Thursday, October 09, 2014

Work Hard On Your Dream

(Image: I fixed some plumbing in one unit. I never worked with PEX piping before, but it's pretty awesome. I'm inspired to redo our entire house with this one day.)

Since we bought the apartment building I've been busy. I think it would be good to get some of my thoughts out now that we're a month into this project. It'll be good because I think I'm learning some valuable lessons worth sharing, and it'll help me to process instead of just running as hard as I can.

There are many ways to get equity in real estate. One way to to pay a lot of cash for a property - instant equity. Another way is to improve a property where the final product is worth more than the cost to improve it. When improving a property, you can hire a contractor to do it for you or you can do it yourself. Doing it yourself is called "adding sweat equity". You can also take a hybrid approach and hire general laborers that you train and manage (depending on the nature of the work. I hired out the electrical work). Given the scale of this project I opted to hire general laborers that I manage.

Once we bought the place, I got internet access in one of the units and created a mini-office space. I also hired two guys through All-Star Labor who are actually doing the repairs for me. My schedule, despite not doing the work, is fairly non-stop:

  • 5am: wake up. Think about running, but instead spend my time catching up on emails or reading the news for the podcast.
  • 6am/7am: Start getting ready for the day by doing a set of push-ups and sit-ups.
  • 7:45am (or earlier if I have a 6:30am meeting for HP): Arrive at the apartments and get set up. Review my project plan and give the guys instructions for the day.
  • Do my HP work. In between meetings, bounce to the different units and make sure everything is going fine.
  • Lunch (could be as early as 11am, as late as 2pm): run errands, which usually involves buying supplies for the repairs.
  • Do more HP work while answering questions and giving direction.
  • 5pm: The guys head home for the day. I'm usually still working on something for HP.
  • 6pm: If I don't have something else scheduled in the evening, I'll work on a more technical project myself.
  • 8pm/9pm: Go home to eat dinner. Work on projects at home until I literally can't stand anymore. I was helping Jessi clip Vinnie's nails one night and almost fell asleep while holding him.
  • 10am/12am: Review my todo list and goals for the next day. Go to bed.
Clearly not your typical 8-5 day which ends with a walk in the park and watching TV. I've actually started losing track of the days because each day is so packed it feels like multiple days ago, and I don't really have weekends anymore, just days when I get to focus more on the apartment project.

It's a lot of work and definitely testing my physical, mental and spiritual strength. But you know what? I love it. I recently saw a Zen Pencils comic that captured my emotions perfectly:

Like the comic says, Jessi and I have a dream and realizing that dream is hard work - harder work than I imagined. But it's worth it because we're staring to realize that dream. Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy the evening walks where we dreamed about our future, but it's even better to be actively pursuing it.

If you have a dream, start working on it. Do one thing a day to advance that dream. However, I must warn you, you might find that seeing your dream come through might require an unimaginable amount of work one day. Is your dream worth that? It's OK if you find it's not, at least you know instead of wondering. If it is, I promise you'll be prepared to step up and work hard when the time comes.

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