Chad Carson’s friends called him a “nerdjock.”
When former college football linebacker Chad Carson graduated from Clemson University, he decided to start a business. But he didn’t have any money.
He was a 235-pound athlete who attended college on a football scholarship. He graduated debt-free with $1,000 in savings from various odd jobs. He wanted to become an entrepreneur, and he knew he was starting from zero.
As Chad viewed it, starting from zero meant he had nothing to lose.
He started jogging around local neighborhoods near the university. Whenever he noticed a property in disrepair, he’d ask if it was for sale.
If he noticed a ‘For Sale by Owner’ sign in the yard, for example, he’d dial the number.
If he noticed a home with an overgrown lawn and no curtains in the windows, he’d leave a note on the door, or he’d knock on the neighbor’s doors to get the owner’s phone number.
By doing this, Chad started a real estate wholesaling business. He’d find off-market properties, enter into a sales contract with the owner, and then ‘flip’ the contract to an investor. He earned around $5,000 for each deal.
The benefit to a wholesaling business, Chad discovered, is that he could get a foothold inside the real estate industry without much access to capital. He was a recent college graduate without any official employment, so most banks weren’t interested in offering him loans. Wholesaling gave him a start in the industry.
But after awhile, he wanted to chase bigger deals. He and a business partner decided to start flipping houses themselves. They earned profits of around $20,000 to $30,000 for each deal.
While this was great, Chad wanted to transition into something that would provide a steady, stable income stream. He was running an active business; he wasn’t accumulating a portfolio of passive investments.
He and his business partner stopped flipping homes and began accumulating buy-and-hold rental properties. Today they have 90 units between the two of them.
A few years ago, Chad realized that the passive income from his investments made him financially independent. He and his wife decided to enjoy their newfound freedom by moving to Ecuador with their two children, ages 3 and 5.
They spent 17 months living in Ecuador, learning Spanish and enjoying a slower pace of life. They recently returned to the U.S. and are considering moving to either Spain or Germany — or maybe Colorado? — for their next adventure.
In today’s episode, Chad and I discuss real estate, financial independence, and international travel with children.