A. Will Properties, LLC was conceived in early 2013 and incorporated - as if through some accident (or miracle) - in May of the same year. It is now January of 2015 and we have been operating for a hair over 18 months now. It's incredible that it's only been 18 months, it feels like a lifetime - or only a week. My partner, Bill, and I, have been non-stop for over 18 months and we are JUST NOW starting see a sliver of light breaking through the dark clouds of entrepreneurial start-up.
We are both in our early-approaching-mid thirties. Bill has a beautiful wife, 2 adorable kids, a big house, you know, the whole American Dream thing. I don't quite have what you would call the American Dream, but I do have a version of it that is equally taxing and oppressive - like the plastic walls of the hamster crate that my sisters kept as kids (sad to say, the hamster didn't make it very long in that crate). Bill was working twice the hours an average employee was working, while maintaining relationships with his family and other business ventures. Just incredible.
Beginning in my mid-approaching-late twenties, I had had an interest in real estate. Friends of mine were making money doing it - buying, renting, remodeling, selling - and I wanted a piece of it. I was always trying to get in on it but had nothing to contribute (no money; no knowledge). One good friend of mine would let me help him on his projects from time to time, though I learned very little, mostly because I was young and immature and was more interested in chasing girls around at parties than securing the financial interests of my future.
This idea of being a big-time real estate flipper passed in and out of existence like an electron.
After abandoning the idea, I decided to finish my Bachelor's degree at 30 years old, which created a very demanding schedule while maintaining a home, (trying to) appease a girlfriend, and trying to figure out a way to make it to work every day so that I could support myself through it all. Needless to say, we were never "ready" to start a business. And not only far from ready, but light years away from prepared.
So what did we do - almost by accident? Yep, incorporated a business.
Actually, I messaged Bill on Facebook one day, and said: "Hi, give me some money." I was asking for donations for a friend of mine that was raising money for a start-up in Kenya; I was going for shock value in hopes that he would reply. He did, and self-admittedly, just because he wanted me to go away. I presented a business idea, an extremely rough business model, and we went from there.
We decided we weren't ready at the time and that we'd have to focus on saving more money and finding other people with capital to join us in the (ad)venture. Within weeks we were sitting down with a relative of Bill's that had interest in what we were doing - he was in! He said he would fund our first project, and just like that, we were getting started. We were elated! We weren't quite sure what to do next, but we were elated. And then a couple weeks later our investor backed out due to personal reasons. It was out of our control but it stung nonetheless.
From day 1 it has been an emotional roller coaster. After that initial investor backed out, we decided we had already committed too much emotion and planning to just let it go, so we found more capital investors to back our projects, we created a plan, a name, and incorporated. We sought out advice and information. We actively found great people along the way that we were able to ask questions to, shadow in the field, and learn from.
I doubt anyone that has ever started investing in real estate was fully ready to do it. Like anything, the only way you can truly learn how to do something is to do it. At times, we have suffered from analysis paralysis, quite often actually, but it's important to know that you will only see results from the actions you take - not from the actions you're thinking about taking. The hardest part is to start, but once you start, you won't want to stop. We never stopped.
That's the thing, despite the fact that we weren't ready, we never stopped. We never stopped thinking about it. We never stopped planning for it. We never stopped trying to find capital investors. We never stopped moving forward. We never stopped learning. We never stopped. We haven't stopped yet.