The more we share about both of our childhood's, the more I think we didn't have anything close to a normal upbringing.
Case in point...
Special Reader's Warning: This one is a little more gory than usual, so if that's not your cup of tea please don't proceed.
Both of us would go to our grandparent's farm in Europe (Croatia) every second summer for weeks at a time - often a month, sometimes two.
While our friends were going to Disney World and their cottages up north in Ontario, we were working in the fields. Loading up our trusty donkey with huge sacs of potatoes for a long journey home through the bush.
One year we were over there during Christmas break at school, and it was time to kill one of the pigs on the farm.
I had never been around for this experience before.
Four men from the village, including our father, got out their knives and literally jumped into the pig pen to do the dirty work.
I have no idea what happened, but somehow this massive pig got loose.
It starts galloping and screeching and hollering, with blood running out of some part of its body, as it comes DIRECTLY TOWARDS ME.
I can't tell you how loud a pig screams when it's running for its life.
On either side of me are two large stone walls. Before I realized it, I found myself on the top of one of them.
I assume that I somehow gained superhuman powers and scaled an eight-foot stone wall with one large leap.
I was terrified.
The next thing I see is four grown men with knives in their hands chasing this pig around the village.
Ah, yes, our childhood was a peaceful time - that we wouldn't trade for any Disney World ride by the way 🙂
Once the pig had been dealt with, a whole team of men and women from the village come to gut the pig.
And they would use every single part of it.
Nothing was wasted.
The intestines were used as skin for sausages, the feet were boiled, the blood was used some make some crazy pies that I think I've blocked out from my memory.
The amount of food that came from this one pig was amazing.
I was baffled by it.
But to get this reward there were months of feedings and pen cleanings and dealing with things that you can't even imagine.
I recall my Aunt raising the pigs on the farm and something always stood out to me.
She didn't seem to necessarily like what she was doing. But she didn't really hate it either.
There was a purpose to all of it.
Dealing with the pigs was simply a routine, a ritual if you will.
Every day there were certain things to do around the farm and she just did them.
And as a reward, at some point, everyone in the family benefited from the work.
What does any of this have to do with real estate investing?
Well, some of you may know that we do introductory classes to share, with people who don't know us, some of the lessons we've learned about real estate investing.
After the class, both Nick and myself are usually peppered with questions. Some good, some great, some strange.
Recently, we've had A LOT that go something like this:
"This real estate investing stuff sounds good, but we still have to pay taxes on any money we make from our properties?"
Ah, yeah, you do. Canada has sidewalks and sewers and a working police force. We have to pay for those things with things called taxes.
"This real estate investing stuff sounds good, but we'll have to deal with tenants and late rent occasionally. Maybe even some calls on the weekend."
"This real estate investing stuff sounds good, but we'll have to go to the Tenant Board sometimes."
"This sounds good, but I'll have to drive to the property sometimes if there's a problem."
"This sounds good, but what if prices go down?"
Ah, yeah, actually you should expect that. So make sure you buy your properties for the right reasons, in the right places.
"This sounds good, but I'm going to "time the market"."
Wow, let us know how that goes. (Note: Someone once told us that "you don't make money in real estate by timing the market, you make money in real estate by time-in the market". Great advice.)
"This sounds good, but it's not a good time for me to buy right now."
Ah, good luck trying to find the perfect time - we've never found it. Still looking though.
"This sounds good, but it sounds like work."
100% correct. Next.
"You guys just don't get it - you don't need money to make money in real estate. I can just attract all the wealth I need."
OK, we know of late night TV shows that agree with you - check 'em out.
"This sounds good but what if it doesn't work?"
How is your current plan working for you?
"This sounds good, but I may have to do things that I'm not comfortable with?"
Welcome to the club.
If there's one thing that we've learned from our family and watching our hard-working parents, grandparents and aunts it's this...
There is no free lunch.
To get the rewards at the end you must put in the work. You must deal with problems, and you must take an active role in your investing.
If you don't want that, then play the stock market slot machine.
Or start an online business from your lounge chair on the beach somewhere.
But we feel it's in our best interest, and your best interest, to share with you that real estate investing is real work. It's very close to starting your own business.
Properties are your product and tenants are your customers.
We've NEVER met anyone who has reaped some sort of reward without earning it.
If you feel real estate investing is too hard, too scary... that's fine... but don't fool yourself into thinking other options are any easier.
If you're running away from real estate investing because it's like "gutting a pig" to you then realize this...
Every other venture you try: options trading, online business building, buying a franchise... has its "gutting a pig" ugly moments.
The only way we know how to overcome this is by building in routines and rituals into our lives to take care of business.
Every month there are rents to check, bank balances to deal with, repairs to handle, calls to make, lawyers to deal with.
If you build routines into your life to get them done, they become second nature.
Just like the routines our aunt had to raise the pigs.
Dealing with crap becomes second nature and part of the game.
As business people, solving problems is the name of the game.
Until you take a stand and stop running from hard work, you'll never have the reward of enjoying delicious pork chops.
If you're scared of hard work, doing things that are uncomfortable and doing them regularly, stop reading this and never come back.
We're not a good fit for you.
If you're the type that works hard, hits setbacks but continues ploughing ahead, we're honoured to have made your acquaintance.
Canada could use more people like you.
If anyone's interested in doing a "pig gutting excursion" to Europe one summer, let us know 😉
Until next time... Your Life! Your Terms!
As usual, another inspiring story from you guys that is so true....you must pay your dues. And it is so worth it! After 20 years in the rental business, bought myself a new toy last week...a '2012 Infiniti M37. Could not have done it had I not taken action many years ago and bought my first property. I always tell people who ask me how I did it...you must take action after doing your research on a property or area to invest in. I tell my friends that the future will come fast, buy a property as soon as you find a good one where the numbers "work". BTY, hilarious story about the pig !!
I can relate. I grew up on a farm and actually bred and raised my own pigs when I was about 10 years old. I've got some great stories to share about that experience as well - see you tonight.
Glad to here we're not the only ones with crazy pork stories 🙂
Thanks for sharing that Aldo. We share the exact same thing with friends but few listen. Love the toy you bought, congrats on it!
Great post and story.
I had a similar Q and A experience last night at a real estate meeting.
Just wanted to say - I love the responses that you have to the questions asked. Yes, real estate requires hard work and the guts to do things that most people you know are not doing. We just don't here that enough in a tone that isn't complaining.
Tom, Great and inspiring thoughts. No Action - No Glory! Persevere and reap the rewards.
Good and bad experiences are a learning process and makes us tough and stronger to become successful. Conquer our fears!
I think to be successful we have to Decide, take Actions, grab the Opportunities and learn, develop the Skills to deal whatever the situation is, then ... we will experience Rock Star life!
Great post Tom and Nick! I will have to share my fish gutting story on our Rev N You website sometime. Growing up on a commercial fishboat with my Dad provided me with the hard work ethic I have today...and some hilarious crazy stories, just like your Croatian summers!
Thanks for your insight and real world perspective!
Great story, a big city boy spending his summers on a pig farm in Croatia of all places. My dearly departed Aunt grew up on a pig farm and she used to say, when they gutted a pig for their domestic consumption, everything was used but the squeal!! It all sounds gruesome to me and everytime I order a pork dinner, I think of her story and pretend the pig died peacefully. Yeah sure!
Hi Tom and Nick,
My father who grew up on a Manitoulin Island farm used to say the only thing left unused after a pig slaughter was the squeal? Gruesome but real. It was amazing how much food came out of one pig. Every fall we'd ravel over there and collect a big bag of "crackle" Dad called it. It was rendered SALTED pigskin left to dry and then smashed into pieces. It was chomped on like potato chips. The renderings was chopped into blocks like pounds of butter, SALTED and spread on toast instead of peanut butter or jam. Tasty as hell. I remember Dad sitting there watching Saturday night Leaf games games sipping a beer and chomping on his "crackle" It was pure cholesterol much much worse that Potine but Dad lived a good life and lived to age 84.
Simply my favourite blog. You guys keep me highly entertained throughout, all while giving very relevant information and examples.
Hi...I had a good laugh reading your pig story. I grew up on a farm in southern Ontario (near Peterborough). Your screaming pig story reminded me of the many times I held the young male pigs while my Dad, using a razor blade, did the castrating...ouch! I am sure my hearing has not been the same since (although listening to rock and roll bands in concert up close in my youth may have also contributed LOL). Also...I am going to be visiting Croatia late June/July this year with my family. Part of our visit will be on a chartered sailboat. We are very excited. If you have any suggestions on what we should see and do while there let me know...thanks you!!
Funny stuff, who knew how many "pig" stories existed between all of us!
You'll love the Croatian coast. It's long so our suggestions won't mean much if you're further north or south than where we hang out. If you are around the "Split" area then the islands of Hvar and Brac (check out the famous beach area near Bol on the island of Brac) are a must see. There a couple of small islands off of Hvar where we'll be visiting this summer as well. Enjoy it!!
Oh it's really fun reading your experienced in your grandparent's farm. I've been to Croatia before and watched too how they perform that thing to the pigs, well they are born to eat tho Lol!