This is my 4th year doing my annual review and each year I find it more valuable than before. It’s hard to express how much benefit comes from simply documenting and reflecting on the past year.
It’s good accountability for goals, and it helps me keep perspective of where I’m at. Usually when I get to December I tell myself I haven’t done anything valuable over the year, then I write this blog and remember everything that happened and it makes me feel much better!
Most importantly I’m excited to see what this is like to look back on after 20 or 30 years of writing out my journey.
Sweet and sour
My overall mental energy was influenced by two major factors, one good, one bad.
Sour – I spent another year in Fayetteville NC. It’s not inherently a bad place and it’s been very good to me and my business, but I live alone, I have a very small social circle here, and it’s a small town with not much to do. I hate all of those things. Since I’m an extreme extrovert this isolation has started to compound negatively in ways I didn’t expect and has steadily become a pretty unhealthy situation for me. I am driven by people, I get my confidence from people, I get energy and inspiration from people, and I thrive on competing with people, without people I cannot be myself. I was also alone in this town for most of 2020 which ate away at me a bit but I thought much of it was due to the pandemic so I endured and when social distancing loosened up I thought I would feel better but that’s not been the case, things have progressively gotten worse. This makes it difficult for me to focus and stay motivated, my habits have fallen apart along with my optimism and ambition. I’ve known I was a highly social person for a very long time, but this year I learned just how much I require people. Changing this is priority #1 for 2022.
Sweet – In 2020 I went through a breakup of a 9-year relationship, this was a sad ending to a chapter that encompassed a quarter of my life and half of my adult life. Like the end of any relationship, I had doubts that I would ever find someone to love again. I was 37, technically jobless, I’m an endless shit talker, I’m short, frugal, and my favorite thing in the world is obscure literature from dead philosophers: on paper this makes me a textbook Tinder nightmare. Through a force of luck that I certainly don’t deserve Lady Fortuna herself shined upon me in the form of a girl named Miss Kate. She loves books as much as me, she’s also short like me and has very low standards, we are a perfect fit. (side note: I call her Miss Kate because her Instagram handle is lifewithmisskate which I think is adorable so I’ve called her that since we first met and will refer to her that way forever, and you shall too). Miss Kate has become a centerpiece of my life in the last year and has been a positive force to counter the negative that comes with the excess solitude I’ve been living with. We create together, we read together, we travel together, we grow together. She is my sweet when life is sour.
Lastly, my social circle is full of ambitious self-possessed entrepreneurs who deem monetary and material accomplishments all that’s important. This need for ‘success’ far out shadows the parts of life that aren’t easily measurable, like meaning, or the difficulties that come just come existing. This year I spent a lot of time dealing with such difficulty and trying to find meaning and engaging with my new love, none of which make for punchy “goal setting” blog content but I doubt there is anyone who would read this and not have relatable human struggles, so I share the transparency in this area like I’ve shared in all areas to express that life isn’t all wins all the time and if things are tough at times, we not alone and it’s never permanent.
Last years goals
These were my 2021 goals and I’m sad to report that I didn’t accomplish most of them. While unfortunate, I did spend a lot of time doing exciting things that weren’t on the goal list but I would be lying if I said I was happy with how it all panned out. It’s quite disappointing to miss on just about every goal especially when I think these goals were all well within my grasp, I just wasn’t focused enough. Undeterred, I intend to work much harder in 2022.
- Work on buying another multifamily (~100 units) (missed)
- Build a better system for raising money (missed)
- Flip 3 houses (missed, only did 1.5)
- Make more Youtube for my channel (I made ~25 videos)
- Make ~20 videos for BiggerPockets “Meet the Investor” (I made ~12, then the series was cancelled)
- Read ~40 books (25, missed)
- Find a way bring people who share my love for knowledge together (The Great Book Club of Alexandria is up and ongoing)
This is a tricky part of the blog to write because I FEEL like it wasn’t a great year in so many ways but perspective is everything. I suppose did well by many standards, just not my own, making this was my most frustrating year in real estate since I started investing.
I did not buy any new multifamily this year, though I decided to SELL my 24 unit. Selling assets isn’t as sexy as new acquisitions but it’s still a big milestone. We really worked hard to turn that deal around, we sold it for just under our 5-year price in only 2 years, and it represents my first multifamily deal to go full cycle which is really important in this business. That was a pretty good accomplishment and I was able to pay out to my investors a 50% IRR in just over 2 years. It’s a good feeling to look at the people who entrusted me with $56,000 to do my first deal and send them a check back for $131,000.
I did flip one house and make a big profit but it was a stressful process and one that I didn’t enjoy much. I am wrapping up only my second flip for the year as I write this it will be equally as stressful and bring in only a very small profit. For this reason I think I’m done with flipping for a while, what’s the point of me doing a bunch of work I don’t like to do and make a profit I’m not happy about?
I converted one of my properties to short term rental and so far that’s making far more money on Airbnb than it ever did as a long term rental. Hoping to convert the other 6 properties over the next year.
I sold a condo I’ve owned for 10 years that has habitually underperformed and not appreciated. Again, not as cool as acquisitions but good to dump losing investments.
Lastly, towards the end of the year I started to explore the idea of joining an existing multifamily acquisitions team that needs what I’m good at rather than trying to build an entire team around my skills. I had talks with a few groups who I know well and had spent significant time with each, trying to determined who would be the best fit, where I could add the most value, learn more about this business, and solve the biggest challenges.
With that in mind, I’m happy to announce I Joined Climb Capital full time. This is the team who I worked with to close the 52 unit and I’m really excited about this opportunity. I expect it to represent a dramatic shift in my life’s trajectory as this is a long-term opportunity to work with people I truly believe in. So despite a rocky 2021, I am setting myself up for an epic 2022. Very exciting times.
Want to hear more about this? Check out the video below
Photography & Travel
This is where I spent the bulk of my time this year. There is no direct monetary value to this, but it makes for an incredibly rewarding lifestyle. I shot more pictures than ever before, I added video, and I started getting decent with my drone. Here are a few of my favorite shots based on location:
I love Las Vegas and will forever, I made a small blog about my trip.
I went to Indy to film 12 episodes of the BiggerPockets series “Meet the Investor”. It went great and I thought I would have had the chance to make more but BP didn’t seem interested in continuing. Honestly, I think they lose out in the long run.
I love hiking so one day my best friend Shelby and I decided to go check this place out. When I got there I realized it was visually the worst time of the year, all the trees were dead! Still a fun adventure.
Myrtle Beach is not known for highly sophisticated visitors, but the sunsets can still be beautiful.
I took Miss Kate, Shelby and Drake, and my mom to Gatlinburg to explore
I went to speak at the Real Estate Hackers conference and of course, I brought my camera. This was a great opportunity for me to do some public speaking and spend time with fabulous like minded people!
My dad and I went on a historic boys trip together, a rare event for us. This picture is of the monument where president Lincoln gave his famous Gettysburg address.
I go to Fincon pretty much every year, here is the full blog for this year. Austin was not my favorite city but this drone panorama aint my worst work.
I went to the Flip Hacking Live conference for the first time this year. Shot the event, learned a ton, and spent time with incredible humans. What could be better?
I was the official photographer for BiggerPockets conference 2021 and it was easily my best work with a camera to date. An opportunity I’m super grateful for and I hope I’ll be able to do it again next year
I wrote a long picture blog for this trip including video, but here are my two favorite pictures from the trip
I went to record a video for my friends at DeRosa group to help them raise money for a new big multifamily deal of theirs and created this SICK video and took this shot along the way.
I made a TON of video in 2021.
I went to Belize and made this tricky little video for fun
Books.....always more books
I grateful that I was able to live a life of relative leisure this year, I tinkered with things that felt meaningful, and I traveled a ton, but there is a part of me that knows if I really focused on one important thing and worked hard at it then I would be happier. I realize that not everyone has the freedom to spend time doing what they think they like so I don’t want to sound entitled, but in the end I wasn’t very fulfilled. Committing hard is to a singular purpose is definitely something I want to do more of in 2022. I believe the majority of this will be through Climb Capital.
I need to move to Charlotte, and fast. I’m wrapping some loose ends that will give me the financial flexibility to do so fairly easily and I’m hoping that happens around February. that’s a major priority in my life right now, I believe that’s going to open up a lot of social and business opportunities and I think my my mental healthy will increase dramatically.
Negative self talk has been a demon I’ve fought my entire life, perhaps my most self defeating habit. I use it as self deprecating humor but over and over again I’ve seen real world results that my lack of self belief and my negative self opinion of hold me back. In the new year, I’m going to do zero negative self talk, and I’m going to be far better off for it.
I want to spend more time on this blog like I did when I first started. Writing out my thoughts at the end of the year is good but writing throughout the year might allow me more personal growth and the ability to help more people.
The tone of this blog was not written with enthusiasm because of all the missed goals that I set for myself. I can accept that I had a down year, but I’m not willing to accept 2 in a row, so I’m heading towards 22 with unstoppable ferocity.
Goals for 2022
- Commit to the growth of Climb Capital
- Buy a house in Charlotte
- Convert 2 of my properties to AirBnb
- Start a new podcast about politics
- Make at least 30 YouTube videos
- Attend 3 conferences
- 3 public speaking engagements
- Go to every War Room (mastermind) meeting
- Bring more people to my Facebook book club
- Write 3 things I learned from EVERY book I read in 2021
- Zero negative self talk
- Invest in Miss Kate
- Get back to daily basics – Gym, read, write
- Travel internationally at least twice
Thank you so much for reading. Reach out and leave me a comment if you enjoyed this, and I can’t wait to report back again next year.