Monthly Archives: January 2012

Why Facebook Games Make Me Laugh (Part 2)

Today I encountered the ultimate irony regarding Facebook games. If you read my first post about Facebook games you already know my stand on them. Somehow though they are impossible to escape entirely. Even when I get them mostly blocked from my page and feeds, I still run across them everywhere else on other people’s pages. I guess that’s their business though. But today was the classic irony!

If you know us, you know we invest in income producing real estate. We are always looking for our next deal to grow our business. For a couple of years we have been allowing other people to provide investment capital ( extra money) for us to use when we buy properties. We pay it back with really good interest in six months.

Now for the irony!

Today I was writing checks out to some of our investors which were the profits from their investments with us. I was also contacting them to let them know that their checks were being sent out. A couple of them are facebook friends so I thought I would just do a quick post to them them that way. I went to one friends page and had to laugh. There on his page were several posts from other friends trying to entice him into playing this game or that. They were all “Money” games. How funny is that. I posted right along with them that the profits from his investment with us was on its way in the mail. (real profits, not virtual profits).

Now I don’t know if he really plays those games or not. Maybe he just gets blitzed by them like all the rest of us do by our friends. Besides, it really doesn’t matter anyway because I know this man and know he is actually playing the real game of investing. From our experience with him I know he researches, calculates, takes reasonable risk and consistently makes a profit.

He does all the things in the real world that the gamers do in the virtual world. The difference is that at the end of the day, he’s going to take his real profits to the bank where the gamers will bank up their virtual profits in their virtual bank. Then after they’ve made all the virtual profits they can (but none that they can spend) they will head off to work to get a real paycheck.

I just found that to be Ironic!

The Hard Assets

Most of my posts involve encouraging and challenging people to pursue their dreams. I figure its time to do a little “Nuts and Bolts” of how we operate. So I’m going to show a few of the assets that make our pursuit of the dream possible. If you know us, you know we have adopted the R. Kiyosaki principle of assets. “Assets put money in your pocket whether you work or not. Liabilities take money out of your pocket whether you work or not.” We provide housing for people. Our goal is to make our places something people can feel at home in.  Some examples:

    

When we speak of our business, this is our product. It’s clean, nice, affordable housing. To the people who live there, its home. To us, the houses are business assets. Each and every asset we add increases passive income.

Why go to the trouble of posting this? Because as we continue to build the business, the pursuit of our dreams becomes more of a reality. We offer to help others develop this same stream of income for themselves which accomplishes 2 things. It helps them develop income that’s not restricted by the job market, education, skill levels or even the general economy. Second, the bigger the group of investors, the more impact we can have in securing more assets for everyone.

Owning real estate does not fulfill our sense of purpose. Owning real estate makes the fulfillment of our purpose possible.

If you’ve ever felt challenged by any of my posts, it’s for one reason, to encourage you to pursue your dream. If you haven’t found a financial vehicle to enable that, we should talk.

Shaping Your Destiny

Hopefully, nobody is foolish enough to think that you have complete control over your own destiny. There are always events in life that are completely beyond control that influence your life. I guess its possible to reduce some of these events. (For example, you can avoid getting caught up in most bar fights by avoiding bars in the first place. Or, you can avoid bungee jumping accidents by avoiding bungee jumping, and so on) But, you can’t avoid life, so some of the good, bad and ugly of life is going spill onto you at times unexpectedly no matter how hard you are trying to shape or “control” your own destiny. There is nothing wrong with that, it happens.

Shaping your own destiny, or maybe “directing” your own destiny, has more to do with your everyday decisions and actions. If your decisions and actions are largely in response to your current life circumstances then you’re mostly letting outside influences and circumstances control your destiny. Life will push you along the path of least resistance (which is usually in a muddy ditch and downhill)  Those who choose to pursue their destiny by taking the ” I’ll take each day as it comes” approach still end up having life pushing them in a down hill direction. They generally try to resist the downhill pressure but go with the flow when life happens to push them in a positive direction. To me that still leaves too much influence to outside sources and circumstances.

I believe that a person can actively shape or direct their destiny through their decision and actions. The first step is to actually choose a destiny for yourself. One that is worth pursuing with all your heart. Then start making decisions and taking actions that move you toward that destiny. Your first decision and action won’t arrive you at your destiny. Your first decision and action may indeed be “How do I get out of this muddy ditch?” It doesn’t matter where you are at. Starting with your decision to act, then you, not your circumstances, become the one that is shaping your destiny.

If you don’t have a dream or vision of your destiny, get one. If you’ve lost your dream or vision of your destiny, find it.  If you have one that’s unclear, define it. if you have one that’s clear, pursue it.

In any case, quality decisions and actions will tend to move you uphill. Indecision and inaction will tend to move you downhill.

Everybody has a Reason

Everybody has a reason for doing what they do. I believe that people basically fall into one of two catagories regarding this. The one category moves their way through life guided by their values, their purpose and their vision. The other group moves their way through life believing in their values, purpose and vision but guided by the way life pushes them through it. When the one group runs into an obstacle they either saw it coming and avoided it or hit it and immediately began to develop a solution for it. The other group gets pushed up against it and gets stuck there or eventually gets deflected off in one direction or the other. Both groups may be able to focus on their destiny. One group keeps an eye on their destiny but also surveys the landscape in between to create a path to get there. The other group keeps their eye on the destiny but sees the path between full of jungles, swamps and mine fields too overwhelming to blaze a trail through. One group invests in the tools to get there the other claims the price is too high. One group believes they “can” the other group wishes they “could”. One group sees the danger in the trip, the other group does too but packs a first aid kit for the journey.

One group finds a reason to go!

The other group finds a reason to stay!

Here’s to Being Unemployed!

I think I stumbled (un-intentionally) into a bit of a scrap today. (I think everything is okay) but it had to do with one of our favorite subjects. Being unemployed. Several of us that share the common experience of not being employed because of our investing activities try to keep each other…..sometimes encouraged and sometimes just off balance with the term; ” Here’s to being unemployed!” When things in our respective businesses are going well we use it, and when something particularly annoying happens we use it. Its a term of endearment for us.

Each of us had to find our own “right time” to pull the plug on steady employment. It doesn’t matter when it happens, its never soon enough or never long enough depending on what kind of a day you end up having on any given day. I think I’ve figured out that it takes about a year and a half to really acclimate to being unemployed. During that time you can experience a lifetime of anxiety, but its when you also experience the incredible excitement of seeing yourself reach your first real significant goal. Enough passive income to offset or replace your wage earning income. Even then, there are days you would just rather cash it all in for a steady paycheck again. (that feeling only lasts until you start thinking of your old job again)

The FACT is, none of us would trade the steady passive income from investing for a job that even paid double what our investing provides. There’s just too much of a sense of freedom that you can never leave once you’ve tasted it. The PROBLEM is, we use the term UN-employed instead of NOT employed. The difference is that one implies involuntary unemployment vs voluntary unemployment.

Whenever we hear the term “unemployed” its almost our cue to toast “Here’s To Being Unemployed!” (for better or worse depending on the day)  Sorry if its offensive. We occasionally use it to challenge others to consider the option of building an investment business for themselves. Whether its something that only creates $1,000 or $2,000 per month or something that could replace their entire earned income, it makes no difference to anyone but the one it benefits. We even spend a large portion of our time helping others get started. To me, the joy of having our income secure regardless of our employment status is just TOO COOL!  We would gladly share our experience and knowledge and even make opportunities available to those who are truely interested. AND If you achieve enough investment income to become “unemployed” yourself (voluntarily of course) you can still work as much as you want if thats what you want. You just get to choose what you work at and how much of it you do.

Until then…….Here’s to Being Unemployed! 

Seeing Opportunity Without Vision

Our vision controls the way we think and, therefore, the way we act. . . The vision we have of our job determines what we do and the opportunities we see or don’t see. – Charles Koch

I have always believed that people experience life within the boundaries of their vision. I know people who live very small lives (and perhaps satisfying ones). I also know people who live large lives, experiencing as much as possible. It doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with money or lack of money. I believe it has to do with vision or lack of vision.  

 
Those with no vision or a very small vision tend to live life as it comes to them one day at a time, seldom looking beyond a few days. Those with large vision tend to live life with their bodies stuck in today, but their minds working in overdrive somewhere in the future. They are looking for opportunity that will help fulfil their vision. They are putting the pieces of their vision together before they even arrive. This is what I enjoy about being around visionary people. They are operating by a faith principle “faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.” Vision is a lot like that. It’s substance of things you hope for, and evidence enough for you to act on things yet unseen. Vision creates a need for opportunity and believing in your vision exposes opportunities. With small or no vision, there is no need to see or act on opportunities. 
 
To me, the worse possible situation is to have vision only to shrink your vision to fit your perceived opportunities. If you are committed to your vision, you find opportunities to fulfill that vision.

Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks

Here I am, 51 years old and doing my best to acclimate to the information age. I am doing things now that weren’t in my vocabulary six months ago and weren’t even terms and words a few years ago. So, I’ve joined facebook and starting to understand that. I have struggled to create a blog and have just been challenged to upload a picture. (Thanks Cassie! lol) Finally, Got that conquered. Recently got an i-phone, still pretty much use it to make phone calls, but texting is pretty cool too! Learned to create an actual website (from templates..Is that cheating? I think not!!!!) www.crosstimberscabins.webs.com .

This old dog is constantly at the extreme limit of my capability and comprehension of technology. Still tomorrow’s another day and another opportunity for me to step into something I have no idea how to do.

Thank God theres still simple things in life like how to close a real estate deal with no money in the bank.

Investing for the Outcome rather than the Income!

My son-in-law posted this to facebook the other day. I’m not sure if it was original or not, but it’s had me thinking quite a bit since then. I understand that its easy to just relate to the income when you start out. Its also easy to just assume that everyone who is trying to build an investing business is doing it just for the income. The income is a huge motivating factor when a person starts out. Its usually because of the lack of a sufficient income that one decides to start something like investing in the first place. I’m no exception, the possible income was definitely what primed the pump. A funny thing begins to happen though as the income starts to trickle in. First its a few hundred a month then a few thousand. Pretty soon, the income becomes routine enough that a person finds themselves not really worrying about it that much. When that happens, I believe a responsible person starts to think of what can be done with this new resource. Certainly Warren Buffet and Bill Gates are examples of how they changed lives with their generous financial gifts. They were thinking more of the outcome than the income.

This is true on smaller levels as well. As we see our labor and decisions begin to bear financial fruit, we begin thinking of the possibilities before us. The progression tends to be, first, what does it take to sustain us, then, what does it take to produce an inheritance for the children, then things get interesting. When it appears that those two basics are covered, then all of a sudden other dreams and passions begin to seem within reach. Those are the far off “outcomes”.

I’m meeting with a small group of people this week that have big outcomes in mind. They are ministry focused and have a desire to create an investing portfolio to fund their mission work. This is not a new idea, but its one that most people never consider. Either because it’s beyond their ability to see that big or it’s because they assume investing is only for the income.

Invest for the income, but more importantly, invest for the outcome.

What About 2012?

This post is more serious (at least more than the last couple of them) The blog title is “Living My Dream”. Maybe its an arrogant title but nevertheless it is true. Through 6 years of real estate investing we have begun to enjoy the freedom to pursue my life dreams. The one makes the other one possible.

The big question I have is directed to every one who has said to me that they also would like to achieve some form of financial freedom.  All through 2011 we have been making deals, partnerships and opportunities available to new investors. A grand total of one person has joined our “circle of investors” as an equity investor and two have joined as small capital cash investors. We’ve done about a dozen deals this year and we’ve basically been the beneficary of almost all of them. Thats not a bad thing, its just that we could have closed up to 20 more deals and spread them around to other investors. 2012 is going to be even a bigger year for opportunities because we are finishing up all of the current projects and getting ready to start bringing more of them on.

From an investor perspective, things aren’t going to get much better than they are now. If you are one of the ones that have been talking about this for 3 or 4 years now, maybe its time to be serious about it. We’re going to keep the process moving forward. We are preparing a website that will have a cleaner and easier format to follow the opportunities.

Change is hard, but sooner or later the pain of staying the same is worse than the pain of the change.

Benjamin Disraeli said;  “The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes!”

Its coming fast for 2012!

Why Facebook games make me laugh!

Anyone that has ever checked in to my facebook page or profile  knows that you won’t find me involved in any of what seems like millions of games. I’m amazed at just how many new ones keep showing up. Now my intention is not to offend you game players out there, even though some of you I’m sure will be offended. My real intention is to challenge and/or inspire you. If you play the “Gold Rush” game ( I assume patterned after the popular T.V. show) you may get excited to discover virtual gold, or be upset that your virtual equipment breaks down. But you will never experience in thousands of hours of game playing the highs or lows that a real gold miner will experience in one day of the real thing. Likewise with the farm game, the resort game, the village game, the castle game, the casino game or any other of the games. 

I chuckle every time I get a request for some nails, boards or bricks. I can only assume they are really requesting some virtual nails, boards or bricks. Believe me, any time you see me requesting some nails, boards or bricks, it’s because I really need some nails, boards and bricks. ( and a lot more that 2 of this and 3 of that.) I was driving by a place in Arkansas where they are building a real 15th century castle. Its a 30 year project. Now theres some people that need some nails, boards and bricks! I believe they are accepting volunteers all you castle building gamers.

Anyway, back to the challenge and inspiration. It only takes a small dream and a small vision to find satisfaction in creating something thats real vs. virtual. I would encourage you to find that real world adventure and throw yourself into it with the same enthusiam and time you would with a game. Our latest adventure is our family retreat. (you can follow along on our other blog or check it out at www.crosstimberscabins.webs.com)

Until then, I’m officially putting out a request for materials and labor to build a wood shed. Don’t bother responding with virtual help. I really need to build a wood shed to store the campfire wood in! (the real campfire wood we use to build the real campfires with) ( to roast the real hot dogs and make the real smores) (where we look at the real moon and the real stars) (then sleep in the real cabins) Goodnight!