My remote mentors

I am currently driving a desk while I work on trying to get my real estate business running and profitable. I ultimately drive two hours every day to get to that desk. Because of that I am a student in Windshield University. I listen to various podcasts hither and yon, and today I want to share some of those with you. These are ranked in no particular order.

First up is Epic Real Estate with Matt Theriault (sounds like Terrio). The podcast can be found here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/epic-real-estate-investing/id446611090?mt=2&ign-mpt=uo%3D4
and his website is here: http://epicrealestate.com/

Matt’s show is typically just him, though he does do interviews as well. He made his millions in music and then when digital downloads became the thing, he lost it all. He has rebuilt with real estate and he has the podcast to share his journey and bring everyone else along with him. Listening to just this show should give you more than enough tools to become a successful real estate investor. Matt gives away a ton of value and information in each cast and is very approachable with questions.

Next up is the Bigger Pockets podcast. https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/biggerpockets-podcast-real/id594419649
Website: BiggerPockets.com

Bigger Pockets is a social website for real estate investors. There are forums where you can ask questions and people who are active in the business will answer those questions. There is a lot of free information there about every aspect of the business, wholesaling, flipping, direct mail, tenant screening, etc. With the podcast the two hosts (Brandon Turner and Josh Dorkin) interview someone from the Bigger Pockets community that is active on the forums or blog. They have had people just starting out to 20 year veterans. The have a slightly regimented interview format that lends easily to casual conversation.

Next we have another show with 2 hosts, The Real Estate Guys! http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-real-estate-guys-radio/id194167775
Website: http://realestateguysradio.com/
The Guys are Robert Helms and Russel Grey. Robert has been an investor all his life and works with his father, Bob Helms – who is a regular guest on the show. While Russel was a financial planner for years before moving into real estate. This is a weekly radio show that is translated into a podcast. They talk about all aspects of the business even though they only do buy and holds. They typically have a guest on the show, but they also fly solo (duo?) sometimes. They organize trips and educational seminars and believe in location independent investing. “Live where you want to live, and invest where the numbers make sense.” – Robert Helms.

The next show is more about online business and information products, but it is good to learn from multiple avenues and be well rounded. This is the Solopreneur Hour with Michael O’Neal. https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/solopreneur-hour-podcast-michael/id692594227
website: Solopreneurhour.com

Michael has been a professional drummer and website designer and is now a full time podcaster and coach. His podcast is an interview format that has no structure and he just has free-form conversations with his co-hosts (he doesn’t have guests, just a new co-host nearly every show). He focuses a lot on building your brand and leveling up your thinking and your business. Most of the people he chats with are in the internet marketing and information product space, but his views and points are applicable to all businesses.

The last show I am going to talk about today is another in the online marketing space, and that is Smart Passive Income with Pat Flynn. https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/smart-passive-income-podcast/id383084001?mt=2
Website: SmartPassiveIncome.com

Pat was an architect by schooling and trade until he was laid off in the housing collapse in 2008. At first he didn’t know what he would do, but now he feels that was a blessing in disguise. He had a blog about passing the Leed exam for architecture, turned it into an ebook and within a few months replaced his income from the job he just lost with his blog. He has a pretty good mix of interviews and solo shows, and he talks about blogging and the internet world and what works and what doesn’t. Pat was one of the first in the space to publicly publish his monthly earnings statements and he breaks them down in detail since there is something to be learned there. Pat has created several business in the online space and is making money in those niches where he had no prior knowledge or experience. Pat also discusses affiliates and has a large portion of his income derived from affiliate links. Just another way to start a business without actually having your own product.

I hope this has made you interested in some of these podcasts and that you give them a listen. Don’t stay in the learning loop forever without doing, but always be eager to learn something new. Let me know in the comments or on twitter what podcasts you listen to!

Until next time, take some action. Feel the fear and do it anyway.

Then And Now

Without coming across as a zealot, I believe there is a new world order coming – and it’s going to be like nothing we have known before. This one thing will be enough to generate another Bronze Age or Renaissance period and will clearly demonstrate the concept of America’s perceived entitlement of “manifest destiny”. What will move people all over the world into this change? Those of us fortunate enough to have been born in the USA, Europe, and Asia in the late 1800’s to the middle of the last century, have already watched this change unfold around us.

Just think- my three grandmothers (Yes, I was lucky enough to have more than any of my friends!) were born between 1897 and 1899 in the “wild, wild, west”. One grandma was the first white child born in that part of the White River Valley in Colorado. (Probably politically incorrect, but we are proud to be one of the pioneer families.) My grandmother born in 1897 celebrated her 100th birthday, and clearly remembers the Indians in Montana coming to stare through the windows to see a pale-skinned person. Her father’s journal recounts Custer’s last stand from the viewpoint of the ranchers in that area. My youngest Grandma was born in the US but her older siblings were born in Norway. I have letters she received from her family in North Dakota written in Norwegian on one side and translated into English on the other by one of her siblings that knew both languages. The younger children were punished if they spoke or learned Norwegian because it was that important to her parents that their children be true Americans. What do you think they and their parents would have thought of someone talking to them about astronauts, jet planes, vaccines for nearly every disease that killed the people of that time? Or motor cars, indoor plumbing, electricity, or refrigeration? How about computers, telephones in everyone’s pocket that allow constant contact, satellite TV? Yet my grandmothers saw, and adapted to, all of that in their lifetimes!

They were the first ones be swept up in the change. My parents and I were the next; but my children have never known a single day where all that and more wasn’t normal. My grandchildren are frighteningly adept at using these things practically from birth. (I think we may be seeing our species evolve before our eyes.) What is making this catastrophic change? Technology.

Abraham Maslow was an American psychologist that studied why some people could make it to incredible achievement and others couldn’t. He developed Maslow’s Pyramid to help give his observations of common traits and circumstances structure and coherence for laymen. His tool is known as the “Hierarchy of Human Needs” and is in the shape of a pyramid.

His pyramid is comprised of 5-levels, and the needs of one must be fulfilled to move forward to the next. The base is physical needs, next comes safety needs, third is love and belongingness, four is esteem, and the top tier is self-actualization. What would happen if everyone, everywhere had all these needs met? What options might percolate up through the process? I think that’s a topic for another day! 

Rentals Are A Business

Treat your rentals like a business

The other day I was listening to the Lifestyles Unlimited podcast/radio show and a gentleman called in and talked about his rental and the tenant in that rental. The host, Del Walmsley, talked with him and gave him some advice that I wholly agree with. I will get to that advice in a minute, but first want to lay out the rest of the call.

So the caller first says that he is calling because he has a tenant in his property that isn’t paying the full amount on the rent and wasn’t sure what to do about it. He felt that she was a friend now and he just didn’t have the heart to put her out of the house. So clearly he knew what the answer was, and that is what Del told him to do, he just didn’t want to do it. He went on to say that he had $30k and wondered what he should do with it. In questioning from Del it also came out that he thought he had about $40k in equity in the house this lady was in.

In regards to the tenant, Del said he should get her out of the house. I think everyone should have seen that coming. I agree with that completely! The caller argued that he would be putting financial strain on her if he kicked her out, and he felt like he just couldn’t do that. Del told him that she was taking advantage of him. I feel like the caller was putting himself in a financial strain by keeping that tenant. So he took her money problems and turned them into his own! Don’t do that. If you are a landlord your business model is to provide affordable and clean housing to people that want to pay for it. Provide enough value for someone else to pay for, I has I have talked about previously. The caller said that she was giving him more than the mortgage payment, so he was not suffering financially from this. I disagree with him. She was paying a little more than $200 less than market rent according to the caller. So he is reducing his income by $200 a month just by being a nice guy! What could you do with an extra $200 every month? I could certainly figure out something to do with that!

The other part of the call is that the caller had some money laying around as well as equity in the property and wanted to know what to do with it. He was thinking about refinancing the property, but didn’t want to inconvenience the tenant. Selling was completely out of the question because that is the same as putting her out on the street. Letting this tenant abuse him was not only worth the $200 a month…but it was worth $40k to him! That is some expensive abuse! And yet he claims this woman is his friend. Lifestyles teaches that if you have less than $50k, you should invest in single family dwellings. If you have between $50 and $100K you can think about getting into a multi-family syndication, and if you have more than $100k, you should absolutely be in a syndication. This caller had $30k in cash, and thus would fall under the single family bracket. In this case Del told him to stay away from single family. He should probably stay away from real estate entirely, unless he was going to get into a syndication deal as a passive member and let someone who actually knows the business take care of the tenants directly. This is the part I completely agree with Del on. Run the business correctly in a manner that produces repeatable and consistent profits, whatever business it is, and that is the “secret” to becoming wealthy. Do it wrong like this guy was and you just end up hating your business and wanting out.

In real estate, your property is your product and your renters are your customers. If your product is not producing the income it should be producing then you have to fix whatever the issue is. If the roof of the house has a hole in it, fix it. If the AC is broke, fix it. If however the product is sound but the customer has a problem, then fire the customer. If you are in a bar and you get too drunk and break something, the bar will kick you out and never let you back in. If you go streaking though Wal-mart, they will have you escorted out and you won’t be welcome back. Of course after your picture gets all over the internet. If you are a tenant and you are not paying the rent required, the owner has the legal right to kick you out of the house! In none of these situations is the customer right, and in every one of them the customer is to be fired for the betterment of the business. Remember that your business should have repeatable profits. Doing something intentionally that is damaging your profits is just going backwards.

Until next time, take some action. Feel the fear and do it anyway.

The End Of The Beginning

Just under 3-years ago I found myself working in an environment that was poisonous to people with a belief that much can be accomplished when we work together. I had worked there for 25 years but suddenly couldn’t make myself get up and go to work. My health was being seriously affected, physically and mentally but there was no way out. I was a single mom, no college degree, no money in the bank, too young to retire and make enough money to keep my house, and no longer capable of doing my job. It had to be me failing….right?

I had a friend who was considering an early retirement, and although we were both in education, I could see that she had options out there to supplement her reduced pension. Imagine my surprise when she said I had options too, that I just hadn’t looked for them. Huh, what options?
I couldn’t think of anything but retiring after she said that – whether I had everything figured out or not. I simply could not continue to try to control what I had no control over – my job environment. What I could control was myself. I would figure out something to bring in more money or I’d learn to live on what the pension was. My two kids, grown men by then, supported my decision. So off to retirement I went!
In October of 2012 my youngest son came to his brother and I with a proposal to go to one of Dean Graziosi’s real estate events and see what options we might all have to work together towards something that we couldn’t even imagine was possible. So here we are 18-months later – doing the “impossible”. We took the pro’s we learned from seriously when they said it would not be easy – it would not be quick – it would require a totally different mind-set than we had. They didn’t lie. Are we where we wanted to be by now? No, but we have made some money. Are we closer than we thought we could get? No, we know we can do this. Where are we? We are getting up every day and showing up to work on getting to where we want to be!
The more I look for my options, the more I look around and learn about what is possible the more I believe in myself, the fewer limitations I see. I have had to be willing to broaden my thinking from the old formula of money for time – work long enough and you can retire. What I need to find is something of value that people will pay me for. It has to be something that makes money for me regardless of what I am doing with my time. We all have options! It’s just unfortunate that it may take someone else to see we have them, and fortunate that there are so many ways to learn about finding our options. Options that didn’t even exist 10-years ago! Real estate investor? Me? Own a nationwide business with no upfront money? Really? Yes!!! Always believe options are there and look for them!

Re-Building: The Entrepreneurial Journey

It must be raw –

It must be real-

It must be now-

 This has to change.


This is what I wrote, with pen and paper, as I tried to come up with ideas for the blog. This one statement has at least moved me to this point, and so that is in and of itself progress, so here it is. The statement that finally spurred my action.

“Because even as I write these words, intended as they are for my own personal consumption, I doubt their conviction. So I must persevere for there is no battle more important than the battle for one’s soul.”

I invite you to join me as I publicly tackle each and every demon that stands in my way. The time has come for the clarion call to be sounded to myself. I must show up for this battle for, if I do not, then no one will show up to fight for me.

So that’s all well and good Joe, but where is this going?

I don’t know, but it has to be better and more fulfilling than what I am doing now. Today I have purchased and enrolled in the Brendon Burchard 12 week course to claim your personal freedom. So that is where we are going to start.

As I move through this process I hope that the trials and tribulations that I face are familiar to some of you, and that by sharing in my journey you can find the answers that will help you to find that next level, that next step. That breakthrough that will move you from where you are now to where you want to be.

The power is within us all, so join me as we find the answers together.

This will be uncomfortable

For me

For you

And when it’s done, we will all be better because of it.

Let’s get down to business…..

Economics – Video Game Style

Today I am going to talk about a couple of video games. If that makes you want to check out now, that is fine, though I am going to tie this into how you can be more successful in your non-gaming life. Still with me? Fantastic!

The two games I am going to talk about are both role playing games. Role playing games (or RPGs) are typically games in which you take on the role of a character and then embark through the world doing quests and helping people. One of the things that typically sets this games apart from things like action games or shooting games is that your characters have stats that can improve over time and more importantly there are crafting abilities where your character can make something. The two games I am going to focus on are World of Warcraft and Skyrim.

Many times in World of Warcraft (or WoW) you will see something like this pop up in the chat window: Leather worker LFW or LF Alchemist. In the first case the character is a leather worker and probably has high level or rare patterns and is willing to use that pattern to make something for someone. In the second, the requester is looking for an alchemist to make them a potion. While both are providing a service that someone else lacks, I see the leatherworker more as a service provider and the alchemist as a goods dealer. I have spoken about those before in this post.

The main reason I see a difference here is the end result of what each player makes. In the case of the leatherworker, they are typically making armor and it is something that the purchaser is going to keep for a while. It is not consumable. So while there is no recurring revenue from it, and most customers will not be repeat, I see it as a service primarily because it is not consumable. Also due to the difficulty in obtaining those patterns, the price can be fairly significant.

Alchemy on the other hand in that game makes potions. Potions are very much consumable and while someone will buy a single piece or armor, they will buy 20 or more potions every night. I see this as a goods dealer because many times there are several potions that give similar benefit, the potions are easier to obtain and make, and the cost is significantly lower.

The economy in Wow is similar to that of real life in that not everyone can do everything. The professions I mentioned above are only two of the dozen or so jobs in WoW. Any of those professions has the possiblity to make a ton of money in the game, through some hard work and persistence. Hmm, where does that sound familar from?

Skyrim –
Next I want to talk about Skyrim. While WoW is a multiplayer game, Skyrim is a single player game. And yet there is still and economy in the game and it can be mastered quite simply. Again there are crafting abilities, but the player can choose to take all of the abilities and be able to make anything. So where is the opportunity in making money? That would be selling to the computer controlled vendors. The trick is to find what is valuable to the vendors and then selling it to them. That should ring bells too.

In Skyrim each of the vendors has between 500 and 1000 gold usually. And it is possible to sell them items and deplete their stores of gold. Fortunately the gold (and everything else in the shop) respawns after about 2 days of game time. So the trick to mastering the Skyrim economy is to sell and take all the gold from this vendor, then travel to a different town and do the same thing, then travel to a different town and do the same thing, etc. It is not difficult, but it does take some effort from the player to accomplish this.

Real World –
I hope digging into those games didn’t dissuade too many of you. My point in digging into those is that the game designers modeled their economies after real economic basis and foundations. In both the models of scarcity are present. And in providing enough value to someone else that they will pay you. To make money in any economy, real or fictional, one must be willing to put in some work, and put that work in consistently. Making money in reality is just as easy as making money in the game. So why do so many people (including myself for a long time) have such trouble making money in real life when they can show that they are economic masters in video games? That is a tough question and I don’t have the answer to that. Is it because they perceive that there is less risk in a game? Because it is easier to put the hustle in when using a controller than it is to get off the couch and put in some hustle? I think putting in some hustle can be as simple as sending out some post cards and answering the phone. We have made tens of thousands of dollars doing just that. Never even have to leave the house. And yet still most people won’t do that.

The premises are the same in economics. Find a point of pain and fix that pain. And make it repeatable. Do that and you will have all the fortunes you wish to have.

Until next time, take some action. Feel the fear and do it anyway.

In The Beginning

Where it all started…

When I was first divorced and realized that I had two boys to raise alone, I knew I needed to leave Wyoming (which is 2-weeks from everywhere ) and find somewhere that could give them the most opportunity within the budget I’d have. One of the top items on that list was how was I going to get them thru college? With a bit of investigation, and a summer traveling with my folks and their 5th-wheel trailer to actually see places that might work, the kids and I figured out that we would build our life in California. Continue reading