Buffini & Company Blog

Tomorrow Will Be Better

Tomorrow Will Be Better

Brian Buffini’s Mid-Year Bold Predictions 2024 registration is now open. Has there ever been a more complex time in the real estate industry? Brian will give you the inside scoop on what’s taking place behind the numbers at 10 a.m. PT on July 22. Register now.

When coaching and the emigrant mindset meet, great things can happen. What is the emigrant mindset? In Brian Buffini’s new book, “The Emigrant Edge,” he outlines the seven traits shared by emigrants who have achieved success in America. Despite being at a disadvantage, such as not understanding the culture and not having established relationships, emigrants are eager to learn, have a “do whatever it takes” mindset, are willing to outwork others, are thankful for what they have, are bold in their investment of time, money and energy; are disciplined to delay gratification and always remember where they came from. One of our O2O members fits this description: his name is Raymond Ong.

Ray is an unassuming man with a successful business. Ask Ray to share his story and he’ll tell you he doesn’t have one. In fact, he does have one, an inspiring story of determination, sacrifice and gratitude.

Ray was born in Taipei, Taiwan. In 1973, when Ray was 14 years old, his family emigrated to the United States – without him. Ray’s family wanted to take him, but they couldn’t. Taiwan was ruled by Martial Law, and once a boy turned 14 he was forbidden from leaving until he fulfilled a compulsory military commitment.

Ray learned of his family’s plan just two weeks before they left. Two weeks later, he moved into a boarding house. His new home was an 8×10 room with cardboard walls and a shared bathroom.

From 1973 to 1977, Raymond spent almost every hour of every day preparing for university entrance exams. He would go to school from 7:30 in the morning to 4:30 in the afternoon, attend a preparatory boot camp until 8:30 at night, then return “home,” only to study some more before going to bed.

This was a low point for Ray. He was lonely and missed his family. He made it through by focusing only on the next step, working hard and telling himself tomorrow would be better. His work ethic and discipline paid off. He was accepted into the university, but a year later, he dropped out.

Why? The average income in Taiwan was equivalent to $5,000 a year, and the government would be deciding Ray’s career path (working for the government or as a middle manager at a large corporation, etc.). That’s not the life Ray wanted.

He wanted freedom. He wanted opportunity. What Ray really wanted was to move to the United States and be with his family. To do that, he would need to fulfil his military obligation. So, to the military he went.

Two years later, in 1980, Ray moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and was reunited with his family. There, he was faced with yet another challenge: he didn’t speak English. So he did what he knew best – he set a goal, and he worked hard. “Every setback, every difficulty is an opportunity to move forward,” says Ray.

Later, he enrolled at the University of Chicago and earned his degree in economics. After graduation he struggled to find a job, so he enrolled at San Jose State University, earned a degree in accounting and eventually took a job as an auditor.

He hated that job. “I was ready to jump out of a window I was so bored. I wanted relationships with people,” explains Ray. His feelings prompted him to seek advice from his sister, who worked in real estate. Three weeks later, he had his license.

Real estate wasn’t easy. Ray went nine months without selling a home and thought about quitting, but that wasn’t in his DNA. By his second year in the business he’d duplicated his accountant’s salary, and in year three he doubled that. By his fifth year he was earning four times what he earned as an auditor. He knew he’d found his opportunity.

Ray and his wife Leighann now own Realty World Champions in Sunnyvale, California – a thriving real estate sales and property management business. Ray is a leader in his community and is often sought out for his counsel.

For the last six years, Ray has been a One2One Coaching Member, which he says keeps him focused. His Business Coach, Rachael Yeaman, says, “Ray is an inspiration to many. He delivers nothing but excellence for his clients, and he works tirelessly to improve and grow every day.”

But that’s Ray – an unassuming man with a successful business and a story to share. Just don’t tell him that.


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