Thursday, September 10, 2009

A lot has happened in the past eight months.

I am still alive, doing well and have been blessed in many ways. My business is doing better than ever. I have been able to settle a few of my delinquent credit cards. My loan modifications are still going on which has saved me thousands because I have not had to make a mortgage payment.

Just a couple of weeks ago, my girlfriend and I went to visit my mother in Sydney, Australia. It felt really good to spend time with my mother, grandmother and the rest of the family. The home I purchased in Sydney for my mother turned out really nice. It is a brand new home with five bedrooms and has a very modern IKEA look to it. Five bedrooms is ridiculous for a single woman, but somehow she manages to furnish every room. I shipped all of her furniture through North American Van Lines out of the Long Beach port. It was cheaper to ship her furniture from here than to purchase all of the same items in Australia.

I've been doing a small amount of traveling. My girlfriend and I have been to Denver, New Orleans and a cruise along the west coast in the past few months.

Considering everything, I cannot complain. Life could be a lot worse. Currently, my focus is on maximizing the potential and profits in my business while implementing systems. I need to find a balance where all of these goals can be accomplished as well as personal time for myself.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Unsure about my financial future...

I am in over my head in debt. I have been trying to analyze my financials for the past month trying to figure out how I can make it work. My business brings an ample amount of cash flow, but the problem is that I have so much debt. My credit card debt alone is almost $200,000. The minimum payments for my credit cards totals to about $3,000 per month. Adding to this is the negative cash flow on three rental properties I own, an additional $1,300 per month. So, my total is already at $4,300 and this does not even include my personal living expenses!

I did some research on debt counseling/consolidation, but it doesn't seem like the best move for me. These companies require that you stop making payments on your credit cards and instead make an affordable monthly payment to a trust account that they open for you. Once you reach a certain amount, they contact your credit card companies and negotiate a settlement for 60-70% of what your outstanding balance is.

I have also begun to research filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This would eliminate my credit card while allowing me to retain all of my real estate (it's not like there's equity in any of them anyway).

I am currently in the process of loan modifications on two of the properties I own. One loan is with Countrywide and the other with Washington Mutual. The outcome of these loan mods will determine my decision for all of my credit card debt.

On a more positive note, my business is doing well considering the economy and recession.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

World Ventures LLC seminar - MLM Pyramid scheme?

Last night I was indirectly invited to a World Ventures seminar. It's a multi-level marketing (MLM) company that offers two ways to make money. Once you sign up as a "Travel consultant", you have a website like YTB, Expedia or any other travel booking site. If people book their travel through your site, you will make a commission. The second method of making money is to get people to sign up as "Travel consultants" under you thereby creating a pyramid, network or downline for yourself. The other product they offer is a paid membership to DreamTrips, a service that is supposed to get you discounted travel at amazingly low rates. There are guys in the company making $2.4 million a year, supposedly.

Sounds too good to be true? After doing some research on the company on Google and Yahoo, I found forums of people discussing World Ventures. All of the sponsored search results refer to this company as a scam. Digging deeper, I found that the founders of this company were all top performers in Pre-Paid Legal and YTB (Your Travel Business) MLM companies. YTB was in the news recently for being a scam and owing their reps a lot of money. Pre-Paid Legal had a lot of buzz around 2003 and since has died down a lot.

I have always been skeptical of pyramid schemes and the only product I'm interested in is the discounted travel, but even that seems possible without the paid membership.

Jeff Johnston, a former professional golfer was the speaker at the presentation last night. A 26 year-old Carlos Rogers was also mentioned. These guys are travelling and putting on these seminars with their top producers to keep it going.

Summary: The founders of World Ventures LLC are Wayne Nugent, Dan Stammen and Mike Azcue, all of whom were top producers for Pre-Paid Legal, YTB and other MLM companies. They learn the business, the ins and outs and form a network and decide why will they work for the guy up there when they can break off and form their own MLM company. Then, this company really has no product and tries to sell people the dream that they can travel to "hot spots" around the world for pennies on the dollar. The reason they're able to negotiate these deals with cruise lines is because they are getting group discounts during the lowest possible seasons for travel to these destinations. It has been proven that you will NOT make money from your own travel site. How will your non-appealing, identical to all the other idiots site compete with Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz. The only way to make money is to sign people up to become "travel consultants". These MLM companies thrive on finding a few really good salesmen that really portray their belief in a product. Every wanna-be that signs up thinks they can be like these super salesmen and pays thousands to attend leadership conferences and "Accelerated Training" seminars in hopes that they can grow their pyramid networks.

Some of the most successful companies are really selling hope, disguised as a product or service.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Check out Anthony Robbins Change Your Life Now

This is the inspiration I received from a friend today...

I want you to take a look at: Anthony Robbins Change Your Life Now 

Monday, October 20, 2008

Green savings.

The fact that I'm in over a million dollars of debt means that I need to examine my expenses and make cuts where I can. I am always looking for ways to lower my utility bills while being "Green". Not only is this better for our world, but it also puts a little extra money in my pocket.

The electric bill is one that I know I have some control over. One of my friends that works for Southern California Edison (SCE) recommended that I gradually turn things on (such as lights, coolers, fax machine, etc.) when I open my business in the morning and unplug all appliances and electronics that are not in use at night. She's not the only source I've heard this from. I also saw an episode of the Oprah Winfrey show with a "Green" guest speaker that was talking about ways to cut electricity costs.

Vampire energy is when electronics or appliances are not in use but still consuming low levels of energy. The easiest and most convenient way to cutoff the energy to devices is to use a surge protector. All you will have to do is hit the switch before leaving home. This is a great way to completely turn off your computer, printer, monitor and other computer peripherals. A surge protector should also be installed in your kitchen for the toaster, coffee maker and can opener.

I used the same if not more energy in my business in September versus August, but my bill was $60 less because I have been turning off all of the surge protectors and unplugging all other items. Millionaires need to save money too.

Being "Green" is cool now. With small changes by the individual, we can make a large difference as a community.

A productive day off.

I decided to take a day off after working for 45 days straight! Yesterday was my first day off in a month and a half and I was fairly productive. I decided to do laundry, vacuum my townhome and fix the toilet. I became a certified plumber (at least in my mind) yesterday fixing the toilet. I shut off the water supply to the toilet when I moved back in because my tenants received a $200 water bill due to the water running even when not in use. First, I went to Home Depot and purchased a new seal because it was obvious that the toilet needed a new one. After replacing the seal there was no improvement so I returned to Home Depot. The same associate assisted me in deciding to replace my old school fill valve with newer technology by Fluidmaster which eliminates the ballcock. Went home, replaced the valve and it was better, but water was still going into the toilet bowl. Three's a charm, so I returned to Home Depot and spoke to Dean my plumbing counselor again. Now, there was only one other part to replace and it was the flush valve. I bought the Fluidmaster flush valve and went to work. I had to take the tank off of the toilet to install this valve. I wasn't nervous at all and everything seemed to go smoothly. At last, my toilet is now functional without any leaks! I am always amazed at how much dirt and other unidentifiable objects my vacuum picks up from the carpets.

A busy schedule with minimal downtime means more productivity during your freetime.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Sometimes I wonder.

Everyday I think about where I'm headed in life and if I am going to succeed in creating the lifestyle I have envisioned for myself. There is not one day that goes by without it crossing my mind. Sometimes I feel motivated and know that I am going to make it regardless of any obstacles. Other times I feel down and out, doubtful and slightly depressed.

I know that I am only 25 years old and have a lot of time to accomplish my goals. On the other hand when I hear about other successful young entrepreneurs, I feel less accomplished and inferior to them. I know that I have the potential to do more and that is what drives me to keep going everyday. I have been working 90 hour weeks for over a month now and still do not feel tired or exhausted. The feeling is fresh and this is another chapter in my blessed life.

I have been through a lot that nobody knows about, but I am determined to never let the dark clouds of my past get in the way of my future. There are many people out there who are mad at the world and blame everyone and everything for their failures in life however, I beg to differ.

Everything thus far has happened for a reason and I have conditioned myself to look at it all as lessons of life.

My attitude is the most important factor in my life's equation.