Aridni - People are cashing in all around you, don't you think it's your turn?
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171 Ways to lose money in real estate

Could you ever imagine reading an investment book with multitudes of different ideas ranging from lukewarm to hot, only to find out after you’ve finished reading it that the book was written by Bernie Madoff?  That is pretty close to what I have just done.

This last summer I picked up a handful of books at a yard sale about real estate investing and managing properties.  One of them was a book titled ‘171 Ways to Make Money in Real Estate’ by Sonny Bloch.  The book was first published over 20 years ago and gets very specific into the different ways to buy or negotiate for property.  Some of the exact methods and numbers would no longer apply due to the changes over the last twenty years, but I thought this was an interesting read nonetheless.

He talks about methods he used to buy property in Florida before Walt Disney World was built, then selling for massive gains.  He mentions this a few times through the book and really showed himself as a credible expert.

After I read the book, I researched the author.  Wow.  What a way to lose faith in everything I had just read.  Apparently he was the talk radio equivalent of Bernie Madoff.  He defrauded his listeners with investments such as fake gold bars, equity in bogus radio stations, and wireless cable.  Most of the  victims were elderly people who wound up pennyless as a direct result of Sonny Bloch.

While my problem with Sonny pales in comparison the problems he caused 15+ years ago,  I can’t place any trust in this book.  I know parts of it are true and would still work today, but the real question is bigger.  Do I really want to take financial advice from someone who defrauded the elderly out of almost $25 million, fled the country, and when brought back charged with (and plead guilty to) 7 different counts of tax evasion and perjury.

I’ll probably flick through the again, but it will not be going back on the shelf.  The garbage can is a much better place for this book.  Glad I didn’t pay more than a quarter for it.

Getting Up After the Crash

Projects fail to come together.
Programs take to long to write.
People argue, condemn, and pass blame.
Businesses lay people off.
Accidents happen that cripple and paralyze people.
Websites are built, and traffic is disappointing.
Sales are disappointing.

Now What?

Everyone has setbacks.  Many people are not where they want to be.  If you have hurdles in front of you, get over them!  If it’s a wall, break through it.

What if you fall flat on your face?  What if that wall is to tall, to think, and to strong and you crash right into it.  The wall stands unaffected, while you lay defeated.  It could be your ego, your wallet, or your business (or a combination of the 3) that takes the hit leaving you decimated, but so what?

You have the choice, accept this failure as reality and sink into a pit of depression and despair, or regroup and get past the wall.  It may be that this current wall takes a number of assaults before it comes crumbling down.  Every wall can be brought down. (Just ask Ronald Reagan)

“If you think you are beaten, you are.” – Walter D. Wintle

Get out there and make things happen.  You can think about what went wrong forever, but if you don’t take another step forward then it really is just a waste of time.

This is not a ‘ra ra go team go’ optimistic post and it may seem to overly simplify your problems.  If that’s the case for you, I apologize that you are choosing to not get up.  Tragic things happen and it can be difficult to move on, but are you going to let it control who you become?

Even if it is difficult, keep fighting.  Change your strategy.  Sharpen your saw.  Seek out guidance from people who have overcame challenges and you can trust.

You can make things better.  And next time something goes wrong, you can get up quicker.

Learn to Focus and Take Care of Business!

If you’re anything like me, then you always have a couple of projects open. It always seems like I am opening more projects than I am closing. In fact it is quite daunting when look at this ever growing mountain of work you are creating for yourself.

I want to build a guitar, create a number different web pages, create a video tutorial course, write a book, create an iphone app, finish painting the house, tile the bathroom, create a garden, buy rental properties, invest in more stocks, create a CD ladder, run a marathon, kill the remaining debt chunk, and much more. The list just keeps getting longer and longer and it is hard to get things moving along.

Some of these items are entrepreneurial while others are clearly much more personal, but the fact remains the same, I’m not accomplishing things as fast as I would like to be.  It is time to start focusing on projects one at a time to get them taken out.

I’m starting with the marathon goal.  Over the past two months I have been training for a half marathon.  I’m a little over halfway there, and there have already been huge changes in my body.  The first couple of runs were absolutely terrible.  I couldn’t run very far or very fast.  I had tried by starting off where I left off 10 years ago.  Not a good idea.

I had a ‘long run’ of four miles one weekend that made nervous.  I had no idea how I would make it as the 2 and 3 mile runs were either painful or aborted partway.  I took the slow and steady approach and made it through.

Now I’ve finished my 7 ¼ mile run without any problems and 4 ½ mile runs are the standard short runs.  While I still have 6 more miles to add to the long run, I have absolutely no doubts about running a half marathon.

The big problem with having to many projects open at one time is that you are always feeling behind.  The reason you feel that way is because it is true!  Let’s say you are working on five different projects with varying timelines from 3 weeks to 6 weeks and you only have a limited period of time to work on them (After your day job & on weekends).

Project A : 6 Weekends needed to Complete
Project B :  5 Weekends needed to Complete
Project C :  4 Weekends needed to Complete
Project D :  3 Weekends needed to Complete
Project E :  4 Weekends needed to Complete

If you were to alternate tasks each weekend the pattern would be…


Project A :  22 Weeks Taken from start of project (6 Needed)
Project B :  20 Weeks Taken from start of project (5 Needed)
Project C :  16 Weeks Taken from start of project (4 Needed)
Project D :  11 Weeks Taken from start of project (3 Needed)
Project E :  15 Weeks Taken from start of project (4 Needed)

It would take 14 weeks before the first project (D) is completed and 22 weeks until your important project (A) is complete.

Then when you add another project to the mix, it pushes out completion dates even farther across the board.  If you lose interest in a project, you are more likely to add a new one and do just that.  If at week 7 you add project F (4 weekend project) into the mix


Now we have added 2 weeks to the time line before project D is complete, 3 more weeks for both project B, C, and E, and project A takes forever!

Project A : 26 Weeks Taken from start of project (6 Needed)
Project B : 23 Weeks Taken from start of project (5 Needed)
Project C : 19 Weeks Taken from start of project (4 Needed)
Project D : 14 Weeks Taken from start of project (3 Needed)
Project E : 18 Weeks Taken from start of project (4 Needed)
Project F : 18 Weeks Taken from start of project (4 Needed)

These timelines are assuming a perfect system where you have absolutely no life and nothing ever happens to distract you.  It’s assuming that you only work on the given tasks each weekend and nothing else.  No going to baseball games, bad weather, helping people move, doing urgent and unplanned for repairs, or weekend road trips with this model.  That would push things back to far.

If you were only able to work on these core projects 3 out of every 4 weekends each month (weekends not dedicated to the core projects denoted with an X), your timeline would look more like…


Now it is taking 22 weeks from now to get project D done.  Project D should be done in three weeks from the day you start it.  Here it is done 18 weeks after you start it.

If you were able complete your projects before new ones, the timeline would still be the same length overall, but it the efficiency per project would increase dramatically.  I’ve included the X’s as side projects, real life events, mishaps, and other delays and distractions.


Project A : 7 Weeks Taken from start of project (6 Needed)
Project B : 6 Weeks Taken from start of project (5 Needed)
Project C : 5 Weeks Taken from start of project (4 Needed)
Project D : 3 Weeks Taken from start of project (3 Needed)
Project E : 5 Weeks Taken from start of project (4 Needed)
Project F : 5 Weeks Taken from start of project (4 Needed)

Now project A is opened and closed in 7 weeks.  Project B is closed in 6 weeks.  Each weekend the goal is to work towards completion.  If you get ambitious about the next goal, you need to focus on the current task so you can go work on it.

Two areas in my life that often add projects are programming and woodworking.  I’m a lot better at coming up with projects in both fields than I am at completing them.  Right now I have 3 programs swimming around in my head or partially written that need to get out.  I have a crib that is mostly built waiting for my to finish it.  All it needs is a little more sanding and the oil put on.  I’ve got two rooms in my house waiting for me to get in there and paint them.

I’ve got projects of varying lengths and complexities.  Many of them have been opened and have fallen into the never ending cycle of projects.  In my own project time line there are a lot more X’s than I should be allowing.  It’s time for me to focus in on the projects one at a time and destroy them.

There is a bit of overlap if I define the marathon goal as project A.  The amount of training each weekend takes time, but there is more than half of the day left over.  As long as the training has been completed, I’ll be able to focus the remainder on project B or one of the urgent X projects.

I wonder if it says something about me that my priorities are to train for and run a half marathon, and then to prepare the nursery.  =D

As I work towards the marathon, the improvements to my body and mind have been quite positive.  Now that going on a run doesn’t consume my body with pain, I am able to use the time to think about my life, my direction, my plans, and my priorities.  I end each run feeling good both physically and emotionally.

How do your priorities and projects fit together?

Better marketing with the 7P formula

When selling or marketing any product, it is vital for the product to evolve and improve. The whims and demands of your customers are going to change and you need to be able to continually keep up with them. This applies to everything from iPods to something much more boring, like breakfast cereals.
In order to keep on top of the market, you should regularly be evaluating each of these P’s.

Product – Is your business’s actual product something that is relevant and right for today’s market? Is this something that is already or soon to be obsolete?

Pricing – Pricing is tricky to get right and can make or break your whole product line. Charge to much and customer acquisition may decrease, but charge to little and the perceived value may decrease along with the profit margin. Decisions are difficult with pricing. Look at it as objectively as possible. How have costs changed in production?

Promotion – How do you let people know about your product or service? And more importantly where are the weak points in your campaign? Often small changes in promoting projects can make a dramatic change in the results observed.

Place – Where are your products being sold? Look to additional venues or more appropriate venues where your target audience would be found.

Packaging – Everything that represents your product is the packaging. It could be the physical ‘clam-shell’ packaging such as on a toy or gadget, but it also extends to your website, communications, and design. When somebody looks at your display (online or off) what is going to be their first reaction? How can you improve that first impression to inspire?

Positioning – When you are not around, how is your product viewed? Do people speak highly of your product or are their credibility issues? How are you any different from businesses with competing products?

People – Lastly is the team that makes up your business. The designers, the engineers, the marketers, the decision makers… ect all have to be able to work effectively to get the job done. Disruptions can have a huge adverse affect that might ripple through the whole organization.

Small changes can lead to big results.  Look at your whole marketing strategy and each of these sections to determine what is and what is not working.  Refine what needs improvement and of course believe in your product.

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