• Gerald Tay

Sharing –My Investment Journey (Part 4) The Hardest Obstacles

Updated: Feb 18, 2020

Continuation from Part 3,

Alex’s rejection was one those many rejections I’ve faced in my 2 decades of sales career. Nothing new.

Over the next few months, I worked hard to secure a group of interested investors. I was excited things seemed to be moving on to my expectations, but unfortunately I encountered more obstacles.

The first Obstacle

I had no office and had to run many conference sessions together with my US partners for the investors. I’ve thought about renting an office to hold these sessions.

However, the cost did not justify since it’s a co-partnership investment, and not a sale where one can earn sales commissions with other cash incentives to cover those expenses.

Therefore, in the earlier days, I had to run a couple of sessions even at my own home for the investors!

My good friend, YC Ng who’s a businessman, was kind to lend me his office as a premise for my later conference sessions. It was an industrial premise rather than a proper commercial office, but it served the purpose well.

As an expression of gratitude, I hereby express my sincere appreciation for my friend, YC Ng to everyone reading this article, for his graciousness in lending me his office space without any compensation to conduct my sessions.

The Second Obstacle

Being a completely unknown authority on real estate in the earlier days, as compared to the other known ‘experts’ in the market, convincing investors on the benefits on investing in depressed USA is one of those challenges I had to face.

To digress a little,

I detest to be called an ‘expert’, ‘guru’, ‘authority’, a ‘millionaire’ investor or whatever cheesy names some of these ‘gurus’ call themselves to market their ‘million-dollar’ money-making seminars to the mass public.

I’m just a professional investor who makes my career more successful than the average investor simply because of being forward-looking at sustainable investments, rather than making money out of running a seminar business.

I recently came across a good book, “How to get rich, stay rich and be happy” by Fred Young.

In the book, he says,

“If you are indeed rich and good taste is important to you then you should never tell anyone how much you are worth.

If you are rich and good taste is not important to you then you may want to tell all who will listen that you are rich. You may even want to supplement your income by making speeches and conducting seminars on “How to get rich, stay rich and be happy.”

Back to our story,

The earlier investors were concerned on a further depreciation of the US dollar and a depressed US economy. They had other investments to consider putting their money in. Some of the very popular investment destinations where the majority of the ‘herd’ is headed to are the Iskandar Malaysia, UK, China, and Australia.

Very few people believed in the potential recovery and growth of USA.

The Setback that changes everything

We almost sealed the deal.

However in early 2012, one investor dropped out, and the rest of the investors followed like dominos. None of them stayed on. (There were 8 other investors)

My US partners were extremely disappointed especially Adi, my other US partner. He was not only disappointed but was furious!

He had already engaged lawyers for the legal paper work and we were to commence on the closing of the deal. Not going through the deal meant we had to fork out our own money for expenses incurred including legal which amounted to US$20,000.

I was not angry with the investors who had dropped the deal, but had an initial deep feeling of failure and despair with myself instead.

I’ll be lying to you if I tell you I’m still laughing after all this. I’m a human after all. I had sleepless nights and spent weeks pouring over the entire episode.

So I was backed to square one – on my own again.

Life always go on even in the face of extinction.

So it’s back to the drawing board for me.

The ‘right’ question was to evaluate from the entire experience – What went wrong and how can I resolve it?

Wesley, my other US partner convinced me we could pull through another deal, as for any first attempts, the first time is always the most difficult and it gets easier for the rest of the journey.

We (Wesley & myself) had to find new investors.

And this time, I learnt some lessons.

Instead of giving up in the face of adversity, I challenged myself to succeed and decided to do something different to put matters in my own hands….

Key Learning for Part 4 – ‘Missing the Woods for the Trees’.

Successful investors are no different from successful entrepreneurs.

The misfits. The rebels. The trouble makers.

The round pegs in the square hole.

The ones who see things differently.

They are not found of rules and have no respect for status quo.

While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough that they think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Successful people reject popular thinking. They avoid going with the herd.

Too many people act like others, hoping that others have thought things through first.

To reject popular thinking you must be OK with feeling uncomfortable. Also remember that right now, there are a bunch of other people out there decided to think for themselves — and they’re the ones who are successful.

To think differently, do different things.

In investments, invest differently than what your brother-in-law or neighbour is investing in.

Invest in areas where others fear to thread.

Invest in assets where others fear to buy.

Invest in opportunities where others are ‘blind’ to it.

Invest in acquiring knowledge where others take things for granted.

Invest in knowledge and STOP using learning as a form of procrastination. Learn and DO at the same time!

Invest in learning to do certain things different where others simply follow everyone else.

Invest in resolving failures when others avoid failures.

Save more in good times, and only spend in bad times.

To be a successful, you need to see the woods and ignore the trees. This means being forward-looking.

Don’t be the frog in the well looking at the sky above and believe the world is just that space.

Learn to ignore daily noises and focus on the macro realities of the ground.

I’ve been successful with my investment career simply because I’m forward-looking, dare to do & think differently from other average investors:

I bought local properties during one of the worse property downturn of 2003 – 2006 where others were avoiding.

I value older resale properties as great investments where others rush for new spanky showroom launches.

I love value-adding my properties to enhance growth, where others buy retail.

I buy properties for FREE CASH FLOW, while average buyers speculate on capital gains and believe they can outsmart the market.

I invest in Geylang for the opportunities where others see it as ‘red-flag.’

I invest in depressed USA assets where others feel safer to invest with the crowd.

I buy when prices are low and avoid buying when it’s going up, where others are doing exactly the opposite.

I seek reliable foreign partners for my overseas investments where others rely on salespeople.

I invest in opportunities when everyone is ‘blind’ to it.

I read and understand a property financial statement to determine if it's a viable invetsment decision.

I reject conventional investment myths disguised as wisdom, where others believe them. (Example, property is always a good long-term investment which is utterly rubbish)

Follow up on my final instalment, The Beginning of a New Start in Part 5: Sharing – My Investment Journey.

Click here to read Part 1: Sharing –My Investment Journey.

Click here to read Part 2: Sharing –My Investment Journey.

Click here to read Part 3: Sharing - My Investment Journey

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