We had the good fortune of connecting with David Ben Smith and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi David Ben, if you had to put a million dollars to work immediately, how would you go about investing it?
With a million dollars to invest, I would use most of that capital to invest in real estate properties. I would focus on finding homes located around college campuses having solid structural foundations but with many other issues as cheap as possible (in the 30-70k range). Then I would focus on rehabbing these homes into nice, livable homes for students. Once rehabbed, I would cash out refinance these properties to have extra cash flow for future projects. Along with having these homes paid off after refinancing, and additional income every month from renters, the homes would presumably be appreciating in value every year as well. This would generate long term equity and a great return every year. I’d also invest smaller amounts in more traditional stocks, bonds, and ETF’s. Finally, the smallest amount to be invested, for collection interest, would be to collect coins and currency. Rare paper currency and coins consisting of gold, silver, or other valuable metals would be the main interest.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My path has been a little harder, yet rewarding. Being tall, 6’5″ I don’t fit traditional standards for the industry. I have worked hard to overcome these by watching others, learning, taking advantage of opportunities, and being ready. Also, being from Indiana and not being around the industry until moving to Atlanta, I had to learn the ropes fast. Being an athlete and learning quick did help. You have to humble yourself sometimes realizing everyone has to start somewhere, a lot of times that’s taking smaller roles, non paying roles, or roles just to keep active. Meeting people, being respectful, and being likeable can get you in a lot of doors. Overcoming these challenges has been difficult, but also fun at the same time. You’re always working to put yourself in position to being the best you can, and be the best at your craft that you can be. I’ve been featured in national print campaigns, commercials, tv shows, and movies but always keeping humble and waiting for a “break” like everyone else. If it never comes, I know I’ve done some amazing things, met some amazing people, and will always be able to look back on everything and be proud of what I’ve accomplished.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
When friends visit, we always have a golf day. Usually that will be at River Pines Golf Course in Johns Creek. Also checking out Ponce City Market and Piedmont Park. If it’s baseball season, I’d take them to The Battery for a game and then have some fun after. One of my other favorite places is Canton Street in Roswell. That usually makes for a good night. Usually they have an idea of somewhere they want to visit or see so being a good friend, I’ll tag along with them wherever that is as well. There are so many fun places to visit in Atlanta, we usually try to find new places to go every time.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to thank my mom and brothers for their encouragement, support, and understanding over the years. Ryan Petty for helping me learn, giving advice, and moving me forward in my career in the entrepreneurship world. And finally, everyone who has given me a shot as I’ve been working towards different goals, and progressions in my career. Thanks everyone!!