T Nation

Fit For Life as An Entrepreneur



well said. Oh, I’ve read a lot of the standard books more than once. I’m a huge fan of guys like Gary Vee, Tony Robbins, Eric Thomas. In particular, my favorite self-help work is the audiobook version of GOALS! by Brian Tracy. I had the notebook I wrote in every day.

Last year my goal, and it still might be, was to start an e-commerce business as a private label seller on Amazon. I learned everything. I started the sole-proprietorship. Bought the software. Got the lines of credit. Started talking to Chinese factories…and then I froze. I started listening to all the horror stories and the reasons why it’s a bad idea. Then I convinced myself that it was more important to focus on my upcoming marriage, and buying a house in April. Maybe THEN I’ll revisit the business.

Your comment about comfort hits home also. I have a good job. I was getting overtime opportunities and making more than I ever have before. Now I’m considering getting back in to real estate which was my first passion. I was going to be a wholesaler. I got the mailing lists. Wrote hundreds of yellow letters by hand (I know you know what those are). Took the call backs. Found a textbook case. Absentee owner. Wife was here in TX, husband was in Florida and sick to boot. It didn’t work out and I convinced myself I didn’t know enough about houses and quit.

I am sure I’ll revisit the Amazon business once we’re settled in the new house. Hopefully the Chinese tariffs will be sorted out by then.


Man can I ever relate! Absolutely! I can completely understand, if can be extremely unmotivating, and beyond frustrating, to spend so much time and effort on handwriting (handwriting?!) all those yellow letters, making calls, viewing properties and it doesn’t work out.

Over this year I’ve sent thousands of letters (typed, but handwritten envelopes,) and thousands of postcards. I’ve spoken to hundreds of sellers and have viewed about 50 properties in the last few months. Made offers a lot of them, spent so much time negotiating, structuring the deal, and it falls through. I just had a beautiful historic home under contract to flip, and fell through during due diligence when I discovered an issue with scraping a building on the lot. 2 months in the works on that deal, down the drain.

Super discouraging initially, but, these experiences have made me great at speaking with home owners, negotiating and structuring deals. I am well equipped and ready for the ones that work out. “The harder I work, the luckier I get,” it’ll all come together with time and consistency.

Wholesaling, especially, is sifting for gold. Have you read “Three Feet From Gold?” I’m assuming yes, but if not, very applicable.

Time will do its thing, you will improve and eventually get deals, just gotta keep pressing.

With the Amazon business - DO IT! It’s absolutely awesome you’ve done so much leg work, you’re ready. Don’t let fear or doubt hold you back! ATTTTTACKKK!!


En route to Seattle, found these amazing snacks in the baby food section of the grocery store.

They’re really, really good, clean and low cal. I also have a couple of my homemade cream of rice, and Ezekiel cakes. Super clean, delicious and portable.

Currently working on finishing this book by Napoleon Hill, after which I’ll start “Sell Or Be Sold,” by Grant Cardone. “The 10X Rule,” and “Be Obsessed Or Be Average,” we’re both game changers for me, looking forward to diving into another one of his books.


Any recommendations for someone looking to get into real estate?

-What are your thoughts on buying properties out of state?

-Any way to buy with not a lot of capital?

-Do you think one should have a minimum amount of money available to them?


Certainly. The #1 recommendation would be to educate yourself extensively before attempting to do any deals. Lack of education, and emotional decision making, are the biggest factors when it comes to getting wrecked in real estate. Always remember that no deal is better than a bad deal. How to educate:
-Read a LOT of books, I read at least 3 a month, read more if you’ve got time.
-Get a membership on BiggerPockets.com, read all the articles you can. I highly recommend the pro membership, as it gives you access to webinars and incredible educational tools.
-Buy every book on BiggerPockets and read it.
-Go to MeetUp.com and look for real estate investor meet ups in your area, and go to as many as you can. Network, learn, ask questions.
-Join your local REIA (Real Estate Investment Association) and go to all the meetings.
-Find legit seminars to go to with great speakers.
-FIND A MENTOR, and be sure to offer something of value in return. It could be money, it could be your time and effort, but do not just reach out to a successful investor and say, “Will you mentor me?”

-Educating yourself will cost time and money. If you’re not into it enough to take the time to educate yourself, investing is not for you.

Totally possible and people do this all the time! Again, takes education and networking, and also helps to narrow down your focus. Single family residential? Small multi unit? Apartment buildings? You’ll want to figure out your marketing methods, how you’re going to inspect and get your due diligence done on a property you’re not close to. Again, totally possible, but like anything else, takes knowledge and a lot of effort.

Of course, plenty of ways to purchase real estate without much of your own capital involved. Hard money lending or a standard bank loan is a good way to start. For longer term projects, a bank loan, for shorter projects like a flip, or a rental you want to flip then refinance, find a great HML (hard money lender) in your area, examine the rates, and get pre-qualified with them. They usually have different products and tiered services, but there are plenty out there that will loan to new investors, provided you’ve got a credit score that meets their criteria, and your project you’re getting a loan for has to meet certain criteria as well, primarily the LTV (loan to value ratio) needs to be no higher than 65-70%. The down payment you’ll need to provide, if any, will be relatively small compared to the loan.

No, again it’s totally possible to invest without much of your own capital involved. Hard money, private money, form a syndicate, lots of ways to do it.

To emphasize one more time, it’s possible to be a very successful investor without putting much of your own personal capital on the line, however, realize at that point, you’re dealing with other people’s capital and they expect a successful return on investment, and they will not invest with you if they’re not fully confident you’ll succeed. Additionally, if you are using other people’s capital, you should always have at least some of your own skin in the game, and should be incredibly passionate about ensuring you treat other people’s capital with more care than you’d treat your own. So, take the time to educate yourself enough, go to the meetings, find a mentor to help coach you, etc., so you can be successful.


You spelled* Oregon wrong. Haha. Good to see you’re logging again.


Had a great trip to Seattle. Spent time downtown and at Pike Place market, and had an incredible night with over 70 incredible men from around the country in our investment circle, some of whom are our partners in a new business venture. We met at the organizer’s airplane hangar, which is also his office and home base while in Seattle, drinks, steaks, deep and meaningful conversation. It was an incredible time.

Had no issues whatsoever staying healthy with nutrition. Some tips on keeping it tight while on the road:
-Always find a healthy and clean breakfast, and fill up. Typically before booking a hotel, I’ll look at what food is around the area to make sure this is possible. Even a local diner will do. I will wake up extra early to go find a good breakfast if needed, and I will never eat a hotel “continental breakfast” unless it’s really good quality, typically higher end hotels will have good breakfast options. My usual go-to breakfast on the road:
-Whole egg farmers/veggie omelet (no cheese)
-Add diced ham or grilled chicken
-Breakfast potatoes (oatmeal is great too, I don’t eat oatmeal as it’s rough on my stomach)
-Fresh fruit
-No toast
Eating a big, healthy breakfast will give you solid energy for the day, and also make sure you’re not super hungry later. I find when I eat a big breakfast on the road, I’m able to eat smaller and lighter lunches and dinners.

-Find Mediterranean food if you can, it’s always possible to eat healthy there. Food is always cooked in olive oil, and there are plenty of meat, veggie and rice dishes.

-Come dinner time, any decent restaurant you go to should have healthy options, or, you can order something and make modifications (no cream sauce please!), or you can always order alacart. I’ve never ever had a problem eating healthy anywhere. Just be extra polite to your servers, because substitutions can be a pain in the pass. I usually say something like, “I hope I’m not being a bother, I’m going to order something and will have a few modifications, ok? I have some specific dietary needs, I really appreciate your help,” and it’s never an issue. The night before the Hangar steak dinner, I found a BJ’s, with has a ton of great options. I got zucchini noodle dish with grilled chicken, veggies, zucchini noodles, and a side of quinoa and rice pilaf. The chicken dish originally came with shredded cheese and a light cream sauce as well, which I asked them not to put on either.

As I mentioned in my last post, I have a business trip to Tampa coming up next month, 15 of us are renting a huge beach house right on the water, and will be spending some of our time educating and working, and the rest enjoying the beach. We’re also having numerous photo shoots done for advertising, business cards, billboards, etc. So, definitely gotta be on point for that!

I’m a hairy guy, and if I’m not competing, in the winter I don’t trim my chest, it’s just easier than way. But, it does make it really hard to see where my conditioning really is. Trimmed this morning, and was pleasantly surprised to see my conditioning for weighing 165lbs, I’d compare it to 157-158lbs a couple years ago. Very encouraging to see I’ve put on some solid LBM over the past year and a half I’ve been out of competing. I’d be happy on the beach with my current conditioning, but, as there’s 4 weeks to go, I’m gonna tighten it up.

Current nutrition plan

Free veggies I don’t bother putting on there. Those include sautéed onions, peppers, broccoli, asparagus, and leafy greens, which I always have with breakfast and dinner. The Soup for my lunch is always homemade and has lots of great veggies in it, then I weigh out meat and add separately.

My pre-workout meal is the cream of rice (COR) cakes I like to make, though sometimes I’ll exchange that for a nice microwaved Finibar and glass of Metabolic Drive chocolate milk.

The yogurt I have in the evening is non-dairy, coconut milk based. The EZ cereal is Ezekiel cereal, and lately I’ve been into “Love O’s”, which are made from legumes, have a nice light crunch to them and have 0 added sugar.

Training plan is my usual split. I’ll be adding a HIIT workout once a week, and will do 20-30min LISS-MISS after weights.

I won’t be doing a “low day”, my current deficit is good enough and as I’m not prepping, I’m not trying to be miserable. I still have a nice meal out and a pint of halo top on Friday nights.


@robstein gave you some good answers but I wanted to add my (failed) experience to the mix. I did some of what he said. I got on Bigger Pockets. I read a lot in a short amount of time. I got excited. I was convinced that I needed to take a risk and use some unconventional financing to get what I wanted.

I found a duplex for sale for $35,000. I paid $25k and thought it needed about $15-20k in repairs and upgrades. The biggest mistake I made was underestimating the renovation! In terms of education, I think the construction education is the most crucial part. If you screw that up then you’ll be like me and have a mess on your hands.

My wife and I had about $20k in the bank but it’s our money. We had about $8k in our rental business account. I decided to get a personal (unsecured) loan for $30k at 10% interest with a 5 year term.

I paid $25k for the property so most of that was gone. I thought I could use our remaining $10-20k to get it fixed up and in shape to be a rental. Here’s how stupid I was and what I thought needed to be done.

  • Open up a wall to add a doorway
  • Close a wall to remove a doorway
  • Install new bathroom and kitchen (cabinets, flooring, and appliances)
  • Paint

Here’s what actually happened.

  • Gut entire house to the studs
  • Install new wiring, new plumbing
  • Install brand new HVAC system
  • Open up structural wall to connect the two sides of the duplex
  • Move interior wall a couple feet to repurpose as bedroom
  • Add 5x8’ bathroom
  • Install new siding on exterior
  • Install new/used windows to replace the originals (house was built in 1920)
  • New drywall
  • New flooring, molding, paint, etc
  • New kitchen
  • Expand existing bathroom and start from scratch

The #1 piece of advise that I could give you is to have a contractor look at properties with you if you intend to make any improvements. Estimating your costs is the make or break point for an investment. I failed miserably. At the time of my purchase my realtor thought the house would be worth $55k if it was fixed up. My plan was to pay $25k. Spend no more than $20k to fix it up making my total investment $40-45k. I was going to obtain a mortgage for 75-80% ($41-44k) of the $55k value which would’ve paid off the $30k unsecured loan and hopefully paid me back for using my personal money. Sounds easy enough, right?

Well, I obtained a construction loan to pay a contractor to gut the place and rebuild it from the inside out. Luckily the bank appraised the after repair value at $75k. I received $56,250. My contractor was certain he could do everything for $60-65k and have it done in two months. I fired him nine months later (I was patient because he was saving me money compared to other contractors). I spent the construction loan and still had a ways to go to finish. I found a new contractor and he finished right at the end of 2018. It took just over a year and my investment to this point is $125k on a house worth $75k! FAIL

We’re stuck with it now but I think I found a good tenant and she might be a long term tenant at that. We get to keep it for a long time so other people can pay off our loans for us.

The only silver lining is that the lady who wants to rent it has a business providing mental health services. She goes to group homes for teens and works with the kids who are in state custody. She wants to use my house as a group home. My wife and I want to give these kids a clean and nice place to live. Most of them have never experienced that and a lot of the group homes in town are old. I know they could tear the place up but money will fix it and my “tenant” will have guaranteed income from the state and be responsible for that stuff. Any tenant is a risk for property damage, but we’re happy to be a part of providing something good for the poor girls in these group homes. The idea is to teach them to take ownership of the place and value it. Hopefully that will convince them that they can build a better life and have nice things.

So that’s my experience. It’s a bad one. I don’t think we’ll try to do any renovations anytime soon. If we buy any more rental properties then we’ll do it the old fashioned way and just put 20% down on a move-in ready property.

@robstein, you have to be smart for the wholesale gig. I read about it and it’s too much for me. How did you get started? I feel like you need some cash when you start in case you can’t unload your first property quickly.


Do you always treat veggies as “free” and unlimited or do you start to track them at some point depending on 1.) how much you each in the course of a day 2.) your end goals ie. prepping for contest or just casually leaning out/staying leaner.


Damn man, quite a trial there, and learning experience. Definitely agree on rehab costs, it’s absolutely essential to have a contractor walk through the property with you if you’re new to estimating rehab costs. In addition to that, another helpful educational tool would be to find a great and reputable GC in the area, and ask if you can be a fly on the wall at some of his walkthroughs and see what he’s looking for, and what the costs will be. In exchange, you can say you’re an investor and will use them for any deals you do.

Also highly recommend this book:

Indeed, it’s quite a lot. For me, Wholesaling is a tool that I use when needed, but not my first preference. It’s still a job, you’re only above water if you keep it going. Tons and tons of marketing, talking to sellers, viewing properties, it’s a grind. Even with systems and people in place, it’s a hard grind. In my opinion building true wealth in real estate is establishing a portfolio of great properties, getting passive income from the cash flow and building equity. Wholesaling can certainly be a great way to find those properties, keep what you want and wholesale the rest. My most recent Wholesale was a property I found as a FSBO on Zillow, made a cold call and went over to view it. Very old house, and I could tell it needed well over $100k of rehab after walking through and guesstimating, (turned out to be $140k). It was too much for me to want to flip, but, I knew a few buyers in the area that might be into it. Got it under contract, contacted the buyers I knew in the area, and found a buyer, and got my assignment fee.

In this instance, I fully disclosed to the seller that the property was a bigger project than I wanted to take on, but if they gave me 30 days, that I could potentially find another investor who would love to do it, and that I planned on assigning the contract. They were happy to give me the opportunity as they were not able to sell on their own.

I had a time when I was really into Wholesaling, and after going at it hard for a while, decided to focus more on holding and flipping when possible. But, I do know many successful Wholesalers who love what they do, and make great income. Making a great list of potential motivated sellers, a variety of marketing campaigns, tracking, and good people on your team are all important. You certainly will need at least some cash to get started to pull your list and advertise. If you can’t afford a postcard or letter campaign, you can go old school door knocking and looking up phone numbers. It can certainly be done. Most important thing is to take as much as you can from your profit and put it right back into your business, expanding marketing, etc. The wholesale I mentioned above cost me nothing as it was a cold call from a FSBO listing on Zillow.

Regarding unloading the property - while you never, ever want to go back on a contract, most Wholesalers typically have a generic clause in their contract that allows them a 30-45 day inspection or diligence period, so if you can’t find a buyer, you could back out if you really needed to. I do think it’s a very good idea though to have financing on stand by. That being said, the best way to make sure you can find a buyer is to network a ton, establish a buyer’s list of investors you know for sure buy property, get to know what they’re looking for, so when something comes up you can start making calls right away.


Good question! I don’t count the cals from the certain veggies I mentioned, the only thing I change is when on a contest prep, I weigh them out and eat the same amount each day, more so to manage fiber intake and make sure I don’t get too bloated, and more consistency on the scale. One day on a 1500 calorie day I was so hungry I ate a ton of broccoli, cauliflower and raw spinach, the next day my weight was up almost 4lbs. After that, I started weighing my veggies, usually 8oz with breakfast and dinner, and a large salad for lunch.

Currently I do not weigh my veggies, and won’t. I can eyeball enough to know when is too much. Mainly broccoli and cauliflower will be rough on my stomach if I have too much of it, asparagus and zucchini I can eat a lot and have no issues.


Damn dude, sorry to hear that happened. If you’re ever in a similar position, hit me up. I do this for a living for large commercial/government projects. I could point you in the right direction.

Honestly, the bad experiences somehow get lost. But you really only learn from things that go wrong. A great book about this is ‘What I Learned Losing A Million Dollars’.


I’ll never forget!

I never actually planned to get into real estate but here we are. My wife and I only have two properties - the one I just mentioned and our last house. We found renters before we moved out so we decided to keep it.

If I could go back in time then I’d buy a duplex and rent out half while living in the other half. I’d make improvements and eventually move out and rent out the other side.

Living rent/mortgage free is a great way to save your cash and invest properly. I have a coworker who is a courtesy officer at an apartment complex. He lives in a 3BR / 2BA apartment rent free. I don’t think he pays for all the utilities either. When I met him in 2016 he and his wife had a six figure savings account! They’re not even 30 years old yet. He told me they saved $60k of their income last year. His wife is a teacher (like mine) so I know they gross about $100k a year. I can’t imagine being able to save 60% of my income.

They’ve bought two houses as rentals and only do move-in ready. He’ll be a millionaire sooner rather than later. Smart dude.


Nice! House hacking is an awesome way to go! My wife and I are looking into doing that when we move to TX over the summer, just starting to send out letters this week.


This was my goal before I bought my first house. My wife didn’t feel comfortable/peaceful about living next to a tenant with me traveling so much. Single-family home it was. Fortunately, we did very well and sold it after 2 years.

@robstein sorry if derailing your log.


LOL this log can’t be derailed, because its purpose is communication and knowledge. Post away bro! Talk to you tomorrow!


Couple pics from the gym today, as I haven’t posted any in at least a year and thought it would be good to show where I’m at. Weight this morning was 165.8.

Solid back session yesterday, ended with a few sets of pull-ups, which I haven’t done in a while and want to get back into. I was able to get 10, then 8, then 6, pronated wide grip. Will definitely be keeping up with the pull-ups. Then did 20 min MISS on the elliptical, which is my go-to cardio machine as it’s easy on the joints, and provides full body resistance.

Pro-Tip (Credit to @The_Mighty_Stu), use a baby spoon for anything you can, it’ll last longer.





I kind of feel like a regular spoon is a baby spoon in my hand.


Use a fetus spoon?