From Finance To Real Estate: The Indisputable Keys To Success With Meg Epstein

TRAS Meg | Keys To Success

 

Many think that success is individual gameplay, but when you take a closer look, you’ll find some common things that intersect among most, if not all, successful companies. Jason Duncan has the theory to back that, which underscores the five indisputable keys to success: passion, place, people, preparation, and plan. In this episode, he discusses this with Meg Epstein, a real estate developer with over a decade of experience creating innovative and smartly designed homes and neighborhoods and the founder of the development firm, CA South. Beginning with her success story, Meg shares how she walked away from a perfect career in finance and moved to Nashville to start her development company. She also gives her thoughts about what she thinks success is, what role money plays in it, and how you extend it by helping others. Plus, Meg then dives deep into her passion, the people that helped her along the way, and her plans and strategies for even more growth.

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From Finance To Real Estate: The Indisputable Keys To Success With Meg Epstein

Generally speaking, my guests have a personal net worth of somewhere north of $5 million. Their businesses are creating at least $2 million in annual revenue. They started their business on their own without the help of a family business or a franchise. Those are general rules. What we’re talking about in this show is the theory that I have that there are these five indisputable keys to success. I refer to them as the 5 Ps, Passion, Place, People, Preparation, and Plan. I look at these 5 Ps and I filter them through the people that I interview on the show. What I find is that every single time I talk to a successful entrepreneur, their stories and their businesses intersect with those 5 Ps somewhere. We’re going to talk about that with our guest.

Before we get into that, I want to talk about where we’re filming. We’re in the Matador room, which is a gorgeous place. The Standard is 18,000 square feet of southern style and sophistication. It is one of the happy places for me on Earth. I love coming here. It’s one of the top five cigar bars in the country. There are amazing steaks and the restaurant is five stars. It’s an unbelievable experience. If you ever come to Nashville, you need to look me up and you need to come to take a look at The Standard. It’s one of the great places in Nashville and we’re very honored to have Josh Smith, the owner and proprietor, allowing us to record these podcasts here in the Matador Room at The Standard.

This episode is brought to you by Results University. You can go to ResultsUniversity.org. It is the world’s premier online educational platform for entrepreneurs and business leaders. It covers five subject areas of entrepreneurship, leadership, sales, financial literacy, and even has elective courses in spirituality and faith. There are 27 courses and over 200 lessons. It takes anywhere from 18 to 24 months to complete. It’s completely self-guided. Online tuition is very reasonable. It’s certainly a lot less expensive than getting an MBA, bachelor’s, or master’s in entrepreneurship. It will prepare you for everything you need to know about how to start, build, grow and exit a company successfully. That’s what Results University is all about. Are you ready for success? For the readers of this blog, you can go to ResultsUniversity.org/Root and you get a special discount on tuition just for being a reader of this blog.

After walking away from a so-called perfect career in finance, my guest took a position as a project manager where she worked with a seasoned crew of subcontractors to build a French chateau in Bel Air. After that, she moved to Nashville in 2016 and said that she wanted to bring to Nashville her sense of California style. Starting with a focus on the residential condo market, she grew the CA South, which is her company, to what now includes multifamily mixed-use, industrial and office projects, as well as opportunity zone projects. She has been involved in the development and construction of over $780 million worth of projects. Over a million square feet have been developed.

Not only is she licensed in real estate, both commercial and residential contracting, but also has a private pilot’s license. She also has a bareboat charter sailing certification. She has been named as a Woman of Influence by the Nashville Business Journal. She was one of the top finalists in the 2019 Entrepreneur of the Year and Next Awards. The list goes on and on. She had been featured in over fourteen different publications. I want to welcome to The Root of All Success, Meg Epstein. Thank you, first of all, for being here. This is such an honor to have you on the show. As we get started, tell us how did you go from the perfect career in finance to, “Let me move from California to Nashville and start this amazing development company?”

Thank you so much for having me. I’m glad I qualify for a successful entrepreneur. When I was graduating from college, I was going into finance because that was what you did to be an analyst. When I was in Barcelona studying abroad for my senior year, I fell in love with a lot of the architecture there, obviously. I thought, “I don’t want to go back and live in spreadsheets.” I went to school in Westwood at UCLA so it was right by all these beautiful, huge mansions. I would go and run around the neighborhoods and got to know a couple of the contractors that were building the houses. I talk them into giving me a job at a college with no experience in construction. They threw me in a job site with a bunch of contractors essentially.

I’d eat off of the taco truck every day and was one of the guys for a couple of years. I learned construction that way and it worked out. I probably would have got laid off because that was right before the 2008 recession. That worked out and I learned the ins and outs of building, all about concrete, grading, and all those things. That gave me a good foundation for being in development. I’ve always been interested in development, but it wasn’t going to happen that time because the market just halted.

TRAS Meg | Keys To Success
Keys To Success: It’s so easy to see the commercial space in Nashville, which is on the brink of growth or is already growing quite a bit.

 

One of the 5 Ps of Success as I referred to in the intro is being at the right place at the right time. It sounds to me like your jogging circuit put you accidentally in the right place at the right time. Would you agree with that being at the right place at the right time?

Yes.

Tell us about the first person or so that you met. Did that person stay instrumental in how you work through becoming proficient in the construction business or was that person a fluke then you moved on to other people?

My very first boss was pretty integral because he gave me a chance. In 2008, there were plenty of more experienced construction managers out there that needed a job. I think that having balance as an academic approach to construction worked out. Him, giving me a chance, was great. More relevant is probably one of my first investors in the commercial space once I got to Nashville. There are a few key people that I won’t be able to get to where I am because of them.

Thank you for bringing that up because the right place at the right time is part of that but also knowing the right people and the power of that network. Having the right person that can give you that nudge and into the right direction. Share as much as you’re comfortable with, but when you moved from California to Nashville, who was that first investor that you really think, “That person was the one that pushed me to this new opportunity?”

I would have to say my very first fund investor. When it’s the right place at the right time and I think about that, I’m still a firm believer that you make your own luck. I was running around those job sites but it was because I loved architecture and I was going to do anything to get that job, whether or not to end up on a job site. I want to say that for other entrepreneurs out there. For my first investor, I had no real track record and experience and I cold-called him. He came down to look at one of my first projects here and he invested $8 million with me. I didn’t know at that time how big of a deal that was to get my career started. I didn’t know that people didn’t write checks like that normally or they expect a lot more in terms of tracker.

I have exponentially more deals now and I know what institutional investors look for, what normal family offices look for, how to structure deals, and all those things. I cold-called him off the internet. He came down, he liked the deal, he liked me, he saw a lot of potential in me, and he invested in my first deal. I definitely wouldn’t be here without him taking a chance on me.

You know who he is and he knows who he is. All readers of this, and you and I, can be that person for somebody else. Think about the power we have. The keys to success include knowing the right people. I don’t think anybody would disagree with that but you’re not going to sit at home, in your home office, or at your office and meet that right person. You’ve got to get out there. What you do is you cold-call that guy. You’re like, “I’m going to find the right person. I don’t know who the right person is,” but you ended up finding him. I love what you said that you make your own luck. It’s funny how the harder you work, the luckier you get.

People have better connections or they grew up with them. I didn’t know anything. My dad has his own business. He’s a sign hanger. He builds signs. My mom was more like a mom and a nurse. I didn’t have any exposure to family offices or the Country Club crowd. I grew up in Sacramento in a rural area. I didn’t know anything about how finance happens in New York. Now, that’s the world I completely understand. I had to figure it out a bit. Hit or miss.

We’re in a good spot here with the keys to success. We’ve talked about the right place at the right time and the right people, but you mentioned you’re starting to allude to your preparation like what you learned. You don’t necessarily have to have a degree in it but what prepared you to be successful as a developer, real estate construction, etc.? What would you point to the help that prepared you for that?

I loved going to UCLA but I don’t apply any of the information I learned. It was a great experience and I met amazing people but one thing was the CCIM courses, Certified Commercial Investment Member. That was very integral for me to get up to speed quickly. It’s a commercial real estate designation. It’s essentially four rigorous courses that are applicable to real estate development. That was how I learned how to underwrite and quickly get up to speed in commercial real estate. A lot of people in my generation or younger are unwilling to get on the phone and reach out to people. To be honest, when I first had a deal that I wanted to be funded, I literally googled real estate funding. I learned all the differences between debt, kinds of equity, who writes checks, and what’s the difference between an investment banker and a private equity firm, high net worth, syndicating, and all those things. It was being willing to put in the work and pound the phones in the beginning to get a sense.

I want to refer back to your experience at UCLA, not to disparage UCLA or college degrees, etc. In my experience, and you could tell me what yours is and the readers can decide what their experiences are as well. What I find your story and most successful entrepreneurs is that probably 50% of the successful entrepreneurs have college degrees and 50% don’t. The ones who do generally say, “There are some things that I learned that pushed me in the right direction but there’s no foundation under which that I’ve used to build my career.”

I’ll give you my story. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Ministry and I spent thirteen years in ministry. That certainly doesn’t help me be an entrepreneur who owns eight businesses, been on the Inc. 5000 list. That didn’t help me directly and then my Master’s in Education when I taught school. Again, it doesn’t help. How do you see your experience at UCLA fed into what you do? Did it help or not? Was there slight help? What would you say?

It definitely gave me a strong foundation. I’ve always had a mathematical mind and I’ve liked school. I took quite a bit of accounting and that obviously is applicable to my business now. It’s a very academic school so there was not a lot of vocational. My husband and I will go back and forth and joke because he went to USC, and my general counsel went to USC, and there’s always been fun rivalry but I do see that they had a little more vocational and applicable type of courses.

You earned a degree from California, UCLA. Some years later, you decided to move to Nashville. When did the CCIM Institute become part of your story?

In 2016 when I moved here. My original background when I was building homes in Bel Air, they were commercial size projects because a lot of the homes that the firm I worked for was building over $15 million. When I moved to Nashville, I could see that that wasn’t the opportunity.

Success is about having enough autonomy and financial resources to do what you want to do. Click To Tweet

There are not many $15 million houses in Nashville.

It’s easy to see that Nashville was on the brink of growth or is already growing quite a bit. I needed to understand the commercial space and that’s why I went that route.

Talk to us about what CA South is and what you’re doing. Give the readers an understanding. You moved to Nashville, you set up this company, a great success story about finding that first guy to invest but what do you guys do now? What’s going on right now?

We started with a condo platform. The idea was I looked at the Nashville market and I said, “What was missing?” I didn’t have anywhere that I was excited to live. I wanted to live downtown and I didn’t see a project that I wanted to live in. I looked and thought, “If there are all these people moving from California and New York to Chicago, what are they looking for? What is under-supplied in the market?”hat was the impetus for starting the condo platform. We have four condo projects in various stages of development. That’s to address a middle-market, affordable luxury, not trying to compete with the four seasons type of development and not try to be basic. These are architecturally modern, different, and clean spaces. It’s a different approach and doesn’t look like everything else being built. That was the first platform. That’s branched into opportunity zones and longer-term holds.

That lends itself to multifamily mixed-use as well as industrial flex. That’s another asset class that was largely under-supplied. I tried to look for what’s missing in the market because it’s harder to finance like condos and spec industrial and get over that hurdle to be able to supply it and deliver in a market that isn’t as competitive. We have about $450 million under development in the opportunity zone, mixed-use type of projects, and industrial.

Is that all here in Tennessee?

Yes. All in Nashville.

National City Council, the mayor, and taxpayers must love that because you’re bringing in a lot of opportunity for tax revenue, property tax revenue, etc. for the city, is that right?

Yes. Eventually, I could see us exporting the model into other southeastern markets but at the moment, why would anyone want to leave one of the most darling investment markets in the country? Especially since the pandemic started, all of those New York investors want to put their capital somewhere.

CA South is primarily a real estate development company. Is that how you define it?

Right, and in order to develop, we also raised our first fund in 2020 and we’ve since closed it out, but we manage a private equity fund that deploys capital into the developments.

If anybody is reading who digs your story and what’s going on, how would you invite them to reach out? I’m sure there are people that want to buy something that you’re developing or maybe want to invest. What would you want them to know before they reach out to you? What are you looking for?

We primarily only work with institutional investors so I’m not patting the hat of the Country Club like taking $50,000 checks generally. It’s a very different type of investor. Usually, it’s just one check writer per deal and the deals are upwards of $15 million or so. It fits lens a lot more easily to family office and institutions now. That would be one thing I’d want you to know. There are a lot of people who will want to talk to me, pick my brain, or whatever.

TRAS Meg | Keys To Success
Keys To Success: If you want to make a big difference, you need the resources to get your concept out there or hire people to do it.

 

You don’t have time for that.

I don’t want to say it like that. I love meeting people but I can’t always meet everyone.

The story of success for entrepreneurs is that you have to have a goal. There’s a result you’re trying to achieve. If people are keeping you from doing that, whether it’s calling to pick your brain, which is I think all of us as entrepreneurs hate it, when someone says, “I want to pick your brain,” which means, “I would like a free consulting session with you.” What I’m hearing you say is if somebody has a family office and they’re looking at the national market, CA South may be something they want to reach out to and talk to you because you’re very successful. Let’s talk about success and dive into what Meg believes about success. If you had to define success in your own words, and it’s always a difficult definition to come up with, what would you say success is in general?

Obviously, people initially think it has to do with a financial element. It is to a large degree. I spent the early part of my career working for $100 millionaires. People that are on a totally different level. I was in their personal space building their homes. You can have so much money and be incredibly miserable. That always shaped what I thought about success. Almost one-for-one. I’ve watched some of the wealthiest, most miserable people I’ve ever seen. I was always cognizant of that when I was going to get married and that type of thing.

Now I think it’s, are you able to have enough autonomy and find financial resources to have enough freedom to do what you want to do? For me, that’s convenient. It has something to do with finances. When you can hire people to do anything you don’t want to do where you can travel in the most convenient way and those types of things, it makes you happier. A lot of people have money but they don’t have any freedom.

It’s like, “I can decide I want to launch a new vertical, and I have enough resources, enough intelligent people working for me that I can decide to do that,” or “I can leave at 12:00 because I want to go home.” It allows you to have enough freedom to do what you want. That’s what I would think in terms of how I find success. In my company, building a trustworthy brand is important and having a reputation that you do good work. Having enough resources to be able to give back to people and help people. I wouldn’t consider someone successful if they didn’t consider that.

I love what you said. I want to unpack that a little bit for the readers. First of all, money is not the defining characteristic of success, although it has something to do with it because without money, you can’t get to those other things you talked about. For instance, freedom. A homeless person is completely free but I don’t think we would consider that success. There’s this fine balance between somebody who has $100 million and he’s miserable and has no freedom of time to somebody who has a zero-net worth as a homeless person and has lots of free time. Somewhere in between is what true success is. In my interviews with successful people like you, what I found is that you were hitting it right on the head. Freedom to do what it is that you want to do and be able to give back in a way that makes sense, and builds you up and the community up. Am I hearing right?

Yes. I wouldn’t consider myself successful. You have to have the foundation there whatever that is for you. For me, it’s my happy marriage, creating a product that I love and I am passionate about, and working with people that I love. Those things are the foundation. You add money to that and it just makes it a lot easier and you can get there a lot faster is the point. A lot of people tend to think that money is either the answer or it’s evil. There’s a lot of weird ideas about money. I look at it in terms of its opportunity and freedom.

I have been an executive director of a nonprofit for a long time. What I ran into is, if you want to do and make a big difference, you need the resources to be able to get your concept out there or hire people to do it. Unfortunately, even if you have the best hopes or intentions in the world, it takes resources on this planet to execute. If you’re on the right track and you have that foundation then it just makes it exponentially easier and you can get what you want faster.

That’s a great perspective. It does start with our foundation. If people want to be successful but they’re greedy, manipulative or self-centered, what that does is it ends up leading to no matter how much money they get, it just amplifies who they are. They’re on the Forbes list or they’re listed in the Nashville Business Journal as one of the richest people in Nashville but they’re still a greedy person or they still are manipulative. Most people, given the opportunity to dig under and get under the hood a little bit, would go, “They have money but they’re not successful.”

This is why I started this show, The Root of All Success. I wanted to look how does success grows and real true success, which is about freedom of time, energy, and money. Things to be able to do, what you want to do. For some people, that freedom of time, energy, money might be this big. For those that are reading, I’m holding up my fingers a short way apart. For others, what they want to accomplish is a mile high. Both could be successful but the perception from the outside was, “This guy is not a millionaire, not successful. This guy is a millionaire and successful,” but that’s not true. You built houses and helped people that were $100 millionaires and they were absolutely miserable human beings. Nobody wants that.

I hate to say that it was one-for-one but it happened to be a handful of that. It’s a bit of past life for me, but definitely. I was 22 at that time. I remember thinking, “It’s not just about money. You have to make sure you’re being an ethical, good person and trying to help others.” It comes down to how you are helping others, whether it’s being an entrepreneur and what you’re doing or I’m creating spaces for people that they like and can access affordably, whatever it is. How are you making an impact on others? If it’s super positive, then you would consider that successful.

You alluded to this in your story about what your dad and mom did growing up in Sacramento. I’m from the Nashville area. I grew up here. I was firmly in the middle class. We never were without what we needed. My mom was a stay-at-home mom, my dad worked for a large corporation for years. It was a long time. We never not had what we needed but we didn’t go to Hawaii on vacation. We didn’t go to Turks and Caicos. We didn’t do those big things. We have enjoyed our life.

As an adult looking back in the subtle cues, not necessarily directly from my parents, my church, or my circle but being told or giving this concept that if you had a lot of money, there was probably something wrong. It’s not evil but we were suspicious of the guy who lived in the big house, drove the nice Jaguar, or whatever. Now, as an adult and a successful entrepreneur, I can look at that and go, “That was a toxic way to think about money. There’s a healthier way to look at it.” You mentioned a little bit about how you grew up, but is there any more to that story that resonates with you the same way of looking at money? You said at 22, you started noticing, “Just because you have money, it doesn’t mean you’re happy.”

My dad was an entrepreneur. He taught me to work hard. He always said that money gave you choices. He’s like, “If I have enough money, it would be some Indian Motorcycle,” or something. I can have that because I saved my money and I have enough cash to buy it. That type of philosophy. I apply that on a bigger scale with what I do now.

Isn’t that what we want? We want choices in life. Choices to serve, give back, spend money on yourself, and buy things. All of us want that.

For me, it might be a personal thing. I’m a bit of a minimalist. I grew up camping with all these accessories and all this stuff. My dad loves motorcycles, trucks, and all these things. I don’t want to have a lot of stuff. What I like is spending on more experiences and convenience. If I travel, I don’t want to worry about how to get there cheaply and those types of things. It’s about the freedoms but convenience. I don’t like having a lot of stuff.

Your dad and I probably have a lot in common. We grew up going camping. My family and I did. That was our vacation every year. We would sometimes rent houseboats and go to the lake. Most of the time, we go camping. As an adult, we have a travel trailer and we go everywhere. As a matter of fact, I sat down and planned out every single trip for the next twelve months. We go somewhere every single month, sometimes for a week, sometimes just a few days.

Being able to do that, I consider successful because the result I wanted for my life was I wanted to be able to have choices. I wanted to be able to do what I want to do and I want to be able to give back in a way that makes sense. Not that I am guilted into giving back. Now, I’m in a place where I can do that. It’s growing and I’m able to do things. That’s fantastic. I want to call back to something you mentioned, you used the word passion. You said, “I want to do something I’m passionate about.” The first P in the things that I teach on the 5 Ps of Success, the Indisputable Ps of Success is Passion.

I look at that in two ways. One is the excitement about what it is you do. You love it. I can see and hear in you, and from what I heard about you before we met was that you indeed are passionate about what you’re accomplishing. Providing affordable opportunities for people to live in the places where they want to live and get the things that they were used to in the other places where they moved from. There’s also the second part of passion. It’s not just about being excited about it. The word passion means willing to suffer.

You think about in terms of The Passion of the Christ. That wasn’t about Jesus was like, “I’m so excited to go do this.” No, He was willing to do it. For a lot of people I teach as an entrepreneur, if you’re not willing to suffer for the thing that you’re building, I don’t care how excited you are about it, you’re not going to be successful. Passion to me is an important key to success, if not the most important key to success. What would you tell the readers about passion in those two ways, excitement and then willingness to suffer? How did that work into Meg’s story of success and building what you built?

I meet a lot of people that want to be a real estate developer because it sounds sexy and we get a lot of people wanting to come work with us at CA South, which is great. What I try to tell them is that the drawing and the architecture aspect is something I’m passionate about. I love the design and working with amazing architects. Several of the architects I work with now came from California and I love that whole process. It’s creative but it is 4% to 5% of what I do. You can go through the design process, but then you have to find the site, underwrite it, get it paid for, raise the capital, build it, and make sure there are no cost overruns. All these things go into a successful project.

I would say, offhand, what I was passionate about is the modern aesthetic. I also like raising capital and the deal structure of what I do. Building the capital stack, working on someone for a long time, then they give you your commitment or something like that. I’m passionate about that. All of that is to say that 95% of it is hard work and persevering through that. Before I got that first investor, I was cold calling every day, not knowing what I was doing. Calling off of different lists online, googling, and calling every day for eight hours a day until I got one guy that said he’d come to Nashville. Even then, he wasn’t even sure he was going to invest.

There’s a lot of suffering that went into me getting to where I am now. You can’t have either one. You can’t be completely miserable at what you’re doing to push through. You have to have some ounce of passion for what you’re doing. You also can’t be super passionate about something and not be willing to suffer through it. It’s about balance. Sherry Deutschmann is one of my mentors. She’s incredible. She made her company successful as a medical billing company. She wasn’t passionate about that at all, but she was passionate about building the team, giving her people incentives, and all the things that she did to be a great entrepreneur. It’s definitely a balance. I don’t necessarily think you have to be “super passionate about what you’re doing” if you got your company in place that you enjoy it.

TRAS Meg | Keys To Success
Keys To Success: Separate your vision from the strategy.

 

I’m so happy to know that because I take great pains to make sure people understand that. My first big company that was successful was in the LED lighting space. I’ve never been passionate about lighting, but what I was passionate about and the things you described about Sherry is like, “I want to build a team. I want to provide a company that people can work for, love working here, provides for the family, and sends their kids to colleges.” That’s passion. Sherry and I have met a couple of times, but I’d love to have her on the show. Sherry, if your people are reading, we should get together. I had a good friend that I rode motorcycles with, which is another reason your dad and I got along. They worked for Sherry for a long time and they absolutely loved it. It was before she sold the company.

Let’s wrap up the conversation with this. Passion, Place, People, and Preparation, the last P is Plan. When I talk about plan to people, a lot of people misunderstand me and they say, “I was successful without a business plan.” That’s not what I’m talking about at all because the business plan has its place. In Results University, the university I founded, I teach people how to write business plans but I also want them to understand that is not an essential part of being successful as an entrepreneur. I started my company in 2010 without a business plan and grew it to be a multimillion-dollar company. I don’t know if you’ve had a business plan or not, but that’s not what I’m talking about.

Unfortunately, even if you have the best hopes or intentions in the world, it takes resources on this planet to execute. Click To Tweet

What I’m talking about with plan is the strategy to obtain and deploy the resources required to be successful. In your case, you needed investors and financial resources to be successful. It sounds to me that your plan was, “I’m going to cold call every single day until I get somebody willing to write me a check.” Those were the resources you needed and once you got it, then you go. Tell us about whether a business plan, that’s a side if you have that, that’s fine, but is that how your plan worked? Was there more to it than that?

That was how my plan worked. The reality is I always knew I wanted to be a real estate developer. That was in my core since I was still in college, and I thought, “I want to be a real estate developer.” I am a working machine, I’m a lot of things. I’m persistent. I can be aggressive and I have certain qualities but there are a lot of people that are more innovative and creative than I am. What I look at is that I knew I wanted to be a real estate entrepreneur and instead of inventing something or doing something differently, all I can do is I can see a path and I can pivot in a way that takes advantage of certain things.

I noticed that there’s a gap in the condo market. I’m going to collect my data, work towards that, and pivot along the same path to where I’m going, which is real estate development. You have to be able to observe enough and take advantage of the opportunities in your space, whatever that is, to bend your model towards that while still remaining on track to what the end goal was. I was going to be a real estate developer. I initially thought I’d be developing high-end luxury homes for people. Now, I’m doing industrial buildings in Nashville.

The core goal is still there, but I pivoted based on the market conditions and where the opportunities were. I looked for them. As long as you keep a vision board or your persistence, or whatever your goal is, you keep that in mind and stick to it. In entrepreneurship, it’s easy to give up. I’ve watched people say they’re going to do this thing, then they’re going to do another thing, and then they change their mind and they’re going to do another thing. I was a horrible real estate developer in the beginning, I lost money. I shouldn’t have kept doing it, but I literally just kept doing it long enough to where I figured it out and persisted. I didn’t continue to do the things that weren’t making me money or commit those mistakes. I pivoted and kept going towards that path.

There’s this thing that I teach in Results University and also teach my coaching clients through my company Results Through Integrity, where I train them on this thing called the Law of Separation. You eloquently described that and you didn’t know you were describing this law. The law is that you separate your vision from the strategy. Your vision is I want to be a successful real estate developer but the way that you do it, the strategies, you used the word pivot. You pivoted a bunch but your vision stayed constant.

Many entrepreneurs who fail look at that failure and say, “My vision was wrong. Instead of being a real estate developer, I’m going to run an investment firm or something.” They changed the wrong thing. Keep your vision. The vision is the vision. Change the strategies and the strategies, if I dug in, we could probably figure out that your strategy changed 6 or 7 times before you found the one that worked, and that got you to success. For anybody reading, stay true to your vision.

If they do your university, they could figure that out easily than I did. The point is, what people don’t realize is every time you pivot your vision, you’re starting over at ground zero again. At least, I had the lessons even if I had failed at them, I still remember certain things. If it’s $100 million deal, I still remember, “I’m not going to get debt from the wrong person,” or whatever it is. It’s those lessons that I learned the hard way. It’s a note to perseverance.

It’s not theory. It’s not just me teaching students about this stuff. I didn’t seed you with that concept. You brought that up. As part of our documents is we have a strategy journal. Every page, at the top of the page, you write your vision. It could be your overall vision, a project vision, or a specific thing that you’ve got to accomplish. Below that, there are seven blanks for you to write on the date that you come up with a specific strategy. “For this, I’m going to try this.” For you, it’s cold calling, “I’m going to cold call family offices.” At the end of the little line, it says, “Did it work or not?” You check yes or no. If it says no, then you go to the next one. Here’s my new strategy, but you leave that vision alone. I’m doing a lot of plugins for my stuff.

It sounds great. Do that. It’s a fast track to figuring that out.

Meg, how can people get in touch with you? You’re a powerful woman in the Nashville market, but not only here, your reputation has grown beyond that. What I’m hearing through you and other people is that there are people in other states going, “CA South, you need to pay attention to that. We can take this model to other places.” How can people get in touch with you or your company? Remember, they’re not going to call you to pick your brain.

I check my LinkedIn weekly, and then on my website is my assistant’s email. The best way is emailing my assistant and she’ll get the message to me.

Your LinkedIn is LinkedIn.com/in/MegEpstein. You can send her an email at [email protected]. CA stands for California. Once I heard your stories, I was like, What is CA South? Is it initials for somebody’s name? I know her husband’s name, it’s not a C or an A. “It’s California.” Is there a cool story behind that?

It used to be California South. People were so confused. They thought I still built in California. I was like, “No, I’m a full Southerner now.” We just abbreviated it.

Your timeline was pretty fast on this, at least from my seat. You moved here in ‘16. We are recording this in early ‘21. We’re five years removed from that and you built something amazing. That should give comfort to people who are like, “How long is this going to take?” For some people, it doesn’t take long but for others, it might take a lifetime. You can get to success if you keep your vision. That’s fantastic.

Think big enough.

Meg, thank you so much for being here. It’s an honor. I’m so glad to finally sit down and talk with the great Meg. Your reputation precedes you and not just from your husband, who’s also a pretty cool guy himself. Thank you for being here. I appreciate you sharing with me and with everybody reading a little bit more about your story. I hope that it inspires people out there to stay committed to that vision and keep going because you never know where your jogging is going to lead you. You’re jogging around a neighborhood and all of a sudden you run into a person who’s going to take you to that next level.

If you're not willing to suffer for the thing you're building, you're not going to be successful. Click To Tweet

There you have it. My theory about the 5 Ps of Success still stands. If you look at Meg’s story, you see passion, place, people, preparation, and plan. All those things are coming together to lead her to be the real estate magnate that she is here in Nashville right now. If you are wanting to be successful, keep in mind those 5 Ps. As a matter of fact, if you’re interested in doing a free assessment on those five Ps, you can go to my website, TheRealJasonDuncan.com/Success. You can take a 5 Ps of Success assessment. After you finish the assessment, you’ll get a personalized report on what your probability of success is.

If you want to connect with me or one of my certified coaches, we can work directly with you on that. Of course, as promoted at the beginning, Results University is designed specifically to help you figure those things out and move towards success faster. Thank you again, from the bottom of my heart for being here, Meg, and thank you, readers, for being here. Make sure you subscribe to the Root of All Success Podcast on your podcast player. Make sure you subscribe to the YouTube channel so that you can get this content as often as we release it. If you don’t mind leaving a good review, I would be appreciative of that. We’ve been spending time with Meg Epstein. I will see you on the next episode of The Root of All Success. Until then, remember, Jesus is King.

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About Meg Epstein

TRAS Meg | Keys To Success

Meg Epstein is a real estate developer with over a decade of experience creating innovative and smartly designed homes and neighborhoods. Initially thinking she’d pursue a career in finance, Ms. Epstein recognized her love for architecture and adventure while studying abroad in Barcelona. She promptly found herself learning the ins and outs of construction back home in California and built a strong background in the overall building process, which led her to becoming a consultant for clients building their dream homes in the San Francisco Bay area and wine country of California. Over the course of her career she has helped develop and construct over 1 million square feet of real estate, which represents over $780 million to date.
After meeting her husband and moving to Nashville, Ms. Epstein founded the development firm CA South. Her goal is to bring her refined and creative sense of design that she cultivated in California to the city of Nashville where she recognized a need for efficient and well-designed condos. Since its creation, CA South has grown to develop not only residential condos, but multifamily mixed-use buildings, industrial structures, and office projects in Nashville. Ms. Epstein is an active board member for the Nashville Civic Design Center, which is focused on developing pet-friendly urban landscapes and green spaces for people to thrive in Nashville. Most importantly, she always makes time for the things she loves most in life – her husband, coffee, books and the creative rejuvenation that comes from travel.

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