What I Learned When I Quit My 9-5 to Invest in Real Estate Full-Time

by | BiggerPockets.com

Failure is only permanent if you never start again. I fail on a daily basis.” – Joshua Bowen

Hello everyone! This is Joshua, a member of the team here in Ohio. As you may well know, many of the blogs we post here on BiggerPockets are presented by Engelo. That being said, Engelo and I have a close relationship and discuss in our weekly meetings topics for these offerings. This week we decided that the content should come from me. We feel that many of you out there may be struggling with fully committing to your goals, and I may be able to help. Now that we have that little disclaimer complete, this is what I have for you. Enjoy.

About 5 months ago, I quit my job. I left my nice cushy job of 7 ½ years with a retirement and benefits and status — all very important — to come work with the team at Ohio Cashflow. I worked at a local bank and had been at my location for a number of years overseeing the entire operation as the branch manager. I sat on a few community based boards and attended social gatherings regularly. Along with my wife and three daughters, we had a home and vehicles, student loans, medical bills, etc. — all the stuff of normal life. I made a good income. Then, I put in my notice and quit my job. I needed to follow my dream and our vision of building a better life for our family. My wife was my rock as I made the transition.

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Taking the Leap

Why do I say this? Why am I here telling you my story? Because I was terrified! Afraid of all of the things in my life that I worked for that I could lose. Terrified, honestly looking back, is an understatement. I made the leap from a 9 to 5, corporate structure to the world of real estate. That was in August, so my schedule changed a little too: 7 a.m. till dark, 7 days a week! I will admit, without Engelo, I was entirely lost. Working with him is a bit like drinking from a fire hydrant, but without him I would have died of thirst.

I could have easily made the decision to stay where I was, working at my branch with my team. I could have allowed those fears to hold me back like so many do. Fear is a funny thing because on one hand, it can motivate you to move forward, but on the other, you can be totally frozen and numb. I mean, what if I failed? What if I did lose everything? Don’t get me wrong, there have been some bumps, but it was the best decision I have ever made. You couldn’t pay me to go back.

Related: I Quit My Day Job, Retired Early & Started a New Venture Using Real Estate: Here’s How

I am now a licensed Real Estate agent and investor; although I work 6 days a week, I have true freedom that I never even dreamed of.

I have learned so many things since I left. Here are my top two.

What I Learned When I Quit My Job to Invest

1. We all have a dream that is accomplishable with just a little help.

Each of us has a dream. Some of us have visions of material items. Some of us dream of more time. Many of us just dream of being comfortable. Whatever that is, IT’S YOURS, AND YOU SHOULDN’T GIVE IT UP. If it’s spending more time with family and friends, allowing yourself to pursue an interest that could in turn create a lifestyle is not a waste of time.

Find someone who knows about what you want to do and has done it, and pick their brain. Real estate investing, flipping, wholesaling, becoming an agent — whatever it is can get you there — immerse yourself in it. I am living proof. I am thankful every day for the help I have received.

2. The fear of failure is real.

If you think you can get away from your fears, you’re kidding yourself. Fear is real, and it can be stifling. The fear of failure prevents many of us from doing the things we could be great at. It is also true that sometimes the people closest to us, our family and friends, are afraid for us. Those fears can hinder our ability more than our own failure because we feel a need to please them.

Related: How to Quit Your Job & Invest in Real Estate Full Time: Steps 1, 2, & 3!

Find your support, your best cheerleader, and just push through. Will it be hard? Yep! Will you think at times that you must be crazy? Absolutely! Keep using the fear to motivate your success because no one can take away accomplishment. If you fail, so what? Start over. Failure is only permanent if you never start again.

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” — Samuel Beckett

A career in real estate is all about perseverance. You need to fortify yourself to last. Fill your thoughts with the next step and always look for the opportunity. Smile. Understand that you can still be afraid, and that’s good. If you quit your job and you weren’t afraid, then something may be wrong. Watch out for scams and seek out people who are where you want to be. Read as much as you can, and learn something new every day. Keep your dream in front of you, and don’t allow someone’s ill-informed opinion to hinder your success. Be your success. Make the leap, you’ll know true freedom.

Have you made the leap into full time investing? What have you learned along the way?

Weigh in in the comments section below, and let’s talk!

About Author

Engelo Rumora

Engelo Rumora, the Real Estate Dingo and your favorite Australian, quit school at the age of 14 and played professional soccer at the age of 18. From there, he began to invest in real estate. He now owns real estate all over the world and has bought, renovated, and sold over 500 properties. He is currently in the process of launching an ICO that will "Decentralize The Real Estate Industry." He's also known for giving houses away to people in need and his crazy videos on YouTube. His life’s mission is to be remembered as someone who gave it his all and gave it all away.


    • Joshua J Bowen


      Thank you for your comment. I’m glad that you found what I wrote this week to be motivational. There are times that I find myself without direction. I may be involved in several activities at once but none clearly define my true purpose. It is during those times that I think back to the many reasons why I decided to quit my job and start in real estate. My family, unlimited income potential and time. I dont know of any business that allows the flexability and the effort/reward ratio as real estate does.

      Keep moving forward,

  1. Alex Craig

    I learned that there are basically no off days, especially when you get to a point in your business when you have employees. I have a fantastic staff, but no one watches the bottom line better then the owner. Vacations mornings start with checking emails, budgets and calling the office to see how everyone is doing. On our property selling side of the business (other side is Property Management), when the phone rings or we get opt in to our sight, that is our opportunity to make money. Ignoring leads, is ignoring sales. Since I am in the service business, if a investor has a question or concern, my attitude has always been that they don’t care that I am on vacation, if they want to talk to me, then I need to make time, no matter what I am doing. In the past 6 years, the only time I turned the phone off was for the birth of my 3 daughters. Sound grueling? Maybe, but because I love what I do, I don’t care. Much rather do that then sit in a board room.

    • Joshua J Bowen

      Thanks Alex!

      I have learned that this business is what you make of it. All of your effort truly equals all of your reward. I spent my earlier days with other companies working 100+ hour weeks to make someone else money. Today, I know when I put in the time, my family reaps the benifit. That being said, I also have learned that all things in life need balance. I try to spend equal time with clients and in the office as I do with family. So far it has worked out well!

      Enjoy your weekend.


  2. ilhan dahir

    Awesome and motivational article Engelo.
    Real estate is fun and joyful when you are passionate about.
    I always tell myself “there is no plan B”. I immerse myself in education and stick around like minded people. It is a beautiful journey being a Investor. What makes real estate awesome is that there is many niches that can create success. Something that also works for me is always thinking of the end in mind. I ask myself where will I be 2, 3, 5, 10 years from now.

    Thanks and keep motivating us Engelo.

    • Joshua J Bowen

      Hello Ilhan,

      You are so correct that a “plan B” is not an option. As I said I fail everyday but failure is only permanent if you never start again. Sometimes we have to place that simple understanding foremost in our mind. That way there isn’t an option to just be comfortable. That way when we’re tired and just want to stay home we are able to hold ourselves accountable. Planning, seeing the next opportunity, knowing when to act even if you don’t fully know why, are all products of a resolute mindset.

      It sounds as if you’re well on your way. Thanks for your comment and thanks for reading.


  3. Troy Harbin

    Great post! I’ve enjoyed it very much,. I very much know, that feeling of doubt and yet continuing to push forward even in spite of myself,.I appreciate the fact that having someone to guide you into those areas that your least familiar with was the most helpful. A Leap of faith is exactly what it is.

  4. Joshua J Bowen


    Thank you for your kind words. I have learned that at the heardest moments of our lives we are always left with only two choices, move forward or be left behind. You could say that as we walk our path we are ofter given the option to turn back. We are shown that the road ahead is possibly unknown. That were not sure how our journey will end if we continue down that road. We’re also shown a path of non resistance. A way clearly marked with a defined outcome and a final destination that is exactly what our mind eye had wanted all along.
    What I have learned of these two paths is that the latter is simply a mirage. It is meant to fool us and keep us feeling good and comfertable. The first path, the one of mystery and potential danger, is only revealed as we walk it. Each stone, each marker, every turn and new direction are made available as we learn the way. It’s a path of growth and it expands our way of thinking on levels that we would never have known possible. It is truly a leap of faith.

    In the event that you see the mirage, know that it is merely a distraction meant to dissuade you from your own success.

    Keep taking those leaps,


  5. Nancy Wheaton

    Hey Josh!
    Wow, what a great read. I once read that “some of the most terrifying decisions ever made have been some of the most successful.” Your story is very raw and thoughtful and I really appreciated you sharing it with us. Thank You!

    • Joshua J Bowen

      Hello Nancy!

      I completely agree with you. Just think about the decision to start a family. It is all part of a larger process but one day you have two people living in a home and a few days later three. Your entire perception of the world must change to accommodate that kind of responsibility. Striking out on your own to open a new business is also pretty terrifying when you realize that you and possibly your family are completely dependent on the success of that venture. All pretty scary but, people do those things every day.

      Hell, steering a hunk of metal and glass that weighs a ton or two down the road, passing other drivers in their pieces of metal and glass, speeding at 60 mph all the while you have 10-15 gallons of gasoline under your seat and the only thing that separates you from them is an imaginary yellow line. Ha! In that case, the fear of collision keeps everyone in the correct place.
      Imagine what we would have today if those people that invented the automobile allowed their fear to get in the way of their vision. Or if the Wright brothers allowed a fear of heights to stand in the way of their dream of making a bicycle fly.

      You are very correct in your comment “some of the most terrifying decisions ever made have been some of the most successful.”

      Do something terrifying! 🙂


  6. Larry Russell

    Great article and very inspirational. I respect you for making the leap from a 9 to 5 to full-time real estate investor status. At the moment, I will continue to use my primary stream of income to bridge the gap until I’m able to get my business generating income at the same level. Then hopefully, I will be able to make the transition as you did. I love hearing stories like yours to keep me motivated. … it helps me to see there is light at the end of the real estate investment tunnel.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

    • Joshua J Bowen

      Hey Larry!

      I’m happy that my story touched a chord for you. We all need to do what is best for our family and out personal finances. I would never advocate that a clean break is for everyone but, in my case there was no other way. Either I was going to make it happen or I would never be able to make the move. So many of us hold back on decisions for reasons that don’t really make sense because the reasons are actually excuses based in our fear. Fear of failure, fear of loosing our families approval but in the end everything around us keeps progressing forward.

      All we can do is understand where we want to be and take whatever steps necessary to get us there. In my case it was a short step with an “interesting” learning curve. I trust your learning curve will be shorter since you’re taking a more calculated leap.
      Thanks for your comment.
      Keep moving forward!


    • Joshua J Bowen

      Hey Ayodeji!

      I would never have been able to move forward without Engelo’s assistance. Most of all, he is able to share a vision that can become tangible, I think almost contagious. I look forward to speaking with you further!

      Thanks for reading and have a successful day!

    • Joshua J Bowen

      Hello George!

      Thank you for reading and thank you for your comment. Allow me to address your concern. First, I never advocate for anyone to do anything that is not within their own ability. If your personal financial situation does not allow for you to quit you job, then don’t. Second, this blog was about what I learned personally when I did decide to make that move. Many investors, agents and flippers once had full time jobs. Many still do, but may have a dream to someday leave the confines of that vocation and work on their real estate goals full time. This blog covers the two aspects of my own psychological reasoning and steps I took to get there. It is also meant to be motivational as some have difficulty realizing their dreams due to outside forces.

      I hope this assists you as you search for understanding.
      May the wind of success fill your sails.

  7. Aaron Nichols

    Joshua, thanks for your insight. I am at a crossroads like you once were and I guess you can say that I am definitely frozen by fear. I read about the great things the real estate industry has to offer and I know in my heart I can be successful at it. But I also do not have a ton of savings. Even though it makes me miserable, I am absolutely terrified about leaving the security of the corporate world and not being able to provide for my family. I wish there was an easy way for me to gain confidence so I can take that leap. But articles like yours here give me hope.

    • Joshua J Bowen

      Hey Aaron!

      Thank you for reading and for your comment. As I said, fear is very real. The weight of providing for all of the little thing that most take for granted is one that hit me the hardest. Like having pizza on a Friday night and just getting a candy bar at the checkout. Hell, I even stressed about just buying basic groceries. I can say without any hesitation that having a mentor that was just as concerned with my success as he was with his own was my saving grace.

      I remember driving to an appointment talking to Engelo who was in the passenger seat and confiding in him my fear of failure. I told him that my plan was, if I did fail, I would get a job waiting tables until something else came along. He told me that he guaranteed my success and if I failed, he’d be right there beside me waiting tables too. He explained that my ability to commit, my own fear of saying or doing the wrong thing was the only thing holding me back. He was right. As I said, I did have some bumps, and still do from time to time but he is right there to point me back in the right direction.

      I know that mentorship works. Although some out there are scammers, many just enjoy giving back.

      You will know if it’s the right time to make your move. You’ll feel it push you from within. Build your support structure by surrounding yourself with good people, positive people that allow you to feel confidant and be your true self.
      I know you’ll be a success! Keep moving forward.

  8. Joshua J Bowen

    Hello Brett!

    I’m so happy to read your comment.
    I just read a quote this morning that talked about comfort and the act of being comfortable as a prison. That there is no greater prison for a man that is free than his own comfort. What a powerful message! I fully believe that we are in charge of our own destination, our own reality and what we promote within ourselves we attract in others. Promote positivity. Promote gratitude. Be your passion.
    I wish you great success!

  9. Evelyn Jordan

    I enjoyed reading your post! I admire and respect your power of will and strength to make the jump and put your life into your own hands. It takes courage to overcome that fear. I am at this transitional point as well and I know very well the paralyzing feeling you were talking about in your post. Even when you try to predict the unpredictable, life happens and you may all of a sudden find yourself in front of a mountain of obstacles. In a moment like that I do my best to keep moving forward and not loose a momentum.
    Wishing you and your family all the best!

  10. Joshua J Bowen

    Hello Evelyn!

    Thank you for your comment and thanks for reading. I do understand the paralyzing feeling and with it comes an inability to commit. In my mind, I was considering a handful of opportunities and career changes but none made me truly excited. I just had to move forward with something to get rid of that feeling of being stuck.
    Follow your passion.


  11. jen kurtz

    Josh, I enjoyed your post so much. Luke everyone else said, it is highly motivational! It is not material things that drive me, but the freedom. I always have in my mind ways to make money, seeing opportunities, or talking to people that I could help or mutually benefit from. These are the ways in which I am not a 9-5er, I love the freedom. I don’t mind being “on” all of the time because I love what I am working on!

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