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