Fierce, omniscient, a leader: the three words that FortuneBuilders’ founder and CEO Than Merrill uses to describe himself – or at least what he aspires to be. A tell-all interview with Business Rockstars’ Ken Rutkowski reveals the story of how and why FortuneBuilders was created, along with a few secrets you probably didn’t know about Than (including the fact that his favorite animal is the eagle).
Merrill explains the decisions behind his choice to get into real estate investing and education, and admits that starting out was not necessarily an easy process. Former NFL player for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Chicago Bears, Than suffered a career-ending injury in 2003 and therefore spent hours upon hours in the rehabilitation training room. With little to do, Merrill began reading relentlessly. He became obsessed with learning more about the real estate industry, soon realizing that it had the potential to turn into a career with great personal and financial prospects. Clearly his instincts were accurate, as he continued to grow more and more knowledgeable on the housing market. He finally turned his efforts to flipping homes, and launched his first real estate project in New Haven Connecticut. With energetic perseverance, Merrill and his partners encountered success relatively fast. Eventually creating a systematic process for profitably rehabbing houses, Merrill was determined to spread his expertise, and thus FortuneBuilders was born.
As a political science major at Yale University with no real business background, Merrill genuinely started from the bottom, which explains why he is so passionate about coaching even the most inexperienced investors. Ultimately, Than Merrill is a people person whose drive is apparent in his eagerness to educate. Part of Merrill’s charm is his “approachability”: a guy whose favorite drink is a margarita on the rocks and whose dream car is a dump-truck is going to be easy to talk to. He wants his students to see him as a mentor and as someone they feel comfortable going to for help, which he has definitely achieved.
To watch the Man in action and to learn more, check out his live interview.