The Student Loan Podcast – Episode 8 – Leslie Awasom
Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn Leslie Awasom joins us from Xsite Capital and the Exciting World of Multifamily Investing to share his journey conquering mindset, becoming financially independent, and shifting the paradigm on student loans. Leslie is a successful investor, healthcare professional, family man, and so much more.  During this episode, prepare to be enlightened and […]

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Daphné Vanessa

Shamil Rodriguez



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About This Episode

Leslie Awasom joins us from Xsite Capital and the Exciting World of Multifamily Investing to share his journey conquering mindset, becoming financially independent, and shifting the paradigm on student loans. Leslie is a successful investor, healthcare professional, family man, and so much more.  During this episode, prepare to be enlightened and bring out your journal, because you will be taking notes.

 Guest Biography

Leslie is the Director of Operations and Co-founder of Xsite Capital Investment LLC. He manages the company operations, market/data analysis, cash flow and budget analysis. Leslie bought his first investment property in 2017 and transitioned to multifamily investing in 2019.

In 2019, Leslie partnered and invested in a 192-unit apartment project as a Limited Partner. Currently, Leslie and his partners have $20 million of real estate assets under management. is a Nurse Anesthetist in Baltimore, Maryland, and his team hosts a rapidly growing multifamily focused meetup in Maryland where they provide resources and add value to individuals interested in growing their wealth and changing their financial future.

Leslie is a husband and father of two beautiful girls and loves to spend his spare time reading, spending time in nature and flying drones

Connect with Leslie:

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Connect with the Hosts:

Hang with Daphné on Instagram @daphnevanessa

Hang with Shamil on Instagram @shamilrodriguez

Leslie Awasom (00:00): If you have a debt, look at the debt as somebody else's investment in you - right. If that money came from somebody else to invest in you. So look at it from a point of gratitude, like somebody believes so much in you that they give you this money to go and do something. So you have to pay it back.

Speaker 2 (00:22): Welcome to the student loan podcast. Here, you'll find practical advice on tackling student loan debt, paying down your higher education expenses and inspiring stories about paying off student loans, we're your hosts, Daphne Vanessa and Shamil Rodriguez.

Daphné Vanessa (00:40): Welcome to the student loan podcast. Everyone. Today, we have a very, very exciting guest. I mean, how exciting is this to have Leslie Awasom himself, um, famed investor, really mentor of a tribe of people who are up and coming in the world of multifamily investing. So we are super excited to have Leslie on today and with that let's get started. So, Leslie, how are you?

Leslie Awasom (01:12): I am wonderful.

Daphné Vanessa (01:14): Great to hear. Um, so the audience doesn't know as much as we do, but we would love for you to share with them what your story is, how you became so successful. And what was your interesting journey to get to where you are today?

Leslie Awasom (01:30): First off. Thank you, Vanessa. Thank you. Shamil for having me on your platform. Um, I'm grateful to be here to share the little experience that I've had. Um, so I'm just grateful to be here in the U S so I migrated to the U S about 20 years ago. Um, my mother, um, was here in the U S working as a nurse, so she brought us all over my siblings and I, and, um, um, I started off here chasing the American dream, like everybody else, um, come from an immigrant family. So, you know, education is highly, highly encouraged in the immigrant population. So I went to school, I started off studying computer science around 2000 then, um, when I, when I, um, got done, one of my certifications, um, got a job offer crash happened. So I lost that opportunity. Um, went through some stressful moments, um, ended up in a car accident in the hospital, um, where I was airlifted to hospital, um, where I almost lost my life, um, because I was doing the wrong things, hanging out on the wrong, set up a crowd and not really focusing on myself.

Leslie Awasom (02:35): So after that incident, I decided to, I was living in Maryland and I decided to pack my bags, moved to North Carolina to go pursue a career in nursing because my mom is a nurse. So I went to our nursing school, graduated from nursing school in 2008, came back to Maryland, um, was working as a nurse, um, for one of the main hospitals here in Maryland. Um, then I just didn't feel like that was where I needed. And I just, I felt like I needed more for my life. I wasn't just sure. Why. And, um, for us in the immigrant community, that when you need something, when you need more, the solution is education, for instance, for science education. So you got to go get more school, you know, you got to keep going on until you have a doctorate until you have a PhD or whatever.

Leslie Awasom (03:18): You gotta keep going. If you're not a doctor yet you gotta keep going back to school. So, um, I went back to school and got my master's in nursing anesthesia. Um, great carry a great job, high paying job, um, have been doing that for the past five years, really grateful, um, for that, for that opportunity to be taking care of people in that, um, in that capacity and grateful for all the resources that come along with having that kind of a position. Um, but even not my job as a nurse. And I said is, I still did not feel fulfilled. Um, I felt like there was a ceiling of growth and I felt like I was at the ceiling. Um, I was making all this money, but I was not happy because I felt like I wasn't growing. There's just a limitation of how much record that I could have in my career.

Leslie Awasom (04:01): So I was just wandering around trying to ask myself if this is really what I want to do in the past, uh, in the, for the next 20 years of my life. At that point, I was this a student, a little podcast I'm going to explain. I was busy working overtime. I was working about 60 hours a week trying to pay down my student debt because I was like, so scared of old is that I got to pay down. I got to get this monkey off my back. If that means anything to you guys, I was, that was doing that, but, um, just didn't feel fulfilled. So, um, I was at one point I was reading through a Yahoo article, just trying to read business news, figure out what else is out there. So I stumbled across an article that talked about, um, some guy wrote a book for millennials that are joining his student loan debt.

Leslie Awasom (04:45): Um, and that, that is the, the author of some famous book rich dad, poor dad had not read it at that time. So I say, you know what, that's exactly my situation. Let me read, let me buy this book and read. I was, at that point, I was dissatisfied frustrated, and I was open to more knowledge. I was open to try something else. I was open to try a path that is not on the traditional path. So I started reading that book and, um, it felt like, um, Robert Kiyosaki was talking to me now, finances and financial education is not something that we hear that, uh, I did not have anybody that taught me anything about banking systems and all that stuff. So it's from that book that I learned how the banking systems work, how the debt system in the U S works and how everything is, how you can get yourself out of this situation.

Leslie Awasom (05:30): You know? So, um, I started following some of the recommendations in that book. The book recommended, read more books on financial education, read this, read this, I just dove in and start the reading start, educating myself, started investing on myself. And, um, so one of the recommendations the book was to, um, look into real estate. Um, he talked about the advantages of real estate, which made sense to me. So I started investing in real estate, um, back in 2016. And that was really working. The first property went really well, was total proof of concept, you know, so I was all in. I said, this makes more sense. So I got to keep going and I'll fast forward, uh, 2019, um, I met my partners and, um, we transitioned into, um, into multi-family investing, like buying more big apartment complexes and, um, together we've been able to do some amazing things. And, um, since I met my partners, the growth has been tremendous. So I'm just grateful to be where I am today. And I'm grateful to be having this conversation.

Daphné Vanessa (06:29): That's fantastic. Um, I there's so much to unpack there. I would love to start off with the psychological part. Sure.

Shamil Rodriguez (06:38): So the, can you talk about the, uh, let's talk about, did you take out student loans for each of your, your computer science degree and the nursing degree as well?

Leslie Awasom (06:47): I took out student loans for every year, if the government was giving money, I took it (chuckle).

Shamil Rodriguez (06:53): No, I understand completely. So can you, uh, share with the audience cause you, you know, you've hit a point of success now that sometimes it can be hard for our listeners to imagine themselves in just right now at this point, can you walk them through, uh, what it was like to figure out how I'm going to pay for school? Does it have to be, or you know, why does it have to be loans? Can you just share a little bit about your mindset back then? Uh, for the audience

Leslie Awasom (07:19): There was no, there was not many options. The two options I have to go to school. I don't have the money to go to school. And I'm in America, the land of opportunities, the government is giving you money to go to school and get a degree. You know, I came from a society where, um, you know, you, if you're not from a home where the family can afford to send you to school, you don't get to go to school. It doesn't matter how much ambition you have. And I'm here in this country and the government is going to give you, they gave me some grants initially then started, then I didn't qualify for grants anymore. I had to start taking loans and the government was paying for me to go to school. So it was completely, those are the two options. It was a no brainer. So I didn't see it as a problem. At that point in time, I was just happy that I had this opportunity to better myself.

Shamil Rodriguez (08:05): Okay. So when you approached it, you were looking at it from that perspective of I had this chance and I'm not going to let it slip away. Uh, I'll figure out the rest later.

Leslie Awasom (08:15): Absolutely. Absolutely. I'm just going to go to school and I'll get a job and I'll take care of it later, but that was the mindset then.

Shamil Rodriguez (08:22): Nice, well said. Well said,

Daphné Vanessa (08:25): I think that's such a unique perspective that a lot of us don't think about, um, in the United States. I think even if I come from immigrant parents as well, I take it for granted. The fact that, you know, back in my country, it's true that it is a game of economics. And even if you have a lot of ambition, if there's not a family sponsoring you, or if you don't come from a well-off family, you aren't going to school. So it puts it into perspective where, you know, a lot of us complain about student loans, right. But what's, the other option is not having the opportunity to further yourself and, you know, would you be where you are? So I think that's a huge takeaway that I would love for the audience to kind of digest that is big on mindset, because it sounds like that type of a mindset is what made you successful later on. How do you think the two correlated between your always looking at the optimistic side, even though, you know, something can seem insurmountable?

Leslie Awasom (09:26): Uh, I, I gotta tell you this. It wasn't always that way. At that point in time, when I was sticking to student loans, um, I was taking student loans to go to school and I knew I was going to pay it off at the end. But, um, to be, um, in all fairness to everybody in the audience or the people you refer to, I too felt that burden at the end. It's not easy to come out of school. It's easy to take the money from the government, right. And the government gives you money, even pays for your rent. It's easy to take it. But then at the end, when you get that bill and you all are because when I got my bill or, uh, what was it like $203,000? I was like, Whoa. And then the paycheck you getting that you thought was that big, you know, it's not that big.

Leslie Awasom (10:07): Then you gotta be making this payment. And what is that? Asking yourself, all these questions. Like, when am I ever going to pay this off? Like what you, so you start having that burden, right? So it's easier at that point to miss the whole concept of the, of the student loan. And I honestly did not get that right. I was struggling to pay back my student loans with that mindset like, Oh, I need to pay this back. Oh, this is so much of a burden to me onto, I read the book, um, second chance at your life and your money by Robert Kiyosaki. And then it led me down this path of personal growth and development. And down that path, I was listening to one of my mentors. And, um, he said, if you have a debt, look at the debt as somebody else's investment in you, right.

Leslie Awasom (10:57): If that money came from somebody else to invest in you. So look at it from a point of gratitude, like somebody believes so much in you that they gave you this money to go and do something. So you have to pay it back, but look at it from that point. And at that point, it really that's what hit me. It made sense to me at that point, then I will have to reflect on how I came into this society and had nothing. And I had this opportunity to have this. Now the debt is no longer a burden. Right. But it's something that has helped me to bring me up to this point. Right. It's not something that I should feel like I'm fighting all this. Like somebody scammed me. No, I took it out on my own and I used it. Right. And it brought me to where I am. So if I didn't use that, that I probably would not have had this opportunity. I don't know. But the government invested in me, so I owe it to pay back to the government. So that's the mindset that I take in moving forward with the debt. Wow. Huge,

Daphné Vanessa (11:55): Big idea. Mind explode for me. Um, and I think, I I'd love to see what does that translate to in terms of, well, actually before we get into the future, because we all know the story, uh, but let's walk the audience kind of through where you were piece by piece. So what we've done with other audience members is that we look at the pie, like, what did your student loan pilot like? And did you have a strategy to pay it off? So question number one is, do you remember, you know, what your student loan, total burden looked like? You said 200 and something thousand. Was it all private? Was it all public? Um, how much of it had variable interest rates versus a deferred interest? Do you remember?

Leslie Awasom (12:37): It was all public. So, um, federal loans, a mixture of subsidized and subsidized. I think, uh, when I came, I bundled it all up to one payer. The total was like 200, three and $800. And the interest rate is like 6%.

Daphné Vanessa (12:55): And so what is the strategy with paying off student loans? What do you believe in, in terms of when to start investing versus when to start paying off your student loans? What's your idea on that?

Leslie Awasom (13:09): So this is my, my, and initially when I started off everything else was on hold my whole life, having fun, everything else was on hold. I was, um, working, like I said, 60 hours a week overtime dropping it in my student loan some months making a $10,000 payment, some months making a $5,000 payment trying to pay it off, trying to get them on care of my back, but it was like over burdening me and everything. So when I discovered, when I started to understand, um, finances, trying to get better at my mindset and trying to understand everything, um, one of the principles that I learned is never do anything with your money. If you haven't paid yourself first. And the other principle I learned is invest 10% of your income in your own personal growth. Yeah. So those are the two things I do not compromise with.

Leslie Awasom (14:06): Right. Everything else is on hold, right. But a 10% paid to myself and sent about 10%, not, not fully 10%, but I try to get close on my own personal growth and my personal development, you know? So I invest in myself by buying books, signing up for courses to learn how to keep growing, how to keep getting better, how to expanding my means to, um, associate myself with better networks where I could learn some of these things where I could increase my income. Now, there are two ways that you could pay this and no one way is the wrong way or right way, right at the end of this, what works for you? Right. For me, the concept of shrinking down and I'm just focusing on, was overburdening for me. And it wasn't really working. Right. Um, it's it's for me, I don't think it's worth it to be paying that.

Leslie Awasom (15:01): Then it becomes like some kind of a stress on you where you get sick or whatever. Right. So when I've, when I, when I discovered that what I did is I put myself on a 10 year payment plan. I was trying to pay it off in like five years. I put myself on a 10 year payment plan where I make a payment every month. I know that payment is something that I could pay without having any issues. And I still have enough to invest in myself and invest in my personal good and still have enough to take on my family. I'm like

Daphné Vanessa (15:26): Smart, very smart. And so that's different than what a lot of people that have paid off their student loans have said, but your net worth is also very much higher than theirs. So, um, can you talk to us about the difference in interest rates between investing versus paying off your student loan debt and why that difference in interest rate might be something to think about?

Leslie Awasom (15:50): So I invest in multi-family real estate. Um, the deals that I'm in now, one of them has an average annual return of about 25%. Wow. The other has an average annual return of 18%. My student loan interest rate is 6%, you know? So, um, now you get where the math and the differences. Now let's, let's put the percentages aside and all that. I know you guys know people like messing with the numbers, but my belief is, and I think a lot of, um, other, um, most smarter people, way ahead of me, I've said it, right? That your worth, your net worth grow as much as you grow as a person. Right? A lot of us students, when we come out of school, the student loan, we put our own growth on ho we feel like the education is the pinnacle of where we need to go and we stop everything else and focus on this and lock us in for five years or six years that we want to pay off this debt and then cover everything else.

Leslie Awasom (16:47): Right. Right. But you don't have to go too far to see in nature. We are here to grow. Everything in nature is here to grow. Everything in nature is here to grow into its highest potential. Right. So when you, I w whenever I stopped that growth, I don't feel myself when I'm, when I'm engaging in activities while I'm growing, then I feel like I am living the best life for me. And for me, that's more important than I'm having a zero balance on or not on, not on my student loan. I am on a trajectory to pay it off in 10 years. Maybe, maybe less. Right. I did not expect, or to be honest with you, I did not expect the growth to happen with me as it did. Uh, like when I, when I was involving in personal development and personal growth, I really did not expect it to have the results that it has, but it has, you know, so, um, I'm happy. I'm grateful where I am. So it's working for me. So I'll keep down that path. Nice.

Shamil Rodriguez (17:51): So the follow-up on, on that idea was like it, and I want to make sure that our listeners learn from what I think is a really key part that you said there, which is, would you mind sharing a bit more about why you kept pushing forward through your personal development journey, even though you didn't believe it, you know, internally that little inner voice, it's like, eh, I'm doing it, but I don't know if it's going to happen as fast as I think it's going to happen. You know, what, you know, try to help somebody who might be out there. Who's saying, Aw, man, I'm trying this, I'm working three jobs and working two jobs. And I just don't feel like it's coming to me as fast as I wanted to. How could you help somebody out there, you know, kind of keep going.

Leslie Awasom (18:32): Um, I it's, it's, it's, uh, the, the power of your mindset can not be overstated. Right. Um, I know, do you see a lot of everywhere in the mindset is King mindset. Oh, and that might get a little bit nauseating, but I will tell you this, um, your mindset is everything, right. Um, your perspective is everything. Um, for me learning about my mind and learning about how I've used certain things and understanding how simple things, simple changes in life can affect your growth has made a huge difference. I started the, the number one thing that you could do, I started off, um, being really ungrateful, right? Um, I had all this, I had the same position that I have right now. I had pretty much kind of almost the same life that I have right now, and the same kind of opportunities around me, but I was so ungrateful.

Leslie Awasom (19:29): And when you live in that space of, ingratitude, you are unable to see the opportunities that are around you. When you live in that space of this dissatisfaction, you are unable to see that the opportunities that are around you, because you spend most of your time complaining most of it, and it's not rocket science, right. If you see anybody that is doing well in life, that did not go to some other planet to get it, everything that they got is here right around us. Right. And the, we, it's just, you just got to change your perspective, open your eyes to see it. And that's why the mindset is important. Even not able to change your mindset, change your perspective. You are on a different tunnel or vision, right? It's not like it's all here. So changing your mindset helps you see things differently. It helps you look at life in a different perspective and helps you value yourself more. And the more you value yourself, the more you're able to invest in yourself. And the more you're able to grow

Shamil Rodriguez (20:24): Very well said. Thank you, Leslie. Um, would you mind a quick question, just because I know we have a bit of an understanding of real estate. We're not like you guys, but we know, um, enough to know the difference between multi-family homes, just for the people that aren't familiar. And as we do this for a lot of our guests that are from different fields, um, would you mind walking through the listeners, what that means it a duplex?

Shamil Rodriguez (20:48): Is it a triplex? Is it an apartment complex? Would you mind just, um, educating the listeners briefly about what it is that you do outside of your nine to five?

Leslie Awasom (20:58): Yeah. So, um, multi-family simply much means two units in up, but, um, for our business, we focus on like apartment complexes, um, uh, ranges from 50 units and up. Um, so, um, we, um, um, find great opportunities in our emerging markets. We purchased those apartment complexes together with our investors. And, um, the great thing is it's just like a solid, strong, um, Avenue for wealth growth that has existed over the years for a very long period of time. So, um, we never knew about it. I , like I said, it's all here, but you don't have the perspective to see it. I didn't have that perspective to see it until I started engaging. Then I came across this and I asked myself, I've been in the U S for 20 years. I thought I was ambitious. How come I've never heard about this? You know, and asking myself that question and realizing that a lot of people in my community have no idea that these opportunities exist out there for them.

Leslie Awasom (21:58): And we're talking about a lot of people that are hardworking people that are medical doctors, that are lawyers that have PhDs upon PhDs that have good earning jobs, but don't know that they have this stable vehicle of investment available to them. So that whole idea, when I was sitting down and having a conversation with my partners and I were going through the educational process and learning about this and having this conversation and learning and thinking that we could actually take this back and come back to our communities and tell people, get, these are the opportunities that exist out really, really, really got us excited. And that's how we, um, we started our company and that's how we started XCITE capital to, um, focus on this asset class and to bring that education, to educate people because the, all of this begins in the mind, the growth begins in the mind and the more educated that, um, we are about the opportunities that are available, the more we are able to choose what works best for us. Um, it's not a one size fits all for everybody. You gotta see what aligns with you, but, um, we got to educate people so they can know about it to be able to choose.

Daphné Vanessa (23:07): Yep. And so you talk about the mind a lot. What are some concrete steps that people can take to change negative tunnel vision? Because I know I personally am not very good at getting out of negative tunnel vision. And so what are some examples that people can take? Like, is it, is it writing down something positive and, and placing it places? Is it making sure that you read a certain number of pages per day? What is that success habit that you have? That's helped you stay in a positive tunnel vision?

Leslie Awasom (23:41): Something easy that anybody could do is just get up every morning. Um, first thing in the morning, get a piece of pen and a paper and write 10 things that you're grateful for and, um, really feel the gratitude. Just feel how grateful you are. It doesn't have to be financial. It doesn't have to be, uh, anything just feel, just being grateful that you're here and able to read this as enough.

Daphné Vanessa (24:05): That's a great, that's a great piece of feedback. Um, so listeners, you hear, we now know be grateful, express gratitude, 10 things that we're writing down per day. Um, and so following up on the, uh, wealth growth aspect, it looks like of all the strategies for achieving success, you've chosen make more money. So there's some people that do, uh, you know, live way below your means. Some people do make more money. Some people do a combination of the two. Am I right in assuming that you are the make more money class?

Leslie Awasom (24:40): Both, both, both. It's, it's all about balancing expenses and, um, expansion. Uh, the, the, the thing that, um, will not work for me, sacrificing expansion for, um, like stop expanding myself, just because I want to crumble and save and not be able to live life. No. Um, so it it's a mixture of both. I'm not extra wagon. I don't spend carelessly, you know, so, um, but I reigned in my expenses, but also invest in myself to keep growing.

Daphné Vanessa (25:12): And you said that you're, wow. Your asset class is 50 units. And above that just seems like so much to me. I don't know why, um, how did you fall into that market? How are you finding these places? Are you building them? What's the path, uh, to get from zero to a 50 unit building?

Leslie Awasom (25:33): The path is just doing one and, um, and, um, aligning yourself with other people that, that do in it. Um, I, I'm going to tell you this. Um, when I started, um, I started investing in single properties. That was my, I was comfortable even that before it became comfortable with scary, but after the first one, it made sense. So I became comfortable. Then I met my partner and, um, he is not scared of anything when we discovered multifamily that now the importance is that I'll come back to the importance of personal development, again, on some of the personal development content I've been listening to. I was listening at that time to Les Brown, a lot, Paul Pope was by Les Brown. And some of the things he was talking about was, uh, uh, feel the fear and do it anyway. When you see something that is scared, that scares you, that means that something that you gotta be doing, because you're going to step you out of the comfort zone.

Leslie Awasom (26:22): So when we discover multi-family family and I heard the numbers, I was, I was shaking. And I remember what Les Brown said, and I say, you know what, okay, this is what I need to do. You know, so, and I was lucky that I had partners that are not scared. So I just piggy back behind their energy. One of my partners had been, uh, had owned business before, and he had been in personal development earlier than I was. So he wasn't scared of anything. So I just pick it back behind his energy. And then I realized it's not that scary after all right. Uh, we create all these images in our head. We create all the scenarios in our head that don't exist. Right? That's the only thing that exists is what you go in and play it in the present moment. But before we get in the present moment, we have all these thoughts in our head, all these scenarios, and it prevents us from taking steps and moving forward.

Leslie Awasom (27:15): Um, so, um, I continue on a daily basis, um, making sure, uh, 45 my mind, um, because, um, for example, right, I'm sure you guys look healthy. You're very mindful of what you eat on a daily basis. Right? Thank you. Make sure you exercise, you take good care of your body. Um, but what do you feed your mind with your mind is a very important core part of your body, right? So this is some of the lessons that I learned early on, and I realize that I've been given my mind a lot of junk food, you know, so I decided to go straight vegan on the, on the mine site.

Leslie Awasom (27:59): I'm not vegan in real life, man. I dug in and I started

Leslie Awasom (28:06): A lot of content that is helping moving me forward, you know, and I've been able to break some of those challenges, break some of those fears. And, um, I just, I I'm happy for where I'm at. I'm grateful and I keep try to grow every single day.

Daphné Vanessa (28:23): It's amazing. How are you surrounding yourself with other successful people? I know you've done a fantastic job of creating an environment for mentees to have the opportunity to meet other successful people like yourself. But how did you find that network?

Leslie Awasom (28:41): Um, initially, um, we, um, I, when I read books that set, um, you don't have to have necessarily physical mentors. You could have, um, audio book mentors. I had a bunch of those, but I got to a point where I said, you know what? I got to step out of this. My initial crowd was like the REIA meetings, the real estate association meetings. I'll go over there and meet people, talk to people. Then I'm talking to these people and I'm realizing, huh, these are great people. I've never been in a committee of so many people everybody's willing to help each other. Everybody's willing to show everybody's looking forward to partner. They don't look down on you because you knew, uh, you know, so everybody's so encouraging. I'm like, so I love this kind of crowd, right? The word that I'm used to of this space is like dog-eat-dog.

Leslie Awasom (29:26): Everybody wants to eat you now. So I'm like this, this, this, this is good. So I started, I associating more more of these people instead of learning more about these people. Um, then when we decided to get into motel family, um, one of the things that our one, our mentors said, we needed to create like a thought leadership platform where we could share information and help other people. And so we started a meet up, um, that was another scary part. Um, but, um, as, as things happen, um, the very first person that showed up at our meetup at our very first meetup, um, owns about 6,000 doors across the U S of multifamily assets. And then he became a mentor showing us all this. So it's, it's just about, um, having faith, putting yourself out there with a pure and open heart. And I believe me, everything falls in place. It's like when you take one step in the right direction with an open heart, um, with faith back 10 different steps, then different things aligned next to you. So at least that has been my experience for which I'm very good.

Shamil Rodriguez (30:35): That's amazing. So I wanted to dive into that a little bit more. Uh, cause sometimes Leslie, we have some people that feel like, Oh, I'm working full time and your case workers in 60 hours a week, sometimes more I'm sure. Um, and it's not an easy gig to do so. Uh, what were some of the, or what was your mindset for handling both, you know, where did you find the time, uh, to do that? Right. Cause sometimes folks out there might think, Oh, I just don't have the time or I'm too busy. Um, how were you able to say, I want to stay on my, my current path, but I'm also gonna invest, uh, in real estate and manage those two worlds together.

Leslie Awasom (31:15): I gave up everything else and, um, focus on, on debt. Right. Um, if something is very important to you find time for it. Um, so, um, like, um, or am I, the, is one of my mentors says, show me your calendar and I'll show you and I'll tell you what your values are. Right. If you look at your daily calendar, you're going to see what you view as valuable to you, right? And, um, the more you change your values, right? The things that are more valuable to you is that spending more time. And so when I started initially, I was working like 60 hours a week, um, working overtime, doing all this stuff, putting all the extra money into my student loans. And, um, then when I started investing in real estate, I kind of cut back a little bit. Um, I probably work now maybe about 40, 50 hours a week maximum.

Leslie Awasom (32:06): Um, but I designed my schedule in such a way that I have time. I could make time for real estate. Right. For example, I'm a healthcare provider. So I'm one of the shifts available to us is to do a 24 hour in-house call shift where I stay in the hospital and for 24 hours and I respond to emergencies. Now, the great thing about that shift is you can go there and work for two hours and 18 and the rest of the day, you don't have anything to do, right. So guess what, everybody doesn't want that shift. I signed up it and those hours I spent doing my real estate stuff. I spend those hours reading books. I spend those hours on the writing properties. Right. And when I advocate that I put that aside and I focus on the anesthesia. So it's all about when something is really valuable to you, you're going to find time for it. I, um, during breaks at work, I'm listening to a podcast, you know, um, I really enjoyed this. I really enjoyed the journey. So, um, for me it doesn't feel like I am working. It feels like I am living life. So that's why it comes a little bit easier.

Shamil Rodriguez (33:16): No, that's, that's very well said. I think the gratitude point that you brought up is very important and opening up your mind and focusing around you, but then also seeing the idea that, that you are taking advantage of the small moments, right? Because a lot of times people will use time. They're waiting in line at the grocery store or, you know, maybe they found an extra 15 minutes and now they're going to scroll through Facebook or ESPN or whatever the case may be. But instead you decided to reinvest that extra spare time back into yourself. Um, and I think it's amazing for our audience to hear because a lot of times people get the stress, right. They may not be at that point where they're seeing their debt as an investment from the government into them. Um, but hopefully they will, after hearing this episode with you, um, and they want to escape that stress by going out drinking or, uh, playing video games or whatever the case may be.

Shamil Rodriguez (34:12): Um, so I think, uh, I appreciate it, Leslie, that you're sharing that, that advice because I'm hoping that it'll hit someone at home that might be feeling a little bit underwater or feeling a bit stressed and saying, Hey, I'm working too much. I don't have enough time. Um, or these loans are too much for me to handle. I don't know what to do. Am I ever going to get rid of these? Um, and you know, you're able to, to get to that point. So would you mind sharing a bit, uh, about, uh, about that the meetup a little bit more? I think it would be great for our listeners who are interested in real estate, um, to learn a little bit more about what that platform is and how they can connect with it if possible.

Leslie Awasom (34:50): Oh, absolutely. Um, the name of our meetup is the, the exciting world of multifamily family investing. It's virtual is on zoom right now because of the pandemic. Um, so every, um, we host, um, every first Monday of the month and, um, we strive again. Um, we strongly believe in the power of the education of expanding your awareness and expanding our opportunities. So we endeavor to bring some of the top speakers around the country to come and talk to anyone who attends about different aspects related to multi-family real estate investing and mindset. Um, again, the mindset is very powerful. Um, so we bring people that could come and talk to people where you could come on the ask questions, um, learn, participate, be part the community. Um, we send out a lot of educational content to members of our middle platform and, um, we are getting better on that and it, uh, intending to do a little bit more of that as the years come about. Um, it's amazing to see some of the growth that has happened to some of the members that have been part of our community. So, um, it's, it's just, it's, it's, it's, it's, it's an amazing feeling to be in that position to be able to, um, expand somebody else's mind and they go out and do this, you know, and because somebody else did it for me too, you know, so yeah.

Daphné Vanessa (36:11): That's awesome to hear. So there's so much to pack out here so much success. Leslie, you are running this meetup, you're inspiring people. You've completely expanded the life of your family. Um, and, and there's, there's a lot more to come, but how do you feel about also being a hero in the pandemic? You're a part of the medical professional, you know, you're a part of saving lives in this pandemic. You know, you guys have been heroes in, uh, the current state. What does it feel like to be in that space and saving people both financially and health wise?

Leslie Awasom (36:54): I'm going to tell you something, um, th that's the reason why I'm so grateful for real estate, um, because, um, what real estate did for me, uh, it's, it's not just financial. Um, it probably to some extent saved my life. I don't know, but, um, who knows what destiny is coming into this pandemic because real estate I learned about, um, the gratitude mindset, your mind, and everything, and learning about everything. So coming into this pandemic, I was mentally forty-five to deal with it, right? This is the one time in my life that I faced a stressful situation. And I feel like I was fully prepared for it. I was the one guy that went to work every day and seeing what we doing as a service, as something really beautiful as being part of this as having this opportunity, to see people with that, I, in that at least in their most vulnerable moments and you able to be there, you have the skill to help them through that.

Leslie Awasom (37:58): Right. Um, so that was the perspective I took to work everyday. You know, being able to get up every morning, every morning, morning, early in the morning, do my meditations, do my gratitude, journaling exercise, and go to work, feeling happy, feeling energized. I think it protected me psychologically and probably biologically from any of the stresses that that came along, you know, it has been a very, very challenging moment. Any health care provider it has been like, um, the past few months has been very stressful. I've had a few colleagues that have, um, been hit with the, with the virus and it's not something that is easy to deal with, you know? So, um, again, um, we, it's still, the journey is still long. Things are still getting, um, bad as the days goes ahead. Um, my heart goes out to all the people that have lost family members in this, um, pandemics or, um, I just, I'm just, again, grateful and happy that our list I can help in this situation. So I do the best that I can to help and protect myself so that I could protect my family.

Daphné Vanessa (39:04): That's amazing. Wow. I'm so inspired. This has been really, I mean, I can't say favorite, but definitely one of my favorite episodes. Um, I I've learned a lot. I think there's a lot of action items that we took from today's episode, right. Which is the gratitude journal, making sure that your mindset is in the right place and some concrete steps that you can take to get there. Um, looking at the value of, of your actions in terms of debt versus investment in thinking about what actually makes sense for you. Um, and looking at things always in a positive view. So those are just some of the takeaways that I had,

Shamil Rodriguez (39:46): Some of the takeaways I had there, Daphne were, just the, to remind the listeners is to invest in yourself, right? Putting in that 10%, uh, to yourself first, before you touch anything else. Uh, and then the other kicker that I think, I just know whoever's listening, that that actually does what you're saying here. Leslie, will change their lives, is they invest 10% into their personal development? I think that is key I 100, uh, 1000% agree with that, with that, that, that concept, because it's true.

Leslie Awasom (40:17): Absolutely. Yeah. I can guarantee that that that is the, and that is a lot of things because we focused so much sometimes on the money and forget that the money does not exist if we don't exist, right. You are the person that goes out there to make the money. So you got to elevate your skill in order to be able to make the more money you got to elevate your skills in order to remain competitive. In this environment, the economy is changing at a very rapid rate. You know, some of us are going to get left behind because we felt got comfortable where we are and felt like that was the end. But as you mentioned, the human nature is to keep growing, invest in that growth. If you do 10% investment in your personal growth, your personal development, I guarantee you, you will see results.

Shamil Rodriguez (41:03): Uh, the fantastic that you've blessed us with, uh, with the opportunity to share your wisdom with us and your experience with other people can learn from it. Uh, I know, uh, taken away some things here. Uh, it reminds me, I don't know if you've read Cal Newport's book of deep work. Um, he really goes on that mindset of, you know, building up your skills so that you can continue to evolve and doing it incrementally, but consistently. Um, so Leslie, I mean, uh, I don't know you Daphné, but this is really a very, very, uh, positive, uh, episode. I'm looking forward to the reaction that our listeners have to it.

Daphné Vanessa (41:35): Yes. Thank you so much, Leslie, for your time. I don't even think a rapid round would do this episode justice. So I am going to end here, um, end on a high note of everybody invest 10% of yourself, people who are interested in the exciting world of multifamily investing, please, please attend the meetups I have. And I've learned so much. I really appreciated the line by line. Look, I'm a nerd. So I appreciated the line by line and look into what steps to take to actually become a multifamily investor. One day in my case, a lot of people were experienced in the meetup already. Um, and then I really just appreciated you sharing the mindset piece. That really was for me the biggest takeaway, because without us shifting our mindsets about student loans and whether it is a curse or a blessing, are we really going to be able to tackle it in with mental peace? And so I think that was a huge lesson. Thank you so so much, Leslie, I really appreciated your time and I'm looking forward to staying engaged and I will definitely be at the meetups. So guys, if you want to see me again, then join the multi, the exciting world of multifamily investing.

Leslie Awasom (42:47): Thank you, Vanessa. Thank you, Shamil. Thank you guys for having me. And just to wrap it up. If you got to pay your student loans, what you want to paid sad, or you want to be happy, you might as well be happy. Why you pay [inaudible]. All right, guys. Thank you so much for having me so much. You too. Bye bye.

Shamil Rodriguez (43:06): For more information about this episode, visit

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