What makes and drives people to go into the real estate industry? In this episode, Abbie Thomson, CMO of Thomson Multi-Family Group, shares her professional journey and experience that made her venture into real estate far from what she originally planned for herself in law school. As the CMO of Thomson Multi-Family Group, Abigail has effectively communicated the company’s goals and mission with all involved at every stage. As a result, she can bring a young perspective that creates a fresh and new dynamic to the group. Just because she’s young doesn’t mean she’s not capable of achieving great things. Tune in and be inspired!
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Unleashing Your Potential In Entrepreneurship By Eliminating Your Fears With Abbie Thomson
I am so excited to be interviewing Abbie Thomson, who I met at FinCon, one of my favorite conferences. It’s for money nerds like me. We met at a meetup for women real estate investors. I was so impressed with her. She is a CMO of Thomson Multifamily Group. She is investing with her family, especially her dad. They are syndicators investing in multifamily. She has been able to effectively communicate the company’s goals and mission with all involved at every stage. She brings a young perspective that creates a fresh and new dynamic to the group. She has been in the business for years and is doing amazing things innovating. I’m excited to have her here and introduce her to you.
Thank you so much for having me. That was a wonderful introduction. I might make that some of the things that you said are part of my bio. Thank you so much for having me.
Thanks for being here. Share for our readers how you get started in real estate investing.
I did start pretty early when I was twenty. I became interested in real estate through my dad. He has years of single-family experience. In my freshman year of college, I was interested in going to law school. In between that transition, I wanted to take a gap year and travel but I wanted to do it on my terms. I wanted to go over there, pick up, go wherever I wanted, do whatever I wanted and not have to worry about money.
One day my dad came up to my campus. We had dinner and I was telling him all of this. He goes, “I’m not paying for that. If you’re going to Europe, then I’m coming with you. That’s the only way I’m going to fund this adventure. I want to go to Europe too, so I’m not going to pay for you to travel the world without me.” I was like, “I don’t want to take my dad on my trip to Europe.” That throws a kink in my whole plan. He goes, “You need passive income then.” I was like, “Okay.”
At this point, I was so uninterested in real estate. I’d seen my dad doing all of these single-family appointments and groves houses that he was walking through. I saw all that nastiness. I was like, “That is the last thing I’m going to be doing with my life.” Once we hit that moment where I was like, “Passive income is cool. It helps you a lot in life,” it was one of those moments where I’m hitting my I’m a teenage kid in college where I was hitting my head against the wall saying, “My dad was right.”
In 2019, he decided to transition his business into entirely multifamily. He wanted to do a very dramatic shift, sell off his entire portfolio and, in turn, learning about multifamily. He took me to a few of his conferences and at the end of one of them, he turns to me and says, “Would you like to partner together? You bring a lot of skills that I lack and I bring credibility and the ability to build a business and career for you long-term. You can help me retire.” I can help my parents retire. It was this perfect magic moment of stars aligned. We decided to partner together and the rest is history. I’m here.Don’t let the fears and doubts get you down. You can work your way up. Click To Tweet
I often see a husband-wife career. You’re the first father-daughter team I have encountered. I love that. From that moment where he was like, “Do you want to partner together and do this business together,” what have you done so far in the past couple of years?
Most of my focus and what was easiest for me to do while I was a student still and things that I naturally was good at was a lot of the more creative aspects. We started our podcast, which I was grateful to have you on. We do a lot of investor outreach and things like that. I built our website. I take initial investor calls. I do preliminary numbers. I do the backend and he is more of the frontman. We are working on doing more partnerships now that I’m full-time. I’m no longer balancing this act of being a student and running my business.
I’m starting to transition myself out of some of the more business-related tasks and moving more into the strategy and relationship-building aspect of our business. I started working on how we could get our business out into the world. How can we start sharing our message and building an audience of people that relate to what we’re talking about and want to maybe partner with us on investments?
What was the first deal you did?
We closed on our first property and it was a 76-unit in Irving, Texas. It was a big accomplishment for both of us.
You’re in Dallas. Tell us a little bit more about this particular deal. How did you find it? What’s the process of acquiring it?
Sourcing this deal, we built relationships with local brokers and then we underwrote hundreds of deals until we found the right one. My dad and I like to joke that this was a little bit of a street fight to obtain. It’s very complex in how the previous owner ran their business. It was a little bit old school. Being able to underwrite it and understanding our numbers and data was a little bit more challenging. We spent a good amount of time diving into the property. We’re local, so we were able to understand the market on a deeper level because I’ve lived here my whole life.
He has purchased single-family real estate around the area hundreds of times. We had a very in-tune idea of what this property already held. We understood how we could also add value. It’s an extremely tight community on this property. We kept that functionality of the community in sync and then added it to the property. There are a ton of kids, so we want to play areas for those kids. Finding those small opportunities to enhance that was going to be our biggest clay. We were eventually awarded the deal and it worked out.
It was a huge adventure and learning experience. We’re putting a lot of those lessons that we learned towards our next deals, continuing those relationships and understanding the team that we need to run our business. If you’re not in real estate, you won’t understand, but if you are, real estate is huge with the people that you’re working with, the relationships you build, the people that you interact with, everything. It is all about those people that are touching your business at any point. One of the biggest lessons we learned was understanding who we were working with and then how to benefit each other mutually. That was honestly the biggest success point.
You haven’t been in the business too long. You’re still at a growth point and starting to learn how to get into the meat of your first deal. Perhaps you’ve made some mistakes. What would you say was your biggest mistake? What did you learn from it?
It’s understanding our capacity. When we jumped into this, my dad and I were very action-oriented people. We tend not to plan things and see where it takes us. We’ve gotten a lot better as we build a business but initially, that’s our main reaction. When we jumped into many of the things we’ve done within our business, including our deal, is we need to fully understand our capacity when it comes to investors, actual work power and how much time we can put into all of that and then understand our limitations with stress and dealing with so many moving pieces.
Single-family is the same concept but transitioned into a whole team instead of you and maybe a hard money lender and seller. That’s maybe five people working on a deal, whereas in this process, we were working with 20 to 30 people regularly. Having to juggle all of those pieces was a huge pain point on our whole team. Not being able to cope with that as well and understanding what the expectations are, how to look into the future and plan for the things that we do need to plan for, not knowing some of those steps and what to anticipate was probably one of our biggest mistakes, also not reaching out to more people and getting that information ahead of time.
We were in it and then we’re going, “That’s a huge issue,” essentially putting out fires constantly. You’re on a time crunch too. It’s like the worst 30 days. At least that was our experience because we didn’t have enough anticipation of events. On the flip side, we do understand the process way better. We have developed systems, processes and ways to handle all of those situations where it doesn’t have to impact us as much. We understand our capacity of capital and our team to where the next deal we go into, we’re able to better suit not only our business but everyone else to where it goes so much smoother.
The biggest mistake was not anticipating all of the things that you would have to do. What you learned from it was how to create systems and then you’ve learned, having gone through it for the first time, what’s going to be expected of you and what you’re going to have to do. What are you most proud of?Wake up every day being grateful for what you do. Because if you’re a great entrepreneur, you’re living the dream. Click To Tweet
It is being able to take that action, not letting my fears, doubts or whatever is going on in my head stop me. As a young woman in real estate, this is my personal experience. There’s a ton of imposter syndrome, fear and doubts. This is me setting up my life. I’m typically one of the very few women in a room of networking events. Even when talking to teams, acquiring projects and things like that, the majority of the people you’re conversing with are older and they’re male. I like this and don’t but there is an advantage to being young and a woman and there is also a huge disadvantage to being young and a woman in this industry.
I get doubted and people don’t take me seriously. That doesn’t bother me as much but when you’re an entrepreneur, it can feel lonely. You have more time to allow some of those things to seep in and impact your actions. One of the biggest things that I’m most proud of is simply not allowing those things to stop me, continuing pushing through, breaking those boundaries, almost overcoming my fears and growing hugely. I have seen massive changes in who I am in the last years simply because of what I’m doing.
With my group and mastermind, a lot of women felt like, “What do I do?” It’s a huge hurdle to come over when you are the only woman in the room or one of the only ones, also with you being so young and sitting across the table from a bunch of silver-haired gentlemen. I resonate and that’s something that in our mastermind, we spent a lot of time dealing with that like how you overcome that fear, being who you’re becoming so you could show up in that way. It’s great for you for doing that. What do you attribute your success to?
How I was raised and the people that I surround myself with within my inner circle, I tend to get in my head. The first piece is how my parents raised me. I grew up being surrounded by entrepreneurship and seeing that. I resonated with that aspect of life and I loved it. A huge piece is I feel like what I’m doing is what I’m meant to be doing. I feel like this is my purpose. Almost piggybacking off of that, my purpose drives me and so, therefore, I am using those things to be successful. If it’s inherently inside how my mind initially works, it’s pretty easy to wake up every day and do my job and push through those moments of, “Is this going to work?”
I work with both my parents and regardless of what happens or mistakes made, I know that the two people that I interact with the most are there to support me and love me unconditionally or going to be there no matter what. It’s so much easier to get through some of the hard moments of, “We worked so hard for this deal and then didn’t end up getting it.” That’s okay. We still have each other. We have moments of, “Let’s go on to the next.”
It allows us to be way more successful. Additionally, we all complement each other well. I don’t know how it works but it does. That has helped us a ton to be driving forward and growing our business because we all have our roles inherently and it works. I feel like those are the two biggest things that attribute to my success.
It’s so great that you’re able to do this with your parents. Having you as partners, there’s this unconditional love. That brings a lot of confidence. That’s beautiful. Are you an only child or do you have siblings?
I’m the youngest. I wake up every single day so grateful for what I do. I truly am living the dream. I don’t understand how this possibly happened to me but it is. I’m obsessed with it.
What advice do you have for a woman who is just starting in this field? You’re a couple of years into it. What advice would you have?
Learn and listen as much as you can. Talk to other women and hear their experiences. The biggest thing was when I started gaining confidence in what I do. In this industry, in general, I started talking to other women who were years ahead of me, who were successful, who had families, were still doing it and who overcame those hardships. They dove that hurdle. Seeing all of that and showing myself, “They can do it. I can do it,” was so powerful. Many women want to see other women succeed. You learn from those people. You’re able to see what they’ve done in their business and apply some of those things to what you do. Hopefully, everyone is successful together.
The biggest thing for me was I absorbed as much information as I could, tried to reach out to as many women as I could and surrounded myself with that. I was the only woman in an event. I had to have been at least ten years younger than every single person there. Entering those rooms is the norm and typical experience. Being able to be a part of groups very much like yours and talking to women one-on-one can be so powerful, inspirational and motivating. Do it, jump. Many women hold themselves back because of family, wanting stability or a different career. They are so inherently able to self-sabotage themselves. Putting that all aside, go and do it. Do what you want.
What do you wish you’d known at the beginning that you now know?
You don’t need college. That’s probably the number one thing that pops into my head. I was a student when I started. Once I was in my business, I didn’t want to be there anymore. If you’re already there, one thing that I wish I knew before was relationships. Relationships are extremely crucial. I am naturally very introverted. I’m having to go against my personality to make my business work. That’s okay. I don’t mind. I enjoy having conversations like this with other people. It’s what I’m passionate about.
It can be a little draining but understand that those relationships are huge. Finding a balance of not needing to please every single person that you work with is something that I’ve noticed my mom and I struggle with a lot. We put a facade almost of not burning bridges but you can’t do everything where everyone is going to be happy. There is never across the board winning situation. It’s understanding that and still being able to cultivate and build relationships but not feeling like you need to please that person all the time. You still have to do what’s right for your business and have that balance.Learn as much as you can. Listen as much as you can. Talk to other women and hear their experiences. Click To Tweet
Before we get into our famed end of show Trinity, which is a brag, gratitude and desire, how can people find out more about what you do and connect with you?
The best place is probably our website, ThomsonMultifamilyGroup.com. We are on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. All of those are great resources as well. All of those are under the Thomson Multifamily Group. We have a podcast, Next Level American Dream. That is another great resource to understand what we do and hear some conversations that we’re having as well.
It’s time for a brag, gratitude and desire. What is your brag? What’s one thing you’re celebrating?
We celebrated 30 days of ownership of our property, which was a huge hurdle. We’re starting to get the ball rolling on a lot of things that we had to plan for the property. That’s been exciting. We’re about to prepare some of our first investor distributions, which is also extremely a celebrated story. That’s probably my biggest brag at the moment.
What’s one thing you’re grateful for?
My family and my business, my entire life, I’m pretty grateful that my parents have allowed me and given me so many opportunities to do what I’m doing and build the lifestyle that I want for myself in 10, 20, 50 years. I’m grateful.
Have you made it to Europe yet?
I haven’t. I started my business and that became my passion. My Europe trip is a little bit on the back burner. I have plans. My ultimate dream is to live in Italy for three months. I will make it happen one day.
Last but not least, what is one desire?
It’s growth. I want to grow my business to where it’s almost functional without me. I’m very in on daily tasks. My biggest desire is to pull away a little bit. The reason I started this business was to build the lifestyle that I wanted for myself in the future. A big part of that is being a big family woman for myself. Being able to grow enough in this will be pretty amazing that I look forward to in a few years.
Shall your desire be or so much better than you can imagine.
We’ll see where life takes me.
Thank you so much, Abbie, for coming on. This was great. I’m so impressed. You’re young and doing so much. It makes me super happy to see young women like you doing such amazing things. What you’re doing is inspiring so many others, especially those who are like, “I can’t do that.”
Don’t limit yourself by age.
You’re a great model and example. You can connect with Abbie Thomson at ThomsonMultifamilyGroup.com and Thomson Multifamily Group on all the socials. Connect with me at REIGoddesses.com. One of the things we were talking about is to grow. It’s important to learn and be around other incredible women doing this. You don’t have to do this alone. We have a wonderful community, programs, events, investment opportunities and all of these to support you get into the game, to the next level, and to financial freedom. Find out more at REIGoddesses.com. Subscribe, like and join us next time for another amazing episode.
- Thomson Multifamily Group
- Facebook – Thomson Multi Family Group
- LinkedIn – Thomson Multifamily Group
- Instagram – Thomson Multi Family Group
- Next Level American Dream
About Abbie Thomson
Abigail Thomson has been building the foundations of success through her attendance and graduation from the University of Arkansas Walton College of Business. She has been able to acquire knowledge and skills from experts in the industry during her time at the university, as well as watch and learn from her father over the years. This unique experience has allowed Abigail to be more than equipped and ready to tackle the real estate industry head on.
As the CMO of Thomson Multi-Family Group, Abigail has been able to effectively communicate the company’s goals and mission with all involved at every stage. She is able to bring a young perspective that creates a fresh and new dynamic to the group. She is constantly trying to innovate and bring creative ideas to the table. She is excited to take these concepts and create her version of the Next Level American Dream.
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