Improving Business and Life by Changing Your Attitude: A Personal Case Study of 2013


I am a relatively new blogger with BiggerPockets; I have published 6 articles so far and this will be my 7th.  Even outside of BiggerPockets, I am a relatively new blogger, having written my first article in March of 2013.

Last January, I was a speaker at an REO conference in Dallas and the panel I was on was focused on social media and it’s role in the REO world.  One of the questions was; do you use blogging in any way and how so?  I answered no, I had never blogged before and at that time, I had never even considered blogging! Additionally, I learned on that panel that it is not so scary to talk in front of a couple hundred people if you have the right attitude.  The point of this story is: things can change incredibly quickly and opportunities can come out of nowhere, if you are looking out for them.

How I Bought, Rehabbed, Rented, Refinanced, and Repeated for 14 Rental Properties

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Why Did I Start a Blog?

Early this year, I was talking with my friend about a new business idea I had.  Basically, I knew how hard it was to get mortgages on more than four properties.  I could do it, because I knew a great portfolio lender, but my portfolio lender only loans in Colorado and a few other specific locations in the Southwest.  My first idea was to start my own bank that would lend to investors nationwide who already had four mortgages (I have learned to think big this year).  I found a website with resources on banking and with details on how to start a bank and what would be required.  After a bit of research and realizing I had no banking experience what-so-ever (unless a finance degree counts),  I decided starting a bank was not the right route.

My second idea was to start a website that would help people find a portfolio lender in their area.

After doing some research, I realized this would be an extremely daunting task as well, compiling information on local banks in every state.  My friend suggested I start a blog on the subject of investing in rental properties and how I am able to do it successfully.  Again, I had never even thought about blogging, but it seemed like a good idea to me.  My first articles were absolutely dreadful grammatically, but I have gotten much better with experience and I have learned there was an audience for my subject manner.

What I Learned From Blogging

Even though I originally set out to write a blog to make some money, I had no idea how that would happen.  I figured I would get a huge audience and advertising on my web site would produce a nice income.  I have since learned, however, that to produce a lot of income from advertising you need a massive audience – not just huge.  I actually started adding advertising this month on my site and I am anxiously awaiting to see if I will make over or under $10!

When I started researching for my blog, I found BiggerPockets!  That single discovery had been worth all the time and effort that has gone into my writing.  When I started my blog, I thought I knew just about everything about investing. I have been a Realtor for over ten years, I have been flipping for longer than that; I have purchased 7 long term rentals in the last 2.5 years.  I quickly figured out, however, that I had a lot to learn – especially about wholesalers and direct marketing.  I had never even heard of those terms before in relation to Real Estate.  Thanks to BiggerPockets, I was able start a direct mailing campaign and I have attended a few REI meetups where I’ve met a bunch of wholesalers.  I have not purchased any properties through direct mailing or wholesalers yet, but it is still very early in the process.  I have also met a lot of cool people on BP and I am sure at some point those connections will pay off.

While blogging I have also learned I really like helping and educating people.  I never realized how good it would feel to have people say “I like your articles” and “thank you for showing me this”, or “teaching me that.”

Another thing I have learned this year is that helping people without any expectations of getting something back is also a great thing.  I am a HUD listing broker and I have written a few articles on HUD (including this one for BP) and also teach classes for HUD once a month as a HUD listing broker.  I started writing HUD articles to help people with all the misconceptions out there regarding buying a HUD home.  I never expected it, but HUD actually accepts my blog articles as training!  HUD was rather impressed when I was able to say I have over 2,000 people in attendance for my HUD training last month!   Even though it never crossed my mind when I started blogging, it has helped my REO business by getting me kudos with HUD.

What Changed for Me in 2013?

Last year – if the opportunity to start a blog, speak in front of 200 people, or go to REI meetups had arisen, I probably would not have done any of it.  I would have said to myself “I am too busy” and “I have more important things to worry about.” The thing that changed for me in 2013, however, was my attitude towards business and life in general.

In late 2012 I started a massive self improvement/get rich crusade with the main goal to become very wealthy.  I have since learned that being wealthy is not the most important thing in life, but it is still a goal of mine.  This crusade all started with a commercial I heard on the radio, that advertised a program to make anyone’s dreams come true.  My friends will tell you that I am one of the biggest skeptics around, I don’t spend money on Guru programs and people that promise the world.  For some reason, I decided to give the number a call.

I called up the number and they said they would send me a CD for free – explaining the system.  I got the CD and really enjoyed it actually,  I called the number back and they said they would give me a set of 14 CDs for free.  I looked for a catch and they actually sent me the CDs without a credit card or anything, they only asked that I send them back if I didn’t like them or purchase them for $300 if I did like them.  I purchased that CD set, which was called “Your Wish Is Your Command” by Kevin Trudeau.

I have to say: this was an amazing CD set as far as the content, I will let others do their own research on Kevin Trudeau the person.  Long story short, I ended up purchasing similar CDs and about 20 books on the subject of self improvement, most of them focused on the law of attraction.  Jack Canfield, John Assaraf, Harv Eker, Zig Ziglar, Jim Rohn are a few of the people I am listening to and reading now.

The Law of Attraction

Many people have seen the movie ‘The Secret’, which is about the law of attraction.  The law of attraction is the idea that whatever we think about or feel we will have come into our life.  If we are happy, we will attract happiness.  At first, this idea seems pretty out there, like I said previously I can be a pretty big skeptic about these types of things.  After doing research on the subject and the subconscious brain I come to realize there may be something to it.

I read a scientific article, published by a university that said the subconscious brain is responsible for a huge amount of our conscious thinking.  Many of the things we do during the day are done by our subconscious, not our conscious brain.  Do you remember how difficult it was driving a car for the first time or riding a bike?  It was a completely foreign task for our bodies.  We had to learn exactly how to do each movement and coordinate it with other movements so that the car went the right direction, or we stayed upright on a bike.  Eventually, we learned how to ride the bike or drive the car without much trouble, now we can do it without even thinking about it.  Our subconscious mind has learned to complete all the tasks cohesively, without our conscious mind having to tell our muscles what to do.

The law of attraction is based on the subconscious mind helping us to be happy or wealthy, like it helps us to ride a bike or drive a car.  The idea is that the subconscious mind will try to help our conscious mind do anything that want.  The subconscious mind learns what we want, by what we tell it and by our physical actions.  One idea that Kevin Trudea states over and over is that if we are as happy as we can possibly be all the time, our subconscious will do it’s best to make us as happy as it possibly can.

I was hooked with the idea of being as happy as I possibly could be idea.  What was the worst thing that could happen?  I would be happier all the time?  That was okay with me.  Many people will wonder how exactly the subconscious mind is going to make them happy, is it going to win the lottery for them, or start working a second job while they are sleeping?  The idea is that the subconscious, will make your conscious mind more aware of possibilities and opportunities in your life.  Many of us dismiss anything out of our comfort zone, or that appears difficult.  If our subconscious is on the lookout for things that will make our life amazing and better, then those things that appeared difficult before, may now appear to be an incredible opportunity.

How my Life has Changed

I already mentioned my blog, finding BiggerPockets, speaking in front of a large audience – all the while, I am still a natural introvert.  My life has seen incredible things happen in 2013 and it is hard to say they aren’t related to my attitude change.

1.  Goals- I started making goals for everything!  I made huge goals that seemed impossible to meet. For example, I made a goal of increasing my income by 25 percent in 2013 over 2012.  It seemed virtually impossible, until I ended up selling my personal residence and made a nice profit; Safe to say – I will easily meet that goal.  I had a goal to purchase 30 rentals in ten years and I changed that to 100 rentals in ten years.  Who knows if I will get there, but it is going to challenge me much more than trying to get to 30 rentals.

2.  Bought a New House – Like I said, we sold our personal residence and bought our dream house.  I was not even thinking of moving, but an incredible house came up for sale that was perfect for us.  I also sold our personal house to my friend without listing it or paying a commission and he sold his personal house in 2 weeks, for cash in order to buy our house.

3.  More Help- That friend who bought my house is giving up a 6 figure corporate job to work for me and learn Real Estate.

4. Transition- I work with my father and we have a team of 5 people working for us.  This year I am buying him out and taking over everything: flips, Real Estate, managing other agents.  This will mean a huge jump in income and more control over how things are done.

5.  I am Doing More Exciting Things- I drove a Lamborghini earlier this year and I am driving a Ferrari on a race track the end of this month.  I spoke at the conference, I am volunteering for roles in my REO organizations, and I am going to REI meetups and talking to home owners.

Personal Coaching

Another huge change this year, was I decided to sign up for personal coaching through Jack Canfield.  It was rather expensive, and I would have never spent the money on a program like this before.  I completed the first part of the coaching earlier this month and it has been worth every penny.

My coaching consists of one half hour call each week and assignments each week.  I had to spend anywhere from 3 to 6 hours on my assignments and the entire goal of the coaching was to change my way of thinking.  I had to make goals, make affirmations, listen to or tell myself affirmations daily, start daily and weekly routines, build up a positive image of myself, delegate more, schedule more, analyze my life better, surround myself with successful people, create a victory room and a number of other items.  The biggest change from personal coaching was the almost complete removal of stress in my life, even with all of these major changes.  Since I could write an entire article on my personal coaching experience, I think I will.  Stay tuned for next week…….

Photo: jrmllvr

About Author

Mark Ferguson

Mark is Real Estate Broker and investor in Greeley, Colorado. Mark invests in long-term SFR rental homes and also does 8-15 fix and flips a year. Mark started a blog this year that focuses on investing in long term single family rentals.


  1. Mark,

    Great subject, for one that does not buy guru courses you sure are buying a few.

    That said, I can do you one better. I started investing before it became known that guru’s were mostly just there to fleece the general public. I bought Carlton Sheets and a couple of other courses and actually took action failing miserably.
    My last ditch effort to do or die cost me $7000 to a guru, I would not normally have bought such an expensive course but my local investment group (DIG) brought the guy in which I took for an endorsement.

    The only thing I got out of this course was an introduction to NLP which was being used on the entire class in order to sell them more products. I was very fortunate the student to my right seeing that I was going for the big bucks warned me off the purchase of more materials.

    Instead he suggested something better then all the guru courses, hypnotism.

    No not making a joke, from 15 to 25 years of age I became a 2 pack a day smoker. In desperation to quit I attended a hypnotism session which resulted in quitting after one 15 minute session.
    So when this fellow suggested hypnotism to remove all of my fears, and failures stopping me from moving forward I figured what did I have to loose?

    After one $150 session (yes with his company) I went out to buy two 3 unit buildings and 3 houses in the first year. All of these were with no money down, borrowing 100% of the purchase and renovation price. The next year I bought three 3 unit buildings and 2 houses.
    Later selling two of the 3 units and two houses of which 100% of the profits were used to pay off the financing on the remaining properties. After the bubble burst in RE, I bought one of the three units back now totally renovated by others, for 30% of what I sold it for.
    I borrowed 125% of the purchase price from a private lender, using the difference to buy my wife a new car.

    Since that time I have decided I own enough long term rentals and from time to time wholesale a deal to pay a bill or two. I have a contracting business I really enjoy a lot more then dealing with tenants.

    My wife thought first I was insane (guru purchases) and then totally off the hook (hypnotism)
    Now she is suggesting I put my 3 units with a management company so I can go out and buy some more stuff. I think I will go for another hypnotism session, and take her up on that offer.

    I noticed an Ebay seller with RE hypnotism sessions for sale, maybe I will go with one of those first.

    • Dennis, that is some crazy stuff! Especially the quitting smoking. I should have mentioned I have bought books and audio CDs of these guys, not actual courses. I have spent a total of maybe $200 on amazon. I don’t know I guru is the best term for them, try are all stinking rich which means something they are doing is working, even if it is only selling CDs and books to someone like me. Haha

  2. Michael Dorovich on

    Awesome story!! All I can say is that it is super ultra extremely important to hear/see/experience this kind of story, to hear about someone who is having this kind of success.

    It is like finding rich, fertile soil in which to plant the initially fragile seed of your dreams. Having read/listened to many of the same sources, it is vital to also hear of someone who is having success with them.

    I would change one thing – I would change who knows if I will get there to I will absolutely get there, and consider that shattering the 30 unit barrier is really shattering any limitation of belief, so why not 100 units in 5 years? Why not 25 units at a time? 🙂

  3. Great article Mark. I am a big believer in the law of attraction. I read the secret and believed in the law. One of my favorite books is Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill which is more than just about positive thinking and visualization but actually taking action to make things happen. Goals with no action are just dreams.

    If you can tell me more about your coach you hired and the cost. I believe it is always good to have someone hold you accountable but also to look at your business through different eyes. My business is expanding and I have interviewed a few higher level business coaches. They need to be successful in their business or businesses so I always ask about their ventures and how they went.

    You can inbox my privately if you want.

    • Mark Ferguson

      Hi Michael, Thank you for the comment. I love think and grow rich! It is an awesome book, and I think even cooler because it was written in the 1930s(I believe). The story of Napolean Hill and Carnegie is really cool as well.

      I am going to write all about my coaching experience next week. I was going to do it this week, but I started writing and ended up with a full article before I even got to coaching. I would classify my coach as a life coach, not a business coach. My coach has been a life coach since 1982 or something crazy. The program was about $6,000 for 16 weeks of one on one coaching and then another 12 weeks of follow up.

      I will say I came away with a completely different attitude towards life in general that has made me happier. I went into coaching wanting to increase my income and manage my time better. I have done both and the best part was the stress removal which I was not expecting. My coaching wasn’t about building my business per say, but teaching me how to evaluate decisions myself better, let go of inhibitions, take chances and a ton more.

      • Thats great Mark!
        Sounds like you made a good investment.

        I am looking for a business coach as my business is
        Exploding to new levels. All good but I have learned we all get
        Smarter by working with people that have more or better talent and
        Skills. Grow smart!

  4. I hate grammar police, but…

    “My first articles were absolutely dreadful grammatically, but I have gotten much better with experience and I have learned there was an audience for my subject manner.”

    Your sentence addressing your poor grammar is a run on sentence! Made me LOL.

    That being said, I liked the article. Perfect grammar is not a prerequisite for communicating good information. Looking forward to the next one.

  5. Mark, I just wanted to congratulate you on the new business deal (buying out your dad). Just in the few months I’ve been following your blog, you have made great strides!

  6. Hey Mark!
    Loved the article. Very interesting and motivating.
    While you must have skills and knowledge, this is a great example of how you need to have the right mindset and attitude then take action.
    You had those pieces in place so when you decided to take the next step you just took off!

    Congratulations on the success and will be looking forward to hearing about more of it, as well as the article on your coaching experience!

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