Entrepreneurial Appetite

Empowering Journeys Ila B Corcoran and Kendra Barnes: Black Women Trailblazing Paths to Wealth Through Real Estate

June 17, 2024 Ila Corcoran and Kendra Barnes Season 5 Episode 25
Empowering Journeys Ila B Corcoran and Kendra Barnes: Black Women Trailblazing Paths to Wealth Through Real Estate
Entrepreneurial Appetite
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Entrepreneurial Appetite
Empowering Journeys Ila B Corcoran and Kendra Barnes: Black Women Trailblazing Paths to Wealth Through Real Estate
Jun 17, 2024 Season 5 Episode 25
Ila Corcoran and Kendra Barnes

Discover the powerful narratives and strategic insights from real estate mavens Ila Corcoran and Kendra Barnes that could reshape your financial future. These two dynamic women have navigated personal and familial economic challenges to emerge as leaders in the industry, and they're here to share their wisdom. Ila's proactive approach, born from early adversity, led her to acquiring a real estate license while still in college. Meanwhile, Kendra's transformative work with The Key Resource is redefining pathways to Black ownership and financial independence. Their stories are a testament to the resilience and foresight needed to thrive in the real estate realm.

Embark on a journey into the nuanced world of out-of-state investments and the magnetic pull of new construction in emerging communities. The episode peels back the layers of strategic decision-making that Ila and Kendra navigated, from trusting their research and instinct to managing a Dallas property from afar. They recount the challenges and victories of investing in properties that promise to be the keystones of young family's futures and highlight the essential nature of perseverance and adaptability in the face of investment skepticism and unexpected setbacks.

Finally, we step into the transformative space where real estate intersects with community building and philanthropy. Our guests illuminate the importance of creating vibrant, inclusive spaces that serve as platforms for connection and development. We delve into how their endeavors, from hosting impactful virtual gatherings to authoring inspirational literature, contribute to the cultivation of wealth and empowerment within marginalized communities. Whether you are an established investor or just beginning to explore the possibilities, this episode is a treasure trove of resources and strategies for anyone seeking to amplify their impact through real estate and entrepreneurship.

Support the Show.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Discover the powerful narratives and strategic insights from real estate mavens Ila Corcoran and Kendra Barnes that could reshape your financial future. These two dynamic women have navigated personal and familial economic challenges to emerge as leaders in the industry, and they're here to share their wisdom. Ila's proactive approach, born from early adversity, led her to acquiring a real estate license while still in college. Meanwhile, Kendra's transformative work with The Key Resource is redefining pathways to Black ownership and financial independence. Their stories are a testament to the resilience and foresight needed to thrive in the real estate realm.

Embark on a journey into the nuanced world of out-of-state investments and the magnetic pull of new construction in emerging communities. The episode peels back the layers of strategic decision-making that Ila and Kendra navigated, from trusting their research and instinct to managing a Dallas property from afar. They recount the challenges and victories of investing in properties that promise to be the keystones of young family's futures and highlight the essential nature of perseverance and adaptability in the face of investment skepticism and unexpected setbacks.

Finally, we step into the transformative space where real estate intersects with community building and philanthropy. Our guests illuminate the importance of creating vibrant, inclusive spaces that serve as platforms for connection and development. We delve into how their endeavors, from hosting impactful virtual gatherings to authoring inspirational literature, contribute to the cultivation of wealth and empowerment within marginalized communities. Whether you are an established investor or just beginning to explore the possibilities, this episode is a treasure trove of resources and strategies for anyone seeking to amplify their impact through real estate and entrepreneurship.

Support the Show.

Langston Clark:

Hey everyone, thank you again for your support of Entrepreneurial Appetite. Beginning this season, we are inviting our listeners to support the show through our Patreon website. The founding 55 patrons will get live access to our monthly discussions for only $5 a month. Your support will help us hire an intern or freelancer to help with the production of the show. Of course, you can also support us by giving us five stars, leaving a positive comment or sharing the show with a few friends. Thank you for your continued support. What's up everybody? Once again, this is Langston Clark. I'm the founder and organizer of Entrepreneurial Appetite, a series of events dedicated to building community, promoting intellectualism and supporting Black businesses. And today we have a conversation with Ila Corcoran, a real estate entrepreneur who has overseen more than $100 million in transaction volume, and she currently manages 10 million dollars worth of real estate across multiple states and is a general partner for bay street capital holdings alt path fund. Did I say that correctly?

Ila Corcoran:

yeah, yeah, you did exactly because that was like man.

Langston Clark:

that was the part I was most worried about in this introduction. And then we have, like one of my favorite special guests, one of the people that I'm most endeared to, who has been on the podcast previously, kendra Barnes, who is the founder of the Key Resource, which is a community of people who are interested in investing in real estate. She's a real estate entrepreneur and influencer and she is the author of Acres inspiring stories of 25 real estate investors who are normalizing Black wealth, one acre at a time, and all of her work is important. All of her work as an entrepreneur and a real estate mogul and investor is like super important. But the most important thing in my mind about Kendra is that she went to my school, north Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, so I always get to share with her and Aggie pride whenever she's on the show.

Kendra Barnes :

Yes, Aggie pride.

Langston Clark:

And so this is Kendra's I think, third time on the show and I'm going to let her drive the conversation because I felt it was appropriate for her, as a black woman in real estate, to leave this conversation with another Black woman who was in real estate. And you all are in for a treat, and I thank you both for joining us and looking forward to the insights that are shared in this conversation.

Kendra Barnes :

Thanks for hosting the conversation. I love meeting and connecting with Black women in real estate. Like when I first started, it was like seeing a unicorn, and I mean it still kind of is, but thankfully it's becoming more common and it's just so exciting to see like how we got started, what's our story, what our goals are, because they're all so different and we, by sharing them, we're all like lifting as we climb right. So Langston did a great job of introducing you. I know we've chatted before but I am curious. So I know he said that you so you manage investments, like for your full-time job, but you also invest personally too. So I'm curious, like how did you get into real estate investing? Did you start doing it as a nine to five first and then, or kind of tell us that story.

Ila Corcoran:

Yeah, absolutely so. I tend to say that my career started when I was a child because we moved around so much so I had a lot of experience growing up looking at homes online and kind of ideating where we live and etc. House and a dad's house, and they both just tended to move around a lot. We unfortunately experienced closure during OAD and then the following home we moved into the homeowner of that home got foreclosed on. So there was a lot of experiences that required us to be in different spaces and to move around. So generally, where I began understanding real estate and the idea of owning real estate and then not owning real estate anymore and the challenges of getting into housing and renting and all the things that go into that, so that sort of pushed me as I graduated high school and got into college to think about what knowledge and skill set do I need to have to change that reality for myself as an adult and give me the means to be able to have a more secure housing experience. And that meant for me getting my real estate license and then sort of figuring it out from there.

Ila Corcoran:

Ultimately, at like 18, 19, none of my peers were really buying houses, so I didn't have as many clients as I would have liked right when I first got my license. So I did go into property management getting that experience in a more of a traditional employment setting. So I wasn't just relying on commission. I was able to earn a wage as a property manager and a leasing consultant. Get that experience.

Ila Corcoran:

Start working for a real estate startup.

Ila Corcoran:

Get more of the construction and real estate investment experience from that perspective, because the startup did do a lot of home equity advances, home projects to enable home sellers to sell their homes for more, participated in the equity ultimately by advancing owner's money, giving them resources to prep their home for sale and then getting a percentage when it sold.

Ila Corcoran:

So it's a little bit of a unique relationship to real estate financing, but it did deal with real estate law and about investing in real estate and it gave me the proof of income I needed to be able to actually purchase my first property. So it was that process of how do I get this real estate experience without relying on sales skills that I didn't yet have and a network that I was still developing and also needing to fill some gaps of knowledge, not coming from a family that was as exposed to real estate from an investing perspective and that information and those job experiences to enable me to then invest in my own housing do more of this investment management through Bay Street now and then also I do a lot of nonprofit work and fundraising for housing and for folks who were previously unhoused. So, using water skills I try to redirect them in ways that I think will be beneficial to the community.

Kendra Barnes :

And, of course, as well, help me build it. So you went straight into getting your real estate license straight from high school.

Ila Corcoran:

Yes, while I was in undergraduate, so I did attend college. And while I was in university, my first year, I started getting my real estate license and I got it at the end of my first year of college and I was also working full time in my first year of college and I was also working full time in college. So it's when I kind of started my career.

Kendra Barnes :

That is impressive. I, honestly, would have never considered that Like. I didn't even think about it. I never. You're very mature for an 18 year old. I don't know. I'm like, what was I even doing with my life If I would have started in real estate back then? I mean wow. So I like how you said, though, that you were inspired, like at a young age, cause, again, we moved around a lot too as a family. We were a military family, and so we moved around a lot, but I never thought about housing, because it was always provided for us. You either live on base the military base or you they provide you a stipend, and so it was something that just never crossed my mind, and I got into real estate very randomly way later on in life. But it's interesting seeing that you got inspired and into it so early. So you got your real estate license, you were working and you were in school and you had all these other real estate influences around, like in the work that you did. But how did you ultimately get your first investment personally?

Ila Corcoran:

so my first investment was a new construction home in Dallas and I was at this point where I knew I wanted to leave the company I was working for in pursuit of either a different opportunity or something that was a little bit more self-directed. But I felt like it would be a missed opportunity, at least for me at that time, to not leverage the fact that I had a salary to get a mortgage and get real estate, especially for my first property. So that was sort of my agreement with myself You're not leaving until you try to buy a house. So I went through the process of qualifying for a mortgage and ultimately, with qualifying, I was in a position where my budget would not allow me to buy California, which is where I live, and I was thinking I'm familiar with other states and real estate in multiple states, so let me look elsewhere. And I ultimately was like searching for communities where there was a lot of employment opportunity, where there were a lot of new developments happening. In the specific suburb that I chose, there was like five to seven schools being built, so there was a lot of people moving to that area that were young families and there was a higher proportion of renters and buyers as well. There was a higher proportion of renters and buyers as well. So kind of trying to pull together the data that I could to support. Okay, this is an area that will have some upward mobility for me as a homeowner and I also was interested in the idea of a new development, especially being an out-of-state owner, because I wouldn't be as equipped to handle repairs that are out of state, nor would I really want to have to deal with a home that had a bunch of issues, of course, later down the line. So things were warrantied and I was more affordable. So I went through the process of visiting the development site and putting down a deposit on our home site and within I guess I think it was about eight months thereafter, the home was built and it was pretty much just sign here and you got your keys. So they made it really simple.

Ila Corcoran:

It was also at a time where interest rates were lower but prices were a lot higher. So there was a ton of feedback that I was receiving around whether it was a good idea to buy. A lot of people were saying wait till prices go down. Everything is so inflated because rates are so low. I'm very glad that I just jumped on it and I say all that to say that no matter what time it is in the market, there's always going to be a better time. Grass is always greener, kind of. But sometimes you just have to do it, and that was kind of my mindset. Then I was thinking I'm not buying this house to flip, I'm not buying this house to sell in a year. Why is the price efficiency as much of a priority if I know what my long-term goal is and that is to have an asset and this is my sort of opportunity to get that? So I bought the house and sort of went from there.

Kendra Barnes :

So, and it was a rental right, Right.

Ila Corcoran:

So I bought it and I rented out rooms.

Kendra Barnes :

That is so smart. I love that you did new construction. Like before you even said it, I was thinking that's it's like a dream for a new investor to do new construction because there's potentially going to be less issues, right, and you have that one year warranty where everything's covered. They're going to come in and fix different issues and I feel like more people would do that if they could afford it. But usually what happens is a new investor is like on a tight budget, they end up buying this property that's cheaper, but then it's older and then you have all that.

Kendra Barnes :

So it's kind of like you're I don't know like stuck in between a rock and a hard place as a new investor, because you don't want to deal with a lot of issues but sometimes you have to until you can get to the place where you can afford the new construction. Like for me now. I was just telling my husband like I only want to buy new construction honestly at this point and we're about to buy a new construction home in Dallas, like literally, and I'm just like I don't know. We've been through the buying the things we can afford. They're older, they cash flow, well, but then you do have issues come up and that was great because it got us to this point.

Kendra Barnes :

So there's different levels to investing. You are fortunate to be able to come in at the level that most people wanna be at, so it's good that you listen to your gut and the numbers and with it. So that was your first investment. Oh, and you also talked about naysayers. So I talk about that a lot to new investors, because a lot of times, if you're the person like in your circle or in your family or whatever, to invest, they can often like project their fears on you, and that could be one of the hardest parts of investing is like getting over that all that background noise. So that's kudos to you for doing that. So what are some things that you've learned, though, like along the way, that you wish you had known before you started?

Ila Corcoran:

I've learned so much along the way. You pointed out something that I think is really important and that is mitigating, I guess, how you take in feedback, because you're presumably on your journey for yourself and the few people that are maybe the core people in your life that you really want to kind of bring along your journey or take their perspectives in. But some of the extra is can really be a hindrance if you allow it to affect your ability to make a decision, and that's something that I had to really kind of learn about and understand and give myself the grace to know that making mistakes will be inevitable. But how do I set myself up to give that margin for error? How do I find the opportunities that are amazing and can go so well? But if they don't go as well and they don't go as planned, what would that look like? And am I prepared to take that on and ensuring that I am so that I have the space to make a decision? I think, when the ability for you to make a decision is so contingent upon the decision being the perfect right one in order to do it because you know what's at stake and it's never going to be the perfect right decision. We're not in charge at the end of the day and I would always just put a lot of pressure on myself, I think, to do it and to be the one in my family that is building stability as young of an age as I can, so that I can continue to work from a full cup and have all these favorable outcomes as my life goes on and I can sometimes get a little overwhelmed by the possibilities and that can make me stand in place for longer than I would want. So I've had to learn and work through that and the finding has kind of been that you're not always going to know the best thing to do, but you will have a series of options and you just have to pick an option and know that you have the ability to deal with the outcomes favorable or unfavorable and keep moving forward.

Ila Corcoran:

For me, as it relates to real estate investing, I try to think of it as you know worst case scenario I have this mortgage for 30 years.

Ila Corcoran:

If I can pay for it for 30 years, then I'm good. If you know all those pills, you know, as long as I do what I can to be able to pay for it, then I have an asset that I own screen clear and hopefully the outcomes are much more favorable and I'm cash flowing at it sooner or I'm able to pay it off earlier, or whatever the case may be. But as long as I know that that's the worst case scenario quote, unquote then that makes it a lot easier for me to say, okay, let me just do it and not worry as much about whether next month is a better time to buy versus now, or whether this situation is going to be the most ideal or this house is the right house or whatever. It is giving yourself a little bit more room to be decisive and cut out some of the perspectives that ultimately you, at the end of the day, have to live with your decisions.

Kendra Barnes :

So it's kind of your responsibility had you been to, it's kind of your responsibility. Had you been to Dallas before Like, did you have any knowledge of the area before you bought?

Ila Corcoran:

No, I had not been to Dallas. I didn't have anyone in Dallas. Actually, I had a coworker who lived in Dallas at the time and, yeah, it was really just what am I going to be able to afford in California at this price point? The fact that it wouldn't be much and being okay with pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. Fortunately, we have Yelp and we have Sumtac and we have all the apps and Angelus and all the things. So it makes you here to be a remote property manager now. But I just decided that it was a risk that would be worthwhile to take.

Kendra Barnes :

That's so brave and Dallas is a great city, though I mean, you did your homework. I always suggest that people try to invest out of state in places they have some knowledge of, but if you've done your homework and you'd been in property management and you knew what to look for, you've been in like the real estate world, so I'm sure that helped. But that was really brave, but a good decision. That was a really good decision.

Ila Corcoran:

So you purchased that property Were you still in school or I was actually that was my last semester in school when I bought this property and it was also during COVID, so we had gone remote. So I was kind of trying to do everything under there, like I was using the fact that there was so much distance between me and school and work in terms of physical distance to be a little bit more efficient in some of the other things I wanted to do. So yes, it was last semester and COVID times.

Kendra Barnes :

So you also mentioned that. So you didn't even own a home for yourself first before you bought your first rental.

Ila Corcoran:

Correct, I did manage where I lived and I was a property manager of a building in Los Angeles, so I didn't have a rent expense.

Kendra Barnes :

Oh that's, you were just banking money, then that's amazing.

Ila Corcoran:

It worked. I owe a lot of things to the fact that I had gotten that opportunity at such a young age and at such a pivotal time for me, because had I rent is such a huge expense, of course, and had that expense, it would have been, of course, much harder to save. So it was very much things falling into place by the grace of God and the right opportunities kind of being available.

Kendra Barnes :

But yes, yeah, because a lot of people will get stuck. They live in a high cost of living area, like New York or California or wherever, and they're like well, I can't afford to buy a house. So they just quit. But I think it's great that people are buying rental properties, even if they're still renting. There's nothing wrong with owning a rental, even if you're going to rent for the foreseeable future, as long as you own something, Because at the end of the day, that rental property could cover your living expenses right. And so I think people should think outside the box and look at places that are lower cost of living areas to possibly buy there.

Kendra Barnes :

Because my thing is like just owning something, Like I don't care what it is stocks, real estate, real estate, investment trust. Be a private lender, like have some kind of ownership stake in something, be getting path of income from somewhere. And you did it. I know people listening to this may say, okay, so that means I got to get my real estate license and then become a property manager. You don't have to do that and honestly, I feel like what do you think about this? I feel like probably being on the property management side gives you more insight on how to be a landlord than a real estate license will ever give you Right.

Ila Corcoran:

Absolutely, absolutely. I think, being in the property management field, my whole idea around that was one. It was helpful to have a job, but when you're in college there's a lot of different jobs you can do, and there was a lot of jobs I felt like I could have done. That would have helped me make more money than being an admin in a property management office or starting with leasing. But my logic was once I own property, I need to know how to manage it, and the idea that maybe I can manage the property and that could help me subsidize my living costs. Those were sort of the longer term thinking I had. But yes, I agree that having property management experience was a lot more of what I relied on to be savvy as a property investor than actually having a real estate license. Yeah, I love that I definitely.

Kendra Barnes :

Just wanted to clarify that for people, because they often assume that you have to be licensed in order to invest and that's not the case. But it's evident that, like, your real estate experience really did help you and helps you be really brave and invest in a place and I'm going to successful. So since that, have you purchased more?

Ila Corcoran:

properties I have.

Ila Corcoran:

I purchased another property in Tulsa, oklahoma actually, and with that property it was a little bit more of a creative financing situation.

Ila Corcoran:

So I did seller financing, where the seller carried the note 10-year note and it was a lot easier from a process perspective when you're not either a bank, of course and smoother, quicker transaction.

Ila Corcoran:

There can be a lot of risk, especially because you have to do your due diligence with dealing with the seller and what that note will look like and ensuring that it's set up appropriately, understanding the amortization schedule and what if you want to refinance and all the things that are now individual to individual and not individual to bank, and then also understanding the state of the property, because it wasn't new construction and I'm still out of state, I'm still in California. So the risk of buying another property that's out of state and that's seller financed and with any time that you buy real estate, understanding why a seller is selling and how that affects you, know why you're buying and kind of make things make sense. They all played a role, but I, yeah, I bought another property in Tulsa and was able to get that rented out pretty quickly actually. So that was my second and the only other property that I've invested in on my own. So Tulsa.

Kendra Barnes :

You found seller financing property. But how'd you find it Like? Was it listed as a seller financing property or you just asked?

Ila Corcoran:

It was listed. So I went online and I was looking at different options and I particularly found one in the notes on the listing service. I think I found it on Zillow. It said that they were interested specifically in seller financing because the seller owned the property free and clear and didn't want the tax consequence of getting all the proceeds immediately and I was interested in the property. I got on the phone with the agent the next day and it was very quick. I got on the phone with the agent the next day and it was very quick. It was a two week process of us from getting under contract to closing and really only a few days of deliberation on my end before submitting. So I found it online and it had seller financing listed in the property description.

Kendra Barnes :

Okay. So if anyone's listening and you're not familiar with seller financing, basically it's an alternative to going to a bank and getting a mortgage. So instead of going to a bank and paying them a mortgage payment every month, the seller would act as the bank and you'd pay the seller every month for a certain period of time. Seller financing is great because it's so flexible. You don't have to go through all the hoops that banks make you go through. But finding a seller who's willing or able to do it is the tricky part. So sometimes you'll see properties listed that say seller financing. Even if a property doesn't say that the seller may be willing to do it. Right, the seller usually needs to own the property, free and clear, in order to do it. That's what makes it difficult. And then some sellers just don't wanna be bothered with it.

Kendra Barnes :

But when you can find someone who wants to do it, it could be great, especially if you are self-employed and you don't have the two years of tax returns, as the lenders like to see that, like banks like to see the self-employed person, or if your credit isn't the best or all these other circumstances, or even if you just don't want to have to go through the hassle of the bank. With seller financing, you can really customize the payment terms you and the seller are agreeing on it. It's all up to you guys rather than going with, like, the rigid lender guidelines. So that's awesome that you were able to find that, and I was going to say too. With seller financing, though, you really do have to have a good exit strategy, because the loan term is going to be shorter Like you said, 10 years, sometimes even less and then sometimes the interest rate the seller would want could be higher than the current interest rate right now, like with the bank. So that is something to consider, right.

Ila Corcoran:

Yeah, exactly, exactly. Those are all elements that play a role and in many cases the seller wants a pretty significant down payment. They don't want to carry a huge note, so it can be a less available option for some of the folks that are getting started in the process and interested in some of the lower down payment loan programs that a bank can offer. Many sellers can't, however, in this case, because of the price point and also the fact that the seller owned it free and clear, it's a little bit easier to have flexibility. And I say price point because, again, I was coming from a California market where I do also sell real estate, so the transactions just tend to be very expensive here and in many other states because different price points, there's different costs of living and different opportunities. It's made it a little bit more available.

Ila Corcoran:

So, for the folks that are living in high cost of living areas, I say that courage, being a little bit more open to and exploring options that might be outside of your specific market where you live, just for the sake of understanding what is out there. You never know until you look. And in this case I wasn't necessarily planning to buy in two weeks, it was very much. I found the right opportunity and it all just, and this is the other thing, People are always like there's no good deals out there.

Kendra Barnes :

Everything is too expensive, I can't do it. But at the same time, they're not even looking. They don't even have notifications on Zillow, Redfin, wherever, Like if a good deal came up, you wouldn't even know it because you're literally not, you're not to the market. So I feel like people are sitting back listening to all this information online and it's really overwhelming these days. Right, who to believe? Who to you know, how do you understand it, how you decipher it? And it's like there's nothing out there for me. But if you're not tapped in and constantly looking, you will literally never know.

Kendra Barnes :

So I think that, like listening to your story, it is a testament to there is no age requirement to get started in real estate. Right, you can be young, you can be Black, you can be a woman. You don't have to be a homeowner first. Right, you can buy out of state. You don't even have to go visit the state if you don't want to, you can just take that leap. You do your research, do your due diligence right and make smart decisions. But I think people, like you said, are waiting for this perfect opportunity. There is never going to be a perfect opportunity, like ever. But you have to run the numbers, do your due diligence. Say a prayer if you want to. I would so, if that's your thing, definitely throw a prayer in there. But you just have to do it and experience is going to be your best teacher.

Kendra Barnes :

My first investment I had no idea what I was doing and I made lots of expensive mistakes, but it got me to where I am today. I was able to retire from my nine to five job, able to do what I love, and so I just love hearing like your story, and I wish I was as smart as you when I was in college. I wish I went to North Carolina A&T, like Langston said, and there was so much real estate cheap real estate back then it was 2000 and what you're going to school for it's 2008. So I would have bought back then, and I remember one of my friends his parents actually bought him a condo instead of him staying on campus and then when he graduated, it was a rental property that ended up paying him and I'm like, oh my gosh, that's so genius.

Kendra Barnes :

Like looking back at it now, but back then I thought it was just cool that he had a condo, but thinking about how his parents set that up. More people need to do that honestly. But yeah, it's been so cool hearing your story. I love how you got started and I think this will be a push for a lot of young women, or just young people in general, to like say you know what well she did it. Like I can do it too. So I wanted to ask what's like next on your goal list?

Ila Corcoran:

I'm spending a lot of my time lately exploring how third spaces so not homes and not necessarily work are are creating opportunities for our community people of color, women, business owners, entrepreneurs to be able to come together and share experiences, and that can be virtual third spaces or in-person third spaces. So that also plays a big role into things like hospitality and community development and look at it in different ways Hospitality on one end and maybe like the for profit end, but community development on the nonprofit side and new development and new opportunities for people that are in a position where they might need more resources to get ahead can find those. So I'm exploring different ways to invest in community development in hospitality in third spaces.

Ila Corcoran:

I still continue my work as well, helping folks to buy houses and not something that's doing with some select clients, but really being intentional about how can I be using my time and my knowledge to help others have better outcomes and exploring how hospitality and third spaces are those places where we come together, we talk, we share stories, we share resources, we have amazing experiences, we diversify our perspectives and that allows us to diversify our experiences and our portfolio and our investments and all the other things that pay us, but it does take being around the right, I think, community and network and having your basic needs met, which I think a lot of folks unfortunately still don't.

Ila Corcoran:

So pouring from a more full cup now than I had previous years of my life, and being able to do my work with Bay Street as we invest in hospitality and through my nonprofit work as we invest in community and helping folks improve their experiences post homelessness those are ways that I'm trying to spend my time more so that we can see higher trends of folks being able to buy homes and have successful businesses and do better overall.

Kendra Barnes :

That's really smart, focusing on that space, because I think, coming out of the pandemic, we all value community a lot more, like in-person events, just our community meeting up, gathering, like, creating memories, like all that kind of stuff is more valuable to us now than ever before. So, very, very smart, you are super inspiring. I know Langston had like another question or two for you too. So hey, langston, hey.

Langston Clark:

I appreciate both of you being in conversation and, kendra, I apologize for this curve ball, but this question, before I get to my real final question, is also for you, right? And so, given your backgrounds and Ila, you kind of talked about this already and I think maybe it also intersects with the creation of the third spaces Talk a little bit more about how philanthropy is part of what you do in your business and how maybe you see that evolving in the work that you do as businesswomen.

Ila Corcoran:

Maybe you see that evolving in the work that you do as businesswomen. Sure, kendra, I'll pass it to you to lead us, yeah, so philanthropy.

Kendra Barnes :

For me, this is a good question. How are you going to throw that curveball? Yeah, I was going to. This is where I'm going with it. There you go, the book.

Kendra Barnes :

So no, I wrote a book called Acres and it's telling the stories of 25 young black investors who are building wealth, one acre at a time. Langston is holding it there and, first of all, like, telling the stories is really important. Right, it's Black history 40 acres and a mule. We never got our 40 acres and a mule, but we're out here really building wealth with real estate and people like Ila who, like, these stories are important and people need to hear them. So telling the stories was like the first thing.

Kendra Barnes :

But with the book, I have decided to create a scholarship fund at North Carolina A&T, which I feel like is a full circle moment, because if you think about the way HBCUs, especially land grant universities like A&T, were created, they were created for people who used to be owned as property. And so now here we are as Black people in America who used to be property, we're buying property and building wealth, even with all of the systematic oppression, even with all of the barriers that are put in place to keep us from getting that, and so I just wanted to give back in that way. My plan is to give back to more schools in the future, but I had to start with A&T, of course, because they produced me and I bleed blue and gold. But that's what it looks like for me right now and hopefully, you know, I can expand that in the future.

Ila Corcoran:

I love that. I think that's amazing work that you're doing, kendra, and I think you really isolated what I think is so important and that is using real estate, using land, using these resources to build wealth and have assets that weaken packs down and break generational cycles and create new opportunities for us to have the longevity, Because I think that's a lot of what has been missing for many individuals is not having the background, either through their family history or lived experiences, that allowed them to have the perspective of I can do this, not even the knowledge of how to do it, but the empowerment of I can it, I'm capable and it's something that's available to me because it wasn't, of course, historically, but also the unlearning of I'm not meant to be in this space, or this isn't appropriate for me or not even a realistic goal. That is a huge hindrance that a lot of people face. So I appreciate you know what you're doing, to tell the stories, so that there are stories that we can read and hear and be exposed to, to, to remember what we can do, and along the same lines I try to sort of lead with, of course, with my own story and experiences and hoping that that can help share perspective to others on what is available to them and what possibilities are out there, but also sort of as I was mentioning, you know, before, the community development piece and being in community creating spaces where events can happen.

Ila Corcoran:

I was managing a property as a venue and we did a lot of community events and it was a really unique way to interact with real estate investing because it was a property and cash flowing, but also it was a place for people to come together and I saw the way that that investment into an asset was also an investment into community and would dovetail into other experiences other folks were having.

Ila Corcoran:

So that opened me up to hospitality and third spaces as such a beautiful way to interact with both real estate investing but also community investment and, from a philanthropy perspective, doing some of this work around helping the population of folks who have exited homelessness. I think there's a huge way to support people and that is helping them have housing, of course, but also helping people maintain housing and improve their circumstances or resources to have more living wage, careers, be exposed to entrepreneurship and then ultimately generate wealth, so that gap between folks who get into housing. But now how do we make your reality and your resources improve so that you can maintain it and not reenter homelessness, plus see the possibility of even better outcomes for your career and life. So those are some of the ways that I get really inspired and try to spend more of my time.

Langston Clark:

Right, and because we have Origins as a Book Club and, as we mentioned, kendra's book Acres Ila, I want to ask you what are some books that you've read or are currently reading that have inspired your journey as an entrepreneur?

Ila Corcoran:

The book that's really inspired me and sort of opened my eyes was the Color of Law. That book that tells the story of historically how property laws and rules and like from the reconstruction era to like post-World War II to like now and just that whole period of time how the decisions that were being made and the laws that were set in place were creating that de facto segregation and how that then informs the reality that we're in now and kind of understanding from a legal perspective why things can evolve in the way that they do. So that book really inspired me to think differently about the work that I do. I've made a lot of effort lately to think about collectively what impact my decisions are making, as opposed to just the individual outcomes that I'm having, because I do think it's amazing for me to generate wealth and to build a portfolio and to have investments, but how can we collectively create a reality where that's possible on a wider scale? And getting the historical context of the United States during those times and up to present day I think really was a catalyst for me to think more about that collective liberation.

Ila Corcoran:

I love reading, so there's a lot of books that I that I kind of think through in my head. I recently reread Atomic Habits book as well. I think it kind of talks a lot about the different ways that such small minute changes can have better outcomes on your life and for me, that this year my big thing has been water before caffeine and eating before caffeine and making sure that I'm getting three meals a day every day and sleeping seven to eight hours. Again, basic like things, but when you do that every day you can show up so much better and it sounds so, I guess, obvious. But putting that into more practice, I feel like has just made me more productive and have happier and better experiences. So I like books like that that allow me to contextualize the small decisions and how they play a role in the big scale.

Langston Clark:

Thank you both for sharing and, as we end, could you all share where our audience can find and learn a little bit more about each of you?

Ila Corcoran:

Sure, my Instagram is at ilaone. My website is meetilabeecom. All of my information is in both of those traces and excited to hopefully connect with some listeners. I'm about to look you up on.

Kendra Barnes :

Instagram now. So I'm on Instagram at the key resource and you can go to getyouracrescom if you'd like to get a book. I'm almost out and I don't know when I'll do my next print run, so hurry if you whenever you hear this. But this has been super fun. Langston, you're such a great connector of people because now I feel like I got to keep up with Ila and we have to stay connected because we have so much in common. So this was a great conversation.

Langston Clark:

All right. Thank you both for joining us on this episode of Entrepreneurial Appetite. Thank you for joining this edition of entrepreneurial appetite. If you liked the episode, you can support the show by becoming one of our founding 55 patrons, which gives you access to our live discussions and bonus materials, or you can subscribe to the show. Give us five stars and leave a comment.

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