Sleepwell Property Mangement: Case study

So after going alone managing 9 units I decided to get some professional help…it seems not very easy to find the hands that you can trust your buildings to. One of my buildings before I bought was managed by Conrad Pool, Sleepwell Management and it seemed was managed rather well. So I investigated a bit more and found great responses. So I took the plunge and so far so good. Well it is only has been since March 1st but we lived through an explosion and evacuation in one of the buildings. So I still say so far so good.

Furthermore at my Ottawa university course “Entrepreneurial Culture” taught by Dct. Bruce Firestone we had to do a video case study. Since Conrad was kind to help us in this video we explored how Sleepwell landed initial clients, what is took to make this business work and grow through insight from Conrad Pool, founder of Sleepwell Property Management, Jonathan Kardash, founder of Marklyn Management, and Dr. Bruce Firestone, Professor at the University of Ottawa. This business is not an easy one. That is the main reason I don’t want to manage my own tenants. As I say to Conrad I don’t know how you do it but you are doing a darn good job!

Economic Recession so what Now?

Here’s the problem I see…

For years US has run the politics of investing in everyone’s economy around the world. Other countries welcomed as American Investor has been seen favourably. US Government and Americans have been spending way more than they can afford. American financial institutions had the liberty to do what they desired. When they got caught they got a slap on the wrist and after the media frenzy was over they continued under a different name. Now the shit hit the fan in several sectors and since US has a hand in each pot, all world just about is affected by this. Of course US is not the only factor for recession but a major one…

There will be a huge transfer in wealth but not in your pocket. All these strategies to help financial institutions are going to people who failed us and not the little people like you and me. Why keep subsidizing what doesn’t work? It is like throwing money out of the window. Let it die and start new. Give an opportunity to younger people to join the game perhaps who are not so corrupt and greedy.

In times of economic hardships, business people are paralyzed with fear.

They freeze like a deer in headlights. They say to themselves, “Let’s NOT do anything. Just survive.”

Yes, shit is happening. Sales are down. It’s tough. Business is tough. Life is tough.

Stop bitching about it… Deal with it! Surviving is not enough!

We simply can’t afford to stick our heads in the sand and wish the recession would go away. Decide not to participate in the recession. Decide to participate in creating new career, business, whatever you always wanted to do! Now is the time! Chaos is an opportunity!

Some people finally realize job security is an illusion and they need to take charge their own future.

“This will be the largest transfer wealth in business history. You can either ride the wave or get crushed by it. It’s your choice.”

Remember the law of nature – The strong will survive and the weak shall perish.

Choose to Be the Strong One! Remember at each economic downturn there is an opportunity for you to start something new. Read a business history book and you will see how many great companies were born out of recession even in 1930s.

Why do I travel and Why you should!

img_0015Travel to me is like air that I breathe and would die without. To me is all worth it to put in 70-80 hour work week and work weekends just that I can travel. My preferred choice of travel is immersing in the foreign culture, living with locals, eating like them, thinking like them and interacting just like them. Travel frees me from the grind of daily routine. I love to explore new places, meet new people, try new foods and learn things about the world – and myself – that I never imagined were possible.

The joy of new experience is the most wonderful thing about travel – and new experiences are free or at least inexpensive. Walk the streets of a city. Stop and chat with a local. People watch in a public park. Climb to the top of a hill and watch the sun set over the ocean.

It is possible to travel the world inexpensively. It requires some advance planning and the willingness to seize opportunities and go with the flow. I have travelled every summer while I was a student and on my own money!

My new experiences began when I moved to Canada at age 19. I had a language to learn, get education, job and grow up very fast. It took some struggle and few years and I did it! Meanwhile I have travelled to other places for different reasons:

I traveled because I needed to get away – too much stress, too many pressures at home and at work, a sometimes unexplained need to turn your back on life for a time. My first experience of all inclusive trip was to Cuba when my relationship ended and I was lost. My friend came to my rescue with a ticket and said you need time off. It was the best thing ever. I connected to the simple life locals live, nature, and saw the spark for life in their eyes and realized there is a way out of my sorrow. The turning point for me was when a local guide asked a question: You are beautiful, healthy, on vacation and we are here at your service and yet there is so much sadness in your eyes? At that moment I decided to let go of my old life and never look back. The only proof I have left is a painting that I bought in Havana of a sad face…and it is not my face anymore!

img_3049Two years ago I was shopping for a new life so I decided to visit Costa Rica and Argentina. Costa Rica was pre-amble to grand adventure in Argentina. I felt safe traveling through beaten path in a Beautiful but overdeveloped Costa Rica where rain forest doesn’t get clouds as they used to and parks are full of people. After I warmed up in Costa Rica I went to Argentina with an idea of searching for a new home. I wasn’t comfortable with my life at that time so I wanted to trade it. What I found was a beautiful country, where passionate people care about their family first before themselves or work, where a stake is so delicious that just thinking of it I drool like a cat looking at a raw fish, amazing wine and passion everywhere… politics, economy and day to day life. I decided to bring some of that passion in my heart and live with it in my daily life no matter where I live.

People travel because is a great way to acquire a new skill. One of the travels I want to make is learn Spanish in Spain or Latin America and French cooking in France. Wow! Just thinking about it I get Goosebumps!

This summer a friend of mine will join me on my visit to Lithuania to trace her family roots and uncover her ancestry. Well anyone who is connected to Lithuania one way or another are cool enough people to hang out with me So join me there this summer!

Backpacking is a great way to get fit. You almost have no choice – all that walking to far-off beaches and on hiking trails, carrying a backpack and simple sports like snorkelling and swimming will probably help shed the pounds and build the muscle. I lost some pounds of unwanted fat while backpacking in Argentina and I ate great steaks, ice cream and dolce de leche and Bariloche chocolate whenever I wanted. More than just getting fit, backpacking can be an extreme adventure – mountains to climb, gorges to traverse, bays to kayak across, flying of the mountains. In Bariloche I got lost in the mountains all by myself. Oh it was a scary moment! I climbed the mountain with two girls and since they stayed overnight at the top I had to descend by myself and just to spice things up I decided to take new route to go back. Well I took a route that was meant for climbers and not hikers. About 2 hours into my struggling climb I realized something is not right….I panicked for a moment or two… I was so lucky to find the old route and return to the bottom just in time for the last buss to town. Otherwise I would have had to sleep with bears…
Another reason I went backpacking to Costa Rica and Argentina is that I have never done it. I said to myself I want to experience this and it may be too late when I am older. I was right there are less people in their 40s or 50s carrying heavy bags and sleeping in hostels but definitely it is not an obstacle! What I learnt was that backpacking really makes you free. You have all your stuff on you and even if you loose it there are so many fellow travelers that are more then happy to share what they got. Life becomes very pleasant and simple. I still remember the sweet taste of afternoon nap after surfing in Santa Elena, Costa Rica. Wow surfing is so hard on the abs or mine are simply weak… I couldn’t even laugh the next day but I hey I was able to get up on the board on the first day of my learning! Another aspect of this travel was perfect serendipity. I set intentions to what I wanted to see or do but never planned just went with the flow. The result was that I attracted perfect people and perfect situations when I wanted it. I was open to the flow. I asked myself how can I do that at home in my daily life?

You may have a yearning for a different culture than your own, a curiosity for faraway lands. Perhaps you’ve studied history or archaeology, or you’ve read foreign authors and dreamed of following in their footsteps. That was Russia for me. The land of power in my first 14 years as Lithuania was under the Soviet rule till 1991, the language that I speak and read, and the literature I can appreciate and relate. I can still remember standing in the square of Winter Palace in Ste. Petersburg and feeling the grandness of the history and architecture. To feel the art, history and people you need to live there for few months because every house and every corner has a story to tell you. I had a mere 1.5 days and still summer palace of Czar to explore.

I get inspired the second I get on the plane. I am not sure if the air pressure has some affect on my brain or more my blood flow! I have traveled over 6 times in the last two years to California. It is long enough flight to start dreaming and writing different ideas. Oh that strong feeling of airplane take off becomes the beating of my heart. I feet at the top of the world so I make big plans for my life. Upon return home I achieve maybe a quarter of it but still I inched closer to where I feel I want to be. [That feeling changes often so that is why I have to travel often to find new direction ] California has something special about dreaming and living it to the fullest. Everything is possible! I have no limits so nor you!

lietuvaPerhaps you need to make connections – to meet people of all sorts, from all over. This helps us feel like members of the same human race. That is of course Lithuania for me. I connect to my roots through my family and friends. I reconnect and remember who I was as a child and what life was. Baltic Sea offers gorgeous beaches and turbulent cold water. I love to take long walks on the beach when the sun is setting. Sunsets are very long and the sea is loud and powerful. I feel space in my heart as all limitations are washed away, I can’t hear any of my negativities, the only thing I feel is connection to a homeland, freedom and power of myself and earth. For that particular moment I feel I connect to who I am and I can access that connection anytime no matter where I am.

Seeking Adventure and adrenaline That would be doing paragliding in Mendoza mountains, Argentina and white water rafting level 4 in Costa Rica, sky diving. What else can I share with those who know how the adrenaline rush feels and how you wanna do it again and again!

Maybe it’s a question of taste, of taste in every way – tasting unusual foods, of course, but also a taste for new and different colours, shapes, scents… That is France for me! I and my girlfriend and her French boyfriend had 4.5 days in Paris to visit everything popular and must see. So we did set ourselves to long days of walking and skipping lunch so just we can check off our list of famous places and take photos. I can’t say it wasn’t great but I cannot remember joy of the moment…feeling what people were feeling, smelling croissant or watching local people go on with their daily lives. I was simply tired of walking and hungry. From there on I promised myself not to do this again. So few years later I returned to enjoy real Paris. I lived just like French did. With ease and joy visited only selected places, spent afternoons in cafes people watching, chatted with locals, and had 5 hour brunch with a friend’s family. ..cheeeese, sausssssison, baguetteee, wwwine and all that French are famous for…

A trip is often a quest. Over years of travel to nearly 20 countries, my external adventure slowly became an inner quest for serenity. I left to get away, propelled by my wanderlust, and learnt the art of being rather than doing. Finding myself has been part of my quest. I went from trips like visiting Austria, Germany, Poland, Czech, Italy in 10 days to trips where I stayed in one place for few months like South France and Argentina.

Through travels I learn about other cultures and other people and I see places but what I really learn is – who I am. I learnt about myself and different aspects of me that each country unwrapped out of me. World is like a big puzzle and I am the explorer who is seeking to fit smaller pieces so the picture makes sense. There are so many more unexplored pieces yet to find…

So go experience it you maybe delightfully surprised by who you find there!

Just my personal experience


So what is Effective Marketing in this fast paced changing environment?

…someone or something that leaves lasting impact…

There is so much information today and how to pick what is quality and worth the $$$.

We are bombarded with hundreds of advertisements today whenever we go. At some point they all blend in. Personally when I have too much choice my logic can no longer decide what a good choice is so I don’t decide. They all look the same. What makes a difference is at emotional and intuitive level. I talk to people I know and ask about their experience with certain company or product. They tell me how they feel. Every product and service is about feelings. If for example roof installation was properly done I feel great so are my tenants. Yes there is quality in product and service but most importantly I feel great. I agree with the marketing student who states that good business is good marketing and good marketing is good business. This is the strong foundation of the building if you want to build a highrise. Business has no limits to grow if the idea is great and systems to sustain the growth are well built. Sky is the limit literally. Good marketer will mould the product and service to become excellent. If you look closer to some businesses you will see that they have great business but they are not generating the income they could because marketing doesn’t pull it all together while other business might have a mediocre idea and great marketing, therefore pulling in great profits. The Power of Marketing is undervalued and too much associated with sales. Well it isn’t just about sales. Marketing needs to be developed from the birth of the business, operational development and advertisement and sales.

To me marketing is all about appealing to the clients emotions. I never forgot what impact I had on one of my girlfriend’s. I knew she was going through rough time in her life so I sent her a card with kind words, a photo inserted of her and me on her wedding day – the best day of her life and handwritten kind words of encouragement that that shall pass and she has so much great to look forward. When she got this card she called me with tears in her eyes with gratitude and how I touched her. I never forgot how a little thing like that can make such a huge impact on someone. I truly believe that to build great business you have to be great yourself and be generous with others and then it spreads. I bet at the end of this tape “Free Hugs” you want to give a hug to stranger as well. Today Free Hugs is a business selling T-shirts.

I am intrigued by success the car salesman who sent cards to his clients on special occasions and especially birthdays and that was the only tool that made him sell most cars compared to the car salesmen. I ask myself when it is so simple so why businesses don’t use that? Well it is difficult to remember so much information. We moved from industrial age into information age and now transitioning to and era of humanity. Emotional appeal is becoming a main stream and it is highly profitable business. Lululemon is a great example. We buy those overpriced work out cloth because it makes us feel great and cool!

So why not give more. There are tools to make it easier to remember those special days of your friends, family and clients. I came across web-based personal communications Data Management System & Relationship Building Tool that does all these things for you automatically.

This tool is all in one: database manager, reminder system, marketing tool, record keeping system and a unique business opportunity! You can send one card or thousands of cards in the mail in less than 60 seconds through any computer faster, of better quality and for far less money than competitors! This system will print, address, self address, stuff, package, hand stamp and deliver to Post Office within 24 hours guaranteed!

Cards start at .31 for a postcard .62 for greeting cards

I love using this tool and what kind of impact it makes on others!

This system can be your Personal Business for Life as you can earn unlimited lifetime passive income. If you looking to build Relationships and Referrals contact me and I will explain it how you can take advantage of this system.

Meanwhile you can visit my website

Enjoy life as it only lasts one lifetime!

Zydra Gestautaite

P.S. “People may not remember what you do or what you say… but they will always remember how you make them feel.”

No More Heating Bills!

House in Lithuania

No More

Heating Bills …  



   I call this instant gratification mentality! Industry drives people to consume more and the best way to do so it is to promote fast rewards leading to overconsumption and since people can’t afford it then we produce cheap stuff that doesn’t last long. Voila we got Wallmart!

From the building code perspective I think it is insane what it is allowed to build in cold Canada. Buildings are being built from “paper” in a country where minus 35C is not a rear phenomenon. This is unheard in Europe where they have much warmer climate.


After my first year living in Canada I retuned for a visit to Lithuania and one interesting question was posed to me: “Is it true that when a car hits the house the car goes through the house?” Well of course as houses are built from “paper”. They couldn’t believe they thought it was just built for a purpose of the movie.


So when we talk about energy we are spending lots of money on heating paper card boxes. If we build proper houses as David talks in his article “No More Heating Bills Ever!” we would eliminate number of issues: energy costs, better fire prevention, noise, buildings would last longer and would contribute to sustainable environment. This all means lots of $$$ in savings long term but higher costs upfront.


I live in a purpose built two level duplex and I was so surprised to learn that separation of the flooring is not sound proof so I can hear my tenant below snore! This is absolutely ridiculous. And this is not only my house it is like that in every building. Even in condos. I lived in one where I could hear my neighbour in my living room what she was talking in her living room.


So there are laws to prevent fire which means smoke detectors, 20min fire rated windows and doors. How about changing a building code to built a house that will feel and act like one??? Houses burn so fast that there is not enough time to even get from one.


My father build a house in Lithuania for himself with walls built from cement, with roof that will last over 100 years and heating system that costs hundreds not thousands a year to heat it and he nor my mother have to put on sweaters to keep warm. While I live in a well off country Canada and I have to move my bed from the wall because I feel a draft, wear sweaters so my bills don’t eat my disposable income and hear my neighbour snore. Am I well off?

Should we consider private bus transportation in Ottawa ?

BusIt has been over 40 days without OC Transpo. Many people have been unable to commute to work or do their day-to-day necessities in the cold winter. Temperatures at times have reached minus 35 degrees C.


In my opinion, they called the strike just before Christmas with the full intent on causing the maximum carnage to our local economy and the maximum hardship to students (especially those taking exams), seniors, and other lower income folks who can’t afford a car. Think about the traffic even if you do have a car? Has this been good for our local economy? We’re already in a recession. We’re seeing reduced retail sales during the busiest season of the year, increased traffic, expensive parking and more parking tickets. I know I got few because I couldn’t find parking in the downtown. I have to go to work somehow. Should I fly and park on top of a building?


You know what is most outrageous? The city is claiming that it is doing it’s best to help in this situation. So what exactly is the city doing? They’re issuing tickets like before. They publicly announced that they were going to relax the parking ticket regime but I guess they need the money! They’re also keeping the bus transit lanes closed and empty while streets are full of traffic.


Isn’t it nice to know that the over 40 day transit strike isn’t a big deal? Hey guys, we’re the Nation’s Capital. Shouldn’t we be setting an example for the rest of the country? Who cares if some businesses go bankrupt. Who cares if people lose their jobs. Who cares if people have to spend all of their spare hours and energy walking through snow drifts to get to and from everywhere they have to go. Who cares if we have to pay outrageous amounts for taxis waiting in traffic.


Suck it up citizen of Ottawa. Move on as if nothing has happened. Those who make decisions have plenty of parking and even chauffeurs.


This problem occurs not for the first time. We had another strike a few years ago. I still remember walking to work. It took one hour and 30 minutes, each way, in the cold, icy Ottawa morning. Are we so forgetful or simply insane to keep doing the same thing over the years and expecting a different result? This was bound to happen again.


Maybe we should first look at who’s gaining from this strike? We all know that this city is always short of money. Maybe the continuation of the strike is just the city’s way of keeping a lot of money in their coffers. It was reported on the news that the city is saving over $300,000 per day!!! Think of the money the City could save if it scraped OC Transpo all together?


There has to be a better way to resolve this matter. One option is to fire all bus drivers and replace them with people who will work with pleasure for half of their salary. Then put the rest of the dollars into improving the public transportation system. Well, we thought of that but the law doesn’t allow it.


Another option is to allow the private sector to continue to fill the gap left by the strike. So far they have been creative and supportive. I say hooray for them! Let people vote with their feet. After a few more months without public buses, we won’t need them anymore! After all, we live in democratic free economy where competitive advantage wins! So why waste precious government resources on something that is clearly is not working. After the strike ends (assuming it will) I’m not sure what kind of marketing strategy the city will have to embark on to get people back on the buses. What about the built up hatred towards the bus drivers? Even “The Best Job in the World” type of campaign might not suffice. Whatever it will be is going to be paid for with our tax dollars! I bet the people of Ottawa will get in shape riding their bikes!


How about inefficiencies of the OC Transpo system? What about the ongoing pollution from the buses? Have you ever driven behind one of those buses? It’s enough to make you choke…


My answer is YES. Let’s get a private transportation system in Ottawa. Let it be reliable, competitive and environmentally friendly. This strike is appalling and the people of Ottawa need to come together and give the city a reality check! Demand what we need!


What do you think? What other options can the citizens of Ottawa come up with? I would love to hear what you think?