I had the pleasure of interviewing Tamar Hermes. Tamar is a highly sought-after speaker and thought leader on the topics of real estate investing for women, wealth building, and asset portfolio diversification. As an expert, Tamar has been featured in countless media and podcasts such as VoyageAustin.com, the Bigger Pockets podcast, Conscious Millionaire, The Real Estate Invest Her Show, Money Matter Podcast, and more.
With more than two decades of real estate investing and wealth-building experience, Tamar Hermes teaches women earning six and seven figures how to invest in real estate with ease. The Millionairess Mentality: The Professional Woman’s Guide to Building Wealth Through Real Estate is her first book.
Located in Austin, Texas, Tamar loves to travel as well as spend time with her husband and children.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory? What led you to this particular career path?
I spent much of my life worried about money and questioning my ability to generate wealth for myself and my family. It was not that I thought money was the key to happiness, although I associated being broke with unhappiness. I did not feel free. I wanted to see the world and work my own hours. I wanted to thrive and have enough money to do and have the things I wanted. I felt guilty for wanting more.
My father was a Holocaust survivor. He spent his younger days in Auschwitz. A good day was when the food server dug down into the bottom of the pot to give my father an extra potato. So having a roof over his head and food to eat was a blessing my father cherished. In his youth, a great day was simply living to see tomorrow.
Part of the reason was that I grew up poor in an affluent area. I was surrounded by people who had many beautiful things and did not understand why I couldn’t have them too. I thought the amount of money you were born with dictated the trajectory of your life, and I was never taught otherwise. We always struggled and I was stressed about not having enough money.
I never knew that I could have more or how to get it. Still, I worked hard, watched, and listened to how others earned wealth. I set goals, planned, pursued, and saved money. I was diligent and persistent, to a fault. If I did not work all the time, I feared failure.
Then I discovered failure was an opportunity to reach the next level of success.
After several years, I grew a successful business and started buying Real Estate. In Real Estate, I found the key to creating financial freedom; simply manage your spending and keep buying properties. I always thought that once I had financial security, I would be so happy. Once I got there, something was missing.
I was still living with the despair of my childhood and had the fear of someone taking all I had away. Not only did I not trust myself, but I did not fully trust others in business or personal relationships. My fear ran my life, not enabling me to be truly free. So, I began to work on my relationship with myself.
From there, my world of joy opened. I started to share with other women how I became financially independent through Real Estate Investing. As I shared more knowledge, the more others prospered.
I also became a certified life coach and trained with many experts to understand my thoughts and beliefs around money. I started to understand psychology, emotional intelligence, and mindset.
And now, I teach women how to:
- Build Confidence: Have the confidence to take risks and manage unpredictable situations while never apologizing for things that don’t warrant apologies
- Think Creatively: Develop unique solutions to difficult challenges and problems in business and personal finance
- Communicate Effectively: Be clear with what you’re saying and how you say it
- Get a Return on Capital: Know your numbers, where/how to invest and how to keep more of your money instead of paying exorbitant taxes.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
It is a surprising story of expansion. I had been working for over a year trying to figure out how to grow my company after making about $30K in my first year. I was struggling but kept on moving and connecting with the people I was attracted to who may also be able to support me.
About another year in, I started looking at over $20K months. It is more of a general story, but the point was that it felt like I was dragging my heels through mud, and then I had moved into a space of momentum. As I have grown the company, I see how powerful it is to look back and remember that whenever I am stuck in the next level of growth to hang in there. The mud will eventually loosen.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Most big mistakes don’t feel that funny when they happen! Looking back though, I can honestly laugh at myself because I was so clueless and thought I knew so much. I had been successful at almost everything I’ve done, so how hard could building a company be? I spent $10K on a website that made no sense with a design team that was more interested in collecting my money than in telling me honestly my idea was not going to work.
The website was clunky and difficult to navigate, and I ended up shutting it down, scrapping that business idea, and starting over. I actually think it is funny now because I was a typical entrepreneur who was so excited and willing to spend money to get results but had no idea how to build a foundation. I understand now that making those blunders is part of the process of growing a business. You can’t get too attached to losing money or making mistakes because it is the only way to grow. You have to take chances and learn to chuckle at yourself in the process.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person you are grateful for who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My closest friend Tammy Randall Wood is my inspiration to shine brightly in the world every day. She isn’t an expert in real estate investing but she is an enthusiastic and positive supporter of living your best life and following your dreams.
When you have the right mindset and are supported by others who see you, it gives you the courage to step into new endeavors and not fear failing. You have someone in your court who will catch you. Most of the time you’ll find a lot more capable than you ever imagined.
Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. According to this EY report, only about 20 percent of funded companies have women founders. This reflects great historical progress, but it also shows that more work still has to be done to empower women to create companies. In your opinion and experience, what is currently holding back women from founding companies?
Women are not being given the same opportunities as men when it comes to founding companies. Women are not being encouraged to start their own businesses and instead they are told that they should work for someone else.
One of the biggest challenges that women face is a lack of encouragement from family, friends and mentors.
Another challenge is access to funding. Women have a harder time accessing capital than men do because they don’t have as many networks or resources available to them.
Can you help articulate a few things that can be done as individuals, as a society, or by the government, to help overcome those obstacles? This might be intuitive to you as a woman founder, but I think it will be helpful to spell this out.
A lot of women founders struggle with getting support from their families. They often find themselves in a difficult position because they want to pursue their dreams and create a successful startup, but they also want to maintain their family relationships.
There is a lack of funding for women entrepreneurs. This is a problem that needs to be addressed. Women are not receiving the same opportunities as men in terms of funding and investment. The lack of funding for women entrepreneurs has led to the male-dominated business world we see today.
It is important that we create an environment where women can thrive and succeed. We need to make sure they get the same opportunities as men so they can grow their businesses and contribute to society in a positive way.
Can you share a few reasons why more women should become founders?
There are many reasons why more women should become founders. Women are often better at multitasking, so they can do a lot of things at once. They are also very good at building relationships with people, which is an important part of the business.
Women also have a higher tendency to be risk-averse and more likely to take time before making a decision. This can be an advantage in entrepreneurship because it means that they will have more patience and will not give up easily.
What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being a founder? Can you explain what you mean?
It’s not easy to be a founder. There are many myths about being a founder that I want to dispel.
Myth 1: You need to have an idea in order to be a founder.
Truth: You don’t need an idea, you just need the will and determination to make it happen.
Myth 2: Founders are entrepreneurs who start companies.
Truth: Not always true. Founders can also be people who start projects, non-profit organizations, or movements.
Myth 3: The entrepreneur is the most important person in any company because he/she has the ideas and makes decisions for the company.
Truth: Not always true as there are many roles that make up a successful company from CEOs, CFOs, COOs, etc., so it depends on the company type and industry.
Is everyone cut out to be a founder? In your opinion, which specific traits increase the likelihood that a person will be a successful founder and what type of person should perhaps seek a “regular job” as an employee? Can you explain what you mean?
Not everyone is cut out to be a founder. The best founders are those who have a vision and the drive to make it happen. They have the ability to see past their own personal needs and focus on the needs of their customers.
The most important trait that successful founders share is an innate sense of optimism. They know that they will overcome any obstacle in their way because they are committed to achieving success for themselves and for those who believe in them.
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)
1. You have to have a good idea
2. You need to be relentless
3. You need a good team
4. You need to be able to adapt, pivot, and change your business model
5. You will work harder than you ever thought possible
How have you used your success to make the world a better place?
I have donated a lot of my time and money to charities that I believe in. In the last year, I have seen how much of an impact one person can make by donating just a few hours of their time to help people.
I am also committed to giving back in any way possible and will continue to do so in the future.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
Getting more women involved in real estate.
We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
I have many people who I consider role models.
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.