James' Share

The crazy James is back

The wake-up call

I haven’t written any article for 5 months. I found out that even with all the advice and motivational quotes I shared weekly, I was trapped in daily operations for my business. I was trapped in a way of speaking, because I have a big project to deliver to a very good client, which consumes most of my time. My motto is, if I work hard to win a client, I must make sure that client is exceptionally satisfied of my service, instead of offering him average service and losing him over the competitors. I need to delegate even more.

My other trap was that I had adopted a 9 to 6 lifestyle. In the morning, I used to bring my kids to day care and arrived at the office a bit before 9 a.m. Sometimes, a bit after 9 a.m. I would leave the office at 6 p.m., to cook and to have dinner with my family. Those were good times, and I enjoyed every bit of it. At the same time, I had adopted an average lifestyle. I was feeling in my comfort zone and enjoying the little success I got with my business. I was resting on my laurels.

By coincidence, I watched a video of Grant Cardone on YouTube, who talked about investing in real estate. I liked what he said, so I read his book “Be Obsessed or Be Average”. It was a good wake-up call. I had been a sleepwalker businessman, and Grant waked me up. Just like any profession, there are average people who do average work, and get an average paycheck. There are average engineers, average musicians, average lawyers, average doctors, average brokers, average actors, average accountants, and I was an average entrepreneur.

How could I be above average, if I adopted 9 to 6 working hours? All extraordinary and successful people work hard. I never heard of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Warren Buffet, and all great people on Earth, working from 9 to 6. If you hear someone who sales the idea of working less to be paid more, it’s probably that this person is trying to sell their books, or that it’s an average person trying to convince you to join their average club.

I forgot that when I started my business 10 years ago, I used to work day and night. With my sleep apnea issue, I sometimes felt asleep during my cold calling. When I would wake up, I would continue my calls. Many clients rejected my calls. I wasn’t good in sales, but I managed to overcome obstacles. In sales, there are 3 things you should never talk about with clients: politics, religion and weather.  I remember a client who said something like, “James, I am not here to talk about good or bad weather with you.”. I was a bad sales person, and it was lesson learned. I was working 12 hours a day. It wasn’t easy mentally nor physically, but I was so focused and committed to my business, that I ended up not feeling any pain at all. I managed to close my first deal in 2 months of cold calling. At that time, I was doing everything in my company from selling to billing. I was ready to mop the floor too, but I didn’t have to do that, because I rented an office that included this service. Ten years later, I ended up with 20 people in my company. As a slow learner, I tried to learn. When I delegated some tasks, I used to think I was a good businessman. Yeah, I can delegate like a great leader (even though my company is very small).

When my company started running quite smoothly, I was making good money. Then I began to accept routines and set myself into the comfort zone. I was happy with my results. Grant reminded me that someone who stays in the comfort zone will be punished. OK, I may like pains in business, but I don’t like to be punished. I need to transform. If I was able to work 12 hours per day in the past, I could do it again. My sense of survival had grown so strong. And as a father, there was no way I would put my children’s future at risk.


Work hard and invest your money

Thanks to Grant Cardone, my flame for investing in real estate is on, and this time, it will last forever. I read about real estate investing 10 years ago. I got my certification in real estate for commercial investing last year, and yet, I didn’t do anything about it. Like Robert Kiyosaki once said, “If you’ve learned and you didn’t do anything about it, it’s as if you hadn’t learned in the first place.” When I discovered Grant on YouTube, I followed his TV show since.

I took Robert Kiyosaki’s courses, so it’s a bit easier to follow Grant’s show, but it’s not mandatory at all, as Grant explains it very well. Don’t forget, I’m a slow learner. Real estate investing is not complicated. Still, there are people who try to mystify it. They act as it’s a well-guarded secret and very sophisticated. When you encounter those people, don’t pay too much attention to them. Their goal is to discourage you, so they have less competitors. They don’t care about your success. Follow Grant instead. Moreover, Grant is in the big league. He only invests from 15 million and over. So, from 1 to 15 million deals, you have a lot of room to play.

There is every color in real estate investments. You have to buy, fix and flip. You have to buy, rent and hold. You have lease options, commercial, multi-family, etc. I’m an entrepreneur, and my time is limited. If I had to invest my time in real estate, I would prefer investing in 16+ unit apartments, as Grant advices.

A lot of things you do come from your family’s tradition. My parents told me to own a house, so I could become an owner. They recommended me to pay a mortgage, so the house would belong to me in 25 years. For them, a house is an asset.  Well, despite their good intention, their approach is not efficient. When you buy a house, you don’t really own it. You merely own a mortgage. The bank is the true owner. If you don’t believe me, don’t pay the bank, and you’ll see. Moreover, who would live in the same house for 25 years? Not me! I want to have the freedom to relocate every 4-5 years if I want to. Mobility is important in my life. Currently, I own 3 houses and my monthly fees are not that cheap. I have to pay the mortgage, insurance, taxes, condo fees, maintenance, etc. It ends up being cheaper to rent than to buy.

I now rent my condo to generate income. As it is a one-door, I will lose 100% of my income when my tenant moves out.  With 16+ units, even if I lost 3 tenants, I would still have many left to generate monthly income. Also, the house where you live is not an asset. It’s an expense. An asset is something that brings money into your pocket. An expense is when money goes out of your pocket. When you live in a house that you own, the money goes out of your pocket every month. A house might be an asset for the bank, as it generates income for them, but not for you. If it’s a one-door, rent it, don’t buy it. If it has many doors, buy it and rent it.

Saving your money in your bank account is not efficient either. With the bank interest rate of around 1%, and an inflation over 2% per year, your money becomes worthless over time. The best way to add value to your money, is by making it work for you. I invest in real estate, because I care about my family, my children and their future. I don’t know about you, but whenever I think about my children and their future, I have a hard time sleeping if I know I’m putting their future in danger.

My goal is to get financial freedom with real estate investment that generates recurrent passive income. For me, financial freedom is when your passive income is higher than your expenses. Investing in real estate is a team sport. So, there are places for investors and partners. If you care about your family and your future, what are you waiting for? I told my wife I would sell my houses, so we could buy apartments instead. Knowledge has no value if you are merely a sport spectator. Let’s jump in, instead of staying on the hesitation edge eternally. Life is too short, and investing in real estate is one of the world’s wonders that exists.



When I started my company, Richard Branson was my inspirer, and he still is. I wanted to name it IT Unlock, to have a common name with Unlock. The idea was to create other companies with the name Unlock, like Unlock Money, Unlock RE, Unlock anything… Richard has Virgin Mobile, Virgin Galactic, Virgin Books, Virgin Orbite, etc. He has so many companies, that if you type Virgin on Google, his name comes first. Richard was that inspiring, and affected me that much. Many years later, I found out that each success is unique. I could inspire from him, but I couldn’t copy him. I got myself into a red zone. I had to create my own venture. I was, and I am his student, but I can’t be his shadow. In business, when you’re a copycat, you can’t survive.

I don’t have the same business as Richard, and mine is much smaller, but I can’t name my company the same way he did. After 10 years of trial and mistakes in business, I’m still learning. 50% of businesses fail during their first 5 years, and another 50% fail the next 10 years. I’m happy that I survived my first 10 years, but, damn it, I suck. I’m a bad entrepreneur. After 10 years, I have a team of 20 people, and I am so hungry to bring it to 200 people. I love Richard, and he continues to be my mentor forever.



Since I started my business, I’ve always asked myself how I could contribute to improve the qualify of life of children. They are the most vulnerable people in all societies. Many of them are poor, beggars, born with diseases, lack of nutrition, homeless, sexually assaulted or lack of love. In 2015, I decided to convert IT Unlock into a social enterprise. Virtually from the beginning of our business, we had pledged 1% of our profit to sick children, and we used to donate to Hospital Sainte-Justine and Shriners for Children Hospital every year. From January 1st, 2016, we donated even much more than that. For the last 2 years, we donated $34,000. It’s a small amount, and we keep donating. But it takes a big trunk of budget from a small company.

I teach my team to make mistakes, to learn and to improve. After all, those who haven’t done any mistake haven’t done anything new, as Albert Einstein once said. Well, I am among those who made mistakes, and the one who made the biggest one. With our Give First program, I pledged donating half of our profit yearly. After 2 years of trying to hit that goal, I found out that I couldn’t keep that promise for a reason. And I hate it when I over promise and under deliver. That is not me. I prefer over promising and over delivering.

I learned the costly lesson that If I removed 50% of my company’s profit, I would kill my company slowly but surely. Our business is tough, our margin is not high, and I’m facing fierce competitors everyday. Not mentioning that we could hit recession or tough economic condition anytime. We need to keep a reserve, in order to survive the long run. If I want to bring my business to a critical mass, it requires a lot of money as well.

Most of the great philanthropists who pledge 50%, 90% or 99% of their wealth to charity are still the richest people on Earth. Based on Forbes’ report in 2017, Bill Gates is still the richest man, Warren Buffet is still the 2nd one, Mark Zuckerberg is the 5th one, etc. Even though they pledged 90% or 99% of their fortune, they are still in control of their wealth, and they invest their money wisely, in order to sustain their contribution to the society. They understood some things about charity, and how to sustain their charity actions, that I don’t.

Unless you’re a Warby Parker, where their profit ranges somewhere from 10x to 25x of their cost, or a Toms, where his net profit is 12%, after the One-On-One donation, you won’t survive as a social enterprise, when your profit margin is not high enough. Not only will you not be able to help others, but you might put your business at risk as well.

In my business, it is a norm that our profit margin isn’t high. Therefore, I would put myself out of business by donating half of our profit, and I wouldn’t be able to continue serving humanity. Not only that, I would also put my family and the future of my family in danger.

I therefore need to take appropriate action to protect our company and sustain our charity mission for a very long term. The day I die, and hopefully not too soon, I will dedicate half of my asset to charity. In the meantime, my job is to work hard to grow that asset, make it sustainable, and leave a long-term impact on society.  If God grants me a healthy life to work for at least another 30 years, I will do my best everyday to build that asset. After all, 30 years of a lifetime compared to the Earth lifetime is nothing. I beg for your indulgence, your understanding and your patience with me.

Even though IT Unlock cannot give 50% of its profit, we are still giving a good part of our profit to charity every year. Our Give First program also means that we could give now, and that we wouldn’t have to wait to die before giving it back. For instance, this year, we partnered up with the Foundation Paul-Gérin LAJOIE to teach mothers in Haiti how to grow vegetables, in order to feed their family and children. The goal is to teach them how to fish.

Helping kids with your own means is important. If each of us gave $10 or $100, it would make a difference in kids’ life. And we wouldn’t need to be rich to help children.

Whether it is a charity project or any important project in your life, I believe that you should let your heart lead you first, before your head – even if it comes right afterwards – and not the opposite. Have fun in what you do and allow yourself to make mistakes. There are things you know you know, things that you know you don’t know, and things that you don’t know you don’t know. All creativity and inventions are in the zone of what you don’t know you don’t know. You will only get result when you take action. Just do it, so you won’t have regrets for not doing it.

Here I am today, sharing with you my thoughts, my mistakes, my confessions and my dreams. I am honest with myself. I want to be a good father and a good husband. I want to push myself off the edge, to achieve my life’s missions. I want to continue to do crazy things. We all need a good craziness to push ourselves, to create new breakthroughs.

All dream achievements require hard work. All greatest people work hard. Basically, if there is another synonym to success, it would be work. You could say work hard, work smartly, work efficiently but work.

I shared all my projects with my wife. I told her that I wouldn’t be around for a while, as I need to work 12/6. I need to be obsessed again, and I need her support. I’m lucky I have a wonderful wife, who listens and offers unconditional love. She is the best.


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