Changing the Real Estate Investing Industry One Person at a Time

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Nobody said it would be easy, and it hasn’t been. I remember having conversations with some of my friends in the early days of BiggerPockets, and there was a lot of doubt about creating an online company to serve the real estate investing niche. There were already several established players in the REI online space, and I was just another investor struggling to succeed . . .

Why would anyone come to my site?

 
Millions upon millions of visitors later, I still ask myself the same question – not due to a lack of confidence in our site, but because I believe that once I stop asking, I’ll forget the reason that I created BiggerPockets in the first place.

People come to BP because it fills a need. I believe that what has set us apart from the rest of the “players” in the real estate investing space is the focus on improving the bottom line of our users as opposed to filling our pockets at any cost. We have always put our users first, and doing so has allowed us to build a reputation that is second to none in the investing sphere.

BiggerPockets has become a diverse community of active investors, real estate professionals, service providers and those people who want to become investors; we’re now reaching close to a quarter of a million unique visitors each month. We help them by providing a means of connecting and networking, a place for learning, analyzing and making deals, marketing, and keeping up with the latest news and real estate advice available. While we’re accomplishing all of these things, I believe that we can reach so many more people who could truly benefit from our site, and we can ultimately change not only how real estate investors get things done, but can change attitudes about investors as well.

And, we can and will do so much more!

By the way . . . one man can make a difference

What most people don’t know about BiggerPockets is that this is essentially a one man operation. While we’ve got some incredible volunteers who help out with tasks like moderating our community, I’m the cog at the center of the machine. I’m the customer service guy, the marketing and advertising guy, the sales guy, the PR guy, the lead gen guy, the seo guy, the product guy, the editor, the community administrator, the social media maestro, and everything else. I’ve had to learn by doing; and in doing I’ve made countless mistakes. Those mistakes, I believe, have made me stronger and a better CEO.

They have also given me the opportunity to examine not only how I run my business, but also what my strengths and weaknesses are — I know what I know and what I don’t know. The beauty of knowing these things is that you can then work to find people to step in and be strong where you are weak.

This is the challenge that all entrepreneurs must face, and certainly anyone in the real estate business, but sometimes figuring these things out isn’t as easy as it may seem.

The Path Forward

Over the past few months I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the future of BiggerPockets and I’ve worked very hard to map a path forward. I’ve also been working to put the pieces into place that will allow us to succeed in accomplishing the grand vision that I’ve created.

I’ve thought a lot about how much I should share with you about the path I’ve taken to get us here and the journey forward; I believe that it is important for our users to have an understanding of my motivations, our challenges, our goals, and some of the inner workings of this place – not only because it it may be interesting, but because I believe that you can relate to the trials and tribulation of the past, as well as the challenges and successes that I will encounter in the future. I’m planning on using this column to share all of that with you.

I hope that by opening up to you, that you’ll see that I can’t do this alone. BP has reached the tipping point, and I need your help. I need your support. I need your enthusiasm.

If BiggerPockets has at all impacted you – your life, your business, your friendships, your bottom line – I hope that you’ll join me in my mission to bring this place to the next level.

Are you on board?

Photo: Grant Montgomery

About Author

Joshua Dorkin

Joshua Dorkin (@jrdorkin, Google+) founded BiggerPockets.com when he saw a need for free, trustworthy information about real estate investing online. Over the past 12 years, Josh has grown the site from self-funded hobby to full-time job and passion. Today, BiggerPockets brings together over 600,000 members, housing the world’s largest library of real estate content, iTunes’ #1 real estate podcast, and an array of analysis tools, all geared toward helping users succeed.

22 Comments

    • Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, Mike. It means so much to me to hear from users like yourself. I appreciate your patronage and hope that we’ll be hearing lots of great success stories from you in the years to come.

  1. Josh, I’ve made some valuable relationships as a result of this site. I really do wish you well as you’re making decisions about the way forward for BiggerPockets. One thing is for sure….while one man can absolutely make a difference, a brother like you needs a doggone VACATION (a real one). LOL! Nice post….have a great weekend!

    • Hey Shae – Thanks for chiming in. It is really important to hear that you have built some valued relationships as a result of the site. I’m glad to have you as a friend and a supporter of what I’m doing here. All my best!

      BTW – I’m really hoping that I can take that much needed REAL vacation in the next year. If things go as I hope, I think its a real possibility.

  2. Josh,
    Your dedication and determination to make BP, a success has given many people the opportunity to find their own success within this crazy world of Real Estate Investing. As a early subscriber, I had my doubts at first, but now I know that BP is here to stay. Much success to you and everyone, here on BP. Thanks much!!!

    Matt Mathews

  3. Hi Josh,
    I want to thank you for the great site. I had no idea it was a one man show. Impressive!!!
    I am more than happy to share BP with anyone looking for a real estate resource. BP has been my go-to site for information. It really is a one stop shop for any question regarding real estate investing.
    I’ve only been investing for a little over 2 years and know that REI is a life long endeavor. A site like BP makes the ever changing world of REI more manageable. Thank you again!
    All the best,
    Dan

  4. Allen Gregory on

    I’m relatively new to the site and I have come across some very sharp people. I’ve said in the forums that this is the best forum for REI on the internet. To me the site serves as one big REIA meeting without me having to leave the house. Thanks Josh for all you do. I think I speak for many when I say that we truly appreciate it.

  5. Great article write-up, Josh!

    I think BP is a great resource for the REI community – it definitely has changed the way folks network online. When I first visited BP, it was unlike any other REI site out there. What I noticed differently was the added social networking aspect where each member had their own profile. I had not seen this before with the other, more seasoned REI sites I had visited in the past. Also, BP had more features (i.e. group forums, blogs, bulletins, etc). And, we can’t forget about the moderators – they all do a great job of keeping out the unnecessary spam. I cannot tell you many times I’ve been spammed by other REI sites I’ve visited. It’s ridiculous the amount of spam we are faced nowadays both online as well as offline.

    I think BP has developed a sense of community that is not easily found and easily created. It takes work not only from you, Josh, but from all the members of BP to build and create a community that works to serve in the best interest of its members. And, it’s great to see how BP has grown as a site in terms of its membership and its community.

    Though, I can definitely relate with the workload you are facing. Running a business whether online or offline takes work, hard work. And, I think – it’s even more difficult trying to run an online business (versus an offline business).

    With an online business, the problem is that it’s on all the time. Now, that can be a good thing but it can also be a curse in disguise (especially for the business owner). Sure, it’s on all the time in regards to marketing and being available to its customers (in this case, the members). But, at the same time – it may require more work and more time. And, that is something that is not as distinguishable and recognized by many.

    At least with an offline business, there are usually set hours of operation. Personally, I prefer things to be this way. When I’m off work, I’m off work. Sure, the phone can ring after hours but I’m just not going to answer it unless its an emergency. Though the negative is that with set hours of operation it can hinder business for both the business owner and the customer. So, I guess there are pros and cons to everything.

    Going forward, I wish the very best for BP. It continues to be a great resource and I have even heard many refer to it as something they feel they cannot have without. Hearing those words, it just shows the effect BP has on its members and the REI community as a whole.

    As Seth Godin once wrote, “So, here’s the question: When you’re gone, will they miss what you do?”

    And, I can honestly say – that is the case with BP. Thanks for all that you do to make BP a great community Josh, we all appreciate it. Long live BP! 🙂

    • Wow Rachel. Talk about a fantastic testimonial! As you know, I very much appreciate all your support and participation on the site.

      As for online businesses – the 24 hour nature of them definitely makes it a challenge. That said, I really love what I do and am committed to keeping BiggerPockets as the top REI community out there. Thanks again for being a part of this place.

  6. Great article, Josh.

    I truly admire what you’ve done with the site and the community you’ve built. Outside of the great info what I am most struck by is that everyone I’ve met on here is cool and helpful. Even when I’ve met people who I don’t necessarily agree with, they are still great to talk with.

    RE Investing will always be around but it quite frankly wouldn’t be as fun with you and BP.

  7. Matthew Rose on

    Josh, I am definitely on board for the long haul! Your site is awesome! I can’t say enough good things about it. I am always recommending BiggerPockets to other investor and RE associates of mine. It is HANDS DOWN the best REI online community networking site, or for that matter REI website, period!

  8. you run a tight ship, Joshua. it’s great to see the community you’ve created for REI. in regards to part of your growth path… have you already begun plans or even selection at this point for how you’re gonna tackle mobile? I know that your site works fine for tablets via the web. I think maybe it can be kept web only but optimized for mobile if you had persistent data.. a way to save copy that’s being typed up for a post. that way the mobile user doesn’t lose their copy if something happens to their connection. word of advice, btw, DO NOT follow the “contractors talk” site’s model if you are planning to build a mobile app! their app is more a hindrance to use for mobile than a real benefit to the user experience!!

    thx for having the vision to create this successful online community.

    Happy New Year and much continued success to n BP Nation!

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