Category Archives: Mindset

Wealth is a team sport

As an entrepreneur or a business owner I would bet that wealth is something you think about fairly often.  Making it, keeping it, sharing it.  All of those are thoughts I have every day.  I am also a strong believer that wealth is a team sport.  I would bet that you have heard that before now.  So what does that mean?

I would contest that no one has become truly wealthy alone.  We all have limited resources in the forms of time and money and concentration and what we can work on.  To obtain and live in abundance requires more resources than any one person can bring to bear alone.

Let’s look at some examples and see where the team lies behind the wealth.  Solopreneurs work alone right?  They build their businesses and accomplish greatness through the effort of their own labors.  Yes and no.  They do toil on their business, but many also bring on help in the form of assistants or virtual assistants.  Then there is also the community that is built around their brand, plus the guys who work on the website or blog, and we can’t forget the customers.  If nothing else, we have to acknowledge without people to buy your products then there will be no success.  Other people on the solopreneur’s team might be lawyers, accountants, suppliers, mentors and coaches, etc.

What about real estate investors?  They find the deals and do the negotiations and close the contracts, they definitely don’t need a team!  Wrong.  Who closes the contracts?  Typically an attorney or title company, and many investors will use the same agent through many transactions.  That closing agent is definitely part of the investors team.  Also anyone who gives a referral to the investor.  Then we again have assistants, property attorneys and maintenance crew that might come in on a contract basis and not be full time staff.  All part of the team.

Why do these team members help someone else.  In many cases they are doing what is right for them in their path to abundance.  The investor or the business owner shares their wealth with their team members, which actually brings everyone up.  That sharing of wealth can be in the form of paying for services, offering some kind of assistance or trade, or in partnering and sharing the profits after the deal or project or launch is completed.

Partnering on something is a very powerful tool for building wealth.  I think for a partnership to be successful everything has to be clearly defined as to who is responsible for what.  Once that is established and everyone does what they said they will do, then there is much more wealth to be built by everyone than if they were working alone.

So in closing I want you to think about who is on your wealth building team.  It can be the people who support you through your trials and give opinions on business decisions.  It can people that help you run your business.  It can be other business that you support because you buy things from them.  Just because you are on their team doesn’t mean they are not also on yours.

I would love to hear from you as to who is on your team and how you help each other build wealth and abundance in your lives!

Economics of Cataan

Welcome my friends back to the musings of my mind.  Last week I was talking about compounding resources and specifically interest.  This week I want to continue my thoughts about compounding though looking at it through the lens of a game.  As I have mentioned a couple of times, I enjoy games.  I think most games that exist have lessons that are applicable in business and life.  Please hang with me and we can roll some dice together.

The game I would like to discuss today is Settler’s of Cataan.  In this game players obtain resources from placing settlements on tiles and using the resources to build more settlements.  Each new settlement generates new resources, and there is the possibility of upgrading  a settlement to a city which generates even more resources.  Each city or settlement gives the player points and the game ends when a player reaches a pre-determined amount of points.  The players can also choose to use the resources to buy cards which do various things, including giving points.  On a side note I very much recommend this game for families or for anyone who likes games.  There is strategy and community building and socialization.  Even for people that do not like typical strategy games there is enjoyment to be had in this game.

So the way I typically play this game is just to build up as many settlements/cities as I can and get as many resources as possible each turn.  That is where the compounding effect comes in. The more settlements you have, the more resources you make off each toss of the dice.  Sadly this is just a board game, so there is no interest to utilize.  My theory on this route of playing is that the more resources you have, the easier it is to either build or trade for something you need, ultimately leading to a feeling of satisfaction as new resources are added to your cache every turn, possibly even winning the game.

That is all well and good for a game, but why am I telling you about it?  I feel like this can directly apply to rental real estate as well.  The more properties you own, the more resources (or in this case cash…) comes in.  Granting satisfaction and freedom and control over your life.  Will owning rental real estate make you win the game?  Depends on the game and what you want out of life.  If the game you are playing is to give affordable safe clean housing to people, then yes real estate will help you win that game. If your game is to live comfortably and work only several hours a month maintaining your properties (or even better and not work at all because your apartment complex is big enough to have onsite staff), well that is what real estate is all about.  So yes, rental real estate and increasing your monthly cashflow can indeed help you win the game.

There is another benefit to real estate as opposed to Settler’s.  Like I said earlier, there is no interest in Settler’s, but there is in real life.  So collect your rent checks from your tenants, then put the money someplace where it will grow some interest for a while until it is large enough to purchase another investment.  In Settler’s once you buy something it is a permanent fixture on the board and the only wealth it holds is the future resources that is generated by having that settlement. In real estate, once you buy something it is still worth money that you put into it.  You can leverage that value to accelerate buying another investment or even sell the property if you need a pile of money for something else.  That is on top of the cashflow generated and that is the power of real estate.  You buy something that still has value and provides cashflow.  Using all of the benefits of owning real estate is a very good way to obtain personal financial freedom.

I believe games can teach as well as being enjoyable past times.  Here is what I think Settler’s of Cataan can teach us.  First that there is no competition in real estate.  Work with the other people in the business and everyone will prosper.  Next that it is best to create win-win scenarios whenever dealing with people.  This makes both the game more enjoyable and makes life more prosperous and fulfilling.  Last increasing the number of properties you own will increase your wealth and your options in what you can do.  In all I think that there are opportunities to grow everywhere in your life, you just have to embrace them and apply those lessons.

Until next time, feel the fear and do it anyway.

Compounding Resources

Welcome back to my little corner of the internet.  Today I want to talk about compounding interest, and actually compounding in general.  First to set the theme I have some insight from Randall Munroe of XKCD:


The numbers in this comic are low, but the math is sound.  The idea behind it is worth looking into deeper though.  Instead of relying on compound interest, the girls are going to go figure out a way to make more money.  Why not do both?  Make more money and have your money make you money.  That is one of the keys to wealth, having your money make more money for you.  Some people call that passive income and it will show up in many forms depending on what track your business is on.  Where my mind is focused, we call that income from rental properties.

First lets look at the math from the comic above.  2% interest annually is quite a bit more than most people are making from their savings right now!  Even their investments.  So I believe the 2% to be a bit of a tongue-in-cheek moment in itself.  So what is up with the numbers?  Why does that seem so underwhelming?  That is because the starting principal is so low.  With only $1,000 to start with, 2% only gets you a couple bucks a month in interest.  If you started with 1000 and ended with 1200, then you get your 2% return (1200-1000/1000 = 200/1000 = 2/10), but in this scenario we end up with an additional $20.  That is the power of compounding interest, extra money was just generated without any effort.  So the strength of the interest comes in that every month the principal earns a little more interest than the month before.  I am going to simplify this a little, but I do have a spreadsheet where you can see these numbers for you to download.  In the first 30 days, the principal will earn about $1.64.  In the 5th 30 days (not exactly 5 months, this is where I am simplifying) the principal will earn $1.65.  So with the $1,000 investment it will earn $1.64 each 30 days for 4 months ($6.56 in earnings) and then suddenly on the fifth month it is earning $1.65.  Then three months later it is now earning $1.66!  The time between each one cent a month increase shortens with every increase.  With enough time the interest earned every month will increase by more than a cent.

In the spreadsheet you can see a chart that takes this example out about 85 years, and you can see that the line changes from a line into a curve.  And in that 85 years the principal increases from $1000 to $5,437.  Without the compounding the principal would be 2700 over 85 years.  So just compounding the interest more than doubled the earnings over that time.

Like I said before, the reason that the comic is underwhelming is because the initial principal is only $1,000, and nothing more was added to it other than the interest.  The biggest secret to wealth is to keep adding to your savings, as well as leveraging the compounding effect on your money.  If we instead of using $1,000 as the base, what do the numbers look like if $10,000 is the base?  Since the base is 10 times as much, the earnings are 10 times as much, and the ratio doesn’t change.

Let’s instead focus on the rate of return.  2% is pretty good in terms of savings accounts or CDs right now.  But it is a pretty lackluster return on an investment.  In real estate it is not uncommon to have 12-20% cash on cash returns.  And that is just from the cashflow part of the investment.  As I have noted previously there are 5 ways to make money from real estate.  If just one of the 5 is already giving you a 20% return, then the others are just icing.  That is the power of wealth building through real estate.  So with a 12% return, and using $1,000 as the base investment, what does it look like in 10 years?  Then the balance is $3,303, or just over 300% returns.  Without the compounding, the balance would have been just $1,200.  So compounding in this case was almost 3 times as much earnings.  At 20% then the total principal after 10 years is over $7,000.  That doesn’t even take into account re-investing the returns.  So at 20% return, you should have your initial investment back in 5 years.  If you make the exact same investment at that point then you are effectively making a 40% return for the second 5 years.  Do that a few times and suddenly you are making 100% or 500% return every year.  That is where true wealth is grown.  Re-investing the returns and letting those compound as well as the original investments.   Compound Interest is a very powerful tool for building wealth, you just can’t totally depend on it like the girls above were contemplating.  Do both, make more money and utilize compound interest to grow your wealth.

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

Depending on a Job

They say that the perks of a job are actually golden handcuffs to keep you there. The insurance, the vacation, the 401k match. Most people think that these are benefits to themselves, but in reality they keep you tied to the job. But what happens when the job turns on you? That recently happened to one of my friends. She did everything she was supposed to. She worked hard, she stayed late, she dealt with the stress of making deadlines. Then the boss told her that she was failing to meet expectations, even though those expectations were never elaborated. Gave her an official reprimand. Unfortunately she had no other source of income. So she had to do what she had to in order to keep her job because she was taking care of her family, and she had to accept the abuse from the management team while she looked for a different job.

This situation is all too common in the corporate world. I believe that most of the companies out there do not care about their employees. They care about their bottom line and profitability, and their employees are disposable assets for that pursuit. Remember that everyone is replaceable. At any moment the company you work for can decide that it is time for you to be replaced.

This is a fairly grim picture I paint, I realize. I think that there is a solution though. If my friend had some income from something other than her boss, she would not have had to accept any abuse and could have just walked out at any time. If she owned a couple rental houses then she could have taken the time to find the right job, she would not be under a crunch to find something to provide for her family.

I believe that depending on a job or a company to provide for you and your family puts you in the same situation that I described above. However with a business that you own and can run without you, then you don’t ever have to be afraid of this scenario. Self-employment is not the same as owning a business. There is a little more security there that no one can fire you, but you can still end up in a situation where your self-employment ends. Injury, losing the lease on your building, changing technology. Without the investment income then you would be in the same situation.

It should come as no surprise to anyone who has been reading my posts that I think Real Estate is the best way to provide this investment and supplemental income. It has the lowest barrier to entry, the easiest access to leverage, and is something that is always in demand. I have talked about this with my friend, though she has been on the map of working for someone her entire life and hasn’t changed her map yet. I hope you don’t have to wait to go through an experience like she just had before you decide to change your map and look into investing in something.

Hit me up on twitter or leave a comment below if you have a similar story you want to share. Or if you want to know more about how to invest and not fall into the corporate trap.

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

P.S. – My friend was able to find a new job that suits her quite well and she has left the old company that put her through this, on her terms, not theirs.

Magic Deck as a Business

As you may recall I play Magic. Today I am going to describe life and business as a Magic deck. Now stick with me while I draw this picture, there are certainly more connections than might appear at first glance.

In Magic there are different formats of building a deck or playing the game. The facet I am going to look at today is called Constructed, which oddly enough is that you build (or construct) a deck before playing. In Constructed you build a deck of a minimum of 60 cards and you generally can’t have more than 4 of any specific card. Sometimes it makes sense to have fewer copies if it isn’t something you want to draw early or is something that you can search out. But the cards that are integral to the operation of the deck you want as many as possible. If there are cards that have similar function but with different names you want to max them out too so that you can have more chances to draw that effect. The more copies of an effect you have in your deck the more opportunity you have to draw it, and if it is a requirement for the deck to be successful the higher chances to draw mean you will draw it early and that will also increase the consistency of the deck. I think consistency is probably the most important aspect of having duplicate cards. If your deck is not consistent, then you won’t be winning very many games. So that is all good you say, but what does that have to do with business?

Excellent question! Well to have a successful Magic deck there must be consistency in the deck. I think that is key to business as well. To have success in business your business must do things consistently. Not just anything, but the right things. However if you are doing something profitable, even if it is not the most efficient thing and you do it consistently your business will make money. Obviously if you are doing things to enhance the efficiency then the consistently will bring up the profits.

They key to consistency in Real Estate investing are things like making sure your lead funnel is full, making sure the marketing goes out, making sure the deals close when they are supposed to. The key players that you need for consistency are your acquisition manager, your title/closing attorney, your bird dogs and wholesalers, your contractors and make-ready team. These people make up your core team and combined with the consistent action are where the majority of the money is made in this business.

In Magic I mentioned earlier that you might have less than 4 of a card in your deck. These things are generally big effects that when they go off you typically win the game. So the multiple copies of cards are to build the foundation to get to this game ending effect, and typically you have a way to find it in your deck as one of the foundational items. You are going to have these one-offs in business as well. These will be your estate planner, your insurance agent, your 1031 specialist. When you need them you search them out and use them for the specific task at hand.

In Magic and in business you need to have the building blocks for consistent action, then find the special resources needed to accomplish a specific task. You also have to track what actions are working (as I have mentioned previously about weight as well) and then decide if another action in business or effect in Magic is more efficient then you need to not be scared to change the process or change the deck. Both in Marketing and in Magic testing is in the vernacular. Always test and decide what is most efficient for the task at hand. Let me know here or on twitter what you think of this comparison or other games that you think can be a corollary to business and investing.

Until next time,
Feel the pain and do it anyway.


If we can define our world, we can understand it, right? Whose definition do we use? Diamandis point out that the definition of poverty in and undeveloped country and the definition of poverty in developed countries wouldn’t be the same at all. It is unlikely that everyone in the world can be elevated to the height of luxury some enjoy in those developed countries. For one thing, there are many parts of the world that don’t have the infrastructure to have easy availability of goods. But, can we change their quality of life?

“As England goes; so goes the world”

Change your mind. Change the world.

I typed that pretty darn quickly. Reading it will be quick too, but doing it – that’s another matter.
I’ve shared that “my work for time” mentality needed to be refocused to finding work that makes money whether I’m there or not. I’ve also shared that looking for those options Lucy talked about was scary/exciting. What I didn’t share is that I didn’t know I needed to change my mind-set to find some of them. When I first retired, my intent was to supplement my pension with sewing for people, computer projects for people, or daycare. I found out that having my time controlled by someone else wasn’t such a fun retirement. I also learned that there weren’t a lot of folks lining-up in my yard for my expertise. Deciding to jump into real estate investing with my kids was a knee-jerk reaction to wanting to help them.

What I didn’t know was that I needed to learn the real estate stuff as fast as possible. And along that journey is where I found my mind being blown away by cluing in on today’s style of doing business. One of the books I’ve read during that time is Abundance by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler. I want to share some of the things I found out about the present and technology. He paints a picture that I can still hardly process, but now I at least know there are things to see with open eyes and mind.

There are several things outlined by the authors to prep us for what comes next.

“…evolution shaped the human brain to be acutely aware of all potential dangers….has a profound impact on human perception: It literally shuts off our ability to take in good news.”
“…a quick look at history shows that progress continues through the good times and the bad.”
“The 1918 Influenza epidemic killed fifty-million people, World War II killed another sixty million.”
“…this period also saw infant mortality decrease by 90 %, maternal mortality decrease by 99%, and,
overall, human lifespan increase by more than 100%.”
“…using almost any metric currently available, quality of life has improved more in the past century than ever before.”
“…In today’s hyperlinked world, solving problems anywhere, solves problems everywhere.”

If we can finally tackle some of the global standards of living in undeveloped countries through technology, what will happen? I think this is the most interesting part! Diamandis and Kotler posit that, “Over the next eight years, three billion new individuals will be coming online, joining the global conversation, and contributing to the global economy. Their ideas – ideas we’ve never before had access to – will result in new discoveries, products, and inventions that will benefit us all.”

Technology, that’s what will prove the old way of thinking obsolete. When I hear about more and more money and resources leaving our country, or funding being cut by our government, I keep wondering how much longer we can do so much for so many with so little? That thinking is labeled as a “scarcity mind-set.”

Too often we have given into the “scarcity” viewpoint. Depression era children learned conservative habits because scarcity was their reality. But was there a need for that conservative mind-set when they were adults in the 50’s and 60’s? Often, time itself will make us question whether there was really a scarcity, or just a “scarcity mindset.” What is proven, over and over, is that what is hard to come by today will likely be made plentiful tomorrow through technology. Something to think about?

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! 

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…..