How to Stay Happily Married While You Invest in Real Estate Together

Happy Married couple

Standing at the front of the room of the workshop I was teaching for Canadian Real Estate Wealth’s Investor Forum, I jokingly said “Dave’s not here so I can totally blame this one on him …

Everyone laughed as I shared a quick snippet from More than Cashflow about our two lemon properties we owned in Niagara Falls. I was making a joke, but it wasn’t even a little funny at the time. Those lemons were one of several major issues that we’ve faced together that nearly tore us apart.

Investing together as a couple has tremendous rewards.  You can accomplish far more together than you can apart. It’s not just that there are two people so you can do twice as much work (although that really helps too!). It’s that most couples are made up of two people with very different skills and approaches. That’s a big advantage. It’s also an enormous challenge.

Dave is highly analytical. When he has a problem to solve he busts out the Excel spreadsheets and runs numbers for hours. He’s naturally driven to understand all the finer details. I’ve never had to understand weird mortgage clauses or all the ridiculous insurance requirements because Dave painstakingly goes through them all. Give him a problem to solve and a good reason to solve it, and he will get the job done. Period. In coaching our clients he methodically goes through their issues – especially if there are numbers involved – and gives very thoughtful and detailed advice. He wants to run the numbers himself to make sure something wasn’t missed.

I’m a bigger picture person. I quickly get bogged down in details. When Dave tells me about all his analysis I can quickly lose patience. I am organized. I’m also a fast decision maker. I see bottlenecks and potential pitfalls quickly. I am not always right, but most of the time my sixty second decision is the same conclusion as Dave’s four hour analytical session. I know what’s most important to do and will just go do it. I understand people. I’m highly focused on communication so I am fairly particular about marketing, negotiation and anything that we do where we have to influence others. I’m also a stickler for rules. Oddly, despite a propensity for details, Dave hates rules. When I coach our clients I am focused on the overall picture – where does this person need to go and what do they have to do next?

Together we’re a pretty incredible team. We have all the major skill sets covered when it comes to investing in real estate successfully. We also tackle challenges in totally different ways and think different parts of the problem are the most important.

After coaching many real estate couples over the years I know we’re not alone. Opposites tend to attract … which is kind of cool but also kind of challenging. Not properly understood or appreciated these differences can lead to fights and massive frustration, but it doesn’t have to be like that. If you’ve ever had a fight over something only to realize you were fighting for the same result… just going at it in totally different ways, this is for you!

Real Estate Investing as a Couple: 7 Tips to Stay Happily Married While You Build Your Wealth With Real Estate Together

Tip 1: Share a Common Goal

Sit down and talk about what your ideal typical day looks like. It won’t be identical, but you probably have a lot of common ground to work from.

If at first it seems totally out of alignment, your goal is to understand and appreciate what the other person wants. You’re not going to convince your spouse of anything they don’t already believe, so there’s no point trying to sell them on having the same ideal typical day. Instead, find common ground and create a shared vision of what you want your life to look like together. With that vision firmly in place, you can then figure out how you can get there together.

For example, maybe your wife wants to spend most of her day painting pictures and you want to be negotiating deals and renovating rentals. You don’t need to do the same things. Find where you do want the same thing, like having a schedule you control where both parents can pick up the kids from school or where you take advantage of a last minute vacation deal without counting vacation days. Then, talk about what you can do to create that. The cool thing is that a lot of dreams can be reached with real estate investments, but you need to understand what you’re creating together and why.

With that shared vision, you now must stay focused on it. Every major decision you make comes back to ‘does this move us closer to that shared vision or not?

Tip 2: Make Each Other Feel Important

It’s easy to take other people for granted and for some reason it’s even easier when you are married to each other. One of the easiest ways to keep your relationship strong as partners and as spouses is to really appreciate each other and make each other feel important.

Recognize and acknowledge all you’ve got in your partner.

Sure, there are times where you may have handled something differently, but because you have that person on your team you didn’t HAVE to handle it at all. They did. Thank them for it.

Tip 3: Use Your Differences To Make You Stronger

When I walk into a property, I know within two minutes if it’s one I want to own or not. It helps that we buy in the same neighbourhoods, but I’m still a fast decision maker.  There’s still due diligence required to ensure it’s a good deal, but I won’t buy anything I don’t get a good feeling about.

That’s not a solid investment strategy though. Imagine telling your private lender, JV partner or mortgage broker “It’s going to be a great deal because my wife thinks it ‘feels good‘”?

That’s where Dave comes in. He’s got the details covered. He makes sure dozens of potential scenarios are accounted for and that we haven’t missed a surprise expense or some other issue with the financial aspect of the home.

The trick is to understand and trust in the strengths of your partner.

Some couples end up with one person on the gas pedal and the other firmly on the brake. That’s not going to get you to your ideal typical day. That’s just going to make you spin in circles.

Acknowledge and appreciate what the other person is bringing to the table and know you are stronger because of it. Listen to what they say with an open mind to make the best decision for you – as a couple. You each have to lift your foot off the pedal a little to get where you want to go … a little less gas and a little less brake and you’ll move forward! If you trust in your partner’s strengths this will be much easier to do (and your approach will probably be pretty rock solid because all angles are covered).

Tip 4: Divide & Conquer – Roles & Responsibilities

If I read every email Dave sent to tenants and partners I would lose my mind. “Why in the world would you say that? Wording it that way can result in them doing this …

I also get annoyed when Dave doesn’t follow landlord tenant rules to the letter.

I mentioned I am intensely focused on how things get communicated and I am a rule follower, didn’t I?

Those things aren’t my job though. I would do it differently, but I can’t do it all. And, I don’t want to.

To make it work, we have split up who is in charge of what. We have regular meetings to discuss the things that the other person needs to be up to speed on. And, by the way, dinner time is not when you discuss these things if you want to have a strong, loving and long lasting relationship. Set a REAL meeting. I’ll talk about this in a second. First, let’s finish with the roles and responsibilities.

Tasks to consider assigning to one person or the other? Financing, insurance, partners, marketing, renovation project management, deal finding, tenant placement, property purchase, property sale, property management and bookkeeping. And if nobody is good at it (in our case – bookkeeping) for the sake of everyone, hire someone to do it for you. Then, choose who is in charge of communication with that hired professional.

If you’re fighting about something neither of you wants to do (especially when nobody is very good at it) ask yourself when is saving money more important than your relationship? I hope the answer is never.

Those large roles break down into smaller tasks. Some tasks can wait. Some need to be handled in a timely manner. But, if I am away or Dave is unavailable, we each step in to get the job done if it can’t wait.

If you’re in charge of something – do your job. If you’re not in charge of something – let your spouse do their job.

It sounds simpler than it is. There’s a bit of control freak in most of us. But, if you can’t count on your spouse to do what they say they are going to do, you have bigger problems to discuss.

Tip 5: The Dinner Table is Not the Boardroom Table – Set Business Meetings

Real estate investing over dinnerWhen you work full time, the only time you sit down with your spouse may be dinner. That doesn’t mean it’s the best time to talk about your real estate portfolio. There’s little point in working so hard to create your ideal day together if your relationship doesn’t survive to enjoy it.

There ARE times where you have to talk about something urgently but most things can wait until you have a designated meeting. That meeting might be over dinner but plan it in advance. Have an agenda. Come prepared to discuss the problems with potential solutions. Planning ensures it’s one dinner in the week that becomes a real estate dinner. For us, we usually book a lunch meeting and go out somewhere for the meeting. That way our kitchen table does not become our meeting space. Plus, lunch out is a business expense so we can get our sushi fix and write off 50% of it.

If you find yourself turning your couple time into business time, help each other by gently saying “I can’t wait to hear about that at our next meeting. Are we still meeting tomorrow?”

Other things you may want to consider:
• No real estate talk after 8pm,
• Phones off at meal times unless there’s something important going on that has to be dealt with immediately,
• No real estate talk with friends or family when you’re socializing as a couple unless they start and keep the conversation going on real estate, and
• Designate real estate free days.

If you’re new to investing, new to each other, or both – it all feels exciting and you may not feel it’s having a negative impact on your relationship. However, over time, the lines blur and you may not see where you stop being business partners and start being loving and supportive spouses. Plus, you may find, over time that your interests and priorities shift. It could be really hard to talk about or even see it, if you’re not used to separating your business relationship from your marital relationship.

You never know … there could come a time when your spouse wants to pursue a totally different career, like being an actor in film & TV.  There’s really nothing cooler than watching someone doing something they absolutely LOVE doing. And, that’s a discussion that can’t happen unless you’re supporting each other as a husband and wife team first.

For me, the most important things in my life are my health and my family. I can’t enjoy anything if I am not healthy and I will enjoy things much less without the people I love around me. Put things into perspective once in awhile and you’ll appreciate having a few ground rules to help you be husband and wife first and business partners second.

Tip 6: Renovations and Relationships – Making it or Breaking It

Couple RenovatingThe single greatest endurance test for every relationship is how you manage a major renovation.

The surprises – there are always surprises (see Adding a Legal Suite to a Rental Property) will test you like few other real estate problems will. There’s a tight time frame, money (often a lot of it), pride and your investment goals all on the line. It’s not a small thing.

Good planning goes a long way. Plan that things will take longer and cost more than you think they will. Build in buffer time and buffer budget.

Put one person in charge of handling contractors. That person should also be good with the big picture and know the overall plan for the project – understanding where the bottlenecks are – because when the electrician doesn’t show up your entire project could get sidelined and someone needs to understand what other tasks must be delayed and if anything else can get done in the meantime.

Someone has to be in charge of shopping for the materials – the person who can figure out if the paint and flooring will look good together. Someone has to be in charge of the plans, the budget and paying the bills.

There’s a lot going on. You might make a mistake. Your spouse might make a mistake. The person who makes a mistake will feel bad enough about it without you adding to it or saying ‘I told you’. It’s a lot of pressure and there’s a lot to learn. Be kind and supportive to each other.

You don’t know what surprises will pop up but you can expect to be surprised. Try to laugh about it. It’s not anyone’s fault that there are three layers of flooring to get through, that the pipes weren’t where you expected them to be or that the electrical behind the walls is a mess. Nobody could have known. That’s part of the fun of renovations – you really never know what you’re dealing with until the walls come down. Deal with it and move forward.

Tip 7: You Win Together and You Lose Together

Celebrate your ‘team’ wins!!

Years ago, we coached a couple that wanted to fire their property manager and take over management of their property themselves. The biggest issue we faced in helping them was their own issues as a couple. They didn’t have established roles and responsibilities, and worse, it seemed like it was a contest regarding who was doing more work and, therefore, who should do the next task required. They were fighting about who should clean, who should show the house to tenants and who was booking the carpet cleaning. The thing they weren’t realizing is: you lose together or you win together – there is no in between.

There are times you have to pitch in and help your partner. Maybe they are away, sick or just overwhelmed. There will be times they do that for you too.

If it were a hockey game, you could put this into perspective. Sometimes there’s an injury. It’s not possible to say ‘Well, he’s out. We’ll just stop playing until they can play again.” Other people on the team have to step up. Same with a mistake. Someone on the team might lose the puck to the other team. Remember it may have been a bad pass to begin with or possibly he was tripped. It’s not always so simple as to say it’s ‘all their fault’ and it doesn’t matter anyway. The most important thing is to rally together and get back in the game.

Real estate investing is not always easy and it definitely can add stress to a relationship when something goes wrong (and something will go wrong – that’s just how it is). You’ll need the support of your spouse to get through the tough times even if they aren’t your partner. If they are your partner, you need to know how best you’ll work together to create a life AND business you love to be in together.

Other Articles You Might Like

>> 5 Things to Look for to Put in a Legal Suite

>> Investing Goals: How to Analyze Your Next Real Estate Investment Deal

>> How to Find a Great Realtor for Your Real Estate Investment Deals

Side Note: One of the greatest gifts we gave ourselves as a couple to improve how we communicated with each other and how we work together was attending a Couples Retreat run by Philip McKernan. It’s not for everyone, but it is for couples who love each other and want to be stronger together. This is not a paid endorsement … I’m just a really happy and grateful client.



Image Credits: Dreamstime.com


Are You Celebrating Your Real Estate Goals Too Soon?

victory hands up

The two most dangerous words in the English Language are ‘Good Job’” ~ Terrence Fletcher, instructor in the movie Whiplash (played by J.K. Simmons)

You’ve pushed yourself.

At some point, probably even recently, you had to work really hard to overcome an obstacle. That obstacle could have been finding an investment market area that makes sense for you and your goals. It could be building the right team to help you with a major renovation. Or, it could be finding two new joint ventures to buy four more properties this year.

Whatever it was, you moved yourself closer to creating that ideal typical day you want to live.

That’s a cool thing. You should pause and pat yourself on the back for a moment, but the work is not done.

If you are ok with where you are at – you are living your ideal typical day and you feel fulfilled – cool. But if you aren’t happy in your job, or there is more you want from your life … if there are things you need to do to still get there, your work is not done.

There’s a danger in celebrating progress that isn’t goal achievement. You can run into motivation problems if you pat yourself on the back too much for a step that moves you forward but doesn’t get the goal achieved.

Let’s take this to an example to explain. I will use a subject that I know personally – book publishing (see More than Cashflow).

Let’s say you too want to be a published author and sell your book on Amazon.

At what point do you celebrate your achievement? 

There’s a massive amount of work that goes into research and preparation before you even start writing. It’s exhausting.

Then, you start writing. Every chapter feels like an accomplishment.

If you successfully push yourself to write almost every day you might have a first draft after a few months. (Even with over ten thousand words pulled from articles I’d already written, my book still took me eight weeks to write.)

A draft is complete. Surely it must be time to celebrate?

Nope … you’re still a long way from selling that book.

You still have to go back and forth with the editor …. you have to rewrite many of the chapters. You have to read that book so many times you’ll never want to read it again. At long last, you have a final fully edited version – surely you can celebrate because you’re done writing, right?

Well, there still isn’t anything you can actually sell to other people yet. You have to get it into a layout that is Kindle and print compatible. You need an ISBN number, a cover, a way to sell it, marketing descriptions, accounts so you can have listings on sites like Amazon and then, most importantly, you still need people to sell it to.

Sure, you’ve come a long way but there is still so much work to do.

You haven’t achieved your goal until you’re receiving money in exchange for your book. That’s when you celebrate.

I’m not saying you never look at how far you have come.

In fact, when you feel discouraged and you feel you’re getting nowhere, that can be the best thing you do. Take a quick look back. And then get back to work.

We all ride a roller coaster of emotion when we’re pushing ourselves to achieve new and cool things in our lives. It’s scary. Once in awhile something really positive will happen and you will feel like you can do anything. It’s a rush! It’s confirmation that you’re on the right track. Most days you just have to keep pushing forward. You might feel tired, and you’ll probably question whether this is going to work.

You will most certainly wonder if you are doing the right things.

Then something will go wrong and you will wonder if it’s even worth it to keep pushing. In those moments, it’s helpful to give yourself credit for what you have achieved. You will gain confidence from realized the obstacles you’ve over come. But you should only pause for a moment because it’s even more important to know that there are still many more steps to take to go forward to reach your target.

We as humans have a tendency to count things as achievements when they aren’t really. Yes, it was hard work, but if it’s not the results you set out to achieve, you’re not done yet.

Add to that tendency, we are the most motivated when we start something and when we are near completion. We are not motivated in the middle.

What does that mean?

It means there’s a real danger in taking your foot off the gas for very long when you haven’t reached your destination. When you’re tired from working so hard, it’s easy to tell yourself you have worked hard and deserve a rest. Call it a rest. Call it a break. Call it whatever you want.

Your intention is that the pause is temporary. You mean to get back to it … you really do. But, you don’t.

It’s not your fault that you feel that way. It’s human nature. It is your fault if you don’t recognize it and push past it. Because now you know.

Complete the real estate goalsIf you’ve ever done a running race like a 5km road race, you know what I am talking about. When the starting gun goes off … you feel great. You leap off that starting line like you’re going to be first across the finish line. Your legs are fresh and you’re excited! It feels like all the people on the sidelines are cheering JUST FOR YOU.

2km in there isn’t anybody cheering and the effort it takes to keep running starts to weigh on you. Your legs are feeling heavy …  3km in you think about taking a walking break but you keep going. When you hit 4km … there’s only one little kilometer left. Suddenly you realize you can do it. You round a corner and see the finish line coming into site. You start to hear the people cheering. You start running faster. You forget about your legs feeling tired and you race to cross the finish line feeling exhilaration and pride.

The problem is you have to get yourself through that pesky middle. You have to push past kilometer 3 when you want to take a rest and probably quit.

People are the most motivated when they first start something or when they are almost done. What are you going to do to push through that pesky middle?

One part of the solution is in knowing what should be celebrated and what you should focus on.

I think there is a danger in telling yourself ‘good job’ for the wrong things. You can say ok cool I’ve signed up for the race. Ok cool I’ve done 30 training runs. You can congratulate yourself for showing up for the race but you MUST finish the race, or you’re not done.

So what can you do differently?

First, set your goals in terms of what will occur.

Set your goal in terms of something you have full control over.

For example, many investors will set their goal to get two deals done by June 1st. That might happen but there are so many factors that you can’t control that could prevent that from happening (the right property doesn’t come up, the seller wants to close on May 20th, you get outbid in a bidding war…). So instead think in terms of what you WILL do to move yourself toward that goal. What are things you can certainly do? You can walk around your neighbourhood every Sunday to identify new opportunities. You can make offers on every deal that fits your criteria. You can spend 15 minutes a day reviewing MLS listings and sales in your area. You can hire a new realtor. There are many things you can most certainly do to move yourself forward.

Aggressively do 3 things each week to move forward. Period. You WILL do those things. Set your goals in terms of what you CAN do.

A good goal is not to ‘find two new private lenders in the next 30 days’. A good goal is to speak to the next 10 people on my list about getting referrals, follow up with my best lender to see if he wants to do another deal, get a speaking gig at the local investment club to share tips and let folks know I am looking for investors, and submit three article proposals to local newspapers (by the way, if you’re not sure how to do any of this, the Ultimate Money Raisers Mastermind could be the perfect thing for you). You have 100% control over all those items and every single one moves you towards your goal achievement. Those are good goals.

And if you’re a full time investor you should be AGGRESSIVELY doing three things every day to move yourself towards the important goals that are going to help you create that life you want to live.

People will quit when the website is complete because it felt like so much work. They won’t do what they need to do to actually get traffic to the website and attract new investors or clients because it was so much work just to set that sucker up.

People quit after they master their ‘5 Why’s’ to raise money for their real estate deals.

The work that matters is getting people to see your website. The work that matters is ACTUALLY having those conversations with people who could be the perfect fit to invest in your deals. Everything else FEELS like work but it’s not goal progress.

And, now you know it too! See you at the finish line.




1st Image Credit: © Fuzzbones | Dreamstime.com
2nd Image Credit: © Alphaspirit | Dreamstime.com 
Credit for the concept of goal achievement goes to Kevin Hogan. I'm not sure if I read it in one of his books or heard him speak about it in one of his CD programs, or at his Influence Bootcamp, but I am certain it was him I heard first discussing it. Thanks Kevin.

Why You’re Not Reaching Your Goals (and the simple fix)

0% goal reached

A scientist named Roy Baumeister did a study where he had students fast for a time before they came to his lab. When they arrived, the entire lab smelled like freshly baked cookies. When they sat down, there was a a bowl of cookies and a bowl of radishes placed in front of them. One group was allowed to eat the cookies, while the other one was only allowed to eat radishes.

While none of the radish group cheated, they stared longingly at the cookies. Some even touched and smelled them.

Afterwards, the students were then brought to a different room to work on a puzzle that could not be solved.

They didn’t know the puzzle had no solution. They were told it was an IQ test.

The real test was to see how long they would try to solve the puzzle before they quit.

The results?

The cookie eaters worked for an average of 20 minutes before quitting. The radish eaters quit after an average of 8 minutes. A control group not involved in the cookie test also tried the puzzle for an average of 20 minutes.

The conclusion – the radish eaters depleted their willpower reserves resisting the cookies, leaving little left to push through the puzzle.

What’s this mean for you?

Well, let me ask you:

Have you made a list of goals? Are you easily reaching your goals on that list?

Have you boldly declared that this month (or, this year) you’re finally going to drop 20 pounds, save for your dream trip, and buy 2 investment properties?

If you have created a list of goals like that let me save you the disappointment right now. It’s like trying to resist the cookies, solve the puzzle and be friendly and kind to the cookie eaters all at the same time. You don’t have enough energy and willpower to do it all at once.

I’m not saying you can’t get all those things done but I am saying that it’s going to take an enormous amount of will power and discipline to do them all at once. Even just thinking about them all probably makes you feel overwhelmed and tired, right?

It’s not going to happen all at once so let’s not try to pretend that it will.

It’s not your fault – we all have a limited amount of willpower and need to focus it!!

It’s just like the experiment found. We have a limited amount of energy and will power reserves. You have to choose where you’re going to spend it.

The good news is that as things become habits, you don’t spend much of your energy and will power to do it. I’ve been dedicated to working out for so long, that most days I just go do it. There’s no drain on my will power because it’s a habit.

So keep your list if you want, but pick the first thing you want to tackle. Maybe you want to spend a month or two getting a new exercise and eating plan on track. Once it’s habitual, then you can start tackling what you need to do to buy two investment properties this year.

What is the ONE thing you can do next to move yourself closer to living your ideal day?

Ask yourself that and commit to it. If you commit to ONE thing you are much more likely to succeed. It’s like going straight in to solve the puzzle … you will push forward much longer and be much more likely to create the results you are working towards if you only have one primary mission in mind.

In other words if you want to become a real estate investor commit to that right now. Once you get through the learning curve and get your first deal done THEN you can work on training for the marathon or learning to play the flute.

You don’t have to believe me, but you should believe the research.

You may also like to check out:

 Image Credit: © Artofphoto | Dreamstime.com

How to Get It All Done as a Busy Real Estate Investor

julie explaining

Six years ago, on November 1st, I left my job to focus on real estate investing and building Rev N You.

It feels like a lifetime ago that I had to be at work by 8am. I don’t even use an alarm most mornings unless I am going to an early morning class at Crossfit.

But it really feels like yesterday that I was begging for extra vacation time, sneaking off to handle real estate stuff mid-day, working all weekend on a deal or a renovation, or meeting with Dave for hours at Starbucks discussing what our next move was.

I don’t remember feeling there wasn’t enough time, but I do remember feeling exhausted a lot. I was working hard – putting in a lot of hours but many of my hours were wasted.

The crazy part is that since leaving my job I actually work more hours than I did as a full time employee. There is no such thing as paid vacation time, so turning off completely is more difficult than it ever was when I was working for someone else. The big difference for me has been in understanding what takes energy, and what doesn’t. And, using the hours I am working as best as possible. I still waste time and procrastinate sometimes, but I am never just waiting for a day to end like I did when I was working for someone else. There’s too much to do and if I am not working smart, I could be doing something else!

That feeling of, if I am not using my time smartly right now, I could be visiting with friends or family, working out, or playing with my dogs keeps me focused. It’s never about putting in the hours, it’s about getting results.

And since every week someone writes us asking how to manage a full time job, a growing real estate portfolio and family obligations, I thought I would give you 4 ways to get it all done with the time you do have (And still have energy left for fun).


President Obama sits down for a family dinner at 6:30pm most nights. If the President of the United States can organize his day and his priorities so that happens, there’s no reason why you can’t create your ideal typical day using real estate while you hold down a full time job and a great family life. Yes, he has a lot more support than most of us do, but he also has a lot more obligations. It’s about priority and focus.

If you haven’t read the article on time management, you should check that out. As I mention in the video, I think time management sells a lot of courses (like the idea of passive income) but it isn’t really possible. There are, however, some things you can do to better use your time.

What’s your best tip for getting more done? Share it with us on Facebook or Twitter!


Source: http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/03/if-president-obama-can-get-home-for-dinner-why-cant-you/

My Greatest Fear Happened

hiding in fear

Very disappointed – No real practical advice“. ~ Amazon.ca reviewer of More than Cashflow.

One of my greatest fears has now happened. I received my first one star review on Amazon.

It’s ok if you’re laughing. It is silly to fear bad reviews … but, I have often felt a huge fear of judgement.

I know it’s not just me with this fear.

Public speaking is one of the greatest fears in North America. It’s not because people fear opening their mouth and letting words come out. Most of us do that quite easily; some maybe a little too easily.

A fear of public speaking is really a fear of being judged by the people in the audience.

I’m not afraid of public speaking anymore. And, now that it’s happened, I can tell you I am also not really afraid of bad reviews anymore.

The people who will judge and criticize you are NOT the ones achieving greatness, creating success and having a lasting positive impact on others.

First, those people are way to busy to criticize you and they know how hard it is to put yourself out there, so they aren’t about to judge you for doing it, even if you could do it better. Second, most people do want you to succeed and will support you. You can’t let the voice of one person who is miserable in their life ruin the more positive message from the majority.

So yes, I felt a flicker of emotion when I saw the one star amazon review. Then, I kind of laughed, and wondered what kind of book he was looking for that he felt mine was not practical.

Then, I moved on.

I still fear judgement of course. Fears like that don’t just vanish. But I also know that laying low or holding back will never get me where I want to go.

It won’t work for you either.

The solution to most challenges is almost always that you have to do the very thing you’re afraid of doing.

It’s too easy to give yourself credit for doing work that doesn’t get you where you want to go.

I get so many emails from people who spent hours on MLS and claim there just aren’t any deals that work. My suggestion is always the same – get off your couch and get your boots to the ground, talk with people in the area, and look at a lot of houses. Deals have to be uncovered and created. Eventually you’ll find them on MLS, but for now, you have to become an area expert.

I also hear from a lot of people who struggle to raise money for their real estate deals. They want credit for the work they have done even though it’s not getting them the cash. They want to hear that a tweak to their website, a different approach to their emails or a better business card is what they really need. They don’t want to hear that the reason they are struggling is because they have to do the very thing they are afraid of doing – meet people face to face and start asking for referrals, investors and finally, money!

There are external obstacles that can be holding you back. It is possible you need someone to help you overcome an obstacle, figure out what to do, or give you a system to follow. But once you have that piece, there is only one thing holding you back from the life you want to live… and it’s that person who is staring back at you in the mirror.

So face your fear … it might be as bad as you fear, but more likely it will leave you laughing that you were ever afraid of that one star review. 🙂

It’s Not What You’re Saying that is Ruining Your Deals

Thinking man by computer

It’s really simple. These are the factors we have to put in the model…” and then he would rattle off a bunch of things so fast I had no idea what he was saying. Nobody in our group did.

We’d usually just look at each other, shrug and follow his lead. He was one of the smartest people in our entire MBA class so following his lead was usually a safe bet.

The challenge was when someone else in the group had an idea. It was tough for him to persuade the group. He thought on a different level than the rest of us and he spoke so fast that his arguments weren’t compelling. We just didn’t understand what he was suggesting.

As a real estate investor, communicating in a compelling manner is critical to your success too. It’s rarely the first subject people talk about in the real estate space. It’s usually about hiring your team, finding deals, researching your market or handling tenants, and yet your ability to excel at all of those things comes back to your ability to communicate effectively.

In fact, your entire business relies on your ability to negotiate deals, hire the right people for your team (and communicate what’s expected of them), and raise the money you need to do fund your deals.

Sure, you need to run numbers, and that requires a spreadsheet more than your ability to communicate, but beyond that your success in real estate is all about you convincing people to do what you want them to do!

The scary part is that so much of what allows you be effective or ineffective isn’t about WHAT you’re saying. It’s about how you’re saying it.

Your voice – the pace you speak at, the tone you use to communicate, filler words, and the energy that comes through in your voice – are all impacting your ability to influence and impress other people.

Seinfeld Puffy Shirt A quick look back at some of the most famous Seinfeld episodes will confirm the importance of how you deliver your message. They’ve had fun with every kind of talker … the fast talker, the close talker, and the low talker.

Remember, how Jerry was ‘low talked’ into wearing that white puffy pirate shirt on stage at his show by Kramer’s low talking girlfriend?

Clearly, how you’re delivering your message is critical. So what can you do to ensure your message has the greatest impact on delivery?

Here are three things to ensure what you say is not getting ruined by HOW you say it:

1. Do you believe in your message?

Have you ever tried to convince somebody of something you don’t really believe?

How’d that work out for you?

The first key is to having an influential voice is to believe in what you’re saying. This is challenging for some new investors who are trying to build a team or raise money. They are telling a realtor about what they are going to do, but they haven’t built the belief that they will actually make it happen (you can also read my article about finding a good realtor). Or, they are speaking with a potential joint venture why 50% 50% is a fair split when they don’t really know if it is.

In Grant Cardone’s book, the 10X Rule he talks about the danger of not being fully committed to whatever it takes to achieve your goal. He says:

When you have underestimated the time, energy, and effort necessary to do something, you will have ‘quit’ in your mind, voice, posture, face and presentation…However, when you correctly estimate the effort necessary, you will assume the appropriate posture. The marketplace will sense by your actions that you are a force to be reckoned with and are not going away – and it will begin to respond accordingly.”

Belief and determination will shine through your voice. So before you try to convince and engage anyone, get connected with what is driving you to invest in real estate in the first place. Get into the mindset of ‘let’s do this – whatever it takes’ and pursue what you want with moxie. That alone will overcome a lot of the other potential voice issues you could face. People will sense your determination and your belief and will hop right on board.

Dave always talks about the power of looking someone in the eye and saying “I’m going to take care of your money because if we don’t make you money, we can’t eat. We only make money when you make money, and this is our primary business.”

That kind of determination and belief in what you do is powerful (and works to raise a lot of money)!

2. Record Yourself Speaking … And Listen Carefully

If you just groaned, I get it. Listening to your own voice is pretty painful for most people. It is, however, the best way to catch if you have any of these other potential voice issues that are making it hard for you to influence others.

Ideally record your side of a business call. Afterwards, listen for:

1. Vocal Tone – does your voice come through as a command or a question. If you’re asking a question – ok your voice should go up at the end of a sentence to indicate a question. Otherwise, a flat or even drop in your tone at the end of a sentence is much stronger.
2. Filler Words – Are you using them? You know, um, the ones, ah, like … right?
3. Vocal Pace – Are you speaking too fast, too slow, or are you just speaking at one pace and at one tone the whole time which will put people to sleep?

Have an honest friend give you input. Then, consciously work to change it!

3. What Do You Look Like When You’re Speaking?

This is an entire article unto itself. You can damage your credibility, look totally insecure or just not be likable to someone in an instant just by showing up in the wrong clothes or looking totally disheveled. Let’s be blunt … nose and ear hair really hurt your impact too.

You could also ruin any sort of positive message you’re saying with gestures like rubbing a beard while you’re speaking, constantly flicking your hair or rubbing your nose.

If you look nervous, the other person will feel nervous.

Besides the fact that these things are distracting, they don’t set someone at ease. In order to influence someone, they need to be comfortable.

The bottom line is that you need to look appealing in most cases so people want to look at you and feel comfortable doing so. It’s not necessarily fair or right, but the more attractive you are, the easier it will be for you to influence someone. You don’t have to believe me … you can just read Invisible Influence by Kevin Hogan and you’ll learn all about it.

People have to be ok to look at you while you’re talking so that they can feel comfortable and will easily engage with you.

Ask a kind but critical friend what you could improve. Hire a stylist. Video tape yourself speaking. Identify where you can improve your appearance and reduce the gestures you make that are taking away from your message.

If what you’re doing is working for you right now – you’re negotiating great deals, raising all the money you need, and work with a team you love, you could make a few tweaks I am sure (we all can I suspect!), but you’re probably actually good. If, however, you’re having trouble hiring the right people, your raising money efforts are falling flat and you never seem to get what you want in negotiations, it’s time to pay attention to HOW you’re saying what you are saying.

Good luck!


1st Image: © B-d-s | Dreamstime.com - Young Woman At The Desk Gesturing OK Photo
2nd Image: (& fun info about the Puffy Shirt episode) http://seinfeld.wikia.com/wiki/The_Puffy_Shirt

How to Buy 20 Real Estate Investment Properties

holding money with house in the distance

It was 8am on Boxing Day. Even after all the Christmas consumption, I’d managed to get myself up from my bed and out the door, and was now staring at Barbara. I was getting scared. She looked like she was really going to hurt me. “Maybe I should walk away from this one,” I thought as I looked around the room at the folks who were also going to take on Barbara. But, nobody was heading for the door – they were just getting ready for the battle.

If you’re into Crossfit, you’ve probably already figured out I am talking about a WOD (workout of the day) named Barbara. She’s 5 rounds of 20 pullups, 30 push ups, 40 weighted sit ups and 50 air squats. She is nasty.

How do you get through a workout like that?

You could look at it and think: “100 pullups, 150 push ups, 200 weighted sit ups and 250 air squats – I’ll never finish that!” You could defeat yourself before you even flex a muscle.

Or, you could look at the first 20 pull ups and think “Ok – let’s do 4 sets of 5”. Then, when that is done, you move on to push ups and do 3 sets of 10, and so on. With each section accomplished, you adjust your plans for the next round. Perhaps you do a few less or a few more reps before you rest. Maybe, you realize it’s just way more than you can do right now, so you find a way to scale your plans down (in my case as dropping to my knees for the pushups and adding some body weight support in the form of a band for the pullups was an immediate adjustment I made in the hopes of finishing).

No matter what, the best way to approach an enormous challenge is to break that big bad beast up into a series of smaller sets that are manageable so you have a shot at finishing – which is what I did.

It seems logical when you’re facing a workout, but why is it not what most people do when they are chasing their big goals in life? The majority of people we work with as real estate investment coaches arrive on our virtual doorstep with a daunting list of things they want to do. For example, they will say they want to own 20 properties. That alone is a big task – much like a Barbara WOD. But, that is rarely the ONLY thing people want to do. This same person may also want to start a rent to own business or a real estate club, raise a few million dollars and work on a development project. This is, of course, while they have a full time job and a family as well.

It’s not that these things aren’t possible over a period of time. It’s that all at once, it’s too much to take on. It’s overwhelming. It also creates a lot of stress.

Let’s say you do want to buy 20 properties – what do you do? Some will tell you that you need a plan to buy all 20 before you start. You might try to plan it out by thinking “ok that’s roughly $6,000,000 in real estate so I will need about $1,500,000 for down payments and renovations”. That is like looking at Barbara and telling yourself that you have 700 reps of exercise ahead of you and then trying to get motivated. GULP!

The Best Approach to Buy 20 Investment Properties

The best approach is to break it up and tackle one thing at a time, just like I had to do with Barbara. I didn’t look at it as 100 pullups. I looked at it one round at a time. In my case it was 4 sets of 5 pull ups. For the properties, take 20 properties and break it down. Maybe it’s 2 per year over 10 years. Maybe it’s 4 per year for 5 years.

Break it down.

That’s your overall plan, and it’s good to have in the back of your mind, but now I suggest you forget about it and just focus on getting one deal done. One deal is a lot to handle in itself. Do you know where you want to buy? Do you know what kind of property (commercial, duplex, four plex, single family home)? Do you know who you want to rent to & how you’ll attract them to the property? What resources do you have (financial, time, etc)? Who is on your team?

Get that first deal done. Assess what you liked and what you didn’t like. What needs to change to move forward with more ease? Can you handle the pace of 4 per year, or is it too much given the things that are important to you right now (family, health, career etc).

With that information, details that you can ONLY gather after you’ve made a huge step forward, you can make adjustments and then move forward.

Keep looking at that next most important thing you need to do to move forward. Know that you’re working towards 20 properties, but also realizing that you may not get there. You might not want to once you get to 10. That might be enough. You also might exceed it. You don’t know right now. What you do know is the next thing you need to do, so go and do it (and if you don’t know that next thing then get some support and help!).

I didn’t finish Barbara. The buzzer went off indicating the max time had been reached. I was on my fifth round but was at least another 4 or 5 minutes away from finishing. I’m ok with that. I have learned that it’s good to have an idea of where you’re going, but always look at the bigger picture of WHY you’re doing what you’re doing. For us, as real estate investors, we weren’t looking to create an empire. We wanted to create freedom and options. Once we reached that, we slowed our pace of acquisition down dramatically.

We hadn’t reached a magical number – we had reached our why.

In my workouts, I am doing it for health and to get stronger. I didn’t finish Barbara, but I can do a lot more pushups and pullups today than I ever have been able to in my life. Next time I meet Barbara I hope to conquer the challenge, but no matter what I will break it down and just keep focused on the next thing to do.

What Britney Spears Knows About Success

Britney Spears When I was in Italy Britney Spears came out with a new song that makes a pretty hard hitting point:

You want a hot body? You want a Bugatti?
You want a Maserati? You better work b*tch

Like her, or not, the fact that she’s able to keep making hits and always stand up after falling down, is something to appreciate.

It’s way too easy to look at someone who has achieved a level of success and discount how they got to where they are. It’s much easier to criticize when you’re sitting on your couch just watching others do things. Not that it applies to Britney but the phrase “overnight success” is comical because almost every time you research the background of that “overnight” success you find out they actually were working for 10+ years becoming great at what they do before they were discovered.

Guess what? If there is something you want in your life – you’re going to have to go and get it. You’re going to get bruised along the way. You’re going to trip and maybe even fall, you might get lost, but you will only get where you want to go, if you keep going. I relearned this and some other important lessons when I was trekking in Italy with my Dad in September (Which I also talked about in When Your Real Estate Business is Stormy.

Here’s 3 Life Lessons Learned Trekking in Tuscany

1. Stop to appreciate how far you’ve come

P1080147Every morning we’d set out with a map, a backpack with water, snacks and our camera, and a destination. The daily treks from village to village ranged in distance from 12 – 18km most days (assuming you did not get lost or do any extra exploring, of course). With that much walking in the rolling hills of  Tuscany it would be easy to just stay focused on where you’re going, but that can also be overwhelming. Pausing to look back and see just how many steps you’ve already taken can give you a big boost. (This is a photo looking back on San Gimignano as I walked my way to Monteriggioni. I had so far to walk at this time that I couldn’t even see the castle walls of Monteriggioni yet. Dad didn’t walk with me that day as his foot needed a rest – so I was trekking solo that day.)

I see this a lot with our coaching clients. They have this big goal – maybe it’s to buy 3 rental properties in the year. Six months into working with us, they haven’t bought a property yet and they are frustrated. They are beating themselves up because they don’t think they’ve made progress. When we stop and look back at where they have come from though we always find enormous progress like: picking a market and a neighbourhood to focus on, becoming an area specialist, setting up a great team, getting financing in order and possibly even raising money. Bottom line is they are now ready to do 3 deals and now just have to find them. The reality is that they had a 20km journey to travel when they set out and they’ve actually done 12km of the trip. Just because they haven’t reached their final destination they think they haven’t done anything. That’s not the case.

It’s important to have your eye on your goal AND to always stop and appreciate the steps you have taken.

2. Sometimes You Get Lost – It’s Part of the Wonderful Adventure of it All

Monteriggioni in the BackgroundThe instructions and the maps weren’t always so helpful. In fact, at times, I think they intentionally made it confusing to challenge you, and I actually liked it that way. Other than when I encountered a snake in a forest – which I really did NOT like – I actually had fun getting lost. At one point, after spending 40 minutes walking on the wrong trail only to then set out, again on another wrong trail for 25 minutes, I sat down, ate a croissant and just stared at the olive groves and vineyards all around me.

I was a little nervous as this was one of my solo days and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do if I didn’t figure it out. I was also feeling so grateful for the quiet time. There were no cars, no people, no emails, and no interruptions. It was me, one of the most amazing croissants I’d ever eaten, the sunshine and Tuscany! (The picture to the left isn’t that moment but it was later that day when I was seated on a rock with Monteriggioni in the distance … finally!)

If every step had been easy I wouldn’t have appreciated the journey nearly as much. If I hadn’t have gotten lost, I wouldn’t have taken a breather. I would have kept trekking. I remember that moment sitting on the hillside looking at my map wondering where the heck I was supposed to go more vividly than most of the 5 days of trekking. And I remember it fondly as part of the adventure that I loved so much.

And after that rest I looked at the map, pulled out my compass and knew exactly what I had done wrong. It all became clear. I just needed a little rest. It’s like that in your business and life too. When you feel lost, the best thing you can do is take a rest and just appreciate that this moment is part of the adventure and really is what makes the journey exciting and interesting. After taking the rest, things become clear. If you try to push through – you’ll just feel more tired, probably stay lost and never really get to where you want to go.

3. Everything is Better When You’ve Worked for It!

Julie and RickDo you notice how water tastes better after a workout? It’s the same water you always drink, but you’ve worked hard and now it just seems that much more thirst quenching. Food – any food – tastes better when you’ve worked hard all day.  Getting my book to #1 on Amazon felt so much sweeter because I’d been told my book wouldn’t sell and that I didn’t have a strong enough marketing platform for the publisher. I had to work crazy hard to get the book out into the world, but I’m not sure I would have appreciated the book’s success without the struggles. The victories feel so much more significant when you have to work crazy hard to earn it.

I think you should WANT to work hard in your life … not just for the material things Britney Spears is singing about … but because life is just better when you’ve earned it.

It’s a bit like my suggestion that you need a bigger purpose in your real estate investing business besides making money. Money is nice but it’s not the actual reward to building your wealth and generating an income from real estate. Financial options in your future, security that you have something to live on in your retirement if there are no pensions, comfort that you can help your kids with their university costs, or the knowledge that a stronger financial position allows you to help more people and give back in greater ways – these are all really powerful reasons to push forward and will be the things that taste oh so sweet because you worked hard to create it in your life.

Happy Investing …


If You Liked This Article, You May Also Like:

>> In Pursuit of Passive Income?

>> Are You Chasing Someone Else’s Real Estate Investing Goals?

>> Real Estate Investing Costs You’ve Never Considered

>> Choosing Your Investment Market: Two Factors Nobody Talks About

>> 4 Mistakes to Avoid as a Real Estate Investor






When Your Real Estate Business is Stormy

P1080140Every storm runs out of rain” my Dad said as we were trekking through the hilly terrain of Tuscany, Italy.

He was quoting a country music song by Gary Allan as he discussed the challenges Dave and I had faced in the last 6 weeks with our real estate business. We had 7 tenants give notice all within a month. That has never happened to us in a year, let alone at once.

There was no underlying trend – we filled them all quite quickly – but we also had a lot work to do all at once. We had to arrange a new furnace, some new windows, painting, cleaning, repairs and landscaping. When tenants move out there are always things to do. And, of course, it happened while our office manager was away on 2 weeks of holidays so it was just us to handle everything.

And all the tenant related work that popped up happened smack dab in the middle of doing due diligence on our first official commercial deal. (I say first official because we’ve bought several properties where it’s zoned commercial but currently a residential use or it’s mixed use – residential and commercial).

It wasn’t anything we couldn’t handle, however it was incredibly busy, mentally taxing and financially straining. We had not planned to put $60,000 into our rentals in one month and while some of that comes from the property reserve accounts and some from our partners, it’s still a lot of cash to organize and pull together unexpectedly.

Rick Broad in TuscanySo there I was trekking through Italy with my Dad, getting lost at times, and he’s reminding me that ‘this too shall pass’. And he’s right. As I am now back in the office after two fabulous weeks away, things are much calmer. We’re closing on the commercial deal on Monday (we met the Dentist who runs the office yesterday and got all the contact details from the current owner for everyone that works on the property) and almost all the work is complete on the properties that had turnover in the last 30 days.

It was a rough August, but we got through and you will too. But if you find yourself in the middle of a storm cloud you might want to know how to reduce the pain – even a little. Here’s my suggestions:

1. Go back to why you got into real estate in the first place. I find myself quickly refocusing on what has to get done rather than feeling sorry for myself when I remember all that real estate has already given us and what I know it will give us in the next 5 – 10 years.

2. Get a third party perspective – sometimes you are worrying about the wrong things. A client of ours went through a very emotionally draining situation with his family and, to his credit, tried to keep pushing forward with his to do list. He was grouchy, exhausted and overwhelmed with everything on his list but it had little to directly do with his real estate. I tried to gently tell him his priorities SHOULD be with his family and forget the rest of it for a few weeks. Later he described it as a ‘talking to’ so maybe I missed the gently part, but he felt refreshed and better able to focus. He thanked me because he needed that third party perspective – which in his case was permission to focus on family. Other times you may be worrying about something you can’t do anything about and missing the things you can fix! Someone who is not emotionally or financially tied to your situation can offer a much needed perspective in challenging times.

3. I wake up in the middle of the night to worry about things if I don’t do this one thing every single day: write down all the things that have to be done the next day and plan tomorrow before you shut down today. When things get intense and chaotic this becomes even more critical. I still worry at times – but the more I write everything down and assign times to get the important things done (and even the lesser important things) the more relaxed I can be when I should rest. And rest is fundamental to managing stress.

And when all else fails just focus on the next possible thing you can do. Often the whole picture is not visible but there are things you can do. Do those and bit by bit you’ll get through.

Or. As the song goes on to say… “Just like every dark night turns into day
Every heartache will fade away
Just like every storm runs, runs out of rain.

Oh heck … time for a music break don’t you think … sing it Gary:

The Secret to Time Management

Total Recall BookArnold Schwarzenegger was on George Stromboulopolous last week talking about his new book, Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story. The “Governator’s” life story is an impressive example of setting a goal, ignoring all the people who say you can’t do it, and working your butt off to make it happen. He used to work out four or five hours a day at home when he was dreaming of becoming Mr. Olympia. Do you dedicate four or five hours a day to making your dream a reality?

The one piece of the interview that stands out in my mind was the fact that Arnold said that everyone seems to think they don’t have enough time to do what they need to do. He said “I hear it all the time, and it’s a myth. There’s always enough time.

He went on to share the story of meeting Pope John Paul II and how he was shocked to confirm that the Pope worked out every single day – waking up before the crack of dawn to do an extensive workout regime. He said each of the Presidents that he’s gotten to know works out every day and always makes the time. They are running the United States of America and they still find time to work out.

We all have the EXACT same amount of time in a day but it’s how we choose to use it that makes the difference.

So what is the secret? What is the secret to time management?

Time Management SecretPersonally, I don’t think you can manage time. I think the idea that you can manage time sells a lot of books (kind of like the idea that real estate will make you passive income sells a lot of training courses!).

My belief is that you can manage where you place your focus, and you can manage your energy. You can’t manage time. When you do an effective job of managing your focus and managing your energy, you will be able to fit a lot more in a day and still have some energy left to enjoy time with your family, friends and yourself!

A lot of our coaching clients who get to know me well ask “How do you get it all done?” I accomplish a lot in a day. I do outsource some tasks, I have a fabulous virtual assistant who handles a lot of day to day things for me, we have a great office manager for our real estate business who takes a lot off our plate, but in general, I get a lot done most days.

Could I do more? Absolutely? I am not perfect. Facebook distracts me sometimes. Every once in awhile I find the Yahoo! headline about some celebrity too catchy to ignore and sometimes I get angry and annoyed over silly things and that takes precious energy away from more important matters. But generally, I have found a lot of things that work to accomplish some pretty major things in a day and a week.

Here’s my 5 Best Tips to Get Important Things Done in a Day:

1. Turn off your phone and your email for at least 60 minutes a day. The more it’s off, the more you’ll get done.
Obvious? Maybe – but practically nobody does this. While I am writing this my office doors are closed, my phone is silenced and my email is off. If I don’t do that, an article will take all day to write instead of 60-90 minutes. Tony Schwartz, in his brilliant book called Be Excellent at Anything, busts the multi-tasking myth wide open. He also warns against the dangers of switching back and forth from task to task. “When we focus on more than one thing, ‘simultaneous data streams flatten content, making prioritization all the harder.’ Trying to do multiple activities at the same time effectively desensitizes us to differences and distinctions between them.” If you tend to feel frazzled and pulled in too many directions, the biggest culprit is probably email or your phone. Regardless, it is the fact that you’re not focusing on any one task for very long that is causing you to feel that way. Pick a task, turn off your phone and email, get it done. Then check your phone and your email deal with pressing issues. Then repeat.

2. Say ‘No’ More.
Are you wishing for a clone of yourself? If you are, it means you’re taking on too much stuff and you need to start using the word NO and find ways to unload your to-do list.

It’s not easy. I have a driving desire to please people. Making someone unhappy makes me feel like total crap. So, yes, I sometimes feel guilty when I say no to invitations or requests from friends or family when the only reason I am saying no is that I need to manage my energy or focus on something else at that time. I also have a hard time not responding to every Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and email question that comes my way – and some days there are dozens. I want to help everyone, but if I did I would end up accomplishing nothing significant, ever. If I said yes to everyone who offered to buy me coffee or lunch to “pick my brain” I would be fat and brainless … I HAVE to say no to many things. It’s not realistic.

It’s time to say NO and start outsourcing some of your tasks, which leads me to #3.

#3 Ditch tasks, Delegate Tasks or Just Get ‘Em Done!
If you are feeling like there isn’t enough time, write down a list of EVERYTHING you have to do today. What is on that list that you can ditch (for example, do you think you need to read a Time Management book to get more time? Ditch that task … there you’ve just freed up 4 or 5 hours!). I promise there are things on your list that you don’t need to do. You think you should do them but you don’t really have to. There are also things on your list that someone else in your family can do for you or that you can hire out for a lot less money than you think. Once you’ve gotten rid of those things there are probably a couple of things that YOU and only YOU can do. What do you do then? See tip #1 – turn everything else off and just get it done. It almost always takes less time than you think. My strategy is ALWAYS do the most important thing in my day FIRST. Then I move onto other things on my list.

#4 Take a Nap
When the moment hits where I am dragging … I’m staring at my computer clicking mindlessly from email to Facebook to websites and back to email I try to catch myself and figure out what’s wrong. Usually I feel dead tired … having dedicated myself to a string of tasks that too a lot of mental focus or dealing with something that was emotionally draining, and the only way to recharge and get the most out of the rest of the day is a nap. Not a long nap – just a 15 minute rest will do the trick. After that, I have a big glass of water and a small snack and I get back to it. I can usually get another 3 or 4 hours of productive time out of myself and have energy for family time afterwards when I do that. When I try to power through by drinking tea or coffee, I end up grumpy and annoyed.

Sneak out to your car if you need to … or if all else fails, just take a walk outside. It’s not quite as good as a nap for me, but it will revive you, clear your mind and help you refocus.

#5 Get Clear on What You Want to Do & Then Set Difficult Goals

First, you must get clear. It’s unreasonable to expect you’re going to manage your day to day responsibilities and learn a new language, advance your career and buy 10 properties this year. Pick the most important thing and focus on that. Which one is most important to you and the life you want to create for yourself.

Tackle one big project at a time. It’s much more effective – especially when our daily lives are so demanding. But make sure that the thing you decide to focus on is a goal that makes you nervous and excited at the same time. If it isn’t doing that for you – it’s not the right goal. You’ll get distracted easily and it will just pile on with all the other things you think you should do but never find time for.

When I decided to write my book, More Than Cashflow, I didn’t just decide to write and publish a book (which, in itself is a ton of work), I wanted to sell the heck out of it. Specifically the goal is to create a Canadian Best Seller. This is not a small task for any book, but it’s a HUGE task for a self-published book on a niche subject like real estate. I have a long way to go, and the road is totally uphill as I battle to get it on book store shelves and continue to spread the word about it (Thanks to my fabulous Rev N You readers and clients that job is SO MUCH EASIER – so thank YOU for your reviews, shares and continued promotion!!). I can’t tell you if I will get to Canadian Best Seller status … we’re off to a great start. I can tell you that setting an ambitious goal is HIGHLY motivating.

You can radically improve your financial position, run a marathon, get a promotion or learn a new language – except for rare cases – we all have the talent and the capacity for such things. Mark Murphy, author of Hard Goals, says “when people under-perform their potential, it’s usually more an issue of motivation than of innate talent.” He also says “attitude does matter more than aptitude.” But here’s something you might not hear very often, set difficult goals. They work better. A hard goal tells yourself and others that your work is important. Mark ends his book by saying “You should feel outside your comfort zone, not so far that you feel like you’re on a bed of nails, but not too comfortable either. You’ll know when you find your sweet spot, because you’ve been there before, and it’s that place where you achieve your absolute best.”

I haven’t even got into some of the brilliant studies by Tony Schwartz on managing your energy in the day …  rituals, focus, breaks and a focus on being healthy are all critical components as well … but we’ll save those for another day.

I’m with Arnold, we all have enough time, we just need to spend it more wisely and get revved up to achieve great things in our lives. Status Quo is comfortable but it’s probably not what you want or you wouldn’t be reading Rev N You! Let’s ditch the idea that we need to learn time management and focus on what you really want in your life, and manage your energy so you’re getting that done!

Woman with Clock Image Credit: © Ryan Jorgensen | Dreamstime.com






In Pursuit of Passive Income?

Let me ask you:

Passive Income What makes you want to become a real estate investor?

Many investors say the answer is financial freedom. Others may say passive income. But these answers aren’t good enough to keep you going through the tough stuff that you will encounter.

If you got into real estate to make $5,000 a month in passive income or to buy 50 properties, you might get there but you’re probably not going to be happy (Read: The Real Estate Investing Costs You’ve Never Considered).

Real estate investing success is not about getting to some number. If that’s what you’re chasing, it’s going to be very hard work; and when you hit the really big obstacles, you’ll give up or make yourself miserable.

It’s not enough to pursue financial freedom or passive income. There needs to be a much bigger reason. There must be a clear vision. And that vision has to go beyond money.

When your tenant pulls a knife on her roommate, and then stops paying rent when the roommate moves out, and it takes you three months to evict the knife yielding tenant; money is not enough to keep going. When you discover that the roof you spent $10,000 repairing the year before is still leaking and requires another $7,000 to fix; and at the same time you discover a tree growing from the inside of the house out the window; giving up on real estate will be top of mind – right behind how the heck am I going to pay for all of this? (Yes – all those things happened to us.)

So you need to ask yourself: Why do I want to invest in real estate?

If the answer is for financial freedom or passive income, then the next question to ask yourself is:

Why do you want financial freedom / passive income?

Because I want to be able to leave my job and live my life the way I want.


Because I want to spend more time with my family and because I believe I have a bigger purpose in life than working for someone else all my life.


If you keep going down this path you’ll eventually end up in a place that lets you know that you are pursuing all of these things for the simple reason that you think they will make you feel happy and fulfilled.

We used to believe we were passionate about real estate.

Passionate About Real EstateWe like doing deals. Dave loves running the numbers. I like looking at properties and finding the deals. I like thinking strategically about the risks and how we can make money.

That’s not passion though. I think that’s excitement. I’m excited about what real estate offers. It offers financial comfort and security; and that comfort and security allows us to dedicate more time to helping other investors avoid mistakes and create a life they love, thanks to rental property.

Making money is exciting. I like it a lot. I like that real estate is a fantastic way to make money over time.

I’m not passionate about real estate though, and here’s how I know:

If I was told I could never do another real estate deal in my life, I wouldn’t be devastated. In some ways, if I’m honest with myself, I would feel a bit of relief. It’s so much work to continuously do deals, and being forced to take a break from it would be nice.

On the other hand, if you told me I wasn’t allowed to teach others anything for the rest of my life, I would be lost. I would have no purpose in my life.

You have to dig deep. If you want to be a real estate investor for money, it’s not going to be enough to get you through the low times.

A good friend of mine started down the road of becoming a real estate investor. He had the big goal of buying 50 properties. There’s nothing wrong with that. The problem was he was really seeking fulfillment in his life.

Today you would never know he’s the same guy that was chasing all those properties. He’s writing books, loving time with his family, and they’re choosing where they live and what they spend time on – and he didn’t get there through real estate. Real estate is not the only possible solution – it just might be the only one you’ve considered so far.

When you realize that, and when you understand that it’s not that quick, and it’s definitely not that easy, you may find that real estate is not at all the place to start.

Or you may find, as we have, that real estate is an effective vehicle to help you take a big step towards the big WHY’s in your life.

Don’t get me wrong … we all need money. But once your basic needs are taken care of, you need a lot more than money to feel happy. You need to figure out the WHY in your life.

Next time we’ll talk about who is setting your real estate investing goals…  After years of asking our clients what their goals are … I’ve come to some startling conclusions. Most people aren’t setting their own investing goals!

Image #1 Credit - Dave Peniuk (it's my dog Maya on the beach in Tofino living the life but not catching the ball!)
Image #2 Credit - © Andrey Kiselev | Dreamstime.com


More Than Cashflow BookLike this article? You’ll LOVE More Than Cashflow: The Real Risks & Rewards of Profitable Real Estate Investing. This is just a tiny excerpt from the Amazon #1 Best Selling Book.

“I have read many different Real Estate related books over the years from many different authors across Canada and the US, but this book was one of the best that I have read in a very long time. If there is one real estate book that you should read this year, it is this one!” ~ From qmanrei on Amazon.ca 



Fear Factor: 4 Steps for Overcoming Fear in Real Estate Investing

Fear of Real Estate InvestingI’ve been in real estate for over 11 years and done dozens and dozens of deals, but time and experience doesn’t totally get rid of my fears. How I look at my fear is different but I think I will always be scared that people won’t like what I have to say. I’m sure I will always worry a little bit that something could go wrong with a deal. But those fears serve an important purpose in my life – they always make me stop and double check what I am saying and doing in my business. The key is that it doesn’t freeze me in place – it just serves as a good double check.

Fear is an emotional response to perceived dangers. Trying to ignore or suppress fear doesn’t work. I also don’t think you should try. It’s our ability to recognize potential danger so we can choose whether to confront it or run away.

Fear in real estate investing is common. It can be scary at times. There’s a big fear of losing money. There’s concern over the stress that you can feel if something goes wrong with a tenant or a partner or a deal.

Running from what scares you, doesn’t work though. Doing nothing doesn’t change anything either.

I think the best thing you can do is acknowledge you’re afraid of something, understand it, and then decide if you need to run from it or confront it. When you do it this way you’ll be able to recognize the fear that is protecting you and move past the fear that is holding you back for no reason. Specifically, here’s how I overcome my fears and how you can too:When you do it this way you’ll be able to recognize the fear that is protecting you and move past the fear that is holding you back for no reason. Specifically, here’s how I overcome my fears and how you can too:

1. What are you really afraid of?

I’ve met hundreds of investors that are stuck – they want to do deals but aren’t. Sometimes they have been stuck for years and years!

When I ask what’s holding them back the answer is almost always because they can’t find good deals in their area or they don’t think their market is a good one to invest in, but they don’t know where else to invest. Sometimes they don’t have investment capital and feel stuck without money to put into the deals.

It’s possible these issues are actually the issue, and in hot real estate markets with bidding wars and limited supply, lack of good deals is quite possibly true. However, in most phases of the real estate cycle, there are always plenty of deals out there for investors willing to work hard to find and create them. And there is definitely money.

Rarely are these actually the obstacles holding you back. More likely, it’s something deeper like a fear of making a mistake that leads to you being judged poorly by someone you love. In other words, you’re likely not just afraid you will do a bad deal and lose money. You’re afraid that if you do a bad deal and your Dad finds out he’ll say “I told real estate was a bad idea – now quit trying to make money in real estate and get a real job like I taught you.”

You have to look at WHY you’re afraid of losing money. What is it that you are really afraid of?

Until you get into it and actually uncover that real fear, it’s hard to move past it. But once you realize that you are afraid your husband or wife will think less of you if you do a deal that doesn’t make money, you have something you can tangibly deal with.

2. Get Comfortable with that Fear

Again, I am not a big believer that you’re going to get rid of the fear so the better plan is to acknowledge it’s there, figure out what is driving it, and then do what you need to do to feel more comfortable with it’s presence.

Let’s just say you’re biggest fear is that your husband or wife will be upset with you for a deal that isn’t that good. What can you do to get more comfortable with that fear? My suggestion would be to sit down and have an open conversation with your spouse.

Listen honey – you know I’ve been wanting to get into real estate for awhile. I really believe it’s the best way for me to ensure we’re all taken care of in our retirement and to hopefully have some additional money to pay for our kids to go through University if they want to do that. I just feel a bit stuck. I’ve done my homework. I have taken some courses and done lots of reading as you know, but I am not able to move forward. I think it’s because I am really scared that if I make a mistake it will change how you feel about me.”

Maybe that’s not a conversation you’d normally have but if you’re married it’s probably time you opened up and started to talk openly about your fears around your investments. What you’ll probably find out is that your spouse appreciates your concern but supports you. He may even offer support, suggestions or other ideas to help you achieve your goals.

It’s unlikely you’ll erase the fear but now you’ll feel more comfortable to move forward.

If your fear doesn’t involve a desire to be liked or a fear of being judged then a conversation might not solve it. If, instead, you’re lacking confidence in yourself and feeling terrified you’ll pick an awful tenant you still have to get comfortable with it. My suggestion? Think about the absolute worst thing that can happen to you if you pick the world’s worst tenant. Now, think about what you will do to resolve it. In most scenarios I can think of, it’s a pain in the ass to deal with but insurance will cover me or I have to spend several thousand dollars handling the issue. I can almost always come up with half a dozen ways to find the money to pay for that kind of damage and I am sure you can too if you really think about it. After you’ve done that, you have to remember that your absolute worst case scenario is very unlikely to ever happen but if it does, are you going to survive it?

3. Plan For Success

When my husband Dave and I are preparing to present an investment opportunity to one of our money partners we always plan for them to say yes. We prepare and practice what we’re going to say so that we can deliver the message clearly, concisely and with confidence. Sometimes they say no. Once in awhile we turn them away because we don’t want to work with them. Usually they say yes because we’re ready for it.

You might feel like there is no point lining up your mortgage broker, lawyer and property manager until you’ve found a good deal. The reality is that you’ll probably never find a good deal until you’ve planned for your success. Your own self doubts are holding you back from doing what you’re going to need to do once you find that great property. And you know what? Once you are ready for that deal it will probably be right there under your nose!

4. When All Else Fails, Take Action

There’s almost no fear that can’t be overcome by simply taking action that moves you squarely towards what you’re afraid of. If you’re afraid of rejection from a potential money partner, nothing else will help you truly become more comfortable with that fear than sitting across from someone and risking that NO.

The objective here is not to eradicate fear. Fear is important. The day you stop fearing you could make a mistake is almost always the day you screw up big time. Fear will keep you checking in to make sure you’re taking precautions. Let fear do it’s job to keep you safe but do not let it anchor you.

Get to know it so you can recognize when it’s protecting you from something real versus scaring you from becoming as great as you can be. Once you feel better that it’s a fear of something that won’t kill you or damage your life forever, you can move forward to planning and taking action.

Want more articles on this subject?

>> How to Use Fear to Your Advantage in Real Estate Investing

>> Goal Setting For Real Estate Investors


Image Credit: © Francesco83 | Dreamstime.com

Goal Setting for Real Estate Investors: Are You Ever Really Going to Do It?

How many things are on your “someday” list?

I hear these ones all the time:

  • Someday I am going to travel to Australia
  • One day I will take my kids to Disneyland
  • Someday I will start my own business
  • When I am done this project I will quit smoking/lose weight
  • When the time is right I will buy my first investment property.

It makes me sad when I hear people say these things because I think they are kidding themselves.

Someday = never.

If I hear myself say someday, and it’s something I really want to do, I change that to a date or I start it right then and there.

And there is something incredibly powerful – almost magical in it’s power – when you stop saying someday and set a date.

For years Dave and I have talked about writing a book. Last year we were talking about our book and I heard one of us say “someday we’ll write a book about ...”. I said – not someday. Let’s make it 2011.

Dave immediately said, “Well how are we going to do it?”

I said what I almost always say “I don’t know yet but we’ll figure it out.”

I really didn’t have any idea how we would make it happen. Yet as soon as we said it out loud, put a date on it and committed our hearts and minds to it, we suddenly had two different publishers to talk to about proposals. We found ourselves knee deep in a proposal and then a revision. Last week our revision was turned down but we’ve made incredible progress, learned a lot and have had some really great discussions with folks we probably never would have reached out to had we not been moving forward on a book.

I don’t have a book or a book deal right now but 2011 still has a whole lot of time left in it! And, I know that any goal worth doing is going to test you. At least once – usually a lot more than once – it’s going to stand up big and tall in front of your face and say:

Scary Monster will Challenge Your Goals

Are you really ready to do this??

It will look big, dark and scary. And trust me, you’ll probably consider crying, going to bed, or eating a bucket of sugary treats, but your answer to the big, tall, and scary test is going to determine your success. Your ability – actually it’s not your ability because we ALL HAVE THE ABILITY – it’s your DESIRE to push past the giant obstacle in your way and say is what is going to determine whether you succeed or fail. Your desire to take a deep breath and push forward is what will make it happen for you.

This leads me to what I want to share with you today. I just read an absolutely brilliant book by Mark Murphy called HARD GOALS: The Science of Extraordinary Achievement. This book is not another goal setting book even thought it’s all about goals. This book is all about getting so fired up about your goals that achieving them isn’t the issue.\

Goal Setting for Real Estate Investors – You’re Excited But Are YOU Ever Going to Make it Happen?

His conclusion is that most people do not achieve the goals they set for themselves because they never really got fired up about the goals in the first place.

I’m fired up about what I am doing. Most mornings I get out of bed before my alarm goes off at 6:15am. My days aren’t easy but I am excited about what I am doing.

When I was working for someone else I had to DRAG myself out of bed after hitting snooze two or three times in the morning. I rarely use snooze now. I WANT to get up. I am excited about what’s ahead.

It’s that kind of fire and passion about your goals and your vision that makes implementation easier.

Couldn’t you just see the meetings when someone first dreamed up the iPhone?

Seriously – nothing like that existed. They probably had no idea how to make it. They started with the goal and figured out how to get there because it was exciting and cool and would revolutionize cell phone technology in the world.

When you set an exciting goal you will not waste too much time worrying about the fact that you have NO IDEA how to do what you’re setting out to do. You’re pumped up about it – and will not be deterred. At least you will be if you follow the HARD Goals model laid out for you by Murphy in his book.

Mark Murphy puts it this way: “How do we sear this goal into our minds, make it so critical to our very existence that no matter what obstacles we encounter, we will not falter in our pursuit of the goal?”

And his book explains just how to do that. At a very high level it involves creating a mission or a goal for yourself that is:

  • Heartfelt: you need to have a deep emotional attachment to the goal – either to the people involved or the payoff of achieving the goal or to the goal itself.
  • Animated: your goals are competing for your finite resources of time, energy, attention and memory so make sure you can REALLY see your success. The more lively and robust the images in your mind the better the likelihood you’ll succeed. Include colour, shape, even lighting, emotions and actions. The more lively and vivid the better it will be seared into your memory!
  • Required: there’s no choice – you have to achieve this goal.
  • Difficult:It’s scary, requires new skills and you have never done anything like this before.

Hard Goals By Mark MurphyI want you to read this book… it has EVERYTHING to do with getting started as a real estate investor if you’re struggling and is powerful if you’re trying to achieve something else great in your life (business or personal) … so I am not going to give you all the good stuff but I do want to share one of the most powerful thoughts I was left with from the book.

Ask yourself:

What are the most significant and meaningful accomplishments in my life?

For me things like quitting my job, completing my MBA, and rocking the mountain bike race course on my second MOMAR adventure race all came to mind immediately. Just take a moment and figure out what some of your biggest achievements were.

Now, ask yourself:

  • Were those accomplishments easy? Did they take little effort or a lot?
  • Did I already know what I needed to know when I started out?
  • Was I scared?
  • Did I have doubts?

In every case you’ll find that you worked your butt off, you didn’t know what you were doing when you set out to do what you did, and you had a lot of doubts along the way but you kept going.

If you’re trying to do something like start investing in real estate and you’re feeling fear think about what real estate will give you. Most of our Real Estate Millionaire Bootcamp students want to spend more time with their kids, replace their income or that of a spouse, they are worried about their security in retirement and need to get control over their future.

In all of the cases their motivation is strong because they feel they have to succeed now. And, right now, they don’t know all they need to know to get where they want to go. And most of them openly admit to some fear. But they are moving forward.

If you’re not moving forward or you’re using the word SOMEDAY a lot … pick up a copy of this book and start saying “ON x date” or “Today I am going to start”.

Maybe we don’t have a book or a book deal just yet, but for years we thought about it and nothing happened. As soon as we started putting a date on it and making the goal vivid and real we moved closer to it than we had even thought possible. And something tells me it’s going to happen – this initial rejection is just the first test we’re facing to see if we really want this goal.

Remember: “At some point you’re going to hit a stumbling block, because every goal worth doing is going to test your resolve and ask you to decide if you really want to keep going.”

If you’ve created HARD goals for yourself, you’ll push past that stumbling block and succeed.

Oh … and in this book they quoted a 2010 study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute that said thatonly 16% of workers felt confident about having enough money for retirement. If that’s you then I think you had better get on your retirement plans. And reading a book like this just might give you the blueprint you need to get really fired up about getting your action plan in place.

How to Use Fear to Your Advantage in Real Estate Investing

real estate investing fear

Every single real estate investor out there has fears surrounding real estate investing.

For some folks, it’s fear of darn near everything from picking the wrong market to working with a bad property manager to losing every penny they invest on a bad deal. Others are terrified of a price drop. Other investors find the thought of rustling up joint venture partners or private lenders more terrifying than running their street naked and sober.

It doesn’t matter what you’re afraid of really. What matters is whether you let fear win in your life or not. What matters is whether the person with big dreams gets to decide what to do or whether the “little me” inside cripples you with fear.

Little me is what I have recently come to call that voice inside of myself that tries to talk me out of something I want to do. I like calling it little me because it reminds me that it’s little and I am big. It also reminds me that little me tries to keep me living little when I really want to live BIG!

Almost every day I have to spend some time battling with little me but over the past couple of years, I have learned to use some pretty cool techniques to propel me forward instead of letting little me hold me back.

But it wasn’t always this way. At many times in my life, little me was in charge. When I entered college, little me kept me from trying out for the volleyball team because I was afraid of being cut from the team. I just let myself assume I wasn’t tall enough and went to swim club instead – where there were no cuts the first year.

Little me kept me from leaving my job for quite some time. I had all these reasons why it wasn’t time or I wasn’t ready. I was scared because there was no guaranteed income if I left.

My little me kept me from creating a website for Rev N You for two full years after we started writing the newsletter. I didn’t know how to create a website. I was worried nobody but our friends and family would ever read it because we wanted to talk about the good and the bad … not just the good of investing in real estate. And I was definitely concerned about being judged.

Hindsight has taught me an important lesson though – and that is the lesson I want to share with you today. It’s the lesson that has made me stronger and more confident than ever before and I hope it will help you make the same change.

Looking back, I see that the very things that my big self was lying awake at night dreaming about, but that my little me was fighting hard to keep me from doing, have been the very things that have made the biggest and most positive impacts on my life.
I’m not saying any of these big leaps have been easy … in fact, every time I take a giant leap it takes an enormous amount of dedication, hard work, and persistence. Pretty much nothing worth achieving happens easily, at least not for me. But I am pretty thrilled with the life that we’re creating as a result of the giant and terrifying leaps we’ve taken. And that has helped me to work withlittle me instead of cowering to that little me. That is what I want to share with you today.


How You Can Use Your Fear (aka “little me”) to Achieve Great Success

1. Get in touch with the vision of what you want your life to be like. What do you want to be doing? Who do you want to do it with? Are there other people out there who have done what you want to do?? Can you see the path that they have taken?

2. What is the thing you KNOW you need to do to get where you want to go, but are the most afraid to do?

3. As soon as you have identified step #2 and an opportunity presents itself, take it. DO NOT ALLOW YOURSELF ‘time to think about it’ because that is the time when little me actually speaks up the loudest. If you take time to think about it, little me will shred the possibility up into little pieces. If you have #1 and #2 figured out and opportunity to step forward crosses your path make your move before your little me has a chance. It will feel terrifying but it will also feel right. I was utterly terrified to quit my job. I was shaking and sick to my stomach when I made the appointment to speak with my boss. But I also knew it was the right thing for me. So commit yourself. As soon as the opportunity that is right for you to move forward crosses your path JUMP into it. You’ll soon realize that doing that thing you feared so much is really not that bad at all!

4. Once you have jumped into it, the hard work actually begins. But here is where little me is very useful. Your little me is great at identifying weaknesses. I use my little me to tell me where I am weak and then I focus on getting stronger there. When I quit my job, I really had no idea how to handle the challenge ahead of me. Little me kindly pointed out my areas of weakness and I set out to hire mentors and purchase courses where I needed the most help. I’ve discovered that with my big self in the driver seat, creating my dreams and taking giant leaps toward them, I’m actually grateful to have my little me as a passenger to navigate potholes and spot problem areas.

It doesn’t mean everything goes well and it doesn’t mean I don’t have to work my butt off to make my dreams a reality but I can tell you the journey is quite unlike any I’ve been on before. And there’s something crazy and powerful about having a big dream and putting it out there so you can’t go back …little me will be chirping away trying to scare you from acting on your plan but when you take a giant leap forward past the point of no return somehow support pops up from everywhere giving you just the things you need to get you through. Even if, at the time, you don’t realize that’s what is happening.

Take a look at where your little me is running the show. Ask yourself if that fear is serving you?? If it isn’t and you feel it’s holding you back try my four steps above. Try using yourlittle me to create a BIG LIFE instead of letting your little me keep you small.

Published January 13th, 2011

Image Credit:©Cory Thoman |Dreamstime.com

Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones but Words Can Forever Hurt Me

Sticks and Stones

As I child, my Mom would always correct me when I used the word can’t. She had various things she would say when I used that word. Sometimes she would simply say “I think I can I think I can.” Other times she would say something like “If you think you can’t then you’reright” or “you can do whatever you put your mind to“.

I would roll my eyes and carry on but her words were always in the back of my mind. It’s probably the reason why I have taken on so many challenges in my life. It’s probably the reason why I tried out for the college swim team even though I’d never competitively swam before then. It’s likely why I wasn’t afraid to backpack around Central  America alone at the age of 19. And it’s definitely the reason why, when I was a salesperson, I could dust myself off after a failed sales pitch and go back in the next day to try again.

My Mom was teaching me a very important lesson early on. A lesson that I’ve only really come to understand in recent years as a full time real estate investor. The words we use are very important. In fact, the wrong word can hurt you deeper and longer than any physical injury can hold you back.

For BiggerPockets I just wrote about three words that can kill your deal really quickly if you use them.  Today I want to share a couple of words that you’re probably using as a real estate investor that are holding you back or making things harder than they need to be.

1. Passive Income

I shared this video on Life As Real Estate Investors too – but it’s such an important point that I am going to share it again right now. I don’t believe real estate investing has to be a full time job to change your life, but I do believe that you have to keep a careful watch over your money. Even if you’ve hired a property manager you must keep an eye on your property and the money flowing in and out. Nobody will EVER love your money quite like you do – so give your money the care and attention it deserves and keep an eye on it.

Watch the Video Here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ln-tlqmBz18

Instead of pursuing passive income you could pursue leveraged income or even streams of income. But calling it PASSIVE allows you to feel like you don’t have to do anything– and after we let things passively fall apart in the early days – I hope you will learn from our lesson and stay active and involved in your investments even if you have a joint venture partner doing all the work. Ask questions.  Visit the property. Review the statements. Just make sure things are operating like you expect them to be operating.

2.  Practice Makes Perfect

This one comes up in so many places beyond real estate that I had to share it. Keith Cunningham, business mentor and master money raiser, taught me that practice doesn’t make perfect, practice makes permanent. He taught me to ask myself what exactly I am practicing.

And here’s where it applies to real estate investing:

A lot of people are doing things that don’t work for them. Instead of stopping, assessing where they are and finding help to get where they want to go they self diagnose, shrug their shoulders and figure they just need to “practice” a bit more to get it right.

In other words –  they figure practice makes perfect – and just try again.

Keith once said:What’s a double bogey? Bad shot followed by a stupid shot. Most stupid shots are the results of self diagnosis. It’s one thing to make a mistake, it’s another thing to make a mistake on steroids.

If you have been trying to invest in real estate for years but it’s not working for you then it’s not time to try harder, it’s time to get help. If you’ve purchased a couple of properties and you’re losing money, it’s not time to try again, it is time to reassess what you’re doing and find someone to help you figure out where you’re going wrong. And if you find yourself always dealing with people who cheat you or take advantage of you, it’s not time to dig deeper and just keep trying, it’s a sign that you should take a step back, find someone who is doing what you want to do, and get some outside advice.

Practice doesn’t make you better unless you’re practicing the right motions and steps.


3.  Freedom

We became real estate investors because we wanted freedom. We didn’t want to report to a boss every day. Now, my vision of freedom was different than Dave’s. His vision of freedom involves him spending a lot of time playing sports, watching movies and doing things he enjoys. My vision of freedom was more along the lines of never having to negotiate and plea for my vacation time, having the time and space to write and create without having someone else override every decision I make, and the ability to create and control my day.

I have definitely achieved the freedom I desired. Dave is not there yet. To get to his ideal level of freedom he has to grow our business more and build a bigger and better team around him. He also is probably going to (or maybe even already has) redefine what exactly freedom is to him.

Freedom is not a guarantee as a real estate investor. It really depends on how you’re defining freedom. And this is important because big things are very possible in a short period of time if you’re an action taking investor. After attending a couple of conferences this year and chatting with folks who’ve purchased 30, 50 and even 70+ units in the last 5 years or so I know vast the opportunities are for investors that take initiative. I also know how deep the misery can be if you’ve gone all that way only to find out that long journey took you to the wrong destination. In other words, the majority of these folks that I met had freedom from a 9-5 job yet were absolutely unbelievably miserable. Many were selling out of real estate and planning to get into something totally different.

If you’re getting into real estate for freedom then you have to ask yourself what freedom is to you. It is different for everyone. For me it was about control – it wasn’t about not working. We’re hiring a full time assistant this week because I want to control my work not have my work control me – but still I have control and I love it.

The word freedom can be dangerous to use – unless you have given yourself a specific definition. You may find, once you define it, that real estate isn’t the solution for you. Or, you might find, as we have, that it’s able to give you exactly what you want to create the life of your dreams.

My point today is to simply encourage you to choose your words carefully. Next time you hear a child saying “sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me”, think to yourself if you are actually using words that could be hurting you. Because words can actually hurt far deeper and for a lot longer than any stick or stone can.

First image credit©Chud Tsankov|Dreamstime.com

How to Think Like a Successful Real Estate Investor


Success Focused You are what you think you areGo ahead and eat that new mini Blizzard at Dairy Queen or indulge in an extra piece of fish when you go out for fish and chips because you aren’t REALLY what you eat. What you eat will determine whether you have energy or not. And it will determine whether your pants fit or not. But you aren’t actually going to turn into a cookie dough Blizzard or a batter coated piece of halibut.

But if you THINK you are going to be a successful real estate investor and you focus your thoughts on that then you probably will become a successful real estate investor. If you THINK you are going to be the kind of boss that gives yourself Tuesday afternoons off to go to the Spa then you have a good chance of becoming that boss to yourself.

Now I am not about to say that all you have to do is think it. I hope you’ve been around the Rev N You scene to know that I believe the missing piece to your success is almost always ACTION. Think whatever the heck you want – if you just sit on the couch watching CSI reruns you aren’t going to be anything different than what you were when you sat down.

The only thing holding you back from being 20 times more successful than we’ve been is YOU. You are standing in your own way right now. All you have to do is get out of your way.

The life you are living today is thanks to the thoughts you have had so far in your life. If it’s not quite the life you want then it all begins with a change in thought and a change in focus.

Now, if you’re sitting there thinking, that’s great Julie how can I think I am a successful real estate investor when I don’t have any money to invest or how can I can think about being a successful real estate investor when I have no idea where to start? Or, I already am a real estate investor but the bank has stopped loaning me money so I can’t get any more properties.

If one of those thoughts are similar to the ones you’re having then here’s what I suggest:

  • Change your focus: Instead of thinking that you don’t have money or the banks won’t loan you any more money figure out how you can get money to do your deals. Stop thinking about all the things you can’t do and focus your attention on the things you CAN do. For example, you CAN find joint venture partners with down payment money and you CAN find private lenders to loan you the money you need for financing and you CAN find creative ways to buy property that require less money down or have seller financing or no financing requirements at all. We’re going to be rolling out a program in August to help you find, present and sign up joint venture partners which is our primary strategy for finding money for down payments and getting financing. Or, if you just want to learn how to get private money we highly recommend the program we used to become private money magnets- the Private Money Blueprint.
  • Take Action: You kind of do have to ‘fake it until you make it’ but it’s not so much that you have to be phony about it. Rather I’m suggesting you act like a successful real estate investor would act in a given situation. Successful real estate investors are typically great problem solvers who hustle until a deal is done. When confronted with an obstacle they see an opportunity. So until you feel confident and knowledgeable enough to be that way make yourself pretend to be that way. A little thing like lack of funds wouldn’t hold a successful real estate investor back so it won’t hold you back either – when you’ve made the bold and unwavering commitment to become one.

Comfort ZoneListen, this is uncomfortable. It sounds easy but it’s not. Your comfort zone is a powerful place and it tries to pull you back every chance it gets. You have to be conscious of the pull of the comfort zone and always fight it. Because the comfort zone is clever with the excuses that sound like real reasons to not do what needs to be done to become the person you want to be.

Your comfort zone fills you with fear and makes it seem like what has to be done is way harder than continuing to live the life that doesn’t satisfy you. But when you feel that pull simply go back, change your focus and take action. Bit by bit your old comfort zone will fade into a new comfort zone – one which is hopefully closer to the one in which your ideal life exists.

You are what you think you are – so start feeding your brain great thoughts!


Published July 28th, 2010

Image 2 Credit:Christopher Bernard Istock Photo

Make Your Vacation a Tax Write Off

by Bill Walston

Make Your Vacation a Tax Write OffSummer’s here and everyone’s mind is on vacation! How does that fit into your “tax deductible” lifestyle?

Here’s the scoop: the IRS says that you can deduct expenses for taking a business trip. There is no reason the trip shouldn’t coincide with your next vacation. With proper planning, you can get your business to pay for your trip and make your vacation a tax write off!

For starters, the primary purpose and intent of the trip must be business. If there is no business purpose for your trip none of your expenses will be deductible. Now, as real estate investors, unless the destination is completely random, chances are you’ll find a way to do business there. Secondly, your expenses will need to be allocated between business days and vacation days. Our goal is to document as many business days as possible at our chosen destination.

Establishing a Business Day
A business day is defined as any of the following:

  1. any day you are traveling to or from a business destination
  2. a day when you have a pre-scheduled appointment (regardless of the length of time spent at that appointment), or
  3. a day when you spend at least four hours on business.

What You Can Deduct
Generally, you can deduct all of your travel expenses if your trip was entirely business related.

When you make your vacation a tax write off, travel expenses include both transportation expenses and “on the road” expenses.

Many people combine these under one set of rules. However, they are treated differently; each category has its own separate rule base. What are the differences? Transportation expenses are those costs that you incur in getting to and from your destination. So the cost of your airfare or car costs would come under that category. If the business days of your trip exceed the non-business days the assumption is that your trip is primarily for business and all of your transportation costs are deductible. If non-business days exceed business days then none of the transportation costs are deductible, even though you may be able to deduct “on the road” expenses.

Tax Write off VacationThe “on the road expenses” include all costs necessary to sustain life while on your trip. These expenses include lodging, meals, laundry, dry cleaning, and similar expenses. These expenses must be allocated between business and vacation days, if any.

How Much You Can Deduct
There are two ways of deducting your business travel, the per diem method or the actual expense method.

Per Diem Method: The IRS allows for a set deduction per day when you travel. Every year, the IRS publishes a table (IRS Publication 1542) which specifies a per diem value depending on your destination. There is an amount specified for both lodging and meals and incidentals. Even if you spend less than your per diem rate, you can still take the entire per diem deduction. What I love about this method is that it doesn’t require receipts. You only need to document where you were! Imagine the possibilities.

One caveat: Sole proprietorships are not allowed to use the per diem method for their lodging deductions. However, all other expense are fair game as far as per diems go.

Actual Expense Method:  This is pretty straightforward. Simply keep all of your receipts and add up the total amount of deductions based on what you have spent. The important thing is to make sure you keep the receipts for everything you spend your money on.

Deduct Expenses for Your Spouse or Significant Other
If you want to take trips with your spouse or significant other and deduct the travel expenses for both of you, you must have a justifiable business reason for bringing along that person. This usually occurs under three scenarios:

  1. The individual is part owner of your business.
  2. The individual is an employee of your business.
  3. The individual is a business associate with whom it is reasonable to expect that you will actively conduct business.

This means that you can take individuals with you and deduct 100% of their business travel as long as they are directly associated with your business in any one of the preceding three circumstances.

Make Weekends Deductible
Tax Write Off Your VacationHow would you like to treat Saturday and Sunday as business days without ever working on the weekend? You can – if you know what you are doing. As long as Friday and Monday are business days then Saturday and Sunday are business days as well – even if you party like a rock star on the weekend! This is a very popular strategy; however, its success rests on your ability to substantiate your claim that there was business activity on both Friday and Monday.

Records to Keep
Remember the old saying about real estate. . . Location, location, location. Well with the good old Uncle Sam the rule is. . . Documentation, documentation, documentation. Make sure that you set up a trip folder. Keep copies of e-mails setting up appointments with realtors. Take photos of properties you view. Take notes at meetings you attend. Keep copies of MLS print outs. Make sure your business appointments are recorded in your calendar. This all will establish the business intent and purpose of your travel. And remember, without business intent there is no deduction.

So, there you have it. When you are a small business owner (and as a real estate investor that includes you) the tax law turns in your favor. What were once personal non-deductible expenses have now become tax-deductible business expenses. With proper planning, you can literally make your life tax deductible.
Bill Walston is a full time real estate investor, mentor and tax strategist who supports his clients in growing, promoting and building their real estate businesses. To learn how to begin living your own tax deductible lifestyle, contact Bill by email. You can also follow Bill’s great advice on Twitter at


What’s Your Genius?

Left Turns for SuccessOne of the most miserable times in my life was while I was completing my MBA. There was plenty of drama happening in my personal life. I was discovering that I was not at all suited to be a property manager. I was finding the job search depressing and demotivating. And, worst of all, I hated a lot of the classes I was taking. It felt like everything in my life was such a struggle. Most of the things I touched seem to turn to disaster. I was having trouble seeing through the clouds.

I did learn some pretty important lessons from that experience. But one of the lessons I learned really just clicked for me last weekend at the Engage Today event. It clicked for me when Jay Niblick, author of What’s Your Genius? stood on stage explaining the results of a massive research study he undertook. This study involved surveys of 200,000 people, a bunch of PHD researchers, and 7 years. The study was all about success and the natural talents that successful people possess.

Jay explained in detail about how much time, effort and the abundance of resources that went into this elaborate study – all in pursuit of a correlation between natural talents and success. In other words, he wanted to understand if most successful people possess great organization skills, or a talent for leadership or a gift of communication.

At the end of the seven years, when all the results were tallied and the conclusion was in he discovered that there is absolutely no correlation between natural talents and success. None. Not a single correlation existed. Bad news for him – given that he invested so much into finding the correlation. But the bad news for him, at the time, is actually GREAT news for us.

This means that ANYBODY can succeed no matter what gifts or talents you were born with. ANYBODY CAN SUCCEED. It’s not what you’ve got that matters, it’s what you do with it.

He went on to explain that the big difference between successful people and the rest of the people was simply that successful people understood what their natural talents were and utilized them. In other words, they didn’t try to be good at things they weren’t naturally talented at. They adjusted the role they were in to suit their talents and didn’t try to adjust their talents to suit the role they were in.

Suddenly so much of my MBA misery made complete sense to me.
Math and NumbersI struggle with numbers. I do not have a natural talent when it comes to math, statistics or finance. I used to joke with people about my undergraduate degree in business, telling them that I loved Calculus, Stats and Accounting so much I took those courses twice. The reality was that I was failing them the first time so I had to go back and do them again.

I was good at any courses that revolved around communication like marketing and organizational behaviour. If the course required a report, a presentation or even just reading, learning and regurgitating I was almost always assured a B+ or better. If I had to include numbers, I had to work really hard to get a B.

So when I decided to pursue my MBA in real estate, I chose finance as a second major. I wanted to be a well rounded business person. And I know that the numbers side of the business and of real estate deals are critical.

But math doesn’t come easy to me. I scored highly in math in school and even the second time around in University because I put a ton of effort and determination into my math work. During my MBA I didn’t have the same focused determination to get through the finance classes. I just wanted to learn what I could and get through. If it weren’t for the fact that I had quite possibly the smartest math mind in our class in my group (seriously Dariusz – I would never have survived if it weren’t for you), and group work accounted for 50% of my grade, I would still be trying to finish my MBA nearly a decade later.

I wasn’t really doing myself any favours by studying finance in school, but I was smart enough to know that I just couldn’t stomach being an analyst when I graduated even though that was the best paying job opportunity available to me in real estate upon graduation.

I should have been studying writing, marketing, and communication in school. These are some things I have natural talents in. They are also things I love to do.

So sitting there listening to Jay NiblickI realized that it’s a wonderful thing that Dave and I are partners. He is marvelous with numbers. I decide in 60 seconds whether a property is a good deal or not, and then he runs the numbers to make sure I’m right. He also prepares the joint venture presentations and packages for the lenders so we’re not trying to sell our deals by saying:

I just have a good feeling about this one.

Because, maybe the odd person out there would put $50,000 down on a gut feeling I have, but most people are a little more rational than that and want to understand what their investment will give them in return … thank goodness for Dave because he takes care of that (and loves doing it too!) so I don’t have to.

Meanwhile I worry about finding tenants for the property which involves marketing and communications!

What we’re doing today is moving in the right direction towards what Jay Niblick was teaching and if you do the same you’ll find that you can do a lot more in a day with less time. Specifically what you have to do is:

Make your success dependent on your natural talents. Fix the role you are in to fit your natural talents – which is turning right (see image at the start of the article). Don’t try to fix YOU to be successful in the role (which is turning left).

You’re not broken. Fix the role, don’t try to fix yourself.

Do this, and you’ll find you’ll love what you’re doing so much more and you’ll also find the great gift of increased productivity with fewer hours.

And for crying out loud – if you’re a student trying to choose your major in University – pick something you have a talent for and develop that natural talent!! Do yourself a favour and give yourself strengths you can depend on!

And if you’re not sure what your natural talents are – it’s definitely time to find out.http://www.whatsyourgenius.com/should help you get started.

Return on Time

Return on Time Is there a Deal here?Last week we had the pleasure of sitting down with BP, one of our12 Months to $1 Million members who lives just a little north of where we are doing most of our investing right now. We held a rent to own information session for prospective tenant buyers and we invited him to sit in on it – on the condition that he pretended to be a prospective tenant!

After the information session we reviewed a deal BP had found through some ads he ran on Craigslist. The deal was complicated. A couple had gotten in over their heads with a second mortgage on their property and now owe more than the property is worth today. And, now they are falling behind on the payments. BP was trying to figure out how he could help them. He wanted to put together a deal that would get them out of their mess, and obviously, make him a few dollars too.

When we broke down the deal, looked up comparables, and ran through the options I said simply to BP:

 “There might be a deal here but best case scenario is you can get the property with about $10,000 in equity AND that is after you do a lot of work convincing the first and second mortgage holders of what you want to do. Then you’re still going to have to do some work to make the property rentable. It’s not worth your time and effort.

It wasn’t what BP wanted to hear but it was the bottom line.

I know there are courses out there that say they will teach you how to make money off properties that are underwater … and it can be done … but the reality is that the techniques that allow you to do this only work in a few specific situations. In all the other cases you’ll end up spending an enormous amount of your time for very little return. And that is what I want to talk about today.

What is your time worth?What is your ROT – Return on Time?

Return on Time ClockAs real estate investors we talk a lot about return on equity or return on investment but we rarely talk about return on time. Yet the absolute most scarce resource we are all dealing with is time.

You can make more money. You can build more equity. You can’t make more time.

When you spend time you have literally spent it. You will NEVER GET IT BACK!

When you spend a dollar the reality is you can make another dollar.

So how are you spending your time?? Are you running around chasing a bunch of different deals or are you laser focused on one area to find the best deal for the least amount of time and effort?

A mistake we made in our early days was investing in a couple of properties here and there. We bought a property in Nanaimo, then we bought a couple of properties in Toronto, a couple in Niagara Falls, a few more in Nanaimo, then a few more in Toronto. We were not focused on any one market or even any one property type. We bought single family homes, a six-plex, a four-plex, new construction condos, condos, duplexes and so on … basically if it looked like it had cash flow we bought it. And for the most part we did ok… but when we decided to get really serious about real estate investing the first thing we did was focus.

The thing we have realized is that you can invest half the time and accomplish twice the amount when you have laser-like focus. And you can put systems in place and a team in place that enables you to do less and less work with each and every deal.

So with every deal we do this year we’re going to be turning more and more of the things we don’t add value to, over to someone that is going to do as good or a better job than we would and bit by bit we’re going to be able to buy more and more properties with less and less effort. Where we once would do the painting ourselves we have now found a great team of painters to do that work for us. Where we hauled away the renovation garbage on the latest property, we’re hiring a disposal company for the next one. Each of these things will cost us a little more money, but they will save us hours and hours of time. And that time, we have realized, will get us further if we spend it on other areas in our investment business like deal finding and deal making.

The big things you can do to improve your return on time are:

  • Figure out what important things you do that could be better done by someone else. For example, we were handling the bookkeeping for all our properties. Dave is actually pretty meticulous at bookkeeping but he doesn’t add any value to the process. And he spends dozens of hours on it that would be much better spent working with our joint venture partners and finding private lenders for our deals. So this year we’ve hired an accountant and a bookkeeper that specializes in doing the books for real estate investors with joint venture partners. Now someone else is preparing our books and our statements for our partners.
  • Allocate time every day to focus on the one thing that is most important to accomplish. Thanks to Tim Ferriss’s book the 4 Hour Work Week ,I became a little obsessed with controlling my email usage. I used to be totally addicted to email. After reading that book I realized what a waste of time it was. Today, I only respond to emails at set times every day. I don’t get into email conversations. If something can’t be answered in a simple email I address it over the phone or in a meeting. And the biggest thing is that I always start my day off doing the most important thing I have to do that day … and that important thing is almost never writing email.
  • Treat your time like the scarce resource that it is. If you always remember that your time is being spent and can’t be made back you’re going to be less likely to waste 3 hours in front of the t.v. watching stupid show after stupid show. I am not saying I avoid t.v. totally. I actually have a handful of shows I really love. My week isn’t complete until I have seen Jack Bauer save the world again. And I am always charmed by the spy action of Chuck. Entourage always makes me laugh and feel pretty happy about my own life, and of course I also get swept up in the latest vampire craze with an affection for True Blood and Vampire Diaries. But here’s the thing … I derive an enormous amount of pleasure and relaxation from these shows and I only watch them on my own time, when I want R&R time. I don’t watch anything else. I never mindlessly channel surf.I know that a minute spent surfing stupid t.v. shows is a minute I will never get back. And I respect that.

So … quit wasting time. Figure out what’s important to you and go do it. Right now! Time is passing you by!! And the only way to increase your return on your time is to maximize the value of what you spend each minute doing.

And if you have questions you know where to find us! We always write back … it just takes us some time!

Published on May 10th, 2010


Success Strategies: The Life You Live and the Life You Want to Live

the life you want to liveResistance …

Is there something scratching at your insides saying “This isn’t enough …this isn’t the life I want to live? There’s more to life. There’s more I want to do?”

I felt it everyday when I worked for someone else. I thought maybe I just had to give more money to charity or devote myself to a few good causes. But, even when I would raise thousands of dollars for Breast Cancer, ALS or the SPCA I would still feel uncomfortable that it wasn’t enough. I sat on the board of the Heart and Stroke foundation for awhile and that still didn’t satisfy the itch.

I thought maybe the resistance was a desire to achieve more career success so I applied myself 100% to my job. I learned what I needed to learn and I worked hard. And I rose up within the organization to hold two different positions as Vice President. Short of taking over the company from it’s owner and operating President, there was no where else to go within that company. Yet, the itch was still there.

In fact, the more I tried to address this incredible feeling that there was more to life, the worse it got. Just like when you allow yourself to scratch a mosquito bite… even just a little bit … the itching gets ten times worse.

The problem was that none of those things were really causing the itch. None of those things were really the root issue of the resistance I felt in my life.

At the time, I didn’t really see it clearly. I sort of knew but I wasn’t certain. I had ideas but not a real plan. Until one day a series of events unfolded in my job that led to me sitting across from the President of the company discussing a single piece of paper. This piece of paper had the 3 objectives I was to achieve. The very specific financial results that he expected of me to champion as Vice President of Sales and Client Services. And under each objective were the the things that I had to do to achieve those objectives.

This probably would have just been a bad day on the job, not the day of my epiphany if it weren’t for the fact that he also told me these were the ONLY things he wanted me to do to achieve those objectives AND I felt very strongly that it wouldn’t work. I believed a very different plan needed to be made to reach the goals he had.

So there I was … fully responsible for the financial results but totally powerless over how I achieved (or didn’t) achieve them.

I felt like someone who had to go into a knife fight with my feet and hands tied together. Sure you have wiggle room but so little that unless you’re Jason Bourne you’re probably not coming out of the fight victorious.

At that very moment I understood the resistance I had been feeling for years. Like I said, I had always known but never really allowed myself to see it clearly. I had ideas but not a clear vision. But at that instant I became completely calm and certain. I understood what I had to do.
I realized that “Someday Starts Now”.

I’d had this plan of freedom 35. I had begun investing in real estate in my early 20’s with the intention of leaving my job at 35 and doing whatever I wanted to do at the time. I had been waiting for this arbitrary age when there wasn’t a really good reason why.

And it’s like MaryEllen Tribby said at the Early to Rise Information Marketing Bootcamp in Delray Beach last week … “Someday never comes until you say that someday starts now.”

MaryEllen Tribby said What are you saying to yourself when you say “Someday I will … ” and why are you waiting? Why can’t your someday start today?

Listen, I didn’t quit my job on the spot. I spent 6 months preparing to leave my job. Both for my own benefit and for the benefit of the company. I respect and admire the President of the company as well as the people who work there. I wasn’t about to just abandon ship because I had an epiphany. Not to mention we had to make a few changes to our lifestyle to be able to afford to live without my income. Let’s face it … we make money from our real estate investments but it’s not the same as a nice cushy VP salary that hits your bank account every 2 weeks!

So we started making changes. My someday started that moment … and even though the real “someday dream” hasn’t arrived yet, I feel at peace because we’re working towards it every day. We’re working towards the day where we’ve built our business and investments to the point where we have a large supply of time, money and energy that we can devote to helping two causes we’re both passionate about … helping abused and abandoned dogs and helping children in foster homes find good families.


I’d like to challenge you … what is your someday dream? What can you do today… even if it’s small … that will make your someday start now?

And if there is something we can do to help you let us know. It would be our pleasure.

If you liked this article, you’ll really enjoy:

When Quitting Was My Best. Decision. Ever.

The Law of Attraction and Real Estate

If I asked you to describe your perfect real estate deal to me, would you be able to give me five things that HAD to be in the deal to make it “ideal”?

If I asked you the same question about your perfect real estate agent or mortgage broker or investment partner, would you be able to give me the 5 most important qualities of each off the top of your head?

When Michael Losier, author of Law of Attraction, asked me to describe my perfect joint venture partner, I froze! Um, ah – “I want him to have money”.

Michael said, “Well, I have lots of money. That doesn’t mean I am going to invest it with you.”

Ouch! But, his point was well taken. I wasn’t clear. And, I am pretty sure this lack of clarity has been holding me back! How do I know what I am looking for if I can’t clearly describe my ideal joint venture partner? The same goes for a deal, a realtor, a mortgage broker, a lawyer and so on!

You see, many things are important to your success as a real estate investor. Taking the time to complete good market research, carrying out careful due diligence, and using a little creativity are all important. Some things are helpful but you can work around them like good credit or cash in the bank. And, other things, may not be necessary at all when you first start out like finding a high powered courtroom attorney and a full time book keeper. But the one thing that you do need is an idea of what you’re doing and why.

We’ve always said that you start with your goals. Figure out where you want to go, then make a plan to take you from where you are today, to where you want to be. We’ve said it’s the one thing you must do in order to overcome emotions in real estate investing and it’s always the first step in our real estate investing process. But, as we sat down with Michael Losier, author of Law of Attraction it became obvious that we hadn’t taken this step quite far enough yet.Michael Losier Law of Attraction

And the most beautiful part of this whole story is that it only took Michael about 5 minutes to help all of us on the call describe our perfect joint venture partner. This one single tool (and he gave us many tools on the call to use in our lives and our investing business) has already changed my real estate investing life.

He told us to:

1. Take out a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle to create two columns.

2. At the top of the left hand column write CONTRAST. At the top of the right hand column write CLARITY.

3. Beside CONTRAST write negative.

4. Now, in the column of CONTRAST write down everything you DO NOT like or DO NOT want in a joint venture partner.

Suddenly – I had a long list. I don’t like partners that don’t call me back, that never have money, that are too controlling … I could go on and on. It was really easy to describe everything I didn’t like or didn’t want in a partner.

Next, Michael said, “So, what DO you want?” You don’t want a partner that never calls you back, so you want a partner that is “Responsive and easy to get in touch with”. You don’t want a partner that never has any money, you want a partner with “lots of investment money they will use for your investments”. And we went down the list … and every time we created the specific detail about what we DID WANT, we crossed out the corresponding negative item. (You can download a copy of my Contrast/Clarity Example Here)

It felt great! I had clarity. And, I felt good about it. No wonder Oprah loves this man!

I’m now sitting down to create a contrast and clarity sheet for every aspect of our real estate investing business. I know that I will find better partners, better deals, and better team members in the future because I will know exactly what I am looking for and what is ideal!

Check out Michael Losier’s work on his website: http://www.lawofattractionbook.com

He has a $99/year program where you can get on the phone LIVE with him for 60 minutes every month. He also has a new book coming out in June – all about improving the connections in your lives. As real estate investors, our entire world is about connections so we’ve already preordered it!

Oh, and if you want to listen to the call to learn all the tools and read the transcript, you can order a copy here. But you’ll want to do so soon as we’re only selling it until May 21st!

Posted on May 14th, 2009

Item added to cart.
0 items - $0.00