I was 2 years old when my dad died. He left early for work one day, had a seizure while driving and died in a car crash. He was 28 years old and never made it back home.
I was having a conversation with someone the other day and this came up. I am always hesitant to share this fact because it always makes people feel bad for me. I’m not looking for pity and would rather avoid talking about it most days because it is a difficult subject – but it’s an important part of my life story, so I have decided to own it and share it.
Everyone has a story and this is mine. It might be easier to talk about living in a car somewhere and collecting food stamps, or driving into town with seven bucks in my pocket and building a massive empire, but this is my reality.
I was 2 years old and my brother was 4. Neither of us remembers our dad. This was the early ‘80s and video recording was nothing like it is now, so we have no recordings to better understand what he was like. There were no blogs, vlogs, or podcasts. No social media or cell phones to record every moment of life. We have some old photos, so we know what he looked like, but we will never really know what he was like as a person. It’s very difficult to truly capture a person in words, so all the stories in the world never help. He still feels like a ghost.
This lack of understanding and resources to help me better understand who my Dad was as a man has inspired me to document my business and my life, so that if someday I head out the door and never return, my three children will have an understanding of who I was and what I was like. Maybe I can impart a few words of wisdom, as they would take what I have to say to heart – much more than what someone else might have to say. I can give myself a chance to influence their lives for the better, even if I cannot physically be there for them.
This has had a great impact on me now that I am a father. A great impact in a positive way.It never really affected me growing up because I was a happy kid and I didn’t understand what I was missing. But over the past few years, I have really come to empathize for my mom, to understand a little more of what she had to deal with and the pain she endured. I have come to better understand what I missed now that I am a father.
It has become very important for me to design a business that gives me the flexibility to be present in my kids’ lives. It is important to me that I’m able to give them my time and attention: to be there when they go to school, when they have a game, or to just have a catch and go for a bike ride.
It’s also important to me to be there for my wife. She is the rock of our family and the most loving mom that our kids could ever wish for – but she needs my help. Our boys are 5 and 7 and our little girl just turned 1. Anyone who has children can relate to how much energy it takes to raise a family, and mine is certainly no different.
This realization has forced me to take a serious look at the business. To try and figure out how I could create a business that gives me the time and freedom to be there for them when they need me the most. To design a business that can run on systems so that I don’t spend my days running around, dealing with trivial issues.
In 2015, we had our busiest year to date. We owned and were in the process of flipping twelve houses at the same time, and I was quickly losing my mind. I was the only person finding the homes, acting as the general contractor to fix those homes, and selling the improved properties. My wife and I were also staging the houses for sale, moving furniture between them, getting them ready for sale, and running the books. This was an overwhelming job – and we also had 2 little boys to care for, which is a full-time job in and of itself.
The following year, I made a decision to take control of the business. The idea was to scale up to buying more homes and to set up a real business with other people working on it, which would allow me to remove myself from the day-to-day activities. The plan was to generate more revenue so we could afford to hire employees to manage operations.
I started getting up at 3 am so I could work for a few hours before the kids woke up. I began learning about software development so I could automate as much of my business as possible. My wife and I raised the capital needed to scale our business. We also spent an enormous amount of money in the process of creating software and the systems needed to flip homes.
Since then, we have managed to expand into 18 different states and to design a business that is much less dependent on our constant involvement. It has not been easy, and I’m not sure it ever will be. But the end goal has always been to save time, as it is the one thing we can never buy back.
I recently started a YouTube channel and a podcast to share with others what I’ve learned along the way. I am writing blogs like this to help connect with others and maybe help someone get their life back in order – to take control of their business and find some time to spend with their family, like my wife and I have. I am far from figuring it all out, but I have solved many problems in my business and my life, and I know that what I have learned will be valuable to others. I am looking forward to the future and creating something that gives me more time for life beyond work, as I am still very involved. I am looking forward to helping new or struggling entrepreneurs so that they can get their lives back. To provide information and software to help make them more efficient so that they can free up some time for their family.
With that being said, I am most concerned with providing content that provides a true representation of how I feel and what I think in case someday I am not around to share my thoughts with my children. Maybe someday, hopefully a long time from now, they will be looking to connect with their father and will have that opportunity because I left something behind for them.
This is increasingly starting to feel like the mission statement from Jerry Maguire, so it’s probably a good time to wrap it up. 🙂 If you’re looking to connect or have a question, hit me up. If you want me to speak at an event or join us for a meet-up in Connecticut to talk about real estate, I am always available. If you are an expert in something real estate- or business-related and would like to be a guest on the podcast, let me know. If you’ve made it this far, I really appreciate it.
And if you are Jackson, Mason, Sydney, or Kathy – I love you more than you’ll ever know 🙂
Father / Husband
Real Estate Guy