Getting Started in Ecommerce

Since I have the next couple months free, I figured I would try and diversify my income streams by making money online.  I recently acquired a couple sites, one is an amazon affiliate store that I think will be a flop.  It is mostly just an experiment.  Another is an actual online store that has dropshippers or I could buy the products wholesale and ship them out myself and increase my margins.  I will definitely post more on the topic of online businesses and whatnot.  It’s kinda funny how my blog is taking a similar path to Kenric’s on livelearninvest.com.  He started in real estate like me and moved on to ecommerce.  We’ll see how it goes!

TAN: If I were someone looking to make more money, I would start learning at least basic HTML, SEO, and perhaps getting familiar with wordpress or other platforms.  You must start acquiring the knowledge now to make a better future for yourself.  If you don’t change your actions, your life won’t change for the better.  Unless you get extremely lucky like win the lottery or something, but I wouldn’t bet on that happening!  My experiences with learning html for random websites when I was a teenager and through college combined with posting on my blog here as well as other research has all culminated up to this point, which is why I believe I will succeed in this area.

My One Year Anniversary in Real Estate: Lessons Learned

Read Time: < 60 seconds

It has been one year since I started investing in RE. As you can see to the left, I currently have 4 houses, 3 are rented out and I am in the process of flipping the 4th. Overall I would say it was a very successful year. I am planning on getting at least a couple more houses this year if the right deals come along.

As for some of the big lessons, a big win was getting the rent up front from the college kids by offering a small discount. I also learned the importance of good relationships and building a team. If I hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t have even had the opportunity to get the college house or get a next day loan from my banker. I also wouldn’t have gotten the hook up on my taxes from the county appraiser. I learned the importance of being a good landlord when it comes to tenant retention and satisfaction. I also was able to work out with a consistently late tenant a twice monthly payment structure, and he hasn’t been late since then. The construction knowledge I have learned has been invaluable and will help when we decide to get our own house and settle down.

I see real estate as being my path to freedom. Even if I am barely making enough to get by, the freedom from not having a traditional 9-5 job is invaluable to me. Here’s to a successful 2012! 🙂

Lifehack: Phone trick

Read time: 60 seconds

I want to talk about a little trick I have learned that has helped me in several situations. When you are talking on the phone with someone, as soon as you say your good-byes, don’t hang up right away. Depending on the conversation and who you are talking with, you can gain valuable information. You would be surprised how many people talk to themselves or to someone they are with about you or what you were just talking about before they hang up the phone!

Here are some situations where it has benefited me:

  • When talking to prospective tenants on the phone during pre-screening, I wait after the good-bye and hear them say something that disqualifies them immediately.
  • When talking to a “friend” or acquaintance, after the conversation hearing them talk about me in either a positive or negative light
  • When on the phone with a business “professional” hearing them act very unprofessionally and make some downright rude comments that makes me reconsider even doing business with them.
  • When talking on the phone with a potential mate, gaining some valuable information after the call about her thoughts/feelings/etc.

I’m sure there are many other situations, but you get the point. As soon as you say goodbye, just sit and listen for awhile. You may be surprised what you hear.

TAN: Try this trick for all your phone conversations in the future. If you learn something by using this technique, comment below! 🙂

Edit 8/9/12: I used the phone trick successfully today during a negotiation with a lady who is selling a mobile home park.  After I said bye I heard her say, “Oh no no no no, God please…” which basically means she is desperate to sell and I’m her only prospect right now.  While I don’t want to take advantage of an elderly lady, recent info has come to light which makes the investment extremely risky, and the deal is almost off just because of it.  We’ll see if we can work something out though.

A New Me and a New Year

Read time: <90 seconds

Ok, so for those of you that know me or can tell by my writing style I can be somewhat harsh and lecture people to death. A recent conversation with my wife has helped me realize how I drastically need to change the way I deal with different people in order to have a greater chance of affecting them in a positive way. No one wants to be harped on. No one wants to be told they are in the wrong. Even if what I am saying is the truth. This has been a hard fact for me to swallow. My typical rebuttal would be something along the lines of, “it’s the truth and this is the only way and the truth hurts so deal with it.” While it may be true, it won’t necessarily help the other person change their actions.

While we all know what we “need” to do to improve our lives, actual behavioral change is quite difficult. I was recently reading an old article by Ramit who talks about this fact. I used to be one of those people who preached about how “easy” it is to lose weight, eat healthier, spend less, improve yourself, etc etc. I should know, however, that it is actually quite difficult for most people to change their behavior, even when they know they should and what they need to do. You cannot simply “try harder” in most cases.

Ramit also talks about active and passive barriers in another article and is a great read towards trying to automate your life for success. Even the smallest changes in your life can have a big impact towards your success in changing your behavior.

TAN: What are some small changes you can make right now that will affect your behavior and lead to positive changes in your life? One small change I did to improve my health was buy a doorway pullup bar and every time I need to use the bathroom, I bang out some pullups. Also, I like to do some “pissups” as well, which are just pushups every time I use the bathroom. Read Ramit’s article on active and passive barriers and try and eliminate those that are affecting you the most.

Behavioral change is hard, and I am finally ready to admit that and empathize with people and be more encouraging. Let’s make 2012 a great year with many ah-ha moments and positive life changes! 🙂