Eric is the founder of IdealREI.com, EJBowlin.com, and Bowlin Capital LLC.
He is a real estate professional with hundreds of rental units and 10+ years of experience. As a thought leader in the industry, he’s been interviewed on a number of leading podcasts including Joe Fairless’ Best Ever Real Estate Investing Podcast, Rod Khleif’s Lifetime Cashflow podcast, BiggerPockets Podcast, Listen Money Matters, Millenial Real Estate Investor, Before the Millions, and many more.
As a real estate professional, Eric has also been quoted, sourced, or featured in a number of leading publications including Forbes, Trulia, Inc, Wisebread, BiggerPockets, TheStreet, Yahoo Finance, and many more.
Eric pioneered the Infinite Investing concept and using that was able to leverage a small amount of seed capital into enough income-producing assets he was able to retire at the age of 30.
During that time he was recognized and thanked by multiple town officials and police for changing part of the town.
Now Eric spends his time teaching others how to leverage their skills and assets to achieve financial independence. He also enjoys speaking at meetups and events, traveling the world, and spending time with his family.
Eric Bowlin’s Story
I’m writing this sitting in my backyard, enjoying the beautiful weather in the city and state that I choose to call home. But, it wasn’t always like this.
Not long ago I remember my wife crying herself to sleep because we couldn’t even afford groceries.
Now, we live very comfortably on multiple streams of passive income, travel the world, and try our hardest to focus on raising our two young children.
But, I used to work 12 hour days, often for 7 days a week. Grinding, working, growing…
Obviously, something switched at some point. Honestly, not just one thing, but many many things have been influential in my journey to financial independence. Each one had an important role to play.
Buying a Home
It was deep in the recession and blood was in the water. No one had jobs; No one could pay the bills; Everyone was suffering.
I was a grad student working on my Ph.D. in economics. I thought, hell, what a great time to buy a home.
I went to a mortgage lender to get pre-qualified for a loan. They couldn’t help me. I didn’t earn enough and had too much debt.
So, I tried another, and he literally laughed me out of the office.
What he said is seared into my memory:
I promise that no one will ever give you a loan.– Loan officer from bank that no longer exists
I was furious now. I was more determined than ever to make it happen. Then, I discovered that buying small multifamily could change the equation because the extra units would add to my income on paper.
With this new information, I was able to find a mortgage broker to give me a prequalification letter, and not long after that, I was able to buy my first triplex.
Discovering Passive Income
I was sitting in my new home one evening watching a movie. I heard a knock at my door.
We didn’t have a lot of money so we couldn’t afford a great place in a nice neighborhood. In fact, we were in a pretty rough neighborhood where people don’t typically go out at night. So, it was kind of weird for someone to come knocking.
I opened the door… It was one of my tenants there to pay the rent.
I took the cash, wrote the receipt, and sat back down. I can’t remember what was on the TV anymore, but I do remember the gears in my brain grinding away. Something was computing but I wasn’t sure what yet…
Then it hit me! – I realized the rent was the easiest money I had ever earned in my life.
Up to that point I had earned most of my money either with the Army or with low-wage jobs. The rent was more than I’d normally earn in a week or even two.
At that moment I realized that I didn’t want to go hustle for money; I didn’t want to chase money; I wanted money to come and find me.
That night I realized that I could make money literally knock on my door.
At that moment, I realized I would dedicate myself to real estate.
Grinding and Hustling
A few months later I found myself on a plane to Afghanistan. It was a difficult and stressful period where I was doing near daily ground patrols in our area of operations. As the Platoon Leader responsible for 42 Soldiers lives and equipment, it was doubly stressful.
But, on top of that, I wanted to be buying real estate and building a business! It’s hard to explain the anxiety of wanting something so badly, but your entire life is literally paused and there is nothing you can do about it.
So, I spent that time learning and reading. Then, when I got home, I immediately dropped out of the Ph.D. program to get into real estate full time.
Ashamed of Leaving
I want to digress for a moment and explain this because it’s something you may feel or have felt in the past.
When I left the program to pursue my dreams, I felt ashamed. I felt like I had let down my friends and family who were so proud of what I was working on. I was so ashamed that I didn’t tell anyone (except a few of my closest friends) for almost a year.
A year later is when I had finished a flip and then purchased my next 4-family property. It’s around the time I started putting together my investing system. It’s the time I felt I actually was accomplishing my dream.
Burning Out and Moving
A few short years later I was burning out. I was working 12 hours a day grinding and hustling to grow my portfolio.
Not only was I growing my portfolio, but I was a state appointed receiver, construction supervisor (top contractor license), had a crew working full time for me, a real estate agent. I was doing everything under the sun to make money and grow.
The 7 days a week grind was too much. One day after a large snowstorm I decided to take the whole family on vacation to Texas where the weather was supposed to be nice. We jumped in the car the next day and left for a week.
A month later, I was packing up the truck and moved. I closed down the remodeling business, stopped being an agent, and just had my rental property income.
My wife forced me to get a job when we got to Texas. We had never lived on just the rental property, so there was some uncertainty. So, I got a job commission only selling phones for a franchise of Verizon (which was strangely lucrative believe it or not).
Working On My Business (Instead of IN my Business)
While I got a job as a hedge against the unknown, it turned out I didn’t need it! During that year we earned more than ever before, allowing us to buy a ton of property and also take a ton of time off.
In fact, in 12 months, I took 3 trips that all lasted 1 month. So, I only worked for 9 months.
During that time we had to figure out how to manage our properties from a distance. It was tough for us because we were so hands-on before moving.
With every system and every process we created, we realized that we were more stress-free and more able to enjoy our lives.
Finally, I realized that my time was most valuable when spent building my business, not working in it.
I was so ‘in the weeds’ that I never took time to pop my head up and look around. I finally realized that everything I was doing is a system that could be written down and replicated…
Quitting my Job and Growing Further
Then, in January 2016 I quit my job. I was 30 years old.
It turned out that retirement is actually quite boring, so I started IdealREI.com in February as a side passion project. At that point, I had 8 years of experience in real estate, had retired, and had created a valuable system that literally anyone could use to invest in real estate.
One day I was explaining the system to someone. I explained that you can take your money and create an asset that pays you. Then, you can get that money back out and do it again, and again. You could do it infinitely really.
Then it hit me… Investing Infinitely… or… Infinite Investing.
My system was born.
So, I used the blog to write down my thoughts. Over time it grew, and grew, and changed into what it is today.
Next, I decided to try out syndications. I was a GP on two syndications, one in 2017 and the next in 2018.
All this time we’ve been accumulating properties for ourselves following my Infinite Investing Strategy. We have over 480 units between our personal portfolio and deals we’ve syndicated.
Now, I’m working on spreading the word about Infinite Investing and changing the way people think about and invest in real estate.