Fastest Growing Real Estate Brokerage in America
Winning the prestigious INC 5000 award for the Fastest Growing Real Estate Brokerage in America over a three year period is no small accomplishment, but for Dr. Joe Johnson, growing up a missionary kid in Brazil, it’s truly a dream come true.
Johnson, a competitive swimmer in college and captain of his swim team seems to run his business with a heads down and swim for the finish line manner. So, when Johnson saw in year three, that his startup venture, (Welfont) stood a very real chance of placing high in the INC 5000 standings, he and his team put their heads down and in 2017 went all out to finish strong and by year end amassed an astonishing 11,359 percent three-year growth rate. To understand how Welfont got to where they are today, it helps to better understand the journey of Johnson’s life. He started his first business, a landscaping company, while still in high school. He had a truck and earth moving equipment but wasn’t old enough to get a driver’s license. But obstacles like these were just minor inconveniences to him. The solution was simple. Improvise. He just hired kids a little older than him who had their drivers license and he was in business.
Armed with more enthusiasm than business sense, by age 21 his vision and sales far outpaced his financial and staff resources as well as his operational processes. As he is quick to admit, “Out of pure incompetence, by the time I turned 21 years old, I went bankrupt.”
After Johnson went bankrupt at age 21 (on his lawyers’ recommendation), he worked other jobs and eventually earned enough money to pay off the creditors that he was no longer obligated by law, to pay. Somewhere along the way, Johnson had come to learn that a good name is more important than wealth.
Upon graduating from college, Johnson mailed out 2000 resumes applying for the position of CFO. He received four requests for an interview and exactly one job offer from a failing $12 million tech company which he quickly turned around and was sold for a handsome profit. Doing things on a big scale became the hallmark of his storied career, including earning his doctorate at age 41, in Entrepreneurial Leadership from Regent University.
Johnson took over the reins and re-launched the struggling SUCCESS Magazine with a new team, which won “Best Design Launch of the Year Award” and gained over 500,000 in print circulation and was subsequently sold for millions of dollars. It was this type of success that fueled his desire to become a venture capitalist and enjoy more of the fruits of his labor.
That opportunity came in 2011 when he bought an insolvent real estate training company, making it wildly successful, earning a seven figure profit in just the first quarter.
Get Motivated Seminars
But fast forward to 2012, when the opportunity came to buy his former employers flagship company, Get Motivated Seminars, Johnson leveraged his previous success and went “all in”. Unfortunately, the previous owners were in a bitter divorce, greatly complicating the transfer of ownership. By year end, it was over, and the doors closed for good.
Down, But Not Out
Johnson’s love of real estate had become deeply ingrained into his psyche. In 2014, he began a consultancy helping nonprofits utilize the tax laws in Section 170 of the IRS code to acquire underutilized commercial real estate assets. It was the beginning of what became known as the Welfont Group of Companies. It soon became apparent that he could help a lot more folks and build a solid business by adding commercial real estate brokerage to the services his company could provide. Within 36 months, transaction volume grew to hundreds of millions of dollars, becoming the fastest growing real estate brokerage in the history of the Inc 5000.
Success is a Journey
Over the years Johnson, now 43, has created hundreds of jobs through various start-ups and turnarounds while earning his MBA and PhD, personally funded over 15,000 microloans in over 80 countries for underprivileged entrepreneurs, saved one of America’s oldest and best loved business magazines from bankruptcy, acquired over 10 million square feet of real estate nationwide and most recently not only ranked in the INC 5000 as the Fastest Growing Real Estate Brokerage in the country, but also ranked #16 in the top 20 fastest growing companies of all types.
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