It took me several extra days to get this podcast done, largely because a couple months ago my summer took an unexpected turn: I found out about a house for sale on my street, at a really good price—and I LOVE my downtown Albuquerque neighborhood—and because my grandma had recently passed away (RIP Eunice :( ) and left me some money, I was in the fortunate position to be able to pull together a downpayment, and WHAM just like that my husband and I became owners of a second property and, as of August 1, landlords. So, in addition to rekindling my Self-Employed Happy Hour podcast this summer and attempting to blog regularly and promote my coaching business and continuing to build Pyragraph’s online store (and trying to have some fun with the kids and getting ready for our regular Midwest road trip, etc. etc.), I’ve been cleaning, learning about landlording, partially furnishing the house for the tenants, breathing through the anxiety of the unknown, and generally doing my best to go with the flow that I’ve come to learn is the norm in self-employed life.
The kids thought it was the best kind of crazy.
The truth is that as a self-employed person, I have to watch for and take advantage of opportunities. No one is going to do it for me. I’m pretty invested in writing and publishing, both in terms of my business author stuff and of course Pyragraph, and I do in fact love publishing and communications. But it is a tricky business—especially the online publishing part, which often feels like trying to crack some inscrutable code that is in flux as I’m trying to solve it. A successful business model for information products is increasingly elusive in a world drowning in free information.
So when this property opportunity came up I somehow managed to push past some early feelings and doubts (“What am I, nuts? I don’t know anything about property investing! What do I know about being a landlord? So much money is involved, what if I totally screw up?”) and opened myself up to the possibility that doing something completely new and unexpected might actually be a great fit with my other projects and areas of work. Investing in an income property actually seems like a good move for a self-employed person, right? I hadn’t really considered it before so it felt like a bit of a crazy idea.
My husband didn’t think I was crazy. My friends who I confide in about my possibly crazy ideas didn’t think I was crazy. I’m pretty sure my grandma wouldn’t think I was crazy. The kids thought it was the best kind of crazy. So we went and did it. So far, I’m super glad we did.
The last few weeks have been a flurry of getting documents to the bank, reviewing inspection reports, signing reams of documents, advertising the property and getting a lease finalized with the new tenants (yay!), calling contractors to trim the trees and kill wasp nests, and doing lots of scrubbing and hauling and doing other dirty work myself. Every day it strikes me how tangible this whole business is, in contrast to the abstract smoke and mirrors of digital publishing. So far I’m really enjoying the change of pace and the more straightforward nature of what I’m learning about property management. It’s super analog which is a nice antidote to the very digital world I’ve been immersed in for years now.
Now I’m on the road. After getting everything as done as possible with the house and a million other things (including recording podcast segments), last Friday I embarked with my two kids on our more-or-less annual Midwest Road Trip as we do most summers. Turtle will fly in tomorrow and we’ll all drive home together (hopefully with some county fairs and small town weirdness along the way). I’ve been chipping away at podcast editing in hotel rooms the last few nights, which is super typical of me on road trips. I do love that I CAN get work done wherever I am, but the down side is that it kind of sets me up so that I can’t help myself and I’m always doing work wherever I am. It’s a mixed bag.
So, I suppose this post is a long mea culpa and explanation for why I didn’t get my podcast done last week. I had two great interviews in the can—one with conceptual artist Jessamyn Lovell, and one with musician/Buddhist/marathoner/vegetarian/glitter aficionado/Star Trek expert/advice columnist Little Bobby Tucker—and I’m very happy to finally get them put together into another episode of Self-Employed Happy Hour.
Thanks for listening and reading—and as always I love your comments and shares!