The One Piece of Advice That Changed the Course of My Real Estate Career
It’s the holidays again — don’t they seem to keep coming around fast? I hope everyone has had a chance to connect with their family members and friends this past week, and most importantly, I hope everyone has had a chance to relax! I know I have. I’d barely be able to do any work right now if I tried — it seems that no one is available for anything. Yay! So, I’m forced to relax.
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While I relax, I’ve been thinking — I wish I could get everyone reading this a gift personally. Since that obviously isn’t feasible, then I thought, what if I can just give a piece of advice as a gift? I know some of the advice I’ve been given in my life has served as a much bigger gift than any pair of shoes I’ve ever received, so maybe offering you some words of wisdom can serve as one of your best presents yet! In thinking of all the helpful hints I can offer you, and thinking of which ones could have the greatest impact (because of course I want my present to you to be the best I can make it!), one keeps running through my head and I’ve decided it is definitely the one I want to share.
Are you ready? This could be a game-changer! It could change your life!
Sure you’re ready?
Ok, here goes. As you enter into the New Year, a time to start fresh (or start at all), make life how you want it to be, and create your future as a real estate investor, my advice to you is:
Follow what comes naturally for you.
Hmmm… are you kind of let down since that’s all I gave you? Well, humor me. It’s more exciting than it sounds. Following this advice is literally, in my opinion, the best holiday present you can give yourself with regard to real estate investing.
Have you ever heard the phrase “strengthen your strengths, not your weaknesses”? This was a profound learning I read, and later experienced, that went completely against anything I had ever been taught. Instead of trying to get better at things you aren’t good at, work on getting better at the things you are good at. The results can be astounding.
The idea of following what comes naturally to you is related to this idea of strengthening your strengths rather than your weaknesses. It is a bit different, but a similar concept. The similar point that both of them suggest, as far as I can tell, is that you aren’t going to achieve near the level of results if you are working on or with your weaknesses. If you focus on building your strengths rather than your weaknesses, you will achieve far greater things. Similarly, if you work in real estate investing with your strengths rather than your weaknesses, you will achieve far greater things. Meaning, for real estate investing — if you follow what more naturally comes to you, rather than choosing a facet that just sounds good, you are bound to achieve far greater things.
A Real Life Example
Let me give you an example that I’ve shared several times in the past, but it’s worth telling you again because it illustrates exactly what I’m trying to get at.
I work with rental properties. I have only bought rental properties for myself, my level of expertise is with rental properties, and when I look at deals, I mostly only look at rental property types of deals. I never rule out other deals, but rental properties are my niche and I know the most about them.
Am I excited this is the case? NO!
What?! True. If I could pick any facet of real estate investing to be naturally good at, it wouldn’t be rental properties. Why? They are an amazing asset class, they offer benefits that no other investments offer, and you definitely can’t beat having passive income — but I seriously think flipping would be so fun! My background is engineering, so I am great at creative problem solving and putting pieces together (mentally, not necessarily physically), and based on my skill set, I just think I would have an absolute blast as a house flipper. But then there is reality. I have absolutely no skill set for construction, rehabbing, swinging hammers, you name it. I'm notorious for losing big chunks of money to contractors because I am so easily duped since I know so little about what should be happening in that kind of field. The skills needed for successfully flipping just aren't in my grain.
Could I learn flipping skills? Ab-so-freaking-lutely. I’m smart and can really do anything I want to do. But regardless of whether I could learn flipping skills or not, learning them and pursuing flipping would be going against my grain. Or another way of putting it: swimming upstream. I could do it, yes. And I could probably be successful at it even. But I will tell you this: To be successful at it would require so much more work, effort, and headache on my part than if I were to stick with following what is in my grain.
Rental properties come so easily and naturally for me that to ignore that would really be doing myself a disservice. They came so naturally for me when I started with them that I was able to accelerate in my learning and success so much faster than I ever would have had I been focused on something that was causing me to swim upstream! I was able to not only invest in rental properties, but then I was able to start a business focused on rental properties for other buyers, and consequently I now sleep in every morning and report to absolutely no one. I have 100% time freedom. Now, to me, that is a huge success! It’s huge beyond anything I could have ever imagined. And what do I attribute that level of success to?
Following what I am naturally good at!
So here are the takeaways I want you to have from this.
- Take enough time as you get started to explore all facets of real estate investing, so you have more opportunity to find what may be a very natural thing for you. Trust me, what comes naturally to you will find you.
- Trust in what you are naturally good at. Maybe it seems like it won’t turn out to be that lucrative (like me with rental properties versus flipping), but you really don’t know. Trust it, and who knows what will happen.
- Don’t rule out other facets that maybe aren’t as natural, but think of doing those more for fun later or as a way to build your skill set — for fun. For starting out and building biz, start with your strengths.
- People will give you advice all day long on what you should or shouldn’t do in real estate investing (and with your life, actually). Listen to everything, but remember that every single person is different when it comes to what they are good at. I am amazing at turnkey rental properties, but I don't think they are for everybody. If I think flipping is more up your alley, I'll tell you. If you want to do a real estate deal that may get you a lot less money than a turnkey rental property but you feel it's more comfortable and more up your alley, you won't hear me try to dissuade you. In my experience, most people are very fast to judge or tell you what you should do or shouldn't do. Stick to your guns. Only you know you, and you have to stand strong when you figure out your calling. People thought I had lost my mind when I quit my job as a Senior Aeronautical Engineer working in a top secret location on a top secret project with job security for miles, all for these peon little rental property things that cash-flowed a few hundred bucks a month. But after years of studying and exploring real estate, these peon little rental properties presented themselves to me, I followed them, and now I live the dream life (well, some would consider it; others maybe not). That all happened because I didn't listen to a single person who told me I had lost my mind to quit that job. Listen to everyone, pick and choose what advice they give that will be best for you. And in return realize what's best for you isn't best for everyone so go gentle on other people too. I don't know what it is about real estate investing, but people just LOVE to judge and tell you you're wrong. Be nice.
- I have a lot of beef about wholesaling being constantly pitched to new investors as the easiest and cheapest (free) way to start, but in relation to the advice I’m giving here, don’t fall into the trap of thinking everyone should start as a wholesaler. Trust me, wholesaling is a simple straightforward process, but that doesn't mean it's easy. And if wholesaling isn't naturally in your grain (it isn't mine), you either aren't going to make it at all or you are going to have a really hard time getting to your success. Why not just skip that step if it's not your thing and get right into what is? Yes, maybe wholesaling will help lead you to what that thing is, but don't just assume you will be a rockstar wholesaler because it's "so easy."
- If you follow what comes most naturally to you, the resources required for that will present themselves to you. You don’t have to worry about not having the resources. They’ll show up.
That’s it. That’s my holiday present to you: the advice to follow what comes naturally for you. Do that and you will see success in ways you never thought possible.
Happy holidays, everyone! No matter what holiday you do or don’t celebrate, at a minimum we can all celebrate our successes, our engagement, our drive to succeed in this crazy industry of real estate investing, and just the fact that we are alive! There’s no wrong time of the year for that.
Any big goals for 2016 you are planning?
I want to hear them!