The real estate investment business isn't working out and is eating my brother. At this point there isn't much we can do about it other than just shut as much as we can down and rebuild our reserves for a few months. The one thing that ate all of us alive was the last mailing campaign we did.
While in Florida at the real estate investment seminar they told us about a mailing campaign guaranteed to generate responses and leads. The gist of it was to hand-write a very simple "We want to buy your house" letter on yellow legal pad paper and mail it to people in an invitation size envelope. Well, we did that to several thousand people and more than 30% of them called back.
Most of the calls were "Who are you, how did you get my number, and is this legal?" but didn't want to sell their house, and the people that were actually interested in selling their house only wanted to sell "for the right price" (much more than it was worth, which is the opposite of what we can work with). We even had a few people call the police on us and had them (the police) visit us once. Out of all that we didn't get a single person interested in selling their house on terms we could deal with.
The real kicker of all that is it cost us a dollar a letter for each one we sent, and for each person that called us it cost another dollar a minute, and most calls were on for two or three minutes. We got a better response rate, of people actually interested in what we could do for them, from the official business letters that stated exactly who we were, how we got their address, and what we could do for them. Once we start mailing out letters again we'll be going back to that.
What this means is that the business phone will be ringing less (good for me) but since I'll be answering the phone less I'll only be making the back pay ($45 a week) and a little more than that (maybe $10 to $15 a week) now. While this is still better than nothing, it also means I'll need to be really strict with what I spend my money on. It also means that after the 10th of April, if we haven't restarted the ad campaigns and what-not, I won't really be getting anything from the business so things will be drying up again. On the other hand, by that time the grass should be growing again and will need mowed ($20 - $30 three times a month). Not that I particularly like that job.
Well, one thing at a time. I definitely won't be able to save up enough money for a decent laptop in three or four months at this rate, but considering how much I have to spend on this computer just to keep it running it would've been another month or two anyway, especially if I had gotten the queen size bed (which I probably will do now). Later I'll consider getting a Nintendo DS, probably after the new, lighter, version comes out in a few months.
I'm going to play some Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and then do some work on Imperial Kingdoms. After that I'm going to call it a night, put on a movie, and get some sleep.