I was never a reader. People find it hard to believe that I made it through high school and college without ever reading a book cover to cover. I’m resourceful and intuitive. I’ll leave it at that and not get into how I pulled it off. Reading fiction books, even the classics, just never appealed to me. On top of that, it takes me approximately 2.5 pages before I fall into a deep coma. So to say that a book changed my life is a serious statement.
Following graduation from college, I had 2 months off prior to reporting to Officer Basic Course. I got married and I lived with my new bride in her apartment in Idaho while she went to work each day. Having that much time off leads to new hobbies. I decided to learn how to golf and fish. Although wasting money hitting a little ball with a metal club was interesting, it wasn’t enough to pass the time. Then I got a call from my brother and he was all excited to tell me about a book he read. I decided to humor him and listen to his explanation even though I had no intent on sharing in his excitement from a personal level.
The book was called Rich Dad, Poor Dad. It was an interesting enough title and I was interested in who these two people were. My brother explained that after reading this book, he wanted to make real estate investments and start businesses. What?! We were both in the Army and I didn’t think that was going to be possible while in the Army. But then he explained what passive income means. Essentially you can set up a business that only takes a minimal amount of your time. The key is getting your money to make money babies without you.
I understood investing. I invested in stocks and mutual funds. I had a Roth IRA and had a high yield savings account. But that wasn’t what made Rich Dad a rich dad, as my brother explained. It was active investing in real things you could make and see grow. Something you had to sweat for. It wasn’t as easy as looking a graphs and predicting shifts in the stock market. This was finding opportunities in everyday life and being a problem solver.
So I caved and I decided I was going to attempt to read a book for fun. I went to a used bookstore in my area and I found the purple and black book with damaged corners and took it out fishing with me at the lake. It was a great read. I was engaged by the semi-fictional story of a young Robert Kiyosaki learning lessons from his buddy’s rich dad that spurred him to not seek a salary but to seek creative opportunities to make money. Some of the money he made was quick due creativeness in understanding the housing market. Some of his money was made from retail products that he made and sold. However, all of the money he made was due to hard work and Kiyosaki’s ability to see opportunity in the rough.
Kiyosaki successfully convinced me that I didn’t need to live my life with a salary ceiling over my head. I could invest money in investments that were more than a mouse click on Scottrade and I could use “hard work” to make my money make more money.
After searching my life and surroundings, I found a money opportunity in the lack of housing supply for my classmates at our next training post, Fort Huachuca. I bought a house within two weeks with a zero-down loan and was set on making my first business, HuachucaTDY, and provide TDY housing to officers that could not be accommodated by on post lodging while conducting TDY training at Fort Huachuca. Essentially, I was able to charge hotel rates and give people an entire fully-furnished house to live in with all amenities. I hired a full time property manager and he ended up managing over five different houses, all under the HuachucaTDY name. After initial setup, I was spending about 2 hours of work a week on my side business. It doesn’t always work this way, but my first business venture ended up being a success and giving me a salary comparable with my Brigade commander.
I now listen to business audiobooks almost everyday using the audible.com app on my phone. Even though I do occasionally READ books now, I still fall asleep. Listening to books actually keeps me awake.
It started with just one book, and now I can’t shake the entrepreneurial bug.