I think it’s about that time to explain how in the world I got to where I am today, which is out of corporate, starting my own company, and huge into real estate investing.

I say that last part because, believe me, real estate was never on my radar for what I would be doing as a career. I knew I would own real estate investments because it’s one of the only ways to really do something smart with your money, but I never thought I’d be in real estate.

Four and a half years ago, pretty much right when I started my corporate job as an aerospace engineer, I knew I had to figure out a way to become rich. I’ve wanted to be financially free since I was 12. I knew there were two ways to do this: start or own a business (a good business), or get into real estate. I started reading every book on business, real estate, sales, money, and motivation I could find. I didn’t know what I would end up doing, but I started pursuing everything I could think of, ranging from buying a hotel to buying foreclosures in Orange County. I never did either of those, for one they weren’t good deals but more critically, I didn’t actually have any money, but I pursued them as if I did (you never know).

A couple years into studying everything I could find, and trying everything from network marketing to other side jobs, I finally realized that a source of the chaos in my brain was that I had not narrowed my focus. I was studying everything, so I learned a little about a lot, but I now needed to learn a lot about a little. I had to pick one- business or real estate. I picked business. My family has self-storage facilities, and I’ve always wanted one, so I decided that was going to be my route. Somehow, some way. It made sense… I needed money from a business to be able to dump into real estate.

I immediately pointed my focus. I was enrolled for the 2011 Self-Storage Expo in Vegas within a week, and I even paid $400 extra to attend the developers’ seminar. I put out a proposal to my family’s companies to create an improvement package for them, solely for the purpose of creating a self-storage resume for myself that I would have come time for requesting financing.

Two weeks later, bored at work, I received a newsletter that had an advertisement saying “Beachfront Bungalows, starting at only $99,000!” All I saw in that sentence was beachfront and 99. I had just looked at OC foreclosures that were a minimum of $270k with no cash flow, and who doesn’t love the beach.

Long story short, I had zero plans for pursuing the beachfront bungalow, zero plans for doing anything real estate related, and zero trust in the whole gig anyway. But out of shear boredom, I humored the informational webinar, the company putting them on, and eventually the 60-day due diligence period. I had heard a line at a Rich Dad seminar one time where the guy said, “If it’s a good investment, you’ll find the money.” That line had stuck in my head, and after casually inquiring about money options for this bungalow, the money came easier than I could have imagined. That was one of my big signs that maybe I should buy it. I eventually bought the bungalow, and from that point on, self-storage was lost from my mind, and I just closed on my 5th property in a year and a half (with very little of my own money). Two beachfront pre-constructions, and three houses in Atlanta. I kept finding money, and I kept finding deals.

In the midst of diving nose-first into real estate, I met some of the most rockstar guys in the industry. They aren’t scammers, they are totally cool and chill, super informative (I’ve never had to buy a how-to video from any of them), and they have all become like big brothers.

I ended up with multiple offers to work independently as a referrer for the various companies I work with, and since I was already making money off casual referrals without even trying, how could I resist.

So now I’m working from home, or anywhere I want, with only my laptop, and usually in my pajamas. Corporate is gone, the only aerospace left in my life is the thought that I need to get back into flight instructing soon, and I get to spend my time talking to awesome people, all day, and living the dream.

Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been an easy year and a half. Aside from exhausting my brain getting educated on how to be a (good) investor, I’ve tried multiple new things that have frustratingly failed, I’ve made the famous overly stressful entrepreneurial leap away from a secure paycheck and health benefits (if anyone knows a good private insurance policy in southern California, please put in your info into the box on the right of the screen!), and believe me, people aren’t exaggerating about the stress of that leap, and I’ve put everything on the line in hope that I know what I’m doing.

So far so good though. I’m happy, I feel great, and I’m ready to be a full-blown entrepreneur for the rest of my life!

I want to hear about your entrepreneur leaps! I’m sure no two are the same. Comment below and tell me about them. Or, comment below and tell me that you really want to hear about the amazing killer real estate deals I’ve found. Or just comment below because it will make me look popular.

Until next blog…

  • AJ

    Love your blog. Love “Rich Dad/Poor Dad” and sent you a message on SKYPE to connect. Great energy–how does it get even better than this???

    • Ali

      Thanks AJ! Not sure i got a Skype invite tho, I don’t see one… ?

  • Jennifer

    Hi. It sounds like your journey to real estate was so organic. I see you’ve invested in Atlanta. I’m looking to relocate there in early 2014 but i’m doing my homework on the city now.

    Any advice you have would be well appreciated. Also, where can I find info on your creative techniques to finance properties ?

  • Paul Murphy

    Hey Ali ! My name is Paul and I’ve been reading all your blogs and I love them! I’m around the same age as you and things finally hit me as to what direction my life should go financially. For me, it started recently with the book Rich Dad Poor Dad! To make a really long story short, I did ten years in the military. Got out and started contracting overseas for a higher salary. Accomplished that, but realized I had to keep going to those places, forever to make that kind of money (ie. Afghanistan, Iraq) So during that time I tried everything under the sun to make that,” BIG hit”. Day trading, sports betting, Forex etc. During the years of making six figure salaries it dried up over time, plus being an American, and wanting to enjoy the good life, I traveled, rented cars, nice restaurants, you name it. Then I started to listen to Dave Ramsey & Suze Orman, which helped me budget and save but not really become financially free, or a Rockstar as you so creatively put it. Now, I stopped contracting and have been looking for a new gig, and during this time I was given a house ( from my parents ) since they owned two homes and I’m the only one in the family who could maintain it. So after reading the book, Rich Dad Poor Dad it finally all makes sense to me. To value Assets over Money! Have the money work for me and build from there, so immediately I saw how real estate is such an amazing investment! Now, I’m about to dive in nose first and trying to gain as much information as possible. Currently I’m in the process of selling the house I acquired and using the money to help the family, and taking $100K for rental property investments. After doing research and seeing the real estate world there are ALOT of amazing deals out there. Some in AZ, some in Ohio, some in Detroit ( but can be risky ). My main goal is cash flow, I’m not too interested in appreciation and I’ve looked into all types of scenarios! Turnkey, paying cash, mortgage, owner finance, lease option, joint venture, duplex, commercial, rehab projects….its like I don’t have any enough money in the world lol
    I was looking into Toldeo Ohio, and I read how alot of Chinese are investing there mainly due to its location and its accessibility to other larger cities. The home prices are really depressed, so I guess that would present a problem with keeping or finding good quality tenants. I like the idea of turnkey properties because I will actually be living overseas in the Philippines for a while until I can land another overseas contract.
    Now in my life I can finally see the light as to how the rich do it. Mentally it was a tough transition, because once I made up my mind to sell my home, I was thinking about all the nice things ( liabilities ) I was going to buy, trips I was going to take etc. I’m trying to do my best to get my siblings on board with this new mind set, but its hard because they haven’t been successful in the normal everyday middle class life, so this idea seems foreign to them. I’m much like you with the level of enthusiasm and motivation you have. For me, I think the military and my previous jobs have taught me that if you do new and bold things you will definitely reap new and bold results. So, to end this long first email lol, the question I have is if you had $100K to fully invest in real estate, how would you use it? I know since you already have real estate under your belt, (and I would definitely love to be in your shoes) I can really appreciate your feed back!
    So sorry for the long email!! Its about 5:40am EST where I’m at and the closing for my house is Friday, so I’m really pumped about this! Thank you, continue to write your amazing blogs and so sorry again for this long message!

    • Ali

      Hey Paul! I got your email before I saw your comment so I already emailed you back. Thanks for reaching out! I look forward to talking more with you. And congrats on coming over to the dark side of learning how money really works! It’s fun over here 🙂

  • Ryan Bowman

    Great story. I made the jump from corporate sales to real estate so I can understand the nervousness of loosing a paycheck and healthcare. It has worked out well for me too.

  • Tiffany @CircusofHumaniT

    I want to hear more about the beachfront stuff! My dream is to own/control a CA beachfront home bartered in exchange for massage. I’m a licensed massage therapist by trade, but my favorite way to use that cert is bartering now.

    • Ali

      Sounds good! I got your email so I will email you there. Talk to you soon!

  • jack mckee

    I like your style of investing.You seem
    like a good person to follow and get
    sound investing advice from.

    • Ali

      Thanks, I appreciate the compliments! Please do stay in touch.

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