Monthly Archives: January 2014

Knowledge or Opportunity

me and Shelley 02For the last few weeks I’ve been a little perplexed and possible even a little frustrated. It is in regard to the battle Shelley and I faced while trying to overcome financial difficulties. We spent eight years fighting our way through one battle after the next trying to educate ourselves and find opportunity with very little on our side except determination. I wish we had someone to help direct us through the learning process, but there was no one. I wish we had someone who could have put us into a few good deals, but we had to scratch them out ourselves and then figure out how to get them done with very few resources.

During this time, we sacrificed all but the barest of necessities. We literally “risked” everything of value that we had. Sold things, mortgaged things and set aside most of the things we enjoyed, things that consumed most of our productive time. We both worked jobs that paid less than 8.00 per hour. Our kids even scolded us to go get real jobs! lol, from teenagers. How’s that for irony!

Occasionally I questioned our big adventure. Especially at times when our kids had to do without because of our decision. We had to watch them do without things that all their friends had. We had to try to explain how a load of sheet rock was more important than a nice TV. They were all pretty good sports about it, but it was still painful for us to put them through that when they were young. In the end, Yes, we were able to build our business and become millionaires. Along the way, we still never found a true mentor to help, We did find a couple of peers who were also in the business. They have become the most cherished of allies to us. At least we are able to share common experiences, difficulties and successes.

SO……….. on to my frustration.  We have spent several years now trying to pass on our knowledge and experience to others who say they want to learn what we have become so good at. Well, that sounds sincere. However, after pouring hundreds, perhaps thousands of hours into this effort, we are mostly met with suspicion concerning our motives. The fact is that we’ve pushed our boulder up the hill and over the top. There’s very little motive for us other than seeing our friends also find some level of financial freedom for themselves.

At tis point, I think I’ll continue encouraging others and writing my posts on wealth creation. I’ll enjoy sleeping in on Monday because I can. That’s my tribute what it means to be financially free (at least to me). I’ll continue to look for others sincere enough to commit to their own wealth creation journey no matter how large or small. I’ll enjoy the feeling of making a difference in the lives on people on the other side of the planet. I’ll continue developing friendships with people who are making the journey with us.

My goal is to provide knowledge and opportunity. Mostly I’m finding that there’s not really much interest in opportunity and even less interest in knowledge. At least when it comes to a commitment to creating financial freedom.

Rant over!

One Year of On-Line Blog Marketing

I just realized that it was one year ago today that we started our Internet Marketing “adventure”. I call it an adventure because that’s kind of what it’s become for us. Many of you know I started this because I wanted to learn how to improve our search engine rankings for our resorts. Not to necessarily to earn income from the marketing itself.

http://www.empowerfrontier.netMany decided to “give it a try” themselves. Most have not followed through. Still we have received income every single week on Friday from the very first week. That’s amazing to me. Has it been as lucrative as I hoped. No, but it’s been more than I expected. And truth be known, It’s been comparable to my effort and commitment. For example, We have been very busy with our resorts (Cross Timbers Cabins) from October through middle of January and have literally ignored our blogging business. Income keeps rolling in!

If you were one of the ones who jumped in and then back out, that’s okay. if you are still hanging in there, that’s good too. My advice to those still “IN” is to either get serious about it, get the advanced products and press forward, or get out. There’s no point in spending money on things you will never use. If you’re “OUT and want to give it another “more serious” try, go to empowerfrontier and re-register and decide you are going to make it work.

I still believe that learning to market your business in “Cyberspace” is going to allow you to dominate your competitors that decide to not learn it. For that reason alone, the investment in the education and tools is WELL WORTH IT! At least it is to me!

If you are a business person, I’m going to give you one of my biggest “Secret Weapons”! Auto-Responder! I had never even heard of such a thing before. Now that I’ve experienced just how powerful it is. My businesses will never be without it. If you want to get this working for you. Follow this link: Get My Auto-Responder Now! You can try it out for one dollar for the first month.

Of course, Real Estate Investing has still been our staple, but we are now adding the muscle of internet marketing to EVERYTHING we do with our real estate business. If you would like to see one example of how we have taken our real estate to the next level, go to Millionaire on Deck and look for the subscribe forms on the home page. We offer FREE daily tips and techniques through our “Investips” subscription. And we offer a FREE series of beginners Real Estate Investment instruction through that subscription. ALL OF IT is just little bits and pieces of what we’ve learned through the On-Line Marketing system Click Here to see that again!

One year ago I began my education process for learning internet marketing. It’s now one year later, have you decided to get in the game. A year from now it will be yet another year later. Sometimes you just have to start!

The Choke Point

Everyone has their own personal “choke point” when it comes to money. The reality of this is demonstrated with the condition of our personal finances. Or maybe another way of putting it is that our financial condition is a direct reflection of our financial fears. I never gave this much thought in the past when my financial condition was extremely lean. I always said; “give me a million dollars and just see what I can do!” Well, honestly, there plenty of evidence of what happens when someone is given a million dollars (or more). It tends to destroy them. This is true for professional athletes, entertainers, lottery winners and even those who inherit fortunes who have not been trained to handle it.

chokeAs much as we would like to think we can handle it, we have to admit that our individual ability to handle greater finances is completely contingent upon our willingness to step out of our comfort zone and begin operating there! That requires an ever-increasing journey into a larger financial arena.

My investing career began with a $10,000 deal which took almost everything in me both financially and emotionally. this was my first “choke point” After swallowing that first deal, I was able to easily follow-up with a $25,000 deal, then a $65,000 deal. Once comfortable in this range, my next choke point came when I was looking at my first $250,000 deal. I was completely surprised at how anxious I became again. Its one thing to say “I’m ready” for the big money. It’s another thing to actually step up to that new level of commitment, risk and responsibility. I was quite proud of pushing through that $250,000 “choke point” barrier.

I spent about 4 years in my new comfort zone thinking I was now over my fears of bigger deals. That was at least until a friend approached me with a $12 million dollar deal. I really did choke on that one. The funny thing was that it financially supported itself just fine. Obviously I was the limiting factor in that deal. Still, it taught me a lesson that I was still controlled by my sense of uncertainty about my own abilities. Since then, I’ve breathed deeply and mustered up the courage to tackle a $2 million deal. As of publishing this post, it is not finalized yet, but it’s getting close.

Here’s my point. As a society, we are conditioned to have no problem with consumer debt. ie; cars, boats, 4 wheelers, furniture, and all the stuff we use our credit cards on that are not investments. When it comes to creating financially sound investments, we tend to choke before leaving the starting gate. We say we could wisely handle wealth if it were handed to us, but can’t really seem to even establish a consistent savings plan with a small fraction of that amount. I suppose it has to do with the “perceived risk” involved with wealth creation.

The dollar value of your financial choke point is determined by the exact amount of money you have ever invested at one time, and are willing to do again. For some, that amount is zero.

Go to www.millionaireondeck.com for some free tips on wealth creation.

The Courage to Change Your Future!

For the most part, most of us want to live a good life, do things we enjoy, have enough spare time and money to pursue the things that are important to us. If we had our way, we would probably want a little more time for fun, a little less time at work and a little more cash in the bank. Occasionally, I run into someone who claims they don’t want these things. Frankly, I don’t believe them. I don’t know one single person that would take an extra $100 per month if it were offered to them. (Be serious with yourself!…….You would take it if your boss offered it to you!) I think it’s safe to say that every one of us would like to have just a little better lifestyle than we each have.

I recently had an opportunity to visit with a friend who was just reaching the point in life where they admitted to themselves that this was true for them. As we talked and discussed what that meant for them, I realized that they were facing a struggle similar to one I had faced a few years ago. That of knowing there needed to be a change, but not quite knowing how to go about it.

Deciding to change your financial future can seem like wandering off into a dark, spooky, swampy forest. You just aren’t sure which direction to go and what tools and weapons to bring along. Sadly, most secretly question whether they even have what it takes to make the journey. This is especially true with those who have tried a few times without success. Perhaps they started a business that didn’t make it. Made and investment that lost money. Or even followed advice and found it left them in a worse position than before. We’ve all had those experiences!

The one common denominator I believe is this. Courage to decide and act, followed by determination to succeed in spite of failure! Experiencing a failure does not make you a failure unless it defeats you. Many failures temporarily defeated me for sure. They are less apt to do so any more. Then again, bouncing back from failure repeatedly tends to reduce the number of failures you can expect to experience.

As my friend shared his thoughts and frustrations with me, I understood that he faced the very same problem I had and that nearly everyone has about money. They had never been taught much more than budgeting and check book balancing. These things are important but do not do any more than enable you to barely survive. It took me back to one of my basic sources of financial education. A small book called “The Richest Man In Babylon” (If you’re overly religious, don’t get freaked out by the title!)

Money is NOT THAT MYSTERIOUS! In the book there is a chapter called “The Seven Cures for a Lean Purse” They are as follows:

  1. Start Thy Purse to Fattening
  2. Control Thy Expenditures
  3. Make Thy Gold Multiply
  4. Guard Thy Treasures from Loss
  5. Make of Thy Dwelling a Profitable Investment
  6. Insure a Future Income
  7. Increase Thy Ability to Earn

Okay, the language is a bit goofy. It’s just the  way the author wrote the book. The point is that these principles are all one needs to gain the tools and knowledge to change their financial future. And these principles are NOT rocket science!

I will also say this. You can read this list and agree 100% with it and still not implement one single principle in your life and nothing will ever change. Even if you do half of them, you will fail! Faithfully do ALL SEVEN and your future will change dramatically!

You can find more FREE resources for wealth creation at Millionaire On Deck. Be sure to subscribe to the daily Investips and real estate investing links while you’re there!

Zero Risk!

I get approached about once a month from someone wanting me to partner up in business. So far, I’ve been willing to look over their plans and give them consideration. What I’ve discovered is that most are not serious beyond a surface level, superficial interest in seriously starting a business. Usually I can tell in about 15 or 20 minutes just how deep their commitment lies. I’m certainly not being critical of this. I actually admire anyone and everyone who has some desire to enter the world of business and become entrepreneurs.

Some have wonderful skills but no business experience. Some have business experience but no skills. Some just jump from one thing to another like I did for many years. The actual fact is that any one of the above combinations can be overcome with a good plan. (not necessarily a perfect plan….just a good plan) I think the only thing that cannot be overcome is that of commitment. Or perhaps, lack of commitment.

Everyone claims to be committed but when it comes right down to it, there is typically a point where the commitment ends. It usually has to do with risk level. I’ve been there, done that myself. I am involved and have been involved in partnerships both good and bad in order to minimize risk. It’s a legitimate scenario. The problem, I’ve discovered, is when one party is looking for a partner to pick up the risk where the other’s “risk threshold” ends. (You can figure out the many situations this encompasses)

In my assessment of risk, I realize I have begun comparing everything to our real estate investing business. Whether a proposed venture is a $5,000 deal or a $2 million deal, I find myself asking, “if I were to put that money into more real estate, how would the risk compare? Then a light came on. I’m asking myself this question because I have reached a point in our real estate business where I see it as a ZERO RISK business! How ironic is that? In most cases people view real estate investing as highly risky. I’ve reached a point where I see it a no risk at all. (obviously that is precluded by the fact that the business needs to be managed and operated competently) But still, no real risk in our estimation.

Here’s my conclusion to those looking for a partner in their business ideas.

  • Besides a good idea, you better have a good plan of execution.
  • If you want a partner to carry risk, you better be willing to risk it all yourself first.
  • If you have a “risk limit”, you probably don’t believe enough in your plan.
  • Be willing to go the extra mile before expecting your partner to.

One other thing I’ve found interesting is that our track record of success is excellent. Yet, I’ve invited others to enjoy the success we experience by offering partner opportunities in many of our real estate deals with virtually no takers. At the same time, I receive offers to partner with others in businesses that are untested with no track record or are poorly planned. When I see that, I start comparing risk!

 

The Self Educated Student

Yesterday I ran across an amazing interview with Mike Rowe called; Worst Advice in the History of the world. (It includes the article plus a couple of short videos) Mike Rowe is the well-known host of the popular TV series “Dirty Jobs” and Ford commercials. In the opening paragraph of the article, Mike is quoted as saying “We’re lending money we don’t have, to kids who will never be able to pay it back, for jobs that no longer exist.” He goes on to say that he is not against a college education, but, it is not the only path for success available.

At one point in the video Mike says “those who attend college are not purchasing an education, they are purchasing a diploma”. Explaining that “you can go down to the Public Library and get enough resources to educate yourself for free.” While this is not exactly the same as a “formal” education, it does bring up an interesting perspective.  I wonder if the student completing an entire course of study successfully but failing to get a diploma is any more or less qualified than the student with the diploma?

Anyway, I went to bed thinking about this. Around 2am I woke up thinking about that statement “you can go down to the Public Library and get enough resources to educate yourself for free.” I realized that there was actually quite a bit of merit to this notion. Not having the benefit of a formal education beyond high school myself, I actually fit the description of Mike’s statement.

I worked in a field of specialty medical equipment design for more than 20 years. I learned it by combining some of my design and fabrication skills with “on the job training” with me entering the field as a repair tech. Mixed in were formal and informal seminars, workshops and other opportunities to advance my understanding, education and skills. Eventually, the field advanced to the point where certifications were required to continue being “qualified” to remain in the position. These are largely administered by associations heavily linked to universities.

This was a good move because there were so many unqualified people in the field that something needed to be implemented to raise and establish a standard of professionalism. My choice after more than 20 years was to submit to the formal certification process (which wasn’t that bad) or choose to lose my employment as a specialist in that field. Oddly enough, to continue, I simply needed to purchase a diploma (certification). This is exactly what many of my peers in the field did. In reality the good ones were still good and the bad ones were still bad. But, they were now certified. I chose to leave the profession about that time not because of the certification process, but after 20 years, I really didn’t have the motivation to keep going.

From the age of 20 through 40, I engaged in one field of employment and had one marketable skill. At 40, I was looking for a replacement career with no formal education and no real history in anything other than my medical equipment training. I actually considered going to school and getting a degree, but with a family of 5, I just couldn’t see how that would work. What happened next is exactly what Mike Rowe mentioned in his interview.

I spent a couple of years bouncing around low paying jobs and odds and end small business activities then finally at age 43, threw up my hands and declared to myself “Enough!” I decided my “New” career and skill would be that of “wealth building”! I began buying books on investing (real estate and stock market) I studied business principles and even bought a couple television infomercial courses on real estate investing. (one of the companies actually ended up featuring us in one of their success stories in their newsletter)

My wife and I made a “choice” to self educate ourselves in “wealth creation”. That lead to our “choice” to self educate ourselves in Real Estate investing. Eight years after making these decisions, we crossed the “millionaire threshold”. Our education is not complete, nor will it ever be. There will never be a time when we are not advancing our learning, understanding and skills. It has become a “Life choice” at this point.

I even realized after watching Mike’s video, that I have now engaged in two more “Self Education” professions. During our real estate investing, we have purchased two recreational resorts. Initially intended to be a private family retreat, they have basically turned into another business for us. We are now successfully learning the skill and profession of Resort Management. Coupled with that, we’ve found the need to develop internet marketing skills. SO……..what do we do? We found some incredibly awesome internet marketing tools and educational products and are slowly but surely learning that as well.

Mike is right! Education doesn’t (and shouldn’t) look the same for everyone. Don’t create barriers in your mind based upon the lack of a degree or diploma. Start where you are to create your own path for success!

Consuming Lifestyle vs. Producing Lifestyle

I normally try to avoid getting caught up in political discussions on facebook, but I ran across one today that hit me where I’m passionate. It was regarding whether raising the minimum wage would end poverty. My quick answer was; “No, it would increase poverty!” I’m not going to go into all the reasons I believe that to be true, because there is a bigger issue than what the “legal minimum wage” happens to be.

To me the larger issue is having entire generations believing that they need the government to force employers to pay wages higher than the skill level value. I worked minimum wage as a teen-ager and decided not to stay there. I learned some more valuable skills and was employed and paid accordingly. When my skills became obsolete, I found myself again working a minimum wage job at a restaurant at age 40 with a family of five to provide for. Did I stay there? No! I didn’t pine over the fact that I was making minimum wage and somebody should do something about it! a.k.a. the government (or even my employer for that matter) They basically needed unskilled labor and I fit the bill.

My solution was to learn anew  skill where there was a corresponding demand. I actually spent several months trying to decide what skills I even wanted to learn. A wonderful thing happened during that time. I realized that no matter what skills I learned, I would always be competing for jobs with younger and smarter people with better skills and more energy and ambition. Sooner or later I would likely find myself obsolete again.

I decided to make “Wealth Creation” my full-time career! I started my new career while still working for minimum wage. I believed this country still holds the best opportunities in the world. While working, I began studying what skills wealth creators possessed that I lacked. It took a little while to start comprehending this. Eight short years after I started, we topped the millionaire mark. The funny thing is that I am not competing for a good paying job and there is no limit to how much wealth one can create.

I spent months trying to decide what I wanted to pursue, I spent probably two years trying to take the first steps toward my wealth creation goal. All the while, never really being able to explain what was going on in my head and why I felt the way I did. A few days I ran across a short 3 minute video that put it into words that are clear and concise. You can watch it here.  It explains how we largely have become a consumer society rather than a producer society. Our identity is more closely related to what we own or have bought rather than what we produce, create or build.

I believe the point in the video can even be taken another step and say that even if we have jobs producing or creating something, we are only doing that as a means to satisfy our consuming identity. Most of us simply work to exchange our time for dollars. When we are paid a market wage to provide a market service, the wage will always be a disappointment. It’s because the focus is not on the value we bring to the market but because of the fact that the market never seems to value our skills enough to provide what we need to support our consumer wants, needs or desires. When we focus on raising our wages without raising our skills comparably, we simply are saying “I want more than the market believes my skills are worth.

Anyone dissatisfied with their wage, whether it’s the minimum wage or whether it’s $50 per hour needs to ask themselves the following question. Am I a consumer or a producer? Then, am I simply trading my time for dollars to support my consuming lifestyle or am I producing something of value that the world is willing to pay for?

Choosing to trade time for dollars will always leave you competing with others who have better and more marketable skills. If you choose to pursue life on those terms, then sharpen up the value of your skills. If you want to completely remove the glass ceiling on earning capability, Learn to produce something the world demands!

Want some of my tips on wealth creation? Go to Millionaire On Deck!