I’ve gotten a few emails/calls of late asking me, “Are you leaving Real Estate Investing?” and my immediate response is “No, why?.” “Well, you have mentioned that you just bought an internet retail business and leaving the property management business.” This is true; however, I’m also a big advocate of diversification. You see I am still a landlord with rental properties and a local hard money lender in Charlotte, NC (only). Yes, I am branching out as I’ve just bought an internet retailer –The Insole Store which is a leading provider of shoe insoles, inserts, and orthotic arch supports.
A common response is: “how can you handle it all and why?”
Before I answer that, let’s back up a bit. I started in the residential rental business in 1994 and have actively managed my properties from the beginning unless other operations demand/reward ratio called for my outsourcing of the day-to-day property management end. While I was exploring the formal business of property management these past two years with a firm that actively managed over 700 rentals, I’ve re-discovered that this is not a route I feel I want to go (at least at this point in my life). It’s a perfectly good business –just not part of my plan. So as of now, my rentals are spread between two property managers. Remember –I believe that rentals are good retirement vehicles; however, not ideal as cash-flow businesses unless your leverage is low (or you’re a large scale apartment owner) which somewhat offsets the power of capital intensive investments.
My hard money lending operation, Gray Dog Investments, has been my main business operations for the past 6-7 years; however, with these challenging times, it makes it difficult to create good win/win loan volume. At this stage, I would rather diversify my time, skills, and capital into new arenas –at least till we hit stability in the real estate markets and healthy demand follows. Doesn’t mean I’m not lending –just means the demand dictates a part time operation.
Get this straight. Real Estate is my first labor of love. I have no intentions of leaving it –just letting off the pedal while the headwinds are greater, more time is needed with the kids, and a calling to develop a new skill (challenge) fulfills an inner desire.
Does anybody know what my second hobby is?
How about the internet!
I first started getting active with the internet @2000-2001 when I discovered Mr. Landlord. It is an online forum that helps landlords with a live Q&A forum. From that point I’ve been hooked with helping and learning from fellow real estate investors (such as yourself). I’ve watched my parents run an ancillary internet operation (that basically mirrors their brick & mortar store) for over the past decade.
Then in 2009 my good friend and founder of AskTheLandlord.com, Sean, called up and said “Here you go.” My response was “Here we go –what?” You see we had been talking for years about my creating a financial and/or real estate course –yet I had never taken the action to do it (ever hear that excuse before?). What did he do? He had bought (the domain name), created the real estate blog, and then said “Here you go, it’s yours –start writing.” How many friends actually give you the keys to a piece of real estate? CharlotteREblog.com had been born.
Talk about selflessness!
From that point, I was off to the races creating real estate articles. It has been both therapeutic and rewarding. I am constantly amazed at the positive feedback and support to keep it going not to mention what I’ve learned from the internet. Although, I’ve just scratched the surface, I’ve had a goal of monetizing my efforts.
And so the search began….
You see… I’ve yet to figure out how I can effectively create and market a real estate/financial coarse, mentoring, and/or the real estate itself – that is a good bang for its buck for my fellow investors and maintain integrity. The true key is that I must simply do and it will happen –Baby-steps right?
Well so here I was working real estate and continuously being told to get off the computer by the better half in the after-hours. I’d already pulled out of 2-3 internet companies that I had been under contract due to questions regarding the financials or true worth of the company itself. Sure I was wondering if my route was correct; yet, I trudged on seeking to fulfill an inner desire.
Remember: ignore those that are negative without proper reasoning.
I am here to report that officially this month, I’ve taken over the keys to a new piece of property –virtual that is. The Insole Store has certainly been a journey to-date. It is satisfying in providing a product that can help alleviate true foot pain and problems whether it be from a health issue, sports, and/or working conditions. Perhaps, it is best left to an article itself. I will tell you (that it is no different) it’s filled with the same feelings of hope, dreams, fear, and surprise that one gets when buying a rental property or is in the thick of a full scale rehab project.
The goal is to create a new cash flow generator -a business to offset the hard money lending. I will run both of these like I handled my rental operations in the 90’s while maintaining a corporate career. I will push both as hard as I can –until one clearly delineates itself worthy of requiring my full-time attention if that’s the plan.
The truth is (of course) –if you know me, real estate is in my blood and no matter what, I will always have rentals, some private money loans, and/or a rehab to sell retail project going on somewhere.
I have to remember that life is a journey -one that I can help direct in making the ride more enjoyable. It’s about relationships, education, spiritual growth, and so much more. A rental property, checking account, business, job, etc., are just tools or chess pieces in the game of life that can enrich the journey (if used properly) -not dictate it.