Home About the Lighter Side

About the Lighter Side

“An escape from your daily real estate hustle.”

The real estate industry can be heavy at times. Stressful, too. And competitive. We all know this. But if you’re not laughing, you’re not living. The Lighter Side exists to help you live a little better.

mike-bell
Mike Bell
Founder
“Chief Chuckler in Charge”

Professional Background

I cut my teeth on real estate fresh out of college in 1997 when a buddy introduced me to the world of appraising. He was a successful mortgage broker, and I was a floundering graduate trying to figure things out. He introduced me to his appraiser friend who agreed to accept me as an apprentice, and the “rest is history” as they say.

Early into my appraisal career I began investing in real estate, so getting my sales license seemed only natural. In 2004 I became licensed to sell. I continued doing both — selling and appraising — until I placed both licenses on inactive status in 2008, where they both remain to this day… caked with dust, I’m sure.

Post Real Estate Career

Having a knack for writing, I could easily weave a tale about how leaving real estate was by my own volition — that I was a rockstar agent who just “wanted more of a challenge” or some nonsense. But I’m more transparent than that.

The reality is that I had one foot in each boat, and when the real estate bubble bursted I hadn’t established enough of a base to sustain myself. The abandonment of my appraisal career, on the other hand, was completely voluntary. Newly imposed government regs at that time had strangled the life out of my love for appraising. I’ve never ruled out a comeback, though, especially with sales.

My professional life after real estate has included a mixture of freelance writing assignments, various marketing services, and a few big ideas which flopped in a big way. On December 30th, 2013, I started the Lighter Side and almost immediately it became my full-time gig. This baby ain’t floppin’.

10 Random Facts:

  • I believe dogs are nature’s gift of happiness to humans.
  • I guess you could say Lighter Side was conceived on my brown leather sofa. Just me and my laptop, and what seems like a thousand hours of solitude in early 2014.
  • I’d probably do well on the competitive eating circuit. Seriously, I can eat. Some say my great grandfather must’ve been a Rottweiler.
  • Ketchup disgusts me, but I love tomatoes.
  • I have a great sense of smell. Maybe my great grandfather was Bloodhound, not a Rottweiler.
  • I haven’t told any of my Realtor acquaintances about the Lighter Side. I just wanna see how mainstream it goes. That way, if it ever comes up in conversation, I can have a little fun by saying, “Yeah, I’ve heard of it.” Then tell them the story.
  • In fifth grade I petitioned my buddies to start calling me “Rock” because I thought I was tough. It didn’t catch on. That’s when I realized the best nicknames are earned, not self-manufactured.
  • My base of true friends is an inch wide but a mile deep. I crave depth and context with people.
  • I don’t watch many movies. I get amused at the shock on people’s faces when they reel off famous titles and I’m like, “Nope, didn’t see it… or that one… never heard of that one…” That said, some of favorites are ‘Rudy’ and ‘Shawshank Redemption’.
  • I belted a home run in the Dixie Youth World Series. After rounding third base I stopped and began strutting to home plate while taunting the opposing team’s fans. Looking back, I blame this on watching too much “wrasslin” growing up. Anyway, after touching home plate I received an earful from my father who was waiting in the dugout. That was my last day of being a pretentious little punk.
matt-struve
Matt Struve
Operations
“Chief of Everything Else”

Professional Background

I’d like to say I graduated with 5 degrees, but was too obsessed with philosophy at the time. I dropped out, existential angst and all. From 2004 to 2011, I became a life coach and taught meditation and personal growth throughout the US.

After reaching a point of saturation, mostly due to poor work/life balance skills, a friend suggested I read the Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris. Like many other readers, my eyes were opened up optimizing how I made a living. Freshly inspired, I pulled away from one-on-one client services and decided to create what Tim called an automated business. Thus began the lean-living chapter of life.

Experiments w/ Business 2.0

I’ve always been into technology and design but until I studied internet marketing, I never realized the potential of serving thousands of people at once without having a huge ad budget. I started geeking out on viral marketing, challenging myself to learn videography, editing, and publishing on Youtube. I went on to learn website development, taught myself how to code, how to optimize the server side, how to leverage social media, and rank high on search engines — I was hooked.

Mike and I met during this time. We clicked right off the bat and began bootstrapping various products and services over the next few years. A year later my daughter was born and I scaled back to focus on my family. During that time Mike created the Lighter Side of Real Estate. In May of 2014, we reconvened and I couldn’t believe how big his audience had grown in such a short time. He suggested I hop on board and it’s been a blast ever since.

10 Random Facts

  • I started my design career at 4 y/o, drawing big-rig semi-trucks, mud flaps and all.
  • I have moved residences exactly 30 times – lived in 20 different cities across the US.
  • My favorite place on Earth (so far) is a tiny private cove in Laguna, CA called “Table Rock”.
  • I’m a health and nutrition advocate on the side and enjoy experimenting with mono diets, fasts, and cleanses.
  • Had a near death experience 16 years ago and still remember every weird detail.
  • Driven coast to coast more times than I want to count.
  • I’m a beer hobbyist of sorts, but, despite trying over 800 different ones, I can’t drink more than 1 or 2 at any given occasion.
  • The first time I spoke in public was to a group of 50, had no formal training, and beforehand, didn’t think I’d have anxiety. After the first 4 sentences, my throat locked up until I couldn’t breathe. After turning various shades of tomato, I excused myself, and have yet to feel the same degree of embarrassment since.
  • My liberal friends think I’m too conservative, and my conservative friends think I’m too liberal.
  • I’m nuts over all things AI, VR/AR, computation, tech singularity, simulation & many worlds theory, etc.
  • My immediate family is pretty spread out: California, Oregon, South Carolina, Denver, Alaska, Russia, and Spain.