In December 2017, after 5 yrs, my wife and I got tired of our 600 sf apt in Boston MA for $2,500 a month.

So we made a list of what 20% of our activities that brought us 80% of our joy and set out to find a city that had all of those things.

Here's what we did...
I made my list:

Craft beer / cycling / music scene
College vibe / sports
Fishing / hiking
Affordable country club (golf)
Lakes / Mountains nearby
Entre community

She made hers:

Restaurant scene
Beach within 5 hrs
Yoga
Coffee culture
Family friendly
Live music
Our criteria:

Less than 1:20 from major airport + city
55+ in January
100k+ ppl
New build 4 bedroom for under $300k, less than 12 minutes from downtown
East of Mississippi River

I was investing every single dollar I had to my name into self storage so we needed to live cheap..
My partner and I made the decision to take the management team for our service business (yes, an in person sweaty service) 100% remote.

No office. No geo footprint. No more high cost, city living.
On January 2nd 2018 we packed up our 6 month old and went on a 45 day journey to check out some cities that had a lot of what we wanted.

We visited:

Asheville NC
Athens GA
Bloomington IN
Columbia SC
Charlotte NC
Raleigh NC
After a few weeks on Zillow (and 7 days in the town) we chose Athens GA. On July 3rd 2018 we closed on a 3,000 sf home 9 mins from downtown with an unfinished basement and 2 car garage for $289,000.

The only problem was we didn't know anyone at all within 5 hours of Athens...
Turns out the tribe makes or breaks the location no matter how much there is to do, so we got to work.

We introduced ourselves to people at church, in the co-working place i rented, and even at the park and grocery store.

It was uncomfortable and it was WORK.
Soon enough we had our tribe and fell in love with the city.

The cost of living
The hospitality
The culture
The food

And on and on...
And my business didn't skip a beat. We bought 5 self storage properties in the first 12 months (all in the northeast). Our service business had its best year ever.

And we had a yard and we wore shorts in January and our mortgage was $1200 a month.
Baby #2 came. Covid came. The world changed for us and for everyone.

And we felt lucky every day that we had a garage and back yard to spend time in.
The entire journey was scary as hell. Every few hours my wife and I would look at each other and ask what the hell we were doing.

Leaving the comfort of where we were telling ourselves we needed to be wasn't easy.

But it was so freeing and exciting at the same time.
If you're considering taking a leap, do it.

Life gets fun when you get out of your comfort zone. And creating an entirely new environment, with new people, living how you want to live, is as rewarding as it gets.

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More from @sweatystartup

28 Sep
How to get rich without getting lucky:

Find a way to make $100 an hour doing something simple IN YOUR TOWN.

Do it until you have $10k+ in the bank and you’re too busy to sell new customers.

Hire employee for $25 / hr to do what you do so you can sell new customers.

Repeat.
Be willing to work and sweat and even maybe scrub toilets for 3-6 months.

Look at the market unemotionally. It’s not about you and what you love doing.

Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Look at competition as a sign there is money to be made.
Compete with folks who run their business like its 1985 with secretaries, yellow pages, and cash.

Wrap in technology. Never take cash. Outsource accounting and get software for all other admin.

Turn quotes in 10 mins or less without site visits.

Book in 30 secs or less.
Read 11 tweets
23 Sep
I'm convinced that 99% of new business ideas are over-complicated.

YOU DON'T NEED TO BE DIFFERENT TO WIN.

Its about getting your slice of the pie. Go after a big pie and get your slice!

Don't try to invent your own recipe to a new pie and make it from scratch.
Its not about you and what you want to do and your ego and drive to change the world!

Do the common things uncommonly well and you can win.

In a lot of industries (home services) if you simply answer the phone and show up you can get your slice!
The passion projects are markets filled with selfish and delusional people.

The ones who love what they do so much they don't act as rational actors.

They'll stay open too long and with prices too low and smile the entire time.
Read 6 tweets
17 Sep
I'm convinced a lot of my success in life can be attributed to taking the path of least resistance.

I got a lot of advice like "do what you love, log 10,000 hrs, become an expert".

Horrible advice.

Instead, look at every decision like this:

What are my odds of success?
How successful is the person in the 50th percentile?

Pretty darn successful? Decent work / life balance if you do it right? Good opportunities from there?

Lets do it.

Unknown, broke, hoping for a big break? Or rich but throwing down 80 hrs a week and divorced?

No thanks.
The ability to put down the ego and realize I might not be in the top 5% of this field. Ever.

The ability to make unemotional decisions driven by logic and rational thinking vs dreams and desires and selfishness.

And being okay with not changing the world on day one...
Read 7 tweets
17 Sep
Spotted while snooping on Google Maps at storage facilities...

Two random people being kind to each other! Image
My partner makes fun of me but you really can get a feel for a town and its culture by driving the streets on Google Maps. Especially the gas stations.

By the time I get to the facility to meet the owner I know my way around town and how it feels. Weird I know! Image
I always check out the businesses downtown. And the amount of people out and about, parking spots taken, etc.

No scientific data here folks. But if you're looking at out of state RE, I think this practice is worth it. ImageImageImageImage
Read 4 tweets
16 Sep
On Sep 3rd we closed on a 120k sf glove factory built in 1890 in Gloversville NY.

Has 50k sf of self storage inside and is cashflowing $8k a month.

We used none of our own cash and received $50k on closing day.

A thread on creating $2 million out of thin air in 18 months...
First saw the property on Loopnet in mid 2018. I ignored it. Who wants to try to operate a building in an old factory in a dying NY town.

A few months later I reached out. Broker sent me financials. They were good. $25k a month in revenue and $10k in expenses.
So I visited the property and took this footage. It was old. Needed a new roof. Probably environmental issues. Full time manager. Only accessible to customers 9am-5pm M-S. No autopay. A lot of folks paying 1/2 market rent.

I loved everything about it.

Read 16 tweets
15 Sep
Even better. Buy an 8.5 cap deal, keep debt as your own equity as if investors are buying an unlevered asset, send investors 8.5% every year, and you own 70%.
Investors are thrilled to get 8.5% risk adjusted return in cash virtually tax free for a few years with bonus depreciation.

You take the risk, get the deal, sign the note, do the work and get most of the upside, as you should.
Then turn that 8 cap into a 12 by operating it really well. Value goes up 50%.

ReFi, offer your partners a buyout at new value, if they stay in you get all ReFi money (your 70% grew).

If they want out you get equity and they lock in their 20% IRR and reinvest in next deal.
Read 11 tweets

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