It isn’t going to help with the Destructive Tenant Problem. That is something us landlords are going to have to figure out for ourselves. I wrote a bit about that last week: http://thisgingerjustsnapped.weebly.com/blog/lets-criminalize-destructive-tenants
Landlords with an interest in this matter should attend my husband’s Investors Network NEPA meeting at Perkins in Pittston Wednesday night, February 8th, at 7pm. The group meets the first Wednesday of the month, the meeting is free (you buy your own dinner, though) and lots of real estate investment subjects are discussed. This month we’re discussing just what can be done about destructive tenants.
I will write more blogs on this subject, especially since I’ve promised my husband I’ll be taking more of the rental management responsibilities off him. If nothing else, it’ll make for some more entertaining posts! Unlike this boring business stuff. But what I’ve learned over the last 9 years – if you want your real estate investment business to be successful, you need to run it like a business.
Why pay the Real Estate Gurus for what you can get for free?
Than Merrill’s radio ads are running in every commercial stopset for his “free” Fortunebuilders seminar. Hundreds of people will attend. 100 or so people will buy the next phase – the three day paid workshop. Of them, a handful will pony up the 5-figure sum to buy the guru mentoring package. Who among them will actually be successful at real estate entrepreneurship? The one of two who actually set up their business to run like a business.
Nothing against the gurus. We bought a guru program – not Than’s, we bought Dean Graziosi’s (http://thisgingerjustsnapped.weebly.com/blog/how-it-all-began-part-6-when-we-bought-the-gurus-program) I just wish at the time I knew about the free resources available to help me along my way.
SCORE used to be an acronym for Service Corps Of Retired Executives. It was founded in the 1960s to consolidate all the independent groups that were providing free and low-cost business counseling under the Small Business Act of 1953. Today SCORE is a resource partner of the Small Business Administration. Its volunteer executives aren’t necessarily retired – active business people also volunteer their time and expertise. The guy we met with on Thursday runs both a CPA firm and a financial planning business.
SCORE can help you start a business – or fix an existing one
I’ve heard about SCORE in passing, but for the last couple of weeks I’ve been hearing an awful lot about it, which I took as a sign from the Universe. It kept coming up in conversation while networking with other entrepreneurs who made New Year’s resolutions to finally get their shit together.
Our business has outgrown the structure we originally set up for it. Our core rental business still exists. We sold off a couple rentals when we realized we were overleveraged, but we still hold 22 units across 8 properties, plus 2 more homes with rent-to-own tenants. We’re flipping houses. Steve developed a new line of business – rehabbing properties for other investors. It’s a way to build our crew of responsible, skilled contractors and give them enough work to stick around. There’s also a huge demand for it! Steve is still wholesaling properties to other investors. And he has a vision of adding an education/mentorship program to the Investors Network.
I want to set up a corporate structure that will organize all this. I don’t want to run six companies. I want to run one company – one recognizable brand - with six streams of income. And for my own sanity, I want to set up a record keeping system where all I have to do is enter the income and expenses, and my CPA does the rest. And after networking with other entrepreneurs, I realize I want a business plan, too. A real one, not something that’s “in my head” or scribbled on the back of a bar napkin. A business plan with accountable goals and targets.
So I made an action plan to contact SCORE to set up an appointment with a mentor. I did an online search to find their phone number and found their website, www.score.org. There are so many resources on the site alone! Video seminars on various subjects, including one on how to write a business plan. The host online workshops and even live in-person ones from time to time, always free. And you can sign up for a mentor online, too, which is what I did. What a relief to simply put in writing what my business does, rather than trying to explain it to some stranger over the phone! I submitted my form and got a message that if I shared their site to my Facebook page I would get two free downloadable guides to starting and expanding my business. I also got an e-mail that I was being matched with a local mentor and if I didn’t hear from them in two weeks to call the national number for SCORE. Two days later I got my call and set up the meeting !
SCORE matched us with Jamie Paul, an active – not retired – executive who runs two complimentary financial sector businesses. I’m amazed he had the time to talk to us. Our first meeting ran longer than the allotted hour. Just to have our visions listened to and taken seriously by a professional who could help us was such a novel experience! How many times have we been told we’re too small to worry about the things we wanted to talk about? Mr. Paul recommended we get the proper corporate structure set up before we write the business plan. There was an attorney that our CPA likes to work with, and I’ve been trying to get an appointment set up for a few weeks. I called the attorney recommended by our SCORE mentor and got a return call right away and a meeting set up for next Thursday. Once our structure is right, we’ll go back to our CPA and get the bookkeeping set up.
What is the highest and best use of your time?
Mr. Paul asked me a very pointed question, is the record keeping really the best use of my time? Well, of course I don’t want to be a bookkeeper – I’m a freakin’ rock star for God’s sake! But for now, I need to wrap my mind around this. I need to get bookkeeping set up the way I want it, the way I can understand it, before I go handing it over to someone else. Make no mistake, this will be handed over to someone else, hopefully within a year. But I can fuck up my own business quite well all by myself, I don’t need to pay somebody else to do it. So until I understand the job enough to know whether or not someone is doing it right, it’s mine. My husband knows enough about installing a floor to know when someone he hired is doing a good job or a crappy job. It doesn’t mean he’s going to install his own floors, every time, forever. It doesn’t mean he’s a flooring expert. He just knows enough not to get hosed.
This week we took an important step to becoming a legitimate player. Thursday afternoon we’ll take another. The stakes are high – this business is our livelihood now. We’re long past the phase of working a 9 to 5 job and running a business on the side, there’s no time for that anymore.
Every person who wins in any undertaking must be willing to burn his ships and cut all sources of retreat. Only by so doing can one be sure of maintaining that state of mind known as a burning desire to win, essential to success. – Napoleon Hill