Do what you’re good at. Farm out the rest.
OK my husband and I actually got more than that out of the guru program. Was it worth it? I already wrote the blog on that subject, you can read it here: http://thisgingerjustsnapped.weebly.com/blog/how-it-all-began-part-6-when-we-bought-the-gurus-program
A word about real estate mentorship “guru” programs. And then I’ll get off this tangent and go back to the blog, I promise. Here are my two thoughts on such programs:
- They can be a good investment IF you are willing to work the program. That means making room in your life, with all your other responsibilities, to do what is necessary to succeed.
Not everyone has $45,000 to blow on a mentorship program, no matter how great it is. That’s why they ask you all these questions about your retirement funds when you go to their free seminars. In my mind, that retirement money is untouchable. You keep your hands off of that, Dean Graziosi & Than Merrill!
That’s another thing – these programs are fronted by famous TV personalities. Than Merrill was a football star before he got into real estate investing and got his own house flipping reality show. Scott Yancey was a successful real estate investor, but his stock went way up when A&E tapped him for a reality show. Dean Graziosi (for whom Scott actually works) is an info-mercial star and best-selling author. They leverage their fame to sell the program to their fans. There’s nothing wrong with that – I’ve worked in media 30 years, that’s just what we do. And that’s how they can charge that obscene amount of money. Don’t worry, you’ll make it back if you follow the program, they say.
We actually did make our money back, but I believe we could have done that without the glitzy fly-away to Las Vegas to rub shoulders with TV stars. We just needed the information, and the direction.
A more localized real estate "guru" program - real advice, minus the TV star power
My husband and one of his successful associates in the real estate game are thinking of putting together their own “guru” program. This one is based on reality, not reality TV. Since Steve and his partner are not TV stars, they can’t offer you glitz. What they can offer is real, practical knowledge of this Wilkes-Barre/Scranton real estate market. They can offer experience and success in flipping houses, building a portfolio of rental properties, buying from tax sale, and wholesaling.
Steve is planning on selling this program as a package or a la carte (you only pay for what you’re interested in) – including live seminars, access to exclusive web content , access to all the documents we use to make deals, a q&a hotline, software to run the back end of your business, and hosting for your company’s website. He and his partner will also offer fee-based one-on-one mentoring. And something Steve wished the TV star programs offered but did not – a Joint Venture agreement, where we help you make a deal and you pay us with a percentage of your profits. You could do our guru program for less than $1,000! If you’re really on a budget you can pick and choose the elements you really want and pay much less. And you can pay more if you want the one-on-one mentoring, but you pay that by the day. A pretty decent deal if you can forget the fact that we’re not TV stars!
This is all still in the planning stages but Steve expects to roll it out soon. I’ll post the info in this blog, and it will also be on http://investorsnetworknepa.com/
You really should check out Investors Network NEPA – there’s a lot of good free information and networking to be had at our meet-ups on the second Wednesday of the month.
OK back to the blog topic: Do what you’re good at and farm out the rest
When you start a business on your own, it’s natural to believe you have to do everything yourself. And in the beginning, you kind of have to. That’s fine – I believe you should do a lot of things yourself in the beginning. It’s how you get your hands dirty in your business. It’s how you find out what you’re good at, what you like doing, and what you absolutely can’t stand.
When Steve and I bought our first rental, we were excited to do it all. I dove headlong into property management: writing leases, showing and renting units, handling evictions in court, redesigning units to increase appeal and thus increase rents, and more.
I’m not as excited about property management as I was in 2008. We have a lot more units now – and that means a lot more people to deal with. I have no patience for tenants who complain about their neighbors, and even less than no patience for tenants who do things that make their neighbors complain. These are not good qualities in a manager. So… I farmed it out. That said, because I managed my own properties for awhile, I know exactly the kind of job I want my property manager to do. I’m on my third manager now, but this one knows what she’s doing because she’s a Wilkes-Barre landlord herself. She’s better at this than I ever was. And that’s who I want in there.
So what do I do now that I’m not managing the properties? I run the business as the Chief Financial Officer. That’s a fancy way of saying I make sure all the bills get paid and we don’t go over our limit on our various lines of credit. And I make sure the taxes eventually get done. Am I good at it? Well, I’m better at it than my husband! And I haven’t bankrupted us yet, so I think I’m doing an adequate job. Do I like it? For now, yes – I find it fascinating. I’m learning a lot about money and credit, leverage, capitalization rates, cash-on-cash return, and all the various tax laws that apply to our business. I feel in control – this is truly the drivers’ seat for me. But I don’t want to do this forever.
Bookkeeping is killing my soul. I refer to it as “The Spreadsheet from Hell” – because I haven’t learned how to work Quickbooks yet. I tried, but I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. I was born in 1970 – just under the cusp of the computer generation. I’m much more comfortable with a pen and notepad than any kind of software. Excel spreadsheets are about as modern as I get, at the moment. I will, at some point, learn how to do Quickbooks. But what I’d really like to do is farm out the bookkeeping. Once I get 2015’s Spreadsheet From Hell to the accountant for taxes (yes I filed the extension) I’m going to do a year-to-date spreadsheet for 2016. Then I’m going to find a very brave bookkeeper to take it over for me. Because I just want this out of my life. Maybe then I’ll have time to learn Quickbooks?
Actually, I have other plans.
Real Estate – a business venture with so many ways to express your true passion!
What I really want to do is be the design consultant on the houses my husband finds to flip. That’s where my passion lies – I can walk into a hopelessly outdated house with tiny rooms and plaster falling off the walls and only one bathroom and turn it into a modern, open plan living space with lots of natural light. A gorgeous granite-and-tile kitchen. A second full bath with a soaker tub in place of an unnecessary 4th bedroom.
When I walk into an old house I actually “see” the finished product. This is a talent I want to explore!
I want to do something major with this blog, too. I enjoy writing it – I’ve been doing it every week for nearly a year now! But if you’re reading this, you are one of a tiny select few. I don’t know anything about marketing a blog. I opened a free account on Weebly (after I found out WordPress wasn’t opening on some peoples’ mobile devices) but that’s about the extent of my knowledge of blogging. I didn’t even set up the page design – my husband did. I’m not crazy about it and I want to change it eventually, really make it pop. Right now I only “publish” on my Facebook page, and the pages of my company Good People Good Homes, Steve’s Investors Network NEPA, and the Luzerne County Homes and Apartments group that’s read by landlords and renters. I want to get this out there, but marketing a blog is not my area of expertise. I just want to write it. So I’m thinking of hiring a social media-savvy millennial college student to market it for me. If you are one or know of one, please comment on the blog or PM me on Facebook!
Do what you’re good at. Farm out the rest.
The search continues for our next flip, although Steve told me today he got some good leads in the Scranton area. I can’t wait to get in there and design my next masterpiece!
But first, I have to get the taxes ready.
Hopefully this is the last year I will have to say those words!