It’s like I’m standing in the open jump door of the plane, and God taps me on the shoulder and says, “It’s time.” With a gentle push, I’m in free fall. The wind is in my face, the ground is rushing up to meet me but the view is AWESOME. In this moment, I am flying.
One year from today I’ll be well on my way to being a multi-millionaire. Or I’ll be living in a van down by the river.
This blog is about to take an interesting turn, indeed. It started out as an outlet for my frustration when the city of Wilkes-Barre levied their stupid and Constitutionally illegal One Strike ordinance to shut down a rental I was involved in. That’s why the blog is called Ginger Snapped – I was a red-headed Mom trying to work and raise a child while helping my husband build a rental real estate business in what little spare time I had, and One Strike happened. All of the outrage and indignation poured out of me onto the pages of my daily journal, and I realized I wanted other people to see this. I wanted to scream it from the top of a mountain! So I started blogging. You can read that first post here: http://thisgingerjustsnapped.weebly.com/blog/why-this-ginger-snapped
The One Strike issue eventually faded to the background. I thought this blog was going to chronical a ground-breaking lawsuit spearheaded by Yours Truly that would have taken it down. I had a media campaign all mapped out so it was going to be very public – my 30 years working in the broadcast industry has left me with some good connections. I was going to leverage my 401(k) to fund the lawsuit if I couldn’t raise the money from fellow investors, although I’m sure I could have found 500 landlords to give me $20 apiece. But I didn’t own the building. And the investor who does own it, our friend and business partner, did not want to do this. He didn’t want the media attention, he didn’t want to invoke the backlash from city officials by poking the bear. The ACLU was already suing, he would just wait for that outcome and come back to collect his money. It was a very sensible decision. But DAMN!
Then I realized that I had poked the bear. And that I’d better “mind my own business” – make it Titanium, beyond reproach.
That’s what I’ve been doing ever since, and it has changed the tone of the blog from activism to the realities of Do-It-Yourself real estate investing.
That reality just got a lot scarier Friday night.
Quitting Your Day Job
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 for success. – Napoleon Hill, Think & Grow Rich
Vision requires the commitment of a parachutist. You don’t “sort of” parachute. You are either in the plane or in the air. You either do it or you don’t. – Andy Stanley, Visioneering: God’s Blueprint for Developing and Maintaining Vision
I would like to say I quit my day job. That I had the courage to say to my boss, “Here’s my two weeks, I’m going to work my business full-time now.” The truth is I never had the guts.
I got laid off.
I truly believe this is the Hand of God at work here. I wanted to quit this job since November of 2014, when I was told there would be no raise. In fact, I had made a pact with myself to quit by November of 2015, delivering my notice on the anniversary of being turned down for the raise. It’s not that I didn’t like the job – as far as day jobs went, it was pretty awesome. I worked from home, in my PJs, delivering traffic reports for six radio stations from a home studio in my attic. It was a split shift – I worked from 4:50am till around 8:30 or 8:40. Then I’d be back from 2:40pm to around 5:45. I had a nice chunk of time during the day to work on my business. There was no overtime and no weekends. I had three paid weeks off a year, 401(k), and health insurance.
Yes if I had to have a day job, that was the one to have. But even then it was a struggle to find 10 hours a week to work the business. I’m also a Mom – I can’t just work 24/7 like I used to before Savannah came along. And with my alarm going off at 4:30am, late nights were out of the question. My husband, Steve works the business full-time. I scheduled 10 untouchable hours every week to spend on it – mostly taking care of the finances. And that’s how we’ve been rolling for the past two years. Progress has been slow, and it’s been frustrating for me. Would I be doing traffic in the attic forever? Every year the health insurance premiums go up, but my salary stays the same. Eventually I’d owe them money! I wanted to quit, and discussed this with Steve several times. He didn’t think that would be smart. It became a small source of resentment – I coveted his freedom to be a full-time entrepreneur while I held down a day job. He kept telling me to just wait, we’d eventually get there.
Then Friday afternoon at 5pm I got the e-mail to call my supervisor when I got off shift. I knew what was up. I’ve been in broadcast media for 30 years, after all. Because I was laid off and didn’t just quit, I now get to collect unemployment, and that will help the transition. Thanks, God!
So no, I’m not all that broken up about it. But it’s still scary.
Take this journey with me. Now the blog is going to be about what happens when one finally takes that leap of faith and does this full-time. This week is going to be about transition – we’ll be cutting back on Savannah’s after school program, to save some money, so schedules will change. She’ll also start taking the bus to school in the morning instead of Steve driving her in. We might be eligible for reduced or free lunch and/or breakfast. I’m going to look into it. I have to figure out how to replace our health insurance by the end of the month. There’s paperwork with my former job I’ll have to fill out to get my 2 ½ weeks’ severance. I have to file for unemployment. I have to get all my files off the work computer before I give it back to them. I have to manage all the offers of freelance work from my friends in the broadcast industry – yes, I could use the money but I have to keep my focus on the business.
And then I’m going to sit down, take a deep breath, pop open a bottle of Sam Adams and figure out the best way to focus on the business, now that I’m doing it full-time. I think a 40-hour per week commitment is a good place to start. That will leave me time to take on a few freelance projects on top of it and still be a good Mom, take care of the house and still get to the gym a few times a week. I feel it’s important to maintain a life outside of work, even if you are working for yourself. Some of my best business ideas happen when I’m loading the dishwasher or sweating to ‘80s music in spin class.
Over the next several months, you will be treated a weekly update via this blog on how this is all going to turn out. Will we be multi-millionaires? Or will we be living in a van down by the river? I will not accept thoughts of poverty. Napoleon Hill says I must bargain with life for the riches I desire. If I bargain with life for just enough to get by that’s what I will get.
Hill also writes, “I fully realize that no wealth or position can long endure unless built upon truth and justice; therefore I will engage in no transaction that does not benefit all whom it affects. I will succeed by attracting to myself the forces I wish to use and the cooperation of other people. I will induce others to serve me, because of my willingness to serve others. I will eliminate hatred, envy, jealousy, selfishness and cynicism by developing love for all humanity because I know that a negative attitude toward others can never bring me success. I will cause others to believe in me because I will believe in them and in myself.”
Money is not the root of all evil. Money is neutral. Money can be used for evil. Good things – GREAT things can be done with money to benefit the world. Every house I flip will improve the neighborhood. As will every rental I take over. That is my intention. It may not always work out that way – I have no control over what my tenants do. I can only screen them as best I can. But I can learn from experience and use that knowledge to be better. Bad tenants have made me a better landlord, not a bitter landlord.
I believe when you operate this way you have God on your side. For my Atheist friends, you can call it luck, the Universe, the Laws of Nature or The Force.
May the Force be with you.