Real Estate Investing Basics

The Vital Real Estate Investing Lesson I Just Taught My Daughter

Expertise: Mortgages & Creative Financing, Personal Development, Landlording & Rental Properties, Personal Finance, Real Estate News & Commentary, Real Estate Deal Analysis & Advice, Real Estate Investing Basics, Business Management, Commercial Real Estate
175 Articles Written

One of the most important skills in life is to know how to pay attention.

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I don’t mean paying attention to details — you can pay others to do that. Pay attention to opportunities to learn. They are not always obvious. They are, in fact, almost never obvious…

My Daughter’s Training Wheels

So — we were in the car running errands today. It’s Saturday. We drove to pick up our cheese and butter from an Amish farmer. We haven’t bought those in the store for years, but that’s a separate conversation altogether. 🙂

Related: What A Trapper Taught Me About Real Estate Investment Negotiation

Anyhow, my daughter says, “Dad, can you take the training wheels off my bike?” This wasn’t the first time she asked me this, and I felt the time was right to venture into a conversation about falling down…

Me: Honey, I will be happy to take the training wheels off of your bike as soon as we get home, but are you sure that you are ready to learn to ride without training wheels. You will fall down, you know?

Bella: Why am I going to fall down, dad?

Me: Because without the training wheels, there won’t be anything there to stop your bike from leaning too far one way or the other. Keeping balance will be your job, and you don’t yet know how to do it.

Bella: I have an idea — you can run behind me and hold the bike!

Me: Absolutely, honey. I will do it in the beginning. But as soon as I feel that you are gaining some balance, I will need to let go.

Bella: Why will you need to let go?

Me: For two reasons.  One — I won’t be able to keep up with you once you go fast. And two — I know something you don’t know…

Bella: What, dad?

Me: I know that in order to learn to get up, you first need to experience falling down.

Bella: But dad — once I know how to go fast, why should I fall down?

Me: Because, honey, going fast is easy. It’s the first thing you learn to do on the bike; however, eventually you’ll have to slow down and stop, and that’s much harder than going fast. Balance is much harder to keep while going slow than it is while going fast…

Related: What My 2 Daughters Taught Me About The Power of Indirect Influence

There was silence. This conversation happened at 11:00 a.m. It is 9:23 p.m. I haven’t heard anything more about taking the training wheels off!

I’ll keep you posted.


If you are a newbie, you should know that I’ve just covered the first 7 years of your business life cycle. Extrapolate as much meaning from the above as possible; believe me — it’s all there!

P.S. My articles seem to get shorter and shorter. I wrote last week’s in a half of an hour. This took 9 minutes.

I think I delivered much more valuable content this week — agree?

I’d love to hear what you think. Please comment below!

Ben has been investing in multifamily residential real estate for over a decade. An expert in creative financing, he has been a guest on numerous real estate-related podcasts, including the
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    Brandon Turner
    Replied about 6 years ago
    What? No comments yet? Well I’ll be the first. Awesome post ben – really. This is deep stuff, and very true!
    Ben Leybovich
    Replied about 6 years ago
    Haha – too deep for BP; no quick fixes here. Shaulda posted on – woulda got tonns of comments 🙂 BTW – we need to talk. You know that event I’m doing on the 12th – we need to talk. I’ve been trying to reach you for 24 hours, and if you don’t call me today I’ll knock on your door 🙂
    Replied about 6 years ago
    Great post Ben, well done.
    Ben Leybovich
    Replied about 6 years ago
    Hey – thanks a lot, Tom!
    Replied about 6 years ago
    Great post Ben, well done.
    Ron Perich
    Replied about 6 years ago
    Ben, Great post as always. Actually had me thinking kind of hard this AM… and this perfectly ties into what I have been doing. I started my business in May of this year. I haven’t even thought about putting in an offer on a property. Why? I am learning to ride my bike first. I have been reading articles, books, and listening to podcasts. I have to learn about this business before I take the plunge. Why should I unnecessarily risk my hard-earned money (or someone else’s) when I have great folks to learn from? That doesn’t mean I haven’t been putting in the time. The E-Myth resonated with me and I have been systematically following Gerber’s advice. My Primary AIM, Strategic Objective, Demographic Models, and business rules are written. Working on developing specific farm areas and my Operation’s Manual right now. By 2015, I think I’ll be at a place where I can start the monetary investment piece. So thanks for the post! FYI: You and Nathan Brooks wrote about very similar themes this week. And in his podcast, he cautioned against going too fast as well. Learn to rise the bike before you step into the cockpit. Once you do get in that seat, be a Top Gun.
    Ben Leybovich
    Replied about 6 years ago
    Right on, Ron! Too slow and too fast are both dangerous. Have to pick the right gear….
    Replied about 6 years ago
    Good stuff Ben. Very profound in how it is eerily similar to the plight of a new entrepreneur. So is she still just scooting around in her safe comfort zone or has she embraced the risk and expanded her world?
    Ben Leybovich
    Replied about 6 years ago
    eNot a chance, Shaun – hahah. I think she’ll play it on the safe side 🙂