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9/24/06

MENTORING

by M. Angioni II

Some people can dive into a project headfirst without first having received any guidance and without having a plan. The most amazing aspect of this approach is that sometimes these people successfully complete a project. This approach may work for school papers or group projects, but do not initiate this kind of mentality on an entrepreneurial investment. Even if you are one of those people who have succeeded in the past using this “attack first, ask questions later” approach, I implore you to reconsider doing the same for your first, and in fact, any investment.

The simple solution, find a mentor. Talk to people that have already “walked the path that you are traveling.” You might be wondering how and were to talk to these people. I have an answer for you.

First, figure out exactly what kind of investment you would like to attempt. Accomplishing this will help you focus your efforts and questions to people who possess the expertise that will be most helpful to you. Once you have established your investment interest, you next must find “experts” who can give you the vital information you need to make an INFORMED decision about your investment goal.

Second, start with your immediate family and friends. Asking these people questions will not be difficult, because you will probably feel most comfortable around these people. Make sure you are asking questions of people who can help! DO NOT arbitrarily ask random friends and family members general questions, because you will not gain any useful information. Another pitfall to avoid is making a decision off of this information alone. Friends and family members may “sugar coat” the answers to tough questions so as not to discourage you. Although the intention is kind-hearted and good-spirited, this can only hurt you in the end.

If you do not have any friends or family members that can help you directly, ask if they know anybody that can help. Besides providing information, friends and family can provide many outlets for you to find information.

In the event that your friends and family and their friends and family cannot provide you with a source for useful information, this means that you will have to find an expert yourself. If this happens to you, know that you are not alone. This exact situation happened to me. About five years ago, I was extremely interested in fast food franchising. After doing research through print materials and the internet, I decided that a Subway restaurant offered the best opportunity. Because I had no family and friends that could help me gather information, I e-mailed every person on America On-Line whose profile stated that they owned a Subway franchise. You would not believe the large amount of responses I received from people who were more than willing to talk with me and answer my questions.

Third, read books, magazines, and other publications on your specific investment. Although these materials can help give you a general idea, they are no substitute for a live person, because print material may not answer all your questions. Once again, do not make a determinative decision about your investment on this information alone.


Finally, once you have compiled enough information to make an INFORMED decision, make your decision. I caution you though, do not lose contact with your mentors. They will be an invaluable resource in the future.

Having all these resources at your finger tips can help minimize your risk and maximize your returns. As Louis Pasteur once said, “chance favors the prepared mind."

9/18/06

MOTIVATION

By: M. Angioni II

One of the biggest problems new entrepreneurs have is that they get discouraged. Some get discouraged more easily than others, but regardless of your tolerance level for disappointment, becoming discouraged is a natural emotion for all entrepreneurs. The difference between a successful entrepreneur and unsuccessful one is how you deal with the discouragement.

I am going to be very blunt, not all of us will become successful. This is an economic impossibility! If everybody on earth had one million dollars, then having one million dollars is the norm. How can you be rich if everybody has the same amount of money? Wealth is not measured by an actual number; in other words, having a million dollars does not necessarily make you wealthy. My previous hypothetical proves this point. Wealth is measured by how much MORE money you have then everybody else. If 30% of the people on earth had one million dollars, 60% had a billion dollars, and 10% had a trillion dollars, then the billionaires are “middle-class,” and the so-called “millionaires” are actually poor! The point is, in order to be “rich” you have to gather more assets than most people, and not base wealth on a specific numerical figure. Why does this matter? This matters because, as I said, not everybody can be “rich” and the people that “cap” their success to a specific number will eventually find themselves without money.

Overcoming adversity and discouragement will be the difference between entrepreneurs that succeed and entrepreneurs that fail. Those who let failure defeat them do not have the true entrepreneurial spirit and most likely only enjoy the title of “entrepreneur.” The way I see it, those people can keep the title! I’ll call myself a garbage man if me and my business family make more money than you and yours!

Losing your motivation to make money is the biggest obstacle you will face. Raising capital, obtaining ideas, and forming your business family are minor hindrances compared to losing your motivation. If you cannot obtain financing, you keep looking; if you cannot create a new idea, you keep thinking; and if you have trouble forming your business family, you keep networking. But, if you lose your motivation, that means that you have given up. There is no solution to this. I can only give you the tools; I cannot put fire into your heart. With that in mind, I offer the following words...

Whenever you find yourself becoming discouraged and/or losing your motivation, remember what is important to you. Keep your eye on the ball and WRITE DOWN your goals. Do not be afraid to take chances, and most importantly, stay loyal to your friends, family and/or support base, because they will continue to love and support you no matter the outcome of your entrepreneurial journey. Stay motivated and do not become a poor millionaire!

As Confucius once said, “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

9/10/06

THE EVOLUTION OF THE ENTREPRENEUR

by M. Angioni II

Many of the postings on this website discuss real estate, banking/financial institutions, and other common investments that are know to most entrepreneurs. However, because we are new entrepreneurs, we need to create NEW investments!

Many investors invest money and time into a project. When one buys a piece of real estate, one spends his/her time evaluating the property, discussing and negotiating terms, and preparing and signing contracts. After all of that time is invested, money now has to be invested to conclude the deal. These two elements are very common in the entrepreneurial world. Time and money; time and money; time and money! This is all entrepreneurs hear! “You have to invest a lot of time and money to make this business work!” I do not entirely agree with that common statement, but there is some truth to it. The point is, we as new entrepreneurs need to (at the risk of promoting a cliché) THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX.

You may be asking, “WHATS THE POINT? GET TO THE POINT!!” The point, my fellow business community members, is that if you/me/us/we ONLY invest time and money into a project, we are extremely limited in our choice of investment. The entire premise of being an entrepreneur is that we do not fall in line; we do not conform to the conventional; and we break boundaries and borders in order to pioneer an idea, product, or state of mind!

Keeping that in mind, many people are interested in the “entertainment arts.” In other words, many new entrepreneurs are interested in the music and acting industries. This is a GREAT road to travel! I respect and congratulate any person who wants to invest in these types of projects, not only as silent or active partner, but as the actual talent; the actual musician or actor/actress. However, I do NOT want to mislead. Entrepreneurs that have picked this road have a very hard and bumpy expedition in front of them, but, like any risky investment, the payoff can be HUGE!

Now, let’s tie these two points together. People who wish to undertake this type of venture need to invest more than just the traditional time and money! Do not be afraid! This additional commitment is what makes being a new entrepreneur lots of fun!

In addition to time and money, one has to invest two other things. First, one has to invest his/her TALENT. If you wish to pursue a music or acting career, your talent is your biggest asset! Whereas you capital may help you invest in a real estate project, your musical or acting abilities are your capital in the “entertainment arts.” Second, one must be willing to invest his/her HEART! That may sound “cheesy,” but truer words have never been spoken. Unlike a traditional investment, like real estate, emotional attachment to the project is a must! If you do not believe me, ask yourself this question, “do you really expect people to buy, watch, or listen to your music/movie/stage performance if no feeling is involved?” The correct answer is NO! Truthfully, how many people do you know listen to music they like or watch a movie they like without getting emotionally involved. THE ANSWER, ZERO! Everybody who likes the artist they are watching or listening to creates an emotional response from each person. Whether that response is sadness, happiness, thrill, excitement, mellowness, calmness, and/or motivation, to name a few; the point is an emotional response is created, and therefore, fans are created! NO FANS, NO MONEY, bottom line!

Besides investing you time, money, talent, and heart, you must act as an entrepreneur in this business to remain successful. If you are the artist, always remember that no matter how big the paycheck, your art is still a JOB! If you stop singing or acting, the money stops coming. Although it is true that royalties may trickle in from time to time, the “main money” is gone if you stop. We have all seen how people can make millions on one job, and be broke in just a few years. Is this how you want to live? How would you like to be a millionaire that IS WORRIED whether or not he/she will be broke next month?! The whole point of wealth is that one does not have to worry about money!

If you are an artist you also have to be an entrepreneur. When you first start out in the business, people may try to take advantage of you. Watch out for these people, because there will be more than you think. Does this mean that all agents and/or managers will try to take advantage of you? Of course not, but you do have to create income through more than just your talent. Think of yourself as a professional athlete without a contract. When a pro athlete gets injured, in most sports, he/she gets paid even if injured. The same is NOT true in your business! If you do not make a record, movie, etc., you do not get paid!

Making it “big” should be your first concern, but when money starts coming in, DO NOT ASSUME that it will continue forever. Many big musicians and actors spin their fame into clothing products, perfumes/colognes, and restaurants. Investments of that magnitude may be further in the future, but “chance favors the well-prepared mind!” You do not have to be a millionaire to invest in real estate, an internet business, or a magazine; just to name a few ideas.

Musicians and actors/actress need to be entrepreneurs their whole career. The best way to avoid risk is to diversify. If you do not make a record, movie, etc. this year, wouldn’t it be nice to know that your magazine endorsement and your real estate investments are going to pay your bills for the next three years?

A few of the above written paragraphs may sound cynical, but for those of you new entrepreneurs that chose this path, you have a long, hard journey ahead and “sugar-coating” it will make it harder. If you go into this investment project with the mindset of an entrepreneur and the talent of an artist, you will do fine!

As French essayist Luc de Clapiers Vauvenargues once said, “[g]reat success is commoner than great abilities!”

Note from M. Angioni II

I would like to thank David from Music Talks Sessions for inspiring me to write this piece. He is a member of our business community and may be able to provide more insight on this perspective. Visit his website;
www.musictalkssessions.com

9/3/06

COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE…WHAT A MONSTER TO PERCEIVE!

by C. Clifford

Commercial real estate is a monster. However, it is a monster that can be a lot of fun with huge benefits. The question one needs to ask himself/herself when entering the field is, “am I going to tame the monster or am I going to be the one on the sideline watching and hoping I can control the beast?”

You might be asking, why the hell is this guy acting like he knows something? The answer: I am that guy that works at one of the largest Real Estate Investment Brokerage Companies (REIBC) in the U.S. that interacts and is involved in annual transactions totaling over 60 billion dollars. That’s right, I said BILLION with a “B.” I know some people!

But, if there is one thing I have learned in commercial real estate, it is the fact that it has two types of investors; the type of investor that has his/her shit together and knows what they are doing, and the type of investor that just has absolutely no clue. The saddest part of it all is the fact that so many investors have absolutely no clue what they are doing and yet think they know how to do it all. Since these two types of investors exist, there tends to be two types of “monster-tamers.” The two types of monster-tamers are the “sophisticate” and “not so sophisticate.”

Many people believe what they know or do is exactly the right move to make or the right investment to pursue. Unfortunately, most of the time these “not so sophisticate” investors are not making the right “move.” Fortunately, I am not here to judge, I AM HERE TO TEACH.

The primary concern an investor of commercial real estate should have is whether he/she will play a critically role in his/her investment or if he/she just wants to be a “coupon clipper.” Being a “coupon clipper” means you want to own a Taco Bell, Autozone, Best Buy, or anything that has a set 20-30 year lease with a corporate guarantee and a tenant that is NOT planning to go anywhere for a very long time. If this is the case you are happy with a measly 5.5-8.5 percent return annually. You want no management and you want to be guaranteed that in 3-5 years you can walk from the property and buy a bigger and better one. When you buy this bigger property, you then create a typical “return on investment” of about 7 percent annually. After 3 years or so you have another 21+/- percent of equity that is due for leveraging.

The previously stated paragraph represents about 75 percent of your typical investors. These investors are SOMETIMS “sophisticated” but most of the time NEEDS A LOT of guidance.

As entrepreneurs, we have established that we are tolerant to higher risks. If you want a 5.5-8.5 annual return on your investment, then why exude the time, effort, money, and stress of buying commercial real estate? Is it bragging rights? Is it for the company discount? Do not dilute yourself by taking the “safe investment.” If you want safe, put your money in a savings account, and do not think about for 40 years! That way, when you are too old to enjoy your money, you can regret the horrible choice you made. If you want that low of a return, invest in government bonds or saving’s accounts and save yourself the hassle. Here’s the bottom line, we as entrepreneurs did not get into this game to get a small return on a large amount of capital. We as entrepreneurs want big returns on calculated risks. We are willing to take the extra risk to get the extra reward.

Now, let’s talk about people like me. I am the investor that wants to work for his money and get a 10 – 50 percent return in 1 (one) year or less. These are the sophisticated investors that make my business fun. Think this is not possible? You are mistaken! I will talk in depth about this type of investor next time.


-Note from M Angioni II.

C. Clifford is a member of my business family. He obtained a B.S. degree in Economics from the University of Southern California, a Minor in Business from the same, and his Real Estate License in Nevada. He currently is employed by one of the largest commercial real estate firms in the United States. Although some of his language may be "rash," C. Clifford is trying to drive a point home. If you are offended by some of his language, you better strengthen your tolerance level. Language flys, and money moves. If you have to put up with a "not so soft spoken" client in order to close a deal, just remember, your offended character does not feed your family. Create a better life for yourself and your family, even if that means swallowing your pride for the time being.

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