ABOUT TODAY’S GUEST | DEDRIC POLITE
Dedric Polite grew up in the Roxbury neighborhood of inner-city Boston. From an early age, education was his way up in life. After being identified as a promising student, Dedric advanced to attend Amherst College, and he augmented his education through his Cutco/Vector experience. After graduating from college, Dedric spent some time in Corporate America while learning and preparing himself for a career in real estate investing. Today, he runs multiple businesses centered around real estate and is in the process of accumulating a massive portfolio of rental properties. He and his wife also teach others by sharing details of their journey through social media.
Q&A with Dedric Polite
Q: Tell us a little about your personal background?
- I’m originally from South Carolina, but I grew up in Boston,
- I grew up in a place called Roxbury in Boston, inner-city, tough area to grow up in, plagued by drugs, gangs, and violence.
- Raised by a single-parent mom in section-8 housing, lived on food stamps, and she worked as hard as she could raising 3 sons, of which I’m the oldest.
- I was able to make it out of there, despite of the odds, through education. I was blessed to be accepted to a private high school through a scholarship I earned, very exclusive. That really opened up a whole new world to me and opened up the doors to go to Amherst College on an academic scholarship.
- Education made me rise from the environment I grew up in.
Q: As a man of color, how are you viewing the developments of the past few months?
- It’s an interesting time.
- I think the system of racism and inequality that has existed in this country for hundreds of years is really coming to the forefront. People are starting to wake up and realize what black and brown folks have to face in America.
- Through social media, people are seeing these things first hand, and how horrible they are.
- It’s not about black people’s responsibility, but everyone’s responsibility, when you see some injustice going on to speak up because who knows, it could be you or one of your friends next.
Q: How did you get started with Cutco? What were some of your key experiences and lessons?
- Started after my freshman year at Amherst.
- Summer break came and I didn’t have a job lined up. I got a letter in the mail from Vector Marketing, and when I opened it up, it was an interview. So, I’m like I got nothing else to do, it’s great, when I found out I was going to sell knives.
- I was never good at sales. I was just a quiet, smart kid, good in sports and school. I thought I would be horrible at sales; and I was at first.
- My first 2-3 weeks with Cutco, my manager (who later on became one of my best friends) sat me down. I had gone like 8 demos and sold exactly $18. He was ready to fire me. I didn’t have confidence. I wasn’t giving it my 100%.
- He said, “listen, I hired you for a reason, your background, your intelligence, I believe in you.” I then went on 2 more demos, and on the 2nd, I made a $1,300 sale! From there I went from the last to the 1st place in the office and never relinquished that title.
- I learned how to follow the system and went Field Training. The #1 sales rep in the office was a kid who went to a rival high school, and I made it my mission to take him down.
- I once saw him doing a demo, and he was literally reading the script. He wasn’t even looking at the customer, but still sold a Homemaker set! I was like “wow!” This stuff actually works when you follow the system.
- So, after that, I just did what he did, and started making sales, and eventually overtook him.
Q: Tell us about your initial career choice after college? Vector vs. Wall Street vs. Pharma sales
- After college, I was in the Cutco Branch Manager training program. I had an opportunity to open up my own branch.
- Also, I was interviewing for jobs on Wall Street that was a very lucrative potential career. There were also some prospects in pharma sales.
- I weighed the 3 options, and ended up taking a job with a pharma company.I became a pharmaceutical sales rep in the Boston area. I got in after the end of the “golden age” of pharma sales.
- I did pharma sales for 6 years until the Great Recession hit. I didn’t get laid off, but I saw people who had been there 15-20 years getting escorted out of the door. However, before that happened, I had started planning for my exit and started looking at other avenues.
- I ended up getting a job at Hubspot, a firm that modeled itself as a kind of East-coast version of a “Silicon Valley” company. I did that for almost 10 years. I worked for 3 -4 companies in-between an 8-year span. I had my successes and I had my failures.
- I still had the basic knowledge I learned from Cutco, but I failed a couple of times and was even fired for not performing. The reason was I stopped working on myself and my sales skills.
- What I’ve realized now, I’m 38, you constantly have to be learning and growing. If you aren’t learning and constantly sharpening your knowledge and skills, your skills are going to go backwards.
Q: How did you evolve into what you’re doing now?
- I got fired from a job. I had a mortgage, I had bought my first house, I had a car note, and I was scared. I was then dating my now wife.
- Because of the educational background I came from, I tied a lot of my self-worth and confidence in my job title and income. When I got fired, all that was shattered and I became depressed.
- My girlfriend after a couple of weeks of seeing me moping around was like, “You’ve got to do something.” She was like, you didn’t lose that job, they lost you. Take some time off and figure out what you want to do next. I know you always talked about starting your own business, I want you to do that now!
- It was like a wakeup call to reinvent myself. What I realized then is you’ve got to constantly learn and constantly reinvent yourself.
- One of the reasons I always loved real estate was when my manager (when I was making these big checks) handed me Rich Dad, Poor Dad. That was one of the most important things I did; reading that book.
- It changed how I looked at money and it opened my eyes to real estate investment. I was like I got to get this thing called passive income. I wanted to do something once and get paid over and over.
- I read books, listened to tapes, and went to seminars.
- About 3 or 4 years ago, we took some money off our retirement account and bet on us. We started investing in real estate. My wife and I are now full-time entrepreneurs, we own our time, have financial freedom, and it’s been a great ride.
- We now have over 20 rental units and our goal is getting 10,000 units over the next 10-20 years. We also got into teaching. We started documenting our journey on social media and documenting our process. People now ask us to mentor them and teach them what we’ve done.
Q: What advice would you have for the entrepreneurs who are listening, who would like to experience a similar measure of success?
- Get educated. Find someone who has done what you want to do and learn from them, whether it’s a coach, mentor, or online classes.
- I’m not someone special, it’s all about the formula, like in Vector Cutco. If you follow the script, you’re going to get to the desired results.
Q: How do you aspire to change people’s lives through what you do in the future?
- I’ll just continue to share.
- We started sharing our journey on social media. I didn’t really think much of it until we started getting messages from people like, “Hey! You and your wife. You inspired us, and motivate me,” and I was blown away.
- We just share what we are doing, the ups, downs failures, and challenges, and it has literally inspired thousands of people to become financially independent.
- It’s cool to hear how education was Dedric’s key out of inner-city Boston, where he grew up, that tough environment.
- Change starts with education, not with inspiration.
- Inspiration is still important, but learning is one of the most important keys to beginning the process of transforming ourselves. It’s learning, it’s growth.
- It’s important to make sure we are constantly learning and evolving our skills.
To connect with Dedric and his wife, Krystal, visit them here or find them on social media by searching on Be Polite Properties.
- Facebook: @bepoliteproperties
- Instagram: @bepoliteproperties
- Youtube: @bepoliteproperties
Show Notes for this episode were provided by Brian Njenga.