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So what are ya chasing today?

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chase:

1. to pursue in order to seize, overtake

2. to follow or devote one's attention to with the hope of attracting, winning, gaining

"So what are ya chasing today?"

I started saying it some time ago to couple of my entrepreneur friends who all own successful businesses in Metro Detroit and pretty soon they all started saying to each other. It is our way of asking: Are you doing anything worthwhile with your time? In your business and in your life. What are you chasing today? What are you chasing tomorrow?

The line outside my local Weight Watchers branch in the first week of January was outside the door. Today same time but no line. I guess that January 24 is a good day to give up on whatever they were planning to chase back on December 31 for a lot of people; after all that was soooooooooooooo long ago.

To help you get going with your own chasing, here is how I do it:

1. Never ever type up what you want out of your business and life AKA your goals (I hate the word. It is the second most overused word in business. The first being 'relationships'" and the advice about building them.) and SAVE that list in My Documents. That is the folder on your hard drive where your dreams go to die every year.

2. Write what you want to chase on a paper. Write it. There is something emotional and deep that happens in your head when you write it down in your own handwriting on a piece of paper. I don't understand it but trust me on this - it is there and it works. Write not type.

3. Leave that paper somewhere where it stares at you. You cannot chase what you don't see every day. The stuff I want is everywhere around me in my home office. It is taped to the wall. It written on cards. It is on a board. It surrounds me. They are my dreams and if they are not around me all the time then why am I even bothering with them?

4. Should you tell somebody about them or not? Be careful here. They are fragile when you are starting out with them and some people in your life are harsh toward what you want to chase. Their harsh words will effect you more than what you want to believe. 

I am careful on WHAT I tell to WHOM. I have friends who are entrepreneurs like me, been free for a long time like me and they get it. I can tell them. Inside Ijlal Inner Circle, my mentoring group for Michigan real estate investors...everybody is pretty open and shares everything that they are working on. Encouragement and feedback are like sun and water for your dreams to grow and take a life of their own. 

5. There are days where nothing will happen. Today was such a day for me. I got lots of things done today that needed to be done but none of them was about the chase. So I am a little miserable today as I am writing these lines on 9:54pm but it's O.K. I will get on track tomorrow.

The thing I have in my head is this - make everyday counts or no day counts. Even if I move the needle 1.3 inches everyday toward what I want - that is good day. Anything is better than zero. 

And for you in the end it is more about building a habit of thinking in terms of what you are chasing and not just making money to pay your bills. There is a difference between making a living and living a life of your dreams. They are two separate highways.

6. I use the one month Action Plan found here. I built it so I can focus on two things: learning and people as much as getting whatever needs to be done in my business.

If you want dramatic jumps in your income: Go from making $40,000 per year to $140,000 per year.... that jump will not come unless you add new phone numbers to your cell phone and add new knowledge to your head.

I take new people and new knowledge seriously. Most find 4-5 people that they like to hangout with or read 2 books / goto one seminar and then they stop. This never stops in my life. I learned something new today. And I am about to meet 15 new friends this Saturday. Do you count? I do. On paper. My Action Plan template keeps me on track. Make something like this for yourself or use mine. Counting is good habit. 

7. Also from the lower half of the Action Plan: there is a terrifying thing about crossing out days on the monthly calendar with a big fat black marker. It chills your blood on how fast time moves. From New Year to January 24. It is a wave that moves relentlessly indifferent to what I do or don't do. 

Every night before I cross the day out on the paper that lies on my desk I know that I have to make the next day and the day after count for something. My hands move because of what is in my head. My head moves from what I see. That is why it is important to 'stage' this chase all around you and not just in your head or in our laptop's hard drive.

8. Also a rush to see when things get finished, checks come in and you get to do something interesting with the crumpled pieces of paper with dead presidents: travel, invest, start another business, take time off to make a movie or write a book or read 20 books.

It is THE feeling that only the 20 percent of the population, the ones who made the deal with their dreams to go on a chase only get to experience. So know that if you are chasing your own dreams in real estate investing instead of just going to a job in 2011; it is the best gift you can give to yourself in 2011. You are on a good path. Don't stop.

This is your life

Tim O'Riley sent me this and I loved every word of it. Here is the link to Holstee website

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Just go

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They say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.
Andy Warhol

If you are going to the airport to pick the person you love and there is a big traffic jam on I-275, you don't turn around and say, screw it, I am not picking her up instead I am just going to file for divorce when I get home. Millions of people walk around this world without having any idea what love feels like. If you are one of the lucky few who have found love, I would say it would be pretty rash to throw it all away just because of a traffic jam.

Instead you will probably turn the GPS on and try to find different route to get to I-94. You will turn on 950AM on your car radio and try to find out if the traffic is clearing up or not. You will call her on the cell phone and even though she cannot answer the phone as the plane has not touched the ground yet, you will go ahead and leave a message that sorry you are running late but trying to find a way to get to you, can't wait to see you and I love you...

Detours and traffic jams are nothing but minor annoyances. Sooner or later you will find yourself driving on I-94 and taking the exit toward the Metro Detroit airport. You will not be deterred from seeing the person you love.

The pursuit of finding the love of your life is as important as finding something that you absolutely love doing when it comes to work and money. They are both halves of your life so why not drive till you get both the ones you always wanted? Why settle for a life of boredom and unfulfilled dreams?

So how come when people are talking about investing in real estate in Michigan or building a business and they are hit with a traffic jam that slows them down a little (auto industry meltdown, national recession, a general pessimistic mood, not too much time right now, some hustle required to get OPM) majority of them just turn back and go home and file for divorce?

I have been on my own for eight years now and even in the beginning during some really tough days where nothing seems to be going right ("stuck in a traffic jam"); the thought of quitting and going back home ("forget about this flipping and being my own boss thing for myself.") never crossed my mind. I was massively frustrated some days in the end it was always, 'dang it, I am late and I can't wait to see her..." type thought that came to me as I was building my business knowing that Lady Success was far but not as far as most people choose to believe.

A new year is starting today.

There is money (lots of it, trust me on this) and freedom (it is always earned never gifted) waiting for you somewhere on a road that you need to start driving on. Put yourself on that road today. Get a map. Get a guide who can keep you on the road. Get some new friends who might even want to come with you for the ride but don't make her ('money and success") wait for you too long. She is patient but not a saint. She might leave with somebody else who was determined enough not be deterred by couple of traffic jams if you don't show up. So instead of spending the next 365 days wondering if you should start or not, learn about the business or not, get OPM or not, buy a house or not, flip a house or not...

Instead of being stuck in doubt...why not just go?

My kids are young and they are just getting into sports and other activities. They just finished learning swimming and roller skating and now they are starting on ice skating. All new stuff. A little scary in the beginning but so much fun once you get it going that the kids who have never tried it (fear?) has no idea on what they are missing out on.

So today I want to tell you something, the same thing I tell them.

If you don't go... you will never know.

Warm Fuzzies

To help you write your goals for your Michigan real estate investing business for 2011, here are 10 to get you started:

1. Meet more new people in your Michigan County. On a regular basis every month. Try to mix it up from both real estate investing world and from non-real estate groups.

2. Read E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gruber and 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris so you don't fall into the trap of doing everything yourself in your real estate investing business.

3. Promise yourself to never rely on solely phone calls, emails and Facebook friends. They are good ice breakers and they have their place in this world but real estate investing was and always will be a handshake-to-handshake business. If you are not shaking hands out in the real world; you are not giving your business an opportunity to send you checks.

4. Join a mastermind in Michigan. Drag your head, heart and body into a room where like minded ambitious entrepreneurs hangout and talk business, deals are happening and business is being done. We are not going to come to your home. You have to come to us.

5. Make a list of holes in your knowledge and then find books, seminars, home study courses to plug these holes. Do it methodically. One the hole is plugged; move in to the next one.

6. Don't let 10 days end without having a cup of coffee with a 'right person' in your Michigan County. No, you don't need to master Dale Carnegie before you do it. Just be yourself and focus on having a good time. Business will just come out it automatically.

7. Obsess about getting an army of good people in your business life: good buying agents, good REO agents, good mortgage brokers, good contractors, good property inspectors.... This is pursuit that few ever think about. It is mostly left to chance. When you are out at seminars and networking events, ask around who is using who and how it is working out.

8. Start a Facebook business Page for your Michigan real estate investing LLC. And keep it alive. It is the easiest and free way of keeping in touch with everybody you come in contact with.

9. Stop doing business with contractors without a written agreement in place. For that matter stop doing business with 'anybody' without a written agreement in place.

10. When you get big checks from your deals; take the people who made it all possible out to lunch: your contractors, the staff at your agent's office, your agents, the loan officer for the buyer and if you had a private investor, invite them over too. Have a good time.

Happy New Year!

Unstoppable

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You can skip this post if you are not 50 yet or have a job that you can never be fired from

Growing up I spent a lots of hours with both of my grandfathers. They told fascinating stories of growing up in a different era, living through World War II and taught me the fine art of going to farmers market on weekends and picking up the good stuff.

My dad was away most of the time working in far away lands and when he was home, like many men of his generation, he practiced the art of being silent, strong and not talking that much. But the older guys made up for him ten times over.

May be that is why I had always enjoyed the company of older entrepreneurs. I never look at them and think, "old school; don't know what I know; out of touch." Instead all I see is hard earned wisdom that I can learn from and trust me; I have to great profit for myself.

Corporate America takes a dim view of age however. It used to be that the word 'experienced' used to be a good thing on your resume. Now being 55 and recently fired from a job after 2 decades is not that of a good thing. Your age is going to negate a lot of opportunities for you.

Corporations want young blood. They are cheap, willing to work for less and longer hours. A 34 year old can knock out 60 hours - tough to do when you are 62.

If you are over 50... think of adding skills to your life that will help you do other things on the side. Real estate investing could be one of them for you. You are less than zero to the company you work for as your experience adds up.  I say it with utmost love for you. Not to put you down but to help you get up.

I don't want to talk to you when you are 58 and out of work and stressed out. I want to talk to you now when you are approaching 50 or in your 50's and have a job that is paying the bills so you can start doing something on the side.

Forget thinking about it. Forget asking about easy or hard. Forget everything. The clocks are ticking (one in Michigan, two in India and China). The stuff I see in terms of outsourcing (I have the benefit of living outside your work-home-weekend bubble) is making my blood run cold when I think of my many middle level corporate friends and what the future holds for them. 

You might think that sacrificing your TV or some hours on weekend to go look at houses or figure out how to add apartments to your life is too much to ask but it is nothing compared to being told three weeks before Christmas that your services are no longer required, and yes thanks for all those years and your wonderful service, this security dude will escort you out to your car.

Last thing - may be you are in your mid-50's or in your 60's and once in a while you are listening to some conference call with some young hotshot and think to yourself..."Man I wonder if I am too old for this real estate investment thing."

In USA the game is only over when they close the casket and throwing roses and mud on it. Till that day we can do whatever we want, reboot our lives, start businesses, buy houses, flip houses and go and get checks with our name on it.

There is no age limit on getting ahead in my world. Corporate America might want to send you home at 55. I believe that they are fools. Your 'life experience' is worth its weight in gold. Combine it with real estate investing skills - you will be unstoppable.

Flipping a house is not hard. Keeping a job, keeping a marriage, raising a family, teaching your kids values, living an honest life, taking care of your parents.... you already did the hard things. This will be nothing for you. Know that.

This is the season

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It is the most wonderful time of the year....

1. To tell everybody you touch (work, Facebook, email list, relatives, friends, people you are meeting everywhere) about what your business goals are in 2011. Watch FiredUP Episode 13 for a great 15 second speech by Dennis Fassett and Mike Simmons to learn how to spark a conversation toward your real estate investing business. 

Rick Snyder pointed out that people in Michigan love to blame the mainstream media about painting a negative picture but when somebody who is not from around here asks "So how are things in Michigan?", we go into a frenzy to make sure that they know that all things suck everywhere in Michigan, everything is rotten and you wish that you could just get out of this State before the next sunset. 

No wonder, he said, that everybody outside Michigan is convinced that we are a lost cause. If we cannot say one nice thing about the place we call HOME... how can we expect others to do so? 

Same principle applies to your business too. When everybody is down and depressed, a little bit of sunshine from your side of the room looks like a supernova.

2. To keep the switch ON in your mind about your business. We are 24 days away from Christmas and if you pay close attention, you can actually hear the click of the off-switch in people around you. 

But these coming three weeks are also the time where people are thinking about the New Year, everything seems possible and they are more willing to listen to new ideas then they were lets say in August. 

So bringing up self directed IRA's, the opportunity in investing in real estate, partnering up, starting a business are topics that you have a ready made audience for the next 4 weeks. So talk about them in abandon and see what the cat drags in back.

3. To think about what you are really passionate about. Not a whole list but 1 or 2 big things. Read the excellent Jim Collins essay about New Year Resolutions. It will blow you away.

Clarity is a gift and an asset for an entrepreneur who is building a business.

4. To make a list of people whom you know for a fact can help you get things done in your business BUT for some reason you are ignoring them right now and commit yourself to go and meet them before the New Year clicks in. There are at least 5 people you have met in the last six months (either in person at a networking meeting / seminar or online on Facebook etc)  who can help you tremendously. 

You know who they are. You know what you need done. You have not found time to connect these two dots. 

The next 24 days are good and you have commit yourself to start and build new friendships with these members. Not just hi-hello and "Yeah we need to talk one of these days" but "Listen I would love to have a cup of coffee with you. I am really serious about building my business in 2011 and want to see if we can help each other get things done faster and make money together in 2011." 

Nobody, I repeat, no sane Michigan real estate investor will refuse that offer.

5. To sit down somewhere quite, close the door, and make a list of all your accomplishments no matter how small or big that you were able to do in 2010, in the middle of a recession where almost everybody has thrown in the towel, you stood up and stayed standing and kept working on your business, kept investing in yourself, kept on with your education, met new people, did new crazy things like building a Facebook Page, kept making the moves while the rest of Michigan was simply paralyzed with fear for most of 2010. 

So close the door, make the list, smile ear to ear, put your hand over your shoulder and pat your own back because you deserve it and nobody understands what you got done in the middle of this storm but you.

And then open the door and go back to building your business.

Just Push Send

You are writing an email to a potential private investor about a deal you want her to finance. The email is done. You are about to hit SEND and all of a sudden a thought goes through your head at 800mph: this email needs to be re-written. It is too long / too short / not enough details / too much details.... The voice in your head is getting louder every second and even the thought of waiting till next day before rewriting it sounds very logical.

You need to Just Push Send and send that email out.

You want to contact the REO broker in your county whom you just found online and ask him to find you some good deals to go and look at. Your plan is simple: fax him the proof of funds, phone, and take him out to lunch. You have his fax number on your laptop screen. Your proof of funds is printed and ready to go. Yet all of a sudden you feel that today, Friday after Thanksgiving may not be the best day to start a business relationship with somebody new. Why not wait till Monday? Actually Monday is probably going to be really hectic as people stumble into their offices after a long weekend. Tuesday sounds perfect. After all most likely there is nobody at his office today anyway.

You need to Just Push Send and fax that pre-approval in, phone and setup the lunch.

Thinking things out loud on paper is a good thing but be careful - when you are starting a new business or doing new things in your life, the line between a plan and self sabotage is really thin.

You want to Just Push Send. As often as you could. As much as you can. Keeping what you are trying to do and want done securely locked in your heart is not going to make you any money. Pushing Send and getting it out there in the real world will.

What things you know need to be done in your business that you are 'thinking' and 'sleeping over' right now?

If there is one thing I have noticed over and over again in successful entrepreneurs that separates them from the ones who long to be one is that they train themselves to clench their teeth and Just Push Send in almost everything in their businesses.

Tough to swallow for most.

For us in the land of the free, it is an essential part of our day.