The best part is that playing weddings “doesn’t even feel like working. We’re just partying.” Moses Lin told CNBC Make It’s Millennial Money series.
Early in Lin’s career in 2016, he played at a coffee shop for three hours and got $3 tips. Today, his work takes him from New York to Hawaii, even to Cancun, and earns $175,000 before tips.
In the last two years, Lin has invested most of his wedding earnings into real estate.
Before becoming a real estate investor, Lin left college with just one semester left to pursue music full-time back in 2017. Several months later, Disney saw his YouTube videos and hired him to play in Disneyland’s hotels and restaurants. He took the job and decided he was never going back to college.
In the same year, Lin played a friend’s wedding as a favor and enjoyed it. He then charged $250 for his first wedding booking. After learning that wedding musician rates are $1200, he doubled his prices. Despite raising his rates, clients kept coming. Now, he charges $4,000 to $6,000 per wedding, depending on when the couple wants him to play.
Lin became interested in real estate investing in 2014 and bought his first property in May 2020 as a “pandemic pivot” when Covid restrictions slowed his wedding gigs. He found a 4-bedroom house for $120,000 online and put down 20% plus $10,000 to renovate. His wedding earnings helped him buy a $40,000 home in Little Rock, including closing costs.
He rented the house for $1,425 and quickly found a tenant. He liked the process so much that he decided to buy a second property before the end of the year.
Today, Lin owns and rents out four properties in Little Rock. Lin didn’t turn a profit on his rental properties in 2021, but is in it for the long haul.
His goal with real estate is to get to a point where the passive income from his rentals pays all of his bills.
Lin pays a property manager to handle things on the ground, “so I’m able to focus 100% of my attention on weddings [and] on music, and real estate just makes money on the side.” he tells CNBC, “My whole master business plan is make money in weddings, dump it into real estate and let that grow itself.”