Geoffrey Hopf, a native of Maryland, has lived an adventurous life. From 18 until he was 33, he traveled the world. He joined the Marine Corps after high school, spent 6 years as a Marine and is now a combat veteran. After the Marines he became a commercial diver and then an executive protection agent. His life of action and adventure slowed down when he met his wife, Tahnee. After meeting Tahnee and looking inward, he changed course from action jobs to entrepreneurship. “I knew that being a bodyguard was a single man’s gig and if I truly wanted the lifestyle I wanted, I needed to create it myself” Geoff says.
He started his first company when he was 39 and successfully sold it within a year to a large competitor. He then went on to start another company, Property-pix.com, which services brokers and asset managers in the real estate owned and foreclosure space. Property-pix.com started as a local San Diego company but now operates across 16 states and contracts with over 100 people. “When I started Property-pix.com, all I was doing was creating a service that was needed. It’s that simple. Look around, identify a problem and then find the solution.”
With Property-pix.com doing well, Geoff had time to pursue his passion for writing. He recently published his first children’s book, Doggieville. He is working on the second installment of the Doggieville series and is working on a line of children’s products that will accompany the book. “The inspiration for the book came from my 2 daughters. I look at them and I am in awe of the opportunities that they have before them. They can do whatever they want. I then thought that if they can do anything, so can I. So I sat down and did just that.”
Geoff lives in sunny San Diego with his wife and 2 daughters.
What are you working on right now?
I am focusing my creative energy on writing children’s books. I have just completed the Spanish version of my first children’s book title, Doggieville. I am also working on an ebook version and iPad application that will accompany the original version.
Where did the idea for Doggieville and children’s books come from?
The idea to get into children’s books came from telling my daughters stories at night. My wife and I read to them every night and after we’re done reading and the lights are out, they always want me to tell them a story. One night after putting them to bed, I asked my wife what she thought about putting their favorite story on paper; she was completely supportive. I took the energy and purpose I give to anything I want and unleashed it. From idea to actual book in hand took 4 months.
What does your typical day look like?
My typical day starts out with me getting up around 6:00 AM. Since I work from home and my business is Internet based, I don’t need a brick and mortar location. I get a little work done before everyone else gets up around 7:30 AM. I take a break to have breakfast with my family and spend some daddy-daughter time with my girls. I get back in the office by 9:00 AM and am on the phone or computer until around noon, when I take a short break. I break my days into segments. My mornings are best spent taking care of issues with my company Property-pix.com. After lunch I set aside 2 hours for my new writing venture and then close out the normal business day addressing any issues or prospecting for Property-pix. Being a business owner, you really never clock out. So around 7:00 PM I go back at it with Property-pix and with the books.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I trained myself to look at the world and see opportunity. We live in such a great country that appreciates the entrepreneurial spirit and I just open myself to receive ideas. Every time I hear someone complain about something, my mind kicks into creative mode to figure out how to fix it. In order to bring things to life, YOU MUST come from creation and be positive. I easily come up with a new business idea every day. It kind of drives my wife crazy. I only act on a few, not to say the ideas I come up with are bad, I just don’t have the energy to get behind everything. Once I do commit to an idea, I put an enormous amount of energy behind it and I act. This is where most people fail: they never ACT. They fear the business idea won’t work and don’t want to fail so they don’t pursue it and in the end, they do fail.
3 trends that excite you.
I love social media. I love the world of self-publishing and I love the use of cloud storage.
What is the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
The worst job I ever had was working as an assistant manager for Blockbuster Video. What I took from that corporate job is that I would never work the corporate grind again.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I don’t like the idea of starting over and doing things over again. I believe that all things happen for a reason and we need the mistakes and failures in life to make us who we are. Failing is a critical piece of the success formula.
What is the one thing you did/do as an entrepreneur that you would do over and over again and recommend everybody else do?
Just take massive action. When you have an idea and after careful thought has been given, you must take action. Once your due diligence is over, you must commit. I never use to be this way, it took training because I used to really fear success.
Tell us a secret…
Truly define what you consider success. I had a friend that didn’t want to become a writer because he defined success as making millions from his novels. So the goal and the idea of success seemed very far and distant to him. I asked him if he valued the time and knowledge it took to write and he said he did. I then asked him if he completed his first novel, would he consider it a success that he took a lot of his personal time and passion to create it. He agreed it would be a success, so I told him to redefine success as just completing the first task. Everything after that is icing on the cake. I am happy to say that after 25 years of procrastination, he is writing his first book.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I really like the video game system Wii and I always thought of having a Wii café or lounge. It would be for adults over 21 only. Think of it as a bowling alley but without the hard uncomfortable seats. Take those out, have some great lighting, comfy chairs, decent prices and you have a place for adults to go play.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. It is a classic but when you read it, it feels very contemporary. He outlines the basic formula for success. I have practiced his formula 3 times and it has proven spot on.
If you weren’t working on Property-pix.com and children’s books, what would you be doing?
I would be writing my first novel.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why.
Who has time to use Twitter?
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
When I read the question above. Twitter is like a full time job. While I think social media is a great asset, time is valuable to me. I feel people waste large amounts of time on Twitter and not enough time creating their ideas.
Who would you love to see interviewed on IdeaMensch?
Ryan Blair, an entrepreneur who went from gang member to self-made millionaire.
What motivates or drives you?
I am driven and motivated by several different things. One is to always be a man who is the true master of his ship and is truly free.
Do you always work or do you take time for yourself?
I do not always work but I always keep my mind working. While I’m not working, I am looking at things to see how I might make them better or come up with a product or service to make everyone’s life better. I cherish my free time with my family and I am a big believer in balance.
Email: [email protected]
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.