Business Management

The 3 Kinds of People You NEED in Your Life for Entrepreneurial Success

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

I remember when I first became a full-time entrepreneur and started my real estate business. I was excited about the possibilities.

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But instead of sharing my excitement, some of my friends did the exact opposite. They pointed out all of the things that could go wrong and strongly advised that I go back to the corporate world.

I’ve got to be honest — I didn’t see it coming, and it hurt. It would have been useful for someone to have given me a heads up that this might happen.

Have YOU Gotten Negative Reactions to Your Career Choice?

If so, you’re not alone. From conversations I’ve had with other investors, this is more common than it should be.

But it’s a reality.

And if you don’t address it, it will stop you from changing your life with real estate.

You Become Like the 5 People You Spend the Most Time With

You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Show me those 5 people, and I’ll show you what you’ll become in 3 years.

If your friends are just like you are right now, then you’ll stay exactly the same. If they all have 9 to 5 jobs, then you’ll stay in your J.O.B. If they play it safe, then so will you. If they’ve never traveled outside the state, then neither will you.

Related: 11 Reasons Your Network Equals Your Net Worth (& 4 Ways to Expand Yours!)

Closely examine the 5 people closest to you. Do they want you to grow? To live your dreams? Will they support you in any way they can?

If the answer is “no,” then it’s time to “replace” them with someone who will help you reach the next level.

I’m not saying you should never see or talk to them again. I’m just saying that you should not make it the same priority as before. Instead, expand your network to add new people into your inner circle.


Surround Yourself by THESE People to Become Better

Let’s talk about what to look for in your new friends.

There are 3 kinds of people you should surround yourself with.

  • Like-Minded Entrepreneurs
  • Accountability Partners
  • Experts

If you want to transform your life, then your mission is to find people that fit in ALL of these categories. Let’s talk about each in turn.

New Friends #1: Like-Minded Entrepreneurs

These are people who are on the same path as you are. You share similar goals and aspirations. You’re in a similar stage of the journey, and you share similar challenges and successes.

These peers don’t necessarily all have to be real estate investors (though it helps). That’s because learning to become a new or better entrepreneur transcends disciplines. While the details may be different, someone building an online business, for example, shares similar challenges to someone who wants to get started with apartment building investing (such as loneliness, lack of cash flow, delays and setbacks, early successes, doubts, etc.).

Therefore, other entrepreneurs are the perfect new friend. Find them. Meet with them regularly to commiserate and to celebrate successes.

New Friends #2: Accountability Partners

Studies have shown that only 10 percent of people who attend a seminar or complete a course actually apply what they’ve learned. That means the other 90 percent go home, quickly lose the excitement and never do anything with their new knowledge.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Finding Incredible Mentors

That’s because most people are NOT natural action-takers. I’m not judging, just observing. We all have strengths and weaknesses. But in order to succeed, we have to address our weaknesses.

If taking action is one of yours (highly likely!), then you absolutely have to have at least ONE accountability partner (AP). This could be a friend, spouse, or paid coach. Or you can join or create an accountability mastermind group.

The AP should be a good listener and should have license to challenge you. You meet or talk with your AP as frequently as it makes sense. You review the progress made towards your goals from the last meeting, discuss any challenges, and set goals until the next meeting.

Being in an accountability mastermind group myself, I can tell you that it works. There’s nothing worse than reporting back that you haven’t done anything you said you would and come up with a bunch of excuses.

Having an accountability partner or group is absolutely critical if you want to be able to take continuous action — a key factor for success.


New Friends #3: Experts

And finally, you need to have people around you who are already successful in whatever area you’re pursuing. These people have experience specifically with your particular real estate strategy.

You should surround yourself with 3 kinds of experts:

Subject-Matter Experts (SMEs)

SMEs are easy to find because they share their knowledge in the form of blogs, books, or podcasts.

Each time you listen to an SME’s podcast, for example, you’re spending time with that person. After a while, it’s almost like you know that person (even though he or she may not know you). It doesn’t matter. You’re learning from that person nonetheless.

So identify the SMEs in your niche and follow everything they publish.


These are people who have more experience than you in whatever real estate strategy you’re pursuing. They’ve agreed to meet you every once in a while (maybe once a quarter) and to support. In fact, I suggest you create an “advisory board” of 3-5 experienced investors that you can call on occasionally. You can also reference them when making offers to add credibility (especially if you’re still a newbie).

Coach or Mentor

While advisors are normally not paid, they have their limitations — even though they’re successful in their field, they may not be good teachers. And because they’re busy and their life mission is NOT you, you can only call on them occasionally.

But you need someone who can teach you and interact with you more frequently, especially in the beginning.

That person is going to be a coach or mentor. And in order to get that kind of person to help you, you’re going to have to invest in that person.

Talk to anyone who has achieved success in your field, and it’s extremely likely that they have had or still have a coach.

Talk to anyone who is not yet successful, and they most likely don’t.

It’s really that simple.

Fight the Odds by Taking Action

Having worked with entrepreneurs who want to get started with apartment building investing, I’ve confirmed that most people have trouble taking action. And I’m on a mission to fight the odds.

I’ve come to the conclusion that’s what standing between success and failure is NOT the lack of knowledge but the quality of the people you spend the most time with.

So if you REALLY want to transform your life with real estate, make sure you surround yourself with like-minded entrepreneurs, accountability partners, and experts.

Those new “friends” will encourage you so you don’t feel like you’re alone, hold you accountable so you keep taking action, and support you when have questions or face challenges.

What changes do you have to make with who you spend the most time with?

Let me know about your story 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.

    Terry Martin-Back Property Manager from Gainesville, Florida
    Replied almost 4 years ago
    The majority of people I know are afraid of the unknown, failure and learn to live within their financial prisons. Many go to jobs they hate, everyday, and stay only because it’s safe. They see you wanting to venture out of “The Safety Net”, they don’t want to be left behind, so they will find every excuse on why you shouldn’t, because it’s not what “they” want for themselves. I was told I was stupid for investing in a multiple parcel deal of D properties. I worked the project 24/7 for six months, sold separate parcels, repaired and got the others cash flowing and sold them over the course of a year. From a mid 5 figure investment, my time and effort produced a 6 figure return. Develop “YOUR” plan, avoid the naysayers and watch them scatter after they witness your success. You can’t change your friends but you can change your friends. Read, educate yourself, be with people with the same drive and stay success motivated. Failure will happen and it’s how you rise from that failure that will make you successful. I know, I’ve lived it and it’s true, it’s get lonely when you start achieving your goals because you will have done something they told you, you would fail at and you proved them wrong.
    Michael Blank Rental Property Investor from Northern Virginia, VA
    Replied almost 4 years ago
    It’s too bad friends can’t be more supportive.
    Douglas Skipworth Rental Property Investor from Memphis, TN
    Replied almost 4 years ago
    Good article. I like the concept of being the average of your 5 closest friends. I’ve always heard that you become how you spend your time. BiggerPockets is a great place to help all of us surround ourselves with the 3 types of people who can push us to fulfill our dreams! Thanks, Michael.
    Randy E.
    Replied almost 4 years ago
    Great article! I graduated from college in the late 80’s with $70.00 in my pocket and a group of [what I thought were] life-long friends. Today I own commercial property along with a multifamily company that supplies enough passive income to comfortably support my family. My biggest challenge to realizing my dreams was the negative attitudes of these “life-long” friends and family members. Once momentum starting taking place the naysayers [all from my distant past] were sharpening the proverbial knives. I heard things like, “you’ll never do well financially,” or, “If those are your dreams, you’ll never be successful.” This was the one and only aspect of building my dreams that absolutely baffled me! I soon realized that (1) these so-called friends would have no problem with my success had we met TODAY for the first time, and (2) they need to be extricated from my life. I started associated with positive people with the same set of goals and dreams. I’m much happier for it.
    Michael Blank Rental Property Investor from Northern Virginia, VA
    Replied almost 4 years ago
    Thanks Randy for sharing.
    Account Closed from Frederick, Maryland
    Replied almost 4 years ago
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Michael! While I’m fortunate that I don’t have any (vocal) naysayers in my life, I’m not surrounded with like minded individuals with enough frequency to make a difference, so I appreciate the reminder.
    Don Alberts from Frankfort, Illinois
    Replied almost 4 years ago
    Mike thanks again for your thoughts. I appreciate your knowledge. Don
    Gabriel Barros Real estate Investor / Sous Chef from Miami, Florida
    Replied almost 4 years ago
    Great article. I am a newbie real estate investor and this article inspire me to analize my current friends and co-workers. I appreciate this message here. Definitely my inventory of friends dont have this kind of growth mindset. Thank you for the reminder. Also thank you guys for sharing your experiences. I am ready to make some changes.
    Jessie Niu from Columbus, Ohio
    Replied almost 4 years ago
    Great article! That’s why I am trying to go to several RE meetings in town each month! I am a newbie so some of my friends have doubt but that’s understandable, I am not bothered by it at all. I just purchased my first rental duplex not long ago and I will prove to them with my actions and result! I am determined to make this work. 😉
    Stefanie Willie-Bonglo Specialist from Atkinson, NH
    Replied almost 4 years ago
    I love this article, and have found it to be very true in my experiences. If I had a dollar for every time someone said “yeah….but don’t you have to deal with tenants?” This is the reaction from most people who ask about our business. I also wanted to comment on the coaching, I think that is important because you can save so much money by learning from others mistakes, and sometimes that advice is not free. I find that most people on this site have a negative view towards “gurus”. OF COURSE there are scams out there, but I think if you find a coach who is successful in real estate and use your common sense to weed out the snake oil salesman, coaching can accelerate your career and save money in the long run. Thanks Michael!