Through over a decade of starting various business and now working with students who want to get started with apartment building investing, I’ve come to the conclusion that the only way you can master any new skill, start any new business or change anything meaningful in your life is to address each of the following three elements: Want more articles like this? Create an account today to get BiggerPocket's best blog articles delivered to your inbox Sign up for free Knowledge Action Support If any one of these is missing in the process, the goals you seek will be incomplete, delayed or most likely will never happen. My wife’s been doing this “Insanity Max 30” DVD work-out program in which you try to hang with drill sergeant Shaun T until you have to take a break, at which point you’ve “maxed out.” Truly insane. I play tennis competitively and am therefore in pretty good shape. Or so I thought. Until I did one of these sessions. Geesh. I maxed out in minute 10 and never really recovered. My wife was egging me on, at first encouraging me and then calling me a baby, which worked for a little while until I finally gave up at around minute 20. Then it dawned on me. If I really wanted to get in shape, I should exercise more and maybe even do this insanity program. I would get the knowledge (what to do and how to do the exercises) from the DVD. Of course, I would need to take action to actually do the exercises; otherwise, I wouldn’t be getting the benefit of the knowledge. And doing the exercises with someone else would encourage me and keep me accountable to keep going and stay on track. Related: 11 Fundamental Tips for Successfully Investing in Rental Properties You need all three of these to effect worthwhile change in your life: knowledge, action, and support. And it’s the same thing with starting up your real estate business. Let’s say you want to get started with wholesaling, flipping houses or syndicating apartment buildings. Here’s what you MUST do to acquire the necessary skills, convert those into action and successfully launch your start-up business: Step #1: Acquire the Necessary Skills This step is the easy step. You read books, purchase a course or attend a seminar to learn the system to follow to be successful. Most people know that this their first step in starting their new real estate business, and most people take this first step. They recognize they must invest in their education to achieve their goals faster and avoid mistakes. But it’s also a fact that only 10% of people who buy a course or go to a boot camp actually USE and APPLY the system they’ve learned. That means MOST people acquire the knowledge, but as soon as they’re back home, everyday life takes over, and they fail to do Step #2. Step #2: Develop the Necessary Habits If I don’t start DOING and APPLYING the knowledge I’ve learned in theory, that knowledge will never help me achieve my goals and change my life. This is why just watching the exercise DVD won’t actually get me into the shape, even though I know how to do the exercises. It’s not enough. Taking the necessary action is not a one-time event, either. You have to take action every day and often over a long period of time. In fact, it’s probably more appropriate to call it a new habit — something you do over and over again for so long that you do it automatically. If you’re a natural action-taker and disciplined, you will do better with this step. You’re probably one of the 10% of people who come home after the boot camp and just start doing what you’ve learned. Good for you. But if you’re one of the 90% of people who don’t do this naturally but you still want to be successful, you need to do something extra. You will need an accountability partner, someone who will encourage you and keep you accountable. This person could be a spouse, friend or someone you pay (like a coach or mentor). It doesn’t matter so much which one of those you seek out, but you MUST align yourself with a person like that. Otherwise, your efforts will peter out, either sooner or later. So make sure you have an accountability partner. Step #3: Surround Yourself With the Necessary Community For the exercise session, my accountability partner was my wife, who encouraged me to join her and reminded me of my goal to get into better shape. But as much as she tried, she failed to get me through the entire 30 minutes. She was only my wife, and if I embarrassed myself in front of her, well, it’s not a big deal; I do this all the time. But what if there were 6 other people in the room? I would have surely tried harder! It’s the same thing for your real estate start-up business. Make sure you surround yourself with a community of like-minded entrepreneurs who are working towards the same goals as you and can support you. Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely sport. On good days, you want to share your successes. But who can truly understand and appreciate what you’ve accomplished? And on bad days, you need someone to tell you that it will be OK, that it’s all worthwhile, and to just keep going. Who really understands what we go through? Right — very few people, especially our friends and family. That’s why you need to seek out a community of like-minded entrepreneurs. Again, it doesn’t matter as much what kind of community you have, but it DOES matter that you work to be part of one. Related: The Simple Mentality That Sets Successful Investors Apart From the Rest The community could be a mastermind group. Maybe you create one from the people you meet at the boot camp. Or perhaps you pay to join one. In-person is best, but virtual or online is an excellent alternative and often more practical. Either way, unpaid or paid, in-person or virtual, you MUST be part of a community. This will ensure the longevity of your actions and the eventual success of your venture. Conclusion Before you set out to start any new real estate venture, make sure that your plan includes acquiring the necessary knowledge, developing the necessary habits to implement the system you learned, and connecting with the necessary community for ongoing support. If you incorporate all three of these pillars of start-up mastery, your chances for success skyrocket. What are you currently trying to do with real estate? How successful are you with taking action and developing new habits? What kind of community are you in that provides you with support and encouragement? Leave your comments below!