An Open Invitation to the Potential Real Estate Investors Reading this Page:
Are YOU Ready for the Big Time?
Hey folks, Allan Susoeff here. Welcome to ask Al how. Here I discuss real estate. I love real estate. Always have. I even loved it when I was little kid. Sure, I did sports like the other kids. I was also in the Boy Scouts like so many other kids of the mid-70s. But my most cherished memories as a kid; my all-time best, most favorite thing to do, was to play Monopoly. I grew up in a working class suburb on the east side of the San Francisco Bay called Union City. At that time Union City was experiencing something of a boom. People were moving to the suburbs . There was construction everywhere, and I was fascinated by it. My friends and I used to run around in all the partially built homes pretending they were forts or castles or enemy encampments or all the other vivid imaginings that young boys enjoy.
Just a few years out of high school, thanks to a book by Robert Allen called Nothing Down and another book by John Naisbitt called Megatrends, I was convinced that I was going to be a real estate entrepreneur. I remember it like it was yesterday, I typed out my business plan, double-spaced and everything just like I’d learned in High School, marched myself over to my local Savings And Loan, and sat down with the manager there to go get a loan to start making my millions. The year was 1986. Do you guys remember 1986? That was the year the S&L crisis started. This country was just barely out of the recession of the late 70s and early 80s and then this next big financial crunch happened. The manager at the bank was a kind motherly lady. She had helped me open my very first checking account years earlier. She smiled and told me that I was a smart kid and that I should go to college, but the chances of me getting a loan to start ANY sort of a business, much less a real estate investing business was about as good is being struck by lightning.
40 Days in the Desert
At that point I had been in the trades for a few years and had earned my journeyman credential in both painting and finish carpentry. Work was slowing up in Northern California and so I set off for one of the most remote spots I could think of to seek my fortune. Little Rock, Arkansas. Well, when I got Arkansas in the winter between 1986 and 1987, I was in for a bit of a culture shock. For starters, those guys wanted to give me $7.50 an hour when I had been making $23 an hour in California. I also, got the standard “not from ’round here, are ya son” response from many of the natives, and through both a series of random events and probably my own naivety and arrogance, I found myself homeless for a short time. That was a HUGE lesson. Mostly a lesson on who I could depend on, that is to say, ME. I do have to give credit where credit is due; had it not been for the Salvation Army, the Methodist Soup Kitchen, and the kindness of a few strangers, I don’t know where I would’ve ended up.
I remember it vividly. I woke up in my truck, a 66 Chevy that I had basically built myself, on Easter Sunday in early 1987 and got really angry. Angry with Myself. I think anger can be a great motivator sometimes. I won’t tell you the whole story, but basically, I had a long conversation with myself and decided it was time to make some changes. For starters, I went into business for myself. I literally lived on free donuts and coffee at the local paint store for breakfast, nothing for lunch, and made a single Domino’s pepperoni pizza last a week,(in other words a slice a day), for dinner. It took a few years, but by 1990 I bought my first house. It was a HUD Repo and cost me $15,000. I remodeled it, When I decided to attend University of Arkansas to get an Engineering Degree, I ultimately rented it out and paid the mortgage payment for the home I bought in Fayetteville, Arkansas. I look back on this time now fondly as the “40 Days in the Desert” that all leaders seem to necessarily encounter in order to turn themselves into leaders.
While I was working on the degree, I was still building houses, and flipping the occasional home for what I considered to be extra money. At that point, I’d given up my dream of becoming a real estate entrepreneur. In 2000 I entered the world of “professionals” and was in for a shock. The first shock came when my best offer was about one third of what I’d made in a good year as contractor. The second shock was …um…Corporate America. I knew I was going to have to fill the gap with something and of course it was going to be another flip or two, on the weekends.
There was a home in my neighborhood that was in pretty poor shape. In fact it was an eyesore. I called the realtor made an offer and bought the house. Three weekends later I put the house back on the market and sold it in 48 hours at full price. I made $17,500 on that deal which was literally half of what I made as an entry-level civil engineer at the time. I’m not a dumb guy. I did the math. That was the beginning of the end of my engineering career. It took five more years to get the business built up, mostly because I made a bunch of mistakes; however, in 2005 I left engineering, my license to practice in hand, and went full-time in the real estate business. It took 14 years, but I got my dream of being the real estate entrepreneur.
Reality Sets In
So then I went about doing what everybody else does. I got into the “accumulatory” stage of my life. I accumulated a wife. I accumulated a couple of kids. I accumulated a bunch of assets. I accumulated a bunch of weight around my middle, and I guess by average American standards I was doing pretty darn good. And then 2008 showed up. I’m not going to give you the sob story here either, but let me just say that I got left holding the bag for more than $250,000 just in credit card debt. That has nothing to do with loans, mortgages, construction loans, and various properties that were in various stages of disrepair or rehab. Then in 2009 I got cancer. Then in 2012 I got a divorce.
Get the idea?
Wayne Dyer, in his book The Shift, describes the phenomenon that many people call midlife crisis, as what he calls the shift. I love the way he put it, “that which in the morning of your life was truth, by the afternoon has become a lie”. That was me in 2012. Lots and lots of things changed. Mostly my goals and aspirations about who I wanted to be and how I wanted to go about being it.
So now I teach what I know. Real Estate. Yes, I actively invest. Yes, I still build my portfolio. YES, I am successful at it. But what’s more important, is that I share what I’ve learned. I did a lot of things right, hell, I nailed a few things pretty solidly. But, also made a bunch of mistakes. I’m not afraid to talk to you guys about either one of those sides of me or my business. I think, if you look around, you will find that to be unique among the teachers and so-called gurus in this business.
So Answer the Question
At the very beginning of this I asked you a question. Are you ready for the Big Time? I asked that because I’m really only interested in working with people who are. I don’t live like other people. And it’s not about the money. Okay, well it’s a little bit about the money, but moreover, it’s about what the money can get me – and that’s freedom. See, I get up when I want to and go to bed when I want to. Freedom. I’m not forced to live in a cubicle and be told when I could take a break or when I can go to lunch. Freedom. I don’t have to listen to a whiny boss, or kiss the butt of somebody who I know is not nearly as smart as me. FREEDOM. I don’t do that by choice, and I don’t do that because I earned that right, through working hard, working smart, and being coachable by the teachers who taught me.
Now I’m going to assume that you at least think, somewhere deep in your soul, that you’re worth this sort of freedom or you wouldn’t have read this far. I’m going to tell you right now, you ARE worth it. So is your family. And it’s really not as hard as it looks. It takes a little tenacity. It takes a little common sense. It takes a little bit of training. And it takes a little bit of perspiration. Really. That’s it.
That being said, if you stick around and listen to what I have to say and do what I show you to do, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that you will be able to leave your little mouse maze job-life, that you will be able to buy the things for your spouse and your kids that you know they deserve, that you will be able to take the vacations or live the lifestyle or do whatever else you dream up, but most importantly that you will, in the process of becoming highly successful, build the deep levels of self-esteem and self-worth, harness the limitless power of your mind in action, and recognize the incredible, beautiful, divine creativity that resides within you.
Let’s go Play Monopoly
Are Your Ready?