Today we’d like to introduce you to Ryan and Ashton Clark.
Ryan and Ashton, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
A few years after my brother Ryan and I graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, our Mom suggested that we purchase our first investment property. At first, we said we were not interested because most of our experience was from our online businesses. A few weeks later Ryan and I decided to venture into residential real estate and purchased our first investment property. It was a complete gut rehab that took several months and was quite the experience but we learned a lot. We learned how to buy property in good neighborhoods at great prices. We decided to take our model and expand it. 6 years later our business has grown significantly. We are now looking to venture into commercial real estate. This story goes to show that no dream is too small. You can do anything if you put your mind to it and get to work.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
To be successful in real estate you have to have access to capital. There were a few instances where major expenses occurred that we were not prepared for such as roof problems or tax increases. As an entrepreneur it is important to know that it is easy to give up and throw in the towel. It is even harder to keep going in spite of adversity. Successful entrepreneurs are those who keep going even when the going gets tough. If you do not fight for your dreams who will?
Another challenge we faced was people discouraging us from venturing into real estate. A few years ago we asked some experienced real estate investors if we should purchase or rent after we graduated. The advice we received was to rent. We thought about if for a few weeks and determined that this was poor advice for us. We were passionate about owning where we lived and renting did not help us accomplish our goal of building equity. We preferred to build our own wealth through equity as opposed to helping someone else pay their mortgage. We took the advice with a grain of salt and purchased soon after we graduated. It was one of the best decisions we made because we purchased in a neighborhood where property values are on a steady incline. Not all advice is good advice and it is important to recognize this. Not everyone will have your best interest at heart and it is important to weed these individuals out because they can have a negative impact on your goals if you let them.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
Equity Twins is a residential real estate company based in Chicago, IL. We buy houses, fix them up and rent them. We are most proud of our ability to work together and provide quality places to live to those in the communities we serve. We are 100% black owned and this is what sets us apart from others. If you look at most communities of color, the property owners do not look like the residents of their community. Ryan and I wanted to change that and serve as an example of what’s possible through hard work, prayer, dedication and persistence.
What were you like growing up?
Ryan and I have been entrepreneurial for as long as we can remember. We found ways to make money as young boys by raking leaves and shoveling snow. Our parents encouraged us to try new ideas and learn from our experiences. We enjoy taking smart risks and trying new things. If an idea does not work we try again or pivot by doing something completely different. Most of our companies have been internet based and real estate has helped us branch out and gain experience outside of e-commerce. We are passionate about giving back to our communities. We firmly believe that “service is the rent we pay for living” as Shirley Chisholm once said. The question we have for you is have you paid your rent today?
- Instagram: @Ashtonlclark and @Rclark88
The one with the Chicago background was taken by Aetna for their Black History Calendar some years ago.