EmpowerMinder for July 2014

Brave New Generation Gap World
by July Ono

July Ono along with her husband Steve Cain own and manage over $40 million real estate portfolio and are the founders of On The Beach Education® Corporation, an ongoing coaching and mentoring program designed to take the fear out of real estate investing. Between 2006 and 2008, their mentees purchased over $38 million in investment properties, making July’s program, The Power of Real Estate, a foundation for achieving financial independence sooner rather than later.

There is a huge generational gap in the workplace today that has never existed before. Four generations are working side by side. According to Jason Ryan Dorsey, author of Y-Size Your Business:

The Traditionalists (or Matures) are born before 1946.
Baby Boomers are born between 1946 and 1964.
Generation X (Gen-X) are born between 1965 and 1976.
Gen-Y are born between 1977 and 1995.

Each generation have their preferred way of communicating and with the advent of Gen-Y into the work force in increasing numbers, this is impacting businesses all over the world. Some for the better. Most for the worse. You need to address these issues now before serious disruptions occur and is applicable to owners, property managers, staff, tenants and suppliers.

Have you noticed a trend where the older generations are experiencing frustration with the Gen-Y generation? Gen-Y prefer texting, tweeting and Facebooking as their top three primary modes of communication versus talking on the phone. Notice that e-mail was not on the top three list? That’s because if you e-mail Gen-Y, they only read the subject line.

So if you’re a Baby Boomer and wondering why they never listen to you, it’s because they literally can’t hear you. Gen-Y is so technology dependent. They grew up with electronics. They listen to their devices. A better way to get your message across is to experiment with texting and check the result.

A friend of mine has a teenage son. She has been experiencing some challenges with getting him to clean up his room. Her primary mode of communication is verbal so she asks, tells then yells at her son to clean his room. After each iteration, the volume goes up and there is still no response. What to do? She experimented, took out her phone and texted “Go upstairs, clean your room”, even though her son was in the next room and is apparently hearing challenged. A few seconds later, to her shock and awe, she heard footsteps going upstairs and he started cleaning up his room.

When face-to-face meetings are essential, the fastest and easiest way to get buy-in, co-operation and comprehension is face-to-screen communication. Sounds strange but this is the life that Gen-Y has been brought up on. They’ve been brought up with television as pacifiers and play interactive games on computer screens. Make your meetings relevant to Gen-Y and incorporate text, tweet or Facebook bullet points to make your point. Even better if you have individual presentations on iPads versus a white paper or flip chart. Gen-Y needs that interactive component or they simply aren’t engaged.

Gen-Y is the fastest growing market segment in the world. When Gen-Y enter the work force, they often start off in front line positions where they interact the most with your clients. It’s a brave new world with a new generation of unique challenges. There is no company that has figured out how to best utilize Gen-Y yet but the writing is on the wall and it spells O-P-P-O-R-T-U-N-I-T-Y.

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July News in June 2014

It’s the little things in life that make it rewarding. Take for instance playing the Cineplex Connect online game at www.peelandpop.com. Similar to Lumosity, popcorn kernels fall and the more you pop, the more points and prizes you can win. I won 9 Golden Kernels and a free hot dog on my first crack and that was without a mouse. Thanks go to Irene Dong for convincing me to sign up for a SCENE card 4 years ago. Earn a free movie for every 1000 points.

It was a fantastic evening sharing the 7 Profit Centers and fielding questions from how to optimize the $750,000 small business capital gains exemption to corporate structure to tax ramifications to active versus passive business status to buying real estate with none of your money, enhanced with colourful stories of my property management exploits. Although 2 hours were scheduled, the event lasted 5 hours from 6:30pm to 11:30pm. I’m on the road again. And remember, these events are only advertised to my exclusive network of July News subscribers or Facebook friends. If you have friends who would like to stay connected, here is a direct link to subscribe to July News. They will receive an e-mail to double confirm.

Congratulations to Marion Baker for her 3-year journey writing a book “The Lime Green Plastic Covered Couch”, insight for women who struggle to find lasting love. We met in 2005 at the ProCoach quarterly and in 2011 she committed to writing it. Girls are programmed from an early age to believe there is a Prince Charming that will come riding up on a white horse one day and sweep her off her feet. Not. Marion’s easy-to-read book explains why you keep attracting the same guy into your life over and over again. When I figured this part out (and it took years) I finally found the lasting love of my life, Steve, at age 39. Her book available on Amazon at: http://bit.ly/LimeGreenPlasticCoveredCouch


Did you know that the government passed a law that will allow them to confiscate money out of your bank account in the event of an economic collapse in order to protect systemic banking systems, just like they do in Cyprus or Argentina. Another reason to invest in real estate, gold or silver to protect your liquid assets from being pilfered and maintain ongoing cash flow. Instead of a bail-out, they’re calling it a bail-in regime. http://bit.ly/Bail-Ins

It’s been a 5-year long recovery and settlement process after being T-boned at the intersection of Fraser Hwy & 200 Street. My Jeep took the brunt of the impact in the side panel between the doors, sparing me the worst of the damage. A 20-day trial was scheduled for June. We finally settled with 4 days left before the trial. And in celebration, picked up my fully loaded 2014 gold Jeep Grand Cherokee in Kirkland.


We picked up this 7×16 trailer in Olympia that Steve found on sale to haul up 7 sets of washers and dryers from Coinamatic to Fort St. John. The delivery charge was $1,500 so we decided to haul it up ourselves, buy a trailer and sell it instead of renting a U-Haul. Back up plan is to use the trailer as temporary storage.


Fire inspection. The fire department came by and inspected safety protocols. Door latches weren’t fully closing due to tampering by tenants and building shifting. The big surprise was that the air freshener has to be stored in a locked cabinet because it is explosive or combustible. It can’t be kept on an open shelf. Storage of supplies gets less than organized and not allowed to clutter up areas near the furnace or electrical meters. These were all addressed within a day of being notified. We are waiting for BC Fire Safe to schedule the mandatory annual inspections.

Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there. – Will Rogers


July News in May 2014

I am a Netflix subscriber and recently found this Bloomberg Game Changer documentary on Don Johnson, who is the perfect Black Jack player. No, he is not the Don Johnson of Miami Vice. He is so proficient that he is banned from playing in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. He has the ability to shift the odds in his favour. I finally understood how he leverages his strategy and decided to test it out. In order to win, you must take advantage of splitting pairs and double-downs or else the house has the advantage. In some casinos, they allow splitting any card with a face value of ten. This gives the player even better odds. Without the ability to leverage, the house always wins. Not that I am advocating gambling. I am an advocate of leverage and real estate investing gives you the ultimate ‘house’ advantage on your money.

I’m celebrating my return to Vancouver and hosting a free evening group mentoring session. Bring your real estate questions, past deals and current deals for analysis or critique. I look forward to re-connecting with my real estate network after five years of extensive travel and building a property management company from scratch.
Date: Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Venue: 203 Business Centre at 5794 – 203 Street, Langley, BC

I was sharing T-F-A-R with an electrical engineer who sat beside me on the flight from Thunder Bay to Winnipeg. These 4 letters represent the process to manifest the invisible into the visible. Thoughts + Feelings + Action = Results. The moment Steve and I made the commitment to buy commercial real estate now, the door of opportunity opened. In the first week, three light industrial deals came our way. It is early stages and offers are yet to be placed. The amazing thing about TFAR is how fast things can happen when you invoke it. So be prepared to act on these opportunities when they come your way.

Purpose-built apartments and student housing is trending as the price of buying existing buildings is now approaching the cost of building brand new. Also, the existing stock is getting older and factoring in the additional costs incurred in deferred maintenance is all pointing towards purpose-built rentals. The hot topic is the demand for amenities and understanding that the needs of millennials is about lifestyle rather than ownership. This annual event is hosted by Rock Advisors (www.rockaptadvisors.ca). I also recommend subscribing to their real estate news exchange at www.RENX.ca.

The apartment symposium is followed by the Landlord Webcon event, resources for property management. Last year we were introduced to TenantPay, an online bill payment service. We have gone cashless with the implementation of TenantPay. This year we met Zipsure, an online tenant insurance business. Last year, Steve won a Kindle Fire in the exhibitor draw. This year, Steve won two prizes: a $200 American Express gift card courtesy of RentMoola and a $270 Michael Kors watch from Perkopolis. Join their mailing list at www.Landlordwebcon.ca, one of the best property management events in Canada. As an added bonus, hot breakfast and lunch is served onsite and included in your registration.


On the left is Randi Zuckerberg formerly with Facebook (no relation to Mark Zuckerberg). On the right is Chris Adamkowski with Google Canada. Both were keynote speakers at Landlord Webcon sharing tips and highlights of their marketing expertise.

Chris shared the story of an entrepreneurial dad who had purchased a container of disposable razors from China. He enlisted the aid of his son’s friend who did online marketing. The result was this video www.DollarShaveClub.com that went viral. It may seem like a farce at first but this is a legitimate business. They sold out in 48 hours after this video was posted on YouTube. The father secured $10 million in funding from venture capitalists to continue the business model. When that sold out, they secured a further $12 million in funding. To me, it appears that the secret sauce to online marketing is authenticity with humour.


Social Media. The one topic being touted as the most important marketing strategy was social media. Landlords used to spend costly advertisements on radio, newspaper and magazines to find potential renters. These mediums have been replaced with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr. Whether you know it or not, your renters are sharing their experience with their networks. Put out a Google Alert on key words and be notified whenever anyone is talking about you and get in on the conversation.

July News in April 2014

Steve and I spent five weeks apart; the longest separation since we met. He was working with the team in Fort St. John while I was with the team in Thunder Bay. Steve loves shopping and he found this van at the City of Vancouver Central Stores. They sell off their used vehicles at great prices. He picked this van up for $3,500 then drove it from Vancouver to Thunder Bay with my mom. They stopped by Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. I’m told that it is simply spectacular. Can you name the 4 Presidents carved on the mountain top?

intro1intro2Getting the van was on Steve’s wish list for 5 years, to help the maintenance crew be more efficient and organized instead of wasting time driving back and forth looking for missing items, and the price was right.


The beauty of real estate is that banks allow you to put down a fraction of the full amount as a down payment and the rest is loaned from the bank. Up until the 1930’s, mortgages didn’t exist in the United States and it wasn’t until the 1950’s that banks in Canada started giving out mortgages and only when insured by the newly formed CMHC. You control the asset and enjoy 100% of the appreciation and equity. This is the first stage of leverage. The next goal is to work towards infinite ROI (return on investment). We like real estate to be a long-term hold so that in 10 years you can refinance the building, take your original equity out, have zero money invested, yet still own the property and continue receiving monthly income distributions. Once you have reached the point of zero money invested in an asset, you have achieved the ultimate goal of leverage: infinite ROI. Here is a link to Robert Kiyosaki explaining the concept of infinite return on investment.

Thanks to my blog, the scammer Jose Cruz has been located – again. This time he is being evicted from an upscale Yaletown rental. The Sheriff’s office has been notified of his location and I look forward to receiving a report that he is in jail. He’ll get free rent there.

July is back in town and hosting a free evening group mentoring session. Bring your real estate questions, past deals and current deals for analysis or critique. I am looking forward to re-connecting with my real estate network after five years of extensive travel. Venue at 203 Business Centre, 5794 – 203 Street, Langley, BC, starts at 7:00 p.m.


Amenities. Create a wifi hot zone in your building. Retailers such as McDonalds, Starbucks, Tim Hortons, chiropractor offices, business centers are attracting clients by creating a desirable customer experience by providing free wifi. Apartment owners can now follow suit and provide their tenants with internet service for free. How? Become a Shaw GoWifi Hot Spot. Installation is free with over 30,000 hot spots across Canada. Access to the Shaw network is included with all Shaw internet plans. There’s a free app to help you find hot spots. My MacBook Pro automatically finds a Shaw network whenever we’re looking for a hot spot on-the-go. It’s another great marketing tool to promote your business. https://www.shaw.ca/wifi/hotspots/

Setting goals is the first step into turning the invisible into the visible . – Tony Robbins
July Ono


I’m celebrating my return to Vancouver and hosting a free evening group mentoring session. Bring your real estate questions, past deals and current deals for analysis or critique. I look forward to re-connecting with my real estate network after five years of extensive travel and building a property management company from scratch.

Date: Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Time: 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Venue: 203 Business Centre at 5794 – 203 Street, Langley, BC

This event is open to the public and there is no pre-registration required.

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July News In March 2014

SPRING time is tax preparation time. April 30th will be here before you know it. I have created the habit of scanning receipts throughout the year and putting them into a tax folder so you don’t end up running around looking for stray pieces of paper, and PDF copies are easy to e-mail to your accountant. Easy Peasy.


Steve met Mavis at a private banking conference in Los Angeles a few weeks ago. Here we are at the Cloud 9 Revolving Restaurant on Robson Street in Vancouver with breath-taking 360 degree views of the city and waterfront every 80 minutes. She had applied for and was accepted to attend the exclusive TED Talk in Whistler, BC from March 17-20. Only 500 people from around the world are accepted as attendees and she was one of the fortunate few. This was her second application. TED stands for Technology Education and Design. The speaking rules require the speakers to deliver their “ideas worth spreading” in less than18 minutes.

One of my favourite TED talks is given by Paul Stamets on 6 Ways Mushrooms Can Save The World. He was given a standing ovation at the end for his brilliant and witty delivery of an amazing and incredible subject matter. Did you know that mushrooms get their energy from radiation, not from the sun? Did you know that mushrooms are natural pest repellents? Mushrooms can save the planet. Amazing insights. http://www.ted.com/talks/paul_stamets_on_6_ways_mushrooms_can_save_the_world


Steve and I made an agreement in 2001 that we would live within our means and not incur bad debt. The author of Rich Dad Poor Dad and Cash Flow Quadrant is Robert Kiyosaki. He taught us that your house is a liability if you have a mortgage, and it’s an asset for the bank. Good debt puts money into your pocket. Bad debt takes money out of your pocket. This was a revolutionary idea for us. All this time, we assumed the house was an asset for us. Not so. We rented until 2004 because we didn’t want to create a huge mortgage payment. Then we purchased the house with cash and 48 hours later took 85% of the equity out. This Home Equity Line Of Credit was invested in an apartment building. There are many households that are sitting on lots of unused equity in their homes. A line of credit should be invested. Another good book on this topic is The Richest Man In Babylon. You can download a free copy online. We completed the purchase of a 4-bedroom 3-bath house while Steve was in Fort St. John and I was in Thunder Bay. It was on the market for a long time because the owner did not bother to clean up after the renters moved out. It is competing in a market with lots of brand new buildings and at 7 years old, still looks as good as new to us. We purchased it for $36,200 below the assessed value because the owner wanted a quick sale. We will have the house re-appraised after the upgrades then apply for another Line of Credit to invest in more property. There is no need to sell the first house because it’s earning money. It actually pays us to live in it as written in the free e-report How To Turn Your House Into A Money-Making Machine: legally morally ethically. If you’ve lost your copy, shoot me an e-mail with “free e-report” in the subject line and I’ll send you another one.


Concessions. When our office receives a complaint or compliment by phone, e-mail or letter, our standard operating procedure is to write up an Incident Report, and respond in kind within 48-72 hours where possible. When a tenant writes, it is a significant act. Therefore it requires respectful consideration. There are times where the nature of the complaint is such that it is challenging to resolve, such as second-hand smoke. Unless the source can be clearly identified, this is not an easy task for a landlord to enforce. An option is to offer a concession in the form of a Mutual Agreement To End Tenancy without penalty, or permit the tenant to vacate their premises with less than the required notification period, or offer to transfer them to another vacant apartment if available. In the case of second-hand smoke, most jurisdictions have adopted restrictions on smoking in public places. Distribute a No Smoking Policy memo to all tenants as proof that you have done your best to offer solutions. Then if your tenant still chooses to take you to a hearing for monetary compensation, you can prove to the adjudicator that you did your best to stop the issue and made a reasonable effort to provide a solution to the tenant. In both BC and Ontario, second-hand smoke has been identified as a breach of the covenant of reasonable enjoyment, and a smoker can be ordered to stop by the governing Landlord Tenant Board.

A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing. – George Bernard Shaw
July Ono

July News In February 2014

For my Valentine’s Day gift, Steve purchased a 2,650 square foot house, scheduled to close in 14 days at month end. Chris Veale is helping out with the renovations and we should be able to move into our new abode in 4 to 6 weeks. This house has been a rental for the past few years and is priced well below market. There were 16 Realtor cards on the kitchen counter and we were the only offer. There is nothing priced below $500,000 in the neighbourhood and the house has good bones. It’s amazing that people won’t look beyond the cosmetic deficiencies to save tens of thousands. It just needs a good cleaning, new coat of paint, new flooring, new countertops, replace the appliances and light fixtures. This house would be an easy flip but it’s home sweet home. I’d rather borrow the equity out to invest than sell.

If you’re a baseball fan, you know what this means. A batter will make a deliberate play to get tagged out in order for a team mate to make the run to home plate and score one for the team. This is a noble sacrificebecause even though a player is out, the team wins. It’s for the greater good. What sacrifices have you made lately to make another person’s life better, brighter, beautiful? Of time, talent, inconvenience, rescheduling, volunteering, taking one for the team because you can. Good investments also require sacrifice in order to stay healthy, viable and sustainable. Don’t think an asset can just sit in your portfolio gaining in value. Adding value takes time, effort and strategy. Success and wealth doesn’t just happen. It’s engineered, and sacrifice is just one part of the formula. T. Harv Eker said it best, “If you are willing to do only what’s easy, life will be hard. But if you are willing to do what’s hard, life will be easy.

Do you remember these words: save up for a rainy day. My parents drilled that into me from childhood because they lived through the war and its deprivations. Unfortunately, when your goal is to save up for a rainy day, that day when you need money in an emergency situation, then that’s exactly what you create. You create emergencies that require you to use up your rainy day fund. T. Harv Eker teaches you to create a Financial Freedom Account instead. This money is only used to invest in assets that feed you on an ongoing basis. So when that rainy day emergency happens along, you’ll have the money in hand because it has been invested to work for you, before-during-after the financial requirement. One of our intentions for our FFA was to save up money to buy (a) an investment property or (b) a primary residence that was closer to our office. After the purchase, the plan is to refinance and take out the equity in order to invest it in real estate. Remember that in Canada, the interest on your primary residence is not tax deductible. If you borrow money to invest, then you are allowed to deduct the interest payments as the cost of doing business. That’s why a Line of Credit should always be invested.

Mitigating risk from professional tenants. Yes, they exist and are the pariah of the residential rental market. These are people who know their way around the tenancy act and live rent-free until evicted by sheriff or bailiff. That’s why they are called “professional tenants” because their job is to find places where they can live rent free until the landlord finally catches up to them with the proper paperwork. To prevent this from happening in the first place, our application process includes running a credit check. This is the first deterrent in the filtering process. Upon approval, the applicant must then pay by cash, money order, certified cheque or TenantPay the First Month Rent and Security Deposit (in BC) or Last Month Rent Deposit (in Ontario). These professionals will intentionally bounce all cheques and this can take upwards of 20 days for the clearing house to notify you of insufficient funds.

Personal cheques are accepted from the 2nd month onwards. This is why your late notices must be served within the first 3 days of the month, whether the tenant has promised to pay or not. The date of delivery of these notices is very important because the landlord cannot initiate eviction proceedings until after the late notice has been delivered: 5 day cooling period in BC and 14 days in Ontario. That’s up to half a month where the tenant gets to live rent free before the landlord can even start the eviction process. By the time the Notice of Hearing arrives, it’s another 1 to 2 weeks and the hearing date is scheduled for next month. You can see how a professional tenant can easily live up to 3 months without paying rent. Guard yourself with an ironclad policy and procedure.

Your greatest asset is your earning ability. Your greatest resource is your time. – Brian Tracy.
July Ono

July News In January 2014

It’s the start of a new year with lots of snow in the forecast in Fort St. John and Thunder Bay. Both cities have experienced colder than usual temperatures, dipping to as low as -54C. Thunder Bay has been in a deep freeze averaging -28C with -41 wind chill. My down-filled parka is keeping me toasty except for my ski gloves and UGG boots in these temps. Fort St. John is yo-yo’ing between balmy to chilly. The recent 10C melted the roads into slushy icicles resulting in tow trucks having to getting towed.

My mentor T. Harv Eker polled an audience and asked how many in the room were night hawks and about half the room raised their hands. He asked how many people considered themselves an early bird and the other half raised their hands. Then he said these words: successful people aren’t early birds or night owls. They are do-whatever-it-takes kind of people. That struck a chord with me and this sage advice has benefited me and our investors profoundly. What kind of effort do you put out to get the results? I’ve worked until 2am, 3am and 4am, sometimes non-stop (not advisable unless you’re a freak like me) to get the job done. There are no excuses because the bottom line results are in direct proportion to the amount of effort that is put in. So what kind of person did you say you were?

The Yardi Voyager 7S program went live on January 1 in Fort St. John. It took 4 months of intensive work to customize and set up the system parameters. Now at the touch of a keyboard, tasks that used to take hours is completed in a few minutes. Information is in real time and the dashboard summarizes the key performance indicators at a glance. The OTBEC team is now working diligently on entering the Ontario portfolio into Yardi. This software program is allowing us to centralize a lot of the satellite duties so we now have a better internal control mechanism.

With the advent of snow and ice conditions, landlords must ensure that parking lots, common walkways and stairs are safety certified in a daily snow removal log. The date, time and location must be marked down with the initial or signature of the person who did the work. In case of a slip-and-fall incident, the first thing the insurance adjuster will ask to review is the snow log.

Adding value with amenities. Market rent is market rent because all things being equal, all apartments have square footage, fridge, stove, washer, dryer, utilities may be included or not. You can charge a premium for perks such as an in-sink or at-tank water filtration system, dishwasher, in-suite washer and dryer versus common area, ShawGo Wifi access (free install), video security system, furnished apartments with big screen tv and electric fireplace.
Here is an example of a newly renovated bachelor apartment in Fort St. John that has just been converted into a furnished unit. It rented even before being advertised. We are also looking at offering pick-up and return laundry service as another service. Take a look at your market and see what the local demand is. Become a solution to their problem.


Vision without action is daydream. Action without vision is nightmare. – Japanese Proverb.
July Ono

July News In December 2013

A sprinkle of stardust to wish you luck; A star alight to shower with love; May the joy of Christmas touch you anew; May all the hope be blessed on you; Merry Christmas! We are truly blessed to enjoy good health and to be surrounded by the abundance of your love and friendship. This time of year isn’t about stuff. In the busyness of our lives throughout the year, it is a time for us to reflect on the One Love that binds us all together. Let me count the blessings, all 5,077 of you. It is a privilege to have met and know each and every one of you. You have all enriched my life beyond measure. Gratefully yours.


In preparation for our Christmas on the road, we took a pre-Christmas get-away in Las Vegas. Here is a beautiful shot of a rainbow in the fountain mist during the finale.



How quickly the year has gone by. It’s time to review your 2013 goals and track how you did. This will then set the parameters for your 2014 goals. Rate how satisfied you are with these 8 areas in the Wheel of Life. A lot of professional coaches use this to find out how their clients rate their life. The interesting thing is that once you reach your milestone, everything reverts back to zero and we start all over again. How are you doing?




Our best wishes of the season from our family to yours: July, Joanna and Angela.


TenantPay is a convenient and secure electronic bill payment service for your renters. People want, need and demand the convenience of online payment services. Pay by computer, smart phone or in-person. Tenants don’t even need a bank account. They can pay a bill at any bank with cash as long as they have their TenantPay number. The days of writing cheques is over. This option is more cost effective than credit card providers that charge a percentage on the gross amount plus transaction fees and minimum monthly fees. The cost to thelandlord is a flat $1.05 per transaction. The money is transferred straight into your bank account. Contact Tom Lennox at tlennox@tenantpay.com for a consultation.

Vision without action is daydream. Action without vision is nightmare. – Japanese Proverb.
July Ono

July News In November 2013

t’s been non-stop activity ever since we set the intention to double our business over the next two years. The transition to the Yardi Voyager 7S software is well under way and will take several months to completely integrate. Seven months ago Steve made a verbal declaration that we’ll be building apartments within five years, and a couple weeks later, a project to build a 130-unit mid-rise appeared. The power of intention is just that: powerful. When an opportunity like that comes along, you definitely take a look especially with a reputable builder and developer with an impressive track record. We are proceeding with extreme care to ensure the final product, a purpose-built rental apartment, is investor-ready.

Darren Weeks invited me to speak at his annual conference and my topic was about your Unfair Advantage. In my experience, and from what you hear from a lot of other successful people, their unfair advantage has been adversity, and how they chose to respond to it. It’s not a glamorous topic. It’s downright painful when you think about it but adversity makes you stronger, more resilient, flexible, adaptable. When you encounter a problem, it challenges us to develop staying power, to be resourceful, to innovate, to create and (this is the tough part) we stay stuck there until we find a way out. Sometimes we can do it on our own but for big shifts that take us way out of our context, we need the help of others. Either a coach, counselor, mentor, advisor, these outsiders can see the tree in the forest so to speak. It’s not an easy thing to grow out of your box. Magic happens when you faith it. To help you stay positive, surround yourself with positive like-minded people, attend workshops that expand your context, learn a new hobby, support your inner soul with nurturing words. Every day the positive message from Joel Osteen helps put things into perspective. To get your daily spirit boost, Register at www.joelosteen.com

Whether you own real estate or a business, there is a strategy for taking the retained earnings out of a company through the Family Trust structure, in some instances, tax-free. Opco stands for Operating Company and Holdco stands for Holding Company. We enjoyed a lively 90-minute presentation by Faizal Valli of Facet Advisors (www.FacetAdvisors.com) at our monthly B.A.N.G. meeting.

This is CTV News Anchor, Tamara Taggart, one of the key note speakers at the Reinventingm Conference (m stands for mom) held at the Westin Bayshore. I consider myself a mom of sorts even though my three pregnancies didn’t make it to term. Tamara has three wonderful children and one of them is special needs with Down’s Syndrome. Tamara calls herself a modern mommy juggling work life and family. She shared that when opportunity knocks, you say yes even when you feel terrified or if you feel you aren’t ready. She has a blog at www.TamaraTaggart.com

A few hours later, Arlene Dickinson of Dragon’s Den, gave similar sage advice. There are opportunities bouncing all around you and the reason people don’t take action is due to fear. Her book “Persuasion” covers the mistakes, failures, adversity, and the wonderful lessons she learned that paved the way from poverty to CEO of one of Canada’s largest independently owned marketing firms, and one of the most sought after female entrepreneurs. How’d she do it? The art of persuasion.

Boiler maintenance: what to do when the experts are stumped? It’s a sad state of affairs when the professionals who installed and repaired the boiler system in one of our buildings could not figure out why the boiler kept shutting off every night, leaving our tenants with no hot water in the morning. This meant maintenance had to get up at 5:00 a.m. every morning to re-start it. This has been an ongoing issue for a year. Steve finally figured it out by himself. He was tracing the pipes to explain to the next boiler expert what the problem was when he noticed the “arrow” on one of the pumps was facing in the opposite direction to the “arrow” on the pipe. (See the red arrow stamped in to the cast iron, it lines up with the gold arrow stamped into the side of the pipe) Whoever made the last repair installed the pump in the reverse direction of the water flow. A la Homer Simpson: “Doh!”

The successful person has the habit of doing the things failures don’t like to do. – Thomas Edison
July Ono