Life Changing Mentors


I was listening to a program recently and the hosts were talking about mentors; specifically about the people in their lifetime that had actually changed their life. What these folks were talking about in most cases was someone that listened to them, valued them, had given them crucial information or a “chance” at something. They went on to say in great detail how that encounter had set them on a specific life changing path.

I started to think back over my life and all the people that had influenced me so profoundly that they shaped who I am today. Who was it that had such power and influence over me that they had actually changed the course of my life? What had I learned from them?

If you do this exercise, you will most likely find many people in your past life that changed you in some way. There will be those folks that will have influenced you to make small changes. There will be others that will have been responsible either directly or indirectly for profound shifts in the direction that your life took.

All of these people and events whether good or bad, end up helping mold you into the person you are today. They can also cause major shifts in the direction of your business.

Changing Course

I used to own rental property until a couple of years ago. I got a late start by most standards, and I never really enjoyed that part of my real estate business. But I just kept plugging along with those few properties that I owned. After all, that’s what you are supposed to do or so I thought.  Every time I thought about buying more houses, I found a reason to wait.

One day I sat and talked with my friend and mentor Mike. Mike has a large portfolio of rental properties himself, and he has built a very successful rental business. I was talking with him about frustration with my tenants and the properties when he said something that changed the course of my life. He said, “Sharon what you have is a painful hobby. You either need to build your portfolio so that it is much larger or get out of the rental business”. At that very moment, I knew what the answer was for me. I just wanted out. In effect, Mike did something for me that I hadn’t been able to do myself; he gave me permission to change course.

Is there someone in your life that has been responsible for putting you on a path to massive change? If there is, you should celebrate that person.

Paying It Forward

It takes time and patience to mentor a person especially when you are so busy yourself. But it can bring huge rewards both to you and the person you choose to mentor. I always chuckle when real estate investors say, “they’re not about to give away their secrets to their competition”.  There may be some parts of your business that you keep just for yourself but there is just so much to be gained by sharing your knowledge. One of those things gained is that you start to be seen as an expert in your field. Plus, it just feels good to help a struggling investor get started. Who knows, maybe someday you will be the one credited for changing a life.

Enjoy Your Moments

At the close of the program I was listening to, one of the hosts told everyone what she considered to be the most valuable piece of advice her mentor had given her over the years.

This is what she said:

“You need to enjoy this moment in your life – you need to remember each place that you get to. Because, things only happen” the first time once”. 

In other words, take time to enjoy your firsts whether it is the birth of your first child, your first big business break, or another “first” in your life. Quit rushing toward the finish line without enjoying each moment of the journey. Now that’s some great advice.

About Author

Sharon Vornholt

Sharon has been investing in real estate since 1998. She owned and operated a successful home inspection company for 17 years. In January of 2008 she took the leap of closing her business to become a full time real estate investor.


  1. what did he mean by “You either need to build your portfolio so that it is much larger “? did he elaborate on that? Just wondering how your struggles were going to be addressed if you had purchased more properties.

    I am asking because i am in a similar situation. thank you.

    • George – Mike had between 50 and 100 properties at any given time. He also set up a separate property manangement company within his core business to deal with the headaches of rentals. He had someone to take all the calls, manage the rental office and he employed people to take care of the repairs etc. Although he was very much in charge and watched the financial end of this carefully, he was physically removed from having to deal with the day to day tenant problems. If you only have a few properties, you really can’t afford to do that.

      I know a few people that have 8-15 quality properties that cash flow well. But most investors I know don’t have the necessary cash flow on their rentals to hire everything done unless they have more properties. He generally recommended that you have 20+ properties.

      • Thanks for the reply, Sharon. Did he mention what he does if he has trouble renting them? I have great properties, but lately it’s been really difficult to rent them. Again, thanks for the reply.

        • I think everyone is having trouble keeping their properties rented. Most folks I know are lowering the rent and doing whatever they have to do to get them rented.

          Go online and check out a free lunchtime program he has everyday. I believe it is called lunch and learn. It runs about 20 minutes or so, and he talks a lot about rentals. It is either or Good luck George.

  2. Sharon, I too was a burnt-out-landlord for a few years. At one time was ready to give all my properties away, but the thought of getting a J.O.B. scared me worst. I soon realize, like Mike, either sell or buy more, I bought more and been a lot happier since. I think 10 quality properties that cash flow is good, 15 or more, a lot better! For example: last year had 7 properties unrented for 5-6 months, with the cash flow from the other rentals, I was able to survive. A lot better than when I had 5 and 4 were empty, ( stuff) happens.

    • Sharon Vornholt

      Ollisha –

      -Try to learn something every day (I do). Read blogs and books.
      -Join your local REIA. You will find your first mentors there.
      -Take advantage of local seminars.
      -Subscribe to my blog. I have a series called “Makeover Mondays; Baby Steps to Success which is short little videos. I will also have a course on probates and absentee owners out by the end of the year.

      You can find it here:

      You have to walk through the fear and finally take some steps toward doing your first deal. Everyone has the same fears. I also just posted a radio show that I did with another investor (Lolita Sheriow) on my blog this week. It’s called “Kick your fear to the curb”. Lo is doing a whole podcast series on this topic. The link is in my blog post.

      Just put one foot in front of the other every day and you will get there.


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