It’s a journey
I’m often asked by newer investors how long it took for Ashley and me to get out of corporate America. It’s an interesting question, because neither she nor I have ever been part of anything corporate other than the entities we’ve set up. Truthfully, I’ve never had a “real job.” And when I tell people that, I get some rather puzzled looks.
What I really think the newer investors are asking is, “What was your journey like, and how long did it take for you to become established?”
Mine and Ashley’s path is different from most other investors. You see, we started out with nothing. Actually, we started out in the negative because we had just graduated college and had a mound of student debt that needed to be paid back.
When I entered college, I had no idea what I wanted to do or be. I explored many different avenues until I finally settled on being a physical therapist.
To make along story short, I missed the annual application deadline to grad school by a week in 2008. As such, we decided Ashley would finish school and I’d go back to work in construction.
In late 2008, I found myself working for an investor in Atlanta as his rehabber. That was my first insight into real estate investing, and it changed my life. I knew that’s what I wanted to do.
That company went under in 2009, and I found myself going door to door with my pressure washer trying to clean houses for $75 a pop in order to put food on the table. It was rough.
During this time, Ashley and I were studying real estate investing, learning about creative financing (which we were going to need), and going to every REIA we could.
In 2010, we were blessed to do our first deal. I basically traded painting an investor’s house for being allowed to partner on a Lonnie Deal. The investor also agreed to educate me on how to do Lonnie Deals moving forward.
In 2011, we decided to scale up from our previous year, and we grew our business by 100%. That means we did two — count’em two — Lonnie Deals in 2011. And those didn’t end so pretty. We lost money, and I nearly lost a finger via table saw.
As we ended 2011, Ashley and I had to make a decision. Be a full-time real estate investors, or not. You see, I don’t do two things at once. I do one thing. And when I’m doing it, I do it with every ounce of my being.
This fact was important because I was taking construction jobs as our main income and treating real estate investing more as a hobby. It was either go full time and make investing work or keep being a construction worker. We chose real estate.
A family tragedy brought us the resources we needed to live by until we could make investing work. Ashley’s mom, Debbie Powell, passed away in 2011, and we received some seed money from a $20,000 life insurance policy that we didn’t know about. I can’t help but tear up thinking about how Debbie made things possible for us. She was a true giver, and she gave us what we needed to start our lives while she was here, and even afterwards.
From 2012 to 2016, we trudged forward, partnering with investors to flip properties for our living expenses while buying rentals when we could via creative financing.
In the summer of 2016, we struck a deal with a package of Lonnie Deals that gave us enough cashflow to just barely pay for our monthly expenses. That meant we were officially out of the rat race! And it took us 6 1/2 years.
But Lonnie Deals inevitability pay off, so, we had to continually find a way to replace that income with positive cashflowing properties. Yahweh blessed us because we have done just that.
The point here is that getting out of the rat race is not a sprint. It’s not even a marathon. It’s a continuous journey. And if you’re considering leaving your job to be a full-time investor, you’d better be prepared for that journey. It’s not easy and it will take you some time. But if you stay with it and you keep going, you will enjoy great success.
Joe and Ashley English buy houses and mobile homes in Northwest Georgia. For more information or to ask a question, go to www.cashflowwithjoe.com or call Joe at 678-986-6813.