Hey Guys, It’s Luke Newcomer with the Newcomer Group, where exceeding your expectation is our standard.
This week on the Newcomer Group Podcast, I had the chance to sit down with Gino Barbaro, co-owner of Jake and Gino, as a part of my small business series. I’ll let him tell you about who he is and what he does, but I cannot stress how impactful this conversation was for me. I know you’re going to love what he has to say, so I wanted to share our conversation in full here on the blog.
Luke Newcomer: Hey, you guys, it’s Luke Newcomer with the Newcomer group. Where exceeding your expectation is our standard. We have Gino Barbaro on the show today. We’re featuring his business, Jake and Gino. There’s a lot to dissect with that name and with that brand. So we’re going to, I’m gonna give you the floor really quick. Tell us who you are, where you’re from, what your business is, and then we’re gonna really dive into some questions. I’m super excited to have this conversation.
Gino Barbaro: Luke, how much time do you got?
Luke Newcomer: We have as much time as you need.
Gino Barbaro: I have a very long story. I’m gonna condense it down to 30 seconds. Born in New York, went to college, opened a restaurant, had a restaurant for 20 years. Loved it until I didn’t love it. I found my business partner, Jake, at the restaurant. We started buying multifamily properties back in 2013. Our very first deal took 18 months, 25 units. From there we spawned the Jake and Gino brand. Our first book came out in 2015. We’ve accumulated over 1800 multifamily units. We have a big family of companies. So we call it vertically integrated. We have a property management company, we have a syndication company, we have an education company. We’re starting to do property development. And we have brand development as well. So we are the smorgasbord. It all came from one 25 unit little property, and we call it multiple streams of revenue, or we call it multifaceted multifamily.
Luke Newcomer: All right. So that kind of stuff gets me excited. I love business, obviously. I have a real estate company. So you talking about this might go over some people’s heads who are viewing this.
Gino Barbaro: Absolutely.
Luke Newcomer: But that’s an amazing elevator pitch.
Gino Barbaro: It is, isn’t it.
Luke Newcomer: I like that. That was well delivered. Before we dive into the Jake and Gino business, how did you end up in St. Augustine? You’re a New York guy, I can resonate with that. Actually. My wife is from Manhattan. I love the restaurant industry and we were oddly enough going to open a restaurant before we ended up getting into real estate, a whole different story, but how’d you end up down here in St. Augustine?
Gino Barbaro: Luke, do you know how you make a million dollars in the restaurant business?
Luke Newcomer: Selling equipment to restaurant owners?
Gino Barbaro: You start with 2 million.
Luke Newcomer: What made you want to make the switch and get into real estate?
Gino Barbaro: You know, I was lucky, I had two great parents. They’re both immigrants, both from Italy. My mom owned the building where the restaurant was. So she had three apartments upstairs. It’s a Friday night, in the middle of the winter. It’s nine o’clock at night. I’m out in the parking lot. I’m shoveling snow, I’m throwing down salt, I’m freezing. And I look up above the restaurant and I see a light on in the window and it hit me. She’s getting paid every day for the month, like clockwork. And I wasn’t. That week, I didn’t get paid cuz of the snow. And that’s when it hit me. That’s when I said, you know what? Landlords get paid in their sleep. So to me, it just, the light bulb went off at that moment. And I said I need to get into real estate one, one way or another.
Luke Newcomer: Definitely. Well, I think the one thing that I just took away from what you said was scale, and what you’ve done with Jake and Gino. You’ve taken everything and taken it at scale. How’d you get a mindset shift to create something that scales?
Gino Barbaro: That’s, that’s a great question. When you first start out as an entrepreneur, as you know, it’s the ‘I’m gonna’ mentality. I’m gonna do this. I’m gonna do that. I’m gonna cut the grass. I’m gonna collect the rent. I’m gonna do everything.
There’s nothing wrong with that. We need the bootstraps in the beginning, but in a certain unit count, you can’t do everything. It’s impossible. I had an amazing partner and we said to ourselves, what do we need to do to scale up?
We continued to buy these assets, but we didn’t have systems. So what we ended up doing is getting coaching. We got coaching systems, how to navigate when there was some traction scaling up and that gave us the ability to think of multifamily as an entrepreneurial venture. Sure. In real estate, if you’re buying single-family homes, think of yourself as an entrepreneur. At Jake and Gino, we say we create multifamily entrepreneurs, cuz you’re buying these assets.
But when you’re buying these assets, don’t think of them as just assets. Think of them as little mini cash machines. These are little mini businesses. You have, whether it’s a two-unit here or a four-unit there, all of a sudden, your mind starts to shift from being the little mom and pop owner to being the asset manager. And then from the asset manager, if you’re a property manager, great, if not get third party property management. But it is that shift where you have to like, sort of like, let go of that mom and pop, I’m gonna do everything mentality, to an I want to scale mentality.
People always say to me, you know, if you were all by yourself and you had 500 units, wouldn’t that be great? I wouldn’t be able to have an education company if I did that. I wouldn’t be able to do the property management without Jake. I do the education full-time, Jake does the property management and running the investments full-time and then from there, it’s such a great relationship.
Luke Newcomer: Wow. That was an amazing answer. That’s really impactful.
Gino Barbaro: You just need values-based decision making everybody. If you don’t align yourself with your values, with your partner, with your company, whatever that may be, what are you doing? You need to make decisions based on your values. For us, there’s no shiny object syndrome.
We don’t like single-family homes for obvious reasons. That doesn’t mean that they’re not good. We’re not investing in RV parks, which are great. We’re not investing in mobile home parks, which are also great.
We’re investing in multifamily. We’re trying to do the best thing possible. Now we’re gonna start developing, but it’s still in the multifamily space, right? That’s the important thing. If we’re gonna buy a restaurant, we’re gonna buy the building and then possibly parse off the restaurant.
So always focus on what your values are. Ours are no shiny syndrome, generational wealth, legacy wealth for our kids, but also legacy skills. That’s why we’re writing the books and teaching our kids these skills is more important than actually transferring the wealth. Transferring the knowledge to us is really important.
Luke Newcomer: What’s that saying? Niche to rich?
Gino Barbaro: Yeah, I like that. Yes, exactly.
Luke Newcomer: How important is it to have a coach or mentor? And it doesn’t have to be real estate.
Gino Barbaro: So I have a coach, but I had a coach for over four years that has helped me scale my business and sharpen every aspect of the business.
Luke Newcomer: I think a lot of people have a hard time grasping the concept. But I would say it’s almost no different than having a personal trainer or a nutritionist or a marriage counselor to fix things. I mean, it’s just, how important is that? I mean, how necessary would you say that would be?
Gino Barbaro: It’s not a hundred percent. I’d say it’s 120%. If you want to become successful and to continue to sustain that success now, what do I mean by that? If I’m working on a project and I’m on an island level by myself and nobody’s holding me accountable, I may slip up. But if I’ve got a call to coach and I’m paying a thousand dollars an hour next week, do you think I’m gonna do the work? Yes, I’m gonna gotta do the work cuz I put in the time and the effort to pay that person. If I didn’t have a teacher, I would be nowhere near where I am right now. I’d probably be hurting my throat cuz I’d be singing improperly. And I wouldn’t know when to actually fix it or how to get better. So for me out there, I think coaching is the most important thing to holding yourself accountable and to continued personal growth.
Luke Newcomer: We’re talking real estate now. What is your best advice to someone who wants to get into real estate? They’ve got the money saved up, but there are so many people out there that are just scared to pull the trigger. What is your best advice?
Gino Barbaro: It’s a tough question. I mean, we could spend an hour talking about this, but really just drill down what your goals are. First of all, why are you getting into real estate? Is it because somebody told you it’s a great thing to do?
Figure out what you’re going to get from real estate. If you’re young out there and you wanna get into business, well, this is the perfect arena to do it. See if you like it. And then from there, start going out to all these seminars and these events and immersing yourself and meeting people who are actually doing it, who are in the space. Don’t listen to your neighbor who’s telling you real estate’s risky, cuz they’ve never done a deal before. How would they know?
Luke Newcomer: I love that. That’s a great answer. I feel like I keep saying that. You’re just dropping great nuggets.
What’s the best way for everybody to get in touch with you? Social media website, anything like that? Email, let us know. We’ll also add it in the video so that people can have it. We’ll include some links when we distribute this, but let everybody know the best way to get in touch with you.
Gino Barbaro: Just go to https://jakeandgino.com/. Go on the website. You’ll see the Jake and Gino channel and iTunes, the Jake and Gino YouTube page. If you want to email me with any questions, free resources, maybe a couple of PDFs of our books, just email@example.com.
Luke Newcomer: Thank you so much for joining. Again, guys, my name’s Luke Newcomer with The Newcomer Group. We’re exceeding our expectation as our standard. Gino, really appreciate you. Cannot thank you enough. I know you’re gonna get a ton of value out of this. If you enjoy this video tag a friend, if it can just make a difference for one person, that’s the goal, share it. Tag a friend, drop a comment below. Thanks for tuning in and we’ll catch you next time.
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