I used to work in the finest and largest art gallery in the Pacific Northwest, located in Bellevue Washington, and during my years there, I ended up interviewing a lot of customers—just sitting down and coaxing their stories out of them.
From that experience, I decided that almost everyone has a fascinating story—if you are just willing to listen.
I was raised in Alaska and graduated high school early because there were so many high-paying jobs in the oil fields at that time—and they needed workers.
I was 19, and after joining the union and jumping through a few hoops, I finally got a job on The Slope—that huge flat plain north of the Brooks Range descending a couple hundred miles all the way to the Arctic Ocean.
The main focus that was hard to get out of my mind during that time was girls—so while waiting to get on the plane from Anchorage I asked an old veteran if there were many girls up on the North Slope. He replied gleefully, “You Betcha. There’s one behind every tree!”
Seemed like an odd answer at the time, until I got off the plane in Deadhorse a few miles from the Arctic Ocean on Alaska’s northernmost coast, and realized—there were no trees.
It was bleak, cold, and desolate. And there were no girls.
I worked construction seven days a week, if you could call them days as it was dark almost all the time. I worked 12 to 15 hours a day, in the middle of an arctic winter so cold it would freeze your eyelashes shut. And if that wasn’t enough, our crazy alcoholic bosses occasionally went off the deep end threatening to kill everyone on their crew.
Of course, management mostly turned a blind eye to that kind of behavior as it was deemed ‘understandable’ considering the conditions.
Plus, it was hard to get qualified workers, so firing anybody just turned into another problem.
So, there I was on a Cat Train—trailers pulled on skids by Caterpillar dozers over the ice to get to our campsite. It was so cold, I’d exit the shower trailer, run the 75 feet to my bunk trailer, and by the time I got inside, my hair would be frozen solid.
I’d pile all my gear on top of my covers at night in a desperate attempt to stay warm.
And there—in Petroleum Reserve 4—in the middle of December, I started to do some thinking.
This is the kind of place the Soviet Politburo would exile you to if they determined you were an enemy of the state—except we had better food and far better pay. (God Bless America!)
But it did have an effect just the same. I laid awake at night and dreamed of escape.
If this was working for a living, I had to figure something else out. I dreamed of having assets work for me, so I didn’t have to.
Once I finally made it home, I was incredibly motivated to find ways to make money outside of my labor—stocks, commodities, real estate—anything and everything.
I eventually moved to Seattle and got the job at the gallery. My manager there was a high-energy, motivated little spitfire named Laura and over time, we became very close friends. Close friends, that is, until she went out on a date with my buddy, Rick, and I found myself becoming inexplicably jealous.
When things didn’t work out between those two, I invited Laura over to help me test out my new massage table, and the next thing I knew we were happily married with a family on the way, and all I could do was think up ways to try to make more money on the side.
During my last two years at the gallery, I would work there all day and then work all night rehabbing some old shack I’d bought in an attempt to make a profit.
I’d never worked so hard to try and turn a buck in my life.
And then, in 1996, I stumbled across…options.
One of the real estate gurus I followed discovered options and started talking about them instead of real estate: how quickly you could make money, how you could bet just as easily either up or down, and how you never had to hit your thumb with a hammer again.
So, I gave it a try and something terrible happened…I made money on my first three trades.
When that happens, your mind does funny things. I thought my biggest problem in life was going to be trying to figure out the color of my new Mercedes.
But the world has a habit of getting you acquainted with reality, so after a wonderful mind-spinning string of winners,
I finally blew up my account.
Zip. Nada. Zero. Thank you for playing, please come again.
I repeated that process two more times, and you would think a person would learn a little sooner than that, but for some, it takes a while.
Then one day, I had a tremendous revelation. I finally figured out I’d been on the wrong side of options the entire time I’d been trading them.
That’s when I finally turned from being a buyer to a seller—and it’s made all the difference.
I got so immersed in options trading, that by 1997 I became an instructor, delivering live seminars in two cities per week all over the United States. And when the company I was working for started to falter, I started my own in 1999—the one you are looking at now.
Laura and I now live on a beautiful piece of land in Ashland, Oregon, where we raised three beautiful children. Our company office stands right on our property, which gives me the ability to stumble out to my computer in my pajamas at 6:30 am when the markets open—before any of the employees come into work, of course.
We’re here for one reason—to discover, test, and teach profitable investing ideas. But we’re really focused on one big idea—helping you develop a growing stream of passive cashflow—the kind that has nothing to do with trotting off to a job.
My personal goal—and the goal of everyone that works here—is to help you get to that tremendously liberating place where you have more passive income coming in than expenses going out.
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Ashland, OR. 97520
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