In an interview of Ron Eason, Real Estate Developer
What was the economic climate like during that time period?
– It was in the middle of a recession, around the year of 1972. There were a lot of foreclosures, just like what’s happening in the market today. A lot of properties were taken back over by banks and insurance companies; we worked essentially with them. We managed properties while they were in possession of them until they found other owners. From there, I did that for about 12 years; moved into rehabbing properties. I did that for about 12 years as well. From there, I went into new construction, building single-family houses. Then, I went on to developing sub-divisions; and finally, moved into developing condominiums. It started with office condominiums, and then on to residential condominiums as well.
What were some of the challenges you personally faced during that time?
– Because I’ve been in business for so long, I have experienced all kinds of economic climates. Getting into business, I went through a down cycle; so I started out in the fire. I had to learn how to negotiate in bad times and survive them, as well as prospering in good times. So I’ve experienced every kind of economic climate that you can experience.
How were you able to overcome those challenges?
– The thing that I’ve learned and what I think that’s important for the readers to understand is this: If they’re going to be in business, it operates in cycles. Just like anything else, there are seasons. For a farmer, there are seasons when you plant; there are seasons when you harvest; and there will be a season when you can’t get anything to come out of the ground. Business is like that as well. You’re not going to be in business and prospering every single day, month and/or year. There will be seasons when you feel like you’re just treading water. Sometimes, you may feel like you’re losing ground. But you have to look at business holistically. This is not a lottery; this is not a “get rich quick” scheme. It is a long-term process with “ebs and flows” that you have to react and respond to – so that you will be able to ride out the tough times to the point when things are safe, secure and prosperous again.
To overcome the challenges, fundamentally, you have to make adjustments. The Bible says you’ve got to be able to discern the signs of the times. You have to first discern what’s going on. That is something that I’ve always tried to do. To understand what’s going on. I’m a very practical person – a realist. Yes, I do have goals and things that I want to happen, but I’m always very cognizant of what’s going on. One thing that I had to learn, being in business for 44 years now, there is very little that I can control; and that’s the same for everyone. We think because of our education, our networks or whatever it is that we think we have on our side – we think that gives us the ability to almost be superman; but nothing can be further from the truth. This will keep you safe, cautious and humble.
I’ve always tried to position myself on the “right side of right” so that my God would smile on me and bless me. I started with nothing. I didn’t have resources to begin with. I’m 1st generation out of the ghetto. I was born in New York in Harlem Hospital. My family didn’t have anything to give me. I’m working on creating my children’s inheritance now. Do I consider that a hardship? No, I don’t; because I didn’t know anything else. I didn’t have any other perspective. My only perspective was that if wanted to do something, I had to figure out a way to get it done.