Personal Development

Don’t Be a “Real Estate Investor.” Instead, Empower Yourself By Doing THIS.

Expertise: Business Management, Commercial Real Estate, Landlording & Rental Properties, Real Estate Deal Analysis & Advice, Mortgages & Creative Financing, Personal Development, Real Estate Investing Basics
126 Articles Written
real-estate-investor

One of the biggest objections I hear from investors about getting into larger real estate deals like apartment buildings is that they don’t have enough cash or experience. So they limit their real estate strategy to their current abilities and resources.

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This is one of the biggest myths in the world of real estate investing.

One of the biggest causes of this myth is what we call ourselves. We call ourselves “real estate investors,” right? Now when we use the term “investor,” what normally comes to mind?

That’s right, investors normally have lots of cash, capital and money. You need that in order to invest in something.

We’re being told as newbies that we are to be real estate investors. And the first thing we associate with that label is that as investors, we need money. If you have lots of money, you can do bigger deals, and if you have less, then you should focus on wholesaling or smaller deals, and if you have none… well, you can watch the game from the bench.

Related: Replace These Two Limiting Words From Your Vocabulary

The Limitations We Give Ourselves

We limit our real estate strategy to the amount of money we have.

That’s why so many investors start out with wholesaling houses, and then they “graduate” to flipping using hard money and sometimes they hold a few.

It’s all a lie.

And it’s all because of what we call ourselves: “investors.”

We need to fix this, right now.

We’re not really investors. We are and want to be entrepreneurs.

This is considerably different, isn’t it? Here’s dictionary.com’s definition for an entrepreneur:

“A person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.

Notice the words “organizes,” “any” and “initiative”.

What do you think of when you hear the word “entrepreneur”?

Entrepreneurs are rain-makers; they make things happen; they create businesses out of thin air through vision, persistence, creativity and hard word. The term “boot-strapping” is associated with entrepreneurs, implying no or very little money.

In no definition of an entrepreneur is there a notion that the entrepreneur requires capital to be one. Instead, the entrepreneur “organizes” the money, just like they organize everything else: the deal, the people and the opportunity itself.

Call Yourself What You Want to Be

What if we called ourselves real estate entrepreneurs? How would that free us from the limiting belief that we need money to pursue our dreams using real estate? How would that affect the real estate strategy we pursue? Would it empower us to skip the baby steps and go directly after the best plan to achieve our goals? Even if that strategy is larger apartment buildings versus flipping houses?

Related: The One Simple Thing Required to Raise Unlimited Money From Private Investors

When you use that title in your conversations with others, it’s clear that you’re not expected to have all of the money or even the experience necessary to do what you want to accomplish. It’s immediately understood that you’re going to find the deal, and that you’ll bring investors together to raise the money, and that you’re not even going to manage things yourself because you’re going to have professional property managers do that for you.

Don’t be trapped by false labels. Call yourself what you truly are and want to be. You are a real estate entrepreneur. Take away the pressure of having money and experience to get in the game. You don’t need any of that to get started. Instead, “organize” it and make it happen from nothing. Find the deals, raise the money and create the opportunity you want for yourself.

If you would call yourself a “real estate entrepreneur” from this moment forward, how would it affect the real estate strategy you’re pursuing right now?

Let me know what you think with a comment!

Michael Blank is a leading authority on apartment building investing in the United States. He’s passionate about helping others become financially free in 3-5 years by investing in apartment building deals with a special focus on raising money. Through his investment company, he controls over $30MM in performing multifamily assets all over the United States and has raised over $8MM. In addition to his own investing activities, he’s helped students purchase over 2,000 units valued at over $87MM. He’s the author of the best-selling book Financial Freedom With Real Estate Investing and the host of the popular Apartment Building Investing podcast Apartment Building Investing podcast.

    Randy Reed Real Estate Professional from Odenville, Alabama
    Replied over 4 years ago
    I love it!!! Everything you said is correct. This is the first article in a long time that has sparked me like this. I’m going to start thinking of myself as a Real Estate Entrepreneur. Something about that just seems so right. Thanks, Michael.
    Michael Blank Rental Property Investor from Northern Virginia, VA
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Awesome, Randy, thanks …
    Angel Rosado from Bronx, New York
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Great change of view when it comes to what we call ourselves. Based on what I’ve seen and am going through money is by far the largest obstacle that we run into and thinking about it as an entrepreneur would think about their business certainly provides a juxtaposition. One that I welcome. It goes back to rich dad poor dad….you have to have change your perspective from I can’t do this to how cam I do this and this is how the entrepreneurial mind operates.
    Angel Rosado from Bronx, New York
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Great change of view when it comes to what we call ourselves. Based on what I’ve seen and am going through money is by far the largest obstacle that we run into and thinking about it as an entrepreneur would think about their business certainly provides a juxtaposition. One that I welcome. It goes back to rich dad poor dad….you have to have change your perspective from I can’t do this to how cam I do this and this is how the entrepreneurial mind operates.
    Brandon Stevens Investor from Lexington, Kentucky
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Indeed a good point. With the caveat being most entrepreneurs are already experts in their field or have a deep understanding of the market they’re entering. While money should not be a limiting factor….id suggest a flip and some smaller sfr and mfr to educate yourself on the intricacies of the business and to gain some credibility before taking over the world. There is always ways to get and/or raise money if you have the right deal…but that doesnt mean ill trust you with mine to see it through…..:)
    Sonia Spangenberg
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Agreed, but do so keeping in mind that you are an entrepreneur in training. Practice looking at things as if you were the money lender while you are learning.
    Andrew Syrios Residential Real Estate Investor from Kansas City, Missouri
    Replied over 4 years ago
    I think you’re definitely right. A lot of people limit themselves to one niche and miss out on opportunities (although a lot of other people go after every shiny object they can find). It’s all about the balancing act.
    Edward B. Investor from Midlothian, Virginia
    Replied over 4 years ago
    You are spot on here. Investing is traditionally a much more passive activity. Much of what is discussed here on BiggerPockets, in the forums and the podcasts, is running a business in real estate, either part time or full time. If that is what you are pursuing then you truly are an entrepreneur and seeing yourself as that should open your mind to overcoming the challenges that entrepreneurs in any business must deal with.
    Mike
    Replied over 4 years ago
    While I agree that limiting yourself can be bad, there could be more opportunity to working where you\’re comfortable and building your expertise in that area. That being said, I do think you have to try and expand – push yourself to achieve greater things.
    Dan G. Real estate investor from Lake County, Indiana
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Great article. It puts a lot of things in perspective for me
    Marwin Balibrea Real Estate Agent from Fairfield, California
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Love the article. The premise is very true and from now on I will be referring to myself as real estate entrepreneur.
    Yasmine Bisumber Realtor/Investor from Miramar, Florida
    Replied over 4 years ago
    This is perfect! It’s funny because on my very first set of business cards I titled myself Real Estate Entrepreneur! I felt it fit what I am doing best…we are indeed business people.
    Sonia Spangenberg
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Great paradigm shift to work on and assimilate as a newbie. We are already working with private lenders(who approached us) and doing a lot of coordination with our first two deals. One a remote (three hrs away) rehab/flip, and another deal-a remote rental with a property mgr., That gives me further encouragement that in the near future we CAN do larger MF and commercial deals. I love the orchestrating/communicating/interviewing role! I/we can do this! When I get the doubts I just remind myself what I have already been able to do. Thanks for the encouraging reminder.
    Christian Bors Real Estate Agent from Camp Hill, Pennsylvania
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Awesome article. Love the idea of being a real estate entrepreneur. Call yourself what you truly are. If it quacks like a duck looks like a duck, walks like a duck, it’s a duck.
    Deborah Vann Investor from Okotoks, Alberta
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Thank you so much for that! I’ve been going through a bit of a slump lately, and that tiny bit of reframing is very helpful. Great advice, once again. Thanks, Michael!
    Michael Blank Rental Property Investor from Northern Virginia, VA
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Glad it helped. I think it takes the pressure off a bit …
    Donald Placide from Babylon, NY/NJ
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Great article Michael, alot of valid points. I think BP should make a ‘Entrepreneur’ tab option when new members first register. Also I was(still am) a big fan of your apartment investing podcast, when is that coming back?
    Kellum Lewis Investor from Pasadena, California
    Replied over 4 years ago
    My first thought was that it might be a bit clunky to say — after all, there’s a whole extra syllable — and it could sound ostentatious. But I’m also aware that entrepreneurism has taken on new meanings as traditional ideas of employers, employees, companies, etc., are changing. And I definitely agree with your point that the word “investor” is loaded with expectation that “entrepreneur” is free of. Thanks for your article, Michael. I like the simple but effective switch in perspective.
    Joe Davis from Bogart, Georgia
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Thank you, Michael. Tony Robbins has long argued that the words we use to refer to any experience become the experience itself. Great lesson for us.
    Tom Cyr Property Manager from Grand Prairie, Texas
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Finally! I was going to write this article too Michael so I’m glad you had the priority to beat me to it. Great article. If we keep our eye on Rich Dad’s cashflow quadrant, it should be obvious that what most people do in the REI industry is NOT investing. We can always work our way into becoming an investor, but usually it’s going to be small business capital gains transactions that we personally worked to process. I might add regarding the other component of the label – putting “Real Estate” in front of entrepreneur is also limiting. Being married to the Real Estate asset class dooms an entrepreneur to running with the herd and probably buying and holding when the smart money is selling. Being diversified means being able to sell high in one asset class and immediately being able to buy low in another class and not having to wait around for real estate to cycle to a buying phase.
    Michael Benson from Dittmer, Missouri
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Sold.
    Colleen Kimball Rental Property Investor from Central Illinois
    Replied over 4 years ago
    I love this! Words are powerful and so is seeing yourself as a hustler.
    Dev Horn Flipper/Rehabber from Arlington, TX
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Great article – I completely agree with you. I often tell “wholesalers” to lose that word as it limits them to a very small piece of the real estate pie. And I agree the “entrepreneur” is the right word. We are building real estate BUSINESSES that we want to scale up (ultimately) into something bigger than ourselves. “We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.” ~ Max DePree
    Maxine Parker Investor from La Grande, Oregon
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Thanks a lot! This actually makes sense and takes the pressure off. It gives me a much more realistic approach. Great read!
    Joe G Rampy from Pryor, Montana
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Michael, one of the first things I noticed about you is your talent as a communicator. Once again, you have proven the value of this talent. BTW, my business cards have only three pieces of information: my name, my business email, my cell number. I define the rest, verbally, as and when needed.
    Tammy Vitale Investor from Lusby, Maryland
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Awesome language shift. I’m going to start incorporating it immediately! Thank you!
    Steve
    Replied over 4 years ago
    This is a beautiful thing. I’m now going through a paradigm shift. Thanks Michael
    Sonia Spangenberg
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Love the graphic you chose for this one too!
    Maggie Tasseron Investor from Palm Desert, California
    Replied over 4 years ago
    People who get hung up on semantics are probably not the kind of people who will be capable of getting involved in this kind of business in the first place. I could say the same thing about people who read self-help books, but I don’t want to insult anyone…
    Chris Newman Investor from Snohomish, Washington
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Finally, someone is connecting real estate investing with entrepreneurship! REI is just one aspect of Entrepreneurship, which has the same operating rules, no matter what the product or service. I’ve been a long time fan of “The Entrepreneurs Creed,” by Thomas Paine in 1776, Here it is with a nod to BP: The Entrepreneur’s Creed by Thomas Paine from “Common Sense,” 1776 I do not choose to be a common (wo)man. It is my right to be uncommon – If I can. I seek opportunity – not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humble and dulled by having the state look after me. I want to take a calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for a dole; I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia. I will not trade freedom for beneficence nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any master nor bend to any threat. It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and unafraid; to think and act for myself, to enjoy the benefit of my creations and to face the world boldly and say: “This, with Bigger Pockets’ help, I have done”. All this is what it means to be an entrepreneur.
    Shavonn Jordan from Baltimore, Maryland
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Great blog!!!! Changing my title IMMEDIATELY!!!
    Jay Johnson from Ruffin, North Carolina
    Replied about 4 years ago
    Just found this article, and I love it! Much success to you!