Fail Forward: 3 Tips on How to Leverage Your Failure In Real Estate

3 min read
Marcus Maloney

Marcus Maloney is a value investor and portfolio holder of residential and commercial units. Marcus has been named the “Equity King” for his impressive ability to find real estate opportunities with massive amounts of equity.

Marcus, a high school dropout, went from G.E.D. to M.B.A. Although his education has a major impact on his investment philosophy, the real impact came from his upbringing.

Marcus thrives on completing successful transactions. As a young kid, his parents and grandparents faced many challenges; as a result, it made him think of ways he could help. His mother and grandmother were avid investors—not in the market but in people. Marcus was a recipient of those investments. And his early years were hard work growing up on a farm.

Marcus was a strategist at an early age. To relieve the burden of his family buying him clothes when it was time to return to school, he decided to make a small investment that paid big dividends. Marcus decided to purchase a small piglet at the beginning of summer, feed it until it became fat, and then sell it to a local farmers’ auction before the school year started. This was one of his first transactions and the beginning of his adventure of finding equity in every opportunity.

Marcus’ hard work continues today: He has completed over $3.3 million in wholesale transactions. Currently, Marcus is a licensed agent who wholesales virtually in multiple states while building his investment portfolio. Although wholesaling provides great money, he saw the opportunity to buy some of the deals he found and convert them into cash flowing rentals.

Marcus currently holds seven rentals, two of which are commercial units. He’s also done the unimaginable and purchased a school, which was converted to a daycare center. Again, he turns what is a marginal profit into a significant equity position. He leverages the equity by using the BRRRR (Buy, Rehab, Rent, Refinance, Repeat) strategy to increase his portfolio without any money out of pocket.

Marcus has been featured on numerous podcasts, such as the Louisville Gal Podcast, the Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever podcast, FlippingJunkie, and many others. He’s currently a featured blogger for BiggerPockets, the largest community of real estate investors in the world.

Along with completing transactions and working to build his portfolio, he provides mentorship to aspiring investors. This is done through one-on-one interactions and through his successful YouTube channel and blog.

Marcus does utilize his M.B.A. for more than real estate. As a consultant for a successful non-profit institution south of Chicago, he uses his expertise in the development of human capital. His philanthropic efforts help existing stakeholders develop in their capacity to serve those in need of assistance.

Marcus completed his M.B.A. in 2011 from Olivet Nazarene University.


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The premise of this article is to encourage those that lack belief and to teach Newbies to Fail Forward.

I often address the Newbies in my post because I consider myself one.

No matter how much I learn or do, I am a constant learner and student. By having this approach it enables me to find answers to questions that I may not have.

It is remarkable how individuals are interested in real estate investing, but don’t actually ever start.

This may be associated with many factors such as: lack of time, lack of knowledge, fear of the unknown,  lack of resources, lack of money, or lack of confidence.

I’m sure there are many other excuses that can be present but there is a reoccurring theme here of “LACK”.

In my readings I found that what one may lack, others have in abundance.The greatest fear anyone can have is the “fear of failure”. The fear of failure will pulverize any dream.

I understand that there are many well renown speakers that are qualified to lecture you on this topic but from one Newbie to another, I have a PhD in failing, so I am definitely educated enough to discuss this with you!

Related: Facepalm Moments: 21 EPIC FAILS From Construction Projects Around The World

Due to my many personal failures I have come to the conclusion that there are 3 ways to fail forward:

1. Every Failure Is A Vehicle To GREATNESS.

Failure is your greatest teacher.

Many Newbies look for a mentor to teach them what not to do and this is the huge mistake. A great mentor will allow you to fail independently and then process the mistakes afterwards.

This will allow those failures to become a reference point or a reminder.These failures will begin to teach you how to create multiple exit strategies before entering into a deal. I call it reverse processing.

It’s good to visualize the end of the transaction and work backwards. I believe a mentor should be a great counselor to assist you after you have made your mistakes. The great thing about it is “What don’t kill you only makes you stronger”.

2. I’m Glad I Have A GLASS.

Investors have to embrace another level of optimism.

Everything that is done as an investor is done through speculation. The traditional approach looks through only 2 lens when dealing with optimism: the glass is either half full or half empty. As an investor the view should be thank God for the GLASS.

As long as you have a container you the have the capacity to fill it. The container is your level of desire, plus the amount of information you need to learn, plus the amount of action that is going to be put forth.

These elements equate to the depth and the strength of your glass. How these elements work together determine the amount your glass will be able to hold.

The smaller amount of passion, education, and action the quicker your glass will become full and the less successful you will become as an investor.

By failing if you truly have the passion to become a successful investor you will increase your capacity for education, and action. Failure becomes a strong motivating factor in expanding your capacity.

3. There Is NO There Without A Here.

Before you can get there you have to go through here.

Related: How To Fail 90% Of The Time… and Still Be a Wildly Successful Real Estate Investor

In essence, you have to go through the rough patches (here) in order to truly appreciate green pastures (there). Investing and life is a process, there aren’t cheat codes, you can’t skip a level, or reboot on your journey to accomplishing your goals.

You have to go through every trial and tribulation to get you to pure enjoyment. I love when Brandon and Josh ask the question on the podcast what was your greatest failure, and your greatest success (this might be during the fire round), every investor that has seen some measure of success truly appreciates what they learned from their failure.

Briefly, in my short investing career as a wholesaler, my biggest mistake is now my greatest motivation. I lost a 5k EMD in my very first deal, and not to mention I was using my newly found mentor’s money.

Without going into details I learned how important the inspection period is and how thorough I must be when communicating. I was able to re-coop the 5k on the next 2 deals but without the failure and pushing through set backs I would have given up.

This showed my mentor how passionate I am about real estate, along with my capacity to learn, and finally it showed that I was a doer.

Not to mention he wanted his 5k back, but since then we were able to do other deals and I’m getting a firm footing on how to work my way through each transaction with my exit strategy in place first. He took a big chance but its making us both money now.

I would love to motivate others that are going through the rough patches now.

Lets hear some of those DUMB failures that you were able to rebound from and what you learned.

Leave a story or insight in the comment section below!

The premise of this article is to encourage those that lack belief and to teach Newbies to Fail Forward. I often address the Newbies in my post because I consider […]