Look, we all have problems. All of us. Sure, they vary in size and severity, but we all have them. How we deal with them, how quickly we deal with them, and how committed we are to dealing with them will ultimately determine the role they play in our lives. Unfortunately, I know too many people who let problems linger (or pretend they don’t exist altogether) and find themselves in an insane pickle that is not easily remedied. So that inspired me to remind everyone about what I call “the rule of problems.”
Before we get started, let’s define “problem“.
1.a matter or situation regarded as unwelcome or harmful and needing to be dealt with and overcome.
The Rule of Problems
The Rule of Problems is stated as follows: If you have a small problem and choose to ignore it, the problem will grow. If your problem grows long enough, it will become a large problem. If your large problem goes unattended long enough, it will become chronic. When your large problem becomes a chronic problem, it will eventually explode. The longer you wait to deal with the problem, the more challenging it becomes to resolve. If you wait too long, it will become unsolvable.
This can be applied to anything. Financial neglect, personal neglect, mental neglect, health neglect, neglect of relationships, etc. If you know damn well that you have a problem and you’re closing your eyes, waiting for the “right time”, or wishing for it to resolve itself, you’re going to wake up one day with a chronic problem – or an explosion – that you’ll be forced to clean up.
It is so much easier to acknowledge and handle our problems today than in the future. Our weaknesses, stresses, anxieties, financial issues, weight, bad habits or lack of discipline are nothing compared to the mess created by neglect or procrastination compounded over time.
It may not be sexy to do the hard work necessary to handle your problems now. I know we all just want to be perfect little snowflakes. I know you don’t have the time. But look – you either handle your stuff now when you are in control, or you’ll have the opportunity to handle it later when you’re picking up the pieces.
So let’s go.
Look, in case you didn’t know, I am a die-hard Outer Banks (OBX) lover. I don’t know what to tell you – it’s the perfect vacation for me. No chain restaurants or businesses within 2 hours. No clubs. No BS. Limited people. Local seafood. The only thing you can do there is breathe. And relax. Drive your Jeep on the beach and then sit for a while. Surf. Spend time with family and friends. That’s the OBX in a nutshell. It’s the perfect retreat for friends, business partners, and family.
I try to go every year to the Outer Banks (Frisco, NC in particular). I grab a big, beachfront house. We stock the fridge. And we celebrate life.
Here’s my top 10 for the Outer Banks:
- Watching sunset at The Point in Cape Hatteras (You’ll need a 4WD car to get there, so get one).
- Hushpuppies at the Quarterdeck
- Apple Uglies at Orange Blossom
- Morning Coffee at Dancing Turtle Coffee Shop
- Going to Ocracoke, Howard’s Pub, and exploring Ocracoke (whole day adventure due to ferry)
- Grabbing drinks at Brew-Thru
- Buying local shrimp and tuna steaks at Risky Business (Wife is a pro tuna chef)
- Chatting up the fisherman at the Red Drum Tackle Shop
- Best sandwich on the island is at the Frisco Sandwich Co.
- Favorite beach is by Billy Mitchell Airport on Ramp 49 in Frisco
Oh, and highlight of this trip was, undoubtedly, my good friend James getting engaged. Congrats, big guy. Sam’s a keeper.
Ali and I had been intending to visit Seattle for the longest time. From the hiking, to the food, to the weather, to the water, it has always been a place we wanted to spend some time. Even more importantly, I have family there and my good friend and groomsman Mark lives out there (he left Ohio for rainier pastures, I guess).
Anyway, we secured a glorious AirBnb with our friends (and now travel buddies, Garrett & Breana) in Fremont, and explored Seattle’s finest for a week. From delicious food, ferries, hiking, swimming in freezing rivers, and Pike Place, we like to think we got a good taste (pun intended) of Seattle life.
I won’t make this a long post, as I’ll let the photos do the talking. However, here were some of our favorite things about Seattle.
- The Fish Toss at Pike Place Fish Market
- Cocktails at Canon
- Top Pot Donuts
- Hiking the Twin Falls Trailhead and Swimming in the ICE FREAKING COLD RIVER
- Rooftop Cocktails at The Nest (Another glorious Thompson hotel)
- The Ferry to Bainbridge Island and of course the Bainbridge Brewery on Bainbridge
- The Chihuly Exhibit at the Space Needle
- Sipping afternoon Rosé at The Grape Choice in Kirkland
- Glorious Soup Dumplings at the Din Tai Fun Dumpling House in Bellevue
- Cruising Lake Union in our little boat from The Electric Boat Co.
There is so much to do in Seattle that you frankly couldn’t do it all in a year, let alone a week. Guess it’s an excuse to go back.
Okay people, let’s get started on Flip #2!
After the success of the last real estate flip I did with my good friend JJ, I decided to tackle another project with him since I had some capital on the sidelines after our last multiunit apartment building sold in May.
You can see the before pictures of this project below.
Here are the details:
Purchase Price: $45,000
Rehab Budget: $15,000
Projected Sale Price: $90,000
Projected Time Frame: 4 months
Investment: $60,000 (Financing Entire Project)
Fixed Return: 22% (Regardless of Time)
Expected Annualized Return (Assuming 4 Months): 66%
Let’s see how it goes!
Here are the before photos:
The best thing my parents ever did for my development, growth, and confidence was to cut me off.
At 20 years old, my parents told me to move out, fend for myself, and figure out my life. Not saying they weren’t there for me if I made a colossal mistake, but they forced me to find a crappy apartment on my own (with Mitchell Clemens), work 60 hours a week at a crappy job (RIP Circuit City), and learn how to live as a responsible adult.
Of course, as a 20-year-old I totally resented them for this. They could have easily carried me, coddled me, and enabled me, but instead, they made the hard decision – they forced me to grow. They knew it wouldn’t be easy, and they knew it would likely strain our relationship. But their #1 priority was to be parents – not popular.
But today, I am truly grateful that my parents didn’t treat me like a unique snowflake. I am so grateful they treated me like an adult, and forced me to grow up. I learned how to fend for myself, I learned how to hustle, I learned that I can count on myself. Those lessons are invaluable.
In an era of entitled brats, with people that want millions before they’ve earned thousands and people that want 6-packs without going to the gym, I’m so glad my parents taught me the value of hard work and self-reliance. Parenting is not about giving your kids everything they want – it’s giving them what they need so they can be their best selves.
Knocked out a real estate flip here in Cincinnati recently, and we closed today.
Return: 25% Fixed (Regardless of time)
Total Amount Returned: $37,500 ($7,500 Profit)
Projected Time Frame: 6 months
Actual Time Frame: 8 months
Annualized Rate of Return: 37.5%
Dow Jones Returns During the Same Period: 7.27%
I have always been more interested in the multiunit real estate side of things than I have for flipping homes. I love the cash flow, low risk (especially in affordable housing), and long term capital gain potential. As such, I never really considered doing a real estate flip, and in fact, if anything I’d be more inclined to buy, hold, and rent single family homes than renovate and sell. With that said, a good friend of mine, JJ, came to me with an opportunity to finance a flip for a fixed 25% return (regardless of time), and I gave it a shot.
JJ aspires to be a monster flipper, with a goal of doing 60 homes a year (if not more). The agreement we made was for a 25% flat return, with a projected project timeline of 6 months. Hard to turn away a 50% annualized return projection, despite the market risk (we are in an overheated market right now).
Things went smoothly, generally, though we had some contractor issues that delayed the project by about 8 weeks. As such, my annualized return shrank from the projected 50% to about 37.5%, which is still wonderful and I won’t complain about it.
We picked this home up for $70,000 and put $75,000 into it. It was sold 8 months later for $207,000. Not a bad deal for everyone involved.
Check out some photos of the project below.
Took a much needed “unplug trip” to Naples and Hutchinson Island for a 5-day weekend with the bosslady and had a few spectacular experiences I figured I’d share on the old blog.
First things first, we have a place in Naples so we don’t typically try too many new things as we’re creatures of habit. With that said, we had some great new food, coffee, and a glorious experience on a catamaran.
New food was highlighted by the delicious Captain & Krewe, which had spectacularly fresh and local seafood (I’m a sucker for fresh seafood, being a Midwesterner).
Post Krewe, we made a stop at the always delicious Bad Ass Coffee, featuring the best Kona coffee in Florida (my opinion, at least).
Despite having been traveling to Naples for over 20 years, it’s truly shocking we had never visited Jack’s Seafood & Grill, a local bar with delicious food, live music every night, and (very) generous beverage pours. Strong work, Jack’s.
The highlight of Naples was our catamaran ride on Sweet Liberty. It’s a BYOW (bring your own wine) experience, but this trip was especially beautiful due to a huge storm in the distance. You can see the photo of the sky in the little gallery below – it was spectacular.
After the first half of our trip, we made the drive across Alligator Alley to the east coast of Florida to go deep sea fishing for a day. As luck would have it, my wife’s parents live in a condo on Hutchinson Island, and her father is an extremely skilled deep sea fisherman. As it were, we just had to make the trip.
Results? I caught my first sailfish, which was a 45 minute, 80 pound struggle. Worth it, and hell of a rush. My wife landed a sailfish as well, and she brought it in like a seasoned pro (she’s been deep sea fishing more than I have, obviously).
Anyway, it was a great trip. Had a very good meal at the Sailor’s Return, by the way, if you’re looking for good eats in Stuart.
Teaching anyone to think that activity is the same as achievement or that participation is the same as progress is a sure fire way to have an entire country full of people that think they should be rewarded for existing.
You don’t get rewarded just for being a human being, I’m sorry. You can’t just show up for work, spend all day on the Internet, and think somehow you deserve a promotion. Showing up is not “half the battle”…it’s worth zero. Exactly zero.
If you play a game poorly – any game – you should lose, experience the feeling of losing, and then do something about it. You should practice, study, work harder, and get better. You should be humbled and ask questions. Losing should make you sharper. And if you aren’t motivated enough to do something about losing, then you should just accept your life as a “loser” and be okay with it – you have no right to request a free pass, recognition, or a mulligan because you “sort of tried”.
It’s not my job, a parent’s job, and especially not the government’s or taxpayers’ job to make you feel better for losing. It’s not our job to pretend your laziness or lack of priorities isn’t the reason you are where you are.
You know what happens when you do that? Most people will just choose to be “losers” because they get the same rewards as the winners for doing no work, putting in no sweat, and never having to pass the test.
And who can blame them? Much like water will automatically flow to the lowest point, so too will humans (or any animal) if they are rewarded for doing less. Are you telling me that if your boss offered you the same income for only 10 hours a week you wouldn’t take it? Please.
The worst part about empowering this participation trophy culture is that it literally has the opposite of the intended effect. It creates dependent, weak people that will never be able to fend for themselves, will complain about everything that doesn’t go their way – and, worse of all – they will then blame you for it.
This isn’t some post about social services, people in poverty that need support due to systemic issues, or helping people get on their feet. I am all about providing a platform so people can learn to fish for themselves, provided it is a plan that teaches responsibility and accountability – not dependency.
No, I am talking about this culture where everyone feels like they deserve to “be somebody” even though they haven’t done something, anything. You are not a unique snowflake just because you were born. You have to earn it. And much like 90% of lottery winners going broke within a few years because they didn’t earn it, so too will our culture and country if we continue to reward and recognize people for doing nothing.
Took a business trip to the lovely Newport this last week for my tiny house construction start-up, Modern Tiny Living, and it was an absolute blast. I’d never been to this part of the New England area before, and I honestly had no idea how spectacular it was. From the history, to the beer, to the “Newport Mansions“, it was a truly enjoyable trip.
Specifically, this trip was for the Newport Flower Show. The Newport Flower Show is a spectacular garden show with some of the most unbelievable flower arrangements I’d ever seen (granted, I am not a flower pro). This year’s theme included tiny “cottages”, which happened to include tiny homes. We were one of three builders invited, and the only one who wasn’t from the immediate region. It was quite an honor.
The event took place on the grounds of the Rosecliff Mansion. The Rosecliff, for you trivia lovers out there, was the location of the original Great Gatsby film. The oceanfront Rosecliff is truly unbelievable. Acres of oceanfront land, frescoes in the building, and every brick was shipped piece by piece from Scotland over one hundred years ago.
Anyway, beyond the show itself, which featured Martha Stewart as a guest (and our home was featured on her blog), Trent and I did get the chance to run around Newport, Rhode Island and explore the various nooks and crannies of this beautiful, quirky town.
Here’s my favorites list:
Best Coffee (and Donuts): Ma’s Donuts, Coffee, and More
Best Local Beer: Captain’s Daughter, Grey Sail Brewing
Best Lobster Roll: Midtown Oyster Bar
Best Casual Lobster Roll: Easton’s Snack Bar
Best Live Music: Parlor Bar & Kitchen
Best Prohibition Era Bar: Wharf Pub (Go the the small bar)
Here are some shots from the trip: