How I Built My Oklahoma City Deal Funnel

“You make your money when you buy,” says every savvy real estate investor. Buying the right property at the right price is such a crucial part of the investing process, and it can also be the most challenging, especially in a hot seller’s market like we have in America right now. So how do investors find deals? What’s the trick? Like many other areas in life, there is no easy button or magic sauce. It requires confidence, patience, and, most of all: persistence.

In the Oklahoma City market, I’m trying to acquire deals in multiple ways, and I’m always trying to improve my “deal funnel” via networking and technology. It’s incredibly challenging to find these deals when you don’t live in the market you invest in, but I promise it is possible.

Real Estate Agents

Utilizing an agent is the easiest and most common way for people to find properties. I found my first Oklahoma City property via my real estate agent. An owner approached her, saying he wanted $100,000 for his duplex. The agent recognized that the property fit my criteria and she sent it to me. It was a win all around: my agent made a commission on the deal, the seller got his asking price in cash, and I got a cash-flowing duplex with appreciation potential in an up-and-coming neighborhood. All of this was accomplished without the property ever going on the market!  

However, many agents don’t seek out off-market deals because most of their clients aren’t investors.

What is an Off-Market Deal?

An off-market property is a property for sale that is not listed on the MLS (multiple listing service). Why would someone sell their home directly to a wholesaler or investor rather than listing it through a real estate agent? Many of these homes have been neglected or abandoned for years and wouldn’t qualify for a conventional mortgage. So if they tried to sell the house on the MLS, many people wouldn’t be interested because their bank will not finance a home in below-average condition. The owners of these properties may be people that can’t afford to update the houses, or maybe the home was owned by a parent that recently passed away, and the surviving family members don’t want to deal with the home. Major life events are frequently the catalyst for someone needing to sell a house quickly.

People also sell to wholesalers and investors because they are likely to get cash for the property. When you purchase a property in cash, it usually means the closing process will be much shorter because you don’t have a bank getting involved with a lengthy due diligence period, inspections, and appraisals. Investors usually have lines of credit or private lenders providing the funds to pay cash for these properties. 

Sometimes people need to sell homes for cash quickly!

Wholesalers

Wholesalers are the true hustlers of the real estate world. When you see “We Pay Cash For Your House” signs around a neighborhood, they were probably put up by a wholesaler. When you get text messages and phone calls and postcards from people wanting to buy your house, they’re probably coming from a wholesaler or one of his/her employees. Wholesalers find off-market properties owned by “motivated sellers,” put the property under an assignable contract, and sell the deal to real estate investors. 

I’m on email lists for many different wholesalers in the OKC area. It’s a great way to find off-market properties that need some improvement, but you have to be very careful. Many wholesalers will overestimate what a property is worth once it’s improved and underestimate the amount of work it needs. As a result, wholesalers have a bad reputation in many markets. This deception is why it’s essential to have a good relationship with wholesalers and only work with the honest ones who will give truthful assessments of the property’s condition. I do not rely on the wholesaler’s estimate of a property’s worth once repaired. Instead, I have practiced analyzing properties on my own to get an accurate estimate of the property’s value. My real estate agent helps me with this value estimation, and she also tells me how much rent I can expect to receive each month.

I’ve had success generating leads using REIReply.

Organic Deal Funnel

When I first started looking for properties in Oklahoma City, I quickly realized the properties for sale on the MLS were priced much too high for my strategy. I needed off-market properties owned by motivated sellers, which led me first to wholesalers (since real estate agents don’t typically have much access to off-market deals). Eventually, I realized that I needed to create my own deal funnel. After researching and having conversations with successful wholesalers, I hired a virtual assistant in the Philippines to cold-call property owners and ask if they wanted to sell any of their properties. This process was expensive and didn’t yield many leads at all. 

After some more research, I learned that SMS (text message) marketing was becoming a very effective way to reach more motivated sellers. Many people do not answer calls from numbers they don’t know, but people are much more likely to read a short text message even from an unknown number. 

One of my wholesaler contacts told me about a marketing software platform called REIReply. This software allows you to reach out to potential sellers using SMS, ringless voicemail, cold-calling email, Facebook messenger, and more for a flat monthly rate of $49 (which is way less than I was spending before!). Since signing up for REIReply two months ago, I have gotten one property under contract and have acquired many quality leads! I will continue to use REIReply as my primary source of lead generation. Send me an email at doug@honorandequity.com if you have questions about REIReply.

Goals 

Ultimately, I want deals to be brought to me by people in my network. Brandon Turner (of Bigger Pockets fame) is an excellent example of this concept. He started Open Door Capital, which purchases mobile home parks via syndication deals. Brandon has a massive Instagram following and uses that audience to bring in leads for mobile home parks. I’ve talked to real estate investors who have reached high-levels of success, and when I ask how they find deals, many reply, “People bring deals to me.” 

I will achieve this by continuing to grow my real estate network and provide as much value as I can. If someone in my network hears someone else talk about real estate in OKC, I want them to think about me and connect me with those people. So if you know of anyone who owns property in Oklahoma City they may wish to sell, please let me know! 

I hope you enjoyed this article. Please follow @honorandequity on Instagram and reach out to me via email at doug@honorandequity.com. I love connecting with new people and chatting about real estate!

Oklahoma City Duplex – Progress Update

After months of searching for homes that fit my criteria, I finally closed on my first property in Oklahoma City on December 10, 2020. I plan to BRRRR (Buy, Rehab, Rent, Refinance, Repeat) this property, which is currently in the rehab phase as of February 2021. Below, I’ve provided an update on the property itself, rehab progress (spoiler alert: this one is slow-going), and what I have learned so far.  

The Property and How I Found It

The property is a 1300 square foot, 2 bedroom 2 bathroom duplex located in the growing Northwest side of Oklahoma City. My agent, Abbie Davis, actually presented this property to me while it was off-market.  Abbie and her husband own a property management company called The Property Center in OKC, and one of their clients reached out to Abbie saying he wanted to sell this property for $100,000. His property was already rented for $695 per side per month with solid tenants. Thankfully, Abbie reached out to me after recognizing that this property would be a great fit for my OKC strategy. 

Here are the numbers as we estimated them before putting the property under contract:

Purchase Price: $100,000

After Repair Value (conservative estimate): $156,000

Repairs (mostly cosmetic): $20,000

Time required to make repairs: 3 months

Total Monthly Rent: $1450 total (both sides plus pet fees). Once repairs are complete, property would rent for $1650-1850 total

As mentioned, the property was already rented out and cash-flowing, and since the repairs were mostly cosmetic and on the exterior of the property, we felt confident that we could keep the tenants in place while making the repairs. 

After we put the property under contract at the seller’s asking price, we proceeded with a  thorough inspection. The inspector confirmed that the repair costs would be very close to our original estimate of $20,000. I’ve always heard that rehabs regularly go over budget and take longer to complete than you think, so I made a mental note estimating the rehab would be closer to $25,000 and would take 3 months. 

The Northwest side of OKC is very hot right now! The heart marks the duplex

How I Funded the Deal 

I had finally found the property – now, I needed to come up with $100,000 cash to buy it. Thankfully, I had already been telling friends and family about what I was doing in Oklahoma City and sharing my journey via Instagram (@honorandequity), so I had a few different people already expressing interest in lending money to the LLC. My sister-in-law reached out and said she would 100% be on board lending the money. I contacted a real estate attorney in Oklahoma City to help draw up the contract and promissory note to make it all legitimate. She wired the money directly to the title company in time for closing and that was it! Honor and Equity’s first OKC property was in the books. 

My sister-in-law also agreed to fund the rehab (which we estimated at $20,000-$25,000) and we worked that verbiage into the contract. I felt pretty confident the rehab would go over $20,000, and I decided I would just fund any additional repairs out of my own pocket. 

The Molasses Rehab

If you want to get started on a rehab immediately after closing on a property, don’t buy it right before the Christmas holidays in the middle of a worldwide pandemic! The rehab, already moving like molasses, was slowed down even more by the coldest weather Oklahoma City has seen in over 100 years!

Before I get into the rehab specifics, I want to say that I’ve been working with some fantastic people at The Property Center. This is the property management company I use, and they have been kind enough to let me work directly with their folks who handle the maintenance coordination for the properties they manage. Paul and Sally at TPC have been the project managers on this rehab, including scheduling estimates, coordinating dates and times of the estimates with the tenants, and providing me progress updates, pictures, and confirmation that the work has been completed. As an out-of-state investor, I would not be able to do this strategy without great people like this to help me out! 

In order to figure out the must-do items of the rehab, I reached out to my local insurance agent Shane Jones at State Farm in Oklahoma City. He looked over the inspection report and told me which items I would have to fix in order for State Farm to insure the property. I passed this info along to Paul and Sally at TPC. I then chatted with Paul, Abbie Davis, and Eli Davis to determine what cosmetic repairs to make. We sent that info out to a few different companies to provide estimates and decided on a handyman company they had worked with before.

Here’s a list of most of the repairs:

-New porch decking and handrails

-Exterior Fascia and Trim

-New Windows

-Paint exterior of home, including new fascia, window trim, and porch

-New kitchen tile

-Remove overgrown vegetation

-Install new front door on one unit

-Faucet repairs in bathroom

-New Gutter system

New Fascia and Trim were installed on the exterior of the property

A single company has done a majority of the work, whereas the windows will be completed by a window specialist, and the gutter system will be completed by a separate company as well. 

When we got the first estimate for the window repair, the company told us it would be a 6-week delay at a MINIMUM to get the windows delivered. This was due to the COVID pandemic affecting worldwide supply chains, especially for home improvement items. I’m guessing this is because lots of people have been improving their homes over the last year, and many of these supplies come from China. 

To make matters even worse, in February Oklahoma City saw some extremely cold weather. Because of this, they couldn’t work on the paint and they couldn’t install the gutters until the weather got back above freezing. The city saw below-freezing temps for about 2 total weeks! 

Now that temperatures are back to normal in OKC, we’re making more progress. The biggest delay now is the windows, which still haven’t arrived. Once the windows are installed, the handyman company will update the trim and paint around the windows and most of the work will be complete by that time. We will do a final walkthrough to address minor issues, and then we’ll be on to the appraisal and refinance portion of the BRRRR process.

The new porch being installed!

Lessons Learned So Far

  1. You must have fantastic people on your team! I already knew this one, but the process so far has just reinforced it. If I did not have Paul and Sally at TPC to help project manage this, I would be in a real bind. Also, Abbie and Eli have been extremely helpful with advice on what work to do and what not to do, based on the condition of the home and the neighborhood. 
  1. The rehab will take longer than you think! Thankfully, I had always heard this on BiggerPockets episodes so I knew to expect it – and it is definitely true. The holidays, combined with COVID, compounded by super cold weather have caused the project to take at least twice as long as it would have otherwise. Typically, these longer rehab times would really annoy an investor like myself since I’m paying high-interest rates, but the money is going to my sister-in-law! So the longer the rehab goes, the more money she makes and at least we’re keeping it in the family!
  1. Take Action! Investing from out of state can be stressful. I’m not able to personally see these properties before putting in offers. I’m not able to evaluate all of these contractors in person, and I’m not able to personally inspect the work. This would paralyze many people into inaction. You have to trust your team and accept that you will make mistakes along the way. It’s much better to take action, make a mistake, learn from it, and move on than to be completely paralyzed and do nothing. Successful people take massive action!

I hope you enjoyed this article. Please share your thoughts and questions in the comments below, and make sure you follow @honorandequity on Instagram! Feel free to email me directly at doug@honorandequity.com

My Favorite Books of 2020

Reading is one of my all-time favorite activities. In 2020 I read a total of 44 books, and I thought I would share my favorite non-fiction books from last year, in no particular order. I’d love to hear your thoughts on these books and your recommendations for new books I should read. Please send me a message on Instagram (@honorandequity) or send me an email at doug@honorandequity.com!

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

Phil Knight, Nike’s founder, goes back to Nike’s beginnings in Oregon before Nike was the world’s leading fitness apparel company. Autobiographies are one of my favorite book genres. Especially about successful entrepreneurs, and this one delivers. It’s comforting to hear about how difficult his journey was and how many obstacles he overcame to find success. The book focuses on his upbringing, ups and downs as a collegiate athlete, and Nike’s early years. I would love for Mr. Knight to write a second installment covering Nike from the 1990s to the present day. This book is a must-read for any entrepreneur. 

Atomic Habits by James Clear

I’ve read many books in the ‘personal development’ genre, and I’ve found that most of them are just two or three concepts spread out over 300 pages. Atomic Habits is not one of those books. James Clear provides some excellent insight into how habits work and he provides actionable steps you can implement immediately to get more done and improve your life. If you have big goals for 2021, start with this one so you can implement some healthy habits right off the bat. 

Total Recall by Arnold Schwarzenegger

Did you know that Arnold was a millionaire from real estate investing before he became a famous actor? Did you know that he was a tank operator for the Austrian Army before moving to America? I didn’t either! Total Recall is one of the best autobiographies I’ve ever read, mostly because Arnold has lived an extraordinary life thanks to his super-human ambition and persistence. This book is a case study in setting enormous, crazy goals and working extremely hard to achieve them.

Wealth Can’t Wait by David Osborn

David Osborn is a badass. He’s made a gazillion dollars from real estate, and he’s a co-founder of Gobundance – an organization of dudes who “grab life big” and are obsessed with improving all aspects of their lives. David does a great job of stressing the importance of getting your personal finances squared away, putting your money in places that will make you more money, and focusing on passive investments so you can live your life. He spoke to our mastermind group via Zoom earlier this year. When he dialed into the call, he was playing golf in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, with his wife, just dropping insightful pearls of wisdom on life and business while teeing off and driving around in a golf cart. It was inspiring! He wasn’t sitting at his desk grinding out 80 hour work weeks – his life is set up to make a ton of money passively so he could do whatever the hell he wanted. Wealth Can’t Wait is a must-read book for anyone who doesn’t want to be an employee their entire life. 

Open by Andre Agassi

I’m not a big tennis guy at all, but when I researched “best autobiographies,” this one was on nearly every list – and for a good reason! Andre Agassi is an extremely accomplished professional tennis player who retired only a few years ago. Open is the story of how a regular kid from middle-class Las Vegas became one of the world’s best players. It goes into great detail about growing up on the junior tennis tournament circuit and all the struggles of being a professional athlete. If you’re a tennis fan, you’ll especially love it, because he describes many of his tennis matches in great detail, how he prepared for them, his emotions during the game, and how he dealt with both success and failure afterward.

Buy, Rehab, Rent, Refinance, Repeat by David Greene

I have recommended David Greene’s first book Long-Distance Real Estate Investing, more often than any other real estate book, and his second book blew me away even more than the first. Multiple times during the book, I thought to myself, “why isn’t everyone doing this strategy?!” If you have spent any time in the Bigger Pockets universe, you will probably be familiar with this real estate strategy. If you’re not familiar with it, and you have any interest at all in real estate, you must pick up this book today. It’s a phenomenal strategy for long-term wealth generation that I am currently using to grow my portfolio. Here’s the gist: buy a property that needs some work for well below market value, fix it up, rent it out, do a cash-out refinance to a long-term mortgage, repeat!

The Millionaire Real Estate Investor by Gary Keller

“Anyone can do it. Not everyone will.” If I could only recommend a single real estate book, it would be this one. Gary Keller (founder of Keller Williams Realty) has had enormous success in real estate, so he has a lot of wisdom to impart to the reader. In this book, he hits many important macro concepts and addresses many different strategies people have used to become wealthy. He also talks about how crucial it is to have a great team, build systems, continually strive to improve yourself, always do the right thing and many other vital concepts for wealth creation via real estate. One of my favorite takeaways from this book is from the section on building your network. He recommends asking two questions when you chat with real estate professionals: “Who do you know that I should know?” and “What would you do if you were me?” I try to ask these questions whenever I’m chatting with someone who knows more than I do about real estate – which is almost all the time!

I hope you enjoyed this article. Make sure you follow me on Instagram @honorandequity, and if you would like to connect, you can email me at doug@honorandequity.com!

Honor and Equity 2020 Year in Review

What a year! I started 2020 in Iraq – halfway through a 6-month deployment. Neighboring Iran attacked our base with ballistic missiles, which was a significant moment in U.S./Middle East relations. The COVID pandemic soon overshadowed the attack. Thankfully the pandemic didn’t delay our return from deployment in late March, but we came back to a very different America. 

I was excited about not having to go to work for the first month or so after returning. This freedom meant more time to read, relax, and spend time with my soon-to-be-wife, Caitlin. I enjoy reading, but I was voraciously consuming books, sometimes reading over 100 pages per day with all that downtime. We had planned to be married on May 9th in Miami (we live in San Diego), but like many people in 2020, we had to adjust our life plans. We were married here in San Diego, with only a few family members in attendance. It wasn’t the wedding we expected, but it was pretty fantastic, to be honest. Getting married to Caitlin was, without a doubt, the happiest and most significant moment of the year for me. 

Joining A Mastermind Group

The second most significant moment was when I decided to join a real estate mastermind group for military members and veterans. A friend and mentor named Stuart Grazier (of Storehouse 3:10 Ventures) co-founded the War Room mastermind with David Pere (From Military to Millionaire). I was inspired to join a mastermind group after reading “Tribe of Millionaires,” an allegorical book produced by the founders of Gobundance outlining the benefits of joining a mastermind. (Check out my article about mastermind groups here). Being surrounded by motivated individuals with goals that align with yours is critical for personal growth. I started virtually meeting active duty service members who own multiple properties – and not just single-family homes; I’m talking apartment complexes, RV parks, and mobile home parks. I thought, “Wow, I need to up my game!” So I did

I distinctly remember a post that Stuart Grazier made in our War Room Facebook group in which he challenged everyone to create a ‘thought leadership platform.’ This platform could be a blog, a YouTube channel, a Twitter account – basically any medium through which you can talk about your journey and experiences in real estate. I knew this was something I had to do, so I took action and created Honor and Equity, a personal finance and real estate blog for military members, veterans, and their families. I didn’t know how to design a logo, start a website, create content, or dance in TikTok videos, but I figured it out (minus the TikTok vids!) with the help of family, friends, and fellow War Room members. I’ve always enjoyed talking with anyone who will listen about personal finance, investing, and real estate. The platform would help me share what I have learned with others and document my journey. 

Investing in Oklahoma City

Photo credit Gerson Repreza via unsplash.com

I try to connect with a different War Room member every week because each person has a unique military and investing background. I enjoy hearing about what everyone is working on and what they have done in the past. One of these conversations inspired me in a significant way. Michael Barnhart is an active duty Navy officer like myself currently stationed in England. He told me about how he and his wife were aggressively pursuing real estate in the Midwest utilizing the BRRRR strategy (Buy, Rehab, Rent, Refinance, Repeat – a must-read book by David Greene, by the way). This conversation was my lightbulb moment: if this guy is doing the BRRRR method from England, why am I not doing something similar from San Diego? Almost immediately, I started researching markets and eventually decided on Oklahoma City (check out my article about why I decided on OKC). I re-read Long-Distance Real Estate Investing by David Greene and read his BRRRR book while carefully putting together a team of real estate professionals in OKC to help me achieve my goals. 

Progress has been slow, but I write down my goals every day to stay focused and stay in the right mindset. We finally closed on the first property – a duplex – on December 11th, and everything is going smoothly so far. The home is already rented and needs mostly exterior cosmetic work. We are going to do all the rehab work with the tenants in place and the work should be complete in January/February after which we will do a cash-out refinance. My goal is to acquire two OKC properties per quarter, so if you know of anyone involved in real estate in Oklahoma City, send me a message! I post updates occasionally via the @honorandequity Instagram page, so make sure you’re following to get the most up to date information.

Beyond OKC, we also own a single-family home (SFH) in Pensacola, and we just closed on our third SFH in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We closed on this home in Milwaukee and the duplex in OKC within about 4 days of each other, which doubled the total number of doors we own (3 doors to 6 doors)! Back in April of this year, we invested in a mobile home park (MHP) syndication in Cañon City, Colorado (check out the article here). My favorite part about that MHP investment is I know about half of the other investors (who are also on active duty). The team who put the deal together is led by a husband and wife team (both Army veterans). You may have noticed a theme with my network: I like to work with fellow military folks! I think that someone with 10+ years of service in the military tends also to be someone you can trust that communicates well and has grit and integrity – the same type of person with which you want to invest.

The Milwaukee turnkey properties we own are performing better than expected (thanks Storehouse 3:10 Ventures!), and I hired a new property management company back in May, which was a fantastic decision. The Pensacola property is the star-performer, though: of the properties we own, it has the highest cash-on-cash return and has appreciated the most since it was purchased in 2016. 

Honor and Equity in 2021

Photo credit Immo Wegmann via unsplash.com

H&E has grown a lot since its inception in the summer of 2020, and we will experience substantial growth in 2021. This growth is driven by a desire to help fellow military members and veterans in their personal finance and investing journey. One of my favorite parts about doing this is connecting with people, so if you want to connect or know someone who might want to, please reach out!

Priorities

  • Grow Honor and Equity via the creation of content designed to inspire and educate others within the scope of personal finance, real estate, and investing. 
  • Grow our portfolio in OKC via flips and BRRRR’s. Partner with others to scale and expand with the long-term goal of providing investment opportunities to other military members and veterans.

Thanks for reading this article! Please send me a message on Instagram @honorandequity or send me an email at doug@honorandequity.com!

7 Lessons I Learned in 2020

The author and his wife earlier this year in Idyllwild, CA

It’s important to reflect on your life regularly. I try to do this daily to maintain perspective and focus on the bigger picture rather than get bogged down in life’s daily minutiae. It’s also valuable to reflect on self-improvement. As the curtain falls on 2020, I thought I would share some things I learned throughout the year. 

Your Network is Critical

I like reading autobiographical books by successful people. Within these books, I have never once read something resembling “I did it all by myself. No one helped me get here”. Rather, the opposite is true. No successful person got to that position by themselves: it takes mentors, coaches, employees, family members, friends, and even enemies to encourage and inspire that individual to achieve their big goals. I’ve noticed this is especially true in real estate. If you are finding the deals, financing the projects, doing the rehab yourself, and managing tenants, you’re doing it wrong, and you will likely fail or burn out unless you build a team of experts around you. 

Always Provide Value to Others

I read an insightful book this year titled “The Go-Giver,” which extolls the idea that you must focus on empowering others to achieve their goals to be successful yourself. No one likes being in a partnership or relationship of any kind that is one-sided. We must consider what the people in our network are trying to accomplish and do everything we can to assist them, whether we get anything in return or not. Give without the expectation of receiving anything in return. 

Photo credit @elcarito via unsplash.com

Don’t Set a Reading Goal Based on Total Number of Books Read

There are very few activities I enjoy more than reading. Just give me a good book, a comfortable chair next to a window, and a cup of coffee, and I’m a happy guy. At the beginning of the year, I set a goal to read 50 books. This number was double my goal for 2019, which I exceeded by 1 or 2 books. That sounds like a substantial goal, right? The problem was, I noticed that when deciding on what book to read next, I tended to pick shorter books so I could hit my monthly quota of 4 – 5 books—erring towards shorter books resulted in some more enormous tomes feeling lonely on my bookshelf. In 2021, I will adjust my goal to focus on the number of pages read per day. When I sit down to do my weekly goals every Sunday, I will look at my schedule for the week and decide a daily page number that is attainable. This way, I won’t be discouraged from reading the larger books. 

Plan Long Term, but Take Action every day

Consistent, daily action is a cornerstone of success. But so is making significant long-term goals, right? “The One Thing” by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan taught me that you have to take that big goal you want to hit ten years from now and break it down into progressively smaller chunks to the point that you ask yourself, “What can I do today to make progress toward that goal?” Incremental progress every day eventually results in the achievement of massive goals. This concept applies to business development, fitness, nutrition, relationships – anything you can want to improve in your life. 

Daily Planners Work

When I signed up for a Bigger Pockets Pro account earlier this year, they sent me a free Intention Journal as well. I had heard Brandon Turner (the ‘author’ of the journal) talk about daily planners and their value but never started doing it until they sent me the free 90-day Intention Journal. Wow! I love using it. You write down your goals for the 90 days, then create a plan for the upcoming week for the steps you will take to get you closer to those goals. I use the journal to track my real estate progress, personal fitness, daily reading, and more. As I came closer to filling up the pages of my Intention Journal, I researched different kinds of planners. I decided on the Panda Planner: Venture edition, which is designed for entrepreneurs. There are many kinds of daily planners and journals out there, but I highly recommend you pick one up and start writing down your goals and planning out your days. If you do this, I’m 100% confident you will see more progress towards your goals! Do you have a planner you like a lot? Send me a message on Instagram or an email to doug@honorandequity.com. I’d love to hear about it.

Work on Your Business, Not in Your Business 

Entrepreneurs feel like they have to do everything. “If you want it done right, you have to do it yourself.” This mindset is common at the beginning of any business venture, but if you ever want the business to scale or succeed on its own, you have to delegate and outsource tasks. When I started the Honor and Equity Instagram page, I made the content for the first few months. It was very time consuming: I had to come up with ideas, find images that worked, design the post using social media software (I use Canva), pick what I hoped would be the best hashtags, and come up with a witty caption. I realized I was spending too much time on social media and not having enough time to connect with military members, write helpful articles, and learn more about real estate and investing. This realization led me to hire a virtual assistant to create content for me, so I have more time to work on my business. 

I can’t outsource everything, but I try to regularly assess what I’m doing that feels light and what feels heavy, and I outsource those things that feel heavy. I will likely hire a virtual assistant bookkeeper in 2021 to manage the month-to-month income and expenses for our real estate portfolio. When you hire people, you are creating jobs and enabling them to do more of what they are good at. The owner of a company should be working on the business, not in the business. 

Photo credit @clemono via unsplash.com

Hire Slowly, Fire Quickly

Back in May, I had to fire the property management company that manages our Milwaukee properties. They had become progressively worse with no sign of improvement, so I switched to a fantastic company that performs better and charges less. I knew it would take time and would be inconvenient to change, but I also knew the old company wasn’t performing at the level I expect, so I pulled the trigger and never looked back. It was the right decision. I also had to fire the first social media virtual assistant I hired only a few months ago. He did not communicate well, couldn’t follow basic instructions, and was even dishonest a couple of times. I hired a different company that does much better work and is more professional overall. They are double the price of the previous guy, but it’s worth it. 

In both of these situations, there came the point that I knew it wasn’t the right fit. Once you feel that, you have to end the partnership quickly. Prolonging the relationship will only make things worse for yourself and your business. However, hiring the replacement should be a slow, deliberate decision based on past performance, references, and the degree to which you think they will be compatible with you and your business. I can only work with people who are exceptional communicators. If they take days to respond to a question, they’re out. If they can’t get to the point quickly and tend to dance around the topic at hand, they’re out. You probably have different priorities, so you should communicate those priorities and expectations upfront with a potential hire and ensure they can meet those expectations. 

I hope you gained insight from this article. Please send me a message on Instagram @honorandequity or send me an email at doug@honorandequity.com and share your thoughts!

Oklahoma City: Progress Update

Photo credit: Justin Prine from unsplash.com

Nearly three months ago I decided to start investing in Oklahoma City (OKC). I’ve learned a lot and made a lot of progress since the L.L.C. was established in OKC on August 24th, 2020, so I decided to write an article and update everyone. 

The Criteria

I decided to focus on the northwest side of OKC because that area has the right balance of good schools, affordable property, appreciation potential, and cash flow. It’s also a large enough area to offer a good supply of homes. Within the northwest OKC sub-region, I rely on my team’s local knowledge to ensure a potential property is in a C or better location. 

My focus is on single-family homes and duplexes, with 2 or 3 bedrooms, 1 or more bathrooms, and some value-add potential. I’m not looking for a full rehab on my first few properties, but I want a property that needs some cosmetic work at least. Ideally, the properties would qualify for conventional financing which should weed out most regular home-buyers. The goal is to find properties to BRRRR (Buy, Rehab, Rent, Refinance, Repeat), but I’m also considering flips as well to help fund the business. I’ve learned marketing can get pretty costly so a flip here and there will help pay for those expenses! 

I’m looking for properties that will cost no more than $150,000 including the purchase price and rehab. Most cosmetic rehabs for the homes that meet my criteria will run $15,000-$25,000 (roughly $20 per square foot). 

The Team

Photo Credit: Matteo Vistocco via unsplash.com

“Bring people along with you. No matter how smart your strategy, success, or failure usually comes down to one thing: the team.” Those wise words by Indra Noori, former Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, capture the importance of having a great team around you no matter what you’re trying to achieve. Real estate is no exception, so I spent weeks researching, interviewing, and vetting key members of my real estate team. 

The Bigger Pockets forum was the best way to find people. One of the key finds was when a local OKC real estate investor named Alyssa suggested I contact Eli Davis at The Property Center in OKC, a property management company. I set up a call with Eli (an Army veteran) and had a great conversation discussing what his company does, the local market, and much more. He told me that they not only have an impressive property management operation, but they have great relationships with local contractors whom I could use to do the rehabs on my properties. Also, his wife Abbie is a real estate agent who could help me find deals, AND he knows a great wholesaler. I did my due diligence by following up with all of the references he provided and checking out TPC’s online reviews and website. 

Through one connection on Bigger Pockets, I was able to find a property management company, two deal finders, and a network of contractors. Amazing! I love Bigger Pockets.

On the financial side, I’ve made a few contacts with commercial (a.k.a. hard money) lenders to help fund the deals. They can provide the capital for both the purchase price and rehab very quickly, but that convenience comes with high fees. I learned that I can save thousands of dollars per deal by going with private money instead. I reached out to my network of friends and family and was pleased to find that as many as half a dozen people would be interested in lending me the necessary capital for deals! This was a big win, as it means people believe in me and the process. I also love that I’m able to provide a great return to these people and help them make money! 

A mentor of mine recommended I reach out to a title company in OKC to make sure I have the private lending documentation squared away before I do the first deal. Each state has different paperwork requirements for private lending. I reached out to my OKC network and found a title company that said they would draft the necessary paperwork whenever I do the first deal with private money. This is another huge plus to having a great network! The last thing I want is trying to figure out the right documents to use in a hurry with someone who is trusting me with a large sum of money! 

The final key member of my team is one that may surprise you. I used Upwork.com to hire a virtual assistant in the Philippines to handle most of the marketing. I pull lists of properties from Propstream (software that pulls MLS data on properties) and she cold calls the owners asking if they want to sell. I’m currently working on a plan to send text messages to these owners as well since most people don’t answer calls from numbers they don’t know. 

The Tools

I have started using 4 key software tools since starting this process:

Upwork – Upwork.com is a freelancing platform that connects enterprises and individuals in order to conduct business. I used Upwork to find Lexi, my virtual assistant who specializes in real estate cold calling. I also used Upwork to find the social media management team that creates some of Honor and Equity’s social media content on Facebook and Instagram. 

smrtPhone – smrtPhone.io is a dialing and text messaging software that allows you to call and text people within your web browser. I created an account and gave access to Lexi. She spends about 20 hours per week calling and texting people who own homes in OKC that fit my criteria. My favorite part about smrtPhone is that it syncs well with Podio, another critical tool I use every day.

Podio – Podio is a web-based platform for organizing team communication, business processes, data, and content in project management workspaces. Podio has been invaluable for staying organized. Lexi has access to Honor and Equity’s Podio workspace, and she is able to do her cold-calling and text messaging directly from Podio because it syncs with smrtPhone. For example, I upload potential sellers into Podio, including their name, mailing address, phone number, property address, etc., and Lexi can go straight to that contact in Podio and call them from Podio with one click. It’s pretty awesome.

Propstream – Propstream is Zillow on steroids. It’s a real estate data aggregator that provides up-to-date information on mortgages, tax liens, property ownership, plus everything else you can find on Zillow or Trulia like square footage, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms for a given property, recent sale information for an area, and lots more. 

What’s Next?

As of the publishing of this article, I have submitted 5 total offers on properties in OKC, and one was finally accepted just a few days ago. I will send the earnest money this week and begin the due diligence process. Follow @honorandequity on Instagram to see the progress! Supply is overall very low in OKC due to a super hot seller’s market, but I’m continuing to analyze properties, fine-tune my systems, and improve my deal funnel. I believe there will be more properties up for sale soon as the forbearance period ends and the COVID pandemic becomes more under control. I think 2021 will be a fantastic year for real estate in OKC, and Honor and Equity is poised to capitalize on these opportunities!

Thanks for reading! Make sure you follow @honorandequity on Instagram and send me a message there or send me an email at doug@honorandequity.com if you want to connect!

7 Simple Ways to Improve Your Personal Finances

I love personal finance! Check out these tips and send me a message on Instagram @honorandequity and let me know what you think! 

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute legal or financial advice, so you should consult professionals before making any important decisions. 

Don’t Keep Lots of Cash on Hand

Maybe you’re already a great saver! You track your expenses, you have a budget, and you live below your means. However, if you’re keeping all of your money in a checking or savings account, you are losing money! This is because of inflation: the gradual increase in price of good and services and corresponding decrease in the value of money. $1 today is worth more than that same dollar 5 years from now! So don’t keep your money in your checking account – put it somewhere that money will compound for you like a retirement account, money market account, or lend it to real estate investors. 

Use Personal Capital for Budgeting, Tracking Net Worth, Tracking Expenses

You’re probably on your phone too much already, so you might as well use your phone to increase your awareness of what your money is doing. I prefer the app Personal Capital, but there are many other options like Mint and YNAB (You Need A Budget). If you are going to be in control of your personal finances, you need to know where your money is going and how much you have! It might take an hour or so to connect all your accounts to Personal Capital, but I promise it will be worth it. Sync all your accounts and view your financial world in one app. Set short-term goals for your monthly expenses, long-term goals for your net worth and use Personal Capital to track it all. 

Review your TSP – Don’t Use the G Fund!

If you make automatic contributions to your TSP (Thrift Savings Plan – the low cost retirement account plan for federal employees) then I think you’re awesome and you’re way ahead of most Americans. However, up until a few years ago, when you started a TSP account the default fund was the G fund. This is a very low risk, low reward fund made up of non-marketable U.S. Treasury securities guaranteed by the government. This is a great fund for people in retirement age who just want to preserve the money they have, but unless that describes you, you should put the money into a different fund! Which fund to use is a whole other discussion, but you can’t go wrong with the Lifecycle funds which target a future retirement year based on your age and automatically adjust the allocation as the years go by. Bottom line: if you’re under the age of 60, your money shouldn’t be in the G fund. 

Refinance Loans while Rates are Low

As I’m writing this in October of 2020, interest rates are the lowest they have ever been. Lots of people are refinancing their home mortgages to lock in the lower rates, and if you haven’t done so you should look into it immediately! Personally, I think rates will stay low for at least the next year or so while the Federal Reserve tries to keep the economy propped up, but you never know what the future holds. 

You should also look into refinancing any other substantial loans like auto loans or student loans. It may not be a good idea to refinance those depending on your specific situation, but its worth looking in to. For example, if you are doing the the Federal Student Loan Forgiveness Program (working in the Federal government for 10 years so the government pays off your loan) you likely don’t want to refinance out of that federal loan. Consult with a professional before doing any refinancing! 

Don’t Play the Stock Market!

I am not a big fan of purchasing individual stock, because there are just so many variables and and if you are not a student of that company and how it operates, you probably don’t know enough to throw money at it. Professionals like Warren Buffett invest hundreds of millions into individual companies, but they also have teams of people poring over data such that they know everything there is to know about the company. Many people purchase stock in companies based on emotions or 1-2 nuggets of information the read about the company in a Forbes article – that is not enough information to make a truly informed investment decision! 

In my opinion, it’s a much smarter long-term play to invest in an index fund that owns shares of many different companies. It’s not sexy investing, but you’re statistically more likely to make money in the long-term as opposed to investing in single companies. 

Make Sure Your Daily Purchases Align With Your Long-Term Goals

This one is huge! So many people make impulsive decisions with their daily purchases. These purchases can add up and over time prevent you from accumulating wealth. Sit down (with your spouse if married) and think about your long-term goals, then decide on a budget that fits those goals. Stick to it! You should absolutely allocate some fun or discretionary money into the budget, but your spending should be intentional. No more impulsive Amazon or Target shopping! You know who you are! 

Get a Will!

If you don’t have a will, talk to an estate planning attorney ASAP! Even people that are good with money frequently fall short with their estate planning. People don’t like talking or thinking about death, so they just ignore it for years until it becomes a huge pain for their surviving family members. If you’re in the military, you can go to your base legal assistance office and get a will for free! You need to designate who will get your X-Box and rights to your TikTok account, otherwise who knows what will happen to it! Seriously though, even if you’re in your 20s, you should get a will to save your family the time it will take them to sort through all your property and financial accounts. 

Check out @honorandequity on Instagram and Facebook! I love connecting with people and chatting about personal finance and real estate so please reach out!

What’s Holding You Back From Investing in Real Estate?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Before I bought my first investment property in 2018, I thought real estate investing was only for the extremely wealthy. I envisioned a real estate investor as someone like Donald Trump buying massive apartments and office buildings next to skyscrapers in New York City and other large metropolitan areas.

It wasn’t until I started listening to the Bigger Pockets podcast that I realized normal people like myself were not only real estate investors, they were crushing it! I learned you didn’t have to be wealthy, you didn’t have to come from a real estate family, and you didn’t even have to live where you invest!

Millions of people have preconceived notions about what it takes to invest in real estate, just like I did. Combine those notions with a scarcity mindset, a desire to stay within your comfort zone, and the lack of a defined ‘why’, and it’s no wonder why more people aren’t real estate investors. 

But this doesn’t have to be you. You can invest in real estate. 

A limiting belief is a conviction or state of mind that keeps us from achieving something. What are some limiting beliefs that keep people from investing in real estate?

Limiting Belief #1: I Don’t Have A Lot of Money, So I Can’t Invest in Real Estate

If you talk to enough real estate investors or listen to real estate podcasts, you’ll hear stories of people that have created large portfolios and have become millionaires after starting their journey with almost nothing. They didn’t make excuses – they decided on a goal and took action to achieve it. 

Brandon Turner, an experienced investor and host of the Bigger Pockets real estate podcast, talks about three things that have to exist for a deal to work: 

  1. Capital (money)
  2. Knowledge
  3. Hustle

You don’t personally need to have all three – or even two – to get going on your first deal. You only need one. Maybe you don’t have the money or the knowledge, but you have the hustle and time to get out into neighborhoods and find deals. There are always real estate investors looking for great deals (myself included). If you can drive around a neighborhood and look for vacant properties with overgrown lawns, then you can get started in real estate investing. 

If you have some knowledge and some hustle but you just need some capital to get going, there are lots of people out there that want to invest in real estate but don’t have the time or desire to get started in real estate. If you present them a great deal and show them you can successfully turn the deal into a successful BRRRR/Flip, they will likely lend you the money you need to get the deal off the ground.

Photo by Oliver on Pexels.com

Limiting Belief #2: My Market is Too Expensive, So I Can’t Invest in Real Estate

For those of you that have this mindset, open a new tab on your browser right now, go to amazon, and purchase “Long-Distance Real Estate Investing” by David Greene. This book opened my eyes to the concept of living where you want to live (or where the military tells you to live!) and investing where the numbers make sense. 

I live in San Diego and home prices here are ridiculous, so I invest in the Midwest and the South/Southeast where the home prices are a fraction of what they cost in Southern California. You can also get a much better return on your money because the homes cash flow so well! For example, one of my Milwaukee properties rents for $1250/month and my mortgage payment is $544! Its very difficult to find that much difference between rent and your mortgage payment in Southern California and other expensive markets. 

Limiting Belief #3: I Don’t Know How to Invest in Real Estate!

This is the worst excuse of them all because there is so much free information available to anyone with an internet connection. We all consume information differently, and thankfully there is a wealth of information across all formats. 

-Books! This is my favorite way to consume information. I wrote an article highlighting my favorite real estate books, which you can read here. I recently finished David Greene’s BRRRR book (Buy Rehab Rent Refinance Repeat) so it is not in that article, but it’s probably my favorite real estate book!

-Podcasts! This is my second favorite way to consume information. Bigger Pockets has a few fantastic podcasts all about real estate and personal finance. The original BP podcast is real estate focused as you would imagine, the new BP Rookie podcast is designed for beginners, and the BP Money podcast is more personal finance oriented. Check out the article I wrote about my favorite podcasts here

-YouTube! Historically, I’m not a big consumer of real estate/personal finance info via YouTube, but I have been watching a lot more videos recently. YouTube has fantastic content with experts who will walk you step by step through the ins and outs of all things real estate. Want to see how to analyze a deal? There are a thousand videos showing you how to do it. How does real estate financing work? There are experienced lenders with videos walking you through the whole process. 

In addition to books, podcasts, and YouTube, there are countless blog articles and forums not only with the information you’re seeking, but with people who are eager to help others get started in real estate (like myself). 

Photo by fauxels on Pexels.com

So what’s keeping you from taking that first step and investing in real estate? Is it fear? Is it lack of knowledge? If you know you want to do it, but you just need someone to kick you in the ass and get you motivated, I highly recommend joining a mastermind group. If you are active duty, a reservist, or a veteran, check out the War Room real estate mastermind here. It’s a fantastic group of people all involved in real estate in some capacity. We hold each other accountable for our goals, bounce ideas off of each other, and do 2-3 webinars per month with speakers, Q&A sessions, and more. Reach out to me at doug@honorandequity to learn more!

If you enjoyed this article, please share with a friend! Make sure you follow @honorandequity on Instagram to see personal finance and real estate investing content designed for military and veterans. 

Why I Decided to Invest in Oklahoma City

Downtown Oklahoma City
(photo credit Gerson Repreza via unsplash.com)

About a month ago, I was having a conversation with a guy in my mastermind group. He lives in England and was in the process of doing his first BRRRR (Buy, Rehab, Rent, Refinance, Repeat) in Iowa. Up until this point, my real estate goal had been to purchase 1-2 single family homes per year via turnkey properties. When I learned this guy was living in England and had put together a team to invest in Iowa, I thought: why am I not doing this? The lightbulb moment. This is the beauty of a mastermind group – you are inspired to do more than you thought you could because others around you are crushing it. You don’t want to be left behind! 

After the conversation, my mind was whirring with the thought of

putting together my own team and buying distressed properties, rehabbing them, renting them out, and refinancing to get my capital back. Why was I not doing this already? Am I an idiot for not doing this already? No, but needless to say I was motivated. 

Where would I invest? I own properties in Milwaukee, WI and Pensacola, FL and I like those markets, but I also like the concept of geographic diversification. I would need to find a market with solid cash flow, room for appreciation, while also landlord-friendly. What other factors would I consider? I bought my first in Pensacola because I was stationed there, and I lucked out because it ended up being a great market. I bought in Milwaukee (and will buy a third property there this year) because thats where Storehouse 3:10 Ventures operates their fantastic turnkey model. But where to invest next? I turned to the most reliable source for real estate information: BiggerPockets.com

Learning About Real Estate Markets

I started reading member blogs and forum posts about choosing a market, and I went back and listened to older podcast episodes that discussed markets. The best source for this info ended up being the articles within BP Insights: the area of BiggerPockets reserved for Pro and Plus members. (Oh yeah, I also purchased a Pro membership because I wanted access to as much top level real estate info I could get my hands on!)

These articles discussed things I had not yet considered such as population growth, rent to income ratios, and rental growth. I knew I wanted to avoid the coasts, as price points tend to be higher there. I wanted a large, diverse city not reliant on any single industry. After significant research into markets all over the country and conversations with more experienced investors in my mastermind, I decided on the market: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Why Oklahoma City?

Growth and Progress in Oklahoma City
(photo courtesy Gerson Repreza via unsplash.com)

OKC has been aggressively investing in itself since the early 1990s. Before then, the city was struggling because it was so reliant on the oil and gas industry. In 1993, the city approved what would be the first iteration of the MAPS (Metropolitan Area Projects), a visionary new capital improvement initiative designed to create and improve sports and recreation facilities, schools, cultural centers, and much more.1 The initiative was so successful, more MAPS were proposed and approved over the last three decades, resulting in the fourth iteration of MAPS which was approved last year. 

These programs have brought businesses, people, and JOBS to the area. If you’re looking for a healthy real estate market to invest in, these are the metrics you want to see. OKC has created an increasingly desirable city for businesses and people to migrate to. 

Oklahoma City Is Not Reliant on a Single Industry

Everyone knows the Detroit story: it was completely dependent on the automobile industry, and when those companies struggled, Detroit struggled too. The oil and gas industry has always had a big presence in Oklahoma City, but it is no longer the only show in town. Thanks to a friendly business environment, OKC continues to attract businesses from various industries. The Aviation and Aerospace industry makes up the largest sector in both employment and economic impact.2 The other major private sector economic contributors include Bioscience, Energy, Healthcare, and Manufacturing. 

The local economy is further buoyed by federal employers including the Federal Avation Administration, and two local Military bases. These make up roughly 20% of the local jobs.3 

Without businesses and jobs, you can’t have tenants. OKC has a diversified economy supported by a welcoming and friendly business environment, which has directly contributed to an influx of jobs and people seeking an affordable place to call home.

Homes are Affordable in Oklahoma City

The state of Oklahoma has the nation’s 4th lowest median home value. Oklahoma City’s median home value is $158,3374 which is significantly lower than the national average of $295,300. This means you can purchase investment properties for much cheaper than other markets around the country. Also, many properties in B and C class neighborhoods in Oklahoma City meet the 1% rule, which means the property’s monthly rent is 1% or more of the purchase price (for example, a home that sells for $100,000 and rents for $1000 per month meets the 1% rule). 

Oklahoma City National Memorial (credit Jack Finnegan via unsplash.com)

OKC has a Healthy Rent-to-Income (RTI) Ratio

RTI is a lesser known but useful metric for a market’s overall health.5 To determine a market’s RTI, you simply divide the city’s median rent by the median income. Housing experts recommend individuals spend no more than 30% of their income on rent, and you’ll see many property managers using a number around 30% when evaluating if a prospective tenant can afford to rent a particular property. 

For example, New York City has an extremely high cost of living, and boasts a 68% RTI. That means many people are spending around 68% of their income on rent! Oklahoma City, on the other hand, has a much healthier RTI of 21%. It’s an extremely affordable place to live which is a big reason why so many people are migrating there from higher cost of living parts of the country. 

Oklahoma City is Landlord-Friendly

Landlord-Tenant law in Oklahoma CIty favors landlords. If a tenant fails to pay rent, or is involved in illegal activity on the property, the landlord must provide a 5-day notice to pay or vacate. Once that period is over, the landlord can file an eviction which is usually a 7-day process (under normal, non-COVID circumstances). 

This is a factor many investors don’t consider before buying property in states like California. You are much more likely to have “professional” tenants in tenant-friendly states who know they can live for free in a property for 6 months or more before the courts catch up to them.

Many people turn their noses up when places like Oklahoma and other “flyover states” are mentioned, but states in the South and Midwest can be fantastic locations to invest your money!

Do you think Oklahoma City is a good place to invest? Send me a message at doug@honorandequity.com to discuss more, and make sure you follow @honorandequity on Instagram!

Why Military Members and Veterans Make Great Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders

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Service members and veterans have a unique skill set and background that makes them fantastic entrepreneurs. Many are eager to start their own business after years of rigid structure and receiving orders from higher-ups. It can be satisfying to break free of the military chain of command and venture out on your own into the wild of capitalistic pursuits. In addition, there are many programs out there designed to help veteran entrepreneurs succeed on their own.

Here’s why military members have an advantage in the business world.

A Higher Capacity for Stressful Situations

Military members are comfortable being uncomfortable, which makes us well-suited for the stress and uncertainty of entrepreneurship. From day one of boot camp, you are frequently put in hectic, challenging situations designed to acclimate you to the pressure of military life. You get used to just rolling with the punches and accepting that the stressors imposed upon you are out of your control. However, you ARE in control of how you react to those stressors. You can break down mentally and emotionally and be defeated, or you can just accept the challenges, put your head down, and make it through to the next evolution.

Sometimes the stress is more real and life-threatening. Sometimes you’re getting shot at, or another aircraft comes within feet of hitting you, or you come close to having to eject while trying to land on an aircraft carrier. Once you have survived moments like these, it makes the stressors of the entrepreneurial life seem much less significant.

Our Brains Are Wired for Planning and Contingencies

No military mission – whether in the air, on the ground, or on/under the ocean – reaches the execution phase without first going through the planning phase. Details are meticulously calculated. You must know who is doing what at every step. Contingencies are essential to plan for because when something happens differently from what was expected to happen, you must be able to adapt and adjust.

This is the same mindset an entrepreneur must have when starting and running a business. There are always unexpected struggles that arise, but if you have a solid plan and have thought through what could go wrong, you are much more likely to adjust and still achieve your goal. If you fail, you do not dwell on it and let the failure break you down: you learn and move on. It’s the only way.

Photo by CoWomen via unsplash.com

We Are Comfortable Delegating Tasks

From the beginning, military members are conditioned to operate within a clearly defined chain of command. Gradually, we are put into leadership roles whether we are ready for them or not. We learn how to receive tasking from up the chain, and give tasking down the chain to work toward a common objective. Many civilians think that it’s all about barking orders and saluting your superiors when they give orders like in the movies, but this is not the reality. Military leaders – like business leaders – must work hard to convince everyone the overall mission is worth working hard for.  

If you don’t have this buy-in from your team as a leader, you won’t get the results you want. It doesn’t matter if you’re leading in combat or leading a marketing team.

What Resources Are Available for Veteran Entrepreneurs?

The federal government has free programs designed to help veterans succeed in business including education and lending programs.

Small Business Administration (www.sba.gov)

Within the SBA is the Office of Veterans Business Development (OVBD) which is “devoted exclusively to promoting veteran entrepreneurship – specifically veterans, service-disabled veterans, reservists, active-duty service members, transitioning service members, and their dependents or survivors”.

The OVBD gives vets access to customized curriculums, in-person classes, and online courses designed to provide the necessary knowledge to succeed in business. Also, lending resources are available through tools like LenderMatch which connect vets with lenders. Low and no-fee SBA loans help reduce barriers for veteran-owned small businesses so they can access capital and create jobs.

There are many non-profits out there as well whose sole purpose is to help vets achieve more through business. Similar to the SBA’s programs, the focus is on education, lending, and networking.

VETRN (vetrn.org)

VETRN is a free executive MBA program designed to help already established veteran-owned businesses grow even more. You get a mentor from day one and you get access to VETRN’s substantial resource network. To qualify for this program, you must have been in business for at least one year, have at least one employee, and have annual revenue of $75,000 or more.

VetFran (vetfran.org)

VetFran believes veterans make excellent franchise owners, and they provide education and resources to both vets and franchisors about these opportunities. According to VetFran, “Although veterans make up only about 7% of the population, they account for a whopping 14% of all franchisees in America”. Their website is great, so check it out of you’ve ever considered opening your own franchise!

There are many more programs available to veteran entrepreneurs and many people out there eager to help us succeed in business. Don’t think of this as a charity – you have developed many skills that will make you a prosperous businessman or businesswoman, and people want to see this happen. In doing so, you will improve your community by providing jobs to others, tax revenue for local government, and a world-class service or product that people need. Get out there and take action today to build or grow your business!

Thanks for reading! Please share with a friend if you enjoyed the article, and make sure to follow @honorandequity on Instagram!