I HAD NO INTENTION OF
BEINGASTANDUP COMEDIAN, I JUST WANTED TO BE BETTERAT PUBLIC SPEAKING, AND THAT DID HELPME.”
property. This realization, in combina- tion with other nudges in his life, set Fairless on a path to learn more about real estate investing. In his full-time job at the ad agen- cy, Fairless felt “unsettled,” as he described it, so he decided to start “sampling life experiences.” It was during this time that he attended Rich Dad Poor Dad seminars, which teach strategies to create cashflow outside of a day job and how to fund investments. He talked to other investors and kept notes on their advice. He taught a class on how to buy single-family homes, which led to a breakthrough moment: He sent information from his class to a family friend and a former boss. Both said to let them know if Fairless did “something larger than single-family homes.” “I had customers before I had a product,” he said.
Knowing he needed to capitalize on the business opportunity, Fair- less decided to focus on investing in apartment buildings. What he hadn’t yet decided was whether real estate investing, a side gig at the time, would remain a hobby or become his main focus. CAMEAND CONQUERED The stay-at-home orders of 2020 aren’t the first time Fairless has seen his work patterns disrupted. He was in New York when Hurricane Sandy hit in fall 2012, causing record storm surges in the Northeast and result- ing in an estimated $70.2 million in damages. The mechanical room was flooded at the ad agency, so he worked from home while it was being fixed. He liked working on his own terms and was ready to make the leap to becoming his own boss.
In November, shortly before Thanksgiving, Fairless emailed his family and informed them: “I came, I conquered, and now I don’t care at all” about his advertising career. He was ready to give his notice in January. The timeline was unexpectedly moved up: In December, Fairless was laid off after the agency lost a big client, which came with one month of severance pay. He had about $50,000 from a cash-out refinance, and it was go-time. Once again, he had to “make it happen.” ALOTOF LESSONS To get started on his new venture, Fairless went to meetups and net- working events, seeking introduc- tions. He reached out to authors of books about investing in apartment buildings, who also made introduc- tions for him.
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