Kenny Rushing, Real Estate Investor and Philanthropist
Born in Des Moines, Iowa, Kenny was the son of a former gang-banger who tried to make a decent living and a woman who eventually succumbed to the depression of a broken marriage. At the tender age of 14 Kenny found himself a desperate young man from the projects who would do anything to help his family. The streets beckoned and he soon became a drug king pin, making more money than he could ever dream of. The dream collapsed, of course, and Kenny was arrested, convicted and sent to prison where he remained for seven years.
Today, six years removed from incarceration, Rushing is a phenomenally successful real estate mogul, civic leader and devoted philanthropist. He is also a dynamic visionary with a plan to help a generation. "We are losing too many young, productive Black males to prison," Rushing says. "We have to reach out to this new generation and show them a viable alternative to selling drugs. Otherwise, we are going to lose them to the prison system."
Rushing's strategy? He wants to turn "street hustlers" into "house hustlers." It is, as he calls it, a "movement." The House Hustling Movement, which will educate, empower and inspire millions of disenfranchised African Americans. His company, Rehabber's Superstore, Inc., which was established soon after Rushing was released from prison, now grosses millions of dollars per year through real estate transactions and investments. In turn, Rushing gives back a substantial portion of that income to support local businesses and help individuals launch their own companies.
House Hustling Enterprises, Inc., a separate division of Rushing's parent company, provides the tools for others-particularly ex-cons and former street hustlers-to develop themselves and their communities through the real estate business. This part of the "movement" also includes a diverse number of ventures into entertainment (television and movie production); magazine publishing (House Hustling magazine); and Rushing's unique "self-help memoir" entitled House Hustling Manifesto Volume I that will be published in 2007.
Next on Rushing's ever-expanding agenda is the opening of a House Hustling Enterprises office in Los Angeles. Partnering with long-time movie and television producers Pamela and Mark McClafferty (the former head of Eddie Murphy's television company), Rushing is working to develop a reality TV show-The House Hustling Challenge-negotiate the publishing rights to his memoir, and look to take his story to the big screen.
Rushing and his wife, Katrice, have two children: Kayla, 4, and Kenneth III, 3. Rushing also has a 14-year-old daughter, Kennetria.
His story is much more than just a variation on a familiar theme:
Boy does bad. Boy goes to prison. Man gets out of prison. Man does good.
Kenny Rushing's story is so much more than that.
Kenny possesses a special quality and a unique gift except, I can't put my finger on exactly what it is that enables him to do what he does.
He is driven by his passion to succeed and he is committed to making sure that many people benefit from what he has had to learn the hard way.
He is articulate; the kind of person that you could talk to and never get bored because, he knows a lot and, it's more than that. I just can't put my finger on exactly what it is, but I can't wait to see what Kenny Rushing will be doing next...
DR: Tell me about your life.
KR: I grew up poor.
I became a product of my environment. At the age of fifteen I started selling drugs as a way to help my family out financially.
When crack cocaine came into the community it was like an economic messiah. A lot of people gravitated toward it because a lot of people were poor and they saw crack as a way to make it out of "the hood". So I engaged in drug dealing for about five years and at the age of twenty I was arrested and thrown in prison where I remained for seven years.
While in prison, I was dissatisfied with the direction in which my life was headed. So I decided to get an education. I attended college, read over 1,000 books. I feel that it is so important to empower yourself economically because what happens is that a lot of people go to prison and get caught in that revolving door because they don't learn anything more than what they knew before they went into prison. Most of the time, this is as a result of economics. A lot of times people sell drugs, not because they have no morals but because they don't have any money! If they don't have any money AND if they don't have any education then they are going to go out and do the wrong thing. They are going to become pimps and drug dealers - criminals. That is why it was important for me to get an education while I was in prison. When I left prison I had several certificates in finance and real estate. I had diplomas in creative real estate and economics and international finance. I studied all of those things that I thought would support me in being able to leave prison and transition into society and do the right thing.
When I got out, I immediately began rehabbing houses.
In August 2000, I started my company First Time Development. I purchased my first piece of property for $2500 and I was able to make $30,000 from the sale of the property and then I really just got into it full time.
Today I have a multi-million dollar real estate investment company called Rehabber Superstore.
In addition to Rehabber Superstore my other company House Hustling Enterprises is an educational company that exists to teach African American men across the board, how to invest in real estate.
I think that real estate investing could be a solution to a lot of the problems that a lot of African Americans today are facing, economically. It's just that unfortunately a lot of us don't understand the methods of investing. We think that real estate investing is above our heads.
Real estate investing has been good for me. I have taught thousands of people, from my website as well as my seminars and one on one consultations, how to start their own businesses as a way to show them how to achieve new heights in their lives.
I am able to inspire people because of my story. Unfortunately I didn't make all of the right decisions when I was a kid but young men can relate to me because of what I have been through. That is proof that -
whatever situation that you may find yourself in, in life, if you educate yourself and work hard, you can be as successful as you want to be.
DR: Can you describe your relationship to struggle?
KR: In life God grants you two things. One of them is struggle and one of them is ease.
Everyone has to struggle in life but strength is built through adversity and you have to go through adverse situations in order to become strong. I wouldn't be the man that I am today if I hadn't gone to prison. That struggle has made me the Kenny Rushing that I am.
When I was selling drugs I was making a lot of money and I thought that it would last forever. That was easy but right around the corner, here comes struggle, where I got caught and then went to jail.
I think that you have to deal with the struggle that you may be going through. You have to work through and get to the other side.
Seven years of incarceration was a long hard struggle for me, but books were my therapy. I read a lot because I had high aspirations for doing the right thing when I got out.
I wanted to prove everybody who gave up on me wrong! I wanted to show them that they gave up on the wrong person.
I believe that God gave me the struggle of going to prison for a reason. I was able to somehow benefit from that experience.
DR: I understand that going to prison was a critical turning point for you but there are a lot of people who go to prison who don't end up doing as well as your are doing. While in prison, what was the critical turning point for you?
KR: When they first closed those gates, those iron gates and threw me in my cell. (Laughs) that was when it clicked in for me that this was not the life that I wanted to live.
It's like I said before, Dana, it's not like we don't have any morals. A lot of guys out there today grew up in church or in the mosque, grew up with principles and morals and values.
All it takes is one wrong decision and you have ruined your whole life. I think that given the opportunity a lot of the guys who were street hustlers could actually make that transition to becoming house hustlers or other kinds of successful entrepreneurs.
After reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X and understanding the struggle that he went through, I decided that if he could apply himself and be productive and positive then I could do it and anybody else could do it too. It's just a matter of applying yourself.
There are smart young men in school but unfortunately they just don't apply themselves. I was a very intelligent, very smart kid but I never wanted to apply myself. I wanted to be the class clown and I wanted to do all of the things that I shouldn't have been doing.
It took going to prison for me to realize that I was heading in the direction of destruction.
That is the direction that a lot of young Black men are heading in with this thug mentality and this "I don't give a damn" kind of attitude. That is one of the things that we teach with The House Hustler Movement -
We don't care where you have been; we care about where you can go in life.
I have been successful at turning street hustlers into house hustlers by showing them how to apply the same skills that they have been using out there on the street corner, toward legitimate business because -- business is business across the board.
So the real turning point was reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X, being dissatisfied with the direction in which my life was heading and being motivated to do better and to prove to those who gave up on me that they gave up on the wrong person.
I have never considered myself a bad person. I just made bad decisions.
DR: Kenny what, if anything, keeps you up at night?
KR: Probably work!! Too much work!!! (Laughs)
Life is pretty good for me to be totally honest with you Dana. I don't have any real stress...
DR: Well is there a particular dilemma that you are faced with or a mountain that you have yet to climb?
My goal when I started The House Hustlers Movement was to educate one million African Americans and teach them how to invest in real estate.
From the Desk of Kenny Rushing
A few years ago, I decided to set a goal to change the lives of disadvantaged and destitute people all over the world. Regardless of culture, ethnicity, social status or background, I believe that everyone should have a chance, and I want to help all people to tap into today’s opportunities.
We are great thinkers, entrepreneurs, and capitalists. We should all have hope, but we all have insecurities that can get in our way. I have them. You have them. Typically, these insecurities are what keep us from succeeding.
I was raised in a low-income family. Money was scarce, and during my younger years, I made many mistakes. Against the odds, I prevailed, and became a success. Quite frankly, if I can do it, so can you.
Have confidence in yourself. Use the force of hope to see; use the force of knowledge to achieve. Don’t be scared to prospect for houses or to tackle your first rehab project. You are capable! You are tough! You can overcome!
You CAN attain wealth and build financial freedom within your own community through real estate investing and business development. Remember, success is earned. Only you can build the foundation for your success.
Once you have learned about real estate investing, I expect you to show others in your community what you have learned. Financial success can be attained by staying true and honest and by lending a helping hand to those around you.
So, fasten your seatbelt and get ready! I want each and every one of you to grab the brass ring. As much as I want it for you, it’s something you have to want for yourself. Don’t worry. I’ll be right beside you. I’ll lend you a helping hand. Are you up for it? Do you want it? Are you ready? Let’s do it!
Welcome to the House Hustling Movement!
Kenneth P. Rushing
House Hustling Enterprises
I have House Hustler Magazine, I have House Hustler: An Education in Real Estate video, I have a book that is going to be picked up by a national publisher called The House Hustler Manifesto and we have several other projects that we are working on, including a television reality show…
My dilemma is being able to have my voice heard. Some people have great ideas but I don't care what you know, it's who you know. You need to know the right people to get you into the right doors to be able to express and promote your ideas. You just need to get that opportunity. It has only been within the last few months that I have been granted that opportunity.
DR: What inspires you to get up in the morning?
KR: I love doing what I do!
If you love doing what you do then you will rush to get into the office.
Also, I have a beautiful wife and a beautiful family and I am a provider.
My wife was a nurse for 10 years but I have provided her with the opportunity in this last year to not have to work and to be able to take care of our children. I want my wife to have an option and being able to provide her with that option means a whole lot to me. My mother had to work her whole life for very little money. She grew up on a farm and she didn't have a whole lot of education. My mother never had options. A lot of other mothers out there who are struggling may never have that.
The other thing that inspires me to get up in the morning is -
being able to inspire people on a daily basis, being able to empower them and to educate people about how to invest in real estate and to start their own business, how to be successful and to motivate them to get off their butt and take the initiative to do for self because --
Ain't nobody gonna give you anything in this life!
You've got to go ahead and get off your butt and make it happen. That is one of the things that I promote in my seminars:
Self empowerment through self education and initiative.
If you are too selfish to take the initiative to do better then you will never change your condition. The best way of changing your condition is through education, determination and the willingness to work hard.
Click here to visit HouseHustling.com
Today we are living in The Great Millennium but unfortunately a lot of Africans Americans are still living in The Great Depression. I am sick of that. We need to take the opportunity to do better.
I don't know of a better vehicle than real estate that allows people to create wealth relatively quickly, if you know what you are doing. 19% of the world's richest people have accumulated a great deal of their wealth through real estate investment.
People are buying up property in "the hood" all over the country. Gentrification is taking place everywhere and everybody is making money except for us because we don't understand the process of investing in real estate. And the ones who do, they are so selfish and don't give a damn about anybody but themselves!
I think that in this society we need to be unselfish. We need to give back. I think that the best way to give back is not by giving money but by educating.
DR: That is the thing, right there, that inspires me the most about what you are doing.
Kenny, is there anything that you would change about your life if you could?
KR: Like I said earlier, there is a reason for everything. God will send you down a path for a reason; to realize what your aim and purpose is in life. Unfortunately some people will live their whole live without ever discovering what their aim and purpose is. They will die not realizing that and they will live a life without tapping into their full potential.
Yes, I am embarrassed that I had to live the type of life that I lived when I was a kid. A lot of people, when they meet me, think that I am a graduate from some Ivy League college, without realizing that I grew up poor. Selling drugs, going to prison - that is an embarrassment, but that is my life! That is my story! That makes my life colorful! That is who I am!
I wish that I would have made some better decisions when I was a kid. Maybe I could have been a college graduate from Harvard. I could have my Phd, but I got my degree from the University of Prison and, it is what it is! But, I would not be able to relate to people and people wouldn't be able to relate to me if I hadn't gone through that.
Today, I can relate to people who live in the projects and I can relate to people who have got PhDs, and MBAs. I can relate to anybody across the board and I can communicate with anybody across the board. I can go to the projects and motivate those guys and I can go to the country clubs and motivate those guys as well.
There has never been an economic movement in this country. The only person who has ever tried to do it was the late Dr. Martin Luther King who had the poor people's movement. He was trying to provide poor people with economic opportunities but a full economic movement has never been done.
The House Hustler Movement is not just about buying real estate. We need to be able to create our own businesses in "the hood" instead of being taken care of by other people. We need to be able to start our businesses in "the hood", provide superior service in "the hood" and spend our money in "the hood".
We need to be trying to buy as much land as possible throughout the whole country! Buy! Buy the Land! God ain't making' no more land!
There are good ways and easy ways to structure loans and to buy real estate. People think that you have to have a lot of money and the best credit to get started but you don't! My program teaches that.
This is something that other ethnic groups have been knowing for years and years and years. We have always been told that you have to have a lot of money but you don't! I studied real estate and I was able to pick it up and learn it when I was incarcerated. I applied the methods and that is why I am a multi-millionaire right now - and in just six years.
DR: A hundred years from now what do you want to be remembered for?
KR: For having one of the largest economic movements in the country.
The House Hustler Movement is bigger than Kenny Rushing or anybody else that may be involved. It will be here when we are gone and -- this could be something that, 30 years from now, when the question is posed:
What do African Americans dominate?
instead of them saying sports and entertainment, we will be able to say-
If we can get to that point, then we can say we have accomplished something.
We ain't just about sports and entertainment.
Rehabber's Superstore, Inc.Kenneth P. Rushing founded "First Time Development" in August of 2000, and is now doing business as the "Rehabber's Superstore, Inc." which has been involved in well over 100 rehab projects. The "Rehabber's Superstore, Inc." was created to provide all of the essential elements a rehabber-investor needs to successfully invest in real estate for maximum profit.
With many successful real estate clients here in the Tampa Bay area, the "Rehabber's Superstore, Inc." can work with you on every critical component you need to invest in real estate successfully.
"I meet all sorts of people who want to invest in real estate, however because they lack the knowledge and or confidence, their ambitions are never accomplished." says Mr. Rushing.
At the "Rehabber's Superstore, Inc. we can help you successfully accomplish your goals.
Click here to visit Rehabber's Superstore online.