As an entrepreneur I have alway’s felt as if I see things in a different light than those around me.  When in reality I believe all entrepreneur’s share some basic similarities which allow us to discover those niche’s within an industry that simply pass others by.  For me, I have been fortunate to hit three niches in my life time and ride those niche markets to a successful conclusion.  How does one find a niche within their field of expertise?  I found that the entrepreneur eye sees things in a much clearer light in a dream state as opposed to being wide awake.  After all, entrepreneurs are visionaries, we see business opportunities others have overlooked and are willing to flow with the prevailing business climate and adjust as necessary.  I make my most successful discoveries while on long bike rides with only my thoughts, whatever sets your mind in a free flowing creative state without the stresses of life and the world around you should be the place you go when in discovery mode.  It is amazing what the human mind can accomplish when you think of a topic and allow time to day dream.  This place should be visited several times a week while trying to find a fix to a problem within a given industry, as a personal rule I work in the “dream state” several times a week to allow creativity to continue to flourish.

Once an idea starts to formulate you look at it from all directions, one should be their own worst skeptic.  How will this idea fit, who will it benefit, who will it hurt, how viable is it, what will it take to get it off the ground?  These are just a few examples of questions that must be answered as you are creating that niche market.  When you have a firm hold on the direction you want to go and how to get there, you have to hold on to it and take the first step.  As an entrepreneur one must believe in himself or herself and their ability to take ahold of an idea all while having enough faith to bring that idea to fruition.  One thing I do everyday is think about who can help me move my idea forward, then I call or email that person.   This is a great exercise and helps me to generate more discussion and excitement around my idea.  I discovered long ago that people who have accomplished great things in their lives do not sit back and let things happen to them, they go out and make things happen.

Finding a niche is really not that difficult. I opened my health clubs because back then I simply saw a need for private training while working at a crowded gym.  Progressive Vision Management, my church building company, came out of the realization that the building industry I love was very corrupt and there had to be a better way when building the house of the Lord.  And Education To Equity started based on two issues I had with the investment and real estate communities.  First, in real estate investing, the so called professionals are more interested in selling tapes on how to do something rather than actually helping people.  On the investment side, all investment products return to the investor a small percent while the investment firm makes the big bucks and they don’t allow true ownership.  Recognizing a need, creating a business to fill that need, working out the bugs, believing in your creation and follow through, follow through, follow through.

All of my successes have come from a tireless drive to succeed in what I believe in, I am not swayed by nay sayers but instead use their negativity as constructive criticism.  And above all a successful entrepreneur can not be afraid of failure, on the contrary failures are opportunities to learn.

I think we can all agree, the housing market is helping hold this economy back from any substantial comeback.  And if you agree (which I do) that housing will play a key roll in the upcoming election.  Then why did Obama put a limit on the number of foreclosures banks can release this year?  I have been saying it all year, it’s an election year people, do not trust the media.  Do not trust the numbers (if you really believe we are at 8% unemployment, have I got a bridge for you)  and do not believe for a second that foreclosures are slowing.  In fact 2nd quarter 2012 is 10% higher in most states than it was a year ago for foreclosures on the books.


Here’s the deal, the current administration thinks you are not intelligent enough to understand the games they are playing and believe that you will believe the hype.  If you do, get ready and if you don’t, get ready anyway.  The back log of houses coming back to the banks is far greater than what we have seen already.  Someone has a mess to clean up, do you want the government to do it, or free market enterprise?  Well that’s your choice, choose wisely, it’s four more years.


In the attached article Carla Hill talks about banks and how it is harder than ever to get a loan while the Housing Affordability Index is off the charts in favor of home buyers.  This is more true than she delves into. Today, it is absolutely ridiculous as to how difficult it is to get a loan.  Good credit, money in the bank, great job, long history, it doesn’t matter.  Good luck at getting that loan.  Banks have all but locked down the industry as a whole.  If you want to buy a home to rehab, you better have cash, there is not a loan for you.  Outside the realm of the banks which are regulated by the government, you have private money and hard money.  These options are out there, but knowing you don’t have another option, makes this one very costly.


Why are banks making it so hard to get a loan?  Think about it, if you had a business where the sole purpose is to make money, which party would you want in?  In thinking that way, you clearly chose free enterprise.  So how would you get out the opposition and get back to business?  You simply hold an industry hostage!  Banks have been doing just that for the past few years.  When business was good, it was easy to get a loan.  When the government got involved and said free money to those who can’t afford to ever pay it back (sub prime loans) business became bad over night.  Now that the dust has settled, banks are simply taking their business back by saying to the government, get out of our business.


You can’t blame them, and you can’t blame them for your woes.  You should not have over extended yourself in the first place.  Yes it’s tough, but hang in there, good times are coming and you will be back in the money.  In the meantime, go after your dreams.  If you sideline as the article states due to uncertainty of job or future, you are part of the problem.  This country was built by risk takers, those who are not afraid to make money.  If you are not one of them, then step aside, but don’t complain when they have more than you do.  That too is your choice!

Those of you who know me, know I have waged a war on the real estate guru’s and scam artist out there.  The practice of freely taking people’s money and using it for one’s own extravagant life style is out of control.  When will enough be enough?  When will there be a way to truly know where your money is and what it is doing?  Although logical, these questions may not be realistically answered any time soon.  You see, the criminal mind is always working hard at not working.

This topic hit our office with yet two more major Ponzi schemes hitting the news.  So I asked the question of my staff, how do you know your money is safe?  The response was, “...because I get a quarterly statement.”  My reply, “And so did the people invested with all of the criminals you see on the news.”  The paper document you receive is just that, paper.  The last guy to get busted told the investigators he got so good at using Adobe Photoshop that it became the simple push of a button to forge documents.  Unbelievable!

The second question I had was, “Why don’t they just use the money to make money?”  (I clearly don’t think like a criminal, but like a business person.)  This, to me, is something I truly do not understand.  For example, if I am the guy in Texas who raised 40 million dollars to buy notes at a discount and sell them for a profit, then why don’t I do that?  Better yet, why don’t I build the machine to do it faster than what I promise the investors so I can do it in half the time I promised them. Thus, using the money twice and lowering my cost of funds.  This strategy would make me a fortune. I would have happy investors and not go to jail.  Is the concept of doing what you say really that hard for people to grasp today?  Maybe I’m a bit old school, but at least I won’t end up as someone’s girlfriend in the big house.

Months ago I decided to create a Private Lending group which would do things differently. In the process aid our company in borrowing funds as well as our students who have no other means. All this while creating a very nice return to the investors. In doing so I reached back into my 27 years in the real estate industry to create something which would be fair to both parties, have good liquidity, protect one from the other, create the most secure investment on the market today, and above all give a safe haven from all of the scam artists out there. So you no longer have to be afraid to make money!

That leads me to the question at hand - How do you know where your money is and what it is doing? This is tough for any investment, especially with today’s technology and the ease in which documents can be forged.  After all, if you go to Coke’s head quarters, I am pretty sure they will not let you sit with the bookkeepers and discuss your ownership, let alone be able to tell you if you are an owner.

Here is what we did to try and alleviate some of the worry and allow our investors to be part of the investment, including the ability to see, touch, and feel the properties securing their funds.

  1. We spread the risk.  Our Private Lending group lends on several great deals at once in order to spread any possible risk, and no one investor is on any individual property.
  2. We don’t actually lend, we purchase the property on behalf of the would be borrower and sign a business agreement for them to complete the project.  This means we own the property and all funds invested in said project from the borrower and allows us a quick close to protect our funds if something goes wrong.
  3. We only lend 80% of the purchase, meaning the borrower has a lot of skin in the game which we control through one of our protective measures.
  4. We send out closing documents on each deal to all investors showing where their money is being used.  We are a local firm, go kick the bricks if you like, its yours!
  5. Upon sale we send out closing docs and show the returns and so on.
  6. If you want to go through our books, we are an open book company and I am sure my bookkeepers would like the company and someone to talk to.
  7. I enjoy taking trips to all of our properties so feel free to join me for a car ride any time to see your money at work.
  8. As a company we are liquid and strong, all of our properties are owned free and clear or have a non-recourse loan in place. Again, mitigating risk.

And of course, we send out quarterly statements, on paper.

These are crazy times for the investment community at large and I am only trying to do my part to help alleviate some of the pain.  That being said, it is also the greatest time for what we do as a company. Since the crash, we are having some of our best years.  Unfortunately, the stock market and most other investments cannot say the same thing.  You need to think a bit differently in today’s economy, so think like the money makers.  BE THE BANK!

Below I have provided a link to a great article regarding Ponzi schemes and other trickery written by a great law firm who specializes in helping people recoup any funds they can after they have been taken.  Happy reading.

Thomas R Stanley II

Education to Equity, Inc.


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The economy is getting better. At least that is what “they” are telling us.  Whether I is true or not, the current economic climate has created major opportunities for investments in multi-family commercial properties.  Banks still aren’t lending a lot.  Multi-family properties continue to depreciate in value.  Numerous owners, having previously taken equity out of their multi-family units, find themselves forced to take their property into foreclosure.


Here is the good news for an investor.  At the same time, demand for affordable apartment housing has grown.  Unemployment, reductions in salaries, and uncertainty in the current economy have helped to reduce vacancy rates across the country from 9% in some metropolitan areas to 5.5%-6.1% over the past 18 months.

The key to success in this market is knowing what to buy, where to buy, how much to pay and most importantly how to transform the bricks and mortar into cash and equity.

Investing in real estate is one of the most powerful paths you can take if financial freedom is your goal. The old ways for building wealth just aren’t working.  The stock market will not help you reach your financial goals.


If you are beginning to feel like you are REALLY behind your financial goals, or if your retirement portfolio is worth a lot less, there are 5 very good reasons to invest in real estate.

  • You can take control of your financial future.
  • Financial security and generational wealth can be more than just a dream
  • With planning and knowledge, you can acquire equity in a cash flow producing property
  • Your retirement fund will actually start to grow again
  • You can create a passive income for yourself and your family with the right plan

We created an entire radio show because we don’t think there is anything better than real estate investing to meet your financial and lifestyle goals.   If you need help, give me a call at 800-800-4220.

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