Diary of a Real Estate Entrepreneur – My Journey towards Financial Freedom – Episode 2

Network Equals Net worth:

After being told by my governmental coordinator that I was better suited for the private sector, I was quick to draft my resignation letter (see ‘Greatest Advice I Ever Received’), yet wondered what was next.

I knew I had to learn more about real estate investment in order to become a real estate investor.  So I started reading books, watching YouTube videos, and listening to podcasts from the comfort of my own home.  We live in the information age, so all the knowledge I needed was readily available at the stroke of a finger.  I began to learn on my own; however, I wasn’t making much progress.  That is when I decided to start networking.

I realized that in order to have something, I need to find, and learn from, someone who has it.  If I wanted to do something, I needed to find someone who was doing it.  If I wanted to be someone, I needed to find someone who was the person I wanted to become.  I wanted to have that, “wake-up-whenever-I-feel-like-it” career.  I wanted to invest passively in real estate, full-time.  I wanted to be financially free.

I went to church and ran into a brother named Joko.  We immediately kicked it off.  He was an aspiring entrepreneur just like me.  Isn’t it interesting how like-minded individuals tend to just find each other?  When I told him I wanted to start a career in real estate, he told me of a group in Harlem that teaches the Rich Dad principles.  I went to the website, signed up, and attended the first group orientation.

By attending these events on a regular basis, I learned how to invest out of state, and how to use creative financing. I also interacted with active investors who were doing the things I wanted to do with my life and formed accountability groups with folks who were getting started, just like I was.

In hindsight, I realized a very simple truth: not everyone who is a successful real estate investor in my market is a published author, a YouTube star, or the leading man or lady on any other social media platform, providing information on investing.  There are many people who, even though they are experts in their field, like to stay away from the limelight. I realized that they do however have a ton of information about my market, and can share contacts which I cannot find in a book.

If you want to network, and to potentially increase your net worth, join our mailing list at 100percentfinanced and visit 100percentfinanced.com/events to join an event in a city near you.

 

Diary of a Real Estate Entrepreneur – My Journey towards Financial Freedom – Episode 1

Awkward Life of an Entrepreneur

The Greatest Advice I Have Ever Received:

 

When I was working for the government in NYC, my job entailed managing surveys as well as a huge team of people. Working as a supervisor, I thought my job was quite cool; I would delegate tasks, and assign my team members in the field to complete surveys. However, after reading ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’, I started to get the feeling that there were bigger and better things out there for me. Basically, I had a passion for becoming a real estate investor, though I never paid much attention to it.

I believe that competition is the greatest motivator, and so one day, while working at the office, an idea popped into my head and I thought to myself, “I might have some team members who like to compete for some small gifts or bragging rights. This would definitely give them the boost that they need!” Therefore, I drafted a mass email stating that whoever completes the most surveys in a week will be treated out to lunch ($20 expense), receive a letter of appreciation ($0), as well as an umbrella with our government insignia (we had a bunch of them in our supply closet doing nothing but collecting dust).

I sent out the mass email to all of my team members. At the end of a week, we normally have 25% of our workload completed; however, this week, we were at 65% completion as a result of this contest. Our results went through the roof! At the end of the contest, my coordinator called me into her office. She instructed me to have a seat, and leaning over, she scolded me for “incentivizing my team with monetary value.” I battled back stating, “But Lois, you treat us out to drinks every time we do a great job, so aren’t you incentivizing us as well?”  She replied, “No, because I don’t send out a mass email about it!” Working for the government, this out-of-the-box thinking was frowned upon. There are certain policies and procedures that I have to adhere to. She provided me with a written warning and said, “Maybe the government isn’t for you”.

At that moment, I realized that maybe she was right. The government, or any other job for that matter, was not destined for me. Perhaps real estate investment and entrepreneurship were where I belonged. Inwardly, I believed that my creative spirit would not be hindered if I had control over what I did for a living.

After receiving the reprimand even though I had produced great results, I went back to my desk feeling extremely disheartened. With my head hanging down, I started thinking about whether I really wanted this job, and felt a huge rush of emotions; I didn’t. I ended up deciding then and there that I would be an entrepreneur and would no longer serve as an employee. And it was on the same day that I sat at my desk and drafted my resignation letter.

I wrote this application five years ago, and I know it may seem like a foreboding task for a person to write his own resignation letter, but being an entrepreneur is not easy and comes with its own set of challenges. You’ll encounter several awkward situations while working in a sea of employee-minded people, but you have to stay strong and confident in your own self.  Leaving this sea was the best choice I ever made.

If you’re feeling the same way and would like to see the resignation letter I wrote, go to 100percentfinanced.com and subscribe to my page. Create your own resignation letter and make it personal, yet professional.  One day, you’re going to submit it to your supervisor and move on with your entrepreneurial endeavors!

~ Juan Pablo

Get Out of the Catch 22: Use Business Credit for Real Estate Investing

Do you find yourself in a Catch 22 concerning your real estate endeavors?

You want private money to close on real estate investing deals, but you need to close on real estate investing deals to attract private money. People who are just getting started in real estate investing have a hard time attracting private money, simply because private money lenders don’t want to invest in newbies because the loan is secured by a note and a deed of trust.

From a private moneylender’s perspective, they don’t want to lend out money for someone to experiment with it, and that’s understandable.

Once you have several properties in your portfolio, you’ll be setting yourself up in a position to attract people who will want to work with you. Especially once they become aware of your good track record and begin to see you as successful.

Until then, what are you to do for funding? An alternative option is Business Credit Cards. These cards require a personal guarantee. You have to understand lenders typically look at how long you’ve been in business. It doesn’t matter to them whether you incorporated yesterday or five years ago. The basis for receiving funding is to have full documentation to include tax returns, P&L Statement, and an 80 Paydex score. So if you don’t have those documents, you have nothing to show them of how successful your business has been, or currently is.

Think about it: why would a bank give a person funding under these circumstances? Lenders took a lot of time earning their money and want to put into the right hands, the hands they deem responsible. So, they qualify you, but they also make exceptions by looking at your personal credit file of how you managed your personal finances, which is proven by your FICO score.

Lenders think more than likely the way you handle your personal finances will be the same way you will handle your business finances. They typically develop the belief that if you are prudent in governing your personal financial obligations, you’ll be prudent in governing your business financial obligations.

You are then considered a safe bet because you honor your commitments. Even if you don’t have a high FICO score in the 700s don’t fret. You should still apply because for one there aren’t any upfront fees, and for two you’ll receive a funding estimate within 48 hours with only a soft pull on your personal credit. That way if there are any discrepancies, you can work them out and get funded within a short time period later.

Business Credit Cards do not affect your debt to credit ration either because they do not show up on your personal credit file unless you default, but the hard pull inquiries do, and those can be worked out as well. Your payment history is the only concern of business credit card lenders. It’s irrelevant to them if you max out the cards.

Avoid wasting valuable time in a catch 22 situation seeking out private lenders. Apply for business credit today and get your funding estimate within two days of application. Once approved and awarded, convert that credit to cash, get a mortgage, close the deal and repeat the cycle over and over again to build up your real estate portfolio. Then if you decide to seek out private lenders, you’ll have the successful track record they’re looking for.

 

Entrepreneurship: Practical Ways to Handle Financial Matters Like a Pro

As a first time entrepreneur, you may be wondering how to handle the financial matters of your business. You’re not alone; all entrepreneurs have dealt with issues of funding, debt, savings, spending, and paying yourself.

Starting a business without testing the market for your product or service, is taking the financial risk especially if you decide to fund your business with other people’s money. If you lose the business, the debt still has to be repaid. Instead of investing a large amount of cash why not consider using business credit cards.

Funding and Debt:

The main factor to getting approved for business credit cards is based on your credit history. Once approved, there are several things you should do:

  1. Establish strong payment histories to build business credit.
  2. Keep balances as low as possible by not carrying more than 30 percent of credit limits on any of the cards to boost credit scores.
  3. Pay balances in full and on time every month.
  4. Make purchases related to the business, and only for what’s needed to keep the business running.

Spending:

We all have different spending habits, but it’s best to develop a spending plan early on. This plan will keep you abreast of your budget and let you how much is afforded to pay down debts each month.

Savings:

There are also business savings accounts. Most people think of savings accounts for personal use, but they can be a great addition to your business:

  1. Business savings accounts help prepare for the unexpected if allocated to handle emergencies.
  2. Business savings accounts are liquid assets that can be moved into a business checking accounts to pay vendors, contractors and anyone else owed without interfering with the daily budget.
  3. Business owners are responsible for taxes, and with the daily operations, this task may be overlooked. However, if ten percent is saved from every business transaction, this money can be used to pay taxes without interfering with the budget.

Paying Yourself:

Finally, there’s the issue of how to pay you. If you are a sole proprietor without employees and not much overhead, you pay yourself what you earn in sales minus your costs, savings, and taxes. To pay yourself from an LLC, you can withdraw money from the company accounts or give yourself a salary.

Starting a business may be easy, but the hurdle is knowing when and where to spend money. It’s very important to only spend where necessary. Although it’s been determined to make small purchases starting out, this is not a reason to cut corners with what your company needs. Handling the financial matters of entrepreneurship can be daunting, but if you establish a plan for funding, debt, savings, spending, and paying yourself upfront you’ll be that much closer to reaching money-mastery level.

 

Talk May Be Cheap, But it Drives Sales

You may have heard the old saying, “talk is cheap, but it takes money to buy a farm.” In the business world, talk can be expensive regarding how it can help increase your sales and attract interest to your brand. So what does this really mean?

It means that as a business owner you have to speak your customers’ language by getting to the point without wasting their time. People want to know what it is that you do, who do you serve and how you deliver your product or service in the most clearest possible terms.

If a customer doesn’t understand you, they won’t buy from you; a point, blank, period. You may be thinking, “Who doesn’t want to be on the cutting edge creating new terminology specific to their business?”

That may work for the big dogs, but for small business, it isn’t as convenient. Learning a new language takes time; time customers don’t want to invest. The downside is that you may lose them to your competitors.

Speaking your customers’ language means not trying to look smart. That can come across as being pompous, even though that isn’t your intention. You may be used to talking technical jargon, but that can turn customers’ off and lose their trust. People want to communicate with someone who understands them.

There are three things you can do to improve communication with your customers:

  1. Learn to Listen: Customers have their own way of dealing with problems based on their experiences. Your job is to take the time to understand things from the customers’ perspective and implement their language into your business model. This can be accomplished by simply picking up on key terms and phrases that they use continually to describe their situation and needs.
  2. Start Connecting: The only way to really understand what your customer wants and to give them the best possible service is by interacting with them. Even though you are the expert, your customers can teach you a thing or two if you are willing to open up and consider their feedback. Looking from the outside in often proves helpful, because they may see things you have overlooked.
  3. Use the Right Communication Tool: Depending on your industry, using the right medium of communication is key. It’s up to you to decide which method is the fastest and least obtrusive to your customers. Is it better for your business and will it make your customers happier if you communicate with them via phone, email, or in person?

To be successful in business and bring in the sales, you as the business owner must take customer communication seriously. Customers are conditioned to expect interaction and service. This can simply be accomplished by learning to speak their language, and in turn, they will engage with your brand.

Apply for Business Credit

How to Play the Entrepreneurship Game and Win

To win at being an entrepreneur, you have to be extremely confident. You must settle in your mind that no one around you is better than you, and it’s an equal playing field.

This may prove difficult for women since women tend to be more humble and less likely to be overconfident. Men tend to take credit for their success and blame their failures on someone else. Women are typically the opposite of this by taking credit for their failures and giving credit to someone else for their successes.

Success and failure is really the learning curve every entrepreneur can take advantage of. It’s the gauge that can be used to measure one’s ability on whether they did a great job or not. And the more a person fails, the more information they have available to use for their improvement.

The unfortunate thing is that when women fail, they are less likely to try again, unlike their male counterpart. They may also give up on their dream of being an entrepreneur. Women tend to become disheartened, which is certainly understandable and sometimes work in their favor because they are less likely to go down that same dead-end path again. Whereas men may keep trying to succeed at a failed business over and over again, losing money in the process.

Even though there appears to be quite a difference between how men and women approach entrepreneurship, the common factor that both genders need to succeed is to have and display an abundance of confidence. Studies show that being overconfident increases a person’s social status, and they are more likely to be respected and influential in the business arena.

To become more confident and win in the entrepreneurial game of life, start by implementing these five simple behaviors into your daily routine:

  1. Make good first impressions: Smile, use good posture and give great eye contact. Body language is the most powerful way of communicating confidence to others.
  2. Accept compliments graciously: Never downplay yourself or your accomplishments. This allows others the opportunity to sow into your life, and it shows you are appreciative of what others think of you.
  3. Do not brag about yourself: Confident people do not need to constantly remind others of how great they are and about the great things they’ve done. It’s the insecure individual that needs constant reaffirming.
  4. Always talk positively: No one wants to take on your problems; they have problems of their own. Being critical and complaining doesn’t help you in any way. Turn your thoughts to something positive so that the centerpiece of your conversation is profitable to all, and it helps you to be more solution oriented.
  5. Don’t dwell on the negative: Thinking about difficulties and disappointments can halt your progress. Start taking action to fix the problem. For instance, if you run out of money apply for business credit that can easily convert to cash.

Everyone experiences setbacks in life and business, but the confident person sees it as an opportunity to grow and get better while still making a valuable contribution to society.

Employee to Entrepreneur: Making the Switch Successfully

“If you want things to change your life, then you must change.”

Jim Rohn

You may be tired of the 9 to 5 and think deep down you’d make a really good real estate investor, but your day job pays the bills. How do you make the switch from employee to entrepreneur successfully? There has to be a shift in mindset and by taking hold of a few fundamental truths about entrepreneurship does that.

Truth 1:

Starting your own business is being the CEO of your company. You will be responsible for making all of the managerial decisions, unlike an employee who waits to get told what to do. Jumping in headfirst may be a bit overwhelming for you, so this should be a gradual process. Don’t quit your day job yet until you can manage your time efficiently.

Truth 2:

You will have to make concessions during the interim period. Small business startups take time to turn a nice profit. You will have to know in advance how you will support yourself until then. Having enough cash or credit stashed away to support you and the business for at least a year is ideal.

Truth 3:

Having a working knowledge of money management is crucial. Being able to understand financial statements will keep you abreast of how much money is being made, as well as how much money is being spent. Understanding of this will help keep you from being in the red and staying in the black.

Truth 4:

You know the saying, “Jack of all trades, master of none.” Well, the opposite is true for the entrepreneur. An entrepreneur in the beginning stages will have multiple roles to fill, at least until the staff is hired or tasks are outsourced. You may find yourself being the salesperson one day and customer service the next and the order fulfillment person the day after that. Employees have set job descriptions that they complete day after day, so their day may not be as hectic as the entrepreneur.

Truth 5:

Entrepreneurship requires having the mental energy, focus, and tenacity to succeed. Business trends change all the time, and as an entrepreneur, you will have to evolve with your industry. This means learning all you can all the time to be on top of your game.

Truth 6:

It can be lonely at the top. Well, maybe at the top of your kitchen table is a better way to put it. This is just because you are no longer going out into the corporate sector. But, the loneliness can be overcome by doing all the cool things entrepreneurs do: lunches, networking events and the like.

Making the switch from employee to entrepreneur can prove successful if you grasp hold of these six basic principles. You will want to plan ahead before quitting your day job by having financing in place, being knowledgeable about financial statements, being a good steward of your time, being decisive since you are now in the driver’s seat, continuously improving upon your skillset for your chosen field, as well as networking with like-minded individuals and groups.

 

 

 

How Being Socially Savvy Can Help Grow Your Business

Every which way you turn, someone is talking about social media. It’s the place where everyone engages, where we humans connect with likeminded individuals whether for business purposes or personal pleasure. Think of it as a tool that allows you the business owner the opportunity to influence people, not only in your local community but people throughout the world. Being socially savvy can help grow your business and here are three tips to help get you started:

Tip 1: Determine Your Platforms

When first planning to use social media for business in order to connect with people, many newcomers feel a bit overwhelmed because they do not know which platforms to use, so they sign up for all of them and end up using none of them.

First, find out what sites your customers and potential prospects are using on a more regular basis and set up accounts with those few sites. The key to having successful relationships, business or personal, is all about being consistent with the communication, and to communicate one has to be present. Having accounts with too many sites can cause you to lose your focus and appear unengaged, which will testify against your character as a business owner.

Tip 2: Show Genuine Interest in People

Yes, you have a business to run and money to make, but that isn’t going to happen with the help of social media if you don’t show interest in what your customers need and want. It doesn’t matter if you are a real estate investor or if you own a cleaning company. The success of a product or service depends on solving the customer’s problem.

Social media is the perfect platform to perfect your business, because it gives you the opportunity to hear what people really want, and that gives you the advantage to improve upon your product or service. It also allows for customers to get to know and trust you. Taking the time to listen to peoples concerns, and showing genuine interest in helping them enables a far better chance for you to deliver well thought out solutions.

Tip 3: Stay Informed

Being socially savvy has several meanings, but the take away for this tip is that you have to stay on top of your game. This is accomplished by keeping up with the trends of your particular industry. Take classes, go to seminars; you can even join 100pf Real Estate Investing Coaching Program.

In order to win professionally as well as personally, it requires being informed. Being the person in the know, is the person that possesses the understanding of the how and why of a situation. You will be the go to person who gets the job done right, and your customers will thank you for it with repeat business and referrals.

When you use social media you’re not wasting anyone’s time; you’re making valuable contributions to the lives of the people you interact with. Being socially savvy enables you the business owner to build strong interpersonal skills as well as provide you with a greater sphere of influence, which will help grow your business.

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Get Paid to Have Fun: How to Profit from Social Media

In order to get paid to have fun, you have to bring one of two things to the table: a following or content.  If you have either of these items and it’s better to have both, you can take advantage of social media and really profit from what you love to do.

As an online entrepreneur, I get paid to have fun.  While others are on social media for personal reasons, I’m on social media for business marketing as well as to connect with people.

Basically, this means that the majority of my time I spend on social media is as a producer and not as a consumer.  Don’t get me wrong; there are times when I’m finished producing content and answering messages and comments on my closed Facebook groups that I’ll scroll through my news feed to see what’s going on.

So, even if you really just enjoy being on social media, there’s still no point in having 5000 followers, subscribers and friends if you’re not making money off of it in this day and age.

Monetizing your following can be as easy as joining an affiliate marketing program. If you don’t know what your followers want and cannot figure out which affiliate product to offer them, do a survey.  People will generally tell you what they want.  It’s always better to find a demand first and fill that need than to have ordered a large volume of inventory hoping one day someone will buy it.

It’s perfectly okay if you don’t have a social following.  As long as you have content you can monetize it. Content equates to the value you can extend to the marketplace for a set price. You can take your content and partner with someone who already has a following. Maybe there is an individual at your workplace you have an established relationship with, or you have an outgoing family member with a lot of followers. Either of these people can be an ideal partner.

Getting paid to have fun is tangible, but it does require having followers or content or both, and it isn’t without cost. You will need a website, marketing material, inventory, or digital products as well as financing to set up your business to meet state laws.

Business credit cards are an alternative funding source, and the application process isn’t as stringent as with traditional lenders. Apply today for a free funding estimate without having a hard pull reported on your credit file.

 

How to Build Business Credit in 3 Easy Steps

Now that you have started your business, where do you go from here? The next thing to do is to build business credit in three easy steps.

Step One:

One of the first things to do is separate your personal finances from your business finances. That requires opening up a business checking account. The money in your business checking account will be used for all of the business expenses. Do not mix your personal money with your business money, meaning: do not buy groceries with your business debit card, or write personal checks to vendors to pay for supplies.

Eventually, you will see the benefit of keeping the two separate as your business grows to the point that your personal finances can’t keep up with the business demands.

Step Two:

Before you step into the bank to open your business bank account, understand that a business bank account will need an Employer Identification Number and proof that your business is registered. To get an EIN, go to the IRS website and first determine your eligibility. Then use their preferred method by clicking the “apply online” button and complete the application in one sitting.

Contact the Secretary of State’s office in your state, get the Articles of Organization for an LLC, or the Articles of Incorporation depending on the structure of your business and pay the fees and file the forms.

As a reference point only, this PDF shows what documents are required to open a business bank account for all business structures in the state of Montana, but you should contact your local bank for their specific requirements.

Step Three:

Once you have a business bank account, it makes good business sense to apply for a business credit card, especially since these types of credit cards can convert to cash. The application and award process isn’t as stringent as dealing with a traditional lender. Business credit cards operate the same as personal cards and can be used to purchase everything you need for your business to succeed.

However, you must be responsible for your usage because delinquencies will be reported on your personal credit file and credit limit increases depend on your payment history. Use business credit often, pay the bill on time and do not ever max the card out.

Credit bureaus and lenders evaluate creditworthiness differently. Your business credit profile is similar to having a resume for your business. Most companies that look at your business credit file expect a complete and unbiased view of who you are and if there poses any risk working with you, so keeping your personal credit and business credit intact is just as important to build credit for your business.