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Fail Forward: 3 Tips on How to Leverage Your Failure In Real Estate

by Marcus Maloney on May 16, 2014 · 6 comments


The premise of this article is to encourage those that lack belief and to teach Newbies to Fail Forward.

I often address the Newbies in my post because I consider myself one.

No matter how much I learn or do, I am a constant learner and student. By having this approach it enables me to find answers to questions that I may not have.

It is remarkable how individuals are interested in real estate investing, but don’t actually ever start.

This may be associated with many factors such as: lack of time, lack of knowledge, fear of the unknown,  lack of resources, lack of money, or lack of confidence.

I’m sure there are many other excuses that can be present but there is a reoccurring theme here of “LACK”.

In my readings I found that what one may lack, others have in abundance.The greatest fear anyone can have is the “fear of failure”. The fear of failure will pulverize any dream.

I understand that there are many well renown speakers that are qualified to lecture you on this topic but from one Newbie to another, I have a PhD in failing, so I am definitely educated enough to discuss this with you!

Related: Facepalm Moments: 21 EPIC FAILS From Construction Projects Around The World

Due to my many personal failures I have come to the conclusion that there are 3 ways to fail forward:

1. Every Failure Is A Vehicle To GREATNESS.

Failure is your greatest teacher.

Many Newbies look for a mentor to teach them what not to do and this is the huge mistake. A great mentor will allow you to fail independently and then process the mistakes afterwards.

This will allow those failures to become a reference point or a reminder.These failures will begin to teach you how to create multiple exit strategies before entering into a deal. I call it reverse processing.

It’s good to visualize the end of the transaction and work backwards. I believe a mentor should be a great counselor to assist you after you have made your mistakes. The great thing about it is “What don’t kill you only makes you stronger”.

2. I’m Glad I Have A GLASS.

Investors have to embrace another level of optimism.

Everything that is done as an investor is done through speculation. The traditional approach looks through only 2 lens when dealing with optimism: the glass is either half full or half empty. As an investor the view should be thank God for the GLASS.

As long as you have a container you the have the capacity to fill it. The container is your level of desire, plus the amount of information you need to learn, plus the amount of action that is going to be put forth.

These elements equate to the depth and the strength of your glass. How these elements work together determine the amount your glass will be able to hold.

The smaller amount of passion, education, and action the quicker your glass will become full and the less successful you will become as an investor.

By failing if you truly have the passion to become a successful investor you will increase your capacity for education, and action. Failure becomes a strong motivating factor in expanding your capacity.

3. There Is NO There Without A Here.

Before you can get there you have to go through here.

Related: How To Fail 90% Of The Time… and Still Be a Wildly Successful Real Estate Investor

In essence, you have to go through the rough patches (here) in order to truly appreciate green pastures (there). Investing and life is a process, there aren’t cheat codes, you can’t skip a level, or reboot on your journey to accomplishing your goals.

You have to go through every trial and tribulation to get you to pure enjoyment. I love when Brandon and Josh ask the question on the podcast what was your greatest failure, and your greatest success (this might be during the fire round), every investor that has seen some measure of success truly appreciates what they learned from their failure.

Briefly, in my short investing career as a wholesaler, my biggest mistake is now my greatest motivation. I lost a 5k EMD in my very first deal, and not to mention I was using my newly found mentor’s money.

Without going into details I learned how important the inspection period is and how thorough I must be when communicating. I was able to re-coop the 5k on the next 2 deals but without the failure and pushing through set backs I would have given up.

This showed my mentor how passionate I am about real estate, along with my capacity to learn, and finally it showed that I was a doer.

Not to mention he wanted his 5k back, but since then we were able to do other deals and I’m getting a firm footing on how to work my way through each transaction with my exit strategy in place first. He took a big chance but its making us both money now.

I would love to motivate others that are going through the rough patches now.

Lets hear some of those DUMB failures that you were able to rebound from and what you learned.

Leave a story or insight in the comment section below!

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Eric May 16, 2014 at 8:08 pm

No one ever knows all of what is possible in terms of success or failure in RE. But, until you have done a deal, you really do not even know all of the things to look for.

Get a good mentor, even if it’s someone to partner on. Use plenty of risk mitigation. $5K is a lot of money to lose, but I have seen worse.


Marcus Maloney May 16, 2014 at 8:31 pm


This is what I tell everyone that want to start “you have to embrace the fear and go with it”. I thought I was going to choke on my tongue by not catching the lapse of the IP and loosing the EM, but we were able to re-coop and move forward.

I have heard some horror stories, my mentor was caught in a deal paying 10k a month on hard money and had no way out until another investor had to help him. From that experience he is doing about 5 wholesale deals a month not to include the flips.

Have to keep moving forward.

“Enjoying the Journey”


Lakshay May 17, 2014 at 12:24 am

Its an ongoing learning process and as you get into it you learn the related issues and become more experienced.


Marcus Maloney May 17, 2014 at 12:18 pm


You are absolutely right, you can not be afraid to try and fail this is the only way you will be able to progress.

“Enjoying the Journey”


Chuck H May 17, 2014 at 8:51 am

Something I learned from my Marine Corps days that has stuck with me for life. “If you fall down 7 times, you get up 8!” Get yo nasty face off da floor!!! Constantly falling forward. Seek, destroy, overcome, adapt, improvise and overwhelm!! Oohrah!!


Marcus Maloney May 17, 2014 at 12:20 pm

Chuck that’s a great philosophy, always find a way to get back in the game


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