In my previous article I talked about a book that I felt was well worth the investment of money (to buy) and time (to read). I must say, it was a great decision on my part to purchase that book. It was definitely the most efficient use of my money and time. Tired of me patting myself on the back? I’m tired of it too. Time for some humble pie…
It’s easy to talk about our great decisions, but I believe the most can be learned from bad decisions. This bad decision revolves around the book, Access 2007 – The Missing Manual.
If you are a real estate investor, DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK!
I mean no offense to the author, Matthew MacDonald by saying this. In all actuality, the portion I did read was well put together and helpful; however, the main problem is I should have NEVER been reading this book in the first place!
You’re Getting Into Real Estate Investing – Right?
When I was first getting started, my goal was to become a successful real estate investor, NOT a successful database management professional. What in the world was I thinking by purchasing and then beginning to read this book? As obvious as it may seem, my thought process at the time was (and still is) a very very easy and cleverly hidden trap: if I learn how to do this, my business will be much more efficient and I will save money. - WRONG!!!
To rub some additional salt into my own wound (serve up some more humble pie for myself), I should add that I am a former engineer, so I am pretty well versed in Excel spreadsheets. I bring up this point to show that even though the obvious “time efficient path” should have been clear to me, I still fell into the trap.
Time is Not Unlimited
Check out how thick the book is! Again, what was I thinking?!?! Not only is this book over 700 pages, it was pretty darn complicated given the fact I knew nothing about Access 2007. I still remember sitting at my computer, going page… by page… by page… and barely making any progress. After a while I though, “this is terrible, what a waste of time!”, but then I would justify continuing with the simple thought of “well, I spend company capital on the book, so I better get my monies worth”… ugggg! I hate when I trick myself with those irrational thoughts!
Finally, I convinced myself that this endeavor was a complete waste, especially given the fact that I knew my way around a spreadsheet. I threw the book up on my shelf and haven’t picked it up until today to take the pictures of it.
Lesson to Be Learned
I’m assuming if you are reading this, it is because you came to BiggerPockets looking to learn more about real estate investing, and not database management. With that being said, spend your time learning about things that pertain to your goals. Yes, I know that seems so obvious, but learn from my mistake, it can happen!
If you want to become a landlord, spend your time learning about how to screen tenants, solid lease agreements, the laws in your state, etc. If your goal is to be a wholesaler, spend your time learning marketing methods and ways to track your marketing. If your goal is to be a flipper, spend your time finding those solid contractors and sub contractors.
Don’t go and waste your time with things that aren’t going to significantly benefit your goal. I use the word “significantly” because there does need to be some distinction. By learning Access 2007, could I have benefited from it? Absolutely. I could do it all myself and not have to worry about ever paying someone to create a certain type of database. However… is that benefit really “that” good considering the amount of time I would have had to spend in order to accomplish it? No way!!! Not even close!!! If I ever need to create a complicated Access database, I will GLADLY pay an expert to do it. It would be well worth it.
Do You Have an Access 2007 In Your Life?
Stop and think about what you are currently spending your time on. No matter if you’re a rookie, somewhat experienced, or a hardcore veteran. Is there anything that you are spending your time doing that really won’t have “that” much benefit to you once you accomplish it? Odds are, you do in one way or another. Heck, I probably have a couple right now that I’m not totally aware of (yet).
Remember, being an efficient/successful business person and investor is all about making sure your “time spent” is proportional to your “benefit gained”.
I would love to throw my book up on Amazon or eBay to sell it. Or better yet, use it as kindling for a bonfire, but I keep it around. I place it in a spot where I can always see it while sitting at my desk to remind me of this: use your time wisely!