Meet Mr. Internet®
To really, really know someone requires more than just a litany of their achievements (and failures). More importantly, it requires an understanding of "why" a person does what they do, their motives and values. Hopefully the following will give you that snapshot of what makes "Mr. Internet" tick. NOTE: if you only want the highly abridged version, go to the "Meet the Team" section of this site.)
A Brief History of Mine
My real estate career began in the Spring of 1976 in Santa Barbara, CA (of course I was 12 years old at the time :o) Even back then the power of "targeting" was very clear to me as I quickly developed the reputation as the "FSBO Kid"; listing on average 1 out of 8 FSBOs and making very good money doing it. Being a restless young buck, I decided to then try my hand at residential and commercial investment properties, and once again did quite well, mostly through sheer determination. In less than two years I went from listing FSBOs to listing and selling 100 unit apartment complexes and triple-net restaurants.
Being young, dumb and full of you-know-what, my eyes strayed to even "greater" adventures in the business. In 1978 I thought I'd try my hand at limited partnership syndication. Let's just say that didn't pan out so well (moral: choose your partners carefully). However, being a serial entrepreneur I noticed that all limited partnerships must put into public record who their investors are, how much they invested and for what purpose. For the next 12 months I started and ran a small publishing business that sold this information to anyone who found it valuable. It was an interesting gig for awhile but it just didn't hold my attention.
So, in 1979 I got together with an investor and set off to Colorado Springs, CO to find fame and fortune by snapping up and flipping properties. What was supposed to take just three months ended up lasting three years. During that time my partner and I bought several properties including an abandoned JC Penny's building right in the middle of downtown Colorado Springs. We gutted the shell and in the course of about 18 months built the very prestigious "19 North Building" that offered premier restaurant, retail and office space. Unfortunately, during the hyper-interest rates of that time (about 17%), there was a huge gap between offering space and businesses being able to lease it. We ended up losing that property and then selling the rest of our holdings just to pay back everyone else. In the spring of 1982 I made my way back to Santa Barbara with little more than my clothes and a typewriter (even my car was totaled on the drive back from Colorado).
In the summer of 1982 I met my future wife, became a loan officer and taught myself computer programming. Within 12 months I became the top producing loan agent for the brokerage I worked for and wrote my own software to manage my production pipeline. Once again, my restless nature caused me to quit the loan business and work full time as an independent computer programmer. During the ensuing two years I got married and decided to start a "real" business. In 1986 my wife and I, and a silent partner founded what was to become one of the most advanced mortgage consulting firms in California. Combining my sales, marketing, loan and programming experience we were able to build a formidable mortgage company that captured the high-end of the market without advertising.
Even the success of that business left me sensing that something was "missing". Now, are you beginning to see a pattern here? Feeling very frustrated and unfulfilled, in 1993 I decided to retire from that business and vowed to not do another thing until I figured out "What I was here to give before I go." In other words, no more pursuing ventures until I was sure they reflected my sense of purpose. Now all I had to do was figure out what that was supposed to be! That journey lasted a full two years during which I threw myself into the inquiry of finding my purpose with an even greater focus than I had shown in any of my previous businesses. At the end of that two-year period, after much hard work it became clear to me that I'm "here" to help a great number of people through my speaking and writing. I knew this was the right path because I was willing to actually pay groups to let me speak, if necessary (fortunately, it never was :o). This career choice must have been the right one because I've been speaking and writing professionally since 1995, and have just as much passion for it today as I did when I first started. I had figured out how to turn my "Human Doing" into living and working as a "Human Being". And this finally freed me up to do my real work.
Why I Do What I Do
First of all, I absolutely love what I do. But that is not enough, otherwise I could easily fall back into my old ways of being a "Human Doing" again. There has to be a guiding purpose behind my "doing" that always works to keep me on track of being the best "Human Being" I can be. I believe everyone has a purpose which defines essentially "what we are here to give before we go", and that this purpose is unique for each person. And to live and work outside of this purpose is to invite frustration and lack of fulfillment. You may or may not agree with this, that's fine; it is however what guides my life.
They say speakers speak about which they need to learn most. This is very true in my case in that underlying nearly every speech (and book) is a common thread, which is this: Who we really are is so much more than what most of us dare to let shine through. Part of my "job" (i.e. purpose) is to help people determine and live their true purpose. This may sound strange from someone who is known affectionately as "Mr. Freak'n Internet". Yet, the Internet (and by extension, Virtual Outsourcing) give us opportunities to live our true purpose in ways that otherwise would never be possible. The things that I teach (like through this program, for example) give you proven tools and strategies to focus on what you do best (and hopefully reflects your sense of purpose), get paid well and have the free time to enjoy your success — all while talented others take care of the rest. I've been living this kind of life for over a decade, and it is one that I truly hope for you as well.
So, there you have it, warts and all. Whether the above "speaks" to you or not is really not my concern. You having a truly fulfilling career and life, is. Just know that I continue to be committed to this possibility for you, whether through this program or anything else I happen to do.
If You Want to Stand Out Just Lead The Way
I've never been one to be satisfied doing whatever everyone else is doing (and neither should you if you really want to stand out from the crowd!) Therefore it was natural that I looked to create value in ways that haven't been done before. And, when you are on fire about "the what" and "the why" you do things, you tend to get a lot done:
1996 — Developed the first full–day seminar about doing business on the Internet approved by the California Department of Real Estate for Continuing Education
1997 — Authored the first Internet-specific policies and procedures manual for real estate brokerages (The Internet Policies & Procedures Toolkit™)
1999 — Architect of NAR's original ePRO Internet Professional Certification (NOTE: I am no longer associated with this program due to philosophical difference with the NAR about the course curriculum)
2001 — Authored ePOWER PRO—Online Success Stratagies for Real Estate Professionals, widely considered to be the "bible" of doing business online for the real estate industry
2003 — Co-founded REVA Teams, the industry's first full–service real estate specific Virtual Assistant Staffing Service
2004 — Created the industry's first comprehensive teleconference–based training system for REALTORS® about doing business on the Internet and using Virtual Outsourcing (10 Week Telecoaching Program)
2005 — Created the Maximum of Value Assessment (MOVA™) which revolutionized the way REALTOR® websites can engage homeowners thinking of selling. And in the process, generalized the structure and use of assessments as a powerful means of engaging any online target market
Okay, even I get tired when looking at that list (which BTW does not include hundreds of speaking engagements all over the world, countless articles and living a fairly normal family life.) The funny thing is though, when your business is "on purpose", it doesn't seem like work. Also, I do walk my talk. There is no way I could have accomplished even 10% of the above without the help of dedicated, and very talented Virtual Assistants and Consultants. And, keep in mind that I did not have a single employee during this entire period.