Discover YOUR Why

I talk about this a lot, Hell it is THE challenge for Week 1 of my Mindset Calibration course. HUGELY important to know WHY you want to be involved in real estate investing. As I’ve been on BiggerPockets forums lately, I have been challenging lots of newbies on WHY they want to get started. Even when I tell them money can’t be the answer (a most certain by product if done right), the answer to the first couple of evolutions to this question is typically: to obtain financial independence (money), to have another stream of income (money), or to create wealth (money).


Money is a by-product from investing in real estate, or at least it should be if you have set proper and strict investing criteria and are patiently sticking to them. MONEY IS NOT YOUR WHY.

Real estate investing is NOT EASY, especially to start. That is why it is ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT to start out on this journey by discovering YOUR why for wanting to be involved in real estate investing. And when I’m writing about this concept typically I type YOUR in all caps to emphasize YOU. It is YOUR WHY, not your mum’s, not your dad’s, not your brother’s or sister’s nor your friend’s, it is YOURS! Focus on yourself here.

Think of this scenario. You’re just starting your pursuit for your first property, without a WHY. If you don’t know YOUR WHY, you don’t know what goals you want to accomplish and then you certainly don’t have any established investing criteria to analyze deals. And not having investing criteria or sticking to those investing criteria will get you financially into trouble. Speaking from experience, the only time I’ve lost money in a real estate transaction is due to one or two reasons (a) I didn’t have a clear picture of my Why -> Goals -> Criteria or (b) I abandoned my established criteria that supported my Goals -> Why.

Knowing YOUR WHY Establishes Your Goals

“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.”

– Lewis Carroll

Lewis Carroll hit the nail on the head with this quote. Meaning if there is no destination in place, like most of us who mind numbing-ly just get through the work day on the corporate carrousel, you’ll eventually end up…where?

Knowing YOUR why is the cornerstone of your investing career because it will lead you to establish goals that support YOUR why and from those goals you’ll establish supporting investing criteria. Think of the waterfall affect, your investing criteria fill up a pool of supporting drops to YOUR why.

For example: my WHY equals these three:

I want to provide generational wealth for these three. And yes that is money, but its not centered around me its centered around how my kids and (eventually…hopefully) grandkids can live a life outside of financial barriers – without acting like spoiled brats :). In the more immediate future I want to provide a lifestyle for us that isn’t hindered on anyone’s schedule except ours. In order to do that, like most wealthy men and women have figured out, I have to figure out how to stop exchanging time for money. This is a 3-5 year goal for us. MUCH BIGGER GOALS beyond the 3-5 year mark have been discussed but seeing as they are not super clear and secondary, we’ll just focus on the more immediate, especially for the remainder of this blog post. And real estate is the best way for us to do that. In 2018, we made $231/hr from our rental properties.

Knowing your GOALS Establishes Your Investing Criteria

To keep our lifestyle and stop exchanging time for money in the next 3-5 years we need to accumulate passive rental income from 100-500 doors. The reason the # of doors is such a wide range is because ownership in each unit can vary based on partners and our participation level but it is somewhere in that range. So, our investing criteria is pretty simple cash flow per door is $100+/month and yields a 15% Cash-on-Cash return.

Challenge: Do The Discovery

What’s YOUR why?

I want to challenge you to discover YOUR why. And if you already think you know what that is, go through this exercise anyway. As you being pursuit for your first (or next) property, you will potentially kick over 100s of rocks before you find that gem. This can be exhausting work, physically and mentally, especially since you don’t know when you’ll reach the closing table. This process can be an emotional roller coaster (which we want to stay away from our emotions as much as possible – this is a #s game) but knowing and being very clear about YOUR WHY will help you stay grounded with your emotions and help you stick to your established criteria once you find a potential deal.

Having trouble discovering YOUR why?

If you’re having trouble discovering YOUR why, you are not alone. This is normal. You are normal! Also accept as life changes, situations change and YOUR why has the potential to change as well – I call these course corrections. Point being, discover IT right now, begin pursuit and make changes down the road. A couple of resources to help you discover:

  • 7 Levels Deep : take some time to go through this exercise. This site says 10-15 minutes, but take as much time as you want. If you’re pressed for time, rush through it and then come back and do it again once you have time.
  • Start With Why and Find Your Why by Simon Sinek: I highly recommend the Audible audio books here.
  • Our Closed Facebook Group: thousands of members willing to help. Join and engage by asking for help from people who were where you are now.

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How I Balance a FT job, Growing Family and a REI Side Hustle

At times I’m questioned how I do all of this…work a highly demanding full time job, have a growing family and obtain a side hustle as a real estate entrepreneur. Being up before the sun and coffee is the short answer but as I dive into this more, there is, indeed MORE. Here are 13 TIPS that work for me (us) and I know they will also work for you.

At times I’m questioned how I do all of this…work a highly demanding full time job, have a growing family and obtain a side hustle as a real estate entrepreneur. Being up before the sun and coffee is the short answer but as I dive into this more, there is, indeed MORE. Here are 13 TIPS that work for me (us) and I know they will also work for you.

  1. Get Your Spouse On Board: listed at #1 for a reason, because the President of your fan club will be an integral part of making all this work. If ya’ll don’t agree on the dedication and sacrifices requires to balance all of this, arguments and complications will ensue. I mean, what couple doesn’t argue or disagree? But not being on the same page about investing/money/exhausting hours, will surely intensify those altercations. Each side needs to compromise to make the balance work. Have conversations and have them often (preferably when the kids aren’t around so you both can really focus). This wasn’t difficult for me as my wife enjoys real estate just as much as I do. Our biggest obstacle (recently) is finding the time to have adult conversations (2019 goal?). 
  2. Become Incredibly Organized: this includes your contacts, folders, files, emails…everything. I’ve adopted the zero inbox system, meaning if an email is in my inbox it holds top priority. Otherwise as soon as I see an email and it’s not a priority, it is flagged for follow-up on the appropriate date and moved to its appropriate folder. My organization system may not work for you but the point here is to adopt a system that works for you, making you incredibly efficient. Doing so will allow you to gain time & headspace you didn’t know you had!
  3. Be Ready to Alter Your Lifestyle: less TV, less nights out, earlier bedtimes, earlier alarms, spending less money on foolish things. For some of you this will be a HUGE challenge. I’ve never been an earlier morning person UNTIL we started having kids. I quickly figured out early mornings, before the rest of the house is awake, is my most productive time of the day. NOW, I had to train myself to wake up earlier and earlier. I did this by moving my alarm clock up 15 minutes every two weeks. Like training for a personal best, I pushed myself to a new level every couple of weeks on my rise and shine. I now wake up around 4:45, most days without an alarm clock. And on the topic of spending less money, check out the book The Behavior Gap: Simple Ways to Stop Doing Dumb Things with Money by Carl Richards. I feel like Carl was spying on me for years before writing this book. Hit home.
  4. Set and Stick to a Very Specific Schedule: this includes creating very specific tasks. I personally use some of the tactics outlined in the 12 Week Year by Brian Moran. These tactics allow me to focus on what I want to get accomplished in the next 90 days (instead of an entire year), further allowing me to be very specific in my daily tasks. I track these daily tasks through the use of a Google Sheet that helps me stay self-accountable and since it is only 90 days, I can make alterations if needed without too much pain or loss of time. Don’t forget to set goals for more family and spouse time (2019 goal for me). 
  5. Tackle The Toughest First: I was introduced and adopted this concept from The One Thing by Gary Keller. Talk about freeing up your day (mentally). Tackling the toughest things, those things I dread to do the most, at the very first part of my day has provided a paradigm shift about how I tackle my daily activities. When you tackle the toughest items first, and get them out of the way, your mind and schedule are set free to address more. Again, the underlying theme is efficiency but I’ve actually found myself looking forward to tackling those things I once dreaded because I know what the after party looks and feels like – more free time and less anxiety!
  6. Excel @ Your W2 – Be GREAT!: Until your side hustle becomes the primary bread winner for your household, stay focused on your W2. Keep it a priority and excel at it! You do not want to give your boss or coworkers a reason to question otherwise. Schedule things according and focus on your side hustle after hours. Just keep being great! Ask for some tips from like minded individuals on how to do this in our Facebook Group (currently 3,100+ strong): Real Estate Investing for the W2 Employee
  7. Get Comfortable with Saying “No”: again, efficiency and time availability is the underlying theme here. You need to practice saying No to things that don’t enhance one of the Big 3: family, W2, side hustle. Much like training yourself to get up earlier, some of you will need to train yourself on saying No. Start by just saying No once a week and spend that newfound time on your Big 3 (family, W2, or side hustle). This can be a goal for you to exercise and track. As you keep conditioning yourself to free up more time, this will become a habit you’ll be glad you adopted. 
  8. Be Ok with Course Corrections: this might seem counterintuitive to #4, but course corrections are something that happen over months of implementing. Your 12 Week objectives and goals (reference the 12 Week Year by Brian Moran again) SHOULD change but that’s not what I’m suggesting. For example, there are many ways to invest in real estate. Depending on your personality and/or current market conditions you may find yourself changing strategies and/or niches. THIS IS OK. The best advice I can provide here is to just ensure your course correction still supports your WHY for having a REI side hustle. 
  9. It Will Take Longer Than You Expect: Accept that your side hustle will take longer to scale than you initially think it will. With a growing family and demanding job YOU CAN do it. It will take longer but don’t sacrifice the family or your spouse to make it happen. Find time from other areas by narrowing down how you spend your time. An eye opening exercise for some of you will be to daily document how you spend your time and once you do this for a couple of weeks, you’ll have a good baseline of figuring out where you need to say No. You have the time, it’s just currently spent on something that’s not paying the right dividends. 
  10. Set Time Aside to Read, Network, and Mastermind: Get creative here and by that I mean, I don’t make time to sit down and read a physical book, but expanding my knowledge and reading/learning from others is a must. Instead of planning to read a book, I have a subscription to Audible and listen to books or podcasts while working out or during windshield time during my commute. For book recommendations, check out this page. I also participate in a virtual mastermind for personal growth and facilitate a virtual mastermind called W2 Capitalist. I love these formats as I get to interact with people around the globe and gain their perspective behind my laptop camera/mic from the comfort of where ever I am – again, efficiency.
  11. Evaluate Your Circle and Make Changes: This is probably going to be the most difficult challenge for most. And I’m not saying go tell off your friends. What I am suggesting is talk to your circle (one-on-one). For those who don’t fully support your side hustle, you need to spend less time with them and find someone to replace them in your circle. In due time, those friends will drop off and you’ll find yourself surrounded by people who CAN help you, who WILL help you, and WANT to see you succeed. And by circle I mean the 5 people who you hang around the most. You are the average of those 5 people and by rotating in people who can, will, and want to see you succeed and rotating the deadbeats out, you’ll be uplifting your average.
  12. Outsource, Outsource, Outsource: In my post, Successful REI Takes A Team: Our Roster, I talk about building a team. Not going to rehash all that here, but hitting the high point and sticking with the efficiency theme, you’ll need a solid team in place to deal with the day-to-day mundane tasks. You also have to find and acquire deals that still meet your criteria considering the costs these team members bring, which takes longer (see tip #9 above), but is feasible. Market conditions will also help dictate the quickness and feasibility of which you’ll acquire units that meet your criteria. BE PATIENT and STICK to your criteria, only taking course corrections when and if necessary.
  13. Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable: Growth happens outside your comfort zone. Adopting just one of these tips is going to be uncomfortable for some of you, may seem overwhelming, so here’s what I recommend. Take 1 month and focus on 1 of these tips. Must start with #1 though, but other than getting on the same page as your spouse, there is no particular order. BUT you’ll see the most success by tackling what is going to be the toughest for you personally (reference back to #5). You probably already know which one it is but make a plan to attack these tips one at a time, starting with your spouse first and then with the next most difficult one on your list. 

I mentioned our Facebook Group before and I want to do it again. Let me know how you’re doing with these by posting at Real Estate Investing for the W2 Employee  or send me a DM on Facebook Messenger. 

Sovereignty: The Ryan Michler Interview

Go out there and get to work. Just go do it, stop asking people what you should do…You’re not dead. If it doesn’t work, adjust, change courses and do something else.

This post I’m doing something completely different…an interview…with someone I’ve been following and looking up to for some time now, Ryan Michler. AND, we barely scrape the surface on the topic of real estate investing, so completely different. Fair warning, I eventually loosened up but I was a bit anxious during the first few minutes of the interview. Bring in Ryan Michler….

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Ryan is an Iraqi war veteran, trained financial planner and Founder of The Order of Man. Since 2015 he has gained a massive social media following (learning how he did this is of my personal interest; reference 2018 Goals).

  • Over at, men can engage with a brotherhood of like minded men who are interested at improving all facets of their life; manly skills to become a better father, better husband, improved leadership and improved financial status to name a few (actually that is my personal short list). Ryan hosts a weekly podcasts where he and his guests talk about their personal experiences in just about everything that it means to be a Man.

On February 1st Ryan is releasing his first Order of Man book, Sovereignty: The Battle for the Hearts and Minds of Men. Available via hard/soft cover, kindle and audio, you can download an intro chapter by visiting

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Ryan and I connected via Facebook where he graciously agreed to give me 15 minutes to talk about his book #Sovereignty, but just as I thought we were done, he spends another 20 minutes allowing me to dive into a few business and personal questions. Had me so stocked I even used the word Solid during the interview. Ryan IS a solid guy and overall just gets it. Someone I will to continue to learn from. So, stick around after the 15 minute Closing Comments remark for the full discussion. Ryan has upcoming deadlines that I want to help him meet so I did not edit the audio, the full raw version is below.

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supreme power or authority; authority of a state to govern itself or another state

Items we cover:

  • What do you hope every man obtains from reading your book #Sovereignty?
  • What was the most rewarding aspect of the writing process for you?
  • Writing 60,000 words in 60 days
  • What is your favorite chapter and why?
  • Will there be an audio version?
  • Who are your mentors and men you look up to?

REI Strategies. Lessons Learned. How-Tos. No Spam…Learn More. 

  • Financial advisor by trade, are you still active in that business and do you advise your clients to invest in real estate?
  • Best Fatherly advice you give your sons on their journey to become Sovereign Men?
  • Birds and the bees?
  • Confidence: historical baggage that holds you down (example of $1.3 million in 2017 transactions but lack of confidence in a discussion regarding a $50k property).
  • “My objective as a father, is to render myself obsolete. That’s my job.”

Action Items:


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How to Find REI Opportunities: Just Ask

*Repost from December 2016; as we get into the holiday season, childhood family traditions become nostalgic and lead me back to this little story…
“If you can move the house by the end of the month, you can just have the whole thing!”


real estate investing pensacola fl
As the year is coming to an end, the sights, sounds, and smells of Christmas often remind me of those precious childhood memories. Forcing me to reflect and think about love ones who have passed and I hope those great memories stay with me forever. On that note, when thinking about real estate investing, I sometimes think about my Maw-Maw & Paw-Paw. For as long as I can remember my grandparents owned & operated what they referred to as a tenant building – low income, mid-size multi-family rental property that provided them a way of life. I hope to blog about more of those memories one day, but they lived in the house next door to their tenant building and the story on that house acquisition is amazing.
As the story goes, my Paw-Paw was in need of some spare lumber, this was late 1970s, ’78 or ’79 I think. Driving by this house, he noticed the owner was outside and in the process of removing the front porch from this 2 story, 3 bedroom / 1.5 bath, 1900 sq. ft. home. When Paw-Paw asked if he could have some of the lumber being discarded from the front porch removal, the owner simply said, “If you can move the house by the end of the month, you can just have the whole thing!”
And that’s exactly what they did. They acquired a lot a few blocks away near downtown, hired a moving company, and a few weeks later my grandparents were setup in their new home. I cannot tell this story without mentioning the power company. The path of the move required the power company to drop lines on 2 sides of the street – the largest cost of this project which had to be done on a Sunday; when most businesses downtown were closed (late 70s). I believe their all-in cost was around $25k. Simply put, an amazing opportunity.
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Paw-Paw (green hat, 2nd from the right)

We created many holiday memories in this home and my parents still own it today. Opportunities are everywhere and through this event, my Paw-Paw has certainly encouraged me to Just Ask.

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 #REI  #RealEstateInvesting #HelmsREI