Posted by Ish Uttam on Mar 25, 2018
Feature member : Ish Uttam

“Deals are My Drug”

by Ish Uttam 

I am like the Phoenix rising from the Ashes Every Time

A real-life story of a Business Broker & a single dad of two awesome daughters. Here I was in Victoria BC overlooking the ocean from my condo; the phone rings its younger daughter she said: “Daddy I love you”. As a loving father of a teenager, I said “I love you too… let me get my wallet”. She said, “No, no, I don’t need any money; I want to move in with you”. I said, “Sure pack your bags and come to Victoria.” She said “No …I want us to move to Edmonton and be close to the family.” I love my daughters and would do anything for them, so I moved back to my hometown Edmonton overlooking a parking lot. I sure miss my ocean view.
I was born in India and grew up in Canada. During my high school days, I got my first job at McDonald’s in the largest mall in North America –The West Edmonton Mall. At 16, I learned to flip burgers, clean tables, and toilets. As a teenager, I got used to the cash flow and all the fun and cool things it provided. You can understand why a teenager wants more money (Rock & Roll Lifestyle). I got another part-time job at the home of American root beer float fast-food giant …A&W! Now I am racking in some real dash at $3.65/Hour.
I managed to save $2,800 …. That was big money in those days. What would you do with $2,800 as a teenager… beer, girls and a car right? Nope, not me. I was reading the Wall Street Journal at age 17. My investment career started with penny stocks. I turned $2,800 into $13,000 in one year.
I got real cocky. During the crash of 1987, I was whipped overnight…out of all my hard earned money. It kicked my ass!
It was a hard lesson to learn at an early stage in my life. In high school, I was the leader of my Math Club with one member; Me. My math teacher Mrs. Lock loved my young genius mind and awarded me with a blue round button with white writing on it that said “Math Wiz”. I proudly wore it every day.
After finishing high school with several math awards. I put my local brain to work and I went to the University of Alberta and got an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering. That’s right – I am a geek (Are you shocked?!) Back in the early 90s Canada and USA were going through a deep recession (more like a depression of the 30’s if you ask me). I wanted to get my geek on to a higher level. And Went to the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon to get a master’s degree. Boy did it pay off or what…I got great high-paying high-tech jobs, got married, and got two beautiful daughters.
Then came the .COM bubble in 2000 and this time I lost over $1M. You figured I learned from my first crash! Hell no. I had to wake up and smell the coffee. Since I was sixteen, I’ve invested in stocks, bonds, options and futures. After I went through two bear markets losing over a million dollars, I started my search for a better investment vehicle, and found the majority of world’s millionaires come out of real estate. Hungry for knowledge, I studied everything I could get my hands on. And found a brilliant little known secretive mentor – Jack Miller (I am not sure if that was his real name).
Jack gave workshops and taught real estate every other month. I went to all his classes for years, spending countless hours learning the ropes. He taught me everything I know about structuring transactions. Jack passed away few years ago, I miss talking to him.
In late 2006 my mom passed away fighting cancer. I knew how to recover from a down market since I have been through two bear stock market crashes and one real estate market crash. I was unable to recover from seeing the only woman who loved me unconditionally – my mom. That was the saddest day of my life. My marriage was in shits I decided I will not die unhappy in a fruitless marriage. I filed for a divorce. That was the end of my 14-year long journey. It was super difficult for me to be away from my kids.
During the real estate crash of 2008, I lost all my assets, my house, my marriage and my kids. This was a low time in my life. I was pennyless and homeless. My kids were pissed off at me and my former wife hated me for leaving her. Here I was without my kids and all of my so-called “friends” abandoned me.
To make the matters worse; I could not afford to pay rent for a one bedroom from my good friend or buy food. My pride did not and would not allow me to ask for assistance from friends, family or the government. So I became a “lab rat” - That’s right I signed to be a lab rat and sold my blood to survive. I got paid $3400 for selling my body for 10 days. They drew my blood 56 times. It got me back on my feet and started searching for a job. I found one selling cars. In my free time, I learned internet marketing. I got a job with internet marketing company selling to small businesses. I got to see my kids more often.
After working for a few years at the internet marketing company. I started my own digital marketing agency in Victoria working with US-based companies. It has been super rewarding for me. It allows me to support and provide for my daughters.
My hunger for knowledge continues. I had a lot of experience helping people close transactions, and I figured, “What am I going to do?” One of my good friends, Chandler Sharma, a business broker with Sunbelt Canada said, “You are good at helping people, and you are superb at structuring deals, so maybe business brokerage would be a good place to put those skills to work.”
The universe was telling me something. Structuring transactions is my passion. And doing deals is my drug. I jumped on the opportunity and signed to become a Business Broker in Edmonton with Sunbelt Canada. I love to work with professional teams of accountants, lawyers, bankers, business coaches, consultants, wealth planners, insurance experts, venture and entrepreneurial sources, and others to structure transactions.