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Acquisitions can be rough. In short, you’re about to go through some shit. No way to sugar coat it. This is going to suck. I know. As a matter of fact, I’ve been through two corporate acquisitions and one corporate bankruptcy (first job out of college). Quite frankly, the corporate bankruptcy was the easier of the three and ~300 of the 425 employees were laid off. This page, community and podcast are here to be resources for you during the trying, frustrating and emotional times ahead. We’re here to help you realize you’re not alone and guide you through this journey to see the best way to support your family is through multiple streams of income through real estate investing, which will eliminate that fear of “what if I get laid off tomorrow”. We bought our first rental property in 2014 for just $22,000. We are now up to 328 units as of October 2020. This is my story…

MY STORY

In 2014, 6 months after getting married and just 2 months after discovering my wife and I were expecting our first child, the company I was a principal of, the company where I was employee #5, that company was being acquired. “Hey guys, we’re buying you because you’ve figured out how to be successful with providing managed services, and, quite frankly, we can’t figure that out.” We were an information technology managed service provider providing outsourced IT for small to medium-sized business. What was sold as a honeymoon to never end, the perfect marriage, the regional technology equivalent to Bradgelina, that came to a screeching halt just 3 months into acquisition. It was like we were racing down the interstate without airbags, seat belts, or even a brake pedal. Billing was a mess, customers were leaving, resources were being pulled from our new “division” and not being replaced, and the executive team of the acquirees looked at us with the question…what is going on?  

At the time the acquisition went down, I looked at it as a big opportunity to become a rising star inside a much bigger organization. To give you an example, I went from being employee #5 (and we grew that to a little over 30 empolyees), to be acquired by an organization of over 300. My plan was to be a rising star, but the executive team of the acquirees, they had a different plan.   

Now, being part of a much bigger entity, it was quickly observed that the executive team had absolutely no plan on how or what to integrate with their new purchase. Or at least that plan didn’t include me. Their plan included squeezing as much juice out of their new orange as quickly as possible and anyone not completely on board with that was nothing but a speed bump. Back to the story: I was confused on why we had to integrate at all. I mean, they said they bought us because we were successful at something they sucked at, why not just leave us alone? Six months into this and weeks away from child #1 being born, I got a new boss. Don’t be confused. Day 1 of acquisition I got a new boss, then 6 months later I got another new boss. To my surprise, this was a trend that continued over the next 5 years. That’s right, a new boss approximately every 6 months. My job didn’t change, my responsibilities didn’t change, my clients didn’t change, my territory didn’t change, but my bosses did and their expectations of how and when I would perform my duties always had a different tune.  

So, in less than a year I got married, bought a house with my lovely bride Cassie, the company I was a principal at was acquired, our first child was on the way and this acquisition was absolutely falling apart. As I mentioned, customers were leaving, the ones that stayed were not happy as the level of support they had come to know and love had diminished, and my biggest fear through all of this was what I would  do to provide for my family as being fired or laid off was certainly in my near future.   

 The wall I hit was obvious. What in the hell was I going to do to provide for my family? Not to mention the daily dissatisfaction I was now having at a job I used to enjoy. Showing up every day to be a verbal punching bag. Left jab coming from my boss, right uppercut coming from my customers. Pure definition of absolute misery. Something had to change because obviously this day in and day out misery affected how I communicated and acted at home-and i certainly did not want my wife to be thinking only a year into our marriage, “who the heck was this guy?” 

The epiphany I had really began right after the acquisition happened. We were struggling to get ahead. Believe it or not, I was making 6 figures and we were living paycheck to paycheck. Living paycheck to paycheck, fear that my job was on the line, and our first child was on the way. Yeah, something had to happen. Something had to change. Now, at the time my wife and I loved the idea of real estate investing. We didn’t know how to do it. We just knew we loved it, or loved the idea of what we were seeing on HGTV. But we didn’t have any money. At the time, we even had a negative net worth.

But our plan was simple. Purchase enough income-producing assets so that I, nor my wife ever had to worry about being fired or laid off again. We would replace our W2 income with rental income. Pretty simple plan, right? 

Well, yeah, simple plan but there were two main problems: Number one, we still had no money and number 2 we didn’t have any time to learn about investing, let alone actually invest. At least at that moment, I didn’t think I had time or money. This really put a damper on our simple plan. So, we decided to project our real estate investing career to earn some quick cash by wholesaling properties. If you’re not familiar with wholesaling, basically what happens is you agree to buy a distressed property from a seller for an extremely discounted price and before you actually purchase the property, you sell said property to another buyer to obtain a small fee. So, I bought a list of distressed property owners, we setup a google phone number, Cassie hand-wrote letters to prospective sellers, and then the calls started trickling in. It didn’t take long at all before I realized not only did I buy the wrong list, but wholesaling was a complete contradiction to my introverted personality. Thoughts and feelings resurfaced…how am I going to provide for my growing family? Our plan to wholesale enough properties to earn enough money to put a down payment on a rental property quickly came to a halt. 

Then we turned to foreclosures since wholesaling was out. I mean, wholesaling really just didn’t fit my personality or Cassie’s for that matter. So with wholesaling out, we turned our eyes toward foreclosures. It probably makes sense for me to mention that during this time of buying the wrong list and pursuing our wholesaling careers, we applied for and obtained a HELOC, a Home Equity Line of Credit, of $25k on our primary residence we just purchased less than a year ago. If you take away anything from this video, remember that you make your money when you buy and you realize your gains when you sell. Thank goodness we bought right! 

After looking at many foreclosure listings, touring many of those foreclosed properties, we finally landed one. We closed just 3 weeks after becoming new parents. We purchased a 1 bedroom 1 bath 600 sq ft foreclosure, for $22k in cash, from our HELOC. We had punched our ticket to hop on board the financial independence train. After $9k in repairs (most of which went on credit cards), that 1 bed 1 bath rental rented right away at $600/month. 

We did it. We are now real estate investors. We own a single positive cash flowing rental property. Fast forward six years until today: not only do we now have 3 kids, but we have a portfolio of 328 cash flowing units. This portfolio consists of single-family residences, small multi-families (which are 2-4 Units) and commercial multifamily apartment buildings through Limited and General Partnerships. BUT my story doesn’t end here. On May 1, 2020, it happened. 

After a few years of being bullied by  numerous bosses and clients, I had enough of that old job. I finally found the courage to look for and accept a new opportunity. This was a big change for me. I had some amazing clients and amazing co-workers. Clients and colleagues, I had worked for and with for over 15 years (and I don’t take relationships lightly) but for the future betterment of my health (seeking less stress and anxiety) and future betterment of my growing family, I found a new opportunity, a new W2 in 2019. But on May 1, 2020, my true transformation began. May 1, 2020, just like 50 Million other Americans, I became a COVID-19 layoff with over half my team. May 1, 2020, was the day my chains were broken and I was set free. The courage to not rely on the comfort of the W2 salary and benefits, the confidence to truly be my own boss, the ability to truly set my own schedule to do whatever I want.  I. AM. NOT. GOING. BACK. The amount of time I now get to spend with my family is incredible. Irreplaceable. Being present for every soccer practice, every doctor’s appointment, having the option to take a break whenever the kids want me to… is irreplaceable, irredeemable, unrecoverable.  

My story can be your story. It’s anybody’s story who is willing to lean in, do the work, and not accept the “norms of society” that are pressured on you by your parents, your best friends, your co-workers and the inner feelings that have been ingrained in you since the day you started Kindergarten. Some of you have conversations with yourself, limiting beliefs, internal conversations about what you think you know about yourself, about money, about building wealth, about what true happiness can be for you and yours, about what you’re truly capable of accomplishing. And you’ll never get on the other side of that limiting-belief mentality without the right relationships. Let’s see who you are and what you are capable of when you have someone that will show you the reflection of your own bullshit. 

I want to hear from you. If anything in my story above resonated with you, or you found it relatable in any form, I want to hear about it. Reach out to me personally jay@w2capitalist.com .

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