by Joe Firmin 3 ½ Minute Read
July 2016. I had just returned from another week-long trip to Mexico where I was leading a subsidiary of the large U.S.-based paper products manufacturer. I was traveling +60% of the time. I pulled in the driveway from the airport and my son Rafael (6 years old at the time), comes running out of the house with tears streaming down his face. “Daddy, Daddy!” he said, giving me a huge, gripping hug. Then bristling, he pulled away with an angry look on this face and said, “Why do you have to have a job that makes you travel all the time?” It stung. It was really, truth, in a moment.
I gave him some crappy answer which I don’t remember, but I do remember thinking to myself – “He’s right, why do I? This is a choice, I can choose a role that lets me be more present to my family.”
I started reading more purposefully. I have always been a huge reader and self-educator and I’m an avid audiobook consumer. This reading and realization set me on a journey to build other income streams to reduce my risk. I sold on Amazon and online retail arbitrage and those were OK, but didn’t do it for me… Meanwhile…
This Mexico role was the most challenging, rewarding and favorite of my career to date. I was leading across cultures, building trust and relationships with my team of 30 in Mexico City, our customers and vendors, selling life’s basic necessities – toilet paper and paper towels. I was hoping to turn around this struggling business amid a large devaluation of the MXN Peso against the USD.
Sitting in our division president’s office, assessing the performance and status of the business, we came to the realization that we needed to exit the business and close operations. Long-term, for many reasons it wasn’t sustainable or worth the risk given the return. Then it hit me… the people. All those people I had been building trust and relationships with, I was going to have to face them. I felt sick.
Fast forward 7 months… I was locking up the closed office and gave the last severance checks to those few devoted employees who helped us close the business down in the final 4 months; 4 months after having had the larger lay off of the other employees. Emotional and sitting in a taxi in the traffic-clogged Mexico City, reflecting on the day thinking… “This could easily happen to me. I could be the one walking away with a severance check after working for a big company for 25 years... I’ve got to do something to reduce my own risk and take care of my family.”
This was a tough realization for me. I really enjoy working with my current company and the challenges and growth it brings. It's just, in that moment, I had some real clarity that it was my responsibility to ensure the future financial health of my family. Hoping my 401K (which I also invest in) goes up in value over time - is not a strategy. Waiting for my flight, scrolling Audible for how to use my 1 Credit for the month, I came across a book that cost $37.00. If you know me, you know I’m frugal and value-oriented! An Audible credit costs $14.95/mo. so I thought this was a huge value – get a $37 book for only $14.95 – DONE. The name was The Weekend Millionaire’s Real Estate Investing Program. Within the first couple chapters, the authors walk through the returns on a “standard” single family home investment property deal. After all was said and done, tax advantages included, it was a 52% return. I was shocked. I re-read it. Still shocked.
I started Googling this real estate investing thing. I came across BiggerPockets.com, the world’s largest social network of real estate investors. I signed up and started to devour content and network with like-minded people with similar goals and desires, to live a truly free life, financially free, time free, etc. That set me on the path I’m currently on, buying properties, adding value, repositioning them and growing my streams of income through rental properties. I’ve seen first-hand how profitable and rewarding this business can be. I want to help others do the same and achieve their True Freedom while working towards mine as well… So they don’t have to give some crappy answer to their crying 6 year old…
If you have been in a similar spot, we’d love to hear from you. Drop us a note or give us a call. There are many books that you can read to get started as well. Some favorites of mine are Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason.
If you’re interested in learning more about True Freedom Capital, Learn More Here; and if you’re looking to passively invest in real estate with us, please Sign Up to join our network so we can schedule a call with you, no commitment.