Josiah Town: Top Realtor & Founder, Hometown Realty: “Education Can Be Found All Around Us”
Josiah Town is a self-made success. He’s a realtor, entrepreneur, and leader in his Missouri community. He’s also on track to become a multi-millionaire before the age of 30… all without a college degree, or even a high school diploma.
Josiah’s Original Story: “Education Can Be Found All Around Us”
Hi, I’m Josiah Town. I’m a realtor, business owner, and community leader in small-town Missouri.
I also only have an 8th grade education.
Family situations in play when I was young limited my time at school, but, as odd as it may sound, I am thankful for my lack of education. My different path forced me to strive in my work ethic, to think outside the box and to take risks. My creativity remained totally intact and my willingness to not follow the crowd stayed strong. This pushed me to stand out and strive for greatness!
Not only do I think college is unnecessary to achieve many types of success, but I would go so far as to say that our modern K-12 school system is not totally necessary, either. Sure, it’s needed up to maybe 6th or 8th grade, but how many people actually remember or need what they learn in high school? Is our school system too much of a box? Does it suck the creativity out of children? Take a look at Finland… with the best education system in the world, at 8th grade students have a choice whether they want to continue on for college or go to trade school.
I have found no advantage for those in my field who have college degrees. I have been in real estate since 2013 and have never felt I was lacking or wished I had a degree. I am a continual learner and education can be found all around us. We learn from everything… it does not have to come from a college, or even a classroom for that matter.
Before I follow that thought any further, first a little background about me.
I was blessed to grow up in a Christian conservative family with great values. There were 11 siblings, counting me, all from the same parents (sometimes I’m asked about that). With many siblings you learn to work together, to negotiate, and to get along and handle different personalities and situations. Then, as you grow up, they sometimes become employees, business partners, or just good advisors. (It’s true. My brothers all have Master’s degrees and work for me, now.)
Growing up, we were taught to have a strong work ethic from a young age: Nothing is given to you, and you have to work hard for everything. With 11 kids in the family, there wasn’t much to go around. That said, my dad was impeccable with the small amount of money our family had. To this day nobody knows how he made it all work while taking good care of us and making sure we didn’t go hungry.
We were not taught to be leaders. The example was more so to be a servant and good follower. Despite that, Dad always helped to create opportunities for his kids to venture out and do their own thing. For example, he would provide a small loan to help his kids get their start. My loan was money for a lawn mower and trailer as I started out in the lawn business, a family tradition.
The school I grew up in was oppressive, not life-giving. Kids were not encouraged to thrive independently or make something of themselves. We were told to work hard so we could get a job. My teacher told me if I didn’t do good in school, I would end up in jail or flipping burgers at McDonald’s.
Those condescending words by a misled teacher perhaps pushed me harder to make something of myself. Perhaps God had a plan all along and knew that further schooling would have detoured what he had in mind for my life.
I’ve always had a passion for real estate and development. At a young age I would spend hours drawing blueprints of homes, businesses, and subdivisions. I read the newspaper to see how businesses could improve their advertising, and so I could see what real estate was selling and for how much. I’ve always been a good communicator, too.
As a kid, the things I got in trouble for at school… are the same things I make a great living at today. I hated school, but later I found out I actually love learning – just not the way they were trying to teach me. My brain wanted to be creative and invent and plan for future things while I was being told to look at the book and not talk to other students. I now see why I liked to talk to other students. God created me to be a communicator in business and in politics. I have a blessed personality that was not appreciated because of the box I was being told to fit into.
I would have to say at a young age I knew In my heart what I loved to do and spent my time dreaming of it. Doing what you love does not always come first, though. There were times in my life that I had to do what was needed to pay the bills and to advance my goals and dreams. I had to do things I didn’t like to do, and difficult jobs. But they built character and perseverance.
Quote: “Doing what you love does not always come first.” – Josiah Town
My lack of formal education has never put limits on me. At age 23 I ran for city council of my hometown. I was running against a retired banker and a National Guard officer. I didn’t win that election, but it was the start of a journey that launched me into further leadership roles in my area.
Previously I had helped campaign for a friend who was re-elected as State Representative, and assisted him two years later as he ran for State Senate. I ran his door-to-door campaign efforts, and led voter calls with a team of young people working for me. (I was 19-22 years old during this time.)
Later in my 23rd year, I was nominated to a local school board where I was honored to be the youngest member to ever serve. I served there for six years until I was term-limited out. During that time I worked my way up from Secretary of the board to Vice President. During my tenure, we expanded the school and built a high school and gymnasium.
Currently, I’m Vice President of the Henry County Cattlemen’s Association. I was also nominated by the County Commissioners to serve on the Senior Citizens Tax Board where we are responsible for managing taxpayer funds used for senior citizens’ needs in our county.
To all this, add the four businesses I run, plus the 100 acres I recently purchased. All without a high school diploma, let alone a college degree. And I’m not telling you all this to brag or make myself seem like a bigshot – I’m telling you all this because, if there is anything from my story that will inspire you and encourage you that nothing can hold you back, I don’t want to leave it out.
Starting young in business, many times people do not give you the same level of respect as they would otherwise. It takes time to earn trust and people’s confidence.
Overcoming challenges just takes consistency, persistence, and determination. Slow down and think through things. Sometimes doing things fast isn’t the best approach. Slow growth is solid growth. The world tells you that everything has to be quick, but easy come, easy go.
Something that is a pivotal part of my life is the understanding that who you surround yourself with, is who you will become. Keep around people you can learn from, who inspire you and at least one person who you can consider as a mentor. Why make all the mistakes yourself when you can learn from others who have already gone before you and learned those lessons? Don’t be afraid to distance yourself from people who are toxic and who take you away from your purpose and calling. At the end of the day you will be the one responsible for what you did with the time and gifts you were given. Being a good steward of your time, emotions, and energy will never be something you regret.
My final advice would be to always have integrity and put people first. Don’t worry about the money, it will come if you serve people and their needs.
Find more from Josiah Town at Hometown Realty.