Are you in the process of raising investments but have no idea where to start? In this episode, Fredrik Sandvall talks about his military background in Sweden while managing three businesses. He shares his experience in the real estate space as well as some future undertakings he has planned. He also discusses some big mistakes people make when raising money for their business and gives ideas on how to do it right. Frederik is an industry expert and mentor to startup businesses looking to achieve financial freedom through real estate, investments, and business. His global entrepreneur experience had a direct impact on the establishment and development of FundX. He hosts two podcasts, namely Investing Skills, which he does alone, and Invest in You with his sons, Ivan and Charlie.
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Where Will The Business Investment Come From? With Fredrik Sandvall
I am delighted to have a guest from the big pond over in the UK in London, Fredrik Sandvall. He is a global sales consulting. I want to tell you a little bit about him before we introduce him to the show. He’s a financier, an investor, a serial entrepreneur and a bestselling author. His book is called Trust is a New Currency: How To Build Trust, Attract The Right Partners and Create Wealth Through Business and Investments. One of the things that I like that he’s doing is working with new entrepreneurs no matter what their age and focusing on helping his sons as well to learn how to invest and build wealth early on. He’s a former Special Forces Captain in the Swedish Government. He spent many years running businesses even before he left the military. He spent many years gaining experience with management and consulting and working at senior levels with the largest organizations around the world. He worked in 40 countries and he’s a fundraiser. He’s connected as we’re going to find out in raising money for businesses to be successful.
Without further ado, Fredrik, we’re happy to have you here. Thank you.
Thank you for the introduction. I’m pleased to be on such a famous podcast as yours. It’s one of the big in the world in your space. I hope to give good value.
I know you will. Where did this all start? Tell us about your upbringing and how you got into this serial entrepreneurial piece of this with money, given the fact that if you’re in the military, typically people aren’t that versed in finance. There must be something that was in your background that got you excited about it.
I grew up in the countryside in Sweden. That’s in the north part of Europe. I grew up in a normal family. My mom was working under nurse, dad was working in the mid-match level job in the factory. I was the oldest. I had to find my way. A responsible relationship with my three siblings, I was young. My first business when I was seventeen and perhaps only have to learn how to run the business. It was selling marketing space. That was great because I got many noes, lots of them.
As we all do, we all get them.
From there, I moved into the military. I didn’t expect to stay for that long because Special Forces are super competitive, extremely hard to get in. It’s even harder to be one of the best. I was fortunate to be selected to become an officer there and I stayed for many years. That allowed me to grow as an individual to help people in Sweden and all over the world as well in conflicts, aid missions, peacekeeping as well as ultimately the worst side of the scale as well. While I was doing all of that, unusually for being in the military and to my commander’s disbelief, I got two business degrees. I was running three businesses at the same time in investment, consulting and real estate. When it was later time to leave, I was extremely ready to go straight into business. I did a third-degree and an MBA and then jumped into management consulting full-time. That’s how I got into working outside the military. I’m sure we can come back into investments later.
There are several things that we’re going to talk about from an entrepreneur’s standpoint but I want to hone in on real estate. What are you doing in the space of real estate? I know that you have a lot of properties and a lot of real estate. You were running from being a landlord. What got you specifically into the real estate part? Is that where you started? Was that something later on because you saw everyone gaining a lot of wealth through it?
I started early because my dad was dabbling with real estate when I was young. He was helping me. I was learning how to use all kinds of tools, know all the trades from having done it when I was young, which is sometimes useful, what I would say that people should do in real estate. I came from a practical point of view. I knew how to build things. From there, I also saw how he was successful but more often unsuccessful in terms of picking the right tenants, making things work, and not doing anything creative at all. You are a specialist in mortgages. They didn’t know what a refiner’s propolis to extract money for the next semester. All of those things were done wrong. I got to real estate early on and then I looked into commercial real estate with my first one accidentally. Through tax reasons together with my wife, I’ve got the commercial propolis, which is 300 hectares, which is 600 acres of forest in Sweden.
Money does grow on trees, not only paperless. We use plastic, but also if I do nothing, the pure growth of the trees, I have to translate into monetary value like $80,000 at least a year for us to grow. You can decide to take this year or accumulate a couple of years if you’ve got the right things. That’s how I got into real estate. It was different from where I am now, where I have many tenants in and around London and parts of the UK. I do develop things. I invest in other people. I’ve done the whole value chain from finding it right and then fixing it to the right level of the filling and extremely occasional flipping but more importantly, flourished the portfolio by thinking about the small details like I learned in Special Forces have made a huge component to decide.
I imagine through that trial and error, which was difficult for you to get through because as someone being in the military, everything is regimented. Developing your process took some time. You had to trial and error quite a bit. You’re doing buy and holds primarily in both commercial and residential. Are you dabbling in Airbnb these days?
All of my friends are doing it and my next larger commercial residential date will be exactly that. It will be Airbnb but I will give the keys to healing record service accommodation. It is Airbnb often. They will get the keys and then they will operate it. Meanwhile, I focus on adding larger assets that other people can match, other people’s capital as well to almost creating a fund of other people’s money. They can also benefit from my knowledge.You can't really get into entrepreneurship if you shy away from the world of sales. Click To Tweet
One of the big things that are happening here in the US is now multifamily Airbnb. I’m in Airbnbs as well. I was wondering if you were. I love it. Let me ask you some questions about entrepreneurship. It’s crazy busy. Everyone wants to be an entrepreneur. You’re an entrepreneur. I’m an entrepreneur. My kids are entrepreneurs. Everyone wants to be an entrepreneur and get away from the brick and mortar world and have that great lifestyle. That’s the premise of my entire coaching program a lifestyle business mastery is having that lifestyle first and then building a business around it so you can enjoy it. Where’s the passion? What is it that gets you excited or brings you a lot of joy as you’re helping new entrepreneurs specifically as it relates to them doing it right from the beginning? They’re not one of those horrible statistics that are still out there that over 50% of small businesses fail in the first year.
The statistics say don’t become an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs now are what the rockstars were earlier. If you tried to combine it with some influencing things online, then you got two massive ticks in the books and not as exciting. It gives you lots of energy, but it’s also wasted to fame. That’s super basic things to do some tests. Does anyone even want to buy what I intend to offer to them?
The passion is there to give it and throw it down people’s throats.
It became financially dangerous and it’s used to get those into debt nowadays. You are working in your business, on your business and you’re paying for your business. You might have that super vital at first 1, 2, 3, 4 customers. One of the first things I tried to explain is you called her to get into entrepreneurship if you shy away from the word of sales. You’ve been working with the mortgage industry for many years. Imagine if you refuse to do any customer contact. I got a fellow entrepreneur here in the UK, some massive cold calls with many millions following his work. His dad used to say, “I love this.” He was a pub landlord. He said, “I know this pub.” If we can get rid of the customers and their employees, it could be ideal.
We’ve all been there and our thoughts about entrepreneurship. If being an entrepreneur not have to deal with anything, it’ll be great.
I’d like to take an example of customers from this business week in London, England, where I got a nice text message from the police. “Would you like to collect your keys from the police?” I’m like, “Which keys? Which property?” Two of my tenants have decided that now is a good day for a knife fight, but it wasn’t even true in the end. They had been arrested and so on and so forth. The police kicked out all the doors in our property. The tenants are my customers. You have to love your customers. Back to your important question, how did I get started in entrepreneurship? Think about it’s used a combination, minimal viable product. What is the least you could take your idea into something and try to test sell it before you even start the business? That’s one of the most important advice, do some rough numbers before you start. Why not connect with someone like you? Someone who can be your mentor, coach, role model, many good books, so much good free content out there and podcasts. You don’t have to do this on your own. You can also pull up with other people in the same space. In terms of masterminding or support groups, those are a couple of things some people might have.
It’s ironic because I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of the Marketers Cruise but it is an international phenomenon. It’s an eight-day cruise and that’s all it is, us sharing our ideas and getting feedback from everyone. There are 450 people from around the world coming. For example, Russell Brunson, ClickFunnels owner, is coming. He’s part of it. There are all kinds of people who are coming that are movers and shakers. It doesn’t have to be online marketing or business that is an entrepreneur. Doctors, realtors and lenders come as well to get feedback for the product offerings that they have and the services that they’re providing and to collaborate with others that have been there, done that. It allows me, for someone who’s been there done that, to do the same thing to other people that are at different levels than I am. I’m not way up here, but I’m not way at the bottom.
We got a fair amount of experience. I love that idea. What I like in particular about it is it’s off-site. You can do your own business. That’s great. Another thing is you mix up different industries. Many things to learn from other industries you can apply to your world. That’s like with travel, the same thing to steal ideas from all over the world and apply it by the unit.Money is usually closer than you think. Click To Tweet
What’s even best about it is that no selling is allowed, only joint venturing, collaboration, sharing, giving, receiving. That’s what’s fun about it. I’m excited. There’s this thing called pizza and profits and that all happens upon one of the decks in the middle of the night. That’s wonderful. Thank you for sharing that. No matter what business you’re in, so a lot of my readers are lenders and realtors. It’s maybe your passion. If you’re passionate about a specific type of real estate or a specific product and lending are making sure that you have the marketplace in your area to be able to serve that.
I say that locally because a lot of times, real estate is local. You’ve already addressed some of the biggest mistakes people make when they’re trying to raise money for their business. I want to go deeper into that because not everyone is going to be raising money. There are a lot of solopreneurs who are reading this blog. Let’s talk about why I would want to raise money as a solopreneur because I think I’m small beans. Why would I want to raise money? What benefit is it? Tell us about the mistakes that people make as they’re trying to collaborate or bring investors on.
I’ve been working with raising fires for businesses in many different ways, everything from a partnership, JV, straight loans, or whatever. I have had taking money from individuals, from American companies, from companies in the Middle East as well as from pension trusts. There is money everywhere. Money is closer than you think. Often there might even be money in your closest family and that’s a fairly easy way, especially if you’re younger. Why not ask your parents for the seed capital? Talk about different stages. The first one you might be a role. The seed stage, you don’t have any sales at all or you might have less than what you’d like to make as a salary for a year and also many ways to seed stage. I thought time is tough because banks will only give you money if you got something else as security. Most other people would love to have security on you and everything you own if they can. You would like to do the exact opposite if you can.
You’re the lender.
The lender is like security. As a borrower, you don’t want to give security. At that stage is also quite easy to get an account on smaller business learning like a business credit card as always, which can be the sorting problem. Unfortunately, that stage or further will still hold your assets as collateral leverage. The next stage might be your dad asked other people for money. Taking an example, I’m invested in that stage of multiple business world like this. They have got some sales. They have some ideas. They have some technology or whatever it might be. They asked me more money to open the tap to have more stuff, more technology, or more developmental. That’s a big chunk, whether it might be £50,000 to £100,000 or a couple of hundred thousand pounds to do the next step.
It’s a big gap in growth. That’s that big acceleration of growth.
You told the multiplying what you have for that station and for that you can go to a new concept, which is exciting, which is crowdfunding. You are finding every single investor you might work with a platform. I am a shareholder and owner of one platform, which is called Crowd With Us, which is in the real estate space. We have developers who need to pitch the idea to us to get it certified and then to go to the market.
What are some places that someone could find if it’s not in the real estate space about solopreneurs?
We’ve got exactly the same. I can’t remember the brand that you got in America. It’s logical in terms of you also go to crowdfunding for businesses at early stages where people can decide the rate that they are willing to give and so on and so forth.
What mistakes do people make when they’re looking for crowdfunding? Is there going out on a thing? What do I do now? How do I get it?
The usual mistakes I spot and notice all the time is where they don’t prepare for it. They don’t do the due diligence on themselves. They would like to have it if they would give money to themselves. You don’t need to have a perfect pitch. You don’t need to have a perfect video. You don’t need to have anything perfect, but you’re thinking of a minimum viable product. What is the least you would like to have? How much do you need for how long time? What are you prepared to offer in return? How will I get the money back as an investor? What’s the duration? What credibility do you have? Have you been doing this before? Have you been growing businesses of this kind? Are you a virgin? This is your first baby and that means that it’s also riskier. Do you know the industry? All of those things come together as a nice picture, which gives you a foundation to even ask for money.
If you don’t have that in place, it’s hard for you to have the credibility to attract any money at all. To add to a picture, assuming that you now start to picture people out you don’t know well, it means that they will do their due diligence and they will find out a lot about you by using Mr. Google. People will Google you most likely before they have met you. Google yourself. What will people find at the very least? Try to do something about it. If you are like the two people who are on this show that you’re creating content, that’s quite good because you can create content and get the things you would like to be associated with yourself and tag yourself. You might be on a podcast, you might be on YouTube, you might have a relevant blog, and anything up will put you as a trustworthy person ideally. People even dare to part their savings potential and give it to you so you can grow them on their behalf.
One of the things that I was thinking about as you’re talking is that a lot of people have had a job all their lives. I’m going to be starting a new show and I most likely will publish you in both of the shows as well. My new podcast is called From Success to Significance: Life After Breaking Through Glass Ceilings. You were talking about entrepreneurship as a young person and I want to still talk about that, but entrepreneurship is someone who’s had a job for years and years. Now, you’re successful. You’ve done it. I’ve done it. We say we want to go into that entrepreneurship. What would you advise from a learning perspective for someone to go from knowing how to make widgets well to having to do sales, accounting, marketing, branding and the back-office things like all of the pieces? How do they learn?
It’s overwhelming to start with and you don’t know what you don’t know, but you become aware soon that there are many things that you don’t know. You must take the aspect of tax. Value at a tax and all the good jokes and the stupid journals of each government has given us to play according to. There are many things. How do you do that? I will say many people that I know or exactly in our space where there are small, big business owners growing what they do. One thing to draw us learning, also with my podcast, people have got different educational backgrounds to put it like that. Your university or non-existing university degrees doesn’t matter at all. You will notice that they held many years of experience between when you started to now.
Number one, you will start as this doesn’t matter at all unless you can pull some good learning from it. You might even have some old books in your bookshelf that you have never ever applied, might be a marketing book or something else that can come back in two years. I would say listen to entrepreneurial podcasts, number one, because that means you will now create a peer group. Even if you’re alone, you feel I don’t know any entrepreneurs. That’s a great place to start because you’ve become like the average of the people you hang around with and a podcast with great guests on it is a perfect place. Because that means now you’re hanging out with millionaires, maybe even billionaires and learning from how they did it. How to get over the massive hurdle of it feels like too much. Try to work with other people who are in the same space.
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. There are many people who’ve made the same journey. Tag along to someone, ask someone to help you. In many cases, a good business partner who is not like you, is the opposite of you can be a blessing and a hell both in disguise. He has to take one example. I decided to work with my youngest brother. I was a management consulting partner. He was a banker. In terms of profiles and personalities, I’m more extroverted than he is and he’s more detail-oriented than I am. He is keener to work with the back-office systems while I’m happy to deal with customer interaction and getting new customers. Having a business partner or if you don’t want to split the business to have some employees to work on your contract basis. You can be an intrapreneur. That means you’re an entrepreneur under a bigger entrepreneur and that’s fine.
What do you think about pulling and building an advisory board together as well as you’re doing it to test your market and pull from different skills that you’ve seen in your marketplace?
That’s valuable. For example, one of my next things is on my to-do list. I’ve got one wish to do a group of companies to acquire. On the other side is to do the real estate fund for both of them. My advice is my board of advisors would be one of the most important things in the whole thing because the advisers and the people I associate myself with will set the aspiration level. It will set the level of funding I will get. It will open doors, open network and give access or the opposite if I pick the wrong people. To have a board of advisors of one company I’m working with, it’s in the lending space, they’re called Sapphire Lending.
I’m one of the biggest shareholders and growing up a business from the inside. I’m on the board so there we have got opposite personalities on the board. We’ve got the business owner who’s working with the sales, the systems, and managing stuff. We’ve got two different board members. You can have a board member for little money, many people who are experienced like to give and help. You might get your non-executive board member, advisor helping you on a monthly basis to check in with things. That’s invaluable in terms of accountability, keeping you on track, advice and open those doors when the time is essential for you.
That’s important because you can feel like an island as an entrepreneur and a solo entrepreneur that no one understands the problems you’re going through. Everyone’s been through them at some point. You need to find the right person to help guide you through them. I think the other important thing about a board of advisors and for those that are reading, I’m not talking about your board of directors. We’re talking about a board of advisors. They can also be the string to your helium balloon and bring you down a little bit and in a good way. I’m not saying in a bad way, in a good way to say, “You’re getting a little ahead of yourself there. Let’s pull you back in.”
I think that’s been extremely helpful. I want to switch gears as we finish up here and talk about what you’re telling your sons because I know that you have some young kids. They have a podcast as well and he’s going to be on the show here soon hopefully as well because we have reached out to him too. What are you telling young people? Tell us about him. He’s young. I know a girl who is nine years old now, but she started her podcast when she was six. I have a smart, intelligent grandchild who’s going to be six in a couple of weeks and I can’t wait to hear what you have told that we can share that with her as well.
I’ve got two sons, Charlie is thirteen and Ivan is fifteen. They’re both still in school. I started to do more entrepreneurial things with them three years ago. About that time, I also took them to an adult entrepreneur boot camp. I took them out of school for two weeks. There is a guy who is called Roger Hamilton, who is having events all over the world. I took them to his two weeks of boot camp, which is not at all meant for children. He’s never had anyone not even eighteen or not. They were at the time 10 and 12, which was embarrassing and great at the same time because when you’re young, you haven’t learned yet to hold back. If you take the example, if I say to a normal person anywhere, if I’ve tried this multiple times at universities as well when speaking like, “Who here likes to dance? Who here likes to sing? Who here likes to draw?” All three things we could do when we were younger but all of a sudden add twenty years and now, we can’t draw anymore.
We can’t dance or we can’t sing, which is embarrassing while we still can do it. Younger people don’t have the same limits. They have a different perspective. Therefore, to have a podcast, younger people are used to run around and do their TikTok or YouTube or anything already and Snapchat. They’re used to being online. To have a mic instead, we’re going to do audio and video together, that’s super simple. What do I say to them? I tried to make them curious, so they will be using curiosity to find their own way. I don’t have any set way. I don’t have any plans. In the best of worlds, I would love to have Charlie to be financially independent before he’s eighteen. For people who think about what does financial independence mean? It means that he will have more income, new love and outgoing.You don’t have to do everything on your own. Connect with a mentor. Click To Tweet
I don’t expect him to need to have any university loans or anything like that. The same for Ivan, but right now, he’s doing Taekwondo and running. He’s a bit of both going off. Both got to go for a black belt in Taekwondo, which takes a lot of time. I hope they will succeed. The world is changing so much. You have to bill on one word then render. Next-generation, Generation Z, they don’t need to own anything anymore. They have access when they need it. It might be an Uber. It might be a shack to crash, a place to sleep. They don’t need to buy things. We’ve got some huge changes in the real estate sector. The whole service emphasis, everything’s changing fast at the moment.
I have a cute story too because my son and daughter-in-law for my granddaughter, she bought her first investment property. She’s five so she can’t own the property. She doesn’t own it but she thinks she bought it. They were buying a property and she said, “I want to be a landlord too. I want to own a property.” They said, “We need money. You have to have a down payment.” I don’t remember what the money was but it’s like $20, $30, $40, which was a big thing for her because she’d been saving it in her piggy bank. She was pulling out the money. She brought her money, including coins, in a Ziploc bag right to the closing.
They closed on the law, but then they passed a few documents to her to make it feel like she was. Her name is Molly and she signed it. It’s all on video. She was proper about it. It’s neat because every month that they receive income from the property, she gets a little income too. They’re teaching her what to do with it. Where to save it? I think it’s the coolest thing in the world and her little sister was at the closing and watching too, she’s three and she said, “I want one too.” They said, “You have to save your money from all your Christmas gifts and birthday.”
I had the same. For the first year, when the boys were working in the business producing content, we have the Facebook group where we present things and then also the podcast. They also have to have to work for this. Normally you’ve got pocket money, but pocket money appears automatic. Instead, I decided to take one of the multilateral units. I have ten professionals living in a shared house. It means that the income on that one is super off numbers. He has to give you your list of ideas. We’re talking about roughly $500,000 in value for the property, a bit more. It’s ten people living there and it’s cashflowing around $5,500 per month gross. That means that ultimately after everything has been paid, there are a number of people who own this one.
I took half of my holding in this one. I had quarters now. They’ve got 12.5% divided between the two of them. Instead of giving them pocket money, they now have cashflow assuming that there has nothing been going wrong with the property and is full and then depending on what I would get would be my shadow for their income. They will start to see that when you don’t have tenants, you don’t get pocket money. When you do have everything right, then you get more and they will also have equity in this because it’s only in the companies, they have shares in the company, its super real. Now they have real estate and they care because it also affects their pocket money. Both of them want to do one thing with money. Do you know what that is?
Save so they can invest.
That’s what they learn is because once you have any candidates on a good amount now, it’s like, “I don’t want to go with that good amount.” I’m sure they’re involved in it as well and you’re helping them walk through what happens. What issues you’ve had? That’s awesome.
Charlie likes to learn how to buy shares. That’s his next thing. Time plus real estate is a good thing.You don't need to reinvent the wheel. There are many people who've made the same journey. Click To Tweet
It’s time, value, money, no doubt about it. It’s been absolutely wonderful getting to know you. We have lots of links so we can reach out to you and find out what you’re doing with your kids, what you’re doing with your businesses. If someone wants to reach you directly, what’s the best way for them to reach you?
I’ve got two different podcasts. One is called Investing Skills. One is called Invest In You. The latter one where we had lots of guests. It does what it says on the tin with both of them. If you like to reach out directly, I use LinkedIn a lot. I love to help other people and if I can help you, whoever you are on your journey by connecting whatever, I will. Feel free to not only follow me, but you’re also welcome to connect on LinkedIn if that helps you. You can also follow me on any other social media things I like to create useful things.
We’re already connected. It’s been a pleasure and I want to say thank you. No wonder everyone wants to work with you. You’re giving and sharing. You’re an open book. I love that you’re willing to help people that you don’t even know. I want to congratulate you on what you’re doing with your children. You’re serving many people. Thank you for being a guest on our show.
It’s been an absolute pleasure. Thanks.
- Trust is a New Currency: How To Build Trust, Attract The Right Partners and Create Wealth Through Business and Investments
About Fredrik Sandvall
Former special forces Captain from Swedish spent many years running a business even before leaving the military, Fredrik spent over twenty years gaining experience within management and consulting, working at senior levels within the world’s largest organizations to create growth. During this time, he raised many millions of pounds worth of finance for different companies, and he realized the power in learning how to use money and funding.
Fredrik has since focused on his passion for helping other individuals to achieve their own financial goals by mentoring other aspiring entrepreneurs, multiply the business value with several having gone on to create or raise multiple millions.