All Nick and I wanted to do was invest in some cash flowing properties and maybe write a few articles a month.
But this year, that's not even two months old, we're fighting wildfires like two California forest fire marshals.
We're doing training classes on weekday evenings.
We're doing classes on weekend mornings.
We're fighting battles with marketing material that should have worked like gangbusters - that didn't.
We're dealing with several staffing issues.
There are vendors and contractors that have dropped the ball on us and need to be replaced.
Some that we've used for years ... gone bad.
There was a website that was wasting about $1,600/month on ineffective advertising that had to be pulled down and replaced with a completely new website ... immediately.
Our own brokerage website had to be replaced this year.
We had presentations to prepare in the middle of deadlines for our monthly newsletter (that we've been publishing since 2006 without missing a single month).
There have been scheduling conflicts to deal with, storage rooms to sort out, accounting packages to straighten out and of course - real estate deals that need attention.
And don't forget our properties. There are tenants that need attention, neighbours that have complaints, repairs that need fixing, a garage full of garbage to be emptied and a Tenant Board date to attend.
Don't get us wrong, the real estate business and real estate investing are great things.
But no one told us it would be this much work.
And to be fair with the help of a great team we're free form the majority of the day-to-day issues that pop up.
But that doesn't mean there's nothing to do.
A good friend of mine, who has watched us over the years, announced that he wanted to get into real estate investing this year in a big way.
I considered raining on his enthusiastic parade.
Telling him that it's gonna be more work than he thought.
With more problems than he ever imagined.
And we're usually blunt with this stuff.
But for some reason I didn't. I saved him the harsh reality ... he'll find out soon enough for himself how unfair things can be.
And you know what we've learned?
Every single person we've ever met that is building a large investment portfolio or running a business has the exact problems and the exact same thoughts.
Just last week a good friend hired five new sales people for his business.
Over the past ten days two have come in late to work multiple times and one of them has called in sick already twice.
He's also battling some internal theft by an employee.
He told me that all he ever wanted to do was have a small team that he could manage with a couple of quick meetings a few times a week.
Everyone has their own idea of how things *should* be.
And then there's how things really are.
One thing we've learned over the years is that to get the things we want out of life we have to do a whole bunch of stuff we'd rather not do.
We have to get up at 5:30am to fit in a work out and some writing before the kids wake up.
We have to deal with the odd messy real estate transaction with angry buyers and sellers and angrier lawyers.
We have to deal with crap.
But you know what?
It's dealing with all that crap that has allowed us to have great incomes and buy properties and enjoy a month off in Europe.
We just booked our flights for this summer's European adventure.
We're about to surprise the kids with a special trip in April.
So it's definitely a good life.
But the days of me thinking you can run a growing business hiding behind a computer in my basement are long gone.
I think some of our close friends look at we do and think it's all roses and cream.
They'd be disappointed to see how hard we actually work.
How messy our desks are, how crazy things get, how many fires we're fighting.
If you're in the middle of your own forest fires we're here to tell you to - KEEP GOING.
You are not alone.
Crap isn't just hitting your fan.
It's hitting everyone's who is doing much of anything.
If you're dealing with a problem tenant - KEEP GOING.
If you're dealing with a nasty business problem - KEEP GOING.
Because there's one big advantage to working every single day on your growth.
At certain points a wave of momentum carries you to new heights.
The time invested begins to pay off and pay off big.
Most people try to avoid as many problems as possible.
Hard work pays off. There are no shortcuts.
And it puts you in control of your life.
Most people will never understand this.
If you're reading this ... you do.
Time to finish this and deal with the other 18 things that need done today and with the unexpected problems that will try and stop me (they won't).
I'm getting on the fire fighting gear right now...
Until next time ... Your Life! Your Terms!