Hey there — so I’ve been doing a little reminiscing about the early days when I first got started in this business. I think it’s a good idea to share my REI story because I’ve found that it helps other people to hear the experiences of those of us who’ve been around awhile.

And, I like to remember the people who were instrumental in teaching and encouraging me. I took a number of great courses and read a bunch of terrific books that gave me insight and strategies that contributed to my current success. You can certainly still learn from those people, books and courses today.

Plus, it’s never a bad thing to recall the ups and downs of my journey. Yet another learning opportunity for others. Sure it’s been a road of hard knocks, but I kept on pushing forward. 

So, I had a regular J.O.B. back in early 2000 as an engineer after graduating from Ohio State. The company I worked for sent me on a 2-year stint in San Francisco. My wife and I rented out our house to a tenant—he was terrible! 🙁

And the property management company was expensive—when I looked at the invoices and receipts, oh boy, I was paying so much in (stupid) extra fees—it was kinda ridiculous. I was away for only 10 months, and when we came back to Kansas City, we decided to sell that house and be done with it.

I decided right then and there that I was never going to own rental real estate again. No landlording for me. It was the worst.

Around this time, a friend of mine was getting into REI. He suggested I read Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki. I guess you could say that was my first “education” into real estate investing. After that, I bought other helpful books, including Kiosaki’s CASHFLOW Quadrant, and also bought used courses on eBay to save money, because the brand-new ones were too expensive.

And I started really getting excited about working for myself… being a small business owner… an entrepreneur

So, I sat on that for a couple years, moved my family to St. Louis, and began working for a different company. My brother-in-law told me about a friend of his who was doing duplex rentals in Austin, TX. I actually flew down to meet him to see about buying some of the duplexes he was building. 

After looking at the numbers and the cash-on-cash return, I didn’t end up buying any of the duplexes. But, this guy suggested I read Secrets of a Millionaire Landlord by Robert Shemin. The book is okay, but I was really drawn to a chapter on lease options.

Here’s what I liked about this strategy: you have a tenant-buyer in the home and they are the ones who are responsible for the day-to-day upkeep and repairs. And, they’ll take better care of the home since they’re going to buy it. 

So, most, if not all, of the normal headaches and nightmares you’d experience with a regular rental, don’t really exists with a lease option tenant-buyer.

So I started devouring books and courses about lease options, specifically from Wendy Patton and Dolf de Roos.

From there, my wife and I decided to buy our first coaching program. We used credit cards for the big $12k price tag. It was a pretty good program… but I didn’t get anywhere with it. I wasn’t doing deals.


Because of me.

I have to take all the blame on this one. 

I read countless terrific books… took several great courses… and did that coaching program. But I failed to take action. I wasn’t actually using the knowledge in the real world to do deals. 

What I later learned is that I needed to fail forward fast. All the education and mentoring in the world ain’t good for nothing if you don’t take massive imperfect action.

See, we are all going to make mistakes. We’re human, it’s inevitable. But if we never take action on the info we learned from books and amazing successful investors, it’s all for nothing.

So my advice is:

  1. Read these critical books that will give you a solid foundation. 
  2. Take a course or two (I’ve created some excellent courses… just sayin’) that give you the steps of the investing process. 
  3. And then JUMP. 

Get out there and do it. I sat on my butt for years. Afraid. 

Don’t let fear hold you back like it did me. 

Take action on one step at a time… and before you know it, you’ll have closed a deal. And it’s only onward and upward from there.

So get to it already.

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