5 Highly Actionable Steps to Make REAL Progress Towards Your Investing Goals

by | BiggerPockets.com

BiggerPockets.com is an amazing learning resource for real estate investors. That’s why most of us are here.

But like all great resources on the internet, it comes with a big challenge.

There is so much great information that it can become overwhelming.

This article is about simplifying your learning experience, getting more clear and confident, and making real progress towards your investing goals.

I’m going to give you 5 specific strategies that you can use alone or in combination.

Let’s get started.

5 Steps to Make REAL Progress Towards Your Investing Goals

1. Answer the question: Why are you here?

Have you ever watched that awesome TED talk “Start With Why?

Everything great starts with why. Awesome companies. World changing movements. Inspiring leaders.

Your real estate investing career is no different.

Your “why” gives you perspective on the “what” and the “how” of real estate.

Exploring “why” also helps you focus. It helps you simplify the information you take in because you will be attracted to some information and ignore other information.

So, why are you here? Why do you read articles, listen to podcasts, and interact on the Forums at BP?

  • Do you hope to buy your first rental property?
  • Do you hope to start a business fixing and flipping houses?
  • Do you want to be a deal finder as a wholesaler or an agent?
  • Or do you not know exactly why you’re here? Are you still trying to figure it out?  

Any of those answers is reasonable. But take some time to explore your own motivations before you dig into the next set of articles or podcasts. Focus on the short-term, like your “why” in the next 6-12 months.

Related: Stop Dreaming & Start Doing: How to Turn Big Real Estate Goals Into Actionable Steps

If you have trouble with this, try asking the opposite question.  

What are you NOT here for? Choosing what to exclude may be just as useful as choosing what to focus on.

2. Figure out your main study topics (exclude the rest).

Once you get a little more clarity on your why you’ll be able to focus more on specific topics taught here on BiggerPockets.com.

For example, let’s say your “why” or objective is to buy your first rental property.

Here are the topics that I would recommend you study:

Getting started fixing and flipping, wholesaling, becoming an agent, owning notes, or investing commercially each has its own unique (but similar) core topics.

In another article, I wrote about “The 7 Must-Read Real Estate Books For Beginning Investors,” and I called these topics the “101 classes” of your real estate self education.

Unlike a real university, YOU decide the teachers and the curriculum for your 101 classes. So choose carefully!

This is one of the main reasons for information overload. Without a “why” and without an idea of what topics you should focus on, you tend to drift about from one eye-catching headline to another.  

Trust me, there are plenty of talented authors and knowledgeable experts who are more than happy for you to read their stuff. And most of it is pretty good.

BUT it doesn’t matter how interesting or good it is. What matters is does it move you forward toward your objective?

So, I recommend actually writing down an education plan, just like you would for any other important project. Pick the most important topics and use them to choose what you learn and what you ignore.

If you are so new or overwhelmed that you don’t know the most important topics or even the questions to ask, do one of the following:

  • Leave a comment at the bottom of this article sharing your objective (your “why”), and I will be happy to do my best to help you explore the topics you should focus on.
  • Post a question in the Forums, either in the New Member Introduction Area or in the specific forum that matches your “why” or objective (like rental properties, wholesaling, flipping, etc.). BP is known for the knowledgeable people who are willing to help.

Related: 5 Daily Habits to Help You Steadily Reach Your Entrepreneurial Goals

3. Use BiggerPockets tools to help you focus.

Now that you’re more clear on why you’re here and now that you have a list of topics to study, use technology as your friend to help you focus.

Here are some of the best BP tools (feel free to comment below if I left some out):

BP Search:

If you haven’t used it before, the BP search box is here:


You can search for any of the topics you’ve chosen in step #2. The more specific you get, the better.

Below is an example of the search results you would get if one of your topics was “house hacking duplex.” There are 957 forum posts and 5 blog posts related to just this one topic!


You can also click on “filter results” in order to narrow your results by most recent, by author, or by other criteria.

This is a great way to find forum topics, blog posts, and podcasts that are relevant to you.

Subscribe to Forums

The forums are probably the richest resource on BP because you can find discussions on just about any topic. But they’re also HUGE and cover more than you need to focus on.

So use the “subscribe to forum” tool. This allows you to just get notices on your BP Dashboard from the forums that are relevant to your education needs.

Subscribing to the BiggerPockets Forums is simple.

  1. Visit the Forums Categories Page.
  2. Click on a forum that you want to follow.
  3. Click on the “subscribe to forum” box (like picture below).


4. Now every time you check into BP, you can view your “Subscribed Forum” tab on the main forum page to get a list of all conversations and topics you’re interested in.


Keyword Alerts  

This is a very handy tool. You can choose words that you want to follow anywhere on the BiggerPockets.com Forums and Marketplace.  

Here is a keyword video tutorial (my favorite part is Brandon Turner and his cat), and here is a written, step-by-step guide. To set up your keyword alerts, go here.

People use these alerts for finding deals in their market and connecting with other members. But it’s also very useful for learning about specific topics.

Go back to your topic list, figure out the most urgent ones to learn, and add them to your keyword alerts. Now you’ll be notified anytime a conversation occurs about that topic in the Forums.  

It’s nice to jump on topics quickly because then you can ask questions or offer your own experience to the topic. These conversations are a great way to learn.

4. Go deep with the right experts (ignore the rest).

Now you know why you’re on BP and what you want to study, and you’ve used the BP tools to focus your information intake.

But it’s still possible to focus your learning even more.

Of all the blog authors and forum experts on BP, some of them will resonate with you more than others. Maybe it’s because they have a similar story to yours. Or maybe you just think they’re funny (it’s hard not to laugh reading a Ben Leybovich article).

Whatever the reason, find a few people you respect on BP who cover your topics, and go deep with their content.

Read all of their blog articles, new and old. Read all of their forum posts. Ask them questions in the comments and forum posts. Use the “follow” tool to keep up with them on BP.

Part of learning is studying specific information. But another part of learning is just absorbing successful people’s approach to business and life. The more you observe what they say and do, the more you’ll pick up.

Famous personal development teacher Jim Rohn once said:

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”  

The community of BP is great because you can choose to spend time with whomever you want, and this can “average up” your real estate game in the process.

I also like to find out who the experts I respect study. What authors do they like? What books do they read? What courses have they taken?

For example, I love reading everything about Warren Buffett I can get my hands on. But who did he learn from? How did he improve himself to get where he is today?

One of his biggest influences was Benjamin Graham. As a result, I have read and enjoyed Graham’s book The Intelligent Investor.

5. Schedule offline learning time.

As much as I love the internet for its wealth of free information and the ability to connect with people from all over the world, it does have its downsides.

For me personally, the downside is just the amount of distractions and diversions any online reading can bring.

One minute you’re reading about rental leases, and the next moment you’re on ESPN.com reading about the Clemson Tigers’ chance at a football national championship.  


By the way, my Clemson Tigers do have a good chance this year! [Editor’s note: Go Tar Heels!]

But back to our REAL topic. I like to take my learning offline from time to time. I do this in a few ways:

  • Turn off alerts on my cell phone
  • Read printed books (I know, that’s old school)
  • Print articles (even MORE old school)
  • Attend classes or networking events in person

Maybe I’m the only one, but I still learn best in a quiet room, in a comfortable chair, with my pen and a book or printed article. 

Not only do you learn this way, but your mind also has space to make creative connections between ideas. Using your brain to THINK is just as important in learning as absorbing information.

Sometimes this time to think gets lost in our manic obsession to absorb more information.

So take time offline to get quiet, read, journal, and just absorb all of the information you’ve been learning.

Educate Yourself in Motion

I hope the 5 strategies I’ve shared will be helpful for you. Feel free to take what works for you, and discard the rest.

But no matter what, I hope you’ll combine all of the information you’re learning on BiggerPockets.com and other places with a healthy dose of hustle.  

You have to get in motion. You have to apply what you learn, even if you fail and fall flat on your face.

Once you get in motion, you’ll have more context and challenges that will take your education even deeper. This is where the real learning happens.

Best of luck to you with your learning and with your real estate investing!

We are republishing this article to help out our newer readers.

How do you keep up with all of the real estate information you learn? Have you used any of the 5 strategies I’ve suggested?  Do you have anything different to suggest?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

About Author

Chad Carson

Chad Carson is an entrepreneur, writer, and teacher who used real estate investing to reach financial independence before the age of 37. He wrote an Amazon best-selling book Retire Early With Real Estate, and his story has been a featured on Forbes, Yahoo Finance, Business Insider, GetRichSlowly.com, the BiggerPockets Podcast, How to Money, ChooseFI, and more. Chad and his business partner currently focus on long-term rental properties and private lending in and around the college town of Clemson, South Carolina. Their portfolio of 90+ units includes houses, small multi-unit apartments, and mobile homes. In 2003, Chad and his business partner began real estate investing from scratch. They started by wholesaling and fixing-and-flipping properties. They also learned to rely on non-conventional financing sources like private lending, seller financing, and lease options, which remains their expertise today. After surviving the 2007-2009 real estate downturn (with scars to prove it!), they transitioned to more of a focus on student rentals. You can find more of Chad's writing (as well as podcast episodes) at coachcarson.com.


  1. Gianni Laverde

    Hi Chad, this is one amazing article you posted. Definitely, 5.Schedule Offline Learning Time is a great tip as being offline sometimes definitely helps organize our thoughts, process all the information we process and plan ahead.

    Have a great day!

  2. Douglas Skipworth

    Thanks for writing this article. It is very well done, which is exactly what I would expect from a Clemson Tiger (my business partner went to Clemson!). We are going to share it with our clients and social media followers.

    Best of luck to you in 2016!

  3. Chad great article. I just started reading BP and don’t know much about real estate. I’m a newbie. My why is I want to get into multi family investing. I have access to a decent amount of financing and im building a team. My problem is brain over load. I’m reading and listening a ton, but I’m just not sure how to take the plunge. Any advice would be great.



    • Chad Carson

      Hi Jon,
      Why do you want to get into multi-family investing? Just curious?

      If you’ve had success with the financing, to me your main focus should be analyzing your market and finding deals. If you want to boil this entire business down, it’s essentially matching money and real estate property. You’ve got one, so just work on the other.

      What have you done to find deals so far?

      Thanks for commenting.

  4. Gabe Livingston

    That was a great article. I’ve had around 30 low income rental properties for about 6 years now and I enjoy being a landlord. I have recently gotten more serious about making a serious go of being a landlord so I’ve started researching and learning more. I find the toughest thing for me currently is finding good deals. It seems that everyone today is paying way too much for rental property. Any advice on finding good deals?

    • Douglas Skipworth


      That’s awesome about your 30 houses. Well done!

      Below is a one-page slide from a presentation we give about Finding Deals. I hope you find it useful (of course, once you find the deal you’ve got to make sure it’s a good one!).

      How Can We Get Access to All Possible Investments?

      The best way investors find opportunities is (1) knowing what they are searching for and (2) always looking and listening for it (i.e., sourcing).

      Said another way, once they know what they want, investors must constantly ask, “Who owns property that I want and how can I get access to that owner?”

      The most common places to connect with owners of real estate (i.e., to find potential deals) are as follows.

      -MLS and Aggregators (e.g., Zillow, Trulia, broker websites, etc.)
      -FSBO’s / Private Sellers / Expired Listings
      -Banks / Lenders / Short Sales / Pre-foreclosures
      -Foreclosure Auctions (i.e., Courthouse Steps)
      -Tax Sales
      -County Land Bank

    • Chad Carson

      Hey Gabe,
      Thanks for reading and for commenting.

      30 rental properties seems pretty serious to me. What are you trying to improve upon by getting more? Are the deals you have now working well?

      If you’re looking for deal-finding strategies, I did a podcast interview here on BiggerPockets about that topic:

  5. Gabe Livingston

    Ok that is a very helpful list. My next question would be, how specifically do I tap into each 1 of those sources? I’m familiar with MLS and t
    Fsbos, but I don’t know where to start with the others. What is a good resource to learn about those?

    • Douglas Skipworth

      Great question, Gabe!

      If you get on the BiggerPockets Forums and ask about one of the topics above, the real estate experts on the site will be very willing to share their experience and insights with you. Just start a forum post asking about wholesalers/wholesaling in your local market and see what happens.

      Where are you located?

    • Douglas Skipworth


      Another option is to get on the BP Forums and introduce yourself as a new member. Be sure to mention Shreveport, Ruston, Monroe, Vicksburg, Louisiana, and Arkansas to see what kind of response you get from other investors in your general area. The BP members are more than happy to give their $0.02 on any and everything (as you know, BP is a great community of like-minded investors who will help you reach your goals!).

  6. Aaron Dillon

    Chad, this article is great – thank you. My ‘why’ is that I want to shift more of my earnings to passive income to gain more financial freedom. Trying to learn how to get my dollars to work for me, instead of me working for my dollars.

  7. Ryan Donohue

    Awesome article! I’ve been on information overload and been trying to put together an overall goal and break it down on how to get there.

    Here’s my why: I want to be financially free by 30 creating systems and a business acquiring properties and flipping them.

    I want to start wholesaling, build capital, work with partners on a few flips and do one on my own, then go full-time and stop at my current job, hire a full-time assistant to do more tedious things, then grow and grow and hire as I see potential and when the business is being held back.

    I think the most important is my final goal and that I KNOW it’s possible to get there. I know that the resources are out there and that I have the right mindset to do anything I set my mind to. Writing these things down and asking myself HOW to get to my WHY I know I’ll get it.

    Hope to see you around the forums and good luck Chad! Thanks again for an awesome article.

  8. Jennifer Trombetta

    Hello Chad.
    Thank you for the valuable information. I WISH I knew about Bigger Pockets and how crucial it is to our success in this business sooner. I found out too late, but still SO glad that I did. I’m a product of one of those gurus that stop in to town for 3 days and collect thousands of dollars from people like myself… longer story, But I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your knowledge. I’ve learned more on Bigger Pockets than anywhere and wish I would have taken the last of my savings and applied it here and to my first investment!
    Looking forward to reading more of your articles.

  9. Billie Miller

    #2, #2, #2!! I think a lot of new investors (myself included) spend an agonizing amount of time trying to decide their strategy. If you instead put all that time into learning 1 things really well, you’d be a lot farther ahead in the same amount of time. I think you can find successful investors in every strategy in every market. What makes successful investors is knowing as much as they can about their strategy so they can do it well – not that they picked one strategy over another.

  10. Great post on how to achieve your investment goals. This post is great for non experienced investors. This site provides a lot of information. I always advise new investors to read, research and repeat again. This for the post…

  11. Patrick Little


    I’m new to RE Investing and don’t have any properties yet. I’m trying to educate myself on how it all works. I’m a veteran so i will be utilizing my VA loan. I’m trying to find a multi-family for a buy and hold that will cash flow. I know that I have to live there for at least a year or so but I plan on buying more to acquire a portfolio in the future. I’ll be buying in Mobile, AL for my first property. I have experience in the construction business so I can do most repairs. I don’t know a whole lot about real estate, finances, or investing. I’m living and renting a unit in a triplex that is not well maintained so I’m trying to get out as quick as possible. Id like to acquire a real estate license just for the education and to open up other opportunities.

    Are there any trusted websites that offer a certified online course to get a real estate license at an affordable price?
    What are some tools that will help me learn quicker?
    How do I find and get in touch with investors in my area to start moving towards a goal?

  12. ben boss

    honestly I’m very new and young (16) to real estate Investing but I am very interested on every area dealing to it. The thing is thought is, how do i find mentors in my area welling to help me out to give hands on experience .. how do i know where to start or even whats the safest way to start off… And my objective is to be financially secure by the time im 26

  13. Hi. Im Martha and i really to venture into the the real estate world. I am really interested in building my own apartments and renting them out and im trying to understand what ks required of me being a 19 year old.

  14. david t coello

    hi, i’m new to this field i have a couple of properties that i’m trying to sale now, but i’m getting overwhelm by so much information and i’m not sure which pah to take.
    my long term goal is to have rentals and steady income coming in, my short term goal is to create cash flow to maintain my long term goal.
    I created an llc in Nevada and i’m looking a process flow that i can follow to set up my business.
    Im not sure if i should start with wholesale and then do flipping then rental, im also lost how do i leverage the properties that i have to created cash flow.
    thanks david

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