January 19, 2024
“It’s such a fun journey. You get to know so many new people—and you can also make money!”
Dedicated mother of two, Lucy Zhao, has taken on the textile, fashion, and home goods industries, and now she’s adding real estate to that list. Originally from Shanghai, China, Lucy worked as a human resources manager for various international corporations for nearly a decade, “but my entrepreneurial spirit was restless,” she says.
Inspired by her love of children, Lucy created a manufacturing business for baby bedding, cribs, and children’s clothing. Her suppliers, facilities, and employee base remained in China, while she focused on raising her kids in Montreal, Canada, where she immigrated in 2006. “When the business was stable and I didn’t need to spend so much time on it,” explains Lucy, “I created another business in Canada.”
Becoming a Successful Serial Entrepreneur
With her business still running in China, Lucy embarked on a new venture in Canada. “I have a fashion rental business. We rent dresses and luxury bags to clients all across the nation.” Still, Lucy was far from finished watching the market for new opportunities and building businesses to seize them.
During the pandemic, Lucy had another entrepreneurial insight.
“Everybody stayed at home, worked out at home, studied at home. I saw that people liked shopping from home, so I created a business for household products. We designed products that people use a lot for exercising, cooking, and more. We sell on Amazon and Wayfair.”
To better run the business, Lucy acquired an investor visa and relocated to the U.S. She arrived in Austin, Texas in August 2022, following the lead of another (famous) entrepreneur: Elon Musk. “I saw that Elon Musk moved his business to Austin, and he must have done a lot of research!” she laughs. As Lucy thought more deeply about the move, she realized that even more opportunities lie ahead.
“Texas is just so big,” says Lucy. “It has the same population as all of Canada. So, I decided that if I move to Texas, I need to invest in real estate and oil and gas.” However, smart business plays weren’t the only thing on Lucy’s mind. “After I came to Austin, I realized that I need to walk out of the house to network, to communicate with people, because I find people here are so social. That’s very different from the lifestyle I had in Canada––and the weather is so good!”
Lucy set out to connect with like-minded peers at meetups to begin absorbing knowledge on real estate investing.
“When you create a new business, you invest a lot of money (and I only use my own money). When I compare investing in my own business with investing in real estate, multifamily deals are less risky, less time-consuming, and offer more networking, with the potential for a better return in the long run.”
An Education in Syndication
Across 2023, Lucy built an impressive network of friends and investors; she even started a meetup of her own. “I’ve never made more friends in my whole life. And last year I invested in 21 deals––19 as an LP and two as a GP. This year, I will invest more as a GP and I will partner with many people that I invested with last year.
“We share investment information on good deals–like Ashcroft–and refer other investors. New investors sometimes want to hear from people they have come to trust before making a decision to invest in a deal with a stranger.”
It was Lucy’s eager networking that led her to Ashcroft. “I received the webinar information and signed on to learn about Ashcroft. Before I invested, I asked my other investors about their experiences. I think at least two of them told me that their return is good–as long as there’s no capital call and no pending distribution, they are happy.”
Lucy also speaks highly of the relationship she has with the Ashcroft team. “Ben is so nice,” she says. “The person who is in charge of the investor relationship is very important. And he’s a good representation of the company. Communication is one of the most important things to an investor, and I think they’re doing very good work in communication.”
Scaling Real Estate Investments for the Future
After discovering that real estate investment scratches the entrepreneurial itch, Lucy founded “Yes! Texas Investments,” to manage, scale, and collaborate on her portfolio. “It’s just like doing a new business venture,” she says.
While her three other businesses continue to thrive under the management of trusted employees, Lucy is excited to focus on her investments in 2024.
“I plan to continue investing with Ashcroft if any new deals come up that I like. I also want to do more active investing this year, partner with other more experienced syndicators, and find more good deals.”
Lucy is just one of our 3,000+ investors. Hear what passive income has meant to over 100 of our investors.