Raj Tut has acquired, transformed, and managed over $35 million in multifamily real estate throughout his 5 years of entrepreneurial experience.
Raj oversees everything at Gateway Multifamily Group, from acquisitions and dispositions to asset management and operations. His graceful mastery of multifamily’s sophisticated, yet emotionally-driven processes have enabled him to continue developing a new standard of excellence for Gateway Multifamily’s group of companies.
Raj Tut is a graduate of the University of Guelph’s Real Estate and Housing program. He is also the founder and principal of the property management company, Tut and Tut Properties.
How did the concept for Gateway Multifamily Group come about?
I named the company after the tallest structure in St. Louis but came up with the idea below ground in the basement apartment I rented while I was in college. Based on the experiences of myself and others, I realized many inefficiencies that led landlords to have horrible customer experiences and products – which would be the properties themselves.
In 2013, I left Canada and immigrated to the “land of opportunity” – ultimately opting to call the St. Louis region home. With limited resources and no connections, I started Gateway with the acquisition of a single mobile home.
How was the first year in business?
The first year was challenging. I was 22 years old and had to improve many general skills that are required to be an entrepreneur and more defined skills that are necessary to be in the multifamily space. Not a day went by where I wasn’t questioning myself and thinking of getting a 9-5.
What was your marketing strategy?
We are vertically-integrated so our in-house property management company, Tut and Tut Properties, has our marketing mainly focused on finding suitable renters for our spaces. We develop a narrative that gets woven into the fabric of each property to signal to potential renters what that property represents regarding lifestyle, safety, and other factors. Each property’s branding is unique and cohesive, from the property level to the Internet. We also leverage technology such as 3D tours, online bookings, and more to ensure the best possible leasing experience for potential renters.
How fast did the company grow during the first few years?
In 2013, the single property we owned had a value of $13,000. In 2018, the properties owned and managed had a value of $35 million with revenue of over $3 million. In 2019 and beyond, we’ll continue to grow and begin expanding to other cities.
How do you define success?
If you are positively contributing to society and making your world (not necessarily the world as a whole) a better place, I would say you are a successful person.
What is the key to success?
The key to success is finding your purpose in life and working extremely hard every single day to ensure you fulfill your mission. For me, it is creating the best renting experience possible for as many people as possible.
What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
Never take someone’s word for it. Always do your due diligence and have important points in writing. I prefer to exchange emails over speaking to people on the phone when it comes to important matters so that I have it in a text format and can always refer back to it.
What are some quotes that you live by?
Entrepreneurs such as myself have to take enormous risks, not only to start businesses, but also to grow them. This Robert Kiyosaki quote keeps me going and taking calculated risks: “Don’t let the fear of losing be greater than the excitement of winning.”
What are some of your favorite books?
I don’t read as often as I would like to, but some of my favorites are The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C. Maxwell, How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie, and Multi-Family Millions by David Lindahl.
Tell me about one of the toughest days you’ve had as an entrepreneur.
I don’t have a single day that sticks out in my mind, but the first year was by far the toughest. Having to wear so many hats while trying to launch your company is extremely taxing on your mind, body, and soul.
When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
I’ve faced much adversity. What pushes me forward is Gateway Multifamily’s purpose. I think our mission is more significant than me and is deserving of my full effort. Gateway Multifamily has one purpose: to create the best renting experience possible. We do this through a unique blend of branding, operations, and physical improvements at all of our properties. With this approach, we’ve helped thousands of renters live their lives to the fullest.
What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs?
Do it for the right reasons. Very few entrepreneurs succeed unless they are truly focused on adding value to their customers and society.
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This interview was conducted for research purposes by author Jason Navallo for his upcoming book, Underdog.
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