Okay, so we’ve gone over the first 3 big steps you need to take towards creating your fortune. I did want to reset the order a bit so if you are just starting, start with writing out your goals. These will keep you energized and motivated. Step #2 will be building and acquiring your beginning capital; Step #3, start making low ball offers on ‘dirt bag’ properties and get one legally tied down.
So now we come to Big Step No. 4 …
Let’s say that after you’ve made about 2 dozen very low offers, you get one back that is accepted. So now what do you do? Well, there are three things …
1. Conduct a very thorough inspection
2. Do your calculations as to the cost of the fix up or face lift.
3. Calculate your overall investment and potential profit to see if it will give you the return that you need.
Let’s say there’s a small house that was listed at $187,500. You offered $144,000 but received a counter offer of $160,000 which you are happy to conditionally accept. (Hey … they were motivated sellers since the house had been on the market for over a year.) After inspection you’ve been able to determine that $16,000 plus your hard labor over about 6 months will complete the face lift and the bank has agreed to finance it with 20% down ($32,000). You check for comparable properties in the vicinity that are in really good shape (go to Zillow.com to do this) and estimate you can sell it for, say, a net of $204,000 dollars.
Now you crunch the numbers to see if going through with this deal meets your “rate of return” goal.
$204k less your purchase price of $160k and less the money you put in to fix it would give you a profit of $28,000 dollars. Here’s where the magic of leverage comes in—you used $32k as a down payment and the $16k to improve it for an out of pocket investment of $48k. Even though you improved the property value by 27.5%, the return on your money, the money you used to invest in this, would actually be 58.3%. And if you borrowed the $16k your return on your money would be even higher.
So does a 58.3% rate of return in 6 months or so give you enough compounding? Go check a compounding table and see what would happen to that 58.3% in a few years if you keep doing this! Are you getting excited? If so, read my book “The Next Step to Waking up the Financial Genius Inside You” to really get you on track. In fact, I will give the first 10 motivated readers the book for free! I’ll even pay the shipping. Just write to me at email@example.com with your shipping address so I can help get you moving towards creating your fortune.
Here’s one other thing about the experience I had winning at the Huntsman Tennis Tournament earlier this month. Yes, a huge part of getting through that last rough match was my positive thinking and just taking it one point at a time but there is one other thing, something very fundamental, that made it possible for me to stay in a positive thought mode and persevere even though I was exhausted. It was my innate habit of taking action.
It’s no wonder that the phrase “Do as I say, not as I do” is so often used. Many people, even when they know they should take action, ignore the wisdom they possess and do nothing. But the most successful people not only know what action to take, they actually do it, naturally and automatically. If a great opportunity comes along, they don’t hem and haw and spend so much time weighing the pros and cons that it becomes too late. They also don’t sit back and do nothing just because there is risk involved or quit when things become difficult. Success, by definition, is a result of actions taken. You cannot be successful without actually doing something.
So ask yourself, “Is action or inaction my habitual response to a new opportunity or a bump in the road?” Start paying attention to how often you choose not to act or delay reacting. This can involve anything—a chance to meet new people and network, buying a book or tool that looks like it might be helpful, investing in a potentially lucrative but risky new venture, or being in a competitive situation like my tennis match. If inaction seems to be your default, start making conscious decisions to act even when your instinct is telling you to go sit it out. I bet you’ll be surprised at how often the outcome is in your favor and how energized you are just because you tried.
Just look at me. I came very close to losing that match but even if I had, I would have known that I gave it my all and that would have been infinitely better than throwing down my racquet and calling it quits. And look at what my persevering action resulted in! A gold medal and a hard earned win that I am immensely proud of.
This is not to say that you should just act on anything that comes your way. Make informed decisions and follow common sense. But, next time, act on a potentially good thing and keep moving forward even when things get tough. See if you’re not happy that you did it, regardless of the results. Eventually, if you keep forcing yourself to act, it will become automatic. And so too, will success.
Going after your dreams and achieving your goals should be like choosing rides at the amusement park. You could play it safe with the monorail, the steam train and the cutesy boat ride but did you go there to relax or be thrilled? If you shell out the bucks to be there, why not go for the monster roller coaster and the wild haunted house? Yes, there is a chance you’re going to get so scared or dizzy or motion sick that you have to sit out part of the day but at least you’ll have tried to get the most out of your trip and will certainly have memories and stories to tell.
Successful people would never be happy with taking the safer rides. They live for the thrill of the big payoff and the challenge of righting the plans that didn’t pan out. They don’t think small. They take big, confident, adventurous steps. And if you are going to be one of them, you must set aside those tiny, tentative, safe steps that have kept you creeping along with little or no progress.
If you’ve read my book, How to Ignite Your Passion for Living, you know I’m all about taking small steps but as a way to build to something big. Those little steps are only smaller parts making up or leading to big leaps, a way to keep your tasks form getting too overwhelming and to mark your progress. Every successful goal is made up of many smaller, but still challenging, and sometimes risky, goals.
This is not to say you should throw caution to the wind. Thinking big does not mean making rash or unnecessarily large risks. The truly successful person goes after opportunities that are risky in a manageable way and he or she has a recovery plan just in case it doesn’t work out. What risk is manageable means something different to each person but it definitely means stepping out of that comfort zone.
For what is the point of living in mediocrity, of dreaming but not going for it, living a life of quiet desperation as they say? If your dream is to be wildly successful, take some wild chances–well informed chances yet challenging and thrilling. Even when it doesn’t work out quite the way you hoped it would, the ride alone is usually more than worth it.
Wealthy entrepreneurs seem to be a breed apart. But what makes them so different from the average Joe? A big part of it is their mindset, a way of thinking that just automatically aims big. They are ready, willing and able to make or move on large scale opportunities. Thinking big isn’t even an effort—it’s just habit.
I talk about mindset on page 107 of my book “How To Ignite Your Passion For Living”. This section explains how your mindset acts as a blueprint; how it directs what you do with your life. The people in this world who have amassed great wealth and success have a blueprint that is all about thinking big. If you want wealth or great success, you too have to work off a blueprint designed for thinking big.
Bill Gates is a well known example of super success. He’s also one of those people who has always had a ‘think big’ mindset. He was already embarking on his own business ventures at the age of 17. While an undergraduate at Harvard he managed to convince one of the first microcomputer manufactures to meet with him so he could sell them on something he hadn’t even tried yet. These crazy, untried, big ideas paid off and he eventually took a leave of absence from Harvard because of them. His big leap also started him down the path to starting what would end up being the largest software company in the world, Microsoft. It is also what made him a billionaire at the age of 31.
If Bill Gates had played it safe, it’s likely that very few of us would even know his name. Where will thinking big like this take you? If you want the big rewards, get your subconscious, as well as you intentions, working off the same big plans blueprint. Make thinking big a habit. Think big, think wealthy, think successful. If this truly becomes your mindset, it will lead to this also being your reality.
I talk a lot about creating wealth on this blog because, honestly, making better money is a major goal for many people. However, not everyone wants to be wealthy, not monetarily at least. Some people have a different currency they want to invest and see grow.
Take, for instance, Daddy Bruce Randolph, a philanthropist and restaurant owner who, at the age of 60, after many years of hard times and failed businesses, scraped together enough money to open a BBQ joint in Denver. A year after he opened, not that much better off financially, he started serving free Thanksgiving dinners to the down and out in his community, a tradition that would last almost 40 years. He would also give away what he could to help the less fortunate on Christmas, Easter, and even his own birthday. Every year his generous events would get bigger and harder to finance but he’d still keep doing it. It gained him admirers all over the country, many of whom jumped in to keep the charitable events going as they grew well beyond his means. Because of his generosity, he had to live modestly but still, he was happy.
When asked why he gave so generously, Daddy Bruce said, “You can’t beat love. Nothin’ beats love. If you give one thing, you get three things back.” He was, in the truest sense of the phrase, a very successful investor. He invested in what he believed in most and gained the love and appreciation of thousands of grateful Denver citizens as well as the admiration of people from all across the country. Not that he was after the admiration, I’m sure, but if he was getting three times what he gave, he was certainly one of the richest men of his time, living a full, passionate life through bettering the lives of others.
I understand that kind of passion. I may have amassed significant personal wealth but the real joy in it has not been what I can buy but how I can use what I have to help make positive changes in other people’s lives. It’s why I wrote my book “How to Ignite Your Passion for Living”. It doesn’t matter whether your dreams involve increasing your monetary wealth or enriching the lives of others, the key is to live well and let your passion lead you.
How often do investors think about what is involved in their investments besides money? If you’re handing your money over to a stock broker, the time it takes to invest is small but you also take on significant risk. In real estate investing, there’s both money and time involved in getting it into shape to sell or rent. In a small business investment, the common approach is to put in as little money as possible but all your free time. So considering everything, what investment makes the most sense?
The answer lies primarily in the risk level of the investment and how much your time is worth. For instance, investing through a broker takes little time but the pay back is either very uncertain or very small. Small businesses often take years to turn a profit and your time investment, which may seem cheap or free initially, can be very expensive if you consider how much you could have made working more hours or a second job. Just think, if you could have gotten $25/hour working a second job, then that 20 hours a week you spent over 6 months getting the business up and running cost you $12,500 in lost income! How long will it take you to recover that investment through your business?
In real estate, you invest both a significant amount of time and, sometimes, money (see last week’s post and page 184 in my book “How to Ignite Your Passion for Living” on how to get others to fund your investments) but the outcome is far less risky. The added bonus is that real estate will not continue to suck your time the way a small business often does, and the returns will inevitably be greater and more secure than stocks. This is why I really encourage you to look at real estate if financial freedom is a primary goal of yours.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t open that storefront you’ve been dreaming about or support your favorite budding green business with a capital investment—there are many factors beyond time and money to consider when deciding what investment is right for you—but just don’t pour your all your time and money into something that is not going to help you reach your financial goals in the near future. Keep an eye on the big picture. Because after you make your first million in real estate, you can pay someone to do all the hard work to get that business off the ground or invest in whatever you like. That’s the beauty of financial freedom.
Last week I talked about the 10% method for building the capital you need to get into what is today’s top investment opportunity—real estate. The only issue with the 10% method is that it will take some time to pull enough from your paycheck to have the seed money for your first real estate investment. So how can you take advantage of the great opportunities out there right now?
Simple. You have other people put the money in for you.
The best “super leverage” method I’ve seen is what I call the “Hansen model” after a particularly ingenious investor by the name of Dell Loy Hansen. You can read about Dell and his method in detail starting on page 184 of my book How to Ignite Your Passion for Living, but I’ll give you the gist of it here.
To start, you need a few people looking to invest in a safe, reliable project that will give them a regular and consistent return. Get them to collectively fund a down payment of 20% or more on the property you want to purchase and promise a reasonable return–say a 10% APR, an amount that is presently 500% higher than the best CD can offer. If you can put in some of your own money as well, it makes the investors feel much more secure as you’re backing your confidence in the investment’s potential by also putting your money at risk.
Then when you flip that house or rent those office spaces, get the best return possible and get the money back to your investors with a higher than expected rate of return. When they see that you not only lived up to but exceeded their return expectations, you will have created a enthusiastic group of investors for future projects as well as getting wonderful word of mouth that could bring even more money flocking to you.
There are plenty of people out there right now who have cash to invest but don’t want to bank on the unpredictable stock market and aren’t getting anywhere with the meager CD returns. So start working on cultivating those investor relationships and get access to the “leverage” you need to gain financial freedom sooner than you thought possible.
Recently I had a young man come to me in a near state of depression. I was surprised at how down he was as he usually very upbeat and positive. When I asked what was going on he said he was frustrated and felt like a failure. He had huge goals which he’d been continually working on but he felt he wasn’t progressing fast enough. He wanted his future to happen now.
I have found this to be a very common state of mind these days. Our advanced technologies have led us to habitually expect that we can access our wishes immediately. Super fast internet, instant downloads, DVRs, and multi-functional cell phones give us the ability to have some level of access to whatever or whomever we want whenever we want. But life, in general, doesn’t work that way. As a result, we are experiencing more and more frustration and impatience which ultimately leads to depression or anger.
Reaching a goal is a series of small, necessary steps but even when you are making steady progress, it may feel like it is taking forever to attain it because of all you must go through to get there. The key to a truly successful goal, however, is not only reaching it but also enjoying and celebrating life while you work towards it. In other words, you need to learn to appreciate the journey, not just the destination.
Over the next few weeks, I will talk more about what is often referred to as “living in the now”. Much of what I want to talk about is based on principles outlined in my book, How to Ignite Your Passion for Living. It’s hard to be passionate when you are frustrated and impatient but it’s not hard to be passionate about anything if you are passionate about living and enjoying the moment. That is really the ultimate goal.
“I was lucky to have the right heroes. Tell me who your heroes are and I’ll tell you how you’ll turn out to be. The qualities of the one you admire are the traits that you, with a little practice, can make your own, and that, if practiced, will become habit-forming.”
- Warren Buffett
Warren Buffett’s 7 Secrets for Living a Happy and Simple Life
Part of success is mindset – and those who are successful at overcoming challenges or excelling make great mentors. They understand the power of your mindset. A mentor can be someone you know personally (or seek out and become friends with), people you read about, or those no longer living.
I like meeting people I admire – most of them are completely within reach. It’s surprising how easy it is to meet people if you are persistent – it’s something I’ve done all of my life.
I’ve met the Dalai Lama and the president of the United States, plus many people you may not know about who’ve done great things and overcome huge obstacles.
Where can I find great mentors?
One way to find mentors is through organizations. I’ve belonged to real estate associations, political associations, and other groups. Some are a waste of your time, but others like one I’m involved in is the Granite Education Foundation. This organization have been very helpful and extremely rewarding for me. Find organizations that are doing good work in your community and you’ll likely find mentors who you can learn from.
One way I find people to follow is I read newspapers, magazines (like Fortune, Forbes, Time Magazine, Newsweek) and see who is being talked about. Then I seek those people out. It’s not hard to get to know people. One way that can work – is to keep asking for an audience until you get a response.
Once I decided I wanted to meet the Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonalds and I did it through sheer persistence. Ray didn’t make his fortune until he was 55 years old. He started by studying the success of a small burger joint in Southern California and later bought it and franchised it around the world. He made several billion dollars.
He started out flipping hamburgers and 40 years later he was the CEO of the company. How did he do it? I wanted to talk to him, find out more. So I devised a method and I persisted. I called his office asking to meet him until one day he gave in. He gave me 20 mins. but when we got talking I was there for two hours. We became friends and he gave me great advice that helped in a huge way to build my own fortune.
Another one of my heroes was the billionaire Aristotle Onasis. The story goes that he wanted to meet a famous Argentinian businessman. He only made 25 cents an hour and had little hope of ever meeting the man.
His plan was to stand by the man’s gate every day, not saying a word. After standing in the same place for several weeks, this important man that he wanted to meet finally couldn’t stand the suspense any longer. He confronted Aristotle and said who are you and what do you want? And from that initial meeting, Aristotle learned a great deal that helped his success.
Another person I want to meet now is Nando Parrado. I am planning to travel to South America to meet him. He was one of the few survivors of a deadly plane crash in the Andes mountains. He spent 72 days in freezing temperatures then climbed over 17,000 foot ice capped mountains and led a rescue party to the other survivors. It just about killed him but he lived and wrote the book about his experiences in, “Miracle in the Andes.”
I always have a list of people I want to meet. What do I want to learn from these men and others like them? I want to know their thoughts – what’s inside of their heads. How they survived and thrived through difficulties. Some disclose it in their books but not all do. I want to know how their experiences affect their lives now. How it affects their thinking.
So one of my secrets to passion in life is to make a list of who you want to meet and why you want to meet them.
“It is hard to maintain vitality when you are always hungry”.
- Aristotle Onassis
A question that people ask is how to follow passion for living when you are barely making a living. When things are difficult and you’re hanging on just to survive. Now the economy around the world is in turmoil. You could argue that it’s just about impossible to find passion in life, especially if you were already struggling. It’s true that it’s much more difficult to live in the present or have passion for life if you’re worried about basic human needs.
One way I approach difficulties is through mindset. I look at situations relatively. There are families in our country who are in tough situations right now. For example: a husband and wife with two kids, no savings, who are behind on their rent payments. Then the husband loses his job and they wonder how they will make it.