Theresa Forster, a social media influencer and model from Germany, is living out her dream, but she is the first to acknowledge that challenges must be overcome in order to succeed.
Accepting that certain people are too judgmental of those in her profession was one of the obstacles she claimed she had to learn to overcome: “People should stop criticizing every single thing we do and learn to let us live life the way we want,” she said. “We are simply human beings with feelings.” According to Forster, it is often difficult to be constantly examined by the public and to not feel like a target all the time. “Having to constantly defend ourselves is very exhausting.”, she said.
She noticed that she had learnt to move past her regrets regarding her career: “I should have started earlier. I always followed the advice of those around me when I first started out, and they made fun of me. Even my parents did.”, she affirmed. “They just didn’t take me seriously, so it took me a lot of time to get things moving. But from the day I started, I became successful very fast.” Attempting to change people’s perceptions about those in her industry, has been another issue for her. Some people behave this way because they think her work field is easy.
“It is not all about snapping pictures, receiving gifts, and looking pretty. If you want to succeed in this profession, there is much more to do.”, she remarked.
“Generally, clients pay us based on the number of views and reach we generate, so we need to get those figures every day. That is difficult and can put a lot of pressure on you.”, she said that in addition to the daily competition influencers face, it is a constant challenge to add value to the lives of her followers. Otherwise, she warned: “People would get tired of you and soon forget about you. This work therefore comes with a lot of psychological pressure.” Like everyone else, influencers experience periods of excitement and interest in daily life that eventually fade. In other words, great stuff doesn’t necessarily come along every day but however, Forster points out that it is her job to sometimes create something out of nothing.
“It is completely normal to move through life phases and their ups and downs. Sometimes you need some time to rest, and you just feel like lying in bed or sometimes you just don’t feel well, but there cannot be any days off if Instagram is your primary source of income and you take it seriously. You push yourself in order to move forward.”
In her opinion these are the reasons many influencers turn to fake drama and telling lies to produce engaging content. However, she discovered more truthful and creative ways to get her content out there: “For some in this industry, fake publicity is better than no publicity. But not for me. If you want to remain successful in this game, you have to think in the long term. And that doesn ́t mean to cause drama every day but creating content which adds true value to people’s lives” she said.
The Perfect Investment: RAD Diversified and Income-Producing Farms
Amidst the global lockdown of 2020, Dutch Mendenhall, founder of RADD America, began looking for an alternative to standard residential real-estate investments. So, he turned his analysis to farms and was blown away by the immense potential he saw. After going public in late 2019, RADD America purchased US farmland and made slices of the real estate available at minimum investments of $10,000.
Income-producing farms vs. other real estate asset classes
According to Mendenhall, an apartment complex in today’s US real estate market commands approximately a 4% or 5% cap rate. Farms offer somewhere around a 15% to 20% cap rate.
“When I first began looking at investing in farms, I compared each acre to an apartment or housing unit,” Mendenhall recalls. “The variety that income-producing farms provide is what I really love about them as an opportunity. With one season producing wheat and corn the next, you can double tap — you can raise livestock on top of agriculture. Putting money into the farm only pays off in time. Everything from improving soil to increasing irrigation makes a major impact on potential income, and so much of America’s farmland has fallen into disrepair during the last 20 years.”
When Mendenhall began investing during the early days of the pandemic, sustainable acres of producing farmland sold anywhere from $3,500 to $5,000. Today, he finds that income-producing acres of farmland easily sell for $9,500 to $10,000.
“I’ve seen farmland values almost double during the last couple of years,” Mendenhall says. “Currently, we’re in Tennessee, Arkansas, and Idaho, but we are analyzing land all over America. What reports don’t show is the difference between a properly maintained acre of farmland and an acre that is in disarray. There’s only so much workable farmland on the market today. We’ve hit the tipping point, and now, there’s a scarcity of land for people to buy. If you have the opportunity to purchase amazing agricultural land, you have to pull the trigger quickly.”
Income-producing farms as an asset class
Mendenhall is no stranger to investors. Since 2006, he’s connected them to deals in short sales, wholesaling, residential properties, and storage units, though he admits that every asset class has caused the same excitement as farmland. “At this point, we can’t find enough bargains for our investors,” he says. “They take real pride in their investments and keep asking us for more.”
RADD America takes a true grassroots approach when connecting its investors to farmland. “The farming world is different from any other in real estate,” explains Mendenhall. “We start by having our acquisitions and agricultural teams meet with farmers. When we get ready to brand cattle or plant, all the local farmers come and help. In the same spirit, our teams go out and help the local farmers when it’s their turn to brand and plant. To do it right, you have to build a relationship and a connection that’s quite different than other types of investing.”
RADD America is composed of expert investors and expert farmers. The company offers its investments through fractionalized ownership. In other words, the company purchases one farm and then allows a joint pool of investors to own it together.
“If you don’t have a team that knows how to farm and maximize income, you’re not going to get the best possible return for investors,” warns Mendenhall. “Thankfully, our team isn’t so big for this type of investing that we forget who we are, and we have the economy to scale at a great pace.”
The impact of global competition on income-producing farm investments
RADD America closely monitors global trends. In Mendenhall’s experience, investors win when they move before the market. However, when they move after the market, they lose.
“When Russian first invaded and sparked its war with Ukraine, for example, we kept a close eye on its global impact,” he says. “As one of the largest producers of wheat in the world, we knew that Ukraine — now in the midst of a war — wasn’t going to be able to produce wheat at the same scale, so someone else needs to step in and fill the gap. We’re constantly monitoring what’s happening in the world to stay on top of evolving trends.”
In terms of global competition, Mendenhall is frustrated by foreign entities staking ownership of American farmland and agriculture. In this area, China has positioned itself as the number one threat to the sovereignty of the United States.
“When foreign powers have ownership of agricultural land in the US, it puts us all at risk as Americans,” remarks Mendenhall. “Over the past few years, we’ve seen soil quality erode, closures of meatpacking plants, and numerous fires. The likelihood of nuclear war in this age is very small. The quiet war of buying American agriculture and unsettling the American dollar is the threat we face today.”
Clearly, RADD America has a lot to pay attention to at home and abroad. “We’re monitoring weather patterns and making one-year, three-year, and five-year predictions,” Mendenhall explains. “We’re also paying close attention to interest rates to see where this shifting economy is headed. The up-and-down cycles are faster than they’ve ever been. Monitoring the industry is critical. With expert investors and agricultural specialists from RADD America on your team, farmland can be one of your most promising and rewarding investment opportunities.”
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