Friday, December 20, 2019

Living Outside the Rat Race (Farewell HP)

My First Day at HP

I don't remember the exact genesis, but I do remember in 7th grade telling my mom:

"You know, you could buy a place for $300,000. Fix it up and sell it for $400,000. Then after doing that three times, you wouldn't have to sell the fourth place. If you kept doing that, you could make a lot of money. The only problem is I don't know how to get that first $300,000."

And my mom had just heard an interview on the radio from a new author about real estate. So in 7th grade, after homework was done, we read "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" by Robert Kiyosaki. Thus began my real estate investing path.

In October of 2006, I started this blog, Outside the Rat Race, as an aspirational log of my adventures, thoughts, and learnings. As I wrote in the description, living outside the rat race is more than just financial. It's being purposeful spiritually, socially, financially with family, work, play, and health.

We bought our first place, a duplex, in 2009. Then another place every other-ish year by spending significantly less than we earned. The goal was simple: have the rental income cover our living expenses.

Along the way, I learned to love the tangible and immediate feeling of accomplishment from doing repairs. I also learned to love helping our residents succeed and live healthy, responsible, lives. From the book Grit, I've learned that the reason behind a passion can evolve over time, and that's been true for me.

And starting today, I'm taking the next step of living outside the rat race by leaving my full-time job because our rental income now covers our living expenses. Exciting!

Farewell HP

I started as a contractor for HP on May 3, 2007, right before graduating from Willamette's MBA program. I officially joined HP on January 2, 2008, as a full-time employee, and so leaving at the end of the year feels like a neat bookend. During those 12 years, I had the chance to learn and experience so much!

I first realized I was in a professional environment when I asked for a day off, with hat-in-hand. My boss said, "I'm assuming you're asking for the day off because you genuinely need to. So take it off. Just let me know when you're not available. As long as you're able to get your work done, at the level of quality we expect, I don't really care where or when you work. Again, just let me know." Wow - that was a lot different than my Arby's experience. And he was right, HP is a professional environment with people continually looking out for HP's best interest.

I also quickly realized I was surrounded by some of the smartest people on earth when my first presentation ended within 10 minutes because of all the holes they found in my analysis. Everyone there continued to push me to be better.

When I took on a leadership role, my manager took me under his wing. He let me fail (so I could learn and build character), but stood beside me and taught me how to present, how to tell a story based on data, and how to lead others. We spent hours on the phone together crafting presentations on HP's ink cartridge sales. It was incredibly difficult, but I grew a ton!

I got to write code, create amazing spreadsheets, and deliver compelling presentations.

I also got to help launch a product and travel around the world to places like GermanySingaporeIndia, and New York. I could not have asked for a better job. If it wasn't for the realization of my 7th-grade dream, I'd happily stay with HP.

The Next Season

I personally don't think of the next phase as "retirement", but simply leaving the 9-5 lifestyle. I'll be spending my time in three areas. First and foremost, I'll spend more time with my family. Right now I'm working most weekends, mornings, and evenings to keep up with everything. It's tiring. My plan is to stop all weekend and evening work.

Furlo Family Homes

Second, I'll continue to actively manage my rental properties. With 22 rental units and 70 storage units spread across 6 properties, I'll stay moderately busy. Most of that time I will be handling maintenance issues, which I still find gratifying. The 10-15 year plan is to transition the operations to a property manager, but I'll be doing it for now.


Third, I'll help run Majordomo with my co-founder.

Majordomo is the second half of your home inspection. In 24 hours, we analyze,  prioritize and estimate the cost of repairs identified from the inspection report. It's a super cool service for real estate brokers that saves them time after the inspection, helps them negotiate smarter with sellers, and ultimately close more transactions.

We've been building the site for a while, are now live, and starting to grow sales. My role will be to continue leading the development team, helping with sales, and wearing any other hat that needs wearing.

I think of the real estate business as the means to provide for my family and Majordomo as an opportunity to help millions of people across the US.


So, farewell to my friends at HP. It's been a grand adventure. Thank so much for all you've done for my family. I'm looking forward to the next phase, and will always be grateful for my time at HP.

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