Owner, Honolua Homes
About This Section
Click on the questions below to learn more about Travis’s experiences in the white-and-blue collar workforces in a question-and-answer format.
You were in the education technology industry during a lucrative time. What made you leave?
I really enjoyed it, but the business started changing a little bit. McGraw Hill separated their businesses and the education side was bought by a private equity firm. That really changed the game for a lot of things. It wasn’t really about being educators, it was all about the bottom line and every dollar. It was just a different place than I had worked for 10+ years. It was just time for me to move on and do something else.
A lot of the people that worked with me or worked for me ended up getting laid off about 12 months after I left. I felt like I got out when the getting was good.
How did you get into the real estate business?
It was time to decide what we wanted to do. We came down to Florida and asked “what do you do now?” Real estate seemed like a good thing to get into. It’s a very self-driven kind of business. You can do as little or as much as you want to. We had our table saws and tools and we were building and remodeling houses. It’s been an interesting two years, very different that what it was before.
Your career sounds like you have a mix of white collar and blue collar experiences now. Why bother getting your hands dirty when you can hire others to do the work?
It’s a pure monetary thing. If I’m paying somebody $2,000 to tile a shower, that’s that much less I’m making at the end of the day. Instead, I can break out the tile saw and I can tile a shower. It’s an opportunity cost, because maybe I could be using that time find business opportunities.
I also take a little bit different approach to what these guys who work for me do. A lot of work in this space is a turn-and-burn kind of thing. I can then say, ‘hey go tile a shower’ and there will be no question about what it will look like.
Where did you learn the skills to work on houses?
Before my dad went to work for HP, he worked in the construction field. He was a framer. My dad built the house I grew up in. We were always doing something [together], running the table saw or making a desk or chair. When we moved to New York, we bought an old, beat up house and remodeled it. Hurricane Sandy came through and destroyed that. We had to rebuild it again. So, there was some experience there, but that was the DYI home remodeler thing. It’s a totally different thing.
Turning it into a productive means of generating income is a totally different ballgame. I think it helped, because there wasn’t any fear on my part.
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