About Me

Written By cbotterill Published September 15th, 2010

The experiences you have had to this point will make up what you “decide” to do with your future. Here’s my story, and hopefully one of inspiration to you…

Many years ago, when I was just starting into business, I was struggling with my dream. I asked myself three questions: Was I living the life I really wanted to live?  Had I truly loved?  Did my life and what I was doing matter?

I realized then that I would never live my dreams unless I faced my biggest fear: the fear of being myself; more than the fear of failure, the fear of success. As a teenager I would go to my friend Frank’s house.  For me, Frank’s house was a cultural oasis – an unfamiliar world – where there was always classical music or Broadway show tunes playing, games of wit, trivia contests, and the Kennedy-like tag football and basketball games played at the next-door neighbor’s house.  Frank’s house was an escape from the incessant noise of the TV in my house, where there were no intellectual exchanges, no games, no stream of visiting friends and no sense of a real family. Intellectual debates threatened my dad.  It mirrored his lack of a college education.

To my Dad, being intellectual and reading books was a waste of time.  It did not put food on the table and money in your pocket.  My dad was powerful; he had meaty fists, a vise-like grip and a ferocious temper that could come cascading down upon me without warning. Successful financially, he worked himself up from sweeping floors and being a shipping clerk. With barely a high school education, he bootstrapped himself to owning a successful apparel company – my mother’s dad’s original company, which went bankrupt and my dad resurrected by going to the Orient, but that was another story.  He was a master salesman. But, being of the Depression Era, my dad always felt that poverty again could be lurking around the corner.  After my dad’s father went bankrupt in the Great Depression, my dad had to go to work to support his family.  He always reminded about those days when he had to cover up the holes in his shoes with cardboard.

I grew up in a wealthy community; yet, we lived as though the Depression was still going on.  I had watched my father’s ups and downs as a worker and entrepreneur. My father was a workaholic. I didn’t see much of him. In fact, the lonelier I got, and the more I missed having a true family, the more I wanted to be different from him. I did not want to be an entrepreneur. To me, it took away my dad.  Away from Frank’s house, my escape from loneliness was swinging a bat endlessly and dreaming of being a professional baseball player.  Until my junior year in high school, although I was bright and quick to learn, I only read books on baseball and Indians, other than what was assigned in class.

One of the moments I was most proud of was the grand slam home run that I hit 423 feet at Mickey Owen’s Baseball School in Miller, Missouri when I was 14 years old. Ten Major League teams invited me for tryouts including the Mets and Yankees, but I threw my arm out throwing rain-soaked baseballs from center field – and then it was over.  Yet, it was the moments at my friend Frank’s house – those games and those intellectual exchanges – that opened my mind to the endless possibilities of life. I was always overly optimistic, yet I was painfully shy, and I struggled to make sense of my very chaotic, abusive upbringing with a lot of focus on money but little on relationships.  To put money away for school, I parked cars at a beach club and saw how the wealthy treated “help”. I sold ices and became a Fuller Brush man where I won salesman of the month.  Although I discovered I could sell like my dad, I couldn’t collect, so I left in frustration. I should have learned my lesson then, but it took me a number of years to realize the importance of collection.

As my next escape, I was writing poetry and some short stories.  This definitely did not ingratiate myself with my dad.  Not to be dissuaded from being a writer, I studied English literature at New York University.  After winning the English Award of NYU, turning down a Wilson Scholarship in Literature and coming in second for a Rhodes Scholarship in Literature, I enrolled in NYU Law School. After a year, I left. The law was not for me. I decided I’d hire lawyers rather than be one.

I loved poetry and writing. I held onto my dream. I taught literature at Wagner Jr. High School in N.Y.C. where kids were bused in from Harlem. Still, my dad’s message that being a writer and a poet was a waste of my time troubled me and dominated my thoughts. His statement kept replaying in my mind: “you’re only worth the money and assets you own.  Writing will drive you into the poor house.  You don’t know what it is to be poor; I do.”

I left teaching. I earned an MBA in Finance at Columbia University.  I realized I was following the road traveled – my father’s path. Even then, I felt the years were swiftly passing. I often struggled with the thought that my life at times was like the myth of Sisyphus – a king in Greek mythology who was punished by being forced to roll a huge boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, and to repeat this throughout eternity.

In conflict, migraines plagued me daily.  I was hired while at Columbia Business School by a prestigious investment banking firm, Lazard Frères, to work at its real estate affiliate. A year later I had the entrepreneurial passion – to be on my own. I never wanted to be under anyone’s thumb or whim.

I left one of the most powerful investment banking firms in the world.  I gave up potential tens of millions (billions in today’s dollars) as a future partner. However, I left with some invaluable skills and insights. I learned quickly from watching the enormously wealthy clients of Lazard Frères, such as the Kennedys, that to achieve wealth, you have to own things.  While I was at Lazard, I became a deal analyst and the designation of the Company go-fer.  I would take documents to be reviewed up to Lazard’s senior-partner, André Meyer, at the Carlyle Hotel in NYC.  André Meyer was known as the “Picasso of Banking”, and was one of the wealthiest men of his time.   After numerous deliveries, he took a liking to me.  I asked him questions.  He knew what I wanted.   One day, he sat me down and revealed to me the Winning Formula to wealth.  So when I left Lazard, I set out to use the Winning Formula for myself and my partners to be.

After leaving Lazard, I lived in a 5-floor walk-up on the Eastside in the 80s.  The first partnership I entered into was with a lawyer, Michael, and a developer, Jim, who carried around and constantly manipulated black worry beads. Using the Winning Formula, I made my partners millions tax free on a 540,000 square foot office building that they ended up owning. I found, structured and closed the deal. My share was to be $1 million tax free plus one third ownership in the building. But, they cut me out of the deal at closing. I walked away with nothing.  My second partnership was with Bernie – an ex-garmento – and Billy, a top mortgage broker. With the Winning Formula, I got control of two projects which consisted of 625 units in total, both new construction. My partners made tons of money and a percentage of the upside of the projects again with no money down. My 50% interest worth hundreds of thousands of dollars became a $6,500 check when, once again, my partners cut me out of the deal. The check was just enough to put my down payment on a small condo apartment in Westchester County, New York with my wife and a child on the way.  I was without any money or prospects, and had our baby crying in the other room.

Soon, I borrowed $15,000 and put myself into business.  At age 31, using the Winning Formula, I was able to retire to Florida.  Apart from our home, I rented an apartment that looked out over the intercoastal waterway to write a novel.

Since then, I went on to write successfully and develop, build and syndicate real estate across the United States, valued today at over $500 million.  I founded Capital Hill Group, a FINRA (formerly NASD) company that continues to advise start up and emerging growth companies. I attracted over $60 million in equity investments from small funds and mostly from wealthy angel investors and became known in the industry as “The Money Guy”. For over 25 years to the present, I have a 100% successful track record in raising capital. Many times I used my writing skills to write their business and marketing plans. I set out to discover patterns that would save time evaluating each part of my business. I broke deals into finding them; analyzing them; closing them and protecting myself. My system of finding common patterns worked and kept working. For instance, at the age of 30, I bought several coal mines in West Virginia. How did I do that? I developed a checklist of the common elements that made a good coal mine. I started cold-calling names listed in the industry blue book from a small two bedroom apartment with my newborn child crying in the next room. I designed a repeating method of calling and getting through to coal mine owners in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. I not only became partners with a man that controlled 40,000 acres of coal and timber properties but also became a finder on the largest coal transaction in the United States at the time.

I found ways to continue to write creatively in both fiction and non-fiction. I was able to complete a novel and build some exciting companies that help people live a better life. I continue to be fascinated by what makes people successful in life. I have written extensively on the patterns and models that unify all areas of life and business, which I am now sharing on StepsTo.com with my 7 Steps to Wealth System.  For me, being an entrepreneur and writer was and is the closest thing I could find to being an athlete.  In sports, you see the essence of the human drama played out. At our best, we are spirited, funny, game-loving, comforting, courageous, opportunity-seeking, innovative, resilient and resourceful. In other words, we are all entrepreneurs in life, work and business.

Life and business throw you a lot of pitches. Some you let go. Some you can’t avoid – you get hit with them. Some you can’t hit at first – curve balls, sliders, sinkers.   Some you learn to hit or you don’t progress to the major leagues and become an All Star, even a Hall of Famer.  For me, as Warren Buffett says, you can’t wait for your “perfect pitch.” The key is to get enough at bats. Most of life is a numbers game. Those with the most strikeouts hit the most home runs – Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Reggie Jackson to name a few.  When things go bad, don’t become cynical. Cynicism to me is the end of life. You get much more with optimism.  No pain (struggle), no gain. I realized it is my desire to spread the best of what makes us human – being entrepreneurial and loving. This brings me (and hopefully you in recognizing your unique entrepreneurial talents and skills) the happiness, purpose and meaning to jump out of bed and make the most of each second of our lives.

Learn more about how you can harness your experience and skills by checking out my Speed to Your Wealth program – at a special discount rate to ecourse subscribers…


Roger Due

Investing in Your Destiny® & Coaching Program - Wealth Building Summit Dallas, Texas

My name is Roger Due and I am from Albuquerque, New Mexico and I am the owner of the Monsano software company. This has been an absolutely fantastic conference. This is the best I have ever been to.