Saturday, November 24, 2007

Who in the world is entrepreneurial?

Good article from CNN. Basically there are many barriers for entrepreneurs in the world market from taxes, bureaucracy, perception on failing (which is part of success), to peer or family stigmas attached to starting and operating a business. Many entrepreneurs are coming from China especially with focus on materialism.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

ACCEPTED - Project REAP 2007 !!!!

YAHOO! I am accepted into Project REAP 2007!

What is REAP?
It's a 6 month career / business development course for minorities to be exposed and trained to create value in the commerical real estate field especially with regards to international shopping centers. Afterwards for those qualified, the candidates are offered various internship positions in the top real estate companies such as Wal-Mart, McDonalds, Cushman & Wakefield, CB Richard Ellis, Citigroup Realty Services, Westfield Corporation, and the list goes on and on.

It is an exciting opportunities and many of the candidates are diverse, dynamic and successful. It is going to be a great year!

For more info:


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

6 Secrets of Successful Immigrants

6 Secrets of Successful Immigrants

by Marilyn Lewis (reposted from

Ever wonder how some immigrants who arrive in this country with nothing can work their way into the middle class in one generation?

Immigrant entrepreneurs are the fastest-growing segment of small-business owners today, says a report on the future of small business by Intuit and the Palo Alto, Calif., Institute for the Future. That's partly because immigrants have few options: U.S. jobs usually go to those fluent in the English language and American culture.

Yet immigrants also have gifts that prime them for success:

  • They see this country with fresh eyes, spotting chances others miss. Many find that though the U.S. playing field is not entirely level, it still is possible to start from scratch and wind up owning a home and sending children to college.
  • Many possess excellent free university educations from countries where they could not put their training to use because of high unemployment, corruption or class or ethnic barriers.
  • They rely on family and on huge amounts of hard work, are averse to debt and use informal networks of relatives and acquaintances over banks and lawyers to help them exploit opportunities.
  • Some credit poverty with training them in frugality and freeing them from aspirations for an expensive home, car and lifestyle.

Every month in 2005, about 350 of every 100,000 immigrants started businesses -- compared with 280 native-born Americans, according to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation Index of Entrepreneurial Activity. Many fail, but others hang on or try again, eventually launching a better life.

Here are six lessons gleaned from the lives of three immigrant entrepreneurs:

Lesson 1: Reinvent yourself

Kamal Dergham, 47, arrived in the U.S. in 1979 to study mechanical engineering and eventually trained to trouble-shoot commercial air-conditioning systems. Through seven years of study he worked long hours for low wages at a Lebanese fast-food restaurant. He held every job, from cook to dishwasher to cashier, learning the business inside and out.

In 1989, after many difficulties, his big break came, not in his field but when a relative abandoned a failing restaurant, turning over the keys to Dergham at no cost.

Pita Delite (c) Lynn Hey

Kamal Dergham arrived in the U.S. in 1979 and trained as a mechanical engineer until he saw an opportunity in a relative's failed restaurant.

For six months, Dergham made no money, only friends. Standing outside the restaurant, he chatted with merchants, strangers and passing children, a few of whom eventually ventured inside to try "American food with a Lebanese humbleness."

Today his Pita Delite restaurant chain, based in Greensboro, N.C., has six locations, three of them franchises.

Dergham's refusal to be defined by training or tradition is typical of successful immigrant entrepreneurs, says Carolyn Ockels, a partner in Bay Area market research company Emergent Research. "Don't define yourself narrowly," advises Ockels, pointing to her manicurist, a lawyer in Vietnam who launched a successful chain of nail salons when thwarted by a lack of credentials and language skills.

Lesson 2: Take a chance

Immigrants are risk-takers by definition. Like Dergham, "people who immigrate generally are more achievement-oriented," says Abdul Rasheed, professor of strategic management and international business at the University of Texas at Arlington. "That's why they are here in the first place."

Without money for restaurant food supplies, Dergham, his wife, mother, father and younger brother cooked each day's menu from supplies on hand, using the day's meager receipts to buy for the next day. They shared a two-bedroom apartment, crowded by American standards but roomy to Dergham, in whose childhood home in Lebanon six children had slept "head to tail" in three beds.

He worked 13-hour days and six-day weeks: "Pita Delite was my boss. I did not feel like I owned the business. I feel like I'm working for it," he says.

Summoning strength for sacrifices typifies self-made millionaires, says Alan Lavine. He and Gail Liberman wrote "Rags to Riches: Motivating Stories of How Ordinary People Achieved Extraordinary Wealth!" He tells of Lisa Renshaw, who founded her multimillion-dollar Penn Parking at age 21 by buying a parking garage and living in it for three years while growing the business.

"In developing economies, you try things because you don't have a choice," says Ockels. "The failure rate might be higher in those economies, but there is more small-business generation."

Lesson 3: Work, work, work

Sheela Murthy heads a 60-person law firm near Baltimore and grosses millions of dollars a year, enabling her to indulge her greatest pleasure, charitable giving. She arrived from India in 1985, dead broke and 24. She had, however, a secret weapon: her willingness to work long hours.

"I can work 18 hours a day and really turn it out," she says. "I am very ambitious."

In the U.S., hard work produces "immediate results," unlike back home in her day where, she says, no one -- least of all a woman -- could get established without connections. (Intuit's study finds immigrant women start businesses at a rate almost twice that of native-born American women.)

Murthy came from a middle-class family, but there was no money for indulgences. She worked full time while attending a free government university and law school. Stellar performance in an international competition propelled her into a Harvard Law School graduate program. She worked full time as a campus security guard while studying and saving.

Lesson 4: Fill a void

Murthy's rise exemplifies the tendency of immigrants to spot and fill unmet needs, particularly in their own communities. Murthy's Harvard degree immediately gained her a $70,000 job as a corporate lawyer, but she hated the atmosphere. She needed to know she was helping people. Searching for a specialty, she recalled the poor job her own immigration lawyer had done. Other newcomers, she realized, needed trustworthy help with complex American immigration laws.

Nine years after arriving, she went solo. The pool of clients in Baltimore was limited, but her volunteer column on immigration law for a nonprofit newsletter generated a huge response, telling her that the Internet might reach new clients everywhere.

Today Murthy, 45, serves corporations, nonprofits, small businesses and individuals all over the world and continues volunteering advice through her popular Web site, newsletter and online chats. She says her foundation gave $600,000 last year and $800,000 this year to charity.

Lesson 5: Network with others like yourself

Anatoly was 21 in 1995 when he left Russia for business school in America. It was a big leap: He had no money, and his student visa's terms forbade him from taking a job. But, in the post-perestroika turmoil, Russians were desperate for Western cars and tools. Before he left he distributed his e-mail address and cell-phone number far and wide, telling people, "Make sure you guys call me first if you need anything, if you need nice SUVs -- anything."

He financed two MBAs -- in international business and information technology -- by filling orders from friends, acquaintances and strangers, marking up cars $1,500 or $2,000. (Lest his exports get him into immigration trouble, he agreed to be interviewed using only his first name.) Like Murthy and Dergham, he spotted a void and filled it.

Immigrants without access to local language, capital or cultural acumen turn to networks of their countrymen for training, financing, advice and customers. Surprising trust develops. Anatoly once received a phone call from a Russian businessman living in Turkey whose friend in Russia had purchased a car from Anatoly. The stranger ordered a white Chrysler Town & Country minivan and immediately wired $32,000 in cash to Anatoly's bank account.

Lesson 6: Despise debt, scrimp and save

People who have witnessed economic catastrophe firsthand tend to squirrel away money. "When the rainy day comes, which happens more often overseas than here, you have only yourself to rely on," says Anatoly. Like Dergham and Murthy, he is a fanatical saver.

Now 32, Anatoly has finished school, gotten a green card and married a Russian engineer. Recently, they became parents. He works at a nonprofit, designing complex accounting and administration systems. He makes $51,000 a year, yet he estimates he saves at least 40% before taxes. His wife can't yet work -- she's waiting impatiently for a green card. Still, they bought a house last year, just five years after he began his job, using a down payment earned partly from reselling garage-sale finds on eBay.

"I am fortunate to have a wife who is very disciplined," he says. "She . . . is even more than me into being debt-free." Their new goal: a duplex rental property.

Dergham says he has capable American friends whose success is undermined by spending habits: "They make half of what I make but live 10 times better than I do."

Starting from scratch is tough anywhere, yet it can be done. "You must be your own boss to make money," Dergham says, "and this country gives a great opportunity. There is no country in the world like that."

Published Sept. 11, 2007

Tuesday, July 31, 2007


No not me. A bunch of people I have met from my REIA new orientation (yes I finally joined a REIA after years of struggling in this business). Several of them mentioned that they joined the Rich Dad Robert Kiyosaki Real Estate School and they are learning alot from it.

Currently Rich Dad is undergoing an marketing blitz on sharing to others how to become financially free by offering FREE TRAINING in various cities across the country. I am sure this is a good marketing for upselling to their various higher priced courses. While I am not against selling or marketing as I am an entrepreneur myself, I prefer to give abundant value to those who are my clients. In the case of these real estate institutes, schools, and bootcamps it seems like I am paying $10 for a can of soda that I can get for $.50. While I am sure that people are getting something of these educational organizations I question the pricing of these compared to the various alternatives.

Recently one of my family members friend called me to tell me that he is in the business of real estate. I was surprised and wanted to know more. He explained that he was retired and now entering into 2 new business ventures - real estate and travel. I wanted to know what made him jump into them. He told me after retiring from civil service he was bored and attended a Robert Allen FREE TRAINING on becoming a millionaire. IMMEDIATELY a red flag in my head rose and I asked.... "how much"? He blurted out "$15,000" and he is looking to do deals in order to pay for that education back quickly. I was shocked but not surprised by his comment as I have heard this story many times. In fact I was like that. I watched all these late informericals about how to become rich in my sleep buying property NO MONEY DOWN and attending some of these FREE WORKSHOPS and SEMINARS. Going there and finding people selling their wares. Not all are bad as I have met Vena Jones Cox ( who was once the President of the Cincinnati Ohio REIA through a Wright Thurston bootcamp.

I do see some value in some of these bootcamps who also offer mentorship. It is surprising to me how people are willing to pay so much and they can easily get education from more accredited educational sources from REIAs or even universities such as Baruch College CUNY or NYU for much lower costs.

For example, I just joined a REIA in my local area for a whopping price of ...............
$125 / year!
Yes I know that there will be materials sold however for the information and networking offered in a major metropolitan area that is incredible value. You can find partners to do deals with or even a course that is 1/4 of what the gurus are pricing for their wares. This month I have some masterminds appearing in order to see what deals are out there.

Another example, I looked into my alma mater to see what classes they are offering in the real estate industry. Here it goes:

Real Estate Finance
Law of Real Estate Transactions and Land Use Regulations
Real Estate Valuation and Market Analysis
Real Estate Capital Markets
Advanced Real Estate Investment Analysis
Economics of Urban Areas
Urban Economic Development
* Each course is 3 credits and each credit is $400 for this MBA degree.

So each course for over 3 hrs a week for a school semester which is about 15 weeks is less than $80 / credit. Now if you join full time it is $4400 for at least 12 credits a semester.

Now you will say, "hey but these don't teach you to flip deals, lease option a house, or even short sale a note!". WAIT! This give you SOLID information and tools on real estate valuation and also understanding how real estate works. In addition, there are more reasonably priced entrepreneurial courses on real estate that don't cost as much. For example:

The Ohio Professional Housing Provider's Program

Course of study
The course of study will be divided into 42 clock hours of core courses and 18 hours of elective topics for a total of 60 hours of formal education. The core topics are as follows:

Appraisal - 2 hours
Including formal appraisal methods (cost, income, and replacement methods), PACE instruction, how to compare properties, etc.

Rehab - 4 hours
Classroom - 2 hours (including estimation, which projects will pay for themselves, etc.). Hands-on - 2 hours (including actual hands-on opportunities and demonstrations)

Fair housing law - 3 hours
Federal, state, and local fair housing regulations

Negotiation - 3 hours
Negotiating with sellers, buyers, renters, contractors and vendors, banks, etc.

Finance - 6 hours
Conventional financing, FHA/VA financing, owner financing of all types, comparing financing, offering financing.

Tenant-Landlord law - 2 hours
Landlord's and tenants responsibilities, evictions, etc.

Contract Law - 3 hours
Basic contract law, using contracts and clauses to protect yourself, developing contracts such as leases, options, purchase contracts etc., that are for the real estate investment business.

Local regulations - 2 hours
Zoning and building codes

Federal regulations - 1 hour
Regulations affecting real estate investment OTHER THAN tax laws, fair housing laws, and EPA regulations.

EPA regulations - 1 hour
Regulations affecting real estate investment such as: lead paint regulations, wetlands regulations, underground storage tank regulations, environmental quality zone regulations, etc.

Management - 4 hours
Record keeping; dealing with tenants; maximizing cash flow; and others

Purchasing - 2 hours
Finding deals and calculating profitability

Inspections - 2 hours
Pre and post purchase inspections, and pre and post move-out inspections of properties held

Tax law (income) - 1 hour
Calculating and minimizing taxes, and tax laws as they affect the real estate investor

Tax law (other) - 1 hour
Property taxes, 1031 tax deferred trades, etc.

Insurance-property - 1 hour
Including what type of property insurance is appropriate for investment property; negotiating for the best rates and renter's insurance

Insurance-worker's compensation - 1 hour
When, why, and for whom to carry worker's compensation insurance

Insurance-liability - 1 hour
Including why and how much

Marketing - 2 hours
How to market properties for sale and for rent; how to market buying services

Ethics - 2 hours
Including enacting and actual use of, national, state, local and personal buisiness ethics statements, policies and practices.

Electives - 18 hours
The remaining 18 hours may include education in any or all of the above topics, as selected by the OPHP candidate.

This is a program that is released in Ohio as a response to the various investors who have taken advantage of homeowners in distress. This course is designed not only to instruct people on the HOW TO STEPS of becoming an real estate entrepreneur but it also gives you legal, taxes, and other supporting information on how to comply with the law. Yes it is in Ohio however consider how many people are flying to LV, Cali, or even NYC to take a real estate guru's course that costs 5x as much and more?

Lastly we have knowledge that you learn through books, CDs, and life experience. There are many books out there so I use AMAZON ( to shift through them. Home study courses I search through websites like which does a peer to peer review on various courses that I can purchase from the vendor / guru or on ebay ( The life experience comes from possibly becoming a realtor, appraiser, loan officer, contractor, etc... as it affords real life practice and experience into a transaction to know how real estate transactions are performed in real life.

If you found this of value, please post your comment and experience. Thanks!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Learning to Rehab ... THE RIGHT WAY !

This past weekend went to the REHABBING RIGHT bootcamp offered in Cincinnati Ohio by Vena Jones Cox ( and Jerry Fink ( who at this time of writing is the President of the Cincinnati REIA. It was a 2 day bootcamp however it was tough to cover in depth and do justice the whole field of rehab.

Day 1 - drove around to look at 3 properties and also the Home Depot to see how to look for various items

Day 2 - went through various topics including - how to find a deal, what is a deal and the various MAO (maximum allowable offers) on each exit strategy, how to make an offer and fund the deal, making up a statement of work, finding a contractor, managing a contractor, paperwork required to make sure you limit liability, preparing the property for sale or rental, finding renters or buyers, etc..., making it a business, diagnosing the health of the business, how to use his purchasing software to buy items from Home Depot and other vendors

Overall Jerry did a good job and getting the material going through and offering best tips. I have various projects going on that I want to use this system. For the price given it is a nice package.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Congrats to Runner Up JAMES SUN on his place in Apprentice 6

James Sun is the runner up to Stefani Schaeffer from season 6 the Apprentice. It was amazing throughout the whole finale that James was the heads on favorite due to his strong performance as Project Manager of Arrow Corporation throughout the 14 week reality tv interview process. The winner gets to be an apprentice of real estate mogul Donald Trump with a paid salary of $250K. Throughout the whole interview process, James was top notch in his sales ability, leadership, energy, and focus. You can view the whole interview process at:

What was baffling was the finale in which Stefani Schaeffer, a 32 yr old defense attorney, won the Apprentice even though she never was the project manager. Trump fires James with the enigmatic words:

"I didn't like some of the dialogue……you know what I mean."

It was baffling to me as a viewer as it seemed that James was fit in the mold of previous apprentice winners - entrepreneurial, high energy, intelligent, aggressive, risk taker, etc.. among other things.

With that Stephani Schaeffer became the winner for this season's Apprentice. She is deserving however throughout the whole interview process she didn't risk or even put herself on the hot seat like the others in the Project Manager position. However she did contribute greatly to the success of her teams.

To James - BRAVO for representing the asian american community and much continued success at your business and personal endeavors!

Additional Links:

James Sun Blog on Zoodango:

Stephani Schaeffer's interview on

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

There are 3 Types of People in the World - Which one are YOU?

This is sent to me by a friend who is readying, firing, and aiming :) This was made for someone who is into bodybuilding.


1) The ones who say they're going to accomplish something yet they never even attempt it.

They talk the talk and never walk the walk. They spend their lives making excuses for their problems and never actually getting off of their asses to do something about it.

They will waste their years wishing but never having. They will resent and criticize those who succeed because they know that they will never succeed themselves.

They lack willpower and discipline. They are doomed to a life of mediocrity but will never accept responsibility for this.

2) The ones who say they're going to accomplish something, attempt it, and quit soon thereafter.

They talk the talk, begin to walk the walk, but fall down in exhaustion, never reaching their goals or enjoying the fruits of their labour on any kind of long term basis.

They lack patience. They lack perseverance. They too will never stand among the elite and will struggle time and time again but continually fall short.

They deserve some credit for their attempts at success, but simply do not possess the tools needed to follow through.

3) The ones who say they're going to accomplish something, form a blueprint for how they will get there, and then, quite simply, they get there.

They make firm decisions that contain no hints of "maybe" or "try". They understand that there are 2 possible outcomes in any decision: success or failure. They crave success, and they will do anything they have to do to achieve it.

When they make a decision to accomplish something, they already know that they will succeed. They don't question their ability to achieve a goal, they only question the time that it will take to get there.

They understand that within their minds lies all of the tools necessary to accomplish anything in the external world. They have faith in their talents and beliefs and truly feel that they can accomplish anything they want.

They make no excuses. They understand that they are in complete and total control of their destiny, and that every man and woman is responsible for their own lives.

They are ready and willing to battle through setbacks, physical and mental pain, discomfort and exhaustion. They know that anything worth having does not come easy, and that no man or woman ever achieved anything great without a struggle.

They are willing to struggle to be great.

They never fail in the long run. They only experience momentary setbacks and bumps in the road. When a setback or bump in the road presents itself, they form a plan for how they will get past it.

They don't stop, stare and question whether to quit or keep going. Quitting is not an option in their minds, and they thrive on the battle and understand that setbacks and mistakes serve no other purpose than to make their inevitable victory that much sweeter.

They see the big picture.

And when the smoke clears and dust settles, they stand among the elite. They soak up the satisfaction of their victories and look back on their accomplishments with a feeling of pride and fulfillment. They gain the respect and envy of others and know that they deserve it.

Which category do you fall under?

True success is only reserved for category 3.

It is an ongoing battle that does not lend itself to those who seek instant gratification. It will not be had by those who are unwilling to dedicate themselves to a goal and work hard to achieve it.

If you have any doubts about your ability to succeed, eliminate them.

Dissolve your questioning, your fears and your wondering.

Make firm decisions for what you want to achieve, create a map for how to get there, and then... quite simply, get there.

Only when your decisions contain questions of "when can I reach this goal" rather than "will I reach this goal" will you ever truly succeed both in bodybuilding and in life.

I can't make the decision for you, I can only teach you how to get there. Your choice comes from within, and not a single person in this world can make those choices but you.

Written by Sean Nalewanyj

Friday, March 09, 2007

Facing Foreclosure: Casey Serin's Story on Making Mistakes in the REI Game

Here is a story I caught on

Casey Serin: I'm a 24 yr old "would-be real estate mogul" from Sacramento CA. After going to a few seminars I bought 8 houses in 8 months in 4 states with no money down looking to fix 'n flip. I made some mistakes and am now millions in debt, trying to avoid foreclosure, sell quickly, repay everyone, and share my lessons to help others in trouble.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Happy New Year 2007! - Starting a new leaf

Yes it is now February and many things have been happening from the New Year to now. For the most part I have made quite a few new initiatives like most people which include:

* new body - losing 20 lbs this year
* new mind - working on being a better entrepreneur
* new spirit - having a happier attitude and focusing more on the good in life

among other things...

One of the main things that seems evident however something I am learning is letting go of old habits in order to make way for the new. It seems so easy to fall back on old comfortable habits and forging way into new ones does takes time and energy and focus.

I have a list of over 40 goals that I want to achieve and realize before I pass away. Alot of these are not outrageous however instead in order to create them it does take risk, smarts, and work. Ah the dreaded "W-O-R-K" word! It is something that I am also learning that it is not bad however it is the vehicle to success in life. Doesn't it seem natural to want to do nothing and get something in life? I know for myself I am spoiled by my family who seem to do things the "hard" way and share in the spoils of it while I work at things and don't like to "work hard". I realize that while work seems mundane it is only a perception. These days I am looking to change my ideas of work in order to achieve some of the things that I am envisioning for myself such as the new BODY, new MIND, and new SPIRIT.

So this is what I am doing this year:
* reading and repeating my personal affirmations to ready my spirit
* centering myself with support aides such as visual collages
* work a plan to go from 10 minutes daily to studying more on any topics I have
* make minor changes and repeating them for at least 30 days to create new positive habits

By the end of the year, I have more successes to share in my life!