Jack Kautz grew up the son of a true entrepreneur. At a very young age, Jack’s father inherited 13 acres of land in Lodi, California. After years of growing crops like beans, peppers, tomatoes, and corn the market shifted drastically. This forced Jack’s father to shift the focus of their farm.
His father began buying land on the Cosummes River which was traditionally an area where hops were grown. From there they started growing merlot and chardonnay and expanded from there. This eventually led to the creation of Ironstone Vineyards.
So, growing up the son of an entrepreneur taught Jack learned what it meant to have a true work ethic. There wasn’t a lot of playtime. When other kids were watching cartoons on Saturday morning Jack and his siblings were working in the family business. Whether it was hoeing in the vineyards or raking the lawn there was work to be done.
Jack says one of the best life lessons he ever learned was that anything he got he had to work for it. There were no handouts around the Kautz family. He recalls one of his first jobs for the farms was a truck driver, hauling peppers and grapes to the wineries and plant. He was paid $4 an hour with no overtime.
He quickly saw the handwriting on the wall and realized that working 80-90 hours a week and making $300-$360 a week wasn’t what he wanted his life to look like. So, at the age of 22, Jack saved and came up with enough money to buy his first piece of real estate, an apartment complex in Murphys, California. The complex had 10 units that were fully furnished.
As a young landlord slash owner, Jack was learning business lessons in real-time. From renters who paid with small vials of gold and $5 bills to stereo equipment, things were rough. The apartments went from furnished to unfurnished and he had a huge awakening of how to deal with tenants and what it took to run a business. Jack turned the apartments into a successful strip mall which opened the door to a new avenue of purchasing and refurbishing commercial and residential units. Jack now owns over a hundred units.
The takeaway is that when you run up against tough situations you don’t quit. You need to take the good, the bad, and the ugly and learn from each. Sometimes, the negative experiences teach you much more than the positive ones.
If you’re facing obstacles and staring down huge challenges take it from Jack and don’t quit, keep pushing, keep learning and you’ll find success.