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NOTABLE! A Story to Inspire (From drug addict to entrepreneur)

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ChrisGav

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Feb 15, 2019
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Greenville, South Carolina
Hey Fastlaners,
I wanted to briefly share my story thus far to hopefully inspire those who are younger or struggling.

3 years ago, I was a struggling drug addict. I was addicted to cocaine, pills, codeine, and dabbled in many things I probably should have never dabbled in. Then, I got arrested with possession charges. The best and worst day of my life. The worst, for obvious reasons, but the best, because it changed my life forever. I was a college student living in Atlanta at the time. After my arrest, I moved to where my mom lived in South Carolina. It was a new beginning. I knew no one up here, never lived up here before, and could start a new life.

I moved up here 2 years ago, almost to the date. (October 10th, 2018). For the first few months, I was lost. Coming off of drug addiction, in counseling, had no direction in my life, and had almost zero ambition. I lounged around, spent most of my days playing video games for 12 hours a day and working out. About 4 months after living here, in February of 2019, my counselor gave me a book. It was the Millionaire Fastlane. This book opened my mind to the possibilities and soon became my obsession. At this time, I was working at a store called Fastenal, which sold construction and industrial supplies. I was making a lofty $12/hour.

I would spend the next 3-4 months learning everything I could. Personal growth became my obsession, money became my obsession, entrepreneurship became my obsession. I read everything I could from people like Tony Robbins watched youtube videos from people like Grant Cardone, Gary Vee, and people of the sorts.

In April of 2019, I started personally training young adults. It was something I knew how to do, and could start immediately. After having 3 clients, I decided I no longer wanted to pursue this. In June, I began a business which was mobile cleaning for commercial vehicles. I got in touch with local electrical companies and would come out to wash their company vehicles. I charged much too low of prices.

In July of 2019, my business graduated into pressure washing. Pressure washing driveways, peoples homes, and some commercial buildings. (keep in mind, this was a weekend venture, as I was still working at Fastenal during the week).

This slowly started to pick up speed. In December of 2019 I quit my job at Fastenal and began pressure washing full time. From January 2020, to current day, October 8th 2020, my business has netted over $57,000. Not very much, but have been a 1-man show this whole time. Given there's virtually zero overhead in this business and was able to pocket the majority of this.

In March of 2020, with the shutdown, I began to fall in love with real estate. Virtually reading and consuming everything I could on the topic. In August of 2020, I purchased my first property, a duplex. This now rents out and cash flows me over $1,800/month.

Now, fastforward to present day, I am locking under contract my first mobile home park which has 9 units. I have another house that is currently in the works of being flipped. This house should net a $40,000 return after selling it.
Also, I now have an employee to do my pressure washing jobs. My main role in my pressure washing company is now strictly quoting and scheduling the jobs. He picks up a trailer from my houses loaded with all of the equipment, hauls it to jobs, afterwards, I contact the customer and have them pay by credit card over the phone. He brings the trailer back to my house, rinse and repeat.

I'm now slowly exiting myself from my pressure washing company and focusing on where I want to go personally. Real estate. I'm in the process of getting my sales license and am looking forward to kick-starting this business venture. My pressure washing company remains as an (almost) passive income stream on top of the passive streams from my rental properties.

I say all of this, in hopes to motivate or inspire those of you who are struggling. I came from a down & out drug addict with no ambition, to what I would consider, an accomplished person for the humble age of 22.

If there's anything I can to help anyone, please comment below, I'd be happy to do what I can.

Thanks,
Chris
 

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MTEE1985

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Congrats Chris!

@MJ DeMarco his progression looks very similar to a video many of us just watched...
 

ChrisGav

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Masterclass by the way, well done! Never forget what it cost you to recover from addiction.

P.S What would you recommend for a RE noob to read?
Check out the biggerpockets podcast as well as the website. Learned majority of the info from consuming tons of their podcasts and youtube videos.

A good book though, to learn the absolute basics of investing in RE, "how to invest in real estate" by joshua dorkin and Brandon Turner. (the guys that host the podcast)

Don't be fooled though, I still don't really know what I'm doing, I'm just doing. I started by analyzing 100s of deals. Hopped on Zillow, looked at everything for sale. Ran numbers on a bunch of houses to see how much they would cash flow, if at all, if it was a rental property. This gave me a great idea of how to know what a "good" deal is etc.

something to keep in mind: I don't qualify for bank loans. To be able to qualify as someone who owns their own business, you have to have 2 years of tax returns. Which I don't have. I'm having to find creative financing options, or hard money lenders. That's something else to look into if you do not qualify for bank lending.
 

sparechange

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Good to hear your doing better. :praise:
 

Outdoorlife2005

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Check out the biggerpockets podcast as well as the website. Learned majority of the info from consuming tons of their podcasts and youtube videos.

A good book though, to learn the absolute basics of investing in RE, "how to invest in real estate" by joshua dorkin and Brandon Turner. (the guys that host the podcast)

Don't be fooled though, I still don't really know what I'm doing, I'm just doing. I started by analyzing 100s of deals. Hopped on Zillow, looked at everything for sale. Ran numbers on a bunch of houses to see how much they would cash flow, if at all, if it was a rental property. This gave me a great idea of how to know what a "good" deal is etc.

something to keep in mind: I don't qualify for bank loans. To be able to qualify as someone who owns their own business, you have to have 2 years of tax returns. Which I don't have. I'm having to find creative financing options, or hard money lenders. That's something else to look into if you do not qualify for bank lending.

Congrats on your success!! I’m also getting into real estate.

which hard money lenders have you had success with? I’m Leary of which one to go with because I’ve read so many scam stories on BiggerPockets about hard money lenders and people claiming this and that
 

ChrisGav

Bronze Contributor
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Feb 15, 2019
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Congrats on your success!! I’m also getting into real estate.

which hard money lenders have you had success with? I’m Leary of which one to go with because I’ve read so many scam stories on BiggerPockets about hard money lenders and people claiming this and that
check out Lima One Capital. They are a pretty good lender. Most of which I have used private lenders. AKA people I know that will lend money. Not sure what exactly you are trying to do, but it can be difficult to find private money for rental properties. Simply because most of them want their cash back quickly.

Most private money lenders though want to lend on things like flips or things to get their return back quickly.
 

Bearcorp

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Very inspiring @ChrisGav good on your for sharing, hopefully anyone facing similar challenges can take strength from your example!
 

MJ DeMarco

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Wow, awesome story, and much more awesomeness to unfold!

Please thank your counselor for recommending my book, I wouldn't think it would be a recommended read in that field!

Upgraded to NOTABLE!
 

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NewManRising

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Great story and really inspiring. I'm currently dealing with a loss (death in the family) so it has killed a lot of my entrepreneurial spirit right now.

Stuggled with addiction in the past too, crappy friends, etc. At the moment I am loss and don't know what direction to take.

What was your method(s) for getting leads with your pressure washing business? And which one was the best?

I'm currently working at a call center doing inbound and outbound sales calls and customer service. Not an ideal job but it is all that is available around here. I have a degree in biology but the opportunities are scarce where I'm at.
 

BarKogan$

Contributor
Sep 29, 2020
54
31
46
Hey Fastlaners,
I wanted to briefly share my story thus far to hopefully inspire those who are younger or struggling.

3 years ago, I was a struggling drug addict. I was addicted to cocaine, pills, codeine, and dabbled in many things I probably should have never dabbled in. Then, I got arrested with possession charges. The best and worst day of my life. The worst, for obvious reasons, but the best, because it changed my life forever. I was a college student living in Atlanta at the time. After my arrest, I moved to where my mom lived in South Carolina. It was a new beginning. I knew no one up here, never lived up here before, and could start a new life.

I moved up here 2 years ago, almost to the date. (October 10th, 2018). For the first few months, I was lost. Coming off of drug addiction, in counseling, had no direction in my life, and had almost zero ambition. I lounged around, spent most of my days playing video games for 12 hours a day and working out. About 4 months after living here, in February of 2019, my counselor gave me a book. It was the Millionaire Fastlane. This book opened my mind to the possibilities and soon became my obsession. At this time, I was working at a store called Fastenal, which sold construction and industrial supplies. I was making a lofty $12/hour.

I would spend the next 3-4 months learning everything I could. Personal growth became my obsession, money became my obsession, entrepreneurship became my obsession. I read everything I could from people like Tony Robbins watched youtube videos from people like Grant Cardone, Gary Vee, and people of the sorts.

In April of 2019, I started personally training young adults. It was something I knew how to do, and could start immediately. After having 3 clients, I decided I no longer wanted to pursue this. In June, I began a business which was mobile cleaning for commercial vehicles. I got in touch with local electrical companies and would come out to wash their company vehicles. I charged much too low of prices.

In July of 2019, my business graduated into pressure washing. Pressure washing driveways, peoples homes, and some commercial buildings. (keep in mind, this was a weekend venture, as I was still working at Fastenal during the week).

This slowly started to pick up speed. In December of 2019 I quit my job at Fastenal and began pressure washing full time. From January 2020, to current day, October 8th 2020, my business has netted over $57,000. Not very much, but have been a 1-man show this whole time. Given there's virtually zero overhead in this business and was able to pocket the majority of this.

In March of 2020, with the shutdown, I began to fall in love with real estate. Virtually reading and consuming everything I could on the topic. In August of 2020, I purchased my first property, a duplex. This now rents out and cash flows me over $1,800/month.

Now, fastforward to present day, I am locking under contract my first mobile home park which has 9 units. I have another house that is currently in the works of being flipped. This house should net a $40,000 return after selling it.
Also, I now have an employee to do my pressure washing jobs. My main role in my pressure washing company is now strictly quoting and scheduling the jobs. He picks up a trailer from my houses loaded with all of the equipment, hauls it to jobs, afterwards, I contact the customer and have them pay by credit card over the phone. He brings the trailer back to my house, rinse and repeat.

I'm now slowly exiting myself from my pressure washing company and focusing on where I want to go personally. Real estate. I'm in the process of getting my sales license and am looking forward to kick-starting this business venture. My pressure washing company remains as an (almost) passive income stream on top of the passive streams from my rental properties.

I say all of this, in hopes to motivate or inspire those of you who are struggling. I came from a down & out drug addict with no ambition, to what I would consider, an accomplished person for the humble age of 22.

If there's anything I can to help anyone, please comment below, I'd be happy to do what I can.

Thanks,
Chris
So inspiring !
 

ChrisGav

Bronze Contributor
Speedway Pass
Feb 15, 2019
168
462
223
22
Greenville, South Carolina
Great story and really inspiring. I'm currently dealing with a loss (death in the family) so it has killed a lot of my entrepreneurial spirit right now.

Stuggled with addiction in the past too, crappy friends, etc. At the moment I am loss and don't know what direction to take.

What was your method(s) for getting leads with your pressure washing business? And which one was the best?

I'm currently working at a call center doing inbound and outbound sales calls and customer service. Not an ideal job but it is all that is available around here. I have a degree in biology but the opportunities are scarce where I'm at.
Sorry to hear. I've tried many things to get leads. Flyers, google ads, etc. The only marketing I do now is Facebook Ads. A member from this forum reached out to me back in March and offered to do Facebook ads for me for free so he could do a case study on the results. I, of course, said yes. The first month, we did a video of me pressure washing with voice audio over, I got 1 lead. I literally broke even on the ad spend.

Next, we tried a video where I started off talking to the camera, explaining my process, and telling them a little bit about me. That month, I cleared over $8,000 in profit from that ad alone (with only $10/day in ad spend). From then on, all I've done is Facebook ads. The key was for me to have the camera on me, explaining who I was, and my process. This seemed to build a sense of rapport, or even connection, that people felt as if they already knew me by the time I went out to give them a quote and meet them.

Most competition in this industry is very blue collar, lacks communication/people skills, and can sometimes be some sketchy dude with a truck and pressure washer. People love to have someone they feel trustworthy doing work around their house. They know I won't break in their house to steal their TV, I've found this is what sells more than my price or anything. (given, I charge where I'm making at least $100/hour and most competition prices around $50/hour, but I stay booked).
 

Ronak

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Sorry to hear. I've tried many things to get leads. Flyers, google ads, etc. The only marketing I do now is Facebook Ads. A member from this forum reached out to me back in March and offered to do Facebook ads for me for free so he could do a case study on the results. I, of course, said yes. The first month, we did a video of me pressure washing with voice audio over, I got 1 lead. I literally broke even on the ad spend.

Next, we tried a video where I started off talking to the camera, explaining my process, and telling them a little bit about me. That month, I cleared over $8,000 in profit from that ad alone (with only $10/day in ad spend). From then on, all I've done is Facebook ads. The key was for me to have the camera on me, explaining who I was, and my process. This seemed to build a sense of rapport, or even connection, that people felt as if they already knew me by the time I went out to give them a quote and meet them.

Most competition in this industry is very blue collar, lacks communication/people skills, and can sometimes be some sketchy dude with a truck and pressure washer. People love to have someone they feel trustworthy doing work around their house. They know I won't break in their house to steal their TV, I've found this is what sells more than my price or anything. (given, I charge where I'm making at least $100/hour and most competition prices around $50/hour, but I stay booked).

Wow, that's an awesome tip!
Has the ad produced consistent results over time? You can totally scale this to new areas and expand at will, you could be sitting on a goldmine! Congrats on your journey, your story is very inspiring!
 

ChrisGav

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Feb 15, 2019
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Greenville, South Carolina
Wow, that's an awesome tip!
Has the ad produced consistent results over time? You can totally scale this to new areas and expand at will, you could be sitting on a goldmine! Congrats on your journey, your story is very inspiring!
Thank you! Yes it has been very consistent. I created a different video a couple months back, as it was getting “stale” . Used the same template and the ad still keeps me booked out a week or 2.
 

NewManRising

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Thank you! Yes it has been very consistent. I created a different video a couple months back, as it was getting “stale” . Used the same template and the ad still keeps me booked out a week or 2.
Could you tell me how you got your very first client with no references or past experience to show? Or, how did you get them to trust you and ultimately hire you? Thanks
 

fridge

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Jun 4, 2020
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Hey Chris,
First off, congrats on kicking addiction and going on to do great things! I've talked to you a few times on private message earlier this year about power washing and you seem like a really stand up guy. I'm 22 as well and looking into my first property (a duplex), I'm curious, how did you finance it? You said you don't qualify for traditional loans so I'm curious how you did that, I plan on using FHA financing for my duplex.
 

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BizyDad

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given, I charge where I'm making at least $100/hour and most competition prices around $50/hour, but I stay booked
Great illustration of how to not compete on price.

The rest was really powerful stuff too. Thanks for sharing your story.
I find it hilarious that 'Fastenal' is an anagram for 'Fastlane', what a coincidence ey?
Today I learned that company has a pretty good history also. The original idea came to an 11 yr old, who didn't make it happen until many years later, and still had to pivot a few times...

 

LordGanon

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Please thank your counselor for recommending my book, I wouldn't think it would be a recommended read in that field!

I actually think that entrepreneurship is not the worst option for former addicts. Really not. You wouldn't believe the logistics and talent for improvisation it takes to keep up distribution networks. Also, a lot of addicts are, as a side effect, great salespeople, because they are used to manipulate people (let's take the word "manipulate" in its most neutral sense here to apply it to different forms of manipulation).

And there's one thing in addicts that is also crucial for entrepreneurship: Wanting more, more, more.

One of my former publishers was a drunk, just like me. When he quit the sauce, he tripled the turnover of his publishing company in a year. He went on to sell for 6 million. He opened up a new publishing company after he sold (something that seems to be common to all successful entrepreneurs I know is that they don't quit after they made it).

When it came to recovery, he gave me one of the best pieces of advice I have received: "You just have to get addicted to healthier things."

Don't know if that is good in the long run, but it's a great crutch for the first years.
 

Outdoorlife2005

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Congrats on your success!! I’m also getting into real estate.

which hard money lenders have you had success with? I’m Leary of which one to go with because I’ve read so many scam stories on BiggerPockets about hard money lenders and people claiming this and that

Thanks so much! I reached out to them and within a day they messaged me back.
 

ChrisGav

Bronze Contributor
Speedway Pass
Feb 15, 2019
168
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Greenville, South Carolina
Hey Chris,
First off, congrats on kicking addiction and going on to do great things! I've talked to you a few times on private message earlier this year about power washing and you seem like a really stand up guy. I'm 22 as well and looking into my first property (a duplex), I'm curious, how did you finance it? You said you don't qualify for traditional loans so I'm curious how you did that, I plan on using FHA financing for my duplex.
I actually used FHA as well. I got someone to co-sign on a loan to be a borrower as well. I ended up paying for the down-payment etc. I initially did it to live in 1 side and rent out the other side. Ended up moving out after a month though and fully rented it out. See if you can talk to your parents or someone close to you to just co-sign on a loan.

If that doesn't work, look into hard money lenders. Not the best interest rates, and not the best option, but when you have no where else to turn they can still work.

If you find the deal, financing will find you. If it's a good enough deal, someone will be willing to lend on it. If all else fails, you can turn around and assign the contract to someone else. I always try to lock them up under contract first and build my plane on the way down, so to speak.
 

ChrisGav

Bronze Contributor
Speedway Pass
Feb 15, 2019
168
462
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22
Greenville, South Carolina
Could you tell me how you got your very first client with no references or past experience to show? Or, how did you get them to trust you and ultimately hire you? Thanks
I got my first client by talking to the network I already had. I had absolutely no clue what I was doing. I literally rented a pressure washer the day before and pressure washed my mom's house for free just to practice. (not that it's very difficult though).

If you have no one in your immediate network who wants something pressure washed, I'd suggest door knocking. Going around to neighborhoods that have dirty driveways, etc. I may even go as far to say you'll pressure wash it for free just to get that experience if you're uncertain about it.

What really helped me, at least in my mind, was that I was a young, honest guy looking to start a business. A lot of people respect this. Especially in the more affluent neighborhoods, I've found people would hire me more to help me out, rather than actually washing their house.

The blue collar industry is starving for trustworthy, honest people who will show up on time and do a good job. If you present yourself well, communicate, and show up with a smile, it's hard to not get the job.

quick story on this: for a while I was trying a new method of quoting. I would go online and look at the person's house and text them a quote based on what I saw on Google Street View. This hardly converted. I came to realize, it wasn't my pricing, it was because I never showed up and showed them who I was and built rapport. For houses of the same size, I could show up and charge twice as much, but close the sale by just being there in person and talking to them.

A little bit goes a long ways in this industry. Let me know if there's anything else I can help you with if you plan on starting a pressure washing business.
 

NewManRising

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I got my first client by talking to the network I already had. I had absolutely no clue what I was doing. I literally rented a pressure washer the day before and pressure washed my mom's house for free just to practice. (not that it's very difficult though).

If you have no one in your immediate network who wants something pressure washed, I'd suggest door knocking. Going around to neighborhoods that have dirty driveways, etc. I may even go as far to say you'll pressure wash it for free just to get that experience if you're uncertain about it.

What really helped me, at least in my mind, was that I was a young, honest guy looking to start a business. A lot of people respect this. Especially in the more affluent neighborhoods, I've found people would hire me more to help me out, rather than actually washing their house.

The blue collar industry is starving for trustworthy, honest people who will show up on time and do a good job. If you present yourself well, communicate, and show up with a smile, it's hard to not get the job.

quick story on this: for a while I was trying a new method of quoting. I would go online and look at the person's house and text them a quote based on what I saw on Google Street View. This hardly converted. I came to realize, it wasn't my pricing, it was because I never showed up and showed them who I was and built rapport. For houses of the same size, I could show up and charge twice as much, but close the sale by just being there in person and talking to them.

A little bit goes a long ways in this industry. Let me know if there's anything else I can help you with if you plan on starting a pressure washing business.
I'll admit, your story has my interest piqued. I never thought about starting a local physical business. So far I've been trying to start a digital one. Interestingly, my dad used to have a cleaning business and I helped him out when I was a kid by passing out flyers and doing some of the cleaning with him at job sites.

It seems to be a quicker way to get cash if you have the right skill and put in a little hustle. I appreciate your replies and your offer. I'm going to put in a little more thought into this and see what I decide.
Thanks again.
 

YacineLaid

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Oct 15, 2020
3
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Hey Fastlaners,
I wanted to briefly share my story thus far to hopefully inspire those who are younger or struggling.

3 years ago, I was a struggling drug addict. I was addicted to cocaine, pills, codeine, and dabbled in many things I probably should have never dabbled in. Then, I got arrested with possession charges. The best and worst day of my life. The worst, for obvious reasons, but the best, because it changed my life forever. I was a college student living in Atlanta at the time. After my arrest, I moved to where my mom lived in South Carolina. It was a new beginning. I knew no one up here, never lived up here before, and could start a new life.

I moved up here 2 years ago, almost to the date. (October 10th, 2018). For the first few months, I was lost. Coming off of drug addiction, in counseling, had no direction in my life, and had almost zero ambition. I lounged around, spent most of my days playing video games for 12 hours a day and working out. About 4 months after living here, in February of 2019, my counselor gave me a book. It was the Millionaire Fastlane. This book opened my mind to the possibilities and soon became my obsession. At this time, I was working at a store called Fastenal, which sold construction and industrial supplies. I was making a lofty $12/hour.

I would spend the next 3-4 months learning everything I could. Personal growth became my obsession, money became my obsession, entrepreneurship became my obsession. I read everything I could from people like Tony Robbins watched youtube videos from people like Grant Cardone, Gary Vee, and people of the sorts.

In April of 2019, I started personally training young adults. It was something I knew how to do, and could start immediately. After having 3 clients, I decided I no longer wanted to pursue this. In June, I began a business which was mobile cleaning for commercial vehicles. I got in touch with local electrical companies and would come out to wash their company vehicles. I charged much too low of prices.

In July of 2019, my business graduated into pressure washing. Pressure washing driveways, peoples homes, and some commercial buildings. (keep in mind, this was a weekend venture, as I was still working at Fastenal during the week).

This slowly started to pick up speed. In December of 2019 I quit my job at Fastenal and began pressure washing full time. From January 2020, to current day, October 8th 2020, my business has netted over $57,000. Not very much, but have been a 1-man show this whole time. Given there's virtually zero overhead in this business and was able to pocket the majority of this.

In March of 2020, with the shutdown, I began to fall in love with real estate. Virtually reading and consuming everything I could on the topic. In August of 2020, I purchased my first property, a duplex. This now rents out and cash flows me over $1,800/month.

Now, fastforward to present day, I am locking under contract my first mobile home park which has 9 units. I have another house that is currently in the works of being flipped. This house should net a $40,000 return after selling it.
Also, I now have an employee to do my pressure washing jobs. My main role in my pressure washing company is now strictly quoting and scheduling the jobs. He picks up a trailer from my houses loaded with all of the equipment, hauls it to jobs, afterwards, I contact the customer and have them pay by credit card over the phone. He brings the trailer back to my house, rinse and repeat.

I'm now slowly exiting myself from my pressure washing company and focusing on where I want to go personally. Real estate. I'm in the process of getting my sales license and am looking forward to kick-starting this business venture. My pressure washing company remains as an (almost) passive income stream on top of the passive streams from my rental properties.

I say all of this, in hopes to motivate or inspire those of you who are struggling. I came from a down & out drug addict with no ambition, to what I would consider, an accomplished person for the humble age of 22.

If there's anything I can to help anyone, please comment below, I'd be happy to do what I can.

Thanks,
Chris
It's so inspiring for me. For me I'm still struggling with the new business. I'm creating a social media marketing agency .the thing is that I quite my job maybe too early.but anyway I took the decision and gone through it. Cause I was a pedestrian all my life and never applied any plan cause of fears and negative beliefs. So quiting my job was necessary to go through my fears. And now I've been learning since two months and now decided to find my first clients. Prospection isn't that easy but I'm decided to do it and convinced that I'll find my first client soon. I'm 29yo by the way seeing the you're 22 and doing all that it's really inspiring thank you man and wich health wealth love and happiness ;)
Yacine
 

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