The real estate market, particularly for affordable housing, has had a tough few years driven by economic circumstances and the COVID-19 pandemic. However, these periods also provide opportunities for entrepreneurs who can think of innovative ways to provide value for buyers and sellers. Two entrepreneurs from humble beginnings who launched a real estate business during the pandemic and have already achieved 7-figure revenue are Beni Fwelo and Marquis Robinson, founders of Skyview Acquisitions Group.
Beni Fwelo was born in Congo and moved to the U.S. after graduating high school. Growing up he always had an interest in entrepreneurship, attempting a variety of businesses during school ranging from organizing events to selling products in school. Arriving in the U.S. as an immigrant who couldn’t speak English after high school put him on the back foot and “this was not an easy transition” he recalls. Whilst acclimatizing to the U.S. he did several jobs with the first being a dishwasher. He knew this would not be a long-term endeavor and over time managed to land a role at Comcast working in sales. He thrived in the role and started to dream about climbing up the corporate ladder, putting entrepreneurial thought to the back of his mind. However, despite good performance, his team was laid off due to structural changes highlighting how fragile your job can be when working for someone else which re-ignited his desire to build his own business and be in control of his destiny.
Exploring ventures to pursue he spoke to some friends and family who worked in real estate, an area he had an interest in and decided he would look into. After gaining more conviction he committed to learning about the sector and “the first year proved to be tough” he recalls. Much of this learning was self-taught before eventually gaining his real estate license. On his first few transactions, errors were made but he found his niche when he came across selling properties wholesale where he would match buyers and sellers making the process much easier for them and his company would take a fee for the service. Over time momentum started to grow and he was making a good income to expand his team which was when he met his business partner, Marquis Robinson.
Similar to Beni, Marquis had an unorthodox route into real estate. He started his career in sales at Verizon. Whilst the role was great for learning sales and negotiation skills which would come in handy further down the line it became obvious to Marquis that this was not an area he had much passion for. He had originally studied to work in the education sector, growing up in a family where education was not common; he wanted to do something where he could give back to his community. He eventually left Verizon and worked as a teacher for 3 years earning $2k per month which was a great way for him to fulfill his mission of giving back but he felt there was more he could do to earn an income whilst also giving back to the community through entrepreneurship. He knew he was talented in sales from his days working at Verizon and by chance stumbled across a real estate seminar that motivated him to look into the sector. Shortly after the seminar in 2018 he quit his job and had a mentor who helped teach him the ropes. By 2020 he was making 6 figures from his real estate business and this was when Beni approached him so that they would launch Skyview Acquisitions Group together.
Skyview Acquisitions Group
The duo formed Skyview Acquisitions Group in late 2020 and started working on the company in early 2021. Operating initially in the wholesale market matching buyers and sellers seeking a seamless transaction that required a much shorter sale process the duo has since reinvested profits and now also purchase and renovate properties then resell them for a higher value. Given where the pair have come from buying and renovating affordable properties goes beyond just the financial gain, they recognize how scarce affordable housing is today and as they expand into other areas such as multi-family residence they expect this development arm of their business to help solve some of these issues for the families they sell to.
They have built out a team who help with reaching out to keen buyers and sellers whom they have taught a lot of the sales and negotiation skills they picked up throughout their careers. The company is on track to make $2m this year and currently operates in the Georgia, Alabama, and Florida markets with plans to expand to Texas later this year.
Giving Back Through Education
Something extremely important to Beni and Marquis as they have had some success through their businesses will be offering education through their platform. Given what they have achieved against the odds they feel it’s part of their duty to pay it forward to people who come from similar backgrounds to them. Over the coming months, they will be offering seminars and courses as well as shadowing opportunities for interns to achieve this objective.
The duo have turned their lives around and achieved great things very quickly. They put their success down to sacrifice, hard work and patience which are traits they can hopefully pass onto others to achieve a similar level of success.