Personal Development

The 6 Things I’m Working for This Year (Beyond Money for Money’s Sake)

Expertise: Personal Development, Business Management, Real Estate Investing Basics, Landlording & Rental Properties, Personal Finance, Flipping Houses
120 Articles Written

This past week I attended one of the local real estate investor meetings to meet new people, spend time with our property manager and introduce her to people I knew there, and maybe find a few new clients for property management or turnkey solutions. But I didn’t expect to get my brain and week rocked by the speaker.

Want more articles like this?

Create an account today to get BiggerPocket's best blog articles delivered to your inbox

Sign up for free

It was someone from the Lifeonaire series, and I honestly figured it would be a lot of rah-rah-rah crap — with stories of how he made a whole bunch of money in three days, not using any of his money, and how he now travels to Bora Bora every weekend to his fourth home. That’s all totally cool with me if you have that fourth home, and I love the beach, but I was hoping there would be SOME advice I could use.

The talk was about two hours. I sat there, enamored for every second of it.

Well, other than the drunk guy who decided to come pester everyone in the row behind and in front of me. After a few minutes (luckily, at the beginning of the talk), he finally walked back out after using his arsenal of cuss words and smoking his e-cig, blowing the smoke into the back of my head. His antics were short-lived, and he finally got on back out of there. But I digress.

Seriously, the talk was awesome.

He shared his life experiences and stories of the businesses he had built. His struggles, successes, and utter failures. A lot of his story was really striking for me, mainly because of how similar parts of our life, especially how he had built (a much larger) company and lost basically everything in the downturn of the economy.


Everything he said hit home with me. I quit my “job” and went into real estate full-time to be able to enjoy more time with my family, do more traveling, enjoy dinners out, and have play dates with my children.

It wasn’t to buy more stuff, spend more money that I haven’t made yet, or let the lifestyle creep happen as I made more money.

I hate to tell you, but I had begun to fall into all of those things. I’d spend a little more on traveling, a little more on eating out, a little more on a car wash membership. Or the cell phone bill. Whatever item or cost, it’s so easy to spend more. And want more.

From the talk, I walked away with more clarity than I’d had in a while. I wanted to get back to the basics of my business, my money, and my time.

Focus Only on the Most Important Things

Our company has started 2016 with a bang, growing our clients from all over the country for property management and acquisition. When things are going well and there is a lot to do, it’s easy to work 100 hours a week. But that isn’t healthy.

Related: The 3 Major Reasons I Invest in Real Estate (Other Than Money)

Instead, empower your team and mentor your shining stars who can grow into doing other things that you have done. Teach others skills that are your strengths, but also bring on people who help cover and fill gaps where your skills are lacking or where you don’t enjoy doing something.

If your earning goal is $100k a year, you better be doing $100k a year worth of work.

If your earning goal is $1M a year, you better be doing $1M a year worth of work.

There are many different ways to spend family time, personal time with hobbies, quiet reflection time, fun time, and work time. Know what each of them is about and commit that when you are working, you do work. When you are enjoying play time at the park with the kids, enjoy play time.

Man, I am not always good at that.


Passive Income, Passive Income, Passive Income

When I think about the most comfortable people in the real estate business, they have many income streams, and they make passive income from various sources like rentals, property management, or owning a business that generates reviews without them needing to be there to crank the wheel to produce the income.

As I was sitting in that talk, I was reminded of how little you honestly need to live pretty well, if you have low overhead costs and little or no debt. It’s so easy to dream about the big giant house and the fast cars (which I do love both) — but when I am honest with myself, I am 100 percent confident I would choose an awesome life — working with less stress, making passive income — with less stuff, a nice but reasonable house and nice enough car.

Don’t Do it for the Money

This is a hard one. Anyone can earn money for money’s sake. There are lots of rich people out there. Lots of them. Whatever “rich” means. Maybe they own a house. Or owns two houses. Or have X money in the bank.


But as you have a fresh start with a new year, what are you working FOR?

Related: 4 Spectacular Ways Passive Income Can Change How You Live Your Life

It’s my hope to be working for a few things.

  1. I want to support my family with good decisions, creating wealth, making money, and having fun doing it with others I enjoy being around.
  2. I want to live under my means financially.
  3. I want to grow our passive income.
  4. I want to grow our wealth through real estate and other business.
  5. I want to spend more time with my family, whether it is teaching them music lessons, playing at the park, or dreaming of a trip to Florida.
  6. I want to grow and empower my team to also do the same — not work crazy hours, live under their means, and understand the power of the business they are working in and what it could do for their lives.

So, here’s to doing just that. Growing business. Growing time. Shrinking debt. Enjoying family time — and work time. And handling the good stress.

And drinking good wine. 🙂

What are YOU working on this year? What is pushing you toward your goal this year?

Share what inspires you to work on your real estate business each and every day in the comments section below!

Nathan Brooks is the co-founder and CEO of Bridge Turnkey Investments, a Kansas City-based company renovating and selling more than 100 turnkey properties per year. With over a decade of experience in real estate, Nathan is a seasoned investor with a large personal portfolio and a growing business portfolio. Just last year, through Bridge Turnkey Investments, he helped investors add over $12 million in value to their real estate portfolios. Nathan regularly produces educational content to fuel his passion for helping other people learn about and find success in real estate investing. He has been featured regularly on industry podcasts such as the BiggerPockets Podcast, Active Duty Passive Income Podcast, Freedom Real Estate Investing Podcast, Fearless Pursuit of Freedom Podcast, Titanium Vault, The Real Estate Investing Podcast, The Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever Show, the Good Success Podcast, FlipNerd, Wholesaling Inc., The Real Estate Investing Profits Master Series, Flipping Junkie Podcast, Flip Empire podcast, Think Realty Radio, and more. He is a sought-after speaker and writer and can be found on stage regularly at events across the country.

    Michael Begley Investor from Littleton, Colorado
    Replied almost 4 years ago
    Good article, Nathan. It is so easy to fall into the routines of doing what we need to get done to succeed. We need constant reminders to lift our head up from time to time to make sure that we don’t lose focus on both what we are working FOR, and also enjoying the journey, not deferring all gratification for some nebulous future “destination.”
    Nathan Brooks Real Estate Investor from Kansas City, KS
    Replied almost 4 years ago
    Thanks Michael! Exactly right … keeping focus on the now, and enjoying it … going with it, and making it happen. Thanks for taking the time to read and post a comment!
    Tom Rice Rental Property Investor from Anaconda, MT
    Replied almost 4 years ago
    Nice article, Nathan. I got into real estate investing for one thing, to make more time. Having been a contractor, time was always at a premium for me with never enough to do the things I wanted to do. real estate is allowing me to be able to make more time for family and friends.
    Nathan Brooks Real Estate Investor from Kansas City, KS
    Replied almost 4 years ago
    Thanks Tom! That’s wonderful to hear you have been able to do that … have more time to do the things you want. Amazing, people can always seem to make/have more money … but you can’t get that time back with your family and friends. Awesome!
    Andrey Y. Specialist from Seoul Korea | Honolulu, HI
    Replied almost 4 years ago
    Great article! For the record Nathan, I don’t see anything wrong when you started to “spend a little more on this and that”, and you shouldn’t either 🙂
    Nathan Brooks Real Estate Investor from Kansas City, KS
    Replied almost 4 years ago
    Andrey … thank you 🙂 And I also appreciate and agree with the sentiment too! Just a matter a balance … always, balance!
    Kyle Vandever from Lewiston, Idaho
    Replied almost 4 years ago
    Great read! As a new investor, I feel like it’s easy to get caught up in making more and that (often times) requires more of your time. I hope to create passive income through real estate (and live under my means financially) so I can enjoy the things that are important in my life. Enjoy every moment!
    Nathan Brooks Real Estate Investor from Kansas City, KS
    Replied almost 4 years ago
    Thanks Kyle! Keep after whatever your goal is … you will achieve it. It might be harder, or easier, take longer … or not be exactly as you dreamed it, but you will get it …
    Casey Murray Real Estate Agent from San Diego, CA
    Replied almost 4 years ago
    Great article, Nathan. I think the vision growing up is to have the flashy things; nothing wrong with that. As the days go on, we experience that time itself is worth more than anything else. This article drills this thought home. Valid reason to sip some wine with family and friends!
    Nathan Brooks Real Estate Investor from Kansas City, KS
    Replied almost 4 years ago
    Thanks Casey … exactly, amazing how our vision of whats important changes and what we want to do, how we want to live.