Wealthy in America: You can continue “your lifestyle” without working another day. For most of the population that would convert into something like a good six-figure income and a multiple millions dollar net worth. Does $250,000 a year plus income and $4 million net worth work for you? If so, please read on!
It takes 4 things to become wealthy. The hardest item is becoming an expert in the subject of your choice. This is the hardest because it often takes 10 to 15 years. And of course, most people never become an expert in their lifetime because who has the kind of time? Have you notice most people become overnight millionaires in their 50’s & 60’s. Many professionals are very good at what they do and have 20 plus years’ experience but that does not necessarily make them an expert. An expert is someone who you know can get the job done when the guy with 25 years of good experience is a risky choice. You could become an expert in 5 years if you learned from other people experience and your sole focus was to become an expert.
The second thing you should plan on is owning your own business. If you are an expert working for someone else, they will be making the lion’s share of the profits.
The third item is you need to learn how to multiply your expertise. If you are a great engineer or attorney charging $500 an hour, you will still be getting paid by the hour so when you stop working you stop getting paid.
The fourth and last item you and your team needs is solid business experience. This includes development, operations, sales, and marketing. If you’re the best people need to know it and understand how they are getting the best value from you. There are so many people that think the best way to compete in the market place is to be the lowest price. Competing on price is the absolute worst selling feature there is! There is always someone who will have a lower price. Competing by having the best features is also a short-sighted option. Great product or services are important, but others will soon copy your features. So once again it comes down to you being an expert at your chosen subject and having the business expertise to monetize your knowledge. No one can duplicate you but you.
Notice I did not talk about hard work, perseverance, ambition or action. You will have all these traits and more to become an expert and to own your own business. Millionaires have been created over and over in just about any business-like engineering, hair stylist, mechanic, retail sales, self-storage, car sales……………to you name it, with these four items.
Let me tell you a few stories in my areas of expertise of Engineering & Self Storage to help you understand how the four items can evolve over time.
When I was 24 years old, Richard, the owner of a local civil engineering firm “Meehan & Associates” agreed to meet with me for a job interview. I had 4 years of good experience and was a project designer at a 50-person firm. I was looking to be a part of a smaller firm where I could also learn the business side of engineering. He suggested I come back in 10 years when I have more experience. I think I scared him right off the bat when I told him I wanted to be his partner in the next couple of years. Experts must think big before they are experts.
I did get a job at a small engineering firm (10 people) and got the experience and actually became an expert developers engineer. About 11 years after my first interview with Richard Meehan he gave me a call and asked if I was still interested in being a partner. He accepted a minimal purchase price for 50 percent of the company because he understood we would be the one who got the call when only the best experts would do and be extremely well paid. I am sure you called Rich he would tell you it was one of the best decisions he ever made.
It was rough going with the staff for a while. They could not believe that Richard and I would be billed at $200 an hour when a professional engineer was being billed at $95/hr. at that time. And then they went crazy when we increased the staff Professional Engineer’s billable rate to $125. They thought we would never get another job. But just the opposite happened. We got so many jobs we traded our c and d customers for happier A & B customers. We went from $800K yearly income to $2.5Million income in one year by being experts in all aspects of development. And the whole staff and our customers were happier in the end because we always gave our customers much more than they expected and they knew they had the best chances of success on their projects with us.
So, in some respects, I duplicated myself by having engineers on my staff do a lot of the basics
Of course, we were smart enough not to take jobs on an hourly basis. We would figure the job based upon our expected hours and my hourly rates. And then we added 20%, as we knew from experience every project has unknown special needs that can’t be determined day one. When these special needs (or extras) came up our clients were amazed we did not charge extra.
To be an expert you cannot think like everyone else. You get to do things the right way and charge for it. Here are three examples of “expertise” from my civil engineering days.
We had a housing developer who came to us with 100 acres with a beat up 1800’s historic house on the property. By the time he came to us the town and neighbors were already up in arms, believing he would develop one of his massive new subdivision on the historical property. He wanted to live there. But to meet his requirements he needed to move his horse farm there. That required a creating a large pond, horse fields, and riding trails. While this would normally not be a be big deal it turned out much of the site was regulated wetlands. And the last thing the concerned citizens were going to allow is filling of the wetlands so that someday the property could become house lots.
After sitting with the developer for an hour to listen to his goals, I said we have a good shot of approval, but it will take more than just good engineering to get this approved. I gave him a fee of $10,000 to design the pond, horse trails and fields and an additional fee of $20,000 to convince the neighbors and commission of your goals and integrity. He needed to have both services for any chance of approvals. In the end, he was shocked but knew we were right as he had already gotten nothing but bad news from others.
The application and presentations included lengthy full color “mini-books” on the history of the property, the proposed historical renovation to the home and barn, the owner’s love of horses and their prize-winning stable of horses. In the end, it was a win-win for everyone. But if not for being an expert on both design and marketing and integrity, the proposed pond in the wetlands would have been denied and the historical site would have been one more subdivision. Today when you drive by the site you are in awe of one of the most beautiful majestic views that were created with the attention to details, we promised the town.
Regularly I had developers come to my office with projects that appeared impossible because they did not meet the local zoning regulations. Sometimes the Town staff even directed them to me because they knew I looked deeper than the written word. For about 8 out of 10, I would let the developers know the chances were basically zero because they did not meet the regulations or the internet of the regulations and there was no reason for the town to change or bend the regulations for them. For around 20 percent I would tell them there may be a 50 percent chance of getting approvals, even know they did not meet the written words of the regulations. Since we could show how they met the spirit of the regulations and since we could offer a better fit for the site than other uses that met the regulations there may be an opportunity to work with the Town. When I told them, it would take about 10 hours of my time and cost them $10,000 some would question the seeming $1,000 an hour rate. But they were paying for my expertise, insights, integrity, and knowledge that took 2O years to obtain. I simply reminded then that for the risk of our small fee, they could turn a $500,000 property into a Million Dollar property. And 10K is a bargain for that opportunity. Of course, I was prepared to provide examples and references, so they further understand the value they were getting.
On the self-storage front, I had a family friend meet with the town staff and inquire about putting self-storage on his 20-acre property. They told him flat out that the property was in a residential neighborhood and self storage is not permitted in residential zones. Disappointed he called me. I knew the local property and regulations and suggested we meet. Over coffee, I explained he had one long shot to get approval. The regulations had a single sentence that said in any district a non-conforming use may be replaced with a less non-conforming use. The plans would still require review by the staff and approval by the Planning and Zoning Commission of which both were anti-development.
The site was a gravel pit many years ago that was left in the raw. I explained If we simple left it up to the staff or Town Commissions the self storage proposal would not meet the lessor non-conforming use regulation. But if he could get each and every one of the 18 neighbors to agree to write a letter in favor of the project or sign a petition in favor of the self storage and then have them come in speak in favor of the project at the public hearing, he would have the self-storage gods on his side. I explained what to say to the neighbors; no more dirt bikes and kids hanging out at night, no 20-acre subdivision that would create more traffic and use up tax dollars, etc. I suspected that would be the end of it.
But to my surprise, Jamie came back to see me in two weeks with a petition in favor of the project signed by all the neighbors. (He did know many of them as he had been delivering their oil for many years) At this point, Jamie still had concerns about risking the design costs and getting approval, as the staff and commission chair had told him they were not going to approve self-storage anywhere in Town but in the Industrial Zone. He asked If I had enough faith in the property to be his partner and I agreed as long as he would get several neighbors to come to the meeting. We had to insist the project be put on the agenda for the whole commission to decide if our premise of a lessor non-conforming use was valid. The gravel pit had been abandoned for years so it was easy to get denied if the board that was the right thing to do.
Obviously, the plans were designed to a T and the presentation hit all the hot issues, lots of tax dollars, quiet, no school kids, no traffic, great design feature etc. But what clinched it was the residences response when at the end of our presentation when the commission Chairperson asked, “Is there anyone in the audience who wants to talk in favor or against this project” One lady quickly stood up and spoke for 15 minutes in favor of the project. She said it’s about time someone fixed the problems of this site as the Town has done nothing to police this dangerous kid’s hangout and ongoing noise and headache for the neighbors. My favorite line was when she said my daughter got pregnant back there. And right after her speech, 18 more people got up and said “I am in favor of the project and ditto to everything the first speaker said. We got the project approved and Jamie and I are still partners today.
It took an exceptional design and other expertise to get approvals and build this property but it was well worth it as it made each of Millionaires. And to this day we are still the only self-storage in town.
Enough stories. I know many of you reading this, are thinking you simply do not have the years to become an expert. And secondly, you’re not even sure what subject you would like to become an expert where you could duplicate yourself. While there are many possibilities there is one exceptional business opportunity, I can help you with. Self Storage!
I am a self-storage expert and developed Storage Authority Franchising to help others become multi-millionaires in the self-storage business. You can google me, read my best-selling self-storage books, visit my LinkedIn page, read my Inside Self-storage magazine articles, talk to past clients or Storage Authority Franchisees, visit our website www.StorageAuthorityFranchise.com or visit with me for a cup of coffee and you will have no doubt that with Storage Authority on your team you can become a self-storage expert in record time with our systems in place day one for you.
You will learn we can transfer you many years of knowledge, proven systems, platforms expertise, saving you years of time and tons of money it would cost for you to become an expert. The Storage Authority goal for each franchise is simple. For each one to make a good six-figure income from their self-storage ownership. And develop a multimillion-dollar nest egg. And to do it in 5 years after you say go!
I am not saying developing this income will be easy or even close to being guaranteed. In fact, this kind of financial security does not come easy or everyone would have it, instead of just the 1 percenters out there. But where else can $500K+- cash equity and a bank loan for the project balance provide such wealth.
I understand there is a bit of self-boasting in this article but that is what it takes to get the word out sometimes, and exactly what your manager will be doing day in and day out for your beautiful premium Storage Authority Facility.
Marc Goodin is President of Storage Authority LLC. www.StorageAuthorityFranchise.com He owns 3 self storages he designed, built and manages. He has been helping others in the self-storage industry for over 25 years. He can be reached at marc@StorageAuthority.com or directly at 860-830-6764 to answerer your self-storage franchise, development, marketing, sales, and operational questions.