In this episode, we take a trip down memory lane.

Topics discussed:

  • Buying a duplex (and why I did it)
  • Discovering the Power of Story (and how it changed my approach to investing)
  • Giving Up Too Soon (sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees)


Hello everyone, this is Cliff DuVernois. This is my journey to impact 1 million people. Welcome to episode five. I certainly hope that you guys are enjoying this beautiful weekend. I wanted to share a story with you, something I talked about the other day when I was mentioning about for my LinkedIn project, having the ability of small businesses to share their story with the right people. So what I want to do is I want to take a trip back in time to roughly about 2005 um, I read Robert Kiyosaki’s book probably about 2000 to 2003 and he got me super excited about being in real estate and buying real estate, right? And I spent like, you know, three years researching everything about it, telling everybody that would listen. Yeah, I’m going to be a real estate investor anyways. I never pulled the trigger and never made it.

So finally one day I got sick of it and I said, you know what? I’m going to do this. So I went out and I bought my first duplex. I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t have any clue how to manage tenants. Uh, the tenants that were there didn’t speak a lot of English. Uh, but you know, when I told them that I was going to have to raise the rent, they didn’t want to pay it. Uh, one of the, one of the guys in the back, um, one of them was like, want to be gang banger or something. My name it for him was a 40 ouncer cause every time I went over there he was drinking a 40 ouncer then you would want to fight me. There was all this stuff that was going on.

I was trying to renovate the property cause it was like the, like the worst one on the block and I wanted to make it the best house. So every single day there was like some kind of a new challenge that was going on at the same point in time, like my biggest cheering section, like my friends and my family were like emailing me and calling me. This was before text messaging, uh, at least before I was text messaging anyways. But there were all the time like, hey cliff, what’s going on today? What’s the new adventure that’s happening today? Right. You know, that 40 ounce or like, you know, try to get in a fight with you again. I mean it was, it was constant. Right? So what I would do is I would write this like generic email up and then I would just send it out to people cause I knew that they were going to ask.

So I’m just going to send this email out to them, you know, so that way they wouldn’t have to because literally I would spend like all day. Right. It’s like trying to keep people up to date. I didn’t, I was, I had a full time job and then when I’d get done with that full time job, I would, you know, roll over to, you know, the duplex and I was working on, on the, on it over there. So, uh, at the same point in time, you know, I’m really like stressed out and you know, and I was trying to like fight this battle like every single day. And somebody mentioned to me about blogging, they’re like, why don’t you share your, your stories on a blog? And I had no idea what a blog was. Never heard of a blog before. Uh, but I said, you know what, let me do some research.

And sure enough, there’s like these blogging platforms that were out there, the one that I was looking at the time was something called typepad. And it looked like it was pretty easy. You just sign up for an account, you pay like 10 bucks a month, you can publish as often as you want. Which for me at that time was like once a day. So, you know, but the thing was, is that I knew that I wasn’t a writer. I hadn’t really written anything in like years, you know? And when I would write something, it was just, you know, for myself, but I wasn’t a writer. I didn’t know anything about blog blogging or you know, if it would even work. But the more important thing is that, um, you know, it had to, had to be easy for my mom to use, you know, because my mom was like, every single day was like sending me an email saying, you know, cliff, let’s go in and clip what’s going on, you know, so I wanted to make sure that she could get on the Internet and that she could read the story as well.

Thank you Sherry. Love my enthusiasm too. So I uh, I said, you know what? I said I’m going to have to do this. Like I, I got the blog, I got it started cause I really did want to keep everybody up to date. I mean all of my friends, all of my family, they were like, you know, they were rooting for me this whole time, so I wanted to keep them in the loop. But also too, I thought this might be a cool way to document my journey of becoming a real estate investor. Like, what was the day to day stuff that I had to, you know, endure and you know, with a, with a tenant that wanted to beat me up every single time that I showed up over there, you know, and ask them, you know, where’s the rent? Cause I guess paying rent is a foreign concept to them.

Who knows? So anyways, my plan, start a blog, super simple. Let’s just get my story out there so people can read it. If they contact me, I’ll just send them to the blog. There you go. Uh, so anyways, the problem, the, I have to admit, my first posts were really bad and I am, I am a tough critic of my own work, to be perfectly honest with you. I really am. But back then, like I said, I hadn’t written anything and I was writing these posts and my, you know, my English, my grammar was really bad. I don’t know how I communicated anything, but for some reason people stuck with it. Uh, but also to these hecklers were finding me online. So they were all the time they were, they were, you know, oh you know, look at this, you know, this, this poor guy and his problems with his duplex and he’s, he’s complaining cause he’s gonna make all this money and all this other stuff.

You know? And it was like, it was really disheartening. But the thing is, what I didn’t get at the time, but the people who really mattered, those were the ones that I was really writing the stories for. You know, the, the people that, you know, like my said, my friends and my family. But also because I was publishing day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. What happened was, is all these other people out there started to find my blog. So at one point in time when I was like tracking, trying to track statistics for it, I probably had about 150 people a day that were reading my blog. And if I didn’t publish a story cause I was published on like every morning at like seven o’clock and if I did not get a story out by like seven Oh five, I would get like 10 20, 30 emails from people saying, hey cliff, are you okay?

Did 40 ouncer put a cap in your ass, you know, and all these other things in, you know, I was like, you know, dude, just give me a minute. You know, I overslept or I’m hung over or you know, I passed out because of paint fumes, who knows? You know, so, um, but anyways, it was really nice that I had all these people that were like, it was like a built in audience and they really cared about what I was doing on a day to day basis. And I never thought about monetizing it. It was never my plan to like try to put Google ad words on there and generate all this revenue and, you know, live large off that money. But at the same point in time, like when I talked about the other day when I wrote a book, I was like, you know, this blog would be the perfect platform for it because I had a lot of people on there who were either in real estate investing or thinking about being in real estate investing. So if I put my book out there, that’s kind of like I got a built in audience, right? So I said to myself, you know what, let’s just do this. So you know, as I shared the story the other day, I wrote the book and I put it on the website. I tell everybody in blog posts that I was working on it. People are super excited. They’re like, yeah, you can’t wait for the book. And so I published the book and I got it out there and I sold four copies.

And that was a letdown. And I didn’t have any expectation that this was going to become a New York Times bestseller, not by any stretch of the imagination, but I only sold four copies of the book. And I actually considered that to be a failure, right? I was like, great, I did all this work. Once again, something failed, but what I didn’t realize in hindsight and to me, I’d have to go back and slap 2005 cliff and say, you are a frigging moron. I had 150 people that were tuning in every single day on my website and out of those hundred and 50 people, four bought my book. So what if I had a thousand people? How many copies of my book would I’ve sold then? Right? What if I had 10,000 people? Right? Could I sold 400 copies of my book? The thing is is that your message isn’t going to raise in eight with everybody, but you need to get your message out in front of other people.

That’s why I’m such a huge advocate for the one to many form of communication. And if you think about it on social media, this is something that we do like every single day. Like every, every time that I go on on social media, people are posting about things that their kids are doing or I’ve got a doctor’s appointment or anything else and everybody always practices this one community communication so that way they don’t have to tell the entire world through all these text messages or emails what’s going on. And it’s the same thing with business. People don’t do that for the business. They don’t make that, that leap and say, Hey, you know what? I need to practice one, the mini communication for my business as I do in my personal life. And that’s why through, you know, by linkedin project, it’s a matter of finding the right people to get your message, to get your story out in front of so that way you can resonate and build that connection with them and be able to grow your business. Anyways, I just wanted to share that story with you. Thank you once again for paying attention for all of you that have joined today. I really do appreciate that. I will be back tomorrow with another story. Enjoy the rest of your day.