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Friday, November 25, 2016

10 Ways Your Job Makes it Hard to Build Wealth

Notice I say “hard” but by no means “impossible”...

1. The glass ceiling.

The intent in most companies is to level the playing field by having performance reviews and being organized into working groups with managers overseeing those groups. The way It’s supposed to work is that you work hard within your team, make your boss look good , make money for the company and you will be promoted so that you can ascend the corporate ladder. 

Although this might be the intent, in many places promotions work a little different. It can be about who you know and how well you get along with them instead of just performance based. So to get to that level that you aspire there might be some unwritten rules to do so and that’s if you have a chance at all, because some lines just cannot be crossed. 

Who you know, what you do, what you say, what's your last name, how much socializiing you do, etc. are all things that can influence when and even if you get promoted.

The funny part of this is that the ones who get promoted probably don’t believe the above and the ones who don’t do. 

2. It takes a long time.

I realize that nothing in life worth having comes fast and easy, but the "drip" method of saving and investing that you get with a job and the limited earning potential (see #6 and #8 below) makes building wealth with a job a slow process.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A Year of Entrepreneurship

Wow, what a year!

As I write this I have no doubt that 2014 will go down as the hardest year of my life, period.

That is saying a lot, I know. Hard to quantify too. But the challenges that I faced this year were so deep and overwhelming that I have no doubt what I am saying above is true.

Everyone goes through hard times and I am no stranger to them. But the challenges of this year really tested me to the core, to who I am, what I am capable of and what I can tolerate and still move forward.

After leaving my corporate job in 2013 and going into business for myself I had no doubt there were challenges ahead. But there is no way that you can get a clear idea of what’s coming until you are facing it. Many days I felt like I could not go on. And of course the allure of quitting is always sitting in the back of my head.

The Hillary Step. The last hard section climbers face before
getting to the summit of Mt. Everest.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

How to Rent a House - Tenant Turnover in Rental House #1

After a very long tenancy my tenants in rental house #1 had to move. I was truly sorry to see them go, not just because of the vacancy factor but because they were good people, we got along well, they took care of the house and they liked the house. But, their personal circumstances changed and they had to move on.

It is common to hear horror stories about investors having to deal with horrible tenants, that were a pain to work with and left the house in terrible shape. What you don't often hear is the opposite of that. And mine was such a story. So all you prospective landlords out there understand that being a landlord can also be a pleasant experience!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Dealing With the Uncertainty of Entrepreneurship

You have probably heard the saying “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it…” Well I did and I have. I longed wished to be on my own, run my own show, have my own business, call my own shots…I got all of that and then some.

Owning your business comes with a lot of responsibilities that I did not have before and a lot more work too. This is coming from a person that has been in charge of nuclear missiles, that has launched rockets into space and have managed multimillion dollar construction projects.

I say this not to impress you but to put in perspective that I am no stranger to handling a lot of responsibilities and many moving parts. Yet everything I did in the past seems now like less work and in some ways easier than what I am currently doing as an entrepreneur and business owner.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Bob Parsons® 16 Rules for Success in Business and Life in General

These are pretty popular but I am sure there are some of you out there that have not seen them or it might just be helpful to read them again.  In case you are not familiar, Bob Parson is the founder and owner of Go Daddy, the web services behemoth!

Every morning I try to read something uplifting and positive so I can get in the right mindset for the day. I think we all need to make a conscious effort to put the right things in our minds. Motivation, positivism and enthusiasm don't come naturally to all (even thought it might seem like it) so being proactive in getting the right mindset is a step in the right direction.  

1. Get and stay out of your comfort zone.
I believe that not much happens of any significance when we're in our comfort zone. I hear people say, "But I'm concerned about security." My response to that is simple: "Security is for cadavers."
2. Never give up.
Almost nothing works the first time it's attempted. Just because what you're doing does not seem to be working, doesn't mean it won't work. It just means that it might not work the way you're doing it. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it, and you wouldn't have an opportunity.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Surprise, Surprise! - Wealth-Steps.com Traffic Over The Last Year

I just wanted to share with you some surprising facts about this websites' traffic over the last year. I know some of my readers also run websites and blogs of their own so I think this might be useful.

Like I have mentioned already, 2013 was a major year of career transition for me. As such, time to maintain Wealth-Steps.com was close to non-existent. For most blogs this is usually the kiss of death.

Since search engine and Alexa rankings for blogs depend on traffic and traffic depends on frequency of adding content, when you have a blog and stop posting traffic goes down, period.

In my case, since Wealth Steps is not a blog, my traffic not only kept steady but much to my surprise it increased. 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Why I Wish I Had "Nicer" Things But I Don't...

I live in a fairly affluent area of Atlanta. I am not necessarily surrounded by millionaires, at least not immediately, but it is definitely a middle to upper middle income area. Since I have traveled extensively throughout this city and have gotten to see some of the not so nice areas, I can tell the difference.

Where I live the real estate is more expensive, the houses are bigger, people drive nicer cars, children go to more, nicer and more expensive activities and overall people have “nicer” things. In other words the normalcy of having “nicer” things is contagious and rampant.

I associate with many people that as far as I can tell like to spend more and have more than I do. They use their money in ways I don’t. And I’ll be honest, sometimes I wish I had more “nicer” things like they do.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Quitting My Job, Starting My Own Business...

The time has come for me to move away from Corporate America, move away from making a living with a J-O-B and dedicate myself to a new challenge...

I quit my job and I have started a new business!

I will now be spending the majority of my daylight hours working on my own business. Real estate investing is still going to be part of my mix but that will not be the main income provider. 

As I have commented on other posts the real estate market in my city has changed dramatically for the type of investing that I was doing. I knew it was coming, I just was not expecting it so soon. 

I now got to figure out what to do next and how. On the other hand I have chosen to not make real estate investing my primary occupation after leaving the corporate world. 

I have started a business in marketing and advertising and as such is going to require that I spend a lot of time in the sales funnel. Although due to my real estate experience I have a small amount of sales experience this is going to be completely different. And for me different is good…

Monday, December 16, 2013

Making Money With Full Time Real Estate Investing - Part 2

(This is the second part of my interview with Danny. You can read the first part here)

Finding Motivated Sellers...

Fast forward to the present and Danny has been steadily doing real estate investing deals for the last 10 years and he's been making a full time living at it. But the thing that most caught my attention of Danny is that he is not chasing foreclosures and bank owned properties like I was.

Since Danny started flipping properties before the recession, before there were distressed properties everywhere, he had to develope the systems to find properties that would make good investment sense. This basically means looking for motivated sellers. Finding homeowners that for some circumstance in their lives, need to sell the house even if it is at a steep discount from market values.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Making Money With Full Time Real Estate Investing

An Interview with Danny Johnson a Full Time Investor

I recently had the privilege of speaking with Danny Johnson from FlippingJunkie.com, an experienced and very active real estate investor in the San Antonio area. Danny has been investing in real estate for about 10 years now of which 7 of them have been as a full time real estate investor.
FlippingJunkie - Danny, Melissa and Weston
Like so many out there Danny and his wife were neck deep in the grind of the full time corporate job and soon enough realized that type of life is someone else idea of making a living and not theirs.

Danny then started to have the kind of thoughts that I am very familiar with. He realized that the corporate job was not going to cut it if he intended to build wealth and reach financial independence one day.

So in comes real estate investing…

Friday, May 17, 2013

My Investing Strategy is Dead... What Now?

You might have noticed that it has been awhile since I have announced a new house flipping project on this site. That is indicative of how the real estate investing market has changed in Atlanta (again). My strategy of buying foreclosed homes to fix and flip has stopped working. I am now racing to figure out how to find new properties. 

wall street buying properties in atlanta

Monday, April 15, 2013

Potential Deal?...Don't Walk, Run!

This week I was reminded that when opportunity knocks the advantage goes to the proactive person and not the reactive one. You see, I got an email with a potential deal in my preferred area of real estate investing. Although good deals in my area are rare, they are possible because that is how I got House #8.

This was a wholesaler deal, meaning that an investor finds the property and puts it under contract and then tries to assign the sales contract to another buyer (me). They make their money by setting the sales price to his end buyer higher than the sales price he contracted with the owner of the property. The difference in prices is their profit.

I immediately gave him a ring but I couldn't get a hold of him until late in the day so we set an appointment to see the house the next day.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Rental House Update and What You Must Know Before Purchasing Rental Property

My rental house is now sold! (my favorite four letter word in real estate).

In the previous post about this house I wrote about how we had taken a chance and decided to sell the house instead of rent it. It turned out that the interest for purchasing was much higher than the interest for renting.

Not only was it very easy to get an offer on this house, we got several offers on the house within 48 hours. To top it all it was fairly smooth transaction to get to the closing table.

First off we had to sort through all the offers that we got. Initially we got two cash offers slightly under the listing price of $125,000 and one financed offer at asking price. But then the offers kept pouring in but all of them at listing price. That is when I decided to roll the dice…

Monday, April 8, 2013

Do You have Passion for What You Do?

Ran into this short clip about Steve Jobs' thoughts on passion for your work. It made me think quite a bit and wonder what areas in my life do I feel passionate about. It's not just passion for the work I do to put food on the table but of all the things that you and I do in our lives how many of them do we feel passionate about?

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Risks of Taking on Debt

Lessons Learned From the Real Estate "Bust"

I was recently researching the tax records of a property I want to to buy and noticed that the house had been refinanced numerous times only to end in foreclosure. I think it's a good example of how some people use debt to fund their lifestyle and the risks of taking on debt.

taking on too much debt

Because real estate in general was moving up in value a lot of people were looking at the equity in their houses and looking for ways to use it. A lot of this was fueled by the multiple offers that mortgage lenders would make homeowners to try and convince them to refinance.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Rental House Update...We Are Selling!

It seems that because of the low housing inventory here in Atlanta demand for houses has gone through the roof. I bet many other major cities are seeing the same too. To illustrate let me tell you what has been happening with my rental house.

A bit ago I told you about how we evicted the tenant and were getting the house ready for rent again. Well, we did exactly that, got rid of all the trash the tenant left, cleaned the carpets, painted and did a major clean of the house which apparently the tenant was allergic to doing.

Anyway, we put the house on the rental market and the phone has not stopped ringing. My sole method of advertising was the sign in front of the house and Craigslist.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Learning From Real Millionaires...

I had the opportunity recently to attend a conference where the majority of the attendants were field supervisors in a construction related industry. As a project manager I send these guys out to my different projects and they are basically in charge of getting the work done.

The reason I bring this up is because their job would not be the first one to come to your head if I asked you to mention a high-paying profession.

The interesting part is that these individuals mostly have a High School diploma only, they live in rural parts of the country like Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, they mostly drive trucks (American of course), many of them consider themselves "rednecks" and...they are millionaires!

That's right. You would never guess it by looking at them because typically the image of a millionaire that is presented to you and me is something like this:

Yet most of these guys look like this:

Saturday, February 9, 2013

How I Messed Up A Potential Great Deal

In real estate like so many other business opportunities, every once in a while a "deal" comes up and you have to jump on it faster than you can say "deal or no deal". Well, it turns out that I just learned exactly how fast that needs to be…

Saturday morning I am looking in the multiple listing service to see what potential house flipping deals I might find. I have specific target areas, at specific price points and I look for specific conditions.

For example, one of the areas that I look in is close to me, has good schools, houses are not too old and resale values are in the upper $100's - $250k range. I look for houses that are at least 3 bed/2 bath with a basement or if they don't have a basement then it has to be a 4 bedroom.

In my search I noticed a house in this area listed at $99,000. The price was attractive and I dug some more…

Thursday, February 7, 2013

7 Ways To Change Your Family Financial Tree

As a father I have the ability to change my family tree. That means that If I come from a family where money was a problem, either there wasn't enough of it, it wasn't managed correctly or it was wasted, then I am completely capable of changing that "inheritance".

We parents are responsible for imparting on our children numerous life lessons, teaching them about money and building wealth is one of them.

The way parenting works you can’t say one thing and then do another…

What do you think happens when a child observes the following behavior:

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My First Eviction: Eviction Notices and Lessons Learned...

Demand letter, followed by eviction notice
followed by disconnect notice from power company.

A couple of months ago I wrote about how I was trying to work with one of my tenants that was struggling to make the rent. At the time it seemed that we had worked out a solution to allow him to stay in the house until the New Year and then we would part ways. However, that solution apparently did not work and the tenant decided to vanish into thin air along with the rent for December... 

We had agreed to reduce the November and December rent to let him stay in the house. But December rolled around and no check. I was able to contact him at first and he gave me the whole "check is in the mail..." line. I delivered and mailed the Demand Letter shortly thereafter (pictured).

Sure enough the 15th of the month rolls around, still no check, and now he is not picking up the phone, returning voicemails or text messages.