Remember that kid you used to play games with who always cheated?
Whether it was poker, Monopoly, Pogs, homework – whatever – he/she use to cheat.
(Maybe that kid was you?)
Cheating is looked down on by a lot of people… and rightly so.
- Cheating in games: bad… no one will like you.
- Cheating on your taxes: badder… you might end up in prison.
- Cheating on your wife: baddest… you deserve a punch in the face.
(alright Grammar Nazi… sometimes I make up words. Deal with it.)
However, there is one area of life I’m going to encourage you to cheat at… and that’s real estate investing (or “business, to be a bit more general).
Yep, whether you are planning to flip houses, wholesale deals, buy rental property, invest in a Subway, build a tech startup, or any of the million other ways to make money in this world, some cheating in business can actually help you find more success and it’s totally legal – and acceptable – to do.
What The **** Is He Talking About?
No, I’m not suggesting you cheat a motivated homeowner out of their equity or lie your way into borrowing money on a non-deal. This kind of cheating is bad and lying is probably worse.
So what am I talking about?
Simple: using your unfair advantage.
Your unfair advantage is just that… something that you possess that you can use to help you succeed that other’s don’t have. It’s something that sets you apart, makes you special, makes you powerful.
And it’s awesome.
An unfair advantage is what gives you a leg up on the competition (where did that phrase come? It’s kinda creepy if you think about it).
Why Cheating is the Key to Success?
Each week Josh Dorkin and I sit down with a successful real estate investor on the BiggerPockets Podcast. We talk about how they got started, the successes and failures they’ve seen, the lessons they’ve learned, and the things that brought them to where they are.
And every single one had an unfair advantage, something that set them apart and helped them succeed.
You can tell it’s an unfair advantage because it’s written in (sometimes) condescending comments on each of the show notes pages. People saying things like:
- Yeah… sure it’s easy when you start with daddy’s money.
- Yeah, it’s easy to flip houses when your spouse is working full time bringing in income.
- Of course he’s successful, he had a college major in finance.
- I bet if I had started at 21 I’d be successful too.
You can tell by the tone of these comments … it feels “unfair.” These people didn’t get there on their own, but they “cheated.”
How dare they!
Here’s the Truth…
The truth is –
EVERYONE has an unfair advantage. The key to success is finding, and harnessing, yours. (Tweet This!)
Yes, that’s a Tweetable quote. Yes I expect you to Tweet that. Come on. Everyone’s doing it.
So yes, these successful people cheated. It’s unfair.
And you should too.
You have an unfair advantage in your life. Something that is going to make you succeed. Something that people are going to complain years later when you are a guest on the BiggerPockets Podcast “well sure, of course they succeeded because they have …”
And in order to succeed you need to identify what it is and then harness it.
Examples of Unfair Advantages
Let me give you a few examples of unfair advantages so it might help you identify yours.
- Having a job that pays well.
- Having a job that allows flexibility on time at the office.
- Having parents with extra cash.
- Living in an area that has low price properties.
- Living in an area that is quickly appreciating.
- Knowing rich people.
- Knowing successful real estate investors.
- Being young.
- Being able to “hustle.”
- Having success in a prior business.
- Being able to do your own labor.
- Having a nice nest egg of cash in the bank.
- Being a BiggerPockets Pro member.
- Being really good at math.
- Being really good at sales.
- Inheriting a property from a deceased relative.
- _________________ (go ahead and add another one. I’m sure you are thinking one in your head right now.)
This is just quickly off the top of my head and doesn’t represent even 1% of what could be possible. There are SO MANY unfair advantages that, chances are, you have several. Maybe a dozen. Maybe more.
So, next time you are tempted to say “hmmm, must be nice…” about someone’s success… stop and remember that they are not successful because of that unfair advantage, they are successful because they learned how to use it.
That’s the key.
That’s why this kind of cheating is okay.
What is MY Unfair Advantage?
When I first got started, I had no money.
In a way… I still don’t. and this disadvantage became my largest unfair advantage.
You see, by being broke, I was forced to hustle. I couldn’t rely on my cash to help out. I had to learn how to invest without a lot of cash.
Furthermore, I had a few other unfair advantages, like:
- My parents had a small line of credit on their house that I was able to borrow.
- And I lived in an area with low prices.
- And I found BiggerPockets.
- And I learned how to do my own labor. I can solder a coper pipe, install drywall, frame a wall, fix a roof leak, paint any wall, and pretty much do anything else that needs to get done.
These were all unfair advantages that I had when getting started. They were things that helped me stand out from the competition, get more deals, get more cash flow, quit my job, and find the moderate level of success that I have.
I know people say (even after reading this list…) “sure… must be nice to live in an area with cheap prices.” or “sure… must be nice to have parents that are generous” or “sure… must be nice to know how to install drywall.”
Seriously. If that’s you… understand that it’s only jealousy talking.
You have unfair advantages as well – things that you could use, right now, to take your business to the next level.
How to Get More Unfair Advantages
Here’s the best thing about unfair advantages:
They are not just things you are born with.
Sure, some of them are. Some things you have absolutely no control over. But 99% of unfair advantages are something you control, can change, and can add.
Yep. You can add unfair advantages to your life.
When I first got started, I didn’t know which end of a hammer to hold. I didn’t know what a copper pipe was, the difference between drywall and a stud, or how to paint a wall without it looking like a 3rd grader did it.
I knew nothing.
However, I understood that I was lacking cash, experience, mentors, and pretty much everything else I wanted to succeed. So I decided to add some skills to my resume, starting with construction skills.
I picked up a copy of “1-2-3 Home Improvement” from Home Depot and slowly learned how to do my own work. Those skills helped me keep the costs down on my early investments, which helped me buy more deals, quit my job, and more.
You see, I added an unfair advantage to my situation and harnessed it to success.
Where to Go From Here
I’m not suggesting you go out and learn how to solder a copper pipe, build a wall, or paint a room.
This was my unfair advantage, but it doesn’t need to be yours. Everyone has different strengths, weaknesses, abilities, positions, locations, gifts, talents, and friends.
Yes, it might be cheating- but it’s okay.
Cheat a little.
Find what you have that no one else has and make it work to your advantage.
Then absolutely crush it.
Finally, the last thing I’m going to ask of you:
Share with me what your “unfair advantage” is below in the comments. I’d love to see a huge list of how different people are going to “cheat” to win.
(and oh… if you liked this post, do me a favor and share it on your Facebook or other social network!)