Find A Business Partner You Trust

Find A Business Partner You Trust

Max de Melo

Devin Miller

The Inventive Journey

Podcast for Entrepreneurs


Find A Business Partner You Trust

I think that having someone that you trust and best friend in a business partner. Someone that compliments you in everything you are maybe not as good at is definitely the biggest assets you can have. If at all possible, having a partner by your side that shares the same values, complimentary skill set, and understands that the journey of starting a business, especially in a different country, is something that requires dedication and the absolute will to succeed.


The Inventive Journey

Starting and growing a business is a journey. On The Inventive Journey, your host, Devin Miller walks with startups along their different journeys startups take to success (or failure). You also get to hear from featured guests, such as venture firms and angel investors, that provide insight on the paths to a successful inventive journey.

Get New Episodes

Get 2 brand-new podcast episodes sent to you every week!

ai generated transcription

i think that having a someone that you trust and having your best friend and a business partner somebody that compliments you in everything that you're maybe not as good um if it is probably or is definitely the biggest asset that you can have um so if if anyhow possible you know having having a partner by your side that shares the same values has complementary skill set and understands that you know the journey of starting a business especially in a different country is something that requires you know dedication and and the absolute will to succeed [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host devin miller the serial entrepreneur that's built several startups to seven and eight figure companies as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law where he helps startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks and today we have another great guest on the episode and it's max to me mellow if i can pronounce it i'm probably slaughtering it um but give you a quick introduction to max so max kind of his whole journey started when he was going out on so he's originally from germany was going on a vacation to the us with a friend and they got intrigued with the real estate market so came back they bought a townhouse did that for a period of time did some airbnb made some profit decided to start their own brokerage firm went after high-end buildings and now they're mostly working with a lot of investors and developers on some of the high-end real estate and been able to flip a lot of projects so that's a quick and short introduction to max and welcome to the podcast perfect thank you so much for having me appreciate it fun to have you on so perfect well um i gave a very short or brief introduction uh maybe uh dive into a little bit of a are your uh give us a little bit more details of your journey and how it all started with your vacation yeah i guess that was just uh just a dream like like everybody else from from back home you know one day you gotta go to to america check it out and and see how it is and that's what we did uh all started with with the vacation um we kind of fell in love uh with the country particularly here scottsdale arizona we went to la we went to vegas but you know there was something about scottsdale that we that we loved a lot and there's obviously many many facets of this this state that makes it such a such a beautiful place to live and full of opportunities especially in the real estate world so now diving a bit more into that a bit more detail so you you were you grew up or were born in germany is that right yeah that's correct grew up in germany and then what was uh i assume well maybe i'm wrong that you got when you and your friend were coming over to the u.s for a vacation it wasn't to buy real estate or wasn't to get into real estate so what what made you originally come on vacation in the us or kind of what was that or what caused that whole dominoes to start going yeah it was it was kind of two-fold one we wanted to explore the country and kind of feel you know what is what is this experience that you hear you hear from so many people what is so fascinating kind of you know um get a feeling for that ourselves and secondly my um my best friend and business partner patrick he used to um be a golf professional so for those who know arizona and maybe our golfers uh this is probably one of the best places in the us to play golf pretty much year round so um yeah that's what got us here we we play plenty of golf and then you know there was always a desire to um be involved in real estate investment both of our families in germany as well as in brazil my dad's brazilians were born and raised in germany but i have a south american cultural background as well they are involved in real estate but we wanted to do our our own gig so to speak and then yeah we started with a little townhouse that was pretty much all the money that we had gladly went went well was a home run right out of the gates and and then we we kind of took it from there but there was no intention like you said we you know i remember us going on that plane we said you know just let's just have a little bit of fun and check it out and see what happens no make makes it so now you dive into this a bit deeper so you did the vacation kind of had that experience you went back i assume you went back to germany you didn't stay in the us right away no we went we went back yeah so when you went back to germany what did you do during that time when you were still in germany did you you know and and i guess it'll start there what so what did you guys do when he got back to germany did you continue on with education go back to your jobs and then how did you decide to come back to the us yeah um at that time actually i was um jumping back and forth between germany and brazil so i was working in both countries kind of simultaneously on a on a pretty big project i was involved at that point in time in um in a tech company as well as a hospitality business that wasn't involved around the world cup you know fifa soccer world cup in brazil 2014 and that was kind of the time was back and forth and um [Music] ever since we came in the first time we realized that there's something there's something about it and we just got to find the right timing and do our due diligence and you know kind of put all the pieces together to understand when is the right time to actually pull the trigger and um you know kind of go all in which we did that in a good old german matter i guess um we took our time looked into everything and you know and then it all came together and yeah then we end of april 2017 um quit the job a day later i was on a plane and then for about a year you know bridge my stay here with uh with a tourist slash business visa and then i obtained an investor visa uh to legitimize my um yeah my business and my stay here so i think you mentioned or we talked a little bit before the podcast so you got the visitor investor visa ended or april of about 2018 and then you still have to get your real estate license and for for me that doesn't know so you guys came here you did real estate you know you i sit on real estate investing and i think you mentioned that you guys each kind of came together with 50 000 on each of you and we're looking to get some property you look through but between the time that you got here got your investor visa did you purchase a house right away or did you get your real estate lease and real estate lease license first or kind of what was that that phase for you so we did purchase that townhouse actually before we bought into the brokerage so america wanted luxury real estate patterning out 50 um equal partners we have two fellow american partners that own um the remainder of the 50 and that brokerage was we we bought in that was january 2017 and our townhouse we already have bought it in march 15th so the first little project that we started kind of almost remote because we had to go back to germany uh was in 2015. we sold it in 2017 and patrick got licensed in february 2018 i got licensed in february 2019 because one of the requirements to obtain a real estate license is to have a social security number to to take a a local as well as a national test and um that social security number comes only when you have a visa right which after obtaining the visa there's a little bit of a lead time until you get that so we owned a brokerage and had no license um that that kind of came came before the reason we did that is that actually helped me tremendously to get my visa as you know our brokerage has been up and running since 1988 with you know clean books uh residual income through various uh sources of um you know the real estate business so that that helped us a lot and only after that we kind of realized you know if we we're leaving money on the table and opportunity on the table if we're not licensed ourselves so now with all and i appreciate that background you you i don't even begin to know a ton about real estate so i find it interesting so you did that so you bought your you you know got your brokerage before you got your license but you had the 50k that you each kind of brought into it and you got your first townhouse right and i think you mentioned you looked at what was it over 150 different uh possible investments yeah i mean just imagine you know all you have is fifty thousand dollars and uh if you screw it up you're done um we figured if that's gonna happen that would be uh the worst possible scenario so we took our time and i mean we i think it was at least 150 properties that we looked at within that budget that we had we talked to i don't know how many real estate agents um and funny enough the property that we did purchase we ended up finding ourselves actually in community that we were renting i saw a sign in the window i called in there were no agents involved and that was pretty much our first uh first deal so and and especially if you're if that's all the money you have in the country that you really don't know anyone and you don't know how the whole process of real estate purchase works it's it's a little bit scary i'm not gonna lie um when we were at the thai lady signing papers i was like okay like i guess i guess it's gonna happen now so i guess the mixture of you know certain um naive navity if that's even a word you know what i mean right and and we which had we had no no fear and we just felt like you know after our due diligence we're we're good to go and we're just gonna risk it so um um unfortunately the reward was there because looking back at at the numbers even on that first deal it's it's still uh i mean we it was a the cash on cash roi was 61 on our first deal that includes rental income and appreciation of of the sale of the property so that was call it lucky call it however you want to call it that was that was a good start and that's the kind of dovetails in so you bought the townhouse and was it all smooth sailing from there was it you know no worries was it easy going because you know the only the main exposure i get to real estate other than you know might be buying my own house it's generally been i see a whole bunch of people that have flipping shows and within a matter of a half an hour they made you know hundred thousand dollars or two hundred thousand dollars i'm sure is all completely true and there's no fabrication but for in reality you know so how did that go you got your you finally get to you get to the us you get your invest investor visa you get that you know you go through 150 houses do a ton of due diligence finally find the town houses for you guys how did that once you made the purchase how did that that whole uh how did that whole uh journey part of the journey go well i remember leaving the title agency and then we were like okay we now we need to remodel it and then i mean how are we actually gonna do that i mean i guess we need a contractor so i mean it's literally how you would imagine if you've never done something you just figured out um fortunately uh patrick's and my skill set are extremely complimentary and we trust each other without without limitation right so that that helps if you don't do it alone and um i mean our our general contractor was a referral from an uber driver um and and that story is not made up and so you just i mean we just figured it out we furnished sure we furnished the um the apartment went to ikea and i mean we just drove through the aisles and we were like we completely underestimated all of a sudden we had five carts full of stuff had to put the beds together and then they were you know we were missing this and i mean just like you just figure it out so i guess it it was one thing that i think is looking back is something that we always had i mean if you're if you're best friends with someone for 15 years we've worked together for over 10 years you just know each other and you know that there's pretty much nothing that you can't accomplish as a team so we always had that confidence but quite frankly we didn't know how and i guess then it's just learning by doing and just doing due diligence as you go right we talked to four different contractors we got bids we started to understand material pricing labor pricing we went to floor decor home depot all those stores and then slowly but surely you educate yourself um and you just start developing and that's how that's what happened with us a passion for the actual business because when we bought our first place you know if you would have asked me are you like passionate about this i would have said no i guess we're just making an investment right but as you go you know every one of us patrick more passionate about the design and the actual floor plans and you know that component the on job site project management and for me the art of putting a deal together financing structuring the legal component investments and the sales stuff that's like the other right but that just happens while you do it so that's that's i guess how that how that went down so you did that and you finally you figured out you you know got your referral from your uber driver everything else got the townhouse made the you know made the profit off of it if i finally get your brokerage you got the licensing and all that done and then kind of walk me through so then what was the next step your journey did you guys just dive all in take the money roll it forward build a big flipping house you know big flipping brokerage or how did that work out for you well we we then started doing our um projects and then i mean we 90 000 was the first one and then we slowly started stepping up our game right we did 200 000 300 five hundred thousand seven hundred thousand so then we had at a point we had like three four five projects at the same time and then at some point and and we used hard money in the beginning right so we had hard money with our money then we had some investors that trusted us with their money and then we were slowly figuring that component out and we said okay the profit margins are definitely bigger the bigger the project is and the work is kind of almost almost the same thing you know like it's it's really not too much more work if you do bigger projects you know you must just add more money to it but from an investment perspective if you know what you're doing you actually create a downside protection for your investment because the profit margin is bigger right and if things go wrong if the ac goes out or unforeseen things happen you're just better off if you have a bigger profit cushion obviously than a smaller one right so we were starting to understand okay if we go on the higher price points and by being licensed we started to get listings in the higher price point so while we were climbing up the ladder on the investment side we did the same thing on the brokerage side as agents right so that kind of went hand in hand and and also that was something that um developed pretty organically and we just we just wrote with it and now i mean today most of our projects let's say 95 of our projects are anywhere between four and eight million dollars are either new builds or major renovations where we add up to i would say four or five thousand square feet to the existing premises so we're talking about major major projects that we run simultaneously now which you know looking looking back three years ago all it was was a little town home and the uber referral contractor slapped something together you know um it's a it's it's a whole different world now well that's that's a cool journey to hear so so now as you as you do that you look out in the next six to 12 months kind of looking into the future a bit kind of where's what's the next phase or what's the next part of your journey look like yeah i think um this year in particular looking at the numbers i mean we still have a little bit of time left on the fourth quarter um we are now part of the top 1 agents in arizona as well as top 1 brokerage in the state which is uh an accomplishment that we're very proud of um we're we are growing our team um we're growing that organically by now we have 15 people so i would like to continue on that path if we you know find people that are like-minded that have this drive and especially love the development and investment component of it so growing that is one thing um the other thing is right now we have 10 projects um i think we're always going to be anywhere between 10 to 15 projects at a time here in arizona and then in florida that's the next market that we're looking to go to patrick's in-law family they're all involved in in real estate and design staging contractor work down in the west palm beach boca area so that has always been something that we had on our mind that we were you know investigating um for as long as we've been here and then for as long as patrick has been married with valerie which is now four years so that's gonna be uh that's gonna be the next the next step well sounds like it's uh an exciting uh exciting journey yet ahead of you so plenty of uh things to accomplish and plenty of success to drive towards well as we as we start to wrap up the podcast i always ask you questions at the end so maybe we'll jump to those now and talk about those just a little bit um so the first question i always ask is within your journey what was your worst business decision and what did you learn from it can you say that one more time please yeah so within your business journey the journey to what was the worst business decision you ever made and what did you learn from it i think i think the worst business decision that we that we made when we came out here i think we trusted some contractors too early made advanced payments because you know we kind of felt for felt for them and cared cared for them which i think that and that in itself is nothing nothing bad right but you know the kind of um the aftermath of that was um you know jobs not being completed and uh you know all of a sudden there were conflicts um on that and that were pretty um unpleasant so i think that um you know understanding that you know things things are paid when they're completed obviously there's deposits and material purchases and that have to be made but you know working with professional contractors um is something that i can just uh i mean that's that's probably the biggest lesson at the same time obviously uh not doing any work that is unpermitted right um i do remember or and doing the due diligence on on structural kind of issues i do remember uh one time we removed a load-bearing wall which uh we didn't know it was one but we didn't investigate it enough uh that cost us uh eighteen thousand dollars i'll never forget that so um you know those were those were expensive mistakes um but i guess they're easily avoidable by just uh you know just doing the right thing and especially you know with the projects that we have right now and that's everything is everything is permitted um and we work with very professional contractors everybody carries it short like all these things that you would think you know they're you know everybody does it um that's that's really now how how it is in reality um on on many projects that we see too so doing the right thing there is uh and paying a little bit more is definitely the way to go no i think that's uh both a mistake to learn from as well as valuable to insight going forward so all right now we jump to the second question um which is if you're talking to someone that's just getting into a startup or a small business what would be the one piece of advice you'd give them i think the one piece of advice that i can give and i know that's something that not everybody can not everybody can kind of do the way we did it i think that having a someone that you trust and having your best friend and a business partner somebody that compliments you and everything that you're maybe not as good if it is probably or is definitely the biggest asset that you can have um so if if anyhow possible you know having having a partner by your side uh that shares the same values has complementary skill set and understands that you know the journey of starting a business especially in a different country is something that requires you know dedication and and the absolute will to succeed and and no matter what comes in your way that you always know that there's no that there's gonna be no point where you're gonna give up so i guess that is that is what got us to where we got today that's for sure no i think that that's great advice and certainly something to take to heart well as people are wanting to reach out to you they want to know more about your brokerage they want to invest in you they want to be an employee they want to pick your brain about how to get started and hear all of the above what's the best way to connect up with you so the best way to connect with us um through social media is instagram um we we have individual accounts my account is max underscore america and then the number one spelled out o e um we have a brokerage account america one real estate same accounts for the website and patrick myself for our projects we have a website called where you can pretty much see everything that we're involved in and anybody that wants to pick our brain or get in get in touch with us feel free to do so we've been welcomed very warmly in this country when we didn't know anyone or anything and i think and by now we're starting to figure out how this business works so we're always happy to give back and anything that we could do um we'll always always try our best to do that well awesome well i appreciate uh both the invite to help others that are just getting into business as well as some great ways to connect that with you well max thank you for coming on the podcast it's been a pleasure now for all of those all of you that are uh have your own journey to tell feel free to reach out to us at and apply to be a guest on the podcast we always love to share your journeys if you're a listener make sure to click subscribe so you get notifications as all the new great episodes come out and lastly if you ever need any help with the patents or trademarks feel free to reach out to us at miller ip law and we'll make sure to get you taken care of and helped out well max thanks again wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last and uh good luck perfect thank you so much for spending the time with me today my pleasure English (auto-generated) All Recently uploaded

Download This Episode & More  on the Following Platforms

Podcast for Entrepreneurs on Apple Podcasts
Podcast for Entrepreneurs on Spotify
Podcasts for Entrepreneurs on Google Podcasts
Podcast for Entrepreneurs on Simplecast
Podcasts for Entrepreneurs on Pocket Casts
Podcasts for Entrepreneurs on Stitcher
Podcasts for Entrepreneurs on Tune In
Podcast for Entrepreneurs on Deezer
Podcast for Entrepreneurs on Radio Public


← Another Awesome Article Another Awesome Article →

We love to hear your Comments/Feedback | To chat with us directly grab time at

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published