My Journey to Success

by Krantcents · 47 comments

Post image for My Journey to Success

My journey to success started a long, long time ago in another place and time, I had my dream job at a great company.  I was twenty-six (26) years old earning a lot of money, great benefits and a great career.  I traveled first class, had a pension and profit sharing!  I had my choice of location and the company was expanding.  I bought my first house and welcomed my first child.  My mortgage was less than my annual earnings and no debt.  What could be wrong?

At twenty-six (26) years old, I had the world by the tail and nothing was going to stop me.  I came into a position where I could be a super star in less than a year.  I worked with the best of the best which made me better.  I was building an organization for change and training them for the future.  It was very rewarding professionally and monetarily.  There were at least ten (10) people who wanted my job!

I managed a department that supported a large international high technology organization.  I had exposure to every layer of management and every organization.  I could be rewarded or criticized for everything I did.  It sounds like an enviable situation.  I did my job so well, it was outsourced to headquarters.  I transferred to another division in a senior staff position to do long range planning,  budgeting and monthly performance analysis.  It prepared me for the rest of my career.  Maybe I was unhappy or bored, but I wanted out!  I decided to act on my plan for financial freedom! Maybe I was always an entrepreneur.

On the road to independence

Before I left the company (31 years old), I was on my road to independence.  I saved enough money to buy my first apartment building (9 units).  I found my passion! Although I continued my professional career as a Controller of a medium sized company, I was on my way to personal financial freedom.  Investing in income property is either for cash flow or capital gains.  I was profitable and increased rents when tenants moved out.  I was building assets and wanted to trade up to a bigger property.  After a year and a half, I traded my apartment building for a larger (24 units) one.

The buildings had their similarities; they were a mix of mostly 2 and 1 Bedroom apartments.  The tenants were working class people who moved after a year or two.  That meant the building had turnover.  It was an opportunity for me to raise the rents.  When I bought the building it was one third vacant.  This was an opportunity to fill the vacancies with better tenants.  I raised the rents and reduced the deposits to fill the vacancies quickly.  Tenants were screened for credit issues and I broke even very quickly.

I achieved my goal of filling the vacancies, but more importantly I raised the value of the property.  The value of income property is based on income.  I increased the value $50,000 in less than a year and cash flow roughly $7,500 annually.  After a few years, I refinanced the property to buy another property (10 townhouses).  The second property was a possible condo conversion.  It was a little more upscale.  It had 2 Bedrooms and 2 Bathrooms and underground parking.

Whew!  I am a mini real estate mogul! Not at all, I was building something for eventual financial freedom.  I was not looking for income, although they generated a positive cash flow.  I was already thinking big and wanted something that would sustain me for the future.  I was thinking of multiple divisions or was it multiple income streams.  My next thought was cash flow because banks treat real estate as illiquid.  I wanted to balance the income property with a cash business that would generate immediate income!


A friend told me about a restaurant chain that was expanding and looking for owner/operators.  They offered training and it was already generating income!  This was part of my plan to become financially independent before I turned forty (40) years old.  My past experience helped me control costs (food/labor), however I was learning marketing on the job.  It was pretty simple, offer specials to encourage traffic and try to keep them.  Advertise and promote the business in my area.

Restaurants rely on business people, so I made sure I was there during the day.  I loved the happy feeling of feeding people.  Food or the restaurant business is really entertainment.  Many of my employees were able to use their personalities to make our customers friends.  I came back at night, weekends and late night.  It was almost three (3) different restaurants depending on what time you were there.  Late night was the most fun!

I started delivery to the local businesses and a separate studio catering company.  Between my apartments and the business I never made so much money!  After seven (7) years, I realized I wanted out of the daily grind of a business.  You can never just relax in the restaurant business.  As soon as you think, your business is at a sustainable level, people change their habits.  I sold the business and returned to the corporate world.  A year later I sold the catering company to the manager.  Shortly after returning to the corporate world, I sold my income property (34 units & shopping center).


Reading this makes it sound simple!  Save some money, invest and reap the rewards.  There are far too many stories of ups and downs to relate here.  There were incidents of tenants who were evicted, tenants from hell, unscrupulous employees and managers.  I met actors, musicians, professional athletes and a lot of really nice people.  I made some money along the way and some really good times.  Was it worth it?  Absolutely!  What should you do?  Set goals and establish a plan to achieve them.  It takes tenacity and hard work, but you can do it.  What do you think?  My journey to success is not over, it continues with new goals!

Photo by: UggBoy/UggGirl

Please make sure to subscribe to our RSS feed to get the latest updates!


Bret @ Hope to prosper July 4, 2011 at 7:15 pm

This is quite an eclectic journey Krantcents.  I would love to leave the corporate grind and do something entrepreneurial.  But, there is a lot of peace and comfort in the steady corporate gig.  I am enjoying having one foot in each world for now.

krantcents July 4, 2011 at 7:26 pm

I won’t say it was easy, but I have no regrets! I did not want to be in my later years and I say I wish I had done that.

John Border July 6, 2011 at 5:48 am

This is really inspiring. I am planing to open a Salon & Spa here in India and I can tell you that opening a brick and mortar business is far too challenging than the online business. However as you said that it is about setting the goals and achieving them. I will that in mind . Thanks for the post and sharing your story.

krantcents July 6, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Whether it is brick and mortar or online, planning is everything. Write down your plan, review it and adjust as you go. Think about your outcome as you plan the project.Good luck

Barbara Friedberg July 4, 2011 at 8:09 pm

You nicely highlighted the requisite sacrifices, pros, and cons along the way to success. And, as you so aptly stated, it is never easy to excel. Very interesting and informative.

krantcents July 4, 2011 at 9:38 pm

Thanks. As they say, stayed tuned!

JT July 4, 2011 at 8:28 pm

Great article!  I noticed that you seem to have spent nearly a decade working in each area.  Would you say that the amount of time you spent growing in each contributed a lot to your success?  I mean, there are a lot of people who go back and forth between all kinds of employment opportunities in different opportunities, but few seem to pick one and stick with it for as long as you did.

krantcents July 4, 2011 at 9:45 pm

I wish I could say it was all planned, but opportunities either presented themselves or I found them. I think I made well thought out decisions, but you only know that through 20/20 hindsight. Since we are all the sum of our experiences, I think it gave me the background to handle teaching, blogging and the rest of my life.,

optionsdude July 5, 2011 at 12:43 am

It is kind of an interesting journey to say the least.  You have had quite a range of experiences which should give you plenty of wisdom.  Thanks for sharing.

krantcents July 5, 2011 at 12:53 am

Our experiences makes us who we are. I draw on it all the time.

Ashley @ Money Talks July 5, 2011 at 11:46 am

Great article.  I’m tired just reading it! haha.  It is a quick read but there is clearly a lot of hard work behind those stories. 

MoneyCone July 5, 2011 at 7:58 pm

Absolutely fascinating KC!  I have a friend who made some bold moves early on and lost more than he was willing to admit.  But he says the experience he gained was worth his losses.  He now knows what *not* to do in his new venture!  

krantcents July 5, 2011 at 10:21 pm

We hone our judgment through experiences. I draw on my experience in teaching, blogging and life in general. I think we learn more from our mistakes than our successes. July 5, 2011 at 8:17 pm

You’ve lived a really wide range of experiences, Krantcents! Looks like you’ve achieved some goals along the way with a number of real successes as well.

I’ve always thought tenacity was a big part of achieving many goals, it looks like you see it that way too.

krantcents July 5, 2011 at 10:24 pm

I often say I am the most determined person in the room. That one trait or characteristic has helped me succeed more than others. I still set goals and create plans, but when an obstacle comes up is when I really shine.

Jeff @ Sustainable Life Blog July 5, 2011 at 8:24 pm

That’s a great story KC – I am 26 like you were when you started and look forward to the days where I’ll be debt free and able to invest in that manner!

krantcents July 5, 2011 at 10:26 pm

Remember when I invested, I took on tremendous debt. My 24 units had a mortgage payment of $10K per month. You are trying to rid of consumer debt, but this was debt too. Learn from experience because investing in income property requires a lot of discipline.

krantcents July 5, 2011 at 10:17 pm

Thank you. I enjoyed living it as well as writing it.

Kris @ Everyday Tips July 5, 2011 at 11:12 pm

I really enjoyed this post.  I had so much debt at the age of 26, along with a baby and another on the way that I was not brave enough to do something like you did.  It is great that it really paid off for you, and it looks like you timed the market quite well.

It is a great thing when you can look back on life and be happy about the decisions you have made.  You have done a great job and are a wonderful example to your own kids and your students.  Keep teaching the world Krantcents!

krantcents July 5, 2011 at 11:37 pm

Thank you. As an old(er) person, I sometimes reflect on my life and I realize I was able to do all the things I ever wanted to do. It helps I have a wonderfult and cooperative wife! Although I am happy that our children are successful adults, I am happiest about our relationship.

Kris @ Everyday Tips July 6, 2011 at 2:54 am

I really liked reading your response.  With all the divorces out there and such, it is great to read about someone in such a happy marriage.

Congrats on all aspects of your life KC!

krantcents July 6, 2011 at 4:15 am

It may be the only part of my life that I would consider lucky. The lucky part was finding and keeping her! We literally complement each other.She is great where I am weak and conversely I am strong where she is weak. Next month it will be our 43rd anniversary!

The Single Saver July 6, 2011 at 2:14 pm

Wow, what a life you have lead.  I think you are my new hero!  You give me hope.  It is interesting that you have come full circle from Corporate America to self-made income back to Corporate America. 

krantcents July 6, 2011 at 5:50 pm

Full circle is an interesting statement. If you read my member post, you will notice I was an early “teacher” at four years old and here I am a teacher again! BTW, I have a lot more to live, enjoy and accomplish. It is not over!

Money Beagle July 6, 2011 at 2:19 pm

That is awesome.  Good work and thanks for sharing.  Haven’t seen you on my blog in a few days, hope to see you back soon :)

krantcents July 6, 2011 at 5:59 pm

I have been concentrating on writing last week, I hope you find it interesting.

Ken @ Spruce Up Your Finances July 7, 2011 at 1:56 am

it’s quite a journey that you have there and thank you for sharing your story. It’s nice to have rental properties because of the cash flow and capital gains but I just don’t think I can be a landlord. 

krantcents July 7, 2011 at 2:35 am

Not to sound too rah rah, but anyone can do anything they want to do! In fact, that may be a foot note for my life, I have done everything I wanted to do! You really do not know what you are capable of until you test your limits. BTW, I have reached mine yet. I still have a lot of things I want to accomplish.

Darwin's Money July 7, 2011 at 4:02 am

I’m working on my first real estate deal due to close in about 2 months; hope it takes me down the same path!

krantcents July 7, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Good luck! Real estate is particularly attractive now with the low prices and financing, but really analyze it.

Buck Inspire July 7, 2011 at 10:12 pm

Who is this Donald Trump???  Awesome stories KC!  That’s a pretty full life.  The exciting part is you seem just as passionate now as you were when you started!  Very inspirational.

krantcents July 7, 2011 at 11:43 pm

Interesting you mention him because I graduated high school with him. Yes, I knew him very well. My graduating class only had 89 students. Full life? It is nor over and I have a lot more to accomplish!

Andrew Hallam July 8, 2011 at 2:34 am

I love it!  What an inspirational story!!  Keep up the writing and the investing.  It would be so sweet to live off those revenues.

krantcents July 8, 2011 at 2:59 am

Thank you. I really enjoyed the independence of pursuing a dream! Now I have embarked on another journey writing and blogging. The journey goes on and on.

Jackie July 9, 2011 at 3:02 am

I love stories like this, especially because they aren’t just “stories” :)

krantcents July 9, 2011 at 3:22 am

It seems so long ago (26 years), but feels like yesterday. The journey was more fun than the actual work, however I would not trade anything for the experience.

Superfrugalette July 13, 2011 at 6:43 pm

I like the fact that you knew when to quit. Most people have no idea when to quit and they wind up ruining their financial situation because they could not accept that their initial choices were not working out.

krantcents July 14, 2011 at 3:02 am

My brain seems to work that way! I tend to think about the pros and cons of a decision and then go with it. I monitor and constantly adjust along the way.

Bank Aim September 17, 2011 at 8:17 pm

Awesome journey! Growing up I had always wanted to own an apartment complex. I’m an entrepreneur and love business. I love everything to do with investing and growing businesses. Its definitely hard work and I bet you had some discouraging times. Thanks for taking the time to share you story.. its motivation for me to continue working hard.

krantcents September 17, 2011 at 8:41 pm

I prefer to remember the good times, but any endeavor has both! If it were easy, everyone would be successful and rich.

retirebyforty December 21, 2011 at 9:06 pm

Wow, that is awesome! You have the drive and energy to achieve your goals. 

krantcents December 21, 2011 at 9:13 pm

I am driven particularly when I have a goal to focus on.

{ 5 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: