Fresh Starts

HOW IT ALL STARTED

Once upon a time, not very long ago, I was broke.

No money… no assets… living in a council flat and feeling disillusioned with life, with an unfulfilling part-time job in a solicitor’s office that paid very little… a second hand car… and two beautiful kids that I was raising alone… and to top it all a bitter, venomous neighbour who kept me awake most nights with her drunken rantings.

To say life was dull and unfufilling is an understatement. Every day of my humble life was a chore and I struggled to see a way out.

Today, my life is quite different. I am a business owner and mentor to others, I have enough money for my family’s needs… I own the home of my dreams (for the time being) in the Scottish countryside… and I’m having the most amazing time of my life. I’m free and enjoying everyday to the max!

So, how did I do it? Answer – I let go of the fear and believed in myself!

In April 1999 after another hectic day, I put the kids to bed and sat down on the sofa and began to ponder on my future. Living on a very tight budget I couldn’t afford to call anyone, so I sat on the sofa and decided instead to have a wee chat with myself.

Feeling very low and depressed I thought “why is my life like this? Where did I go wrong? I’m a nice person…a decent mother… conscientious… hard-working… honest. I pay my bills on time. I’m not unattractive… So why am I sitting here, on my own, with no money, no support from my ex… a dead-end job, two gorgeous kids but very little to offer them. God… where are you? Why don’t you answer my prayers?”

Does any of this sound familiar?

I could feel myself getting really angry. Angry with the life I had created, I had hit rock bottom. Then I decided… ENOUGH! I’VE HAD IT! Almost 50 years old and still complaining and blaming everyone else, I had to find a way out.

Then I had a breakthrough – a true revelation!

Over the years, I’ve read many self-help books and listened to lots of motivational tapes. I tried several different jobs driven mainly by need more than choice, starting out full of enthusiasm but gathering more ‘fear of rejection’ instead of financial gain. Nothing seemed to be working for me… or so I thought. How wrong I was!

THE LIST

I’d heard about the benefits of writing down goals, and so it began. I picked up my notebook and started “The List”.

Whilst reviewing my needs and wants the word PROPERTY leapt into my head and right there and then I decided that this would be the vehicle I needed to get me out of the rut I was in and launch me into the new life I knew we deserved.

But how was I going to get into property? I knew very little about it and had absolutely no money, so how on earth was I going to get into this market? It’s always good to ask yourself lots of questions.

Somehow, the answer will come to you. I’m not sure how, but it does, so just keep asking!
Finding a proven plan A year or so before, I had picked up a copy of Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad: a truly inspirational book which I’ve read many times since. Those of you who have read the book will be aware that Robert tells the story of how he made his fortune using the techniques and attitudes taught to him by his friend’s father. Mind you, it didn’t happen overnight for him either. Robert talks very frankly about his successes and his failures and admits he was in the third quadrant of his life before he became financially independent – exactly where I was.

Most of Robert’s wealth comes from property investment and I thought it would be wise to follow in his footsteps. There was just one snag! You need money to get into property, don’t you? How could I get started? Fortunately, I had been wise enough to buy my council flat in 1997 but I knew that while if I sold it now I would make a profit, I would also have to pay back a proportion of the discount to the council. Not an option, therefore.

So, instead, I focused on building a property-related business. Those of you who have read about Kiyosaki’s Cashflow Quadrant will know that another major aspect of attaining financial independence is to build a business – either by starting your own or buying a franchise. I had no money for a franchise and I didn’t really fancy being tied to someone else’s rules and regulations (after all, I’d already been doing that for years) so I set about going it alone.

About a week after I did this exercise, I spotted a very small lineage advert in one of the Sunday newspapers offering a property-related business opportunity. I immediately rang the number and listened to the recorded message. The product on offer was a training manual on starting your own business as … a Letting Agent! But it cost £250 and I had no money. I was in debt!

I had a credit card with a £1,000 limit and the account was clear. If I used my credit card I would be able to pay this back over time and I could get started right away. It just felt right so, I rang back and placed my order.

A few days later the manual arrived and I devoured it hungrily, I must have read that manual half a dozen times, but even after the first few pages, I knew I was capable of doing this!

TAKING ACTION
In February 2000, Lanarkshire Letting was born. By this time, I already had five properties available for rent, just by talking to people I knew and telling them of my plans. The phone rang off the hook following my first advertisement in the local press and I just knew I was going in the right direction. I had set myself the target of getting 40 properties onto my books in the first year. The target was reached within a few months and I quickly realised that demand was far outstripping supply. The following year, I was able to sell my little flat at a good profit and went into rented accommodation so that I could use the profit to start buying my own rental portfolio.

LIVING THE DREAM
Two years later (2003), I moved to a lovely new detached home in the beautiful Scottish countryside, and I now enjoy a very relaxed lifestyle and, most importantly, I no longer worry about money. My kids are happy and feel very proud to bring their friends home to stay in their nice new house. They enjoy a good social life and often express their feelings of pride and satisfaction at being where they are now compared to a few short years ago.

In November 2004 I organized a property networking event in Edinburgh which ran for 6 years and I had the privilege of sharing my experiences with 90-100 people every month!

NOTHER FRESH START!
With the financial markets in disarray, the property market is very slow and lending criteria is very strict so, after losing a small fortune when my bank reneged on a multi-million pound property deal in Edinburgh, I had to go back to the drawing board once again … and what a revelation to discover that I can do EXACTLY the same business in the STOCKMARKET with less capital, no banks to negotiate with, no rogue tenants or voids to worry about, and I am now learning … and teaching others … how to collect rent on shares that they already own each and every MONTH!!

Since August 09 I have introduced 56 investors to stockmarket trading through a very supportive investment club network and am now travelling the UK presenting this amazing education programme to anyone who wants to know HOW TO INVEST FOR THEIR FINANCIAL SECURITY. The best part of this new business is that we teach our students’ kids for FREE and our programme is already in 11 schools in Ireland and I’m hoping to open some doors into the education system here in the UK.

I feel my new life is just beginning and I want to expand on that. My family and friends often express their admiration and pride in my humble achievements, especially as they know some of the very difficult challenges I have come through. But I don’t dwell on the past: I could write a whole book on that subject alone.

For now I’m happy to live each day to its fullest, to keep looking forward, to watch my handsome young sons develop into fine young men, and to encourage and assist other people on their journey towards success and contentment. I’m so very grateful for the many blessings I receive each and every day.

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