A.J. Klenk is a managing partner of Catalyst Capital Partners and has enjoyed a long and successful career in real estate development and investment. In addition to managing our firm, A.J. is also a co-founder and managing partner at Capstone Apartment Partners, which he has worked hard to grow into one of the most reputable private multi-family housing investment firms in the United States, and the co-owner of The Goodyear House, one of the most popular restaurants in Charlotte.
Charlotte Entrepreneur Podcast sat down with A.J. to learn the secrets to his success in multi-family development. Here’s what our managing partner had to say.
A.J.’s Interview With Charlotte Entrepreneur
Interviewer Jason Javer begins by asking A.J. to tell listeners about his background and what made him want to become an entrepreneur. A.J. explains that he grew up on about 20 acres of land in rural South Michigan. A.J. says, “I think that had a lot to do with developing my creativity and sense of ownership of a task. I think I learned a lot about being able to accomplish small goals and tasks by myself. I’ve always found myself working, my goal was to work harder than the guy next to me and I’ve always found myself doing that. I’ve always found myself being a little bit more prepared than others that I had worked for.”
A.J. then recounts an unfavorable experience he had at a sales job in Charlotte, and how it made him determined not to be like his boss. According to A.J., “That was the real moment that it dawned on me that I can create my own adventure now, here in a professional world, and that’s pretty much what I set out to do at that point.”
Jason asks A.J. how he transitioned to the real estate industry. A.J. answers, “When I decided that I didn’t want to work for somebody in 2007 in Charlotte, I started doing a lot of soul searching, a lot of reading and what I discovered is that 99 of 100 self-made millionaires make it in real estate. I dove into real estate head-first and started a couple of different companies and wound my way to where I am today.”
A.J. goes on to explain how he began by co-founding Capstone, before later co-founding Catalyst and opening Goodyear as well. Jason says that, “What I think people can learn from your experience is that you dove head-first into understanding commercial real estate, understanding multi-family apartments in particular, and finding that niche at arguably one of the best times to do that. And now you’ve kind of parlayed that into doing multiple different things within the real estate industry.”
In regards to his success, A.J. says that, “I’ve always had a thirst for learning, and continuing to learn more. I think just continuing to learn, continuing to parlay what you know, focus on what you’re good at, things that your parents taught you when you were growing up, like the golden rule, treat people how you want to be treated, be humble, be grateful. If you can do a lot of those small things and then get excited about what you’re doing, I think a lot of good things can happen for you.”
As the interview winds to a conclusion, Jason asks A.J., “How do you set goals and what are some of your goals in the near and long-term?” A.J. replies, “I think putting your goals on paper, putting your to-do lists on paper every single day is critical. I have goals for all of our businesses. Big picture, personally, I’m just trying to have a lot of fun and help a lot of people and make a difference and learn a lot along the way. It’s not all about business, it’s not all about money, it’s not all about what you’re doing 9-5. I’m kinda living it one day at a time.”
A.J. goes on to say, “I read this book called The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss. It helped me realize that you can do whatever you want in life, you can have your lifestyle look however you want it to look. Lots of times that’s gonna lead you to own your own business because you’re spending so much time during the week actually working or trying to provide for your family. I just so happen to want to create my own adventure and set my own schedule, and then you just go out and find a way to make it happen.”
Finally, Jason asks, “What for you is the most fulfilling, rewarding part of being an entrepreneur?” A.J. replies, “I get a big kick out of having a goal in my mind and reaching it. In life, I get a charge out of helping people and seeing people grow so it’s a little bit of both.”
Do You Want to Invest in Multi-Family Real Estate?
A.J. Klenk and the rest of the team at Catalyst Capital Partners would be happy to help you invest in multi-family real estate in Charlotte or anywhere else in the American Southeast. Call Catalyst Capital Partners today for assistance with multi-family real estate development and investment!