In life, change can present many challenges and can therefore be frightening — but to become a successful real estate investor, you will eventually come to a fork in the road called transition. One question you will face is: do I continue on the path of working a job that is paying the bills but which I dread going to everyday, or do I set out to follow my passions and dreams?
What is “Transition”?
“Transition” is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “a change from one state or condition to anther; or passage from one state, stage, subject, or place to anther; change.”
This definition is simple enough to follow, and everyone understands what transition is as a noun, but the state of transition is very difficult when in action as a verb, as in “I am transitioning.”
Note: I am not trying to get philosophical, but for anyone to change from one state to another, there is a period where the subject that is changing or transitioning will encounter a time when things are uncomfortable or uncertain.
The Caterpillar-to-Butterfly Transition
Lets look at the transition of a caterpillar to a butterfly, for example. The caterpillar transitions to a butterfly, but during the transition, although they look completely different, they are still the same insect. The caterpillar during the time of transition is affected tremendously and can no longer do what it was able to do before.
While in its cocoon, it is unable to crawl, eat, breed etc. I hope you get the point. After the transition, it is completely transformed; it can do things that it could not do before (fly), it can go places where it could not go before (high into the air), it looks different, and it attracts different things because its surroundings are different.
How Does This Apply to Real Estate?
The caterpillar-butterfly metaphor was used to describe the transition you will face when finally deciding to become a real estate investor.
You are still “Matt,” “Sally” or “Joe,” but during the transition, things will become different, uncertain — and even difficult. You will not be able to do some of the things you did before, such as hang out with friends as much, spend all day Sunday watching football because you need to study, or even take your spouse out as much because you do not have as much money.
This will become uncomfortable, but during this transition period, you will have to remember that you are finally going to be able to reach the potential that you were made to reach.
- You will be able to attract things to you that you would never have been able to attract (private money).
- You will be able to go places where you would not have been able to go before because your surroundings have changed.
- Instead of crawling on the ground eating what is within your reach, you are now able to soar and experience new and exotic things.
How One Uncomfortable Decision Changed My Life
I considered my life to be comfortable: my family owns a successful business, I have 3 wonderful kids, an amazing wife, and I am a college graduate, but I was living life as a caterpillar. Things were comfortable, but uncomfortable at the same time; I was ready to transition.
I knew there was a thirst for real estate that could not be quenched in my current position in life, and as much as I loved working with my family, the hunger and passion of real estate was beginning to gnaw at me.
My wife was awarded a great job in Phoenix, AZ, and it was something she always wanted to do. Great, was my first reaction. But are we really able to do this? was my common sense reaction. I knew that with my job I was able to work remotely, but it was my family business. How would my side of the family accept me leaving? What about my kids leaving their grandparents, cousins and friends?
I do not know anyone in Phoenix. How will I… everything?
Talk about uncomfortable — this was it, but I understood that Phoenix was the epicenter of real estate, and after putting together a plan (that eventually fell miserably), I set out for the valley of the sun.
No one understood what we were doing: not our family, not our Pastor, not our friends and especially not our 13 year old daughter. No one understood, but despite the criticism and the uncertainty, we finally came to a decision: GO!
A few weeks before the road trip, I stumbled across a website while looking for answers on how to rent our house (at the time we could not sell). The site was BiggerPockets. I became engrossed in the information and began to download podcast after podcast. I became more excited, and I could visualize the end from the beginning.
During the drive from Chicago to Phoenix, I absorbed everything I possibly could from the podcast, but I did not understand:
- Real estate marketing
- Finding buyers
- Building a team
- Knowing where and how to get started
- The Phoenix market
There were may unknowns and uncertainties, but I was still driving West — and could not understand why.
The End Result
Once landing and getting situated, caterpillar-to-butterfly transition began to take form:
- I couldn’t do what I did before, spend down time watching football; I had to educated myself.
- I began to attract the people I needed by networking at meetings, so my surroundings began to change.
- Instead of crawling on the ground, I am now able to soar and wholesale deals to other investors, which is now taking me to new and exotic places.
This is the reason why I kept driving West; I knew that this was my passion and that I would just figure it out along the way. I heard a familiar saying by Joel Osteen: “It is better to aim high and miss than to aim low and hit.” I knew I would hit something, either gold or coal, but I was shooting!
Recently working with a partner, we were able to secure a deal we got under contract on a Friday — and had it sold the following Monday. The end result a gross payout of $40,000. BOOM! I hit something and it sure wasn’t coal. 🙂 This is one of the 12 deals I have done in 18 months since moving to Phoenix, AZ.
There are many uncertainties you will have to face when transitioning, but you’ll emerge on the other side stronger, wiser and better off than where you began.
Are you up for the challenge to be transformed? Are you ready to make the transition from caterpillar to butterfly? Instead of crawling, do you want to soar?
Let us know what you are doing TODAY that will effect your TOMORROW.
Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.