Category Archives: Self-improvement

$100 Suit vs $1000 Suit – A lesson in marketing


As I’ve been growing my business, I’ve come to learn that perception is of the utmost importance.  First impressions are critical, because people are hard wired with “shortcuts” in thinking. These “shortcuts” are important, otherwise we would walk around all day in constant deep thought observing and analyzing the world.

Not very effective, and exhausting!

When I worked as a police officer, showing up to a call in uniform, in a marked police car, I would instantly have a psychological advantage over most people.  Since being little children, there have been authority figures for us, and police officers are an authority figure that we never “grow out of.”

– Side note here. Criminals DO tend to grow out of police(or anyone frankly) having any authority, however this article is not about abnormal psychology because we don’t want to do business with people like that anyway! –

Simply showing up, the “first impression” aka “police presence”, in most instances would diffuse a tense situation, with the uniform doing all the work. The uniform is very powerful, and many times without saying or doing anything, simply listening, would solve a conflict.

I’ve found the same thing with business attire. Although I am the same person in my black shirt and shorts being “Mr Mom” as I am in a smartly fitting suit, people treat me differently!

It’s not fair, but that’s the truth.

As result I’ve taken a real interest that never existed before in topics such as men’s fashion, so I can show up to work with an advantage.  People perceive me as smarter, more authoritative, and wealthier when I am dressed like this:

Screenshot 2016-06-25 at 04.35.56

Than when I am dressed like this:

Screenshot 2016-06-25 at 04.38.09


The catalyst for this post was an awesome piece of advertising that jumped off the page at me as I was about to edit a Youtube video.  It fit perfectly into my new interest, and had me subscribing very quickly, then polled me for information to see what precisely I am interested in. No doubt I will be solicited with products by this company, but I will be a willing buyer because I am “in the market” anyway, so I will see these offers as SOLUTIONS, and not just annoying attention grabbers breaking my focus from more important matters.

And that is precisely what marketing and getting new customers is all about. 

To see the sales funnel for yourself, search YouTube for “$100 Suit vs $1000 Suit – Differences Between Cheap & Expensive Suits”. 

Screenshot 2016-06-25 at 04.19.06


Until next time,



Modern Day Napoleon Hill


Just started reading Guerrilla Millionaire by Douglas Vermeeren, a Canadian dubbed by ABC and FOX as a “modern day Napoleon Hill.”

My initial impression is it’s a remix on Think and Grow Rich so great for mindset. One of the most interesting chapters is 3: What are Your Chances of Making a Million?

5. From the following statements, which are true in your case?
I have affectionate parents.
I have a supportive partner.
I have a deep religious faith.

A. None of the above
B. One of the above
C. Two of the above
D. All of the above

Answer and explanations: For Question 6 the best answer is D .

Having a secure support network can give you the confidence and courage required to pursue wealth. It is not an easy road and taking it alone can be dangerous. In Think and Grow Rich , Napoleon Hill points out that, generally speaking, men reach their most successful times after the age of forty. He speculates that this has a lot to do with finding stability in life with a supportive partner. Having a supportive partner of my own, I can testify that her presence makes a big difference for me.successful times after the age of forty. He speculates that this has a lot to do with finding stability in life with a supportive partner. Having a supportive partner of my own, I can testify that her presence makes a big difference for me.

Where in your life are your strengths? Where can you improve?

Do you have someone you need to forgive? Someone you need to apologize to?

Take inventory and measure measure measure!

It might just be what’s in your way to a rich life.
Until next time,

Type II Civilization: Here We Come


My mother in law Mae gave me a great book for Christmas.

I had not heard of Elon Musk before this book, but he is responsible for Paypal, Tesla, Solar City(largest solar panel design/finance/installation company in US), and for cutting the cost of a space launch from $450M to about $90M(5x cheaper). He is 44 years old and his goal is to bring humans to Mars in his lifetime, I think he will do it.

Inspiring guy!

Although, he did get divorced three times, twice from the same woman. That part perhaps I don’t want to emulate but otherwise an amazing guy.  Highly recommend this read if you want to be inspired.

I then read “The Martian”.

Within 30 hours. By staying up to 2 am two night in a row.

It’s that good.

The reason it’s so good(and has received accolades from the scientific community) is that it is so accurate to the science of space travel.  And the coolest part is it was written by a self professed nerd Andy Weir with a blog, published for free, downloaded and read tens of thousands of times before a publisher stepped up.  Then came the movie(not as good).


Currently in tech

As I write this I am listening to the “Tech Panel” of the World Outlook Conference 2016. Here are some notes that might interest you.

  • So much happening in tech now.
  • Amazon is doing trials with drones to deliver packages.
  • Running an open pit mine in Australia remotely.
  • Suncore ordered a fleet of self driving trucks – 24/7 productivity.
  • Telsa has a software update for $2500 for their vehicles to make them self driving.
  • Self driving tests are in happening in Ontario(this is huge because the regulatory environment is so far behind tech.)
  • Near field communication.  Like tap credit cards. Applications in everything electronic ie lights without wires to switches.
  • Mini death of web. Rise of Apps. More people on mobile, rare that browser is used. People are rather living in social media more, may hurt Google.
  • Exoskeletons being tested for seniors with mobility issues who can now lift 200lbs. Huge mobility improvements will happen thanks to aging population and demand.
  • Artificial Intelligence.  Still in the horizon but is coming – machines that are conscious.
  • Industrial evolution of medicine. Drugs can be tailored to the individual using genetic analysis. “23andme” to get your genome done for $300.  Learn your ancestry.
  • Investments and business can benefit from technology. Small players can kill big players now.  Newsbeat(sp?) media as an example gets more traffic vs entire Canadian media.  Amazon vs Walmart. Both could have been squashed if the big player was clued in.
  • Hootsuite, 30 people 4 years ago, 1000 people now. Nothing to lose, ability to make bold decisions and follow them through.
  • Always being disrupted from below, it’s the small and nimble company that can overtake the powerhouses.

I think this is great.


What this means to Real Estate Investors

I shared these ideas with a colleague and he said “what is that going to do to property values.”

Well, I have no idea what an acre on Mars starts at so it’s tough to predict ;).

What I do know is thanks to the huge and fast changes to technology and communication life is getting better. We already getting good/new books/movies/music thanks to this and “The Martian” is a prime example.  A guy published stuff he loves in a blog, and a short time later kills it at the box office while major Hollywood and Music company recycle old ideas with mixed results.  Proof and inspiration that there is hope for the future.

One person can now change the world. Or with aspirations like Elon Much, the galaxy.  It makes you realize that you do matter!

You have so much to contribute. You owe it to others to contribute your best!

Go out there and kill it,  Buck Rogers here we come.
Until next time,

Caution – very personal(your help needed)


I’m about to share something I’ve never said before in public.

It’s about my kids,

now my reason for existing,

who for me are the answer “what is the meaning of life”.

People frequently tell me “that’s so great you gave those kids a home, you’re such good people.” They think because I adopted my kids that I’m an awesome guy.

It’s a lie.

The truth is I’m very selfish. Continue reading →

Set for Life(?)


This is for all my friends lucky enough to have an employer with a pension plan, although I am specifically speaking about the RCMP pension plan, this information holds true for most others as well. To my readers without pensions, you’re lucky not to have these “golden handcuffs”(you will be forced out of nessesity to find your path sooner, and done correctly your choices will dwarf any pention!)

You may not have realized it, but when you signed up you entered a world few people know. 
About ten years later you’ve had your ups and downs, your career is off to a good start, and you likely have the rest of your working life planned out. 
You’ve made a difference, changed many lives, did some great work, served your country and community. 
You also have more responsibility. Perhaps you got married(more than once), had kids, started to support your aging parents, picked up some new hobbies, and likely some debt. 
You’ve never worried about finances, after all there is plenty of overtime(one of the benefits of being short staffed), and you’ve got a pention at the end of it all. 
Your set for life!
Did you know that eventually your pension will be something that rhymes with you(hero)?
That’s right, all your years of labour, your service to the people of this country, and the thousands of lives you touched will eventually be worth(financially) nothing. 
Let me explain. 
Once you hit 20 years service you are locked into the pension, the more you work after this the higher your pension(sort of). 
But when you die(we all do), your pension does 1 of 3 things:

1. Splits in 2 with your spouse(s) getting 50%. Once they die your pension = zero. 

2. Your children get 20% until they are adults then your pension = zero.

3. You have no spouse and/or your dependants are adults so your pension = zero.
You’ve spent most of your working life in service of others, looking out for thier best interests. 
You owe it to yourself, and to those you care about the most to look after thier best interests too!
Here are some possible solutions:

1. Buy and maintain supplemental life insurance. Calculate what you’d dependants will need from you for the next 20 years. You will discover that if you’re not there to give it to them, the life insurance policy through your employer is a pittance. 

2. Practice fiscal responsibility(be a good saver). This is hard for me. I work harder than most so feel I deserve more in my downtime. This costs money. 

3. Invest wisely. 

4. Make the Set for Life(?) choice – only available to those between 10-20 years service. 
Once you are vested in your pension, a little timer starts, and you have 10 years to make a big choice. 
It’s not an easy one. There is lots to consider. It’s a choice many lottery players fantasize about. 
Monthly payments or lump sum?
To make the right choice for you, ask yourself a few of these questions: 

How is my health? 

What is my family history/life expectancy?

Will I get hit by a bus(or insert other disaster) early in retirement? 

How long will I live?

Do I have the disapline to invest a lump sum wisely or will I spend it on booze/cars/travel, and after a few years of living large be left eating cat food under a bridge? 

Do I need capital to start a business?(after all my skills are very desirable/transferable to the private sector and business world). 

Will I work for another employer?

What do my dependants need when I’m gone?

How can I leave as much as possible for them?

How much is the lump sum?

How long would it last me?

Can I make it grow?

What would you do with $125,000 or $300,000 cash(a similar amount also is locked away till you turn 65)?
For many, taking the lump sum at 19.99 years or perhaps earlier makes sense. 
Especially with this decades’ record low interest rates(lower the rate, higher your cash payout)!
If you have any further questions about your pension, are curious about your transfer value, or want to learn more about my financial plan, you can reach me by visiting 
You can see what I’ve been up to(and why), sign up for regular newsletter tips, or read other interesting articles. 
Until next time,
Stay SAFE 

Book Review – How to win friends and influence people


There is nothing new to be said about Dale Carnegie’s book, I have heard it quoted by many people(cited or not) teaching self improvement, and it is very cool to have found the source of so much of what I have learned.

All these rules can be summed up quite easily. “Kill them with kindness” or “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” come to mind.

The biggest reason this book packs such an impact is the stories that accompany each lesson.

And therin lies the biggest secret of all – learn to be a good story teller.

Here are the rules to live by, be sure to pick up this book if you haven’t read it yet to get the full context.

2015-06-02 11.46.04 2015-06-02 11.46.42

2015-06-02 11.54.13

Until next time,

Calgary Renovation REIN Workshop


There were only 3 jackknifed semis on the drive from Kamloops to Calgary yesterday…

Why on earth was I on this highway instead of being with my family?

Well, I was fortunate enough to get my wife’s permission to attend today’s REIN event in Calgary!

After a harrowing journey, I was well rested after a great night in Airdrie, so thank you to my cousin Cody and his lovely wife Lissa for the awesome hospitality 🙂

The day consisted of an economic update(macro economics) with a focus on oil, then a detailed how-to for the rest of the day. Topics included finding property, determining after-reno value, determine reno cost, presenting offers, financing, an expert panel, renovation contractor presentation, a case study(successful investor talking about their deals), and reno work in detail.


The event started off with Don Campbell giving his “What’s behind the curtain” and his take on recent low oil prices.

Basically this is a cycle that has happened before, this will hurt if a $50/barrel price is SUSTAINED, and Alberta will be a buying opportunity for a strategic real estate investor. Don plans to buy light industrial and residential near LRT in 2015. He points to Jan Stuart’s prediction that oil will recover($70 range) in 4th quarter of this year.



The main presenter was Jared Hope. He is conducting a massive expansion of his portfolio and has incorporated “flipping” into his business model. Jared’s impressive resume:
– $1.7M in recent renovation expenses
-managing 400 doors(Landlord Resource Centre)
-owns 140 doors with partners
– writes an offer a week and closes on a property every three weeks

The first segment was about choosing a business model. You need to decide:

1. Reno then flip: great quick cash injection.(common on TV) You need to know who you are selling to.

2. Reno then rent: less common, can get into rental properties for less(due to refinance from improving the property) and less maintenance costs during your holding period.

3. What city will you do your flips in? It’s easier to do flips when you live there to stay on top of the trades.

4. What type of property? The numbers will dictate this.

Spend more money(slush fund), rent it out, change your target buyer, change marketing efforts, etc. There are lots of plan B’s, and most are covered in REIN’s monthly meetings and extensive ACRE event so I won’t go into a great amount of detail here.

The rest of the event was information that runs parallel to traditional buy-and-hold, but it was a nice refresh of best practices.

Some cool tips from this event that will improve my business include:

-Present deals in person, this will create emotion and allow you “humanize” the transaction. If the seller refuses, go find another deal. “Give people what they need, not what they want.”
– submit 2 offers: lower price + quick close OR higher price and long close(seller must choose ONE)

– when renovating, do showings as soon as the paint dries. You don’t need your flooring installed, but have samples of it on site. If you do showings before the walls are painted, tenants have a poor imagination and will think the place will not be finished.
– there is a substantial amount of risks doing “flips” so make sure there is at least $50,000 profit before proceeding(single family residential homes)
In conclusion

This was a great event jampacked with information from people who are actually doing flips now. With the checklists provided and systems that were taught, a significant amount of risk can be eliminated. This course makes flips a palatable business model, and the contents of today’s workshop would easily be worth $1000 as a home study course.

Just by using these checklists, I will avoid some of the mistakes from my last renovation, and my next one will be more profitable.

As usual, REIN put on another great event and I am so fortunate to have this included as part of my membership.

Now I can’t wait to get home to my wife and kids, I will be sure to drive slowly 🙂

Until next time,
Stay S.A.F.E.



If you want to learn how you can live “Your Life. Your Terms.” click here for a free book.

My $9000 mistake – and 3 ways you can avoid it


I recently decided to scale back my side business.

Junk removal was good to me. I learned lots about running a business: like about managing employees, payroll, EI/WCB/GST remittances, corporations, marketing, web sites, and found some cool goodies(one man’s junk is another mans treasure).

However with the kids here now and my main business truck now out of service, I am too busy to continue.

Rather than invest more time and money in another vehicle, I have decided that the opportunity cost is too high to keep running a junk removal business.

My time is better spent growing my real estate portfolio or with my growing family.

It’s a tough decision to make, because I grew the business from nothing to respectable gross annual sales, so I am emotionally attached in a way.

I feel like one of those monks that labour away making intricate art patterns in the sand… and now it’s time to rake it all away.

I certainly appreciate the exercise of will required to do that.

Letting go is hard!

But, it is the right thing to do.

On to my $9000 mistake:

I had incorporated the business June 13, 2013. I was advised this was prudent to limit the liability I might face once I hired employes. Along with hiring part time employes I also invested heavily in the business: equipment, advertising, communications, ect…

Now that the corporation is dissolving, I will now be unable to recoup my investment. I just learned from my accountant that over $9000 I had invested is a loss captured inside the company.

As a shareholder of my company, I am only able to claim 1/2 as an investment loss against my personal taxes, where the years I ran the business as a sole proprietor I could claim 100% of any loss against my personal income.

Also the accounting bill to learn this lesson and do my corporate taxes was $2500. Double ouch …

Lessons learned:
1. Don’t incorporate unless you are sure you need to. It’s not as cool as it sounds, is only a tax benefit if you are a high income active business(corporations that own RE have no tax advantage), and is only useful for limiting liability.
2. Make sure the business you engage on has big enough margins to survive problems like equipment breakdown and inefficient employees (no employee is as efficient as you are, but that’s a topic for another time ). If it doesn’t have big enough profit margins, it will be very difficult to expand. You will find that you don’t own a business, you own a job for yourself(well paying job perhaps, but still trading time for dollars).
3. Stick to what is working, even if you are bored. I knew real estate worked well when I was growing my junk removal company. In fact, although I made a $15,000 mistake on my first property(a tenant I selected trashed the place), it has still produced 25%/yr ROI. I got bored and tried to “do it all” thinking a big success in one aspect of my life must mean I can succeed in everything I try, not realizing the opportunity cost was so high… I bet I would have a couple more houses if not for all the junk hauling!

Until next time,

Stay S.A.F.E.

PS – Haul Guys is now operating as a sole proprietor again, and my brother is now running things and making some good money. So although that $9000 would have been a nice holiday somewhere, this story is not all bad 🙂

Where “Stay S.A.F.E.” comes from


Someone recently asked about my signature at the end of my blog posts and newsletters “Until next time, Stay S.A.F.E. ”

Besides the link to my business model for investing(Starter homes, Attractive to families, Fairly priced, Economic fundamentals), this salutation has a very personal meaning to me.

Continue reading →

This girl hates me!




I got this angry message the other day.




Apparently “I charge too much rent.”

Some people think I’m greedy, or call me a “slumlord” or say it’s evil because I work hard to earn a little extra money.

Here is the truth of the matter:
1. The renovation on this property employed a local renovator for a week to the tune of $3500.

2. The tenant who moved in loves the place and is grateful and proud to have a well kept home in a nice neighbourhood.

3. Before I bought this place it sat empty for over a year, benefiting no one and hurting the prior owners. Property is very expensive with big bills. Almost all the rent collected pays expenses and the mortgage. Don’t believe me? Try it yourself!

4. All 9 tenants I currently serve call me the best landlord they have ever had because I spend so much money and time making sure their home is perfect. I have thank you notes, testimonials and lots of phone numbers of previous tenants who called me the best landlord. So I’m not arrogant, just advertising the truth.

5. I give generously of my time and money. I volunteer with Big Brothers and Sisters, and am working toward giving away 10% of what I earn(I am still under 5% but my goal is to increase by 1% a year). The more I earn the more influence I have to make the world a better place. I HIGHLY recommend this book.

6. My investors don’t think I am greedy, they know how hard I work to get them a decent return on every dollar they entrust to my care. A better return than can be found anywhere else!

7. Pathetic indeed… That energy spent trying to squash others is not used to try and better yourself…


A Pipl search showed me that this is likely my accuser :



If I found the wrong person, I apologize, and I will remove your plenty-of-fish profile from my blog, just send me a nice emailed request 🙂

To the author of that email that must have been intended to hurt my feelings, or perhaps pick a fight:

1. Your negativity and hatred unfortunately did bother me and shake my confidence a bit, even though you are a complete stranger. Imagine how that attitude affects those who are close to you, or even worse, yourself.

2. I get emailed alerts daily for what rental stock there is , and who is looking. Today’s email there was NO rentals available, just people in need. I do my best to province a great service to people who need it. Like these three families who can’t find a place to live.





3. I’m sorry my business venture offended you so much.


But I’m not sorry about this:


Dear knitanpurl,


In your face!


To learn more on this topic and about why cheap rent is a disservice to EVERYONE, read “Am I a mean landlord?” here.

Best regards,



Until next time,

Stay S.A.F.E.