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Comfort: The Enemy of Financial Freedom

“Are you renting out your rooms?”

When I first met my real estate mentor, that is the question he posed to me.

Prior to posing that question, he listened as I explained that I’d I recently purchased my first home—a four bedroom, two bathroom property—and how I was living alone.

He saw cash flow, I saw comfort.

I replied, “No, I just want to enjoy my privacy and space.”  As a result of my mindset, I was on track to lead a very typical life, completely unaware that better was within reach and I was conversing with the person who could help lead me there.  And he did, with 10 simple words I’ll never forget:

“You’re leaving money on the table. Rent out your rooms.” 

I agreed, despite the fact that I didn’t even know his name.

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Two days later I met “Mike the Mentor” at a gas station and went for a ride along around the city.

During this field trip of sorts, he pointed out the properties he owned.  Just imagine that for a moment—riding and hearing: “I own that one…and that one over there…and the one behind it”.  My eyes got wide.

Interestingly enough, however, it wasn’t his portfolio that impressed me, rather his willingness to share the process he used to reach financial freedom.

That is, to go from having to work to pay bills to generating enough income through real estate where working a day job became optional.

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In short, he started renting out the extra room in his house and saved that money until he could buy houses.

 Then saved the money from renting out houses to buy commercial buildings.  Yet, it all started with his willingness to do the uncomfortable—to sacrifice privacy and comfort and open his house to strangers.

Fast-forward to today and I am well along his path.

Having taken the once uncomfortable step of renting out rooms, I saved enough to buy houses.

The cash flow from my real estate dealings allowed me to walk away from my day job.

Now I spent my time traveling and teaching others how to escape employee incarceration—if they’re willing to step outside of their comfort zone.

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When reflecting on the day I met Mike, I often wonder how differently things would have turned out had I not been willing to step outside of my comfort zone.

Luckily, I don’t have to imagine.  I already know.

When I first saw Mike, he was talking to another guy about real estate.  Being within close proximity, I said, “It seems like some wisdom is being passed down. Do you two mind if I eavesdrop?”  They both said they didn’t mind.

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Minutes later, I ran into Mike in a hallway and that’s when I began to explain to him about having recently purchased my first home.

That’s where the paths of two people divided.  Choices were made and lives were changed.

Mike spoke to both me and his other friend about real estate that day.  I listened, the other guy didn’t.

As a result, I was able to achieve financial freedom.

As for the other guy, from my understanding, he is no closer to financial freedom today than he was the day I met Mike.

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To be clear, financial freedom always requires us to step outside of our comfort zone.

For that reason, comfort is the enemy of financial freedom. Indeed, one has to take steps they’ve not taken to reach a path [financial freedom] they’ve not treaded.

For me, those steps included trusting a guy whose name I didn’t know and renting out rooms in my house to people I didn’t know.  But what about you?

What uncomfortable steps are separating you from financial freedom?

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Written by Jeremy Johnson

Since securing his first business license when he was only 20 years old, J. Johnson continues to educate and empower others to successfully pursue their entrepreneurial endeavors. He currently heads Vetted Investments, a Georgia-based real estate investing firm.

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