Big job? Big pay cheque? Big fatigue? Wesley Ogude shares with The REITE Club how he got out of the corporate rat race and started customizing his life.
Q: When did you get involved in real estate investing as one of the many real estate investors out there?
Wesley: I got involved about six years ago.
Q: Why did you get involved in real estate investing?
Wesley: I was just tired of living for work. If we only live to work, then it matters very little how long we live. I was tired after 25 years of doing that.
Q: You had a reasonably high position in the company, right?
Wesley: Yes, I was very busy with a high position and a high profile. I was responsible for a budget of over $1 billion, leading a team of about 19 (seven managers and 12 analysts), coordinating strategic planning end-to-end across Canada with networks into about 120 countries. I could go on and on... But as exciting as it was, it was not really addressing the needs of my life. I didn't want to be living for work, but that’s what I was doing.
Q: How and where did you start? What strategy did you use?
Wesley: I started by buying a building, which I didn't understand. Looking back, I shouldn’t have bought a building. But my real estate career really started when I joined Rockstar and I came to meet my very wonderful mentor, Daniel St-Jean. That was five years ago, and that was when it really took off.
I've used different strategies: rent-to-own, which has helped a lot (and thanks again to Daniel for his mentorship), buy and hold, and about two years ago, commercial real estate, more specifically, multi-family apartment buildings.
Q: How are things going right now with in your real estate investing journey?
Wesley: I'm one of the happiest people living today! Things are really going well. Canadian real estate investing has given me what I wanted. I wanted my life back, I wanted to be able to do the things that I love to do.
My real estate business is progressing – my portfolio is growing steadily, and I’ve gone into different markets. But more importantly, now I'm able to do the things that I’ve not been able to do for a very long time with my life.
Q: So you're no longer working with the billion dollar budget and the 19 employees?
Wesley: That came to an end about two years ago when I finally became independent financially, meaning I didn’t need to wait for a pay cheque to pay my bills. As one of the many real estate investors out there, I'm having a fantastic time today thanks to my real estate investing business.
Q: What would you do differently, or not at all, if you were to restart?
Wesley: A few things didn’t work out. I went into an asset class that I didn't understand very well – a retirement home – and the bank transaction went south. We lost money and I would not do that again. I would stick with what I understand and continue to expand my learning. I would not dabble in things that I'm not familiar with.
Q: What advice would you give someone who is just getting started?
Wesley: There are three things I would say to them:
1: Don't be afraid of making mistakes. We all start by making mistakes.
2: Get a mentor. Very, very important.
3: Stay within a network of like-minded people.
If you do those three things, you will increase your chances of being successful. In fact, it will be difficult for you to fail.
Q: I like your first one: Don’t be afraid. A lot of people suffer from analysis paralysis. They wait for the perfect deal with the perfect people at the perfect time. And you meet them five years later and they haven't done anything because they were afraid to make a mistake. You learned from that first mistake, right?
Wesley: Yes, I learned from the first mistake. One of the things that I was told is that the gains you get as you learn more and do more transactions will more than correct what you've probably suffered the first few times that you missed your step. And that has proven to be true.
Q: Are you happy that you brushed off your mistakes and kept on going?
Wesley: Absolutely. A lot of people who tell negative stories probably quit too soon. They didn't wait to enjoy the gain of their learning. And it's like anything in life. When we learned how to walk, we started by falling down and getting up again. If after the first time we fell down, we didn't get up again, we’d probably still be crawling.
Q: What’s your last word of advice and wisdom for anyone involved in real estate investing?
Wesley: I would emphasize again the need to have a mentor and the need to stay close to like-minded people.
About Wesley Ogude
Wesley Ogude was highly successful in the corporate world, managing many people and huge budgets. But in the end, he realized he was living to work, not working to live, so with the help of real estate investing, Wesley made huge changes and is now living the life he wants to lead. You can reach Wesley at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 647-768-9041. You can also click “Find a Friend” here on the REITE Club site and search for him.