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The Evolution of a Dream

This article can apply to everyone, but me being at the age of nearly 60, I think it’s vitally important for those in their 30’s and 40’s. (again, everyone fits somewhere in this regardless of age) It has to do with “Starting”, but also with “Adjusting”.

Don's pic 02I was awake at 4am this morning and felt there was no reason to try to fall back to sleep so I made a pot of coffee and headed out to the office. My “warm weather” office is a desk behind the counter of a fishing tackle store at one of our resorts. It’s where I work on our businesses, do marketing, and even sell fishing tackle from time to time. On my way into the shop I happened to grab up a stack of notebooks along with other things from my “cold weather” office inside the house where I spend most of the winter working. Among my stack, was a notebook I had entitled “Every Day Counts”. I started this book of notes, or journal, during one of my end of the year planning/reflection sessions. The date was December 7, 2008. The only reason that date is significant is that it was a little over eleven years ago now indicating the time that has passed since then. Part of my annual dreaming, planning, strategizing and goal setting usually happens in late December when I have time to look back on the previous year and see what all needs to be adjusted and planned forward. In 2008, I was somewhat frustrated with a sort of stalemate I found our businesses in. They were growing but I couldn’t put my finger on exactly to what end. I know that sounds strange, but I had never really thought through what I was hoping life would look like for us. The fact is though, when starting out, a lot of the motivation revolves around simply not being broke all the time and that’s usually more than enough to start on a journey of business and wealth building or asset accumulation (Assets being defined as “income producing” assets). In December 2008, I decided to write my thoughts in a journal for some reason. To me, writing thoughts helps me better digest what I’m thinking. Not much got resolved that day, other than I decided I needed to define what I wanted our life to look like a little better. I knew that working all the time was not what I wanted it to look like. My three basic categories were reduced down to Build our business, enjoy life doing the things we like (travel mostly) and make a noticeable contribution in the lives of others. With all of that said, Here’s what happened and it’s relevant to anyone’s life that hopes and dreams for more out of life.

BoatTwo of the components of this story has to do with Building our business and creating the life we wanted to see for ourselves. Ironically, I had always viewed them as pretty much the same. What I came to realize that day is the dream is one thing and the vehicle to get there is another. I’ll get back to that. One thought that crossed my mind that day was the idea of a “Family Retreat” since our kids were moved away from home and finding ways to gather them back as often as possible had become very important to me. The idea of a family retreat, I thought, could possibly be a way to do that. The idea stuck with me over the following year but I committed very little energy to trying to figure it out.

fire-camperThe following year at the end of 2009, as I reviewed my journal, the family retreat idea got some fresh energy. I had a year to casually think about it and now, it felt like even a better idea. I began to think about what all it could provide for us as a family, not to mention what it would do for Shelley and I as a private regular get-away. We decided that the idea was a good one and gave ourselves a five year goal to define it and attain it. The goal was good, but the effects of setting a goal did something more important. From that day, I began to browse real estate sites and magazines in my spare time simply trying to get a picture in my mind of what I was looking for. One of the things we would routinely do would be to sit down in a restaurant and while waiting for our meal, we would browse the local real estate listings magazines usually found in a stand by the door of the restaurant. Another year went by.

MV backOne evening just before we departed for a cruise in late 2010, I stumbled across a listing for a four cabin resort near one of the nearby lakes. It had been foreclosed and needed a lot of work……. BUT, the price was actually affordable taking into account all the work it needed. Working on houses was what we did, so it looked like something that would fit our plan. It just happened to be four years earlier than we had planned. We didn’t have time to schedule a look before the cruise but it was still available when we returned. We scheduled a showing of it, made an offer and in February of 2011, took possession. We planned to spend the Spring and Summer working on it and then return to normal life. What happened instead was remarkable.

M&S 02By September that year, we were still living on site, returning home (about 30 miles away) only on occasion to take care of business, mowing, getting the mail, etc. We decided to rent out one of the cabins when we began receiving calls that the old cabins were looking gorgeous now and would we consider renting any of them to guests. A neighboring house also came available for purchase and we made arrangement to buy that one as well (three bedroom cabin). Our Family Retreat was steamrolling it’s way into our lives and it all happened for a reason. That reason was that it was a thought, then a dream, then the dream began to come to life as we browsed real estate listings. Our goal was five years, our browsing produced something in just over a year that enabled us to move the dream forward by almost four years. But the most notable part of this still hadn’t developed…….

callahan fishing polesIn 2012 we purchased the second resort property and essentially tripled our total size and added a nice pool. That wasn’t the significant event though. In 2013, while reflecting through my journal thoughts again, one of the notes I made was “Now that we have our feet wet on this as a business, It would be nice to figure out how to not only have the “Family Retreat”, but how to make the whole lifestyle a permanent part of our lives, even to the extent of providing our housing.”

Without going into all of the details of how our business/lifestyle developed or evolved, here’s what happened. As the thought process began to become reality, one thing lead to another, we never stopped looking at new possibilities never stopped being afraid to grow with them. The result of that was that in the original five years of our “Family Retreat” plan, we grew to own four resort properties and was completely immersed in the leisure, resort, outdoor, camp and lake lifestyle. The second HUGE benefit that we never really planned on is perhaps the icing on the cake.

cruise 19 05Back in December, 2008, I had determined that the two paths we needed to follow was 1) Income producing, and 2) leisure, family retreat lifestyle. What we got was both of them working together. Meaning, not only is the work we do producing the income needed to live the life, living the life itself is producing the necessary income to support that lifestyle. Our family retreat dream became a family retreat business that became a family retreat lifestyle. Along the way, we opened up our resorts to our nieces and nephews with a opportunity for them to spend a week at the resorts each year for no charge. Last year we welcomed our first grandson into the tribe and since then we are now up to two little boys that call us Grandpa and Grandma. The Family retreat doesn’t mean much to them yet other than it’s a place they go with two people that love them dearly and there’s fishing, boating and swimming and more fun than they can imagine.

So here’s my point.

We know the life we have is our dream and not anyone else’s. But Everyone has some life dream that they desire and each dream is as individual as there is the number of people on the planet. Getting and defining the dream is the first and most critical step. The second, and just about as important step, is start to believe in it enough that you are willing to research, plan, build goals and act as if “Every Day Counts”. Because it DOES!

If you are in your 30’s or 40’s…….. you need to get started. Plan on it taking a while, because it will. Big dreams take more time than small ones do. But trust me…….

It’s Worth It!

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What About 2019

2019Here we are on the brink of 2019. I have a custom going back to 2011 where I challenge everyone (Including myself) to consider what we plan to do or accomplish for the upcoming new year. I have a confession to make this year…….. Ready for it? Back when I started this “end of the year exercise”, I had just come away from a year where a number of people I know had made some very bold statements of what their “New Year” was going to look like. We were teaching goal setting, planning and investment strategies back then and I remember thinking to myself that almost all of the group had made big statements concerning their plans and ultimate success in them, but virtually none of them committed to any kind of actual written plan. So my confession??????? I’ve kept loose track of this group over the years and I’m STILL waiting to see any results out of most of them. A very few of that original group have accomplished remarkable things. (And I don’t mean just financial stuff either. Financial stuff is just stuff like anything else. I’m referring to life goals regardless of their nature)

So here we are and I pose the question once again, What about 2019? Will this be the year that changes everything? Will it be the year that ends with you saying to yourself, “Finally…. I did what I’ve been dreaming about for years!”

I hope so.

I see a year of open doors and possibilities ahead and when I look back at my “What about 2019?” posting, I have every intention of saying “What and Awesome Year it was!”

The “Side Gig”

A while back I received an email from a business associate that I’ve had some dealings with over the years. He was talking about a term he called a “Side Gig”. Sometimes I have a pretty good idea of what he’s referring to but not always. This was one of those “not always” times. The “Side Gig” he was talking about was something that he was doing as a source of income outside his “Main Gig”. Here is his explanation. Side Gigs are things you find that can add income to your pocket without expending much effort or energy. Side gigs seldom produce enough income to make a living, but can easily add a few hundred or a few thousand dollars to your bank account every week or month. Depending on their nature, they can potentially fit in with things you are already doing without too much effort.

4-entrepreneur-quotesI realized after reading his message that a large part of our income was made up of “Side Gigs”. Our main gigs are residential rental homes and resort vacation properties. Without realizing it we had developed a natural outlet for our side gigs, especially ones that fit with the vacation properties. You might call them “side businesses” and some could even grow into full time businesses. Our personal “Side Gigs” account for probably around $30,000 per year in income and $30k extra in the bank is better than $0 extra.

Anyway…… “Side Gigs” something worth thinking about!

What About 2018

Each and every year about this time I’m thinking about the upcoming year. I try to write a little bit of something about my thoughts and perspectives on business, investing and the lifestyle that is a result of our annual decisions. Each year we find ourselves further down the path of our goals than the previous year, but ironically it almost never turns out quite like we envisioned it. I suppose the key is that as long as you have a target in mind and are moving toward it, you end up finding yourself someplace new every year!

Which is a good thing……….. I suppose!

Anyway, 2017 started with a huge business acquisition goal still in front of us. One we had been working on for over a year at the time. One that also came to a crashing end, by May. They don’t always work out the way we plan. In the middle of that, we were also faced with a small management crisis at one of the resorts. Downshift, change direction, step on the gas and by the end of the year, we had one of the most remarkable seasons yet in our resort businesses. SO, one of our biggest disappointments ended with one of our biggest business years. It balanced out just fine.

So what about 2018? Well 2018 to us is going to look like a continuation of 2017. We discovered something in 2017 that was unexpected and has changed our strategy a bit towards the better.

What about 2018 in your life?

Security in Chaos (Brain-Washing)

I have begun to realize something lately that may explain why I get perplexed any more when people fail to act on opportunities. I’ve come to realize that there was a point, and not that long ago, when I did the EXACT same thing. What changed?…… I believe what has changed is basically just one thing………. and it has to do with BRAINWASHING! ( I should probably insert “LOL” right now)

chaosActually, I believe I have managed to get myself brain-washed into thinking that life as an entrepreneur is much more fulfilling, more profitable, more secure and certainly more fun than any of my “steady paycheck” jobs ever were.  The trouble is that it just looks so …..Chaotic! Let me tell you that it feels that way a lot too! Well at least it did. Once I realized that it only “felt” chaotic at times did I start to figure it out.

Here’s where the brain-washing comes in. Starting about 20 years ago, I began to read all these books on business, investing, working smart not hard, owning the assets rather than working for those who owned the assets, creating multiple streams of income and so on. It just dawned on me. I’ve Become What I’ve Been Reading! I’ve managed to brain-wash myself into believing that it was entirely possible to own multiple businesses and do well at it. It hit me one day last week when I spent the entire day dealing with five different things related to five different businesses we own. It went as follows:

  1. Stop by the resorts to work through a housekeeping hiring issue then do some marketing strategy with the manager there.
  2. Fiddle (successfully I might add) with a boat at the marina that was not working properly.
  3. Drive to the Treehouse Property to check on progress and do some creative brainstorming with the builders.
  4. Make some calls to some of the rent housing operators to clarify a management change.
  5. Meet with a partner concerning a business acquisition we are in the middle of.
  6. End of the day – Go eat some barbecue ribs with the wife!

This is normal now. No more complicated or difficult than anything I’ve ever done on a job. It’s just different. Different because it’s multi-faceted. It has many moving parts. It’s not something that is necessarily intimidating when it’s cleanly defined in a daily planner. However, it probably looks that way because it’s not always something that can be cleanly planned from day to day. Some days it just happens in the order of the phone calls that come in. That feels and probably looks chaotic. In fact, it’s the kind of thing I’ve come to enjoy about life now. Knowing that by keeping all the parts functioning smoothly, I’m actually adding to the stability of life as well as income and possibilities.

I’m learning to “Embrace the Chaos” and enjoy the ride.

A “Big” Perspective

Here I am, back on the “Thinking Big” bandwagon. (And this is simply a perspective and an observation, not a judgment) I am certainly not immune from the challenge we face when we are considering something that involves risk and is bigger than our comfort level. Possibly even beyond our knowledge and skill set as well. In looking back, I remember being intimidated at things that simply do not phase me now. I remember struggling for weeks over the purchase of a $150 compressor, a $100 drill press, and a $125 band saw for my work shop. Each of those items added to my ability to create income and secure a future (at least financially) for my family. Now I spend almost that much filling my truck up with fuel 2-3 times a week. “Big” is a relative term. A big commitment or a big investment can mean one thing one day and something entirely different years later.

At the beginning of our real estate investing career, we analyzed dozens of properties over and over to make sure we were making the right decisions. What took, hours and weeks to decide then, takes moments now. Why is that? It’s simply because “Big” in our mind today, as always, has been related to our perspective and comfort zone. In 1982, (my early tool buying days) big was $100. In 2004 (my early real estate buying days) big was $30,000. By 2010, big was about $100,000. In 2014, big was $1 million. In 2016, it took about 10 minutes to decide on a $200,000 plus deal that we didn’t even have benefit of historic business financials. The “bigness” of that deal was insignificant because our perspective on “Big” has changed.

In the world of investing, whether in real estate or in business, “big” is relative both in expected investment and in expected return. When I address investing and try to determine what someone’s reality of their “Big” perspective happens to be, there are a couple of tell-tale indicators. First of all, EVERYBODY claims to think, believe and act “Big”. In reality, when the chips are down and a commitment is necessary, I see people choke at $1,000 or $2,000 or $5,000 and sometimes as little as $50. One other thing I notice is a false sense of expectation when justifying the choke. Things like “well, the return is not good enough” when actually the return is pretty good. The lower the choke point, usually the higher the “stated” expectation is for a mythical or unrealistic return.

Don’t misunderstand, I’ve done EXACTLY the same thing. One of my more memorable choke experiences includes an exciting prospect presented by a friend as a potential partnership. An Executive Retreat on 1,700 acres, private lake, off road courses with cool vehicles, boats, 1,200 head of bison with butcher shop, taxidermy shop and clients all over the world! AWESOME, I said, How Much? $12 million was the reply. Choke choke! As it turns out, it was a profitable business with over $1 million in annual sales on the bison products alone. AND, an ag bank was willing to finance it!

There is no doubt after looking back on it that my perspective of the “bigness” of it overwhelmed me. Even though I had already overcome the $1 million big hurdle on another project.

where-the-magic-happensI suppose the purpose of this article is to challenge myself again as well as others to our perspective of “Big”. The term “Big” means nothing because big to one person means something totally different to another. The ONLY yardstick that big can be measured against is our own comfort zone. If your goal is to create an income to support a specific lifestyle or purpose, then “Big” for you is going to HAVE TO BE big enough to support that level of purpose. If you choke on $1,000 or $10,000 or any figure that doesn’t support your vision, purpose or goals, then you need to get a new perspective on “BIG”!  Then you must be willing to persevere through it in terms of action and commitment.

Following The Dream

I’ve hesitated writing this particular article for a long time. Not because I’ve had a problem with the content of it, but because it may be VERY challenging. Sometimes that makes me feel like I’m stepping on toes. The other reason is that even though it’s not meant to wave the banner of “Look what we’ve done”, it still may come across that way. We are approaching the 13th anniversary of our plunge into the real estate investment business and it has grown every year to encompass a number of businesses as well as just residential housing. Our dream has NEVER been to own a bunch of houses. Our Dream is to create a lifestyle we truly enjoy that accomplishes fun as well as serious goals, and the houses simply make that dream more of a reality.

fire-camperWith that said, here we go!

Our life is not complicated but it is full. Many of the dreams we’ve had for years are being lived out as a normal lifestyle and include things like living in a full time camping environment. Yes we actually are living in a campground in a camper. (it’s a nice one, but it’s still just a camper). Some people choose this life because it’s economical. Some because it allows for the freedom of travel. We do it because we love camping and this puts us right in the middle of that lifestyle. By living like this, we wake up to the smell of a wood bonfire nearly every morning and a cup of coffee already brewed up in the office.

treehouses in bransonThe other things we love is the opportunity to create unique and memorable experiences for others to enjoy. This has culminated in the accumulation of four resort properties that run anywhere from basic cabin getaways  to lake front and boat experiences to treehouse cabin experiences. And we have plans to even expand on that.

So now for the challenge. Obviously, our dream is not everyone’s dream. However we know that many are attracted by our dreams simply because they are fun and fulfilling. Regardless of your dream, I can guarantee two things about it. For you to live your dream, you must first be willing to take the first step towards fulfilling that dream. The second part of that is that it is almost certain that your dream will take more energy, commitment, passion and conviction than is comfortable. Whether you call it a step of faith or a step of confidence, there is absolutely going to be an element of “risking it all” to see it become reality.

Do we occasionally become terrified because we’ve not sure what the future holds? Yes! Are we occasionally ready to pitch the whole thing over a cliff and go back and get a 9 to 5 job? Maybe, (briefly) but never more than a few minutes at a time! Do we occasionally wonder how we are going to pay the bills? Yes, but we know that if we just keep doing what we know works, that will all stabilize back out again!

The point is……It’s never a bed of roses 100 percent of the time. Is it hard? Yes, sometimes it is!. Is it WORTH IT? Absolutely! I wouldn’t trade chasing the dream for any other life. I would rather work at making a cabin nice or building a treehouse or tinkering with a boat ANYTIME over punching a time clock and watching the world go by out the office window day in and day out.

walt_disney_quote-03Following a good dream requires a good game plan more than anything else. If you can chart a path through the known’s and as many of the unknown’s as possible, dreams can become realities.



What About 2017

Here is my next annual “What About” installment. It’s the time of year when I challenge myself in the area of what (if anything) I plan to try and accomplish during the coming year. While I don’t necessarily publish my annual goals, I do use them occasionally as conversational material to help challenge others. I’ve been pretty diligent about annual goal setting for the past 10 or 11 years, but have only been doing the “What about the Upcoming Year” since 2012.

It started when I had watched some good friends talk about building their financial goals, creating some retirement plans and “leaving the rat race” for several years but not really committing to a plan to achieve it. I am proud to say that in 2016, they took some major steps toward getting started. Another couple who are good friends have also initiated their financial plan and have secured five investment properties in about nine months. IMPRESSIVE!

As I begin 2017, I’ve already got some business expansion plans in the works. It’s going to be an exciting year. I invite you to ask yourself; “What about 2017”, and see if when you look back in 365 days that 2017 had turned into the most exciting year of your life!

The Wealth Creation Gatekeeper

A recent conversation caused me to contemplate how I personally arrive at a decision to pursue a business, investment or idea. I can say with complete certainty that this has been a learning curve for me as it is for many others I’m sure. A learning curve that, for me, has not always been very pretty! Like everything else, it has taken years to develop and I understand this better now than I did a decade ago. Before I get into the final “Gate” that my decision must pass through, I will describe how it used to work for me.

My old paradigm was: “Did it seem like a good idea?”

That is extremely vague and subjective. Unfortunately, I constantly have ideas and investments presented to me that all “seem” to be good ideas but have no hope of being profitable. Over the years, I’ve begun to learn how to weed those ideas out and not allow them to waste my time. With that said, there are things that I decide to pursue that do not have “profitability” as their intended outcome. So, this process does not necessarily apply to those types of things. However, those ideas, businesses or investments that do have profitability as the end goal MUST have some final “Gatekeeper” that prevents bad ideas or plans from getting through. Yes, even the bad ideas or plans that “seem” to be a good idea.

So what is my “Gatekeeper” criteria for giving the green light to a certain idea, business or investment?

Does it possess an “Income Stream”? If it doesn’t, will it have an income stream almost immediately.

Oddly enough, I am currently working  on a business plan that I believe is a really good idea. The one thing preventing me from jumping right into it is that it has no current income stream. That means I would have to create one very quickly upon it’s launch. It’s not a business that would be easy to create an instant and significant income. So, as I look at this opportunity, I am trying to find a way to couple this idea with an existing compatible or complimentary business that does have an income stream of some kind already established.

Our treehouse resort is a good example of this principle. When we began looking for a suitable property to build upon, we looked at many beautiful properties in our price range. None of them had incomes associated with them. In fact, they all would have required significant investment in infrastructure before the first lodging unit could have even been built.  It would have easily been two years and well over a million dollars of investment before we made our first dollar. We looked at one property that was more than double our price range, BUT, it had a steady income stream that covered all of the expenses of operation beginning on the day we took ownership. That enabled us to purchase a larger, more expensive property with amenities already in place. Plus, it had the income from an existing customer base to support the entire project as we began and continue to invest in the construction of the treehouse cabins.

The very best idea that does not have an income producing element becomes nothing more than a burden or liability for it’s owner. It becomes just another “Thing” you must feed to keep it alive. While you spend your time, energy and resources keeping it alive, it is likely to be slowly killing your hopes, dreams and peace of mind along the way.

Free Buildings, Dog Houses and a Wood Shop

I suppose that everyone has their one story that they can look back on and say “This is where the light bulb came on”. For me, in the world of business and entrepreneurship, I had a moment like that way back in the early 1980’s. It was a three part event that took place over a few months in a late Autumn. I was in my early 20’s with a small family started. We lived in a 700 something square foot house that was over 100 years old and had more problems than I ever want to remember. I was making part time income doing odd jobs wherever I could find them. At the time, I believe I was working for a radiator repair shop and barely keeping food on the table and the bills paid. This story had to do with “Free” buildings, dog houses and a wood shop.

I have never been afraid of working hard and was not too afraid of risk or tackling something that seemed “Too Big” to handle. But I had never figured out the key to finding opportunity. At least I didn’t think I had. This story began on a day that a friend and I stopped into a glass shop. This shop had just completed a brand new building and appeared to be poised to tear down their old one. I never gave it a thought, but my friend took notice. He asked what their plans were for it. After finding out they planned to hire someone to tear it down, he quickly offered to do the job in exchange for the building itself. Negotiations ensued for about 10 minutes and my friend (and I, as it turned out) were able to buy the building for one dollar. (Not technically free, but close enough) Normally it may not have been a bargain, but this was an all steel, bolt together building about 80 x 100 feet in size. It had a large wood framed office attached that was more troublesome, but is was an all or nothing deal. That day I learned my first real lesson in finding opportunity. Pay attention to what’s around you. Some of it will be opportunity.

The second part of my learning curve had to do with the “Use What You Got” principle. We had split the materials of the building between us with enough to build each of us a work shop. Me, being the woodworker, I ended up with a share of the metal building but also most of the wood addition which consist of 2×4’s and odd shaped, smaller pieces of plywood siding. As mid Fall to early Winter began to close, we were continuing to struggle with keeping the bills paid. I would go out every night and sit by a small back yard bon fire where I cleaned lumber of nails and looked at the mountain of boards and siding trying to figure out how to convert it to cash. (By the way, we were so poor, I even saved the bent nails and straightened them for use later) This went on, night after night for weeks. I must have thought of a thousand things to build. The problem was that all of the materials were so cut up and small that they were nearly unusable. As the weather became colder and colder, one idea came in a flash when I saw the neighbors dog huddling in it’s dog house on one particular cold evening. DOG HOUSES! I decided that the size of he material was perfect for dog houses. I designed 3 sizes that would sell for $25, $35 and $45 each. Using the most efficient method I could, I transformed a mountain of odds and ends lumber into dozens and dozens of dog houses.

The local weekly paper had a classified ad section that would take ads by the week or you could buy three weeks and get the fourth week free. If I remember right, it was $9 per week or four weeks for $27. I vividly remember not being able to afford three weeks worth of ads to get the fourth week free. Nevertheless, I swallowed hard and committed to the four weeks. With dozens of dog houses and the grocery money spent on ads, I waited. The first week, the ad came out and the weather was beautiful, I got no calls. The second week, the ad came out and the weather was beautiful and I got no calls. The third week the ad came out, the weather was beautiful and I got no calls. The fourth week, the day the ad came out we got our first miserable, nasty, cold, sleet, windy hit of the late fall, early winter. My phone rang off the hook and within a few days I had sold ALL of my dog houses. We made enough money to supplement our winter survival. A friend later commented that everyone was out there saying to themselves “I’m going to build my dog a dog house” up until the storm rolled in. Then they began saying “I’m going to buy my dog a dog house!” I learned the second part of the opportunity combination by understanding the “Use What You Got” principle.

Finally, as the dog house venture concluded, I set to assembling the metal part of my “Free” ($1) building into a wood shop that I could work in regardless of the weather. Slowly, I was able to assemble supplies, materials and tools to help supplement my income and eventually it became my “Fail Safe” insurance policy that no matter what my jobs did or didn’t do, I always had the ability to earn with my woodshop.

I suppose if you were to break this story down into “Rules” it would be something like”

  1. Watch for opportunities EVERYWERE
  2. Know what resources you have available and USE THEM
  3. Create a “Fall Back Plan” as an insurance policy for hard times

As I look back on our business development over the years, these simple principles have guided us to owning nine businesses that include between 40 and 50 rental units and four resort properties.

DO NOT be afraid to think outside the box. Many times, that’s EXACTLY where the opportunities are!