Business – We Don’t Need No Stinking Processes!…or Do We?

Example of documenting a Business Process.


This week we are back to business basics. I am going to go over Business Processes, specifically, and why they are important to people running small businesses, better known as entrepreneurs.


Growing up, I yearned to run my own business. I was exposed to lots of people running their own businesses and it was seductive…do your own thing, be your own boss, make as much money as you wanted to (I was a poor kid and idolized the idea). But as I grew older, I would observe these various entrepreneurs’ businesses fail and disappear. Some of it was from bad financial practices, (as covered in this story: My History with Money, Pt. I), some of it was from just bad business ideas, but as I have come to realize, all of them were due to not having documented processes & systems in place to operate their business.




What is a Business Process?


A Business Process is a map of the steps needed to be taken to achieve a goal or result. This can be the process for generating a price quotation or making a Big Mac. It is the set of step-by-step instructions to complete that task.


It can be as simple as the process detailed below:




  1. Lay out 2 slices of bread
  2. Spread PB on one slice
  3. Spread Jelly of the other
  4. Put the 2 slices together to complete the PB&J Sandwich


Or it can be extremely detailed, for quality control and efficiency:


Peanut Butter and Jelly Royale


  1. Lay out 2 slices of bread that conform to the QC shape on the QC chart on the wall next to your station
  2. Evenly spread 1 oz. of premium natural peanut butter on the right slice of bread
  3. Evenly spread 1 oz of locally-sourced hand-made strawberry jelly on the left slice of bread
  4. Align the peanut buttered slice of bread over the jelly spread on the other slice of bread and lower it to complete the sandwich


But What About Systems?


Some mistakenly refer to the processes and systems interchangeably. In reality, processes are part of a system. A collection of similar processes make up the system. Let’s you are running a fast food restaurant and you want to ensure that the food presented to the customer is the same, every time. You would document a set of processes for each item on the menu, similar to the PB & J examples above. This collection of processes would be your Food Prep System. You would have a separate system for taking orders and another for inventory, and so on.


Another point about systems is that a system does not have to involve technology. There have been lots of technology systems designed to ease and automate manual systems. An easy one to bring to mind is for accounting. You have many options available for electronic accounting systems, but it is still something that could be done by hand. Not that I am advocating to accomplish your accounting by hand. In most cases, using an electronic accounting system is much more cost-effective than doing your accounting by hand. In our real estate rental business, the accounting is handled using a Google Docs spreadsheet, because the complexity of what we are doing and the time it takes to do it does not yet justify actually paying for an electronic system.


Why do I Need Business Processes?


You may ask yourself “Why do I need business processes?” Well, if you are a sole proprietor, who plans to never expand, hire personnel, step back from working in the business, or sell the business, then you probably don’t need to worry about business processes. Even though you are most likely following business processes already, if the above description fits you, you can probably get away with not documenting your business processes.


If you don’t fit the description above, these are the main reason to document your processes:


Precision and Consistency – You want to ensure that things are being done the same way every time. Borrowing from the Peanut Butter and Jelly Royale example above, if you don’t specify how much of each material to use, then you are left with each order resulting in varying quality AND cost to you as the business owner or operator. While using more peanut butter on a sandwich sometimes seems like a small thing that can be overlooked, it affects your Cost Of Goods Sold (COGS) for that sandwich, and throws off your inventory, which could result in your running out of peanut butter before your next order. This could affect your sales of the Peanut Butter and Jelly Royale until you get more product in.


Even if you are able to go out and source a spot supply of peanut butter, it will most likely further impact your cost.

**For the purposes of this example, the peanut butter sandwich and it’s ingredients are a metaphor for whatever you happen to sell in your business**


Redundancy – It is a good idea to document business processes as a kind of back-up. The reasoning behind this relies on the “Hit By A Bus” theory…If the business process is not documented, how would someone else be able to accomplish the task if the person(s) who know how to do it should get hit by a bus?


Efficiency – By having the detailed steps laid out in a business process, there is less chance of deviation of how to accomplish the task, allowing it to be completed faster. The caveat to this is that the process must already be efficient. One way to ensure efficiency is to review processes periodically to make sure they are the optimal way to achieve the task.


Scalability – Another reason you need to have documented Business Processes is to achieve scalability. Let’s say your company builds a widget and you have an opportunity to lock down a sales contract to deliver 25 widgets a month. Your business historically has only delivered a maximum of 10 widgets a month. How do you scale up your business to be able to produce 150% more product? By bringing in more employees. How do you train the new employees to be able to accomplish those tasks? By having detailed Business Processes for you Widget Production System so that employees can get up to speed faster on how to do their job and allow you to produce that increase in widgets almost immediately.


I hope I have been able to make a compelling case for why you need to have documented Business Processes and helped you to understand how it can help your business.


Here is some recommended reading on Business Processes:


4 Simple Steps to Developing Business Systems


The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It


And, as always, let me know what you think in the comments. Ask questions, tell your story.


If you like my posts, please share them with others and subscribe to this blog.

Personal Improvement – How Do You Spend Your Time?

This week I am going to talk about how you send you time and how it affects progress towards goals. This is a topic that keeps coming up (for me) from various sources and every time it does, I get more of an urge to discuss this topic here. So…here we go.
“How do you spend your time?”
Ask that question of a hundred different people and you are likely to get a hundred different answers. Some people may list every detail, others may just give a twenty-thousand-foot overview.
  • Successful people have goals.
  • Successful people have a plan to reach those goals.
  • Successful people follow a process and their processes are habits.


Observations of Others
In a recent blog post, Dave Van Horn talks about a speaker at a recent investing summit who asked the question “What would you do if you were a billionaire?”
The answers were some form of the three below:
  • “I would travel more.”
  • “I would focus on my passion.”
  • “I would give to charity.”


Dave then goes on to point out that “billionaire” status is not needed to achieve these goals, as evidenced by the speaker, (not a billionaire), only that you budget your time as you do your money to its best possible use. Don’t waste your time doing things that won’t move you forward. You can pay someone to take care of that for you if your time would be better spent being effective.
He then relates how Tony Robbins asks similar questions:
  • What is an extraordinary life for you? – Hopefully this is something that you can achieve in the next six to twelve months.
  • What is preventing this from happening already? – What story do you give as an excuse for not having achieved it already?
  • What needs to change now? – This brings it back to taking action.


This may sound familiar. It is similar to what I outlined in how to resolve overspending.


Once you have set a goal, identified what is stopping you from achieving that goal, and put a plan in place to change things your goal, things may still not happen perfectly.

Life will always throw you curveballs. Our initial reaction is to get emotional and point to all the reasons why we are failures. We can come up with lots of feelings on the subject, but in reality, over the long term, they don’t make much of a difference in the long run. Life goes on.
The way we can get through this is to put it in perspective. Learn from failure. Defeat your emotions with logic. What important things are you missing because you choose to worry versus logically evaluating the facts? Just because you are in control of your emotions does not mean you don’t feel them, just that you are taking care of business so you can deal with your emotions at an appropriate time.
By thinking clearly rather than getting caught up in emotions, General Eisenhower, in WW2, was able to determine a way to defeat the German Blitzkrieg, a battlefield strategy that involved throwing everything they had at the allied forces in a single attack. It was scary and worked in lots of battles, with allied forces so surprised, shocked, and overwhelmed by the speed and ferocity of the attack, that they just gave up.
General Eisenhower realized that the Germans were putting everything they had into the attack, leaving their flanks and rear unprotected. His approach let the Germans attack, but held groups back to flank the German attack, thus surrounding & defeating them.
Here are some quotes that reflect this approach that I find helpful:

“What doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger!” – Jean-Baptiste Emmanuel Zorg (Antagonist from The Fifth Element)

 He wasn’t the originator but is as good an attribution as any. This means that you learn from your mistakes. Dealing with difficulty helps you to become more resilient, more anti-fragile.

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” – Frank Herbert, from the book Dune. 

 It is OK to be scared, but don’t run from it. Face your fears. Once you face your fears, they have little power over you.

“Our actions may be impeded, but there can be no impeding our intentions or dispositions. Because we can accommodate and adapt. The mind adapts and converts to its own purposes the obstacle to our acting. The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way. – Marcus Aurelius – Holiday, Ryan. The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph (p. 1). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

This is similar to the “What doesn’t kill you” quote but goes a little deeper and touches on something that doesn’t seem common these days…the idea that by facing hardship, you grow. In fact, it is the reason for the title of Ryan’s book, “The Obstacle is the way”.

Do the uncomfortable things, if it will further your goals.
Grow from those experiences, so that next time, you either know how to handle it already, or if it is a big issue, avoid it altogether.
Learn from mistakes.
Budget your time.
Budget your money.
Grow, as a person and as a leader.
And, as always, let me know what you think in the comments. Ask questions, tell your story.
If you like my posts, please share them with others and subscribe to this blog.

Personal Improvement – Accountability to Yourself


This week I am going to discuss Accountability. I feel that understanding accountability is very important for succeeding in life. My grandfather told me that I have to be accountable for my actions and words when I was about 10 years old. I have tried to be true to that principle throughout my life.

After he passed away, a few years later, I figured out another lesson…that you should not rely on anyone else to guarantee your success.

The expectation was that we would all, (the grandchildren), continue in the family seafood business. I soon realized that I couldn’t depend on people’s promises to get ahead. That if I wanted something, I had to make it happen myself.

Because of my decision to take control of our future in the last few years, I started a journey of self-improvement. I have learned a good bit and implemented many of the things I have learned. Some things I was already doing, others were revelations. Below is a brief, non-exhaustive summary of what I have learned.

Be Accountable to Yourself!

Decide to Change

Nothing you want to change will change until you decide to change it. Griping and complaining about how bad a situation is will do nothing about it. Saying you will change or want to change will do nothing about it. Until. You. DECIDE. To. CHANGE.

Set Goals

Set goals you want to achieve. Things you want to accomplish. Places to visit. There are a couple of different ways to approach this. One is to take the bucket list approach. Detail everything you want to do. Tim Ferris suggests writing daily goals on a quarter-folded sheet of paper. This way, the list stays small and achievable. Whatever approach you take, remember this:

Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
The Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
Alice: I don’t much care where.
The Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.
Alice: …So long as I get somewhere.
The Cheshire Cat: Oh, you’re sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.

Based on the above, unless you have a goal, you can’t really direct what you are doing. Which leads us to the next step…

Make a Plan

Once you have your goals in place, put together a plan on how to achieve them. Figure out what you will need to do, in the most efficient order you can think of. Try to mitigate risk by thinking of all the bad things that could happen along the way and have a plan for dealing with them.

Find an Accountability Partner

A lot of advice I have run across recommend having an accountability partner. Someone to express your goals to, review them on a regular basis, and help to keep you on track to succeed.

Grow! Achieve! Succeed!

All that is left to do now is to proceed…OK, it’s not that easy, but, the thing to remember is that you will run into setbacks. Things will go sideways every once in a while. Do not let that discourage you. Keep pushing forward and be the YOU you want to be. Like Mike Tyson said, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.” Learn to be resilient. Take responsibility and move forward, ever forward.

And, as always, let me know what you think in the comments. Ask questions, tell your story.

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Personal Finance: Saving Money Versus Saving Money Versus Saving Money

Saving Money…Maybe you should think of it as Rescuing Your Money!


This week I am going to cover saving money. There are many differing thoughts about this topic these days, some of which have valid points. I will also lay out my thoughts on the idea.
Saving Money – Why Should You?
Why should you save money? You can save money for an emergency. You can save money for to buy something special. You can save money for a dream vacation. You can save money for retirement. Your reasons are valid for you.
Tim Ferriss advises that you set dreamlines…goals you want to achieve and figure out how much it will cost, both per month and one-time charges, so you can figure out how to get your retirement now rather than delaying and saving for “one day”. There is also this whole part about coming up with a muse, or business idea that will provide the extra income to cover the costs of achieving that mini-retirement. The other thing is that they should be frequent.
Robert Kiyosaki says “Savers are Losers!”. His reasoning is that no matter how you are saving money, be it in a bank, in a Certificate of Deposit (CD), or in a pickle jar buried in the back yard, you are losing money, at least at this point in time, because of monetary inflation.

MonetaryInflation is an increase in the money supply which generally results in priceinflation.  This acts as a “hidden tax”on the consumers in that country and is the primary cause of price inflation.Monetary inflation is commonly referred to as the government “printingmoney” although the actual process is a bit more complex than just cranking upthe printing presses but the effects are essentially the same.As the money supply increases the currency loses its purchasing powerand the price of goods and services increases.”

Why under the mattress, In a savings account, or In a Certificate of Deposit Costs You Money
Currently the rate of inflation is approximately 2%. Based on the definition above, that means that your money loses 2% of its purchasing power. If your savings account is paying 0.25% interest rate, your money in that account is losing 1.75% with this rate of inflation. If your CD is paying 0.3%, you are losing 1.7%. And if you have it in a pickle jar, you are losing the full 2.0% of purchasing power by not doing anything with it.
Ultimately, as far as I am concerned, instead of just saving money, put your money to work in an investment that will earn you more than the rate of inflation. Historically, the S&P 500 has provided positive returns over the long term, but in some years, like 2008, it had a negative 37% yield.
Overall, accounting for inflation, the market seems to average about a 7% return, but you will be advised to leave your money in the market and let things work themselves out. We have money in the market in the form of traditional & Roth IRAs, regular managed investments, my 401k, and various individual stocks that I play with (not very much).
I, personally, don’t want to devote my time to attempt to master the market.
Why you should make your money work for you
We also are investing in real estate. So far, those investments are working out to about a 9% return. Real estate has many options from flipping, to buy and hold (rentals), to lending, to investing in notes (becoming the mortgage holder for other borrowers). As stated before, BiggerPockets is the best free education on real estate investing you can find.
Additionally, we invested in a high-end door manufacturing business. It is not currently providing a return on investment, but it is improving and still self-sustaining, in addition to providing me and my fellow investors with some of the best business management lessons we have ever run across.
The bottom line, make your money work. To paraphrase the old adage, if your money is not moving forward, it’s falling behind.
And, as always, let me know what you think in the comments. Ask questions, tell your story.
If you like my posts, please share them with others and subscribe to this blog.

Personal Finance: What is an Asset?


Welcome back to the Things I Think About Blog. This week I am going to talk about what assets are, with regards to personal finance.
as·set /ˈaset/ noun
General Definition
a useful or valuable thing, person, or quality.
property owned by a person or company, regarded as having value and available to meet debts, commitments, or legacies.
military equipment, such as planes, ships, communications and radar installations, employed or targeted in military operations.
Accounting definition.
Things that are resources owned by a company and which have future economic value that can be measured and can be expressed in dollars. Examples include cash, investments, accounts receivable, inventory, supplies, land, buildings, equipment, and vehicles.”
The definition we are going to focus on is “Property owned by a person or company…”.
Depending on how you look at things, you can call almost any property an asset. But the real question is will it make you profit? Does it earn you more money than it costs to keep it or can you sell it for  more than you paid or are paying for it?
A phrase you will hear people say is that “your home is your biggest asset”. It can be, but only in specific situations. You can have a large percentage of equity in your home, meaning the difference between what you home is worth versus what you owe on it, but you will only realize that equity if you either sell the property for a gain (if it has appreciated since you bought it), or if you refinance it and harvest the equity, then use that money to invest in something that will make you profit.
While I don’t have the numbers to back it up, I would bet that a lot of people are not in that situation.
Robert Kiyosaki even goes as far as to say that your home is never an asset because it is never bringing in cash flow. He makes the case that overall, you are better off renting and letting someone else worry about repairs, taxes, homeowner’s insurance, etc.
Personally, I tend to agree with him on that front, but I feel that if your goal is to own a home, then you figure out how to make that happen. Make investments that pay for the home you want.
Stay away from buying property that does not bring you profit…like boats, RVs, ATVs, etc. You do not need to spend all kinds of money on shiny objects, especially if they will not make you a profit.
While we are talking about assets or not assets, let’s look at buying a car.
Here in the USA unless you live in a larger metropolitan area, you need a vehicle to get around.
If you are in that situation, remember this interesting statistic, that new cars lose approximately 11% of its value. or what you paid for it, as soon as you drive it off of the lot.
Let’s look at this scenario, you buy a $25,000 car and you are able to get 1.9% financing through the dealership. Taking into account the “drive-off depreciation”, your first 8 car payments will be used to pay off that depreciation. Additionally, it will take another 6 months of payments to cover the rest of the first year of depreciation for that new vehicle.
You would be much better served buying a slightly used vehicle and saving the extra costs associated with buying a new one.
Invest in things that will make you money. Invest in things that provide cash flow. Don’t speculate on appreciation.
And, as always, let me know what you think in the comments. Ask questions, tell your story.
If you like my posts, please share them with others and subscribe to this blog.

Online Workflow Automation

Left: Manual Process; Multiple queries to multiple parties.
Right: Workflow Automation directs processes smoothly.

A couple of weeks ago, I was looking into tools to help automate workflows, preferably online tools. My initial premise was that I wanted to be able to track steps, tasks, and procedures in our real estate investing.

Some of the tasks can be accomplished by the popular IFTTT service. But what I have figured out is that the majority of what you are able to do with IFTTT is geared towards personal convenience and not business processes.
Initially, I was looking at Microsoft Flow, an online workflow automation tool, but while investigating some the connectors for it, I found some built-in integration capabilities already exist in services like Trello and Slack. So, deeper down the rabbit hole I went.
I was able to set up a Slack workspace and that in itself is a pretty cool tool for facilitating and capturing communications, documents, and other business-related information,in addition to being able to tie in to my G-suite Docs.
I mentioned Trello above. I had looked at them in the past, but had not really found it useful for what I was wanting to do, at initial glance. I also remembered that the manufacturing business we invested in uses it to track orders and everything related to the orders. I contacted the investment partner who had set it up and asked him to explain how they were using it.
It is set up like a Kanban board and as each task or set of tasks is accomplished, it is moved to the next stage in the order process. What I don’t like is that it is not automated. Each “card” (where the order information and communications are captured) is moved manually from one column to the next when someone accomplishes a milestone in the process.
A similar service called Pipefy appears to provide the same Kanban-style setup, but it looks like you can set triggers for the cards to automatically advance from one column to the other. Since I just found it as I am writing this post, I don’t have time to investigate yet, but it looks pretty powerful. I think it has the potential to claim a spot in my workflow automation toolbox.
Anyway, I can visualize building out steps the process across the columns and have each card contain the tasks needing to be completed before it moves to the next column.

The more I thought about this, I realized that by combining Slack with something like Trello for the manufacturing business, we could achieve a few long-term goals. Trello actions could be reported into a Slack channel, giving us, (investment partners), a simulacrum of a real time dashboard of what is going on with orders in the manufacturing business. A similar setup could be made for product quotes. Slack channels could be used for communication between employees, management, and investors, respectively. Other channels could be used for Knowledge Management (KM)…a living archive of answers, best practices,documents, etc. I think I will call that channel #stunt_brain!

There are other options for automation and integrating various online applications like Podio, Zapier, and Zoho CRM. I haven’t played with them much, so I can’t really say a whole lot about them other than they exist.

Hopefully this has given you some insight into what I thought to be cool tools to bring efficiency to your workflow.

Let me know what you think in the comments. Ask questions, tell your story.

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My Responses to Tim Ferriss’ “Tribe of Mentors” Questions

This week, I am going to take a swipe at answering the questions from Tim Ferriss’ book, Tribe of Mentors. These are questions distilled and honed from his interviewing many peak performers on his podcast. AND, just to be clear, Tim Ferriss did not ask me these questions. I thought they were interesting in and of themselves and decided to dedicate a post to them.

What is the book (or books) you’ve given most as a gift, and why? Or what are one to three books that have greatly influenced your life?

I haven’t really gifted many books. But I’m trying to change that. As far as books that have greatly influenced me, I have three. Rich Dad,Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki is a really good book for helping you to realize that what you weren’t taught in school about money can hurt you, or at the minimum, make you struggle to achieve your dreams and goals. Depending on your personality, it may rub you the wrong way, but it speaks volumes of truth about making money. The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber provides excellent advice on how to systematize a business so it can run smoothly and grow. And, finally, The 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. I really like because it provides you with principles to lead your life by. Mainly, set up a low-input business to pay for your needs, don’t kill yourself working as a trade-off for retiring at a later age, when there is a good chance that you will be too old or sickly to enjoy it. It fosters the idea of continuous “mini-retirements” throughout your life. And most importantly, with all the free time you create, do something important, do something you care about, do something to impact the world in a good way.

What purchase of $100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last six months (or in recent memory)? My readers love specifics like brand and model, where you found it, etc.

A couple of things I’ve bought have made a positive impact…one is a set of wireless earbuds. I generally have issues with wired earbuds catching on stuff as I walk around or do work, so these are pretty neat in that they do not hang down very far past my neck. The other is a battery pack to charge my phone throughout the day. Depending on what I am doing, sometimes my phone will run down quicker than others. Having the battery pack available to boost it up is nice. Plus,it has enough power to charge the phone twice.

How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a “favorite failure” of yours?

I don’t really have a favorite failure,because there are too many to choose from! I have many failures, that if they would not have happened,I would not be where I am today. So I guess all of my failures are my favorites? Or better yet,the only real failure is the ones you do not learn from.

If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it — metaphorically speaking, getting a message out to millions or billions — what would it say and why? It could be a few words or a paragraph. (If helpful, it can be someone else’s quote: Are there any quotes you think of often or live your life by?)

If you don’t like something in your life, then do something to change it! If you can’t change it, then don’t waste time worrying about it.

What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made? (Could be an investment of money, time, energy, etc.)

So far, I would have to say that the most worthwhile investment I have made is buying a door manufacturing company with some friends. To date, it has been a trying experience and has strained some of the friendships,but i have learned more about operating a business in the past 14 months than I have in most of my career working in the Oil and Gas industry.

What is an unusual habit or an absurd thing that you love?

I tend to approach ideas/tasks/goals with lots of technical detail. For example, as a group, my partners and I decided to build a tool for tracking product shipments and invoicing on a per-order basis to allow forecasting estimated revenue. I visualized a quasi-CRM system with lots of inputs that would return lots of information, but what we really needed was just a spreadsheet similar to a Gantt chart to track the information. We will eventually implement a more detailed CRM system, but I over-engineered it in my mind.

In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?

Two things…realizing that a lot of the decisions I made in my past were most likely influenced by my being infected by the toxoplasmosis gondii parasite, thus helping me to further screen my decisions for risk, and understanding that my outlook / philosophy on life is actually based on stoicism. I don’t know how I arrived at that outlook, but it just made sense to me. Learning more about it has definitely improved how I view the world.

What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the “real world”? What advice should they ignore?

Don’t fall into the mindset trap of working most of your life, toiling away to reach retirement. Work for yourself. Resolve to mostly buy “assets”, things that will provide you with cash flow.

What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

From the oil and gas industry: “Drill the well faster so we can finish faster!” In most cases, you can drill faster than you are able to transport the drilled cuttings out of the hole. It is better to drill at a sustainable rate and have no trouble pulling out of the hole or running casing, thus decreasing overall time spent on the section.

In the last five years, what have you become better at saying no to (distractions, invitations, etc.)? What new realizations and/or approaches helped? Any other tips?

I manage automated equipment and services operations and have done so for the last six years or so. Initially, whenever there were problems, I would access things remotely and resolve the issues, many times at all hours of the day or night. Then the next issue came along,and I would have to solve it also. I realized that if I stopped swooping in to save the day, the employees would be more inclined to solve the issue themselves. This has helped me to keep from feeling overwhelmed. I sleep a lot better now.

When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do? (If helpful: What questions do you ask yourself?)

First, I have learned to say “no” to things. Second, I found that if I use Noisli, I am more relaxed and can focus on the task at hand. Plus it helps to block out unwanted noises and distractions.

I hope you like my “Tribe of Mentors” Q&A responses!

Let me know what you think in the comments. Ask questions, tell your story.

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Real Estate Investing: How We Started Out

Like the game Monopoly, you can grow your money with Real Estate.

This week, we are going to talk about how we started investing in real estate. It wasn’t an overnight decision, or result, for that matter.

My first foray into real estate investing (REI) was to partner with one my uncles and my cousin (his son) to develop an RV park in the Port Fourchon area. It seemed like a great idea…lots of potential for revenue and extended development. And I knew nothing about evaluating the deal to see if it was going to be a money maker or not. I put up the money to initiate the lease of the land ($20,000) and we proceeded to get a loan from a local bank to develop the park. We had to get permits, evaluations, inspections, etc.  The total amount from the bank came to $150,000. Just as the park was about to open, the BP Macondo/Deepwater Horizon oil spill happened and shut down the oil & gas industry in the Gulf of Mexico. The space was leased to a catering company as a staging area for feeding spill cleanup workers and to facilitate a training space.

We eventually opened up the park and began operating. My cousin and his wife managed the operations.

I began traveling around the world a good bit for work and realized that I could not be deeply  involved in the deal in addition to my wife not being happy with me involving us in it in the first place. My cousin offered to buy us out for $30,000, paid over time. This worked for us as it got our  money back, along with about a 17% total ROI.

While the deal made us money, the stress and aggravation of not being in control left us with a bad taste in our mouths.

Fast forward a couple of years and we decided to remodel my in-laws’ home to set up as a rental. My father-in-law passed away the preceding year, leaving the home to my wife. We got it remodeled after a few false starts and bumps in the road. And started renting it out.

I mostly stayed hands-off of the operations and mainly just helped handle repairs & stuff, since it was my wife’s house (via inheritance).

Towards the end of 2015, I started to get aggravated with my job, (for the nth time), and started a more serious search for something else that I could rely on for income. In January of 2016, I found Bigger Pockets, an online forum/educational platform for real estate investors. It was then that I realized that REI was something that I could do. In fact, in a way, we were already doing it. The thing that appealed to me about it was that successful investors rely on systems and processes to make their businesses run well. WOW! I am a “Systems & Processes” type of guy! It was an epiphany, of sorts.

I started listening to podcasts, devouring forum posts related to my topics of interest, attending real estate investor association meetings, and reading books to learn about how to reach my financial goals through  REI. I put together a 30,000 foot overview of what I would like to do and how I could do it. When I discussed my idea with my wife, she was initially skeptical because I repeatedly come up with plans to make money and either never initiate them or follow through on them.

I continued to learn about buying and managing rental properties, along with operating a business. I became more involved in the operation of the existing rental, more or less making it my responsibility.

So, that is how we got started in REI.

Let me know what you think in the comments. Ask questions, tell your story.

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My History With Money, Pt. I

What I grew up seeing around me.
What I wanted to do.

Today I am going to relate my experiences with Money from when I was a child to present day, in a loose chronological order.


My parents split up when I was approximately 10 years old and I don’t really remember a whole lot about our finances prior to that. What I do remember is that after that point, things were not easy.


We moved in with my grandparents, away from friends and family, started a new school, and began a different life. At the end of that school year, I began an unwanted tradition of working every summer on one of my grandfather’s shrimp boats and later in my uncles’ seafood businesses. Whatever money was earned went to help cover costs for my mother, my sister, and me to survive. I would get a hundred dollars at the end of the summer to buy school clothes for the upcoming year and that was the about all I would see of what I made.


My cousins of a similar age were doing the same work as me, but they got to keep all of their money, spending it on nice stereos, toys, etc., because their parents were making money and running a business.


I started learning about the businesses because it seemed like the way to not be poor. What I learned, besides the mechanics of actual operations, were bad money management habits.

Things seemed to be all about making sure you got your share out of the revenue, to the detriment of everything else…spending the holidays at hunting camps, spending the last bit of money you have, with no guarantee of future revenue.

This is not a good model to follow, especially if you are trying to maintain a steady income, much less, grow your income. Eventually, within a few years, both uncles were out of money, with no business to support them, because they only focused on the “right now” and had trouble planning for the long haul.

The takeaway lesson from today’s post is to not spend everything you make. Practice restraint and plan for the future. Short of winning the lottery like a former co-worker, you will not get rich quick. BUT, if you practice this as a habit, it should allow you to prepare for retirement.

Let me know what you think in the comments. Ask questions, tell your story.

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2018 Goals (A Hello World Post for this Blog)


If you do not know me already, my name is Clint Galliano. I live in Louisiana and have worked in the oil and gas industry for most of my career. But I also do other “stuff”. In addition to working in O & G, my wife and I invest in real estate and invested a door manufacturing business, which I sit on the board of.

I started this new blog because I wanted to start posting content mainly not related to my OFTAS Blog (Oilfield, Tech, And Stuff), and leaning more towards finance, business, and investing.

In addition, one of my partners challenged me to write more in 2018. I take it as a growth opportunity.

While 2017 was interesting for me and my family, I am ready to plow into 2018 and grow as a person and as an investor. I am going to set a goal of writing a post a week on this blog, minimum, for the whole year. I may post more, depending on current events.

Below is the list of topics I plan to cover:

  • Business Finance
  • Technology
  • Personal Finance
  • Automation
  • Current Events
  • Personal
  • Real Estate Investing
  • Holiday Lighting Displays
I hope You enjoy my posted and can benefit from them.
Leave me comment to let me know what you think about the topics!
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