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.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


I'm taking it easy while running my business today. I haven't taken a full day off in the past 30 days and have been working about 90 hours each week. I started listening to XM Satellite Radio as soon as I opened the shop through DirecTV but something wasn't right today. I began to think about where I am in life and where I would like to be. The next decision was to find some inspiration, so I searched for millionaire blogs on Google.

The first two results were "The Millionaire Blog" and "The Millionaire Mommy Next Door". I looked at these two and found some inspiring words that helped alleviate my concerned mood. The fourth search result was a "Young Millionaires - Blog Toplist" where I found Ephren Taylor. He's a 25 year old successful entrepreneur who designed his own video game at the age of 12 and had a company in high school worth a few million dollars! I watched a few of his videos on YouTube including his appearances on the Montel Williams show and The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch.

It was very inspiring to hear him talk about his humble upbringing to where he is now. He currently manages over $250 million in assets and is relocating from San Francisco to New York City where he accepted a job as a Hedge Fund Manager.

My prayer has been answered.

So, the currency exchange rate rose to above $1.40, almost reaching $1.50 Australian for every American dollar yesterday! This is going to be very helpful in purchasing this home because our money is worth a lot more over there in Oz (nickname for Australia).

I chose my solicitor which was referred by my real estate agent. I am going to contact my loan officer at Westpac Bank today to keep her updated on where I'm at in the process.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

My offer has been accepted.

The builder of the home in Sydney, Australia has accepted my offer of $511,250 for the home I am purchasing for my mother. The home was listed for $569k when I was there in August of this year. It's a beautiful home and definitely too large for my single mother, however we're getting the most for our money on the property versus all of the other ones for sale. Now, I have to get approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) in Australia before I can enter a sales contract on the home. I have contacted Solicitors (basically an escrow company) to help me through the process. I have been quoted $1,500 for their services which is reasonable. I am really happy to see that the exchange rate has improved drastically for the U.S. dollar (USD) to the Australian dollar (AUD). Currently on, it's showing that I will get $1.38 AUD for every USD which is much better than last week. I am praying for a rate over $1.40 AUD which will be really helpful in the amount of USD that I need to wire over there for the purchase.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Purchasing a $500,000 home in Sydney, Australia

However, it's not for me. The home I'm purchasing in Sydney is for my mother. After living in the United States for roughly 30 years, my mother has decided that she wants to be with her family in Sydney. This move isn't going to be easy by any means. The home costs half a million Australian dollars, shipping the furniture will be another $10,000 and this is just the beginning. I'm sure there are going to be other costs that we overlooked.

It's a tough call. What I mean by this is that I want to make my mother happy and buy her the home of her dreams. On the other hand, I could possibly drown in debt. Not only will I be responsible for the mortgage in Australia, but also a couple of mortgages over here in Southern California.

I need to analyze all of my debt and monthly obligations to see if this is even going to work.

Monday, September 29, 2008

College and my first properties.

I continued to attend school and work full-time at Nordstrom for the next two years. During this period, I also started to sell shoes on eBay with a partner. Our main products were Diesel and Michael Jordan shoes. I also picked up a part-time job at a local pharmacy delivering medication all over the Westside of Los Angeles.

I thought I would get my degree from University of California, Riverside (UCR), so a couple friends and I rented a townhouse in Riverside. After attending Riverside Community College (RCC) for another one and a half years, I went to Cal State San Bernardino (CSUSB) for one quarter and then finally transferred to California Polytechnic University, Pomona (Cal Poly).

During this period, I applied for an accounting internship at a local manufacturing company. After four months I was offered an accounting supervisor position, two levels up from my internship position. I began to make really good money and was able to put enough money aside to purchase my first investment property. I was also able to payoff my second new car that I had purchased.

During the planning stages of transferring to Cal Poly Pomona, I did not want to commute from Riverside and wanted to purchase a condo for myself. I began to save and search for the right home. I found an ideal townhouse in Rancho Cucamonga and made arrangements to purchase this home for myself. I knew I could not afford the mortgage payments by myself, so I planned on renting two out of the three bedrooms to other students.

My success during my college years showed me that I was destined for something great. I wasn't exactly sure what, but I just felt different from everyone else. The results experienced in this part of my life further supported my belief in the saying, "You can accomplish anything you put your mind to."

A little background info.

I decided at the age of 12 that I was tired of seeing my single mother struggle. I watched my mother sell almost everything in our home (furniture, jewelry, electronics, appliances, etc.) by holding weekly garage sales and posting ads in a free publication, the PennySaver. We were almost homeless. I knew things weren't getting better when our car was repossessed and we were six months behind on the mortgage.

I definitely felt like I needed to live up to the title of "man of the house" at the age of 12 and decided to get myself a job. I mowed lawns, washed cars and worked at a convenience store after school. I wasn't earning much but being able to pay for my own stuff, buy groceries and pay the utility bills for us felt good. At 14, I was waking up at 3 a.m. to work at a donut shop and remained at this job until I was 16 years old. I didn't have to get paid "under the table" anymore, so I started working two legitimate jobs the day after I turned 16 in July of 1999. I worked for Arco (AM/PM) and McDonald's for the whole summer. My shift at Arco began at 6 a.m. and only consisted of cleaning and stocking. Since I wasn't 18 yet, I could not be a cashier. I would leave Arco at 2 p.m. and begin my shift at McDonald's at 2:30 p.m. My shift would usually end at ten but sometimes they would need me to cover for someone else or help close so I would be there till midnight.

Six months later, I found a job working at Ralph Lauren Footwear which paid better and had a small amount of commission. A few months after landing this job, I was able to purchase my first brand new car on my own. After finishing high school early and while waiting for my friends to finish so we could walk and graduate together, I took on an additional two part-time jobs. At this point, my schedule consisted of 32 hours at Polo, 12 to 20 hours at Pacific Sunwear and 24 hours at a grocery store. This period of nonstop labor demonstrated to me why I needed to attend college.

After my graduation, I moved to Los Angeles to attend Santa Monica College. Within two weeks of moving to L.A. and after a few part-time job offers on the table, I chose to work for Bed Bath & Beyond. A couple months into classes, the professor of my business class assigned a project where we had to do research on a company of our choice and try to get as much information as possible on the internal structure and operations. I chose Nordstrom as my company after reading The Nordstrom Way. After a month into the project and an interview later, I landed a sales associate position with the brand new Nordstrom at The Grove near the Beverly Center.

I also joined the Rotaract Club on campus which invited local business owners from the Rotary Club. I became the treasurer of the club, but also organized events that our club could participate in such as Heal the Bay and a September 11th car wash fundraiser.

Los Angeles gave me inspiration and something to look forward to. The city and people that I met there helped make my vision clearer for the lifestyle I picture myself leading.

The Passion and Desire to Overcome.

How is it possible that a 25 year old can be in almost $1 million of debt? Allow me to explain.

My debt portfolio consists of four mortgages, one unsecured personal line of credit, one student loan and 15 credit cards/accounts which equates to almost a million dollars in liabilities.

Shortly, I will pass the million dollar mark by adding another mortgage to the list.

Your next question is how did this 25 year old gather enough money to purchase four properties and how did he establish such credit worthiness?