A financially independent real-estate investor shares his top book recommendation — and the success principle embedded in it that he lives by

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  • Volnay Capital founder Ricky Beliveau purchased his first property in Boston when he was in his early twenties.
  • He has over 1,000 units between Volnay Capital’s portfolio and properties he owns with partners.
  • The investor and developer shared one of his favorite books, “Sell It Like Serhant.”

Ricky Beliveau never imagined a career in real estate.

He studied finance at Northeastern University, interned at an investment management firm while there, and returned to the same firm after graduating in 2010.

During his senior year of college, he took a real-estate finance class that introduced him to the business side of real estate. Previously, he defined real estate as “the house that you live in,” he told Insider.

Less than a year after graduating, Beliveau purchased his first property, a multi-family in Boston that he house hacked. Beginning in 2013, he gradually built his real-estate portfolio by purchasing multi-family properties with FHA loans and experimenting with condo conversions. That’s when he made enough money to quit his finance job and go all-in on his real-estate venture, Volnay Capital.

He now owns 94 units and runs several real-estate-related businesses, including a property management firm, a development firm, and a brokerage. According to an asset sheet obtained by Insider, Volnay Capital’s portfolio and properties owned with partners total over 1,000 units.

Beliveau credits his Northeastern professor with launching his real-estate career, and he has continued to educate himself since graduating.

He listens to the “Real Estate Addicts” podcast, which is hosted by Ray Hurteau and Dan Rubin, two Boston-based investors. “Sell It Like Serhant,” by real-estate broker, investor, and “Million Dollar Listing” star Ryan Serhant, is his top book recommendation.

While Serhant’s career has revolved around real estate, his book is applicable to any professional looking to advance in their career.

The success principle that most resonated with Beliveau while reading Serhant’s book has nothing to do with real estate: the author refers to it as a “balls up” mindset.

“He talks about having ‘balls in the air,'” Beliveau explained, referring to various business or income-generating opportunities. “Imagine yourself juggling 100 different balls. Some of those balls require a lot more attention because they are the most important leads or things you’re working on, but if you’re only juggling one big ball and it falls or disappears, you have nothing else to do.”

Having multiple balls in the air as a real estate agent could mean “trying to work with 20 clients, not just one client,” according to Beliveau. Or, if you’re the kind of developer who says, “you might have one project under construction, but you can’t just be working on that one; you have to be looking for your next one to get under agreement.”

In the book, Serhant refers to having the most balls in the air as “a secret that gave me a huge advantage.”

Even when he first got his real-estate license and started renting out apartments, he wrote, “I didn’t put all my energy into one sale or one client.” I’d go from a closing with one client to a showing with another, and while in the taxi, I’d take calls for offers. I didn’t live or die by a single transaction. I never closed a sale and thought, ‘What now?’ because the next deal was already in the works. My more aggressive approach gave me a significant advantage, and I quickly rose to the position of top seller.”

When you’re able to get “more balls up,” as Serhant put it, “you’re surrounded by opportunity and you’re taking advantage of those opportunities at the same time — you’re making new contacts, gaining great referrals, and maximizing the hours you’re awake.”

Serhant believes that juggling multiple deals or opportunities at the same time is possible. “So, why grab just one ball when you can handle five or more?” he writes in his book. “Go big.”

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