Jonathan's Journey -------> A Journal of How to Win in Las Vegas thru Real Estate Investing

Jonathan's Journey -------> A Journal of How to Win in Las Vegas thru Real Estate Investing

Hello DG Family:

My name is Jonathan Olson and this journal has been about four months in the making...I hope to cover all of the adventures that I have encountered within these past few months, and then continue to update this journal as my journey leads me to my ultimate goal of Financial Freedom.

I am going to begin way back - far before I even thought of real estate investing as a career. I grew up in a low income family where by the time I realized the power of money, I had been thrust into being the fatherfigure of my household (mom and dad divorced when I was 12). Dad was a full-time mill worker and mom had enjoyed being a stay-at-home-mom. After the divorce my mother struggled to keep food on the table and a roof over my brother and my heads. At the age of about 15, I recall acquiring the mindset that: "If I wanted to make a lot of money, I had to go where there was a lot of money." So, I began my working life as a Caddy at a Private Golf Club that was about 5 miles down the road from where I lived back in Wisconsin. After school and throughout the entire summer I would ride my bicycle 5 miles one way (sometimes at 5:00 in the morning) then ride back after 1-3 laps around the course. Not only was it great exercise, but it was also a great way to connect/intermingle with the type of people that I would one day strive to become. Well, it paid off...I was able to receive the very popular Evans Scholarship. I'll tell you that it was very exciting for my parents since I was to be the first person in many many generations from our family to even get the chance to go to college. The scholarship paid for my tuition for 4 years, and it gave me a house to live in the entire time I was there - ontop of that - the fact that my mother was a single parent, I was able to get Government Pell Grants to help me pay for all of my books and other living expenses. I was truly blessed.

Fast-forward a few years...I completed 4 years of college at UW-Madison - came up a few credits shy of getting my diploma in Technical Theatre, but wasn't very concerned because I got a job offer right out of college working for one of the largest concert promotion agencies in the world BGP (Bill Graham Presents) out in San Francisco. What an exciting way to start my professional career. I worked there for a little over 2 years and would guess that I might have seen and/or been apart of 400+ concerts. AWESOME way to live out my early 20s. Soon thereafter I found myself here in Las Vegas - where my mother had moved to once my little brother was out of the house. I have always been really close with my mom, and knew that she was going through some rough times trying to get started here in sin-city. I felt that with my background in the professional entertainment industry, I'd have a good chance of landing a nice job in the Entertainment Capital of the World...and I was right. I started working for a few local production companies, but soon worked my way in the doors at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino. Again, the lifestyle of a stagehand is very exciting, but it can wear you out really quick. I was one of the primary lighting designers that opened the Conference Center there, and throughout my 4+ years there I did everything from the Infamous Mike Tyson Ear-Biting Fight to one of the last shows I did The Barbara Striesand New Years Eve Spectacular bringing in the new millenium.

Fast-forward again, after a 2 year vacation on the island of Maui, HI -- and a 6 year battle with rebuilding my foundation at the very same papermill that my father had been working at for 38 years, and my little brother had been at for nearly 11 years, the economy took a dump, and the mill decided to close it's doors on us all. Which brings me back here to wonderful Las Vegas. My mother and I decided to make a go of it again. She's here mainly because her parents are here and a few other brothers, and I'm here for her.

I have been living on unemployment now for over a year and a half. At first it was going to be another well deserved vacation, but with the job market the way it is, this candle has started to flicker. Thus begins our real estate investing journey...

Back in April of this year, my mother happened to come across one of Robert Allen's books, upon reading into it, she decided to join his Protege orientation course. It just so happens that way back in the early 80s my Grandfather used one of R. Allens techniques to by a property...this got my mothers wheels a turning. If Grandpa could do it 25+ years ago, why couldn't we do it in today's crazy market? So, there I was studying along with my mother these real estate classes (which I am quite amazed - really made me do a full 180). I attribute it to the fact that I really was getting to a point where I had to find something to do to get off of this unemployment rollercoaster.

Not more than 2 weeks into following these RE classes and webinars, I happened across Dean Graziosi's Infomercial...well...let the games begin! I was determined to continue following my mother on her $4,000.00 investment to this Robert Allen Strategy, but at the same time, I began following Dean's teachings. Two weeks later there was a Free PFRERN Seminar here in Las Vegas. My mother came as my guest, and by the end of the seminar, we both decided that we would try out the Live 3-Day Training that was offered. Keep in mind that neither of us were employed...I was quite amazed that mom was willing to invest another $500.00 into this without having anything yet materialize out of her R. Allen investment. (The Key Reason - I feel, that we decided to take on Dean's approach was because he provided clear, in-depth, current, real-life examples...and all that we were getting from R. Allen was classroom based teachings)

Over the next few weeks (after signing up to the 3-Day), I completely read through the PFRERN book in about 4 days. This impressed even me, since I am no big reader at all. I further went through every last thing in the PFRERN Home Study Course. I knew that the Live 3-Day Training was only 2 weeks out, so I decided to cover all the information within that time-period, so that when the seminar arrived, I would be at the top of the class. Well, the 3-Day arrived...and mom was just as excited as I was about getting our hands on some vital information. I'm going to pause here for a moment, because I've got to gather my thoughts -- the next few days where not quite what we had expected them to be. (to be continued)


"One thing I like about stones in my path is when I cross them they become my milestones." -Unknown

continuing my journey

So here we are at the beginning of the Live 3-Day Seminar. The first disappointment was finding out that we weren't allowed to network. This was really quite dissapointing, since both mom and I came in thinking that this would be a great place to find other investors in our area and do just that - Network. We were also a little taken back that there was so much time devoted to selling further "Advanced Training" courses. Don't get me wrong, we did gain a ton of really helpful information throughout the seminar, but the fact that neither of us were in any position to fork over any more money made the better part of 40% of the seminar (the sales pitch) worthless. On top of that, our presenter did a very good job of making those of us who wouldn't invest more money in these courses feel like we were wasting our time and money. She literally looked down upon us because we couldn't make any further investment. My mother and I decided to endure the full three day seminar and get as much out of it as we paid our $500.00 for. After all was said and done, we did decide to try to network with those people who, like us, couldn't afford any more money. Note: this was after the seminar was over -- since we were told that once we were done, we could do what we liked.

The whole endeavor was ultimately one that I'm glad that we experienced, but I really don't think that we would ever pay for another guru's secrets until we can start to see some ROI (return on our investment). As it stands, I continue to stay in contact with about 5-6 people that were at the seminar. From where I come from, the more like-minded people you can work with, the easier your job will ultimately become. I am a go-getter, and when I put my mind to reaching a goal, I'll do everything in my power to achieve it. The position that I am currently in, forces me to keep pushing forward...not for only me, but for my mother as well. The absolute last thing that I want to see happen is that both my mother and I would be forced to go back to work for someone else after investing so much time & money into this real estate journey.

Since the seminar (back in May), we have continued to follow R. Allens' program. We can't really give up on that because it was a $4000.00 investment on my mothers' part. I continue to study with mom, and also continue to follow Dean and his teachings through this Awesome website. I am on this site at least once a day either reading up on past posts from other members, or posting comments of my own. I think that this is a wonderful site to learn anything and everything you would ever want, or need, to know about the real estate business. The members that I have been in contact with are always very friendly and open to offering even the smallest tidbit of knowledge/ information that might help me out. So, I thank you all for that. It just goes to prove (as Dean clearly teaches) REI is not a Money business, it is a People business.

Part of our studies have led us down the path of protecting our investments and moreover ourselves, so we have started up our own business. We are Flippen Investor, LLC. We have not only got our business up and running, but we have gotten business cards printed up, and opened a business account at our local bank. The great part about that was finding out that since both my mother and I are co-owners of the company, the bank offered us each a $5,000.00 credit line just for opening the account. This gave us both a little breath of fresh air, since our funds continue to get smaller and smaller. Another part of the R. Allen course has led us to create three different websites (buying, selling and birddogging) which we have set up as well. All-in-all the way I look at it, we are slowly but surely building a strong foundation. Even though we haven't done our first deal yet, the more knowledge we gain - the stronger we will be when we join the game.

One of the nice points to this business is the ability to work with other people. This is one area that I have excelled in...I love helping people. Even though I still consider myself as a newbee in this business, there are a lot of other areas of expertise that I can offer myself to others on their own journeys. A perfect example of this arose one day about 2 months back as I was here on this site searching for other Las Vegas area investors. To make a long story short, I found and started connecting with a fellow investor here in my area, and she is now a partner that my mother and I work with on a regular basis. She happens to have an enormous array of knowledge of the business since she used to be a Realtor. Together with her knowledge and my mother and my drive, we are not only creating a wonderful partnership, but we are also helping one another out by making this investing business a reality.

We started to take our studies to the streets about 1 month ago. We searched for a Realtor here in Las Vegas using the website and found a gentleman that was open to working with investors. Our fellow investor, my mother and I met him, gave him just over a day to come up with some properties that fit into our criteria (mainly to test him out and to see how determined he really was to work for us as our buyers agent). We met him at his office, did a nice little meet&greet, and proceeded to look at 6 properties that very afternoon. After that initial meeting, we all decided that the best thing that we liked about him, was that he was an 'old-school' type of agent that would tell you like it was, not what you might like to hear. He was also very determined to find us what we were searching for, so we decided to keep him. The following week, we got together again and this time looked at 11 more properties. The one thing that killed our relationship with this Realtor was that, from day 1, we told him that we were investors looking for 'income producing properties' that had very motivated sellers. Our main focus was to have him sift through these properties for us so that we could lock'em up and Assign/Wholesale them to our end-buyers. For one reason or another, after the second round of showing us properties and us not jumping in and submitting offers, he decided that we weren't going to buy these properties and told us that we needed to find another Agent to work with. I have a funny feeling that he was probably getting pressured by his Broker to create some money or move on. Well, lesson learned - next time we will be sure to work backwards and find the killer deals that our end-buyers are looking for.

Thus the journey continues -- mother and I are still working harder than ever to make something work for us. Sometimes it feels like I'm getting "information over-load" with all of the different directions that I'm being pulled in. As I think Dean stated in one of his books: don't get stuck in the rut of "analysis paralysis" and sometimes I feel that I am (probably because of the fear that I don't know enough of what I need to know to make this work), when in reality I really do know all I need to know. The next step is just taking that 'leap of faith' and going out there and doing it.

I hope that I haven't completely bored you all with my journey thus far, but as I feel a journal like this is supposed to is my journey, and I promise that if you continue to follow up with me, I WILL eventually be able to show you how I was able to WIN in Las Vegas thru Real Estate Investing. Until next time...

"May You Live Long And Prosper" -Spock


"One thing I like about stones in my path is when I cross them they become my milestones." -Unknown

Yay! You're Here!!

Yay! You finally did it and I enjoyed reading it... I'm beginning to think that's how I should have started my journal... by talking about how I got to where I am today...!

Well talk to you soon and hopefully we'll work together someday... soon! Smiling



Here's your first class ticket on my plane to destination: MILLIONS!

"An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest." Benjamin Franklin

Late night/early morning journal entry

I am ALWAYS looking at networking with fellow real estate investors. I feel the more like-minded people that I can get on my Powerteam, the easier this "people" business will become. Sadly, I have to admit that I haven't landed my first deal as of yet...but, have no fear I am coming out swinging! That first deal is so close I can almost taste it.

I am currently working on an exciting OPM project. I happened to come across a cash buyer from outside of the USA. It turns out that she came into an inheritance from her late father, and is interested in investing in real estate here. It sounded a little shady to me at first, but I'm waiting to see if she is legitimate, and I will proceed to work the deal backwards. I do not intend to sell her anything, I plan on "shopping" for her. And, if this deal does happen, then I can proceed to use the 10% finders fee - that she's already agreed to give me - as seed money to start investing in properties for myself.

OPM / Private Investors seem to me, to be a great way (in my situation - where, without a J.O.B, I can't get approved for a conventional loan) to jump in with the "big-boys" even though I am still a newbee. Money talks in this business, and with me, being able to "shop" for what these private investors are searching for, definately sounds like a WIN-WIN in my book. Wish me the best, I really need one of these deals to work ASAP since unemployment isn't gonna last forever.

Happy & Healthy Investing

Jonathan & Roxanna
Flippen Investor, LLC


"One thing I like about stones in my path is when I cross them they become my milestones." -Unknown

Cautiously proceeding

The more people that I talk to about this Private Money person from Africa, the more I here SCAM. So far, there have been three emails sent back and forth between her and I. So far, she sounds legit. And, so far, we are proceeding (with caution).

She has mentioned the 10% fee for our assistance only once, she has supplied us with a document showing her late fathers' Certificate of Deposit, and she has steered us towards working through her lawyer as far as the money transfer goes.

Have faith that we are proceeding very cautiously here, because we are aware that there are these types of SCAMS out there. Both my mother and I are not naive, and have the ability to sniff out a fraud when we find one. We are documenting every email, and since my mother has previously been a Private Investigator, knows the steps to follow to blow their cover if this is really just that -- A SCAM.

But, what are the chances that she is legitimate and is truely looking for someone to wisely invest her money in US real estate? Both my mother and I are hoping & praying that she is for REAL - 'cause this could turn into our "Golden Ticket". Our PI eyes/ears are awaiting her first slip-up, but as I stated, so far, nothing has been asked from us (by her) that has told us to dump her by the side of the road as the SCuM she could possibly turn out to be.

I think that the one thing that might 'cause her to up and run (if this is a SCAM) is the fact that we informed her that her funds will never be transfered into our personal accounts...we require them to be put into our businesses' escrow account. This way the escrow company can determine whether or not the money is real & available.

If there is anyone out there in the DG Family that have been apart of these types of deals, either for the good - or for the bad, please tell me how you proceeded & how it turned out. Thankx ahead of time - JON


"One thing I like about stones in my path is when I cross them they become my milestones." -Unknown

Next -- to good to be true -- moving on

Well, after about 2 full weeks of writing back & forth with this African investor, it finally came down to her putting us in contact with her lawyer. We actually received a phone call from him last week and proceeded to ask him to send us out an email showing all the information that he would be requiring from us to make this transaction happen. His email soon followed...and not to my surprise asked us to submit some 'personal information'. {RED FLAG} We explained to both of them from day 1 that there would NEVER be any of our personal information given out...his reply was that he needed my full name so that he could make up some legal documents related to the transfer. My final email to him was to explain that my personal full name will never be put on any legal documents that I wouldn't be able to look over first. And, even if the documents looked legit, my personal name shouldn't appear on then since the money was to be transferred from her bank into our Escrow Companies account. I explained that I wanted to take no responsibility for the transfer and allocation of funds where my name would be attached.
That last email was sent out nearly 2 weeks ago, and I have yet to hear back from them. Just a quick sidenote here, if there are any DG readers that are considering this same type of deal, I'd STRONGLY suggest checking out this website - - it explains and gives examples of tons of similar internet SCAMS that are out there these days.
As a new real estate investor, this deal sounded quite alluring, and for all I know, may actually have some validity behind it, BUT I don't feel that taking that chance is something that we want to involve ourselves in. In this internet-scam-happy-society, you really need to be careful as to where your 'personal information' goes, who has access to it, and what they can do with it. This particular deal was just one of those that, after time, we began feeling more and more uneasy about. Time to move on - lesson learned. Hopefully someday we will come across an actual USA Private Money Investor that will allow us to invest their money for them, and when that time comes, I will have a better understanding of how to handle that situation.

So, for now, we just keep pushing. Jonathan


"One thing I like about stones in my path is when I cross them they become my milestones." -Unknown

When will the light go on?

Well, it's been about 3.5 months now since we started going head-first into this real estate business. As of today...have nothing to show for it. I'm beginning to feel that this it one of those obstacles that is so D**n hard to overcome that a lot of investors quite. We are still pushing on !!!

Today marks the third monthly meeting of our local REI Club, I am praying that it will shed some new light on our endeavors. The classes topic is on: "Buying properties with little or no money, and no credit." If our instructor can also touch on how we are able to purchase these properties without having a J.O.B. and not being able to get qualified for a loan, we might just be able to keep on pushing with some renewed focus.

There is an added bonus for bringing a guest to tonights meeting...we will be given one months worth of NOD lists, so I'm a little excited to be bringing one of our business partners and then being able to look into these NODs and maybe make SOMETHING happen from them.

To sum up the last 4 months, I'd have to admit that my whole outlook of real estate has totally changed. My mother and I have gone from having no jobs, to working this (our) business full-time. We have invested money that we really don't have to try to learn the fundamentals from different RE giants like Dean Graziosi and Robert Allen. We are continuing to educate ourselves about as much of this business as we can. But, as a lot of investors on this site have posted, "All of this education and knowledge is great, but unless you can take it and apply it to REAL LIFE investments, it is pretty much useless."

As I stated before, we are NOT giving up! The last thing that either of us want is to be forced into going back to WORK for someone else -- joining the herd of people out there that are struggling with a J.ust O.ver B.roke. We have educated ourselves with the knowledge that there is a light at the end of the tunnel...and we know that that light is being offered to us in the form of Real Estate Investing.

"When will the light go on?" Well, the light has always been on, it seems to be that we've just been 'stuck in the dark closet'. It's time to get ENLIGHTENED by golly, once the first deal is logged into the books, I know that our path will remain LIT for the long haul.

Happy & Healthy Investing,


"One thing I like about stones in my path is when I cross them they become my milestones." -Unknown

What an AWESOME REI CLUB Meeting

I just got back from our third REI Club meeting since we began with this journey, and suddenly the pieces are starting to fall into place. Over the past few weeks we've been getting a bit upset with the Realtor mindsets here in Las Vegas, it seems that when we first introduce ourselves to them they are all excited to work for us, them out pops the word Investor - and it's like they've just seen a ghost.

Well, tonight we've turned a new leaf in our journey. As the old saying goes: "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em." Well, that's what our new plan of our business partners was a Realtor back in California, after realizing how most Realtors here in Las Vegas treat Investors, she's decided to do the exact thing that most aren't willing to do . . . work with us (investors). And the best part about it is that the company that she's looking at working for (Mortgage Broker included) insists that she works out "creative financing deals" with real estate investors!

It's got the potential of becoming one of the greatest mergers our business has ever seen. Las Vegas is a GREAT market for Investors, but up until now, finding the right GOTO Agent was as good of a chance as winning MEGABUCKS! If all works out right, our business partner/investor will have a new J.O.B. doing the kind of work that she loves to do. We will gain our own personal Realtor who knows what we are looking for - as an investor (mainly since she is also an investor herself), and this company will gain one heck of a go-getter agent who is HUNGRY to start making some major money in this market as an "Investor Friendly Realtor". Sounds to me like a Win-Win-Win already...and we haven't even begun to talk about real estate!!!

I knew that today had the potential to turn out to be a GREAT DAY - even though I'm not much of a fan of horoscopes, I happened across mine for yesterday (a few days back), and it mentioned something about "the connections that I would be making today will turn out to be of some major importance". Well, all I've gotta say is, today all of the puzzle pieces were there - and I could actually see the final picture start to come together. We still have a bit of assembling to do yet, but I'm beginning to feel once again that this was indeed the right decision for us to make - real estate investing is our JOB and we are out there to change peoples lives - 1 house at a time!

Happy & Healthy Investing


"One thing I like about stones in my path is when I cross them they become my milestones." -Unknown

Three more weeks are nothing to show.

Well, here I am again, writing in a journal that doesn't currently have a happy ending in sight. Over three weeks now since my last journal entry... and let's see, what has happened:
Mom and I were able to meet this Realtor from our area -- with aspirations of investing herself. She is "new" to the real estate business, but hopefully with a little persuasion, will be able to work directly with us as our GOTO Agent. The possibility is promising, expecially since she is very motivated and seems to be going out of her way to learn the investor side of real estate investing as well as the Realtor side.
The last three weeks have been a bit stressful due to the fact that my unemployment had nearly fizzled out -- up until the time that Obama signed this last extention. We were really beginning to worry about whether or not we could continue to live in our apartment if no further benefits would come in. I really am finding it quite difficult to watch my mother worry so much, I am trying to do everything that I can to get some money coming in, so that we can eventually not have to worry about where the next check will be coming from. As of right now, since this last extention was passed, we now have about a 3 1/2 month window to make something work.
The best part about going into this business with my mother at my side is that we are both here to push the other on when we hit those rough spots. I know that my mother wants this as bad - if not more than I do right now. She is constantly pushing me to go on...where I have nearly just given up and pondered going back to work.
This last week, Thurs. to Sat., we went to one of Robert Allen's 3-Day Live Trainings. My mother was nearly to a point where she was "fit-to-be-tied", and if the training had turned out to be anything like the 3-Day DG Training that her and I attended back in May, (with it turning into a 50% salespitch for their "advanced trainings") she would have surely put up quite a stink! Luckily, it turned into 2 1/2 full days of quality information -- only the last 1/2 day was devoted to their salespitch, and by then we had gathered all the information that they offered for FREE and were able to leave without being pressured into spending more money that we didn't have.
The outcome of the training was a few tid-bits of information that hopefully will help us in our investing business, and we were able to add a few more people to our ever-growing network of investors. It wasn't a complete waste of time...and it in fact did give us a few other ideas that we hadn't previously thaught of.
Within the last two days, I have been working on finalizing a Bird-Dog Contract with a fellow DGer, so that together, we can possibly start to generate some passive income. I have also been creating an Offer To Purchase Contract, that I can eventually use as a template to help our Wholesale Offers move even faster.
So, to sum up the last three weeks, nothing very exciting has happened on the investing side of the business. However, after taking a good hard look at where we might end up if this business doesn't start making us some money, we are all that much more determined to make something happen -- soon!
Until next time...Happy & Healthy Investing


"One thing I like about stones in my path is when I cross them they become my milestones." -Unknown