I wrote those words on January 10th. I am now approximately seven weeks from that one year benchmark.
I am not a multi-millionaire. Not even close. Am I well on my way to being one? I guess time will tell. I am doing everything I can to stay in the positive mindset that Napoleon Hill calls money consciousness. I am making great effort every day to keep fear and doubt at bay. To quiet that voice in the back of my head that screams, “What are you doing? You’d better get a job! Now!!!”
If I got a full-time job, that would be the end of the business. My husband cannot run it himself, it’s too big. He’d have to scale very far back, possibly back to wholesaling only. No more flipping houses. No more managing rentals – we’d have to sell them all, and that wouldn’t happen quickly enough unless we took huge losses on them. Besides, Steve’s not the kind of guy to play it small. He wouldn’t be happy.
Hiring someone to replace me would run us into the six figures if it were even possible. How do you hire an employee before you’ve built the system of protocol that employee would follow?
Sometimes you have to quit your day job!
This was an emotional week for me. At the end of September, I made the decision to cut back the hours at my “B” job – the part-time job I still keep out of nostalgia for my old career. I guess there was a part of me that didn’t want to completely close that door. But full-time salaries in radio programming are getting smaller, and I need larger. At this juncture, I couldn’t afford to take a full-time job in radio if one were offered to me. So why am I keeping the part-time job?
Well, it’s still fun. It’s been a passion of mine all my life. There’s the radio brotherhood/sisterhood to which I belong. As far as part-time jobs go, it pays pretty well. That extra guaranteed $1200/month is our house payment and one of the cars. Lots of self-employed people keep part-time jobs, and this is safer than driving for Uber and much less actual work than the Amazon warehouse. But this week I had to turn down a lot of extra hours they wanted to give me in December. I simply can’t afford the time away from the business.
Turning down money. It just seems counterintuitive. I keep telling myself “Pennies coming in, dollars going out” but I still felt that anxiety in the pit of my stomach when I told my boss I could only work this many shifts.
I felt that anxiety when I settled the business expenses this month. School taxes due on 10 properties. Levy protection fees on two of them. The 4th quarter sewer bills. $800 in Wilkes-Barre recycling fees. The huge insurance bills for the two six-units. I feel like taking these bills and shoving them one by one up the ass of the next tenant who feels they don’t have to pay their rent on time! But Napoleon Hill says developing money consciousness is all about keeping the negative emotions at bay. Breathe. Faith, love, hope…
Again, it’s all about systems
All of the business bills are paid. Including the personal salaries the business owed me and my husband this month. Today, we are okay. Things are turning around. We’re in the process of renovating and re-renting over half of our rental inventory. While we do, we are building several business systems:
- How we manage a motley crew of independent maintenance contractors to do the work
- How we manage to keep them paid and happy while keeping our own accounts straight. This type of contractor likes to get paid immediately after the job is done. Sometimes they’ll wait until Friday, but not often. None of them are willing to wait until I settle the accounts on the 1st and 15th of each month to get paid. Our current solution is a slush fund. Steve estimates how much money he’ll need to pay out and gives me that guestimate on the 1st and 15th. I transfer that money from our main operating account into a separate business account that pays the maintenance people.
- How we upgrade the units and the curb appeal of the properties to attract the kind of tenant we want.
- How we screen prospective tenants to make sure the people who move in to our newly invested units will be happy there, can easily afford them, and be likely to pay on time
I feel like we’ve renovated these same units a dozen times! I know that’s an exaggeration, but it seems we’re always spending money fixing up something, only to have to fix it again. If all this money and time we’ve wasted over the years leads to us developing systems that work, it will all be worth it. Tuition at the School of Hard Knocks. A PhD from Screw U.
I am optimistic. Enthusiastic. Absolutely thrilled to be self-employed, my own boss at last! But I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t scared to death.
I have to learn how to finance a business. We’ve been in “start-up mode” for too long. In a lot of ways, we are a “start-up.” We’ve been a rental company for almost nine years, but we’ve recently added wholesaling and flips to the mix. Steve is thinking of starting a maintenance company – we need one for our own rentals anyway, why not offer that service to other landlords and make some money?
We need a business plan – for all these little businesses and for the larger business as a whole. We need proper corporate structure for tax and liability reasons. And we need financing to keep this operation afloat until it can generate sufficient income on its own.
We’re doing what most start-ups do for financing. We’ve mortgaged the properties – most of them anyway. There’s more we can do there, but the banks don’t make it easy. We’ve taken out business lines of credit from banks that do want to work with small business. We have personal lines of credit we can tap. We’ve used the equity in our own home. Steve rolled over an IRA into a self-directed 401 (K) that we can borrow from like a line of credit – and pay ourselves back with interest. This week, I have a feeling I will be doing the same.
What I really want to do is qualify for an Small Business Administration loan and refinance this hodge-podge of debt. That will be a central mission in early 2017.
This is it. Even if I got a job it wouldn’t help me now. We’re too far in.
On January 10th I predicted that one year from that day I would either be well on my way to being a multi-millionaire, or I’d be living in a van down by the river. I have faith that I won’t be living in a van any time soon.
I woke up breathing on the right side of the dirt this morning. As long as that continues to happen, there’s a chance.