It’s My Bike!

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It’s My Bike!

May 4, 2004
Roberta Standen
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It’s been 25 years since I first spit out the words, It’s My Bike“. I’ve been known to repeat those words as an affirmation through clenched teeth, shout them to the backside of a slammed door and whisper them cautiously but determinedly under my breath. But, I’ll never forget the first time I uttered those words.

Managing several dozen aggressive independent, highly motivated real estate agents was a formidable task. Those who did the least expected the most and those who did the most demanded the brokers capitulate to their whims and all sorts of bargains to get the listing, keep the listing, close the deal or save the escrow. You know, things like lower the commission buy the home warranty policy, replace a hot water heater… whatever it took! Worse than narrowing the margin of profitability was the awful realization that as a broker I was compromising my integrity and running scared. Running for fear of loosing agents, loosing income, loosing listings, loosing sales loosing escrows … when actually I was gradually loosing my self-respect as well as my mind! Agents would bellyache about floor time, balked at staff meetings and continually whined at me to raise commission percentages and/or supply them with more materials.

Then came the morning I walked into the office, called a staff meeting and said, “Mark this day well on your calendar, the party’s over!” I continued, “From this day forward we are going to run this business the way I want it run. All of this nonsense is over. No more will I allow buyers, sellers, agents, competitors or anyone else control this company.” Well, I thought I was going to be hung in effigy or tarred and feathered, but I didnt care. They hollered and yelled, threatened to leave, to sue, and some even cried. Then, almost in one accord, they demanded some justification for my actions and demanded it immediately and without delay. To this day I don’t know where the following words came from, but out of the recesses of my brain, I rose to my full 5’2″ stature and calmly but firmly replied, “Here is my justification, the ONLY justification necessary for making these policy decisions, because It’s My Bike.” From that day to this, I have guarded “my bike” cautiously and carefully not allowing anyone to control my business, my clients, my finances or my time. Neither should you! As an independent professional in the cash flow business, remember always – It’s Your Bike!

So, now you have made the decision to enter the cash flow business. A laudable and courageous step for many of you, particularly those who have little or no background in banking, real estate or in the financing field. Yes, it does take courage to step up and out of the mediocre, stretch your boundaries, get out of your comfort zone and plunge into a new venture. By now, you have probably purchased a cash flow course, attended a seminar and learning all you can as fast as you can. The cash flow business is an honorable business, a profitable business and above all (even though you are just starting out) it is YOUR business. Yes, it is Your Bike!

First of all, let me remind you that the cash flow business is indeed a business. Although I am pleased to say, that you do not have to purchase expensive equipment, furniture and fixtures, purchase inventory or lease a building. It takes no formal education. What an opportunity! All you really need is a calculator, basic knowledge of how money moves, a telephone and a need and determination to succeed. Your “stock in trade” is your ability to negotiate and put transactions together. It is not a frivolous game, it is a business and just like your bike, you can ride and it will take you anywhere you want to go and just as fast or slow as you want to go. And guess what, you can also stop anytime and anywhere you want to.

And here’s the best part … you can choose who you want to ride with and for how long. In reading posts on several boards and visiting with note finders all over the country, I am surprised at how many note finders have the perception that “profit” in the cash flow business is somehow intrinsically devious or wrong. There seems to be a commonality to this concern. The conversation goes something like this: “What will the buyer think if they find out at closing that I negotiated the purchase of the note for $5,000 less than I sold it to them for. Or, what will the seller do if they find out I negotiated a sale to an investor and made $5,000 for myself?” Hello!! this is called a PROFIT. AND PROFIT IS HONORABLE. THIS IS THE AMERICAN ENTREPRENEURIAL BUSINESS MODEL. There is absolutely nothing wrong with making a profit. The transaction is truly win/win for everyone. The seller received what he agreed to, the buyer received the note for what he was willing to pay and you, the businessman or woman, made a profit. Hey, It’s Your Bike!!

When I buy a sack of sugar from Mr. Potts, my local grocer, I have yet to ask what he paid for it and you know what? I don’t care I wanted and needed the sugar. Likewise, I can’t imagine the wholesaler who sold the sugar to Potts, asking the price he plans to sell it for or demanding to know the profit he will make. Can you imagine him calling Potts and saying, “Hey, I heard you sold that sugar and made $50 a sack?” Do you really think he cares, do you think I care? Do you think I have the right to know? Also, how can I possibly be intimidated by Mr. Potts or suffer rejection when I buy the sack of sugar?? Buyers don’t know what rejection feels like, it’s oxymoron. Keep in mind that you are a buyer cruising down the street on Your Bike! persistently and aggressively looking for a seller with a note or other cash flow who is motivated for whatever reason or need to generate cash. What an exciting concept!

Another woebegone tale goes something like this: “The note seller won’t give me information on the note.” They want to know the discount rate before they will give me any information! What’s that all about? It’s like going to the Doctor and asking him what the diagnosis is before you give him the symptoms. If the Doc asks you where it hurts or if you have a fever, you reply, “I want “you” to guess Doc, I’m not going to tell you”. Most of the time the seller refuses to give you the information because he doesn’t have the DNA (Desire, Need or Ability). In this case, your next move should be simply this: Get on Your Bike! and start pumpin’ just as fast as you can down the street until you find someone who really wants to take a ride with you. It’s Your Bike!

Let me caution you here. The ride won’t always be smooth: there will be bumps in the road. There will be times when you get going too fast, ignore the warning signs and plow right into a parked car or ride on the shoulder and end up in the ditch. If you blow a stoplight you might get a ticket or even get hit. You just have to get up one more time than you fall down. Just take your lumps, keep on peddling, learn from your mistakes and don’t attach yourself to the results.

Make sure you have a destination before you first climb on your bike (a goal) and a map so you know where you are going (plan of action) and then develop a passion to be the very best in the business. Before you know it, you will be disconnecting the training wheels and riding it with all your might making a hard right turn on to Success Street and into the parking lot of the United National Bank to deposit your profits. Remember Your Bike! will take you anywhere you want to go, including to financial independence.

It’s Your Bike, Enjoy The Ride!

About The Author

Roberta has been a licensed real estate broker since 1974. A specialist in real estate exchanging, creating real estate notes, and using private paper to creatively purchase and sell millions of dollars in real estate, Roberta has bought, sold, traded, originated and managed notes for over 25 years, through her capacity as a real estate broker, professional exchangor, and real estate developer. (“Reprinted with permission of the author 10-2010)

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