

“The best thing to do is to leverage proven resources and systems of trusted partners and mentors to shorten the learning curve to build your business. Success is in the process,” he said. 

Johnson’s own business success could stem from his first job, and the work ethic he gained from the process. 

My first official job with a paycheck was at Carvel Ice Cream parlor. I was so proud of myself because I convinced the store manager to hire me at 14 years old. I needed a special work permit to get the job. My hourly rate was a whopping $2.85/hr. I had a twoyear plan to save and buy a car when I turned 16. Two years later, I bought a five-yearold Hyundai Excel with my own money. It was a lifechanging experience that instilled goalsetting and work ethic in me that lives to this day, Johnson said.  

For the first 15 years of his real estate investing journey, Johnson’s purpose was family-driven, but as most successful business owners would say, their “WHY” evolves over time.  

“My WHY was to maintain control of my time so that I could be free to be around my kids as much as possible. Now that my kids are grown women, my why has shifted and it is now to help new and experienced investors to start and grow their businesses. 

Just as his WHY evolved, so has his investing strategy. With the goal to have diversified income streams leading to a scalable business, he has worked over the past few years to create multiple streams of income, specifically around software as opposed to information-only based services. But it’s not all work and no play for Andre Johnson. He makes time for inspiration and relaxation.  

I find myself getting some of my best ideas on long walks with my thought partner and girlfriend Dawn. I think it is good to relax and recharge on long weekend getaways to reset and gain new perspective on life and business. The Caribbean is always a favorite destination,” he said.  

And no matter his mood, “time with friends always leads to good times and laughter. 

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