Not everyone is going to be excited about your new idea. We all can come up with good ideas, maybe a better way of doing something, but the people around you will question your new idea, maybe criticize, or flat out tell you that can’t be done. Earlier in my career, I traveled about every other week for a management consultant job. At the time, my daughter was in the 4th grade, and I was criticized for taking this type of position. It was a struggle for all of us, but my husband was at home at the time, and it was an opportunity presented, that later would help propel me to where I am today.
The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. Many people’s livelihoods have been hurt by the pandemic. But some saw this as an opportune time to take their lives in a new direction.
As a part of this series called “How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Nancy Wallace-Laabs.
She is a licensed real estate broker in the state of Texas, bestselling author, featured speaker both locally and nationally on helping people learn how to take control of growing their wealth by investing with their self-directed IRA. During the pandemic, she realized people needed a way to overcome fear of financial loss, and developed an online course so people can learn how to take control of their financial futures and build their retirement savings through the acquisition of real estate or becoming a private money lender. She also founded a non-profit called Map of Hope, which sheds light on mental health issues that affect individuals in their personal and professional lives and a treatment that changed her family’s life.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
I grew up in the heart of Kansas. Our family had a bit of up and downs financially as I was growing up and suffered a severe financial loss when I was in my teens. I remember seeing how my parents struggled, the strain that it put on their marriage, and at that young age, I made the decision to not settle, get an education and be my own boss!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life? What impact will you make today, and whatever challenge you have today, will change tomorrow!
Do not let challenges hold you back. When I was in my early 30’s, I had several life changes happen in a short amount of time. My best friend committed suicide, my father passed away of cancer, my grandparents were killed by a drunk driver 3 months later, I got pregnant and one year later I was divorced after more than a decade of marriage. What I went through in a three-year period is considered some of the most emotional and traumatic life events — and literally when I recovered, I was not the same person as before. Now, when I look back, as sad as those events are, I feel blessed to have come out on the other side of sadness and still be an upbeat person who just had some setbacks that I was able to overcome, moved on so to speak and continues to build a successful and happy life.
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
The book that had the biggest impact — The Four Agreements. This book really resonates, because no matter what happens in your life, if you follow these amazingly simple “agreements” you will always be true to yourself and others. I think this helps people to deal with guilty feelings that can hold you back if dwell on negative things that happen in your life.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the Pandemic began?
Real Estate Investor — I bought distressed single-family properties, fixed them up and then “owner financed” to people who were unable to obtain traditional financing. I get a lot of questions about this, but basically, I am the bank for self-employed people who will not be able to qualify for a conventional home loan. They have money, good credit, but they do not meet the “banks” qualifications to obtain a mortgage. The pandemic didn’t really impact my ability to purchase distressed properties, as some people needed to sell due to the situation they were in — but what the pandemic really impacted were my buyers — they were reluctant to pay the down payment, uncertain about their job and income status, so we had to take a break in regards to our continued investing. We also didn’t know which way the county was going as far as even being able to get out and about to show houses, hire contractors and get permits and inspection from our city and county offices since their offices were shut down or back logged.
What did you do to pivot because of the Pandemic?
I had been giving presentations about how to invest with self-directed IRA for a couple of years, and each time I would have a handful of people call/email me about the presentation, how they could get started, how does it work, etc. During the pandemic with a lot of my networking events shut down, I was being asked to present regularly on investment strategies virtually, and the one thing that really resonated with people is that they could grow their Self Directed IRA tax deferred by either acquiring real estate OR becoming a private money lender. With the roller coaster ride of the stock market, job losses, business shutting down — people were looking for ways to “secure” their money, and come out at the end of the pandemic and not have lost all of their savings. Let’s face it, people were scared — the unemployment rate soared and at the time, no one knew really where this was taking us.
Can you tell us about the specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?
I was asked to do a “virtual” case study about why you should use your self-directed IRA to invest in real estate. While I was putting the presentation together, I actually went back and looked at all of the account holders I had worked with — my specialty is working with people who have less that 50,000 dollars in a self-directed IRA — I personally purchased a property during the pandemic with 100 dollars from my SEP IRA that will net me 46,000 dollars in a little over 12 months due to the way I structured the deal. My AHA moment — when I realized how simple it was to do this — and why no one was actually showing people how to invest not with ten of thousands, but literally you can grow your wealth on your terms, control when you pay taxes on the earned money and it just takes knowing what documents to put in place and having a self-directed IRA such as Roth, Traditional, Health Savings Account, Educational Account , SEP IRA or checkbook IRA.
How are things going with this new initiative?
It is awesome and well received! This one thing that I pivoted to has gotten me more speaking engagements, opened the door to another revenue stream I had not even entertained, and I am giving back by educating people about how they can take control of their retirement funds and not only create wealth, but give them the freedom by investing with their self-direct IRA — it is a perfect combination — it is time and money which equals freedom!
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
That would be my husband and daughter. They are my sounding board, support system and rarely hold me back when I get an idea I want to run with. I recently wrote a book titled: “Let Me Ask You This”. It is a running joke in our family that I ask a lot of questions — and my daughter is forever saying, mom you are asking too many questions. I am from the old school there are no dumb questions — and I don’t ever feel “stupid” for asking. Asking questions has gotten me where I am today, and although along the way I have annoyed many a friend and colleague, when I look back, I am glad I asked the questions, as sometimes you do have to keep asking until you find the answers you are looking for. My family supported me when I had to travel for a year for a great opportunity, and have continual support and love, even when I am annoying them with my latest set of questions! Or coming up with a new idea. My family supports me every step of the way, and for that I am grateful as it keeps me strong and motivated.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
Yes = so when I came up with the idea of this course, it didn’t take me long to put the format together as I had been speaking on if for a couple of years. One day I went into my husbands’ office in our home — and I said guess what I am taking these sticky notes and creating on online course of how to invest with your self-directed IRA — and that is exactly what we did. Once I had the course done, I sent it out to some trusted people who had been trying to implement this investing strategy. Not only were they ecstatic that I put this all in a step by step easy process, they were extremely grateful I gave them the tools to start taking control of their own finances, and one of them told me it gave them a sense of relief that I showed them a way to take control over their financial freedom during these uncertain times. I had something of value to sell at a reasonable price, and that assisted people with their overall financial goals at the same time.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Not everyone is going to be excited about your new idea. We all can come up with good ideas, maybe a better way of doing something, but the people around you will question your new idea, maybe criticize, or flat out tell you that can’t be done. Earlier in my career, I traveled about every other week for a management consultant job. At the time, my daughter was in the 4th grade, and I was criticized for taking this type of position. It was a struggle for all of us, but my husband was at home at the time, and it was an opportunity presented, that later would help propel me to where I am today.
- People want to be committed, but generally want you to show them the way. Most everyone you talk to wants to have financial freedom, wants to quit the day job, but they allow their fears or thought process to stop them in their tracks. I coach people in real estate investing, they all want to learn how to create their wealth but need a step by step process to help them get there. That is why we created the Profitable Landlord System — it is a step by step method to help people find, fund, and manage single family rentals.
- Fail early — no one likes to make mistakes, let alone admit they might have made a misstep that cost them time and money. Having a trusted mentor can help minimize a financial mistake but making mistakes in business is part of the growth process. For example, I have a particular type of property I purchase for my investment business, I have strayed from my criteria, only to find: I didn’t make enough money as projected, and it took longer to divest of the not so great investment. The thing is, making mistakes — you will make more mistakes in your business, but chances of repeating the same mistake is where we learn our growth.
- Don’t take things personally in business and do not be too quick to partner. I get excited about helping people achieve financial freedom and helping them in their investing career. In the past, I bring people on to a partnership status, only to feel let down later. Why? Because I didn’t take the time first to see what their end goal was, what was their interest, and maybe they just were not as dedicated to my idea as I was. I have had some wonderful partnerships, and some that needed to end sooner than later. The key is to make sure that all parties expectations are set up front.
- Put it in writing — Sounds simple and the way it always should be, but when we are working with people we like, and we start sharing ideas, and how we are going to move forward, this very simple process gets left out. A great example — a friend and I started a property management company organically, and it grew over a few years. As it grew, we always talked about writing up and agreement, but we never got around to it — my friend died unexpectedly, and we had a
“company” together but never formalized it in writing. In the end I had to walk away from this business venture.
So many of us have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?
I maintain my mental strategies by first, limiting the amount of “information” overload from news and social media channels. I limit about 60 minutes per day to multiple new sources, so I feel that I am garnering information about the current situation and not bombarded by one sources’ opinion on the current state of affairs. Exercise, eating right and staying rested also help to “calm” my stress. I also focus on giving back to my community. Right before the pandemic, we started a non-profit called Map of Hope; the focus and goal were to raise awareness of mental health issues that affect individuals and their families. This came about due to my husband’s diagnosis of chronic depression and our journey they led to his TMS Treatment, which helped him and our family immensely. As it turns out this was very timely as it was reported that people were experiencing higher levels of anxiety due to the pandemic.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
To provide affordable housing and diminish homelessness in our country. Affordable housing is in short supply in almost every major city in the US. I believe everyone needs a safe place to lay down their head at night, raise their family and build a strong community. Without affordable housing, children that grow up on the streets or shelter lack a fundamental state of wellbeing — thinking about where they will be tonight, how safe is it and what and when will they eat next.
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!
Angelina Jolie — she has had a great impact on the lives of many people and has used her fame for the good of others. Her public announcement of battling breast cancer gave hope to many women who faced the same and put a beautiful face on an ugly disease. I admire her humanitarian work, and her give back attitude to make the world a better place. At the end of the day, she will be remembered for her caring and giving nature, and I hope to aspire to that as well, and have an impact on as many people as she.
How can our readers follow you online?
FB — Profitable Landlord System
LinkedIn; Nancy Wallace-Laabs
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!