How One Single Mother Turned Heartache into Success
On April 1, 2013, Jenna Hoover wakes up at 7am with a pit in her stomach. This is the day that will change her life forever. This is the day that she will begin building a better life for her daughter and herself. This is the day that she will look back on a few years from now with excitement and happiness instead of fear.
This is the day that Jenna made the decision to start her career as a real estate investor.
As Jenna went to bed the night before, she prayed that her fear would be replaced with excitement and hope… anything that would bring some freedom and stability into her life and, more importantly, her daughter, Addison’s, life.
But that didn’t happen. She woke up with the same fear and the same memories of past failures that tried to keep their hold on her. Even though she hoped that those feelings and memories would all be a distant memory, they seemed to scream even louder in her ear.
But Jenna realized something that morning that changed her life forever. She realized something about fear… that it’s fragile and weak, and can disguise itself as confusion and lack of knowledge. Fear can even trick you into thinking that you’re not good enough.
As Jenna recounts that day, I can actually see her remembering the fear that she felt. And then, as if she’s done it a million times before, she pushes it aside and continues on.
“Fear would trick most people into believing it. But THAT day was different for me because, just a few weeks earlier, I became armed with enough knowledge and enough tools to really believe that my life could change. That it WOULD change. It really was my destiny.”
Jenna, a single mother to her beautiful and spunky 6 year old daughter, Addison, always saw real estate as her Plan B… until it had to become her Plan A.
Before you can truly appreciate her success, you have to understand Jenna’s past.
She’s from a “tiny, little hillbilly town in southwestern Pennsylvania. If you blink, you’ll miss it, but you won’t miss much. If you’re from here, you’re either going to be a teacher or have some sort of a background in the medical field. That’s it in a nutshell.”
Growing up a small town girl, Jenna did what many other small town girls often do…
She got married at the young age of 21 and had her daughter at the age of 24. She went from medical sales to stay-at-home mom the day Addison was born. It seemed as if she would be settling into a fairly average life. However, life has a way of throwing you curve balls when you least expect it and, when her daughter was just 6 months old, that pitch was delivered. She was separated from her husband and kicked out of her house. She was divorced by 25.
With no warning, life changed in the blink of an eye.
With no job, no money, and no house, she packed up her 6 month old baby, 2 dogs, 2 duffel bags, and went to stay with her parents. She thought it would be a couple days, maybe a week, but the next time she went back was a year later with a U-Haul. She collected the rest of her things and didn’t look back. She continued raising her daughter living in her old bedroom at her parents’ house. It wasn’t ideal, but it worked.
Fear had its ugly grip on Jenna. What would she do? How would she provide the life that her tiny daughter deserved? How would she make it alright? Her little girl didn’t ask for any of this. She was an innocent bystander. It was solely up to Jenna now to give her daughter a better life. No one else. She had the weight of the world on her shoulders.
Life took another turn when her daughter was 2… Jenna got remarried. Even though life felt like it was getting back on track, she refused to let herself ever be in a position where she felt like a victim again.
With a medical sales background, Jenna always considered Real Estate Investing to be her pie-in-the-sky Plan B.
When cutbacks happened at work, she was never stressed because she figured she could always get into real estate investing.
When relationships failed, she always had real estate in the back of her mind.
About 4 months into her second marriage, on that life-changing day in April, she decided it was time to make her Plan B a reality.
After taking real estate investing courses, investing in software, and finding the guidance that she knew she needed, she was ready to make her first offer — her first 6 offers, actually.
She had never been more fearful than in the months leading up to that day.
She went through countless ups and downs during that time.
Her dad was going to be her business partner until he saw what a large time and financial commitment it took to get started.
Jenna was all in, but her dad, husband, and other family and friends weren’t so sure. In fact, they told her that she was crazy. They told her that real estate was a scam and a waste of her time and money. They completely made her second guess herself and made her feel like a failure before she even got started.
The very people who should have been her biggest support system told her that she would fail.
Every single person in Jenna’s life seemed like they were trying to steal her dream from her, and she was on the verge of letting them.
But that’s what makes Jenna different… she didn’t let them. Her determination was stronger than her fear. Her WHY was stronger than the nay-sayers.
It wasn’t their fault that they didn’t understand the business. It wasn’t their fault that they were scared and trying to protect her from failure. It wasn’t that they didn’t support Jenna, they just didn’t understand what was possible because they had simply never seen it before. They thought that they were protecting her, but what they were really doing was holding her back from reaching her true potential and living out her dream of financial and time freedom.
Jenna likens a real estate investing education program to a gym membership…
“If you have a gym membership, but don’t work out and eat like crap, you won’t see any results. Just having the membership won’t get you anywhere if you don’t actually show up and use it,” she says.
“Real estate investing education is the same… you can get all the education there is on real estate investing, but if you don’t practice, and use what you learn, you will never see results and you will never achieve success. “
You have the tools at your disposal, but you have to use them. But to want to use them, you have to know…
What is your WHY?
Once Jenna found her WHY, her daughter, Addison, and once she made up her mind, she was unstoppable.
During the time when she started getting seriously involved with real estate investing, her second marriage ended.
It was in those moments that her WHY, and her passion for making it in real estate, grew even stronger.
She HAD to make real estate work. It was now her Plan A.
Her daughter has always been the fire that keeps her going.
When there are obstacles, she has the best person she could ever hope for by her side… her daughter. Addison is what reminds her to never quit… that failure is not an option… that she is a success. Addison is the driving force behind every decision that she makes. Her daughter’s education and her daughter’s future was, and is, what keeps her going every minute of every day. If she fails, she fails her daughter.
So she got to work.
She started doing what her coach told her to do, even though she “literally knew nothing.”
She put up 5 bandit signs one day and had 16 voicemails the next. 16 voicemails and no idea what she was doing.
But to be successful in real estate, you have to buy properties. To buy properties, you have to make offers.
“I remember my mentor told me that I’d likely have to make 10 offers to get 1 accepted. So that was my plan. But I only found 6 properties in my small Pennsylvania town that looked like they had potential, so I hoped that if I made offers on all 6, that ONE would be accepted.
This was the first step. But it felt more like a leap. Regardless, it needed to be taken, ready or not.
You can imagine her surprise and fear when all 6 offers were accepted. Fear and negative thoughts started to make Jenna’s head spin, but it still couldn’t overshadow her WHY.
“I’m doing all of this for my daughter, Addison. Since that first moment when I held her tiny hand in mine, she has held my heart in return. She is the reason I moved forward on five of those six deals. She is the reason I get up every morning determined to succeed. I won’t tell you that it’s easy. But the days where I pushed through those seemingly impossible to overcome situations, those were the days when I became an investor.”
The first seller was losing her house in 9 days… So Jenna bought her first house in 9 days with nothing in place and no real idea about how to even purchase a property.
This is when most people quit. But Jenna is not most people.
“I asked people for funding that I NEVER would have asked if I wasn’t in such a tough spot. But failure wasn’t an option with literally everything on the line.”
She went forward with 5 of those first 6 deals and made over $165k in profits. And she was as new as they come.
How Did She Do It?
She focused on her “WHY.”
A strong why is more powerful than any adversity you will come across. For Jenna, failing doesn’t mean just failing herself, it means failing the most important person in her life… her daughter.
Also, she fully utilized the tools, systems, and resources that she had at her disposal to start investing, including the coaching programs and software systems like Realeflow and FlipComp that she began using not long after she started. These same programs, tools, and systems have continued to help her become a better investor over the last several years.
She switched her mindset. She went from being scared and putting more faith in the doubts of the people around her than in herself to taking on the mindset of a successful real estate investor. Jenna always felt like she was different. She always felt like she was destined for something great and it only took her one deal to see that she was on the path to success. It only took one deal to give her a career boost and, maybe more importantly, a confidence boost.
She kept her eye on the prize and pushed through obstacles and adversity.
“When I look at real estate and the path that I plan to take, the best way I can describe it is the way a golden retriever looks at a tennis ball… when you throw that tennis ball, that golden retriever doesn’t see anything else. It knows the goal, it knows exactly what it’s running towards and all it can see is the ball. That’s the way that I look at real estate.”
Jenna has come a long way from that first deal. Today she has 21 rental properties in her portfolio, has bought and sold millions of dollars worth of real estate over the last 4 years. She has coached hundreds of other real estate investors through their fears and has discovered the financial and time freedom that she was looking for.
While Jenna’s initial goal when getting into real estate was to provide a better life for her daughter, she found along the way that she is also able to positively impact her community. Her rental properties not only provide her with passive income each month, they also provide affordable living solutions for people in her area who can’t get a mortgage. She’s not just a hero to her daughter, she’s a hero to the people in her community.
The 3 Levels of Success
Jenna said that her mentor always told her that there were 3 levels of success. Now that she’s been through them all, she can attest to that and said that knowing what to expect ahead of time helped her to deal with each level.
Level 1 — People will laugh at you.
They will make fun of you, they will tell you that you’re going to fail. The people who should be your biggest cheerleaders will likely make you feel the worst. They will try to scare you, not because they don’t believe in you… but because they don’t understand and they are afraid for you. They think they are protecting you. This is the time when you have to rise above and ignore the negativity around you.
Level 2 — People will see you starting to succeed.
And THEY will act different because they will assume that you are different now that you’re becoming successful at this entrepreneurial dream that you’ve had… the same dream that they said would never work. They may be a little envious that you’re achieving your dreams. They may think that you’re becoming someone you’re not, but their perception of a successful person may be skewed by the other people in their lives. Give them grace. Continue to be yourself and, soon enough, they will remember that you are the same person as you were before your first deal.
Level 3 — Acceptance. People will start to respect you.
These same people will finally see that you are the same person today as you were before you took the plunge into real estate investing. They will start to respect you for the hard work that you’ve put into achieving your goals. They will recognize that you’re the same person that they’ve always known and loved and they may even ask you for help.
Jenna went through all 3 of these stages and, at the last stage, it was her brother who came to her and asked for help.
Of course she smiled and helped him by buying his house and flipping it for $60k in profit and then selling him one of her other houses (also for a profit). It’s her job and her passion and, with real estate, she can help people and fulfill her own dreams at the same time.
After all this, what does Jenna want to tell other investors?
“Ignore the negativity and don’t quit!”
Jenna knows from experience that other people’s negativity can completely consume you if you let it. To succeed in this business, you have to let go of the negativity and self-doubt and stay positive. Don’t listen to everyone else. Remember your “WHY” and let that lead you.
There will be days when you want to quit. Don’t quit. When you quit, you’re just like everybody else. Jenna says there are still days when she wants to quit. But she looks at her daughter, she remembers the days when she was down on her luck and down on herself and she refuses to quit. She is determined to live an original life.
That’s what makes her different.
That’s what makes her successful.
“I look back on that morning in 2013 and am so thankful that I moved forward and made those six calls. I hate to think what our life would be like now if fear would have won that day. And best of all, I have the freedom to spend as much time with my daughter as I want and I, alone, can give her the life that she deserves.”
“Tonight I will go to bed with peace in my heart. I will go to bed with the knowledge that I can provide for my daughter. I will go to bed knowing I am free.
If you ask Addison what she does for a living she’ll tell you she’s a Real Estate Investor, and she’s right. After all, we’re in this together.”
Do you want to learn more about how Jenna completes three of the basic steps in the Real Estate Investing Lifecycle? Click HERE to get access to a special 3 part video series and learn how to Find, Fund and Fix real estate investment properties.