I recently had the privilege of interviewing Rich Fettke, Co-CEO of RealWealth. We discussed how the network grew and evolved in 2017, what factors he believes have contributed to their growth over the last 15 years, as well as what we can expect from the Network moving forward.
Interview with Rich Fettke
Jessica: What is RealWealth all about?
Rich: We’re a California-based real estate investment club, and so far we’ve helped over 34,000 members create financial freedom by investing in cash flowing income properties and development projects located in the best emerging markets.
Our big goal, actually our mission for 2020, is to help over 50,000 people create real wealth, which we define as having both the money and the freedom to live life on your own terms.
Jessica: What makes RealWealth different?
Rich: We’re definitely not like most companies. For starters, we believe in conscious capitalism, which is a business movement that is not solely focused on just profits. All of our decisions are based on benefiting our five stakeholders — our society, partners, investors, clients, and employees.
To support this, our team got very clear on our mission, values, and guiding principles. Here, let me show you what we have up in our offices (see the poster below for what Rich is referring to).
Jessica: That’s cool! The values spell the word atomic!
Rich: Yeah, when you hear the word atomic, the first thing that might come to mind is an atomic bomb…especially with what’s going on in the world right now. But if you actually look up the definition you’ll find that this word has a much deeper meaning.
Atomic is defined as the forming a single irreducible unit or component in a larger system. It also relates to the energy released during nuclear fusion, the most basic form of energy in the universe that powers our sun and every star.
When you think about it in this context, atomic takes on a whole new meaning. And a much more beautiful one at that. It is less about fear, destruction, or separation, and more about unity and the power of community.
In the context of business it’s about connecting and joining forces with like-minded people dedicated to achieving a common goal and working together to bring that goal into reality. In our case it’s about helping people create real wealth.
Jessica: Tell me why you don’t refer to properties as “turnkey” when it seems to be the buzzword in real estate investing today.
Rich: After years of seeing investors being mislead by other investment groups calling sub-par rental properties “turnkey”, we decided a standard needed to be created. We are now the only company in the industry to have clear, written standards and a complete six sigma vetting process to offer only income properties that are truly rent-ready, appraised at or above market value, with licensed property management in place.
Today, we are proud of our R.E.A.L. Income Property Standards™! (Renovated, Examined, Appraised, & Licensed)
Jessica: What were some of the network’s BIG WINS in 2017?
Rich: We had a lot of great wins in 2017. We were named on the Inc. 5000 list of America’s Fastest-Growing Companies for the second year in a row (see the press release here).
We also launched our 7th iteration of our website! In the beginning I was designing and building our websites, but we are at a whole new level today. We spent the last year developing a state of the art website that offers even more resources to our members.
New services and tools include:
- New market overviews with video and relevant data
- Updated statistics for investor due diligence
- Sample properties from each of our providers
- Dynamic pages for each of our group investments with information and updates
- Our easily searchable learning center with articles, videos and podcasts
- More accessibility to investment counselors and property providers
- Resources to help protect our members on their investing journey
Jessica: Yeah, the website is incredible and keeps getting better! What about the contribution back to society?
Rich: Oh my! I am thrilled about this! Last year we donated over $75,000 to the Real Wealth Foundation. To date we’ve donated over $325,000 to charities that make the world a better place!
Jessica: Ah that’s amazing! What other wins from last year?
Rich: In line with our mission to help people create real wealth we delivered over 1,721 free strategy sessions, produced 74 free educational webinars, hosted 24 free live events in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles and San Diego.
We also hosted our first Income Property Showcase on the East Coast. Members flew in from all over the country and even from Sweden and Australia to network with other members, meet the RealWealth team, and learn about how to cash flow in 13 different U.S. markets.
The day after the east coast event we also hosted our RealWealth Affiliate Mastermind for our preferred property providers. This gave each of our teams the opportunity to share best practices with each other and discuss how to better serve RealWealth members and investors. Over 30 of our property teams attended, each of them with an average of 20 years experience in real estate investing.
Live Event Highlights:
Mastermind & Retreat Highlights:
Jessica: I was lucky enough to be able to attend that event and sit in on the mastermind, and they were both amazing! Better than I could have even imagined. There were more wins in 2017 — please share!
Rich: Well, we also hired 10 new employees in 2017!
- Kathy McBride, Investor Relations Manager
- Celia Christensen, Investor Relations Specialist
- Mariah Ferries, Member Relations Specialist
- Natalie Gessel, Member Relations Specialist
- Amy Gessel, Member Relations Specialist
- Donna Behrens, Researcher and Writer for the Real Estate News podcast
- Ann Triplet, Syndication Manager
- Pat Henggeler, Investment Property Specialist
- Karina Vitale, Events Manager
- Dallin Chase, Webmaster
Jessica: Wow, what a year! What’s next for 2018?
Rich: Yeah, it was quite a year, and there are a whole bunch of wins in addition to those. For 2018? Well, we have two more years until 2020, so our main focus is still our mission of helping 50,000 people create real wealth.
Jessica: That’s a big mission. Are we on track?
Rich: Actually, based on the goals and timelines we set in 2014 we are ahead of schedule. So this year our plan is to continue improving what we do and how we do it. One of our core values is Mastery because we understand that as we get better, everything around us gets better. We are constantly looking at how we can better serve our members, support our property providers, find even better investments, markets and syndication projects. We are also committed to improving our investor education through our learning center, events, tours, podcasts and strategy sessions. We also have some really cool surprises planned.
Jessica: Ooh, like what?!
Rich: You’ll have to wait for the next interview for that. 😉
Jessica: Okay. 🙂 Any final thoughts?
Rich: Yes… I just want to say how grateful I am for our members and the Real Wealth team. When Kathy and I met in a little cafe over 15 years ago, and talked about this idea to form a small group of investors, we never imagined what was about to happen. It’s been a wild, fun and exhilarating ride and it’s so cool to be able to have my best friend and life partner with me for the journey. Kathy and I are super excited about the future of RealWealth and what’s next.