Rental Property Empire

I gotta be honest this really was a rough one. This book is loaded with quality information, but it is so dense and tough to read and to write about and I’m going to apologize for this on in advance. The reading time suggested on this book is 6 hours and 57 minutes at 332 pages. It took me two goal periods to do it as well because I was a chore to read but I finished it. I never gave up on it, I will give a quick summary just to keep myself honest with you guys, but I think your time would be better spent watching some YouTube videos or doing specific research online rather than read this book just because it would be much more enjoyable and quicker.

Build a Rental Property Empire: The no-nonsense book on finding deals, financing the right way, and managing wisely by Mark Ferguson. You can follow Mark’s blog at Investfourmore.com

Career highlights: Owns 16 rentals which generate $8,000 monthly income and have $1.6 million in equity. Flips 10-20 houses per year with averaged profit of $30,000 each. Started InvestFourMore.com real estate blog in 2013 and gets over 300,000 views a month.

“If you focus on mastering one thing, you will be much more successful than if you halfway do 10 things at once.”

Chapter 1: Why Rental Properties Will Help You Retire Faster than Investing in the Stock Market.

Mark goes very deep in this chapter and considers historical return rates, inflation, his personal surveys he’s conducted, tax benefits, outliving retirement etc. I’ll quickly summarize this Real Estate produces more cash flow than the equivalent investment in dividend paying stocks. Real estate also appreciates consistently in the long term just like the stock market does. You can retire earlier than 65 with real estate, in fact you can “retire” when your passive rental property income exceeds your living expenses. Because dividend paying stocks, bonds, savings accounts etc. can not keep up with your living expenses you will have to withdraw money from those accounts, once they are depleted you are simply out of money. If you have rental property which generates income above your living expenses than if those rentals are occupied and paying rent, you will be able to live off the cash flow without tapping into the foundational equity (selling the property). People are living longer than they were before, so it is not unlikely that my generation (currently 22 years old) could have a life expectancy of 90+ years and you wouldn’t want to run out of money during your retirement.

Chapter 2: What are the Risks of Investing in Real Estate?

I’m sure you’ve all seen it before, the little disclaimer saying something to the effect that all investments carry a certain amount of risk and the investor should be aware of that risk. Rental properties are no different as they are just as much of an investment as a stock, bond, bitcoin etc. I believe the risk is lower than some of the previously mentioned and here’s why. A stock can go to zero, if a company goes bankrupt a stock can go to zero or near zero levels, resulting in 99% loss. They don’t make any more land, the very land that your property sits on has some inherit value because there is a limited amount of land in the world and as the human population continues to grow we need to utilize the land for some productive use whether for living or growing food or infrastructure. The exception would be if you had a hazardous waste situation or radioactive event on the land (think Chernobyl) which would render the land useless for some long stretch of time. So looking at the worst case scenario real estate already is winning. Another aspect is people always need a place to live, they may not always need to product or service that a company provides (think typewriters). These are the extreme scenarios now let’s get into the more common ones. Often people over estimate their returns and revenue, they may forget or underestimate the costs to acquire the property and or renovate it. In general, when doing the number crunching for a property it would be wise to use worse case scenario numbers and incorporate buffer into your calculations. Your rental property needs to be cash flow positive from day 1 and you should not count on appreciation for your pay out because that may never happen with the changing market conditions.  Another money related risk people don’t consider is having funds in reserve, typically banks require 6 months of mortgage payments in reserve on all properties. Besides that, you should always have some extra cash on hand in case the renovations or repairs are costlier than anticipated.

“Resistance is a sign that you are close to your goals and close to a breakthrough” I believe that with all my heart, as this internship I am currently working as well as life has taught me that this is very true.

“The key to any successful real estate investing strategy is to purchase properties below market value.” This is because you receive instant equity, for example if a house’s market value is $100,000 and you can purchase it for $90,000, while the cash is not in your pocket you have effectively made $10,000 from that deal.

“A great piece of advice I recently heard is to never work below your income. If you are worth $100 per hour, do not do tasks you can delegate for $20 an hour. Focus on things that make you that $100 per hour or more and let someone else do the less important work.” This is just sound advice to anyone making elevated levels of income and are looking to grow. The $40 you save every week by cutting your own grass, while frugal, could be hurting you overall if that time could be better spent developing your business, making more sales, expanding your presence in the community/social media.

Chapter 3: How do you know what makes a good rental property Investment?

  • Did I buy it below market value and by how much?
  • How much does it cash flow each month?
  • What are my cash-on-cash returns?
  • What do the prospects look like for the market in which I am buying?

You can use his cash flow calculator on his blog to help calculate that. He also goes over how he accounts for vacancies (table shown below), and maintenance (table shown below.

Vacancies:

Single Family 5%
College Rental 10%
Multifamily 10%

Maintenance:

Good Average Needs Work
0-10 Years 5% 10% 15%
10-50 years 10% 15% 20%
50 Years + 15% 20% 25%

He also suggests not using blanket rules to determine profitability, because they simply aren’t accurate enough and do not account for all situations. This means that you’re going to need to do some number crunching.

Here’s a simple rule to avoid losing your property to foreclosure, “buy for cash flow, have reserves, and don’t expect appreciation as your only way to make money.” Mark states that his target for cash flow is $500 a month for the $80,000 – $140,000 properties he buys and likes to see a 15% cash on cash return but prefers closer to 20%. Don’t worry about your cash on cash return until all expenses are paid, and the house is rented. Until that happens you’re only guessing.

Chapter 4: How do you Know what type of investment property to buy?

Mark analyzes single family vs. multi-family vs. college rentals. Essentially its best to invest in the type of property the follows the above-mentioned criteria in chapter 3. Not all areas are going to be the same. You may be able to get single family homes below market value in Colorado, but perhaps multi-family complexes are cheap in Illinois, and a recent state college has had enrollment increase 5% for consecutive years and the college rentals are dirt cheap in the area with rising rents. All situations are different, but I can review the pros and cons of each type of property. Single family generally have better vacancy rates and less turnover than the other two. They also have plenty of opportunity to be bought below market value. The multifamily buildings have multiple tenants so if there is a vacancy it is not a 0 or 100% situation. That as well as in today’s market climate people tend to move more often and apartments are becoming more popular. College rentals typically can get higher rent rates than the previously mentioned types of properties however they typically require more maintenance costs. I am very interested in college rentals however due to my feeder system for people to move into it as well as my love for my fraternity and my college town. There is a lot of detail in this chapter in fact according to my kindle it takes 45 minutes to read this chapter. Condo’s, HOA, vacation real estate, commercial real estate, CAP rate, what neighborhood to buy in, and more are included in this chapter.

Expenses that should be included in the calculations are:

  • Property taxes
  • Property Insurance
  • Property Management Fees
  • Utilities paid by property owner
  • Ongoing maintenance paid by property owner
  • Vacancies
  • Expected maintenance expenses
  • HOA fees
  • Any onsite management

Neighborhood characteristics:

  • Crime rates
  • School ratings
  • House prices
  • Age of houses
  • Size of houses
  • Size of the town
  • Proximity to large populations areas
  • Local economy
  • HOA’s
  • Types of houses (multifamily or single-family)
  • Tax rates

Chapter 5: How do you buy real estate below market value?

Mark suggests using a professional opinion to figure out market value of properties. “I would not trust Zillow to provide house values, although you can get some great information from Zillow.” Mark goes in depth on how exactly to buy homes below market value in short sales, HUD homes, banked own properties, how to get great deals from the MLS etc. Some notes that I have highlighted are, “with rising prices, real estate agents or sellers sometimes underprice houses.” “If a real estate agent is not paying attention to market price increases; if a house needs some work or if the sellers simply want to sell their house quickly, it could mean opportunity for investors.” Speed often is the difference between getting a great deal and missing out, a bidding war indicates that a house is priced great and many people want it.

Some things to look for include: Aged listings, MLS comments, Fast price changes, back on the market. “Do not give up if another offer is accepted, and do not burn bridges.” Again, this is a 45-minute chapter with lots of detail, so I will again highlight some of the key points.

“When you talk to a seller, you want to highlight the advantages of selling to you:

  • No repairs needed
  • No commissions
  • No closing costs
  • Fast closing
  • Cash Closing
  • No showings
  • No appraisal

Successful investors know their market like no on else, and they are honest and follow through on deals if they say they will buy a house.

Chapter 6: How to finance and pay for Rental properties.

In this chapter Mark discusses financing vs. cash deals, highlighting the use of leverage and the ability to acquire more properties in a shorter amount of time. As far as how much money you will need to start investing in rental properties typically 20-25% down is typical, from there closing cost, repair cost, carrying cost are all needed. Typically, the bank requires 6 months of payment reserves and you must also need adequate cash for any major repairs that may arise. Good credit scores and financial stability are of course desired for financing, most lenders want to see a debt-to-income ratio of 45% or lower.  He then goes in depth on various loans and how to improve your debt to income ratio, and various loan alternative.

Chapter 7: How to invest in rental properties with less cash

There are various no or low money down alternatives to real estate investing, but due diligence is certainly required. There is also hard money, house hacking, private money, turn key rental properties, seller financing, partnerships, using credit cards for cash advances, a 401k, and cash out refinance. Usually standard financing practices are better than the above mentioned, less headache hassle and risk.

Chapter 8: How to repair and maintain rental properties

Typically, Mark spends less money on long term rentals in terms of repairs than his fix and flips. Renters typically are not as picky as buyers which also helps with this. In a flip he repairs and updates nearly everything, in a rental its what’s needed. Finding a great contractor is vital and most investors are not well suited to do the repairs themselves in terms of opportunity cost and how well they can do the work versus a professional. Constant communication between you and the contractor is vital as it will affect the quality and time it takes to do the work.

Chapter 9: How to manage your rental properties

Most of the time it takes to manage rental properties happens at the beginning when it comes to finding tenants, the repair process etc. Once that has been completed it takes much less time to manage, however, once you have four or more you should consider hiring additional help. You may open a can of worms if you do not have enough time to screen tenants and check your properties. Proper due diligence is needed to find good property management, as with all things involving real estate, taking the cheap way may cause more headache than necessary.

Chapter 10: What are the different exit strategies with Rental Properties

There are several exit strategies to consider, sell the property and pay closing costs and taxes, 1031 exchange the property for a similar one, pay off the mortgage early and sell. All of these are again discussed in detail, a quick note on paying the mortgage off early, if you plan to keep buying rentals I would not recommend because you’re wasting prime cash to pay the down payment on your next purchase. Also, debt that makes more than the interest on the note is good debt and leverages your returns. The only negative aspect of incurring multiple loans on rentals is your debt-to-income ratio increases which may make it difficult to obtain another loan.

Chapter 11: How to buy rentals in an expensive market

For one the cost associated with selling your rentals, the taxes you’d have to pay, closing costs, the headache and hassle often isn’t worth the gain from appreciation, and the lack of steady cash flow that you’ve been receiving. If your market is overpriced you may need to look at turnkey rentals, however this makes it very difficult in executing the purchase, knowing the market. Investing near your area is in your best interest although it’s not always possible.

Chapter 12: How do you build a rental property empire

Here’s some basic steps to build a rental property empire:

  • When do you want to buy your first property?
  • What type of property will you buy?
  • What type of financing will you use?
  • How much money will you need?
  • How much money will the property generate?

“Saving money gives you options that allow you to make much more money, such as investing in rental properties and buying fix and flips. Saving money also allows you to be more flexible with your career or even a start a business.”

Chapter 13: What is the next step?

Do it.

Here’s the book:

https://amzn.to/2Mh8b8n

Premier Roofing Week 2 and 3

Sorry to keep you guys waiting on the update for my internship. I was out of town for the holiday weekend so my week 2 and 3 were discontinuous so I decided to group them together as best as I could. Overall week 2 went alright, I was out on my own going door to door and managed to make 2 sales that week while still putting a lot of time and effort into my training. I was still without WI-FI so that was rough, but my roommate also arrived in town so at least I wasn’t alone anymore. Week 3 is where I hit a stroke of luck. I managed to get 2 more sales and I sold a group of 6 rental properties bring my total up to 8 for that week! I was awarded the “Ace of the Week” for premier roofing and earned my rookie stripes (10 total sales). In addition to 8 sales I also had a PFYNR (prepare for your new roof meeting) where the customer and I discuss the two estimates and pick shingle colors etc. That earned me a little bit more for that pay period! That impressive performance and a little bit of luck that week earned me $1000 and some cool Knick knacks from the company.

As I am coming to the end of this week’s pay period (Thursday at midnight) I am not really looking at a big week like I had before. I have several potential sales in the pipeline and a PFYNR scheduled for Thursday afternoon. As of now it looks like I’ll be under my draw ($500) this week unfortunately. This may work in my best benefit however because this next pay period is looking quite juicy, several PFYNR’s, several sales in the pipeline, a sale already scheduled for Monday etc. I may be trading a poor week for a stellar week. Unfortunately, I still have plenty of ground to make up, as of this paycheck on Friday I will be $1500 short of what I was making last summer, granted that is to be expected in your first couple weeks as you aren’t making nearly the sales or the higher commission portions of the process in your first 2 weeks. I would like to see this next pay periods paycheck north of $2,000 though as I have investments to make, money to save, bills to pay, and necessities to buy. If you’ve been keeping up with my Instagram posts you can see I have some ambitious goals to tackle this June and I am trying to fire at all cylinders always to achieve that. To name a few, $25k net worth, $1000 savings, 30 sales and 200 notes for lending club. We’ll see what I can do to achieve that, I believe that since this is my last week of time consuming training for work that I will be able to better invest my time into passive income efforts, this blog and making wise investment choices.

As always feel free to leave a comment below!

B^2

Dividend Update 6/3/18

Hope everyone is doing well. As you may know I do a decent bit of investing centered around income and dividend growth. The appeal of constant cash flow, passive income, and free money has always intrigued me. As we closed out May I just wanted to share where I am at with my dividend situation. I have been focusing less on dividends than I did before, I obviously need some growth and value stocks since I am very young and have time to weather any storms. Shown below is a table containing my monthly dividend income, months in green are closed out and my June 2018 isn’t filled in either.

Dividend tracking 2017 2018
January $0.00 $12.86
February $0.00 $28.19
March $0.00 $33.18
April $0.00 $15.35
May $0.00 $17.71
June $12.54 $10.62
July $6.39
August $5.55
September $20.68
October $17.86
November $23.12
December $28.13
$114.27 $117.91
Goal: $125 $500

 

As you can see I narrowly fell short of my 2017 goal and I set my 2018 goal when I was very ambitious and into dividend stocks. Considering I have no active income during the school year building up a strong dividend portfolio is very important to me but perhaps not $500 in a year important. The graph below depicts the table above and we are finally at the point where we can start to see some overlap and how my dividends have improved and grown since I started tracking them in June of 2017.

div graph.png

The table below shows the various dividend stocks I own, their percent yield per my cost average, number of shares, year total payout, and my total payout and percentage compared to my total invested amount. As you can see if I want to reach that $500 in dividend income in 2018 there’s some serious catching up to do! Overall, I am yielding 2.41% compared to the SPY yield of 1.60% which isn’t bad. Like I said there isn’t as much focus on dividends as I’ve had in the past. My next purchases I would like to make would be some CBL unfortunately it shot up in price recently but a $100 investment in it would produce quite a bit of extra cash to work with every quarter. Maybe some more PG while its still cheap and O is currently my 3rd largest position in my portfolio and I try to add to it whenever I can when its down and those monthly dividends help tremendously when you have no income for 9 months of the year.

Ticker cost avg percent yield   share # year equivalent  
CEFL $17.72 14.73%   11 $28.71  
OHI $27.12 9.73%   5 $13.20  
AAPL $157.51 1.85%   1 $2.92  
PG $74.40 3.86%   2 $5.74  
F $11.30 5.31%   60 $36.00  
STAG $25.85 5.49%   20 $28.40  
O $55.78 4.71%   27 $71.01  
CBL $4.56 17.54%   5 $4.00  
TTS $6.73 2.97%   15 $3.00  
        a year in dividends $192.98  
        percent of total 2.41%  

 

So, let me know what you think! Any dividend stocks on your radar? Any you think I should sell or buy?

As always let me know in the comments!

B^2

End of May Goal Review

Long time no see guys. I apologize for all of that. On the bright side I think I finally made it over the hump as far as training for work, however as I am doing better I am now becoming busier with various meetings and trying longer and harder to sell to keep the money rolling in. So as far as future goals we’ll see how those go, I may go back to month to month-based goals as that enables me to look at the big picture perspective.

Unfortunately, I never took a before picture, but here is where I ended.

IMG_1328

As you can see starting from the top I came short on the blog and the social media aspects. I could’ve tried harder and put more work into it, but with the not getting WIFI at my apartment for 2 weeks and all the issues I had to deal with at the complex and learning everything for work it was probably a good thing to but that on the back burner. Same goes to click through rate and blog posts as they are tied together. I do have 3 referrals for Bespoke Post however I don’t think anyone has bought anything yet because I haven’t received any instore credit. I did finish the book “Rise and Grind” by Daymond John and I loved it. It had some of the other big names I’ve been reading like Gary Vee and Grant Cardone and some smaller ones that I like, for example the 2 guys that created the MVMT watches which I own. Side money came in low but oh well, I need to focus less on that and more on sustainable passive income and work on making more active income will I have the opportunity this summer to grow my income more than ever before. I had an incredibly ambitious goal of 20 sales for Premier Roofing by the end of the month, I only was able to really work 2.5 weeks for that and I had 12 and the best guy in the office had 16 with 3 weeks so I wasn’t far behind the leader.

I’ll be sure to keep you guys updated with what I am doing?

Also, yay or nay on the selfie video style format on Instagram? Let me know.

Internship: Week 1

If you haven’t heard yet, I am interning at Premier Roofing Company in Kansas City as one of their sales reps this summer. This is far different from my previous co-op (Samtec, various engineering positions) and my internship (Caterpillar, manufacturing engineer). So far, it’s going well, I have learned the sales script and I am currently assigned to 3 blocks of a street which is about 92 houses. I was training with my supervisor from Tuesday to Thursday out on the streets going door to door and inspecting roofs. We made a sale on Tuesday and Wednesday but had no luck Thursday. Today (Friday May 18, 2018) was my first day out on my own for my current territory. I hit the streets at 2pm and went through any remaining houses that we have not spoken to the owners yet out of the 92 on my list, I made it through the first round of door knocks by 3:30 and I had time to kill and I went down the street to the local Starbucks and got to use the Wi-Fi. You quickly realize how much you take Wi-Fi for granted when you don’t have it and neither does your place of work (the streets that is, the office has Wi-Fi). I was back out on the streets at 4:30ish and did another lap through my territory and I was able to inspect 2 roofs, 1 had appropriate damage and 1 was essentially brand new, a 1-year old roof. Couldn’t close the damaged roof and we will follow up with that customer in the coming weeks. I did have 3 major downfalls today, 1.) a potential sale said that her and her husband wanted to wait on filing the claim, 2.) I tried to get my yard sign in the yard of one of the roof’s we inspected with a woman waiting to file a claim and she did not let me put the sign up, 3.) a house that we got approved by the adjuster to replace, her neighbor that shares the garage with her didn’t even want an inspection so that will cause some headaches in the future.

Anyway, looking ahead, I have this weekend with my 3 blocks still, we are approaching the 80% saturation rate we are looking to accomplish. I believe I counted 32/44 house saturation on my first section of the neighborhood. This comes out to 73% saturation and I am at 6 door knocks for most of my houses, so we’ll see what this weekend brings. They are calling for scattered thunderstorms for Saturday and Sunday which could cause some issues. Hopefully I can close some deals and start boosting up this next upcoming paycheck. My first paycheck comes in Friday which includes my training flat rate and my 2 sales with my supervisor. My next paycheck currently only includes the training flat rate.

With the end of the month soon approaching my credit card bill is due as well as June rent, on the Brightside my roommate gets here Sunday afternoon, so I will have someone to talk to and do things with.

Continue to look for updates about my internship, the stock market, and what I am reading/reviewing. I am pushing and shoving this summer and I finally got settled into my job and the apartment and everything so it’s going to be full speed ahead from now on.

If you have any tips on getting off work on a sales job of this sort, please let me know! I have tons of other commitments this summer, however, everything is on the weekends and that is my prime selling time. I know I won’t be able to go to everything and see everyone but there are critical times that I need to go attend to other business and my hope is to outperform all my peers in this job and that would give me some leeway with my schedule.

As always, thanks for reading and leave a comment below!

B^2

End of April- Mid May goal review

Hey everyone, sorry I haven’t posted in awhile life has been hectic per usual and currently trying to adjust to my new schedule, job, location, current living conditions etc. all at the same time. I’ll get into that at the end of this article but first let’s dive into what brought you here today.

My previous goal review post left you all with this update

IMG-0402

I made some progress in the last portion of April despite initiation, classes, tests etc. and I ended here.

IMG_0440

Main differences are a small bump in visitor s and IG posts however both fell short of their mark. Side money dropped significantly because I included my losses from options trading. I pumped out another 3 blog posts and 2 more clicks on amazon affiliates which was amazing to see.

All things considering, I would call that a strong finish to April considering what all was going on. Now let’s get to May and how crazy this month has already been. Here were the goals I set out to reach.

IMG_0441

All of these were like what I have been striving to do this entire year nothing out of the ordinary, but wow did the train get derailed or what. First, I had dead week and finals coming up in early May both of which are incredibly strenuous and busy with schoolwork, tests, projects all coming down on the final two weeks of class along with all the social events of initiation, 21st birthdays, senior wills etc. etc. Then there was moving to Kansas City and my internship. Both of which have been huge adjustments. For one I have had all sorts of problems with moving into my apartment (had to do that a day late and ran errands all Monday to get that sorted out.) I still do not have Wi-Fi in my apartment, so I am writing and posting this article at a McDonald’s booth. My new job is very different from anything I have ever done in my life. Door to Door sales is in a world of its own and after completing my first actual day on the streets I can say without a doubt that I need to practice more before tomorrow’s door knocking. This has required lots of training outside of my working hours which cuts into Bsquared time. After all of that considered here’s where I’m at.

IMG_0582.png

This was updated as of tonight and reflects the two weeks I have put into these goals. Unfortunately I did not make it as far as I wanted. I also don’t know how much I can progress this summer, I am hoping that once I get the internship down and I have less memorizing and practicing and some Wi-Fi in nmy apartment I will be more effective in my blogging world. I also plan to bring what I have gained and learned from this internship to my viewers and try to bring some value to your experience here on this site.

Thanks,

B^2

Crush It! Book review and synopsis

I just got done reading “Crush it! Why NOW is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion” by Gary Vaynerchuk and while the book is a little old I really enjoyed it. It was published in 2009 which is ancient in terms of social media. The concepts however still exist, and it is a great viewpoint of emerging platforms coming into the scene which may help you catch the next big wave in the social media world. Without further delay let’s look at it!

Chapter 1: Passion Is Everything

In this chapter Gary Vaynerchuk describes his previous endeavors and what it took him to get there. He describes his three rules he lives by.

Love your family.

Work superhard.

Live your passion.

These are his guidelines which have proven effective and have made him happy in his life. “Since the only investment it takes to use these sites to grow a business is ridiculous amounts of time and hustle, these platforms are open to whoever has got the chops to get in the game.”

“Social Media = Business Period”

An important lesson to take away from this chapter is “No matter how successful you get, you can not slack off or the grass is going to grow, the paint is going to peel, and the roads will start to crumble. Stop hustling, and everything you learn here will be useless. Your success is entirely up to you.”

Chapter 2: Success Is in Your DNA

This chapter essentially can be summed up as stick to what you’re good at and “you gotta be you”. We also get a little perspective from GaryVee and his younger years of trading baseball cards and learning about the wine and liquor store business. “I knew from my experience with the baseball card business that people want to be told what’s good and valuable, and that they enjoy feeling like they’ve been turned on to something not everyone can appreciate.” This quote is then followed by, “storytelling is by far the most underrated skill in business.” I believe this to be very true, having good story telling skills, communication skills, being personable all helps in the world of business.

Chapter 3: Build Your Personal Brand

“Wine Library TV was neve about selling wine on the Internet. It was always about building brand equity.” In this chapter GaryVee talks about how to build your personal brand. While explaining why authenticity is key, how quality filters people out and the cream always rises, and how your personal brand is the same thing as a living, breathing resume.

“Developing your personal brand is key to monetizing your passion online. Whether you’re delivering your content by video, podcast or blog it’s the authentic you, the one thing that is guaranteed to differentiate you from everybody else, including those who share your niche or business model. The thing that most people don’t realize is that in today’s world your business and your personal brand need to be one and the same, whether you’re selling organic fish food or financial advice or jus your opinion.”

Chapter 4: A Whole New World

               In this chapter GaryVee talks about the evolving world and how being innovative and adaptable to the circumstances is going to allow many more opportunities than the old style of business. He describes how you need to plan your future. How you should start building your brand equity and work on things on the side, which we will get to in a minute.

Chapter 5: Create Great Content

               “To monetize your personal brand into a business using social marketing networks, two pillars need to be in place: product and content.” To do this you really need to know your stuff and be constantly absorbing information and content about your subject. GaryVee suggests that you need at least 50 blog topics that you’re amped to write about to get a feel for the situation of your blog. Then you need to tell a story about the topic. “Tell me your story, and if you’re good, I’ll come back for more.” “Communicate with me, because whoever is the best communicator will win.” In order to create great content, you can’t lie to yourself about your abilities to deliver quality information. “Am I good enough to be the best blogger about tech in the world?” is an example of a question that you must ask yourself and have a solid “Yes!” answer to. Choosing the correct medium is critical, if you’ve ever seen Gary Vaynerchuk his enthusiasm and loudness makes him a perfect fit for a video or vlog format. “Today, everybody else can make $40,000 to a million, so long as they can nail the correct combination of their medium and passion.” “Know yourself. Choose the right medium, choose the right topic, create awesome content, and you can make a lot of money being happy.”

Chapter 6: Choose Your Platform

               Your three options are video, audio, or written word, you must choose the platform that works best with your DNA. Although I personally use written word at the moment I think this Summer I will begin to move to video and venture out to YouTube and Vlog format. “Your website is for communicating logistics and facilitating sales; your blog is for communicating the essence of your brand.” In December 2008 GaryVee used social media and traditional advertising methods for his winelibrary.com to promote a free shipping code. The social media promotion which was free, outperformed the conventional advertising by a factor of 10. This is an example of platform is everything.

Mr. Vaynerchuk then talks about Tumblr and WordPress the two dominant blog platforms and both are still relevant even today. Tumblr’s ability to tumble posts is the word of mouth you want from your audience and other apps that have similar features are critical in expanding your brand. Call to action buttons are always important to continue the chain of communication with your audience, and eventually sell them your product. He then talks about Facebook and the importance of your own profile and then your fan page. “If you’ve been using a regular profile or created a group for your business, don’t take it down. Simply leave a link on your old profile or group page that feeds to your new fan page.” Twitter, one of GaryVee’s most powerful brand-building tools. “First, it has incredible endorsement power.” “Second, it’s a press release opportunity, allowing companies and businesses to have a closer relationship with their consumer.” “Third, Twitter is a research and development tool that allows you to crowdsource.” “Fourth it allows even your most mundane questions to become opportunities for conversation.” “Fifth, it’s a great vehicle through which to spread your commerce-driven intentions.” “The best use for Twitter, though, is to lure people to your blog.” GaryVee then shares the simple most powerful, best business tweet of all time. “What can I do for you?” Don’t forget you’re in business to serve your community.

“If your blog is your home, platforms like Twitter and Facebook are your vacation homes. You can’t do long form content on these sites (well, you can, but its not effective and I don’t recommend it)”.

He then talks about video content sites including the power player still today, YouTube. He very rarely uses analytics and trusts his instincts over numbers. Lastly you must differentiate yourself from your peers, and he will explain that in the upcoming chapters.

Chapter 7: Keep It Real…Very Real

               “Your DNA dictates your passion-whatever it is you were born to do; being authentic, and being perceived as such by your audience, relies on your ability to ensure that every decision you make when it comes to your business is rooted being true to yourself.” You should invest in the important stuff and that’s not cameras or microphones, no, that is your content, your passion, your knowledge. “If you want to dominate the social media game, all of your effort has to come from the heart”. Hustle and patience are the next two items of discussion, there’s plenty of other books and videos on hustle, I’ve already reviewed one, “The 10X Rule” and I will review another one soon “Rise and Grind”. Reference those books and articles as that is their main topic. Patience is self-explanatory, but we are often not patient. GaryVee says he gets people saying they haven’t seen any results and they’ve been working on their blog for 6 weeks. I can say from my own personal experience that I’ve been working on this blog for about 5 months and we are finally getting some traction, all things worth doing in life take time to get there.

Chapter 8: Create Community: Digging Your Internet Trench

               Creating community is much more important than the design of your blog. This is done by starting conversation with your audience. “To create an audience for your personal brand you’re going to get out there, shake hands, and join every single online conversation already in play around the world about your topic, Every. Single. One. “At a certain point, your business will start gaining eyeballs and your community focus will change. Whereas at this point you’re initiating contact with anyone who might have an interest in your passion, later you will spend these late-night hours responding to the people who have responded to you. Building and sustaining community is a never-ending part of doing business.” You do this by using all of your tools and platforms and seeking out every mention of your topic and commenting on every single tweet, blog post, forum post etc. that you can find and then do it again and again and again. I can say from experience the little I have done this for blogs and Instagram it has worked. It just takes lots of time and hustle to pull it off in the large scale. You must then capture your audience and I have struggle to do this with my own blog and would love to hear any advice from my viewers. “The day you see that one person is reading or watching or listening to you is a day to celebrate.”

Chapter 9: The Best Marketing Strategy Ever

               Care.

Chapter 10: Make the World Listen

               Here is the step by step guide for the rest of your life to achieve what is described in this book.

  1. Go to GoDaddy.com and try to buy your name in both .com and .tv
  2. Start a WordPress or Tumblr account to host the domain you just bought.
  3. Hire a web designer for your website.
  4. IF you’re filming a video blog, buy the $150 flip cam, something small, light and hopefully HD to film anywhere at any time.
  5. Create a Facebook Fan page
  6. Open a twitter account with your domain name
  7. Open a Tube Mogul if you are doing video. Open a Ping.fm if you are doing a written blog.
  8. Start pumping out content.
  9. Tweet or post your content to distribute to your platforms.
  10. Go to Search. Twitter and start searching terms relevant to your topic, and start following them.
  11. Go to blogsearch.google.com and start leaving comments on topics relevant to your content.
  12. Join as many active Facebook groups relevant to your topic as possible.
  13. Rinse and Repeat.

Do steps 5-8 and 12 over and over as long as your brand exists. “Anything is better than zero” but also “the longer you hold out to monetize your blog, the better.”

Chapter 11: Start Monetizing

               “Here’s a better idea: #1—classy banner ads, which appear at the top or bottom of your site (don’t overdo it!). #2—Go to google.com, search your subject matter, and check every blog and website to see which companies pay for Google AdSense ads to be posted. Cold-call every relevant company that is buying space on Google AdSense—they’re already spending the ad money on the Web, why not spend it on you? You can find a video on this topic on GaryVaynerchuk.com:” Speaking engagements, Affiliate Programs, Retail, Articles, Seminars, Books and TV, Consulting, Advertising redux, are all examples on monetizing your brand and there have been significant improvements and all of these fields, so I would recommend newer information than what is provided here.

Chapter 12: Roll with It

               Be prepared to continue repeating what makes you successful but be ready to adapt to the changing environment considering the great speed at which social media changes nowadays. Put out fires and situations quickly through the use and ability to reach out using social media is very important in retaining your brand equity. Spot latest trends as they begin and hop on the train early to give yourself a big advantage over the slower moving businesses in your sector.

Chapter 13: Legacy is Greater Than Currency

               We are all in the public eye now, we are constantly adding to our footprint on the internet. If things go wrong, there will be no where to hide as your whole brand is available to see. Thinking long term and knowing what you do and say today can affect your future is an important thing to remember in your early years of building your brand. “Legacy is the mortar of successful, lasting brands.

Conclusion: The Time is Now, the Message is Forever

               “true success—financial, personal, and professional—lies above all in loving your family, working hard, and living your passion.”

As always thank you for reading this article, I hope you gained some value information from this review and synopsis of “Crush It”. This book has provoked me to take a hard look at my blog and my personal brand and what I want it to be in the future and I look forward to shaping my brand from what I’ve learned in this book and what I intend to learn from “Crushing It”.

As always let me know what you think!

B^2

Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion

The Next Level

Many want to take their life, finances, current situation to the next level. Some have a vision of what that is, even fewer have a game plan to get themselves there. I will share with you today my vision and how I intend to get there.

So, as we speak I am 22 years old pursuing a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering and engineering management. I have a net worth around $18,000 through mainly my co-op and internship salaries. I will graduate college in May of 2019 and take on the real world.

Vision:

This is always a hard question to articulate and put into words which is why few people get this far. Think about it, when was the last time you sat down and figured out where you want to go in life. Some may have small goals like I want to drive a Ferrari or a Lamborghini but what about the BIG goal.

I would like to first buy my parent’s the lake house of their dreams on table rock lake. My mom and dad have provided for me all their life it is my obligation to give back to them. My dad would like the top of the line jet ski and a nice boat, my mom would be happy with a home that looked like it came out of better homes and gardens, a nice greenhouse and an abundance of grandchildren. My mom is going to have to wait on the later, but my brother may be able to help me out with that one. That is my first and foremost goal.

Second, I would like to give back to the people and organizations that made me who I am today, my wrestling program in high school, my rugby program in both high school and college, and my fraternity to name a few.

Third, is an obvious one but I think it should be said, to provide for those around me. I am going to assume at this stage in my life I have others to take care of other than myself, maybe a girlfriend, or a fiancé or a wife maybe kids the timeline of this one is foggy. My dad made it a goal to give my brother and I everything he ever wanted when he was a kid and to provide more than his parents could for him and I would also like to do the same to my loved ones. My dad did set the bar high on this one so I look forward to the challenge.

Fourth, financial freedom. There is an unbelievable amount of people in the United States that live paycheck to paycheck and I remember my parent’s doing the same at times. I don’t ever want to live a life like that.

Fifth, to help those less fortunate than me, I already practiced this when I was younger and currenly. I am aware I’ve had experiences that many have not or will not be able to have in their lives and I would like to the share that with all those that I can.

So Mr. B^2, how on earth do you plan to do all of this?

That’s a good question isn’t it, when it’s all laid out like that its hard to fathom that kind of success.

First step would be to graduate obviously, I have spent years in education and lots of money has been spent on me to get to where I am so obviously finishing what I started is a good place to begin. I would like to graduate with a 3.25 GPA currently at a 3.16 as of this semester.

Second, I would like to walk out of this university making $80,000 which I believe is a lofty but possible goal and with my skill sets, education and past experience I believe this is within my reach.

Third, using that money, and the money from my investments, and what not buy investment properties and other passive income sources. How many and of what kind I am not sure, but an investment property in my college town would be a good start I feel and from there only grow and expand my horizon as I move and travel. This could also be a side business that I develop to generate more revenue to acquire these properties and make more investments.

Fourth, rinse and repeat over and over and over again.  That in combination with my strong work ethic and developed leadership skills should put me in a position to move up the corporate ladder or start my own business or something of that sort. Not sure where I’m going but I’m going for it all.

With all of that said I would like to attain a net worth north of $3 million before I am 30 years old. I understand that is going to be extremely difficult but nothing of such high aspirations comes easy and I believe what I am doing now is laying a solid foundation for what I plan to do in the future and the fact that I already have the vision and the majority of the game plan is evident that I am already on my way.

As always let me know what you think, even if you think I am blowing smoke up my own ass I’d like to know what you think!

B^2

 

Summer Plans

In my spare time today, I did a little bit of thinking about what I wanted to do this summer as far as my finances are concerned.

  1. I am going to absolutely crush this internship/sales position. I mean crush it! This is the first time in my life that I will get paid on commission meaning every minute I am not working or trying to sell is a wasted minute. That goes beyond the job as well, I also have this blog and an Instagram, and I will continue to expand my social media presence and further build my personal brand.
  2. I want to move away from the umbrella of financial security of my parents. They have done a fantastic job providing for me all my life and I feel obligated to lighten their load. I am making it a goal of mine to work harder than ever before to obtain scholarships and other means to provide for my schooling. My parents have also paid for my housing during college and pending the results of my friend meeting with his landlord tomorrow I should be moving out the fraternity house and plan to pay my rent and all necessary living expenses. I also came up with my method to do so. I have talked about Lending Club before on this blog but for those of you who haven’t read about it yet you can reference this post about it “Lending Club Review”.

 

My favorite part about Lending Club is how liquid it is while you are making money. I get funds transferred to my portfolio nearly everyday as I have 110 active notes currently. This pays me about $100 a month in both interest and principal payments. If I own about 400ish notes I will receive about $350 in payments per month which is coincidentally my rent for this next school year again assuming the conversation with the landlord goes as planned tomorrow. That is all while making about a 7% gain as of this moment. This whole school year I have been pulling out my interest and principal payments to cover my expenses (its not enough however I spend more than $100 a month typically). If I can purchase that many notes however that should cover my rent payment which would be a passive income source for me. As of now that is my game plan for this next academic year. My typical food expenses as I have learned from diligently tracking them through my internship and co-op is about $60 a week or $240 a month. I plan to use my savings and any side money to cover that aspect of my expenses.

  1. I have also began looking at investment properties in my college town, with the hopeful influx of money I make this summer this may finally become a reality and I have also explained some of those plans in a previous post linked *here*.
  2. This will also be the first summer where I will be relatively free while I have been this interested in improving my life for the years to come. On my co-op I did not start investing until very late and then I returned to school and was again very busy with my other obligations. While on my internship I was taking 9 credit hours of summer class which took a very large toll on my time and extracurricular efforts. I lived an endless cycle of work, working out, and then studying and doing homework during the 5-day work week and then my Sunday’s were typically consumed in school work as well. This is another very exciting aspect of this summer that I can hopefully take advantage of.
  3. I intend to learn more than I ever have this summer as well. I have an ambitious reading goal this summer of 10 books which is crazy to think about since I have not read for leisure in years but the value that it has been bring to my life is incredible and I have learned so much already and I can’t wait to learn more. If you have any suggestions I am open to them all but I will most likely need to focus in on something related to what I would like to pursue later in my life, namely entrepreneurship, business, investment property and real estate, and investing.
  4. I would like to make a strong effort to help my fraternities recruitment efforts this summer. Due to the new structure of our recruitment and pledgeship process this summer will be the ultimate factor to our future success and I would like to give my time, effort and talent to this endeavor. Not that I haven’t helped in the past, but I see the high importance of this task, but it will also give a chance to develop my new skills.
  5. I believe this summer will also allow me to network more than I have in the past and I have given up some of those opportunities for my other obligations in the past. Again, with all that I have learned this school year I believe this will be a key aspect in my ultimate success later in life and the more I can network and connect with the others the more opportunities will present themselves.

I’m sure there are other aspects I am forgetting to include but these are just some highlights. I will do my best to update all my readers on what I am up to this summer. Hopefully this last 2 weeks of school won’t drain me to bad, I had the problem occur on my co-op.

As always, I would love to hear all your comments!

B^2

March- April Goal Review

It’s been awhile since I have posted one of these so what the heck let’s get to it.

Like I’ve mentioned before the spring semester is crazy busy at my school and March- Mid April is probably the busiest section of them all. I mean there’s St. Pat’s, Spring Break, Greek Sing, and Derby Days all in there plus a round of tests or two. Like are you kidding me!? Doesn’t get much worse than that, however, that didn’t stop me from doing what I do best and getting shit done so let’s see how I did.

Here is the goal list to start off march on top, on the bottom is where I finished at.

IMG-0399IMG-0400

I intentionally went away from the biweekly format with March because of Pat’s and Spring Break. I also did not try to push myself as hard as I have been lately. Don’t worry we’ll get back on my game here soon I promise.

In the beginning of March was sitting at around 75 IG posts, 400+ IG followers (my all time high as of right now) so from the social media perspective I was doing great. When we turn to the blog you’ll see I failed to miss my target yet again on the # of blog posts with only 30 and 175 blog visitors, again piggybacking off paid advertising for that. Finished sell or be sold and did not finish Rental Property Empire we will get to that one later.

So that sets the stage for where I was going into March, as we see in the month of March goals we boosted up IG posts by +35, which is a solid 1 post a day average and then some. Unfortunately, my consistency isn’t the greatest with that and I’ve been working on getting that more consistent. I was going in several short bursts and then taking breaks rather than a consistent one or two posts a day. Organic blog traffic was a struggle, I did not have the systems in place to capitalize and keep my paid advertising traffic and in fact I still do not have the proper systems in place which has been hurting my viewership. That and only 3 blog posts in the entire month of March is just pitiful and I’ve been working hard to improve that this month. Still didn’t make it through Rental Property Empire either, and let me tell you that book was DENSE, packed with information and great content but man was it a slow read and hard to get motivated because the nitty gritty of rental property investing is not all that exciting. Using that prior screenshot as a starting point of April lets see where we landed during the mid-April goal review.

IMG-0401

Mid-April I was consumed in my philanthropy, as head chair it was a lot of long nights and busy work to make things run smoothly, and I did my best to make up for it in early April but even then, I was making up work that others failed to do. If you would like to know more about the philanthropy and what all happened the link to the article can be found here. Philanthropy article

I hit my low IG post goal, but followers diminished a bit, blog posts remained stagnant at 33 posts. Organic visitors were still very low probably due to my lack of Instagram engagement, and side money was also low due to my less than ideal productivity during my spring break. (P.S. girlfriends are a time commitment, so is covering for people who fail to follow through on their assignments.)

So using that last screenshot we can analyze my current in progress goal list shown below.

IMG-0402

I am finishing writing this post at 1am on Friday April 27, I have my fraternity’s initiation tomorrow which I am heavily involved in as Vice President and that has been bogging me down a bit, but I have been making effective use of my relatively light work load this week. I say light just because I do not have any tests, but I’ve spent a good 20 hours on homework and project work for my classes this week already with a final presentation tomorrow at 11am which should be fun.

As you can see I’m a tad behind on IG posts and I feel like I am spamming content, but I like to hit my targets and goals and my content is still pretty good so there’s that. Instagram followers have picked up a bit so my extra effort in reaching out to other accounts and people has paid off as well as my content I am delivering. I finished Gary Vaynerchuk’s “Crush it” it’s an old book but the content is still great and inspiring, and I can’t wait to read his newest book as it is sitting on my desk right next to me. I am also catching up on blog posts at a rate never seen before so kudos to me! Credit card payments are almost complete, we will find out about initiation come Saturday, my loose money on robinhood can be summed up as my options trading which is going poorly. If you didn’t see my Instagram post of “The stock market is drunk” it is, and it is very annoying. I have a little more on my plate this upcoming week as projects, papers, and tests are wrapping up in the week famously known at my school as “Dead Week”. (the name is not as it suggests, it is hell and full of work then leads into finals week). So hopefully a final push this weekend and early next week can wrap up April as a success or at least that is my hope.

As for future goals we will have to see how they go with my new work schedule which is far different from what I am used to. That in combination with additional metrics for tracking revenue, costs, investing and getting back into prime shape and performance for my next rugby season we will see how frequent I set goals and track them. I am very excited to see what this summer will bring me though, this last summer I was bogged down in 9 credit hours of class in addition to a 40-hour work week at my internship at Caterpillar which was very demanding. This summer with my peculiar schedule I may actually be able to be more productive despite working more (I am definitely a night owl as the time I am writing this post suggests). I will do my best to keep all my viewers informed as well as do what is best for me to advance my life, career, and personal goals.

Thanks for tuning in as always, please leave a comment I would love to hear from you guys and if you haven’t already please follow me on Instagram @bsquared.website as I am most active there if you haven’t noticed.