Career Change Ideas

8 Replies

Hello all:

I've been sinking my head into this REI world for the past 3 months trying to find ways to earn more money on the side. Not sure if this happens to all newbies and/or of this is just a typical reaction to something new, but I am HOOKED! I'm so hooked that my productivity at my full-time job has taken a nose-dive; I shouldn't even be on BP right now. The Creative Finance aspects and obviously being in charge of your own destiny is what intrigues me about real estate.

I'm so sunk in that I'm actually exploring the thought of changing careers/jobs to something where I can leverage my experience and also learn more about any and all aspects of REI. So my questions to the community is, what kind of jobs are out there for what I'm seeking based on the below information about me.

Me (current):

  • 10+ years in corporate finance & accounting; The most recent 2 have been in project management (hybrid between finance & IT) in the healthcare field
  • Bachelor in Finance, Graduate Certificate in Accounting, and Master in MIS (Management Information Systems)
  • My strengths are working with people, numbers, Excel, and automating systems and processes
  • Between working more than 40 hours, a 3 year-old and a 8 month-old, I barely have any time to dedicate to REI. And when I do, I feel guilty either taking time away from work or my family. (I actually do stay up in the wee hours but it's not enough) Hence, the reason I want to change careers

Where I want to be:

  • Like most newbies, I jumped right in to wholesaling.  I haven't closed a deal yet but have gotten two under contract in the 2 months I've been doing this and the little time I have (spent one month just soaking in material) . By taking action, I learned a ton including that:
    • I have to improve my selection of comps for ARV estimates as well as getter a better feel for the local repair costs, from low-end to high-end.
    • Location also affects demand and the acceptable return
  • I eventually want to rehab once I get some experience in knowing and finding the good deals.  So my plan is to partner with someone experienced in rehabbing on a deal I find where I can pitch in half of the funds and learn on the job. 
  • I'm not happy where I am now because I feel imprisoned.  It also seems that no matter how hard I work, I'm pretty much capped without playing corporate politics or switching jobs every 2-3 years. I'm also a big-picture guy so the bigger the company (mine is huge) the less I feel what I do matters.  The idea of providing solutions to troubled sellers and buyers with creative strategies is awesome! 

So for anyone who is where I want to be and/or is coming from where I am now, what suggestions might you have?  What area in real estate are the skills mentioned above best transferable to?

I know this sounds more like I may just need a career coach but a typical career coach wouldn't understand real estate investing ;)


thanks for sharing. I will do now do the same for you.

When your reason to make a change is strong enough, the change will happen.  

I was there 15 years a job I absolutely hated, working for people I despised and surrounded by negativity that sapped my energy every day and left me very cynical.  

Others may disagree, but unless and until you're willing to give up everything outside of your spouse/kids and your health, you will likely always fall back to the job. In my opinion, it's easy to have a job even when it frustrates you. I've found that the first time most part-time investors fail, they tell themselves, "well, I still have a job"...not knowing that and a poor mindset is exactly what is keeping them from succeeding. 

I left my job 15 years ago cold turkey with very little cash in my hand, a lot of credit card debt, a spouse who worked part-time and a 5 year old son. If I failed it meant we would live under a bridge, literally. I did not have the option of failing. I worked 16 to 18 hours a day in real estate, learning, searching for properties, printing marketing pieces, hand stamping hundreds of letters. I didn't do it because if was easy or even because I wanted too...I did it because I could not stand the consequences of failing. And within less than 20 months after quitting my job we paid cash for new SUV, moved out of our small duplex we were renting and had more money in the bank than I'd ever seen. 

It sure wasn't because I was smart or good looking (I failed both those tests) was because I was motivated and knew I had nothing to fall back on. Make it or live with the fact that I had royally screwed my family and their future.

Trust me, when you get to that point, your life changes forever because motivation is NEVER an issue. 

If you feel guilty now about not spending time with you family, what do you think will change in the future? Being an entrepreneur is about sacrificing (some have to give more and some have to give less) and it ain't easy my friend. But I will never again work for anyone else and I'll never again not have the option of spending all the time I wish with my wife and son when and where they want.

You don't need a career counselor, you need to be honest with yourself. What are you willing to do to make it in real estate (or any other entrepreneurial endeavor)? Give up a very nice house?  A really sweet car?  Stop eating out altogether and get to know Hamburger Helper like an old friend? Get rid of the old friends who are miserable in their lives and want to make sure you are too? 

Time for some serious soul searching Luis. As a well known investor has said, "everyone can do, not everyone will."

@Guy Gimenez  This was a great response and an even better story; very inspiring.  Thanks so much for sharing.  I actually am extremely motivated to change my lifestyle and career but I guess not enough to just go cold turkey like you did (wow that was brave).  I definitely feel how you felt before leaving your job; I think most people do but jumping into entrepreneurship is pretty scary, especially this field being so new.  And since it is still so new to me, I don't think it'll be wise to just go for it just like that.  That is why I'm actually searching for something related to real estate where I can learn on the job and make new connections while keeping a salary (even if it's a paycut).  OR I can just keep doing what I'm doing until I have a year's worth of my salary in my savings. Just doing some thinking...

I never recommend people do what I may have been more stupid than brave on my part but I was in my forties and made a decision after much thought and prayer, and fortunately it worked out for me. 

Get yourself a dry erase board and put it up in your office, bedroom, where-ever you will see all the time. Then answer the following:

WHY do you want to get into real estate? 

HOW do you define success?

WHAT are you willing to do to achieve success (as you define it)?

WHEN do you want to reach that level of success?

Once you've answered these questions, work on your mindset. You may think you're mindset is me, it ain't. Spend every spare minute you have learning, reading, watching teaching videos, listening to educational, inspirational and motivational CD's. Make you vehicle a university on wheels. Turn off the radio since it's not making you money. Then learn all you can about communicating with owners. You can have very productive marketing that makes your phone ring, but if you don't know how to lead the owner interview process, it's all for naught. Get rid of all the negative people in your life (friends, co-workers, family, etc.) as they are killing your mindset. Don't think you can skip this step. If drinking beer with friends on a Saturday night is more important than your future in real estate, then give up on the dream now and save yourself a lot of money, frustration and time. 

I could go on and many others here can add to this but I think you see where it's going. 

Best of Luck.

My advice, get your family involved in your investing.

I bet your 3 year old would love hammering signs into the ground or putting stickers on poles.  The baby would probably love being outside for a walk on the weekend as you search neighborhoods for properties.  It's easy to make up games for 3 year olds... "how many things can you see that are... red?"

Same with your wife... spouses need time to sit and talk... you can do it watching re-runs of Friends after the 3 year old goes to bed at 8... or you can do it at your kitchen table while you stamp signatures, address envelopes, lick flaps, or put on stamps.  

It may not be the typical family time you expected, but being together is generally the key.  That 3 year old doesn't care if you go to Disney or not, the 3 year old cares they you are together... doesn't really matter what you're doing.

On the career front, only you can decide the sacrifices, the risks you're willing to take.  For every person that jumped in the ocean and swam, I'm sure there are many others who drowned and were left in ruins.  You could take a haircut and find a 35 - 40 hour week with less stress and more free time... maybe change jobs/industries all together and go work for a Property Management company or a real estate investment firm if you can find one... lots of paths.

What it sounds like to me is you simply need a new job.  You've invested a LOT of money in your education and career.  While it is a sunk cost, it has given you valuable marketable skills.  What competitive advantage do you have in the world of wholesaling?  I see having a job that kicks off disposable income as a HUGE advantage in long term wealth accumulation personally...

@Luis Lopez  I understand just how you feel. I'm in the military, and as such I have been raised to believe that "I need the military" to survive. For the last 10 years everything I needed has been paid for. So the thought of dropping it all and getting out is very frightening. I think one of my problems is that I'm trying to find a way to get out with a backup plan that's not real estate, just in case real estate doesn't work. But this involves me staying in the military for more time as I try to learn new skills that I can get a job from. I need to do what@Guy Gimenez  was talking about and just cut ties with my old job and use that as the motivation to succeed!

Very inspirational thread. I need to roll with some of this new motivation and make something happen! 

May I suggest a business platform that allows you to leverage other people's time to build your business ? I call that compounding effort (works similar to compounding interest). Contact me offline so I can let you in a little secret that is the best kept secret. I love REI and have made quite a bit of money but this is far more powerful than REI. The downside is that only people who truly understand the power of leverage can succeed in this business. If you are the type who try to so everything yourself then this is not for you.

@Luis Lopez  

Have you thought about taking a half way jump? We have similar qualification, although yours are better :) I work in commercial real estate for a hospital. While it certainly has it moments, I love learning with someone else's money. I got started out of graduate school as an executive assistant with a commercial/multi family and I have been here since.

We personally do buy and hold but include your family. I just have a cat, but she travel with me and we have great computer time! My husband and I go house hunting on saturdays. It becomes a way of life.

@Tyson Bumgarner  

My husband is active duty Navy. We are using the Navy lifestyle to fund our early retirement goals. The transient nature is actually an amazing way to get into buy and hold investments!

@Elizabeth Colegrove Wow that's crazy you mentioned that because, I promise, just yesterday I came across a position posted here where I work ( I also work a healthcare system and we do have a real estate/construction department).  The position is a Real Estate Analyst. I'm afraid to inquire too much about it because the VP of that department is actually my boss's secretary's husband.  So I just have to be careful but it can also be a good thing if I do find that it's a good fit.  However, the description is a bit vague so I will have to get creative to find more info on it.  Maybe you can shine a little bit of light?


Assist in the identification of client needs and selection of analytical frameworks while completing a variety of complex reports, forecasts and analyses, and communicating appropriate conclusions and interpretations involved in facilitating and supporting planning and business development processes at <Name removed> Health Systems and its affiliates.


Bachelor of Business Admin - BBA and 3 years of relevant work experience required. Prior experience with Argus software, Yardi and Office Space preferred.

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