Real estate investing is both exciting and profitable. There are scores of success stories about ordinary people who become millionaires in short order. But there are many more people that simply cannot get beyond the dream of financial freedom. They become paralyzed by fears and lack of knowledge.
The Ottawa Real Estate Investors Organization (OREIO) is a non-profit organization with over 300 members dedicated to providing education, networking, and support to new and experienced Canadian real estate investors in the Ottawa and surrounding areas so that they can grow their real estate portfolios. The members consist of new and experienced landlords. The result is mind-blowing! Several members have began with one property and grown their portfolio to 40 or more units within few years.
But it wasn’t always like that!
The Founder of OREIO, John R. Walsh, knows what it’s like to be paralyzed by fear and lack of knowledge yet having the desire to invest in real estate. It wasn’t easy for John to acquire his first rental property in 2002.
John wanted to learn more and knew that it was easier to learn from others. He posted his interest online in an attempt to connect with other investors who could learn from each other and share ideas. Together John and the six people who responded had their first meeting at Denny’s. They talked and shared ideas. They met again in the next month but this time something was different. They brought their friends. With each month there were more new people. The most effective form of guerrilla marketing, word-of-mouth, was working. The message started to get around.
With more and more people showing up every month, John had to book the restaurant ahead of time. After few more months, John built OREIO’s first website and used a yahoo group to host an online presence. The group was growing nearing 40 regulars and had an email list of some 60 to70 people.
A budget was created and the decision was made to have the first OREIO “fee.” Membership continued growing together with the need to have a meeting place for the larger group. So they rented a hall in Christ Church in Bells Corners with a space to hold 100 people. The move was obviously ambitious. They needed a drawing card. So they invited an out-of-town speaker Brent Beagle, Real Estate Investor who showed folks what he did to become successful investor. This would be a first. They advertised it, and with the excitement generated by the group, ended up with 120 people packed into the church basement.
The rest is history. With the membership growing to 110, OREIO moved into a hall at the Nepean Sportsplex.
That was the mark John Walsh left OREIO when he stepped aside from the President’s role. The next president, Joanne Beehler, took on the ambitious goal of doubling the membership. First, she created a vision and mission for the organization to help provide focus to the executive team and to able to communicate to the members how industrious the entire volunteer executive team was working for them. Her business plan resulted in: