Success Stories By Dick Kazan - Valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life
Published on Tue June 21, 2005

     Is a lack of self-confidence holding you back? If you could believe in yourself, it could help you as profoundly as it did Fred Hsieh, who made his fortune in real estate.


     Hsieh (pronounced, “Shay”) came to the U.S. from Hong Kong at 18 in 1963 with just $200 to get a college education and a chance at the American Dream. At times, he didn’t know where his next meal or his tuition would come from but his self-confidence and his faith sustained him. By washing dishes and waiting tables, he paid for his education and earned his college degrees.


     In 1970, Hsieh got a job working for the city of Los Angeles and he and his wife lived nearby in a tiny $50 a month apartment. As he walked to work each day, he saw apartment buildings and he got an idea. Instead of paying rent, why not buy a four-unit apartment complex. They’d live in one unit and rent the others to tenants who’d pay off the mortgage and give the Hsiehs income.  


     It sounded great until he found a building to buy. Hsieh began to feel the fear of the unknown, a fear that stops so many people from taking action. After all, he had no experience in buying or managing buildings. If things went wrong, he and his wife could lose their building, their savings, their credit and even their self-esteem. To proceed would take courage. He looked within himself and he turned to prayer as well as he gathered the courage to act.


    He then reassured his pregnant wife. The Hsiehs bought the building with their savings and a loan they got from a credit union. They made mistakes in managing their building but by trial and error, they became skillful landlords and made money.


     From this simple start, a real estate empire was born. Now an experienced landlord, Hsieh used the profits from the first building to buy another building and as it became profitable, used those proceeds to buy another. Repeating this process and investing money he made from real estate commissions after getting his broker’s license, and using money he later made from other businesses, Hsieh eventually owned hundreds of units.    


     If you’d like to do as Hsieh did, save your money to make a down payment on a small building or on a house or condo. As a landlord, you’ll learn the business and find out if it’s something you enjoy. If so, you can buy more property. If not, you can sell your property and do something else.    


     In the next KazanToday: The “unlovable” woman who found the key to happiness.

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