Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in finance but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Peter Linneman, Founder of Linneman Associates, located in Philadelphia, PA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

My main business is Linneman Associates. It is an economics, finance, and real estate advisory business founded in 1979. It has associated entities that publish Linneman letters, operate the REFAI online education program, operate an opportunity zone investment advisor, and invest in apartments, industrial properties, and land. We service leading real estate investors, private equity firms, sovereign wealth funds, REITs, major universities, major corporations, and high-wealth families.

Tell us about yourself

I began my career as a university professor in 1977 (from which I retired in 2011) and my advisory career in 1979. In addition, I have served on over 20 public and private corporate boards. I am fascinated by the interface of theoretical economics and finance with real-life business decisions. Education has been the key to my evolution from a blue-collar upbringing to where I am today. As such, my wife and I are passionate about providing educational opportunities to disadvantaged children. What motivates me each day is the ability to interact with people I love and respect.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Most people view my stint as Chairman of Rockefeller Center Properties as my greatest achievement. But I view my greatest business achievement as creating a family of businesses and having them evolve over almost 45 years. But my biggest impact was the founding (in 2003) of Save A Mind Elimu to support the education of destitute children in Kenya.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

The hardest thing I have experienced is emotionally dealing with losing “other people’s money.” This is inevitable in the investment arena but requires a sense of brutal realism.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

My number one piece of advice is don’t start a business to get rich. You are the last, not first, person to be paid. Start a business because you believe you can do something better, cheaper, or faster. Also, avoid the “all-star” syndrome when hiring. A team of superstars is rarely the best team. Focus on people who are good people who can work together.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

When you are young, you think about “the thing” you are doing. As you age, you realize that while those “things” are important, what is truly important is the relationships you form while doing those things. Thus, try to interact with good people while doing the “things.”

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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