It was always my belief that the sky is not the limit but only Plan B. It is this belief that enabled me to get out of the trenches and lift myself up from in the lowest point of my life.
I was the eldest of four kids in a family of six. We were poor. I was nine when I started to clean synagogues to support my family. As I got older, I realized what was happening, and I wanted something more for myself. I had a burning desire to succeed and break the poverty chain.
In high school, I met a guy who would become my husband. The idea of starting a household was exciting to me, and I firmly believed that this new start would help me break free of the financial situation I was in. I was 19 when we married, and soon found myself working three jobs to support us. My husband struggled to keep a job for more than a few months at a time.
We had no money – not even to buy bread.
I had every desire to make a life for myself – to get past my adversities. I decided to dedicate my life to success, doing whatever it takes. I went after my longtime dream – to become a lawyer. I worked hard and applied to get into the best law school. I was also interested in real estate, taking as many real estate law classes as I could.
Four years later, I graduated with excellence in an accelerated track for outstanding students, holding both a Bachelor’s and Masters in Law. I got a job at a prestigious law firm in Israel, working day and night on fascinating real estate transactions. I represented large real estate companies, but my heart longed to be on the other side of the transaction – the one that involved a business-oriented real estate role.
I wanted to become a real estate investor.
However, I suppressed the desire because I didn't dare to leave my cushy job. At the same time. my relationship, which was always rocky, was on thin ice and the ice was breaking fast. We were never a good match, but I married young, and kept telling myself I was happy.
Until the day that changed my life has arrived…
I woke up one morning and realized that my eyesight was distorted. I soon found myself battling a disease that left me nearly blind. As I started the long, hard, painful healing process, I finally opened my eyes to realize just how unhappy my life really was. I believed that by attaining a high-paying job and escaping my financial hardships I would be happy.
I was wrong.
I decided to relieve myself of the sources of pain in my life – my failing marriage and unsatisfying job. It was the hardest thing I’d ever done. I refused to see my divorce as a failure, but rather a huge step forward in my life to something better. It also wasn’t easy to quit my job, but I was determined to live my life to the fullest.
It wasn’t long afterward that I found a job as a property manager, keeping tabs on more than 300 properties within a few years. I felt I had accomplished something – I was on the business side of the real estate industry and was getting closer to my ultimate goal of becoming a real estate investor.
The internal fire that pushed me forward with my life was there, and I channeled it to excel and be a better version of who I was. That fire had led me to take action to improve my business skills. I applied to some of the best business schools in the country and was admitted to MIT, where I graduated from the MBA program and learned how to build businesses and scale their operations.
After graduating from MIT I pivoted my career and became a real estate investor and entrepreneur. Today, I combine my passion for real estate with my former experience in real estate law, property management, and business education and experiences. My passion to real estate became the most powerful force in my life, and made walking away from my legal career an easy choice. This burning desire to succeed in life has never left me, and never will. I keep looking forward to conquering the next goal in real estate investing, and my ambition is only getting stronger.
I am grateful to my upbringing, as it created that fire in my life. My early marriage taught me how to stand up for myself. My education enriched my world and the way I approach real estate investing. At the age of 9, I was cleaning properties, but everything I encountered in my life gave me the internal fire to create a legacy and leave my mark in this world.
Ellie Perlman is the Founder and CEO of Blue Lake Capital, a multifamily operator that owns assets across the United States.
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