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My Rental Property is Costing Me Money. What Should I Do?

Bigg Challenge
Jeff’s job took him several states away from a rental property that he bought about two years ago. He bought the property and fixed it up. Now his tenant is moving out and the place is a mess. So he’s going to have to invest a bunch again. But he feels he has no choice since he has so much in it already. Besides, it’s a bad time to sell real estate. He wants our thoughts on his situation.


Bigg Advice

It’s been said,

“Find a landlord who lives more than twenty minutes from his
rental and you’ll find a landlord who’s probably ready to sell.”

Properties can be managed across cities and states, but for the most part, real estate is a very local business. And, a lot of people don’t understand that you’re in business even if you only have one rental property.

Consult with a good attorney

You’ve treated this like a business, Jeff. You had your tenant sign a lease. But a lot of landlords feel like there’s little recourse if a tenant tears up the place. However, you can take legal measures against a tenant who causes damage beyond normal wear and tear.

So consult with an attorney to explore your options. There’s a good chance your attorney may handle your case on a contingency. Of course, you’ll still have to cover the courts costs.

Sell!

Check with a realtor, and even other property owners, to get an idea of what to expect if you list your property. Of course, you won’t know until you actually put it on the market, but you can probably make a reasonable guess with some more information.

Sure, we hear news reports that the real estate market is down. However, you may find it’s not as bad as you think. And here’s the thing … isn’t it better to fix it up and let it sit empty than to fix it up just to fix it up again if your next tenant does the same thing?

Distance makes the difference
Every landlord risks bad tenants, but since you live so far away, Jeff, it seems like the best move for you. The only other thing you might consider is contracting with an experienced local property manager to handle the leasing and maintenance.

You sunk my battle ship!
Picture a ship that’s sunk. You can invest money to try to make it float again, or you could just leave it on the bottom of the ocean and get a different ship. Hopefully, you quickly see which one of those two is better.

George said that, unfortunately, he’s learned this the hard way. It’s not easy when you’re the one in the middle of the situation. But the money you’ve already invested is a sunk cost, like the sunken ship. Don’t base your decision today on money that’s already been spent. Base it on what kind of return you can get on the money you will invest. If it’s better elsewhere, cut your losses and move on.

We hope this helps you with your bigg decision, Jeff. Thanks for sharing your Bigg Challenge with us!

 

   

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I May Have to Fire an Employee. Any Suggestions?

Bigg Challenge
Rick has been a manager now for about six months. He has an employee who is under-performing. Rick thinks he may need to fire this employee, but he’s never done that before. He says he would welcome any suggestions we can provide.

Bigg Advice
Do you remember the Cheers episode where Norm Peterson became the executive’s executioner – his job was to fire people. So he took them out for drinks and, by the time it was done, the employee who was being fired felt sorry for Norm. Because as Norm once said,

“It’s a dog eat dog world and I’m wearing Milk Bone underwear.”

So there’s one option, but not one that we necessarily recommend for the real world!

Company procedures
Look to your company’s policy manual for guidance on how to proceed.  Also, discuss this with your boss so you fully understand company protocol and precedents.

No surprises

Except for the most egregious situations, you’ve done something wrong if it’s a surprise. To make sure they’re not surprised, you should follow a process. For example, issue a series of warnings with repercussions for not correcting the performance deficiencies

Round and round we go

Sit down with your employee and explain the problem. Discuss what needs to be done to correct it, tell him or her when you’ll review performance again, and outline the consequences if it’s not corrected (e.g. a 3-day suspension without pay).

At the scheduled time, repeat this process. This time the ramifications have to be greater. (e.g. termination of employment). So if you reach this review and the situation hasn’t improved significantly, the result should be obvious to your employee.

You’re giving them a chance to improve their performance and also covering your liability because you’ll document this entire process and have them sign off each step of the way.

An example

George said that in his early days in business, he was managing his field staff. They worked without direct supervision because they performed work at the customer’s home or office. George had hired a young man who just couldn’t work without ongoing oversight.

George went through the rounds outlined above with little improvement. Finally, he let the employee go. He recommended that this young man get a job in a place where someone could watch over him.

He encouraged the young man come back and reapply for employment once he got used to working in a supervised environment. That never happened because the young man found that he liked working with supervision better.

Firing someone doesn’t have to be negative. Offer any help you can provide. Make suggestions. And realize that sometimes it’s just not a good fit – it doesn’t mean they’re a bad person, or that they couldn’t be helpful to any employer. It just means it’s not working out for both of you here.

Thanks, Rick, for sharing your bigg challenge. We’re sure you’ll handle it just fine.

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I Want to Supplement My Retirement Income. Any Suggestions?

Bigg Challenge
Dorothy is preparing to retire. She was recently presented with an opportunity by a network marketing company. She says she is a people person, but not a sales person. It makes her nervous, asking people she knows to buy something. She would, however, like to supplement her pension and social security checks somehow. She wants to know if we could offer some suggestions.

Bigg Advice
We followed up with Dorothy to find out what she really likes to do. She said there are a lot of things she likes to do, but most of them don’t pay. For example, she’s an animal lover, often volunteering at the local animal shelter.

Our first suggestion is to go with what you love – what you’ll do even without pay.

Before we get to that, though, let’s look at the sales opportunity you have. Do some market research by talking to five people you know. Tell them about the idea you’re considering and see what they say. You’re not selling them … you’re asking their opinion.

See how that goes before you invest any money upfront or commit to any ongoing fees. Then make a decision.

Now let’s explore some other options.


Pet sitting service

Why not start a business that fits your love of animals?

Many people think of their pets as part of the family. When they’re away, they want their pets to be well cared for at home. They need a trustworthy, pet-loving person to take care of their pets.

Start a pet sitting service to meet this need. It’s a simple little side business that’s in great demand. Print up some cards that promote your service. Contact veterinarians you know that don’t offer boarding to see if they would allow you to leave your cards on their counter or bulletin board.

It’s definitely a word-of-mouth business so you won’t have to spend a lot of money to get work.

Related links

Pet Business Startup Guide

Start Your Own Pet-Sitting Business

The Professional Pet Sitter 

Pet Sitting for Profit 

 

House sitting service
Here’s a way to double down on the pet sitting idea. Make more money by combining your pet sitting service with a house sitting service. People who travel want to know someone they trust is watching their homes. You can market this service to the same people whose pets you care for.

Errand service

There’s a growing demand for errand services (sometimes referred to as a concierge service). People just don’t have the time to get everything done. That’s where you come in – run their errands for them. You may drop off and pick up their dry cleaning, shop for gifts, and any number of other things.

Market your service at the same places where people are running errands. Once again, start-up costs are low and word-of-mouth is key.

Related links

Personal Concierge / Shopper Business Startup Guide

The Concierge Manual 

Start Your Own Personal Concierge Service 

 

Thanks, Dorothy for sending us your bigg challenge. We wish you bigg success!

Our bigg quote today comes from Francoise De Motteville:

“The true way to render ourselves happy is
to love our work and find it in our pleasure.”

So find pleasure in your work, and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

 

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How Do I Find My Passion?

Bigg Challenge
Amy knows she’s not passionate about her career, but she doesn’t really know what she would love to do. She wants to know how to discover her passion.

Bigg Advice
We recommend that you get a notebook to write down your thoughts and answers to the following questions, Amy.


These things all revolve around one simple theme –

Look to the past to discover your future.

#1 – What did you want to be when you grew up?
Now you may think that’s a silly question to ask at this point in your life, but it’s not. Because it leads to the more important question …

Why? Why did you want to do that one thing when you grew up?

Mary-Lynn wanted to be a singing star. She wanted to be like Cher – up on stage performing in front of an audience with a microphone. Unfortunately, she couldn’t sing!

But today, she does perform in front of an audience with her very own microphone. It’s not exactly what she envisioned as a kid, but the elements are there.

#2 – What classes did you really enjoy?

You probably thrived in these classes. What were they, from grade school all the way up through college? And more importantly …

What about that particular class did you enjoy so much?

George loved philosophy – learning how to think logically and debate a subject. He’s used those skills his entire career. He has found that the work that’s most enjoyable to him often has to do with problem-solving.

#3 – What extracurricular activities did you love?

And more importantly, what did you love about that activity?

Mary-Lynn loved music. She loved being in the pep band and going to competitions. These additional benefits were a bonus to learning to play an instrument well. It appealed to her competitive nature and fulfilled her social needs.

#4 – What jobs or roles have given you the greatest satisfaction?
More importantly, what common themes were there?

George has been an entrepreneur and a teacher. As his career as a business owner advanced, he found that teaching and inspiring others was what he really enjoyed. He got great feedback about meetings he conducted. He also got positive reviews from his students. Today, Bigg Success gives him that outlet to share knowledge with others.

#5 – What is, or was, your favorite hobby?

What do you, or did you, do for free?

Mary-Lynn has loved writing since she was a kid. It taps into her creative side. That desire to be creative has guided her throughout her career. She once left a job because it didn’t offer creative freedom. Her need for creative control in her job spills over from her hobby. Being in touch with what you naturally do, even without pay, can help you discover your passion.

So as you ponder these five questions, think about the elements of the activity, rather than the activity itself, to discover your passion.

Thanks, Amy, for sharing your bigg challenge with us. We’re confident you’ll discover your passion soon!

If you have a bigg challenge, e-mail it to us at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com
What advice do you have for Amy? Click on the Comment link below

Our bigg quote today is by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, who said,

“Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion.”

So find your passion to uncover your greatness.

Next time, we’ll discuss what to do if working harder isn’t working anymore. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

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