I left my W-2 tech job last Monday to be a full-time real estate investor. Want more articles like this? Create an account today to get BiggerPocket's best blog articles delivered to your inbox Sign up for free Yet, just 3 short years ago, I didn’t know if that was possible for me! I was living a comfortable life, but not everything was as it seemed. I was working 40- to 55-hour weeks in a full-time job that I knew had an expiration date, as our new CEO had marching orders from the board to sell the company and get investor money out. I knew my department wouldn’t survive the inevitable transition. My husband was (and is) working for the government, and we had just watched the political spectacle that year unfold, realizing at the end of the day, no matter what party held office, his benefits and retirement (our safety net and future wealth) were merely a political pawn in a much larger game that we had no control over. Then, there was our family. I was a wife, a mother to a beautiful baby girl, the guardian of my grandparents, and the daughter of an aging mother who I was trying to support from a distance. And like many, I felt a complete lack of control of our financial future—burning the candle at both ends and twice in the middle just to figure out how to get ahead. I felt I was failing ever so slowly. Then one day… we decided enough was enough! Maybe I snapped, maybe I woke up… either way, I was determined to take control and change. So what did we do? We bought a house. And that’s where our real estate investor journey began. The Path to Becoming a Full-Time Real Estate Investor My path as a real estate investor has been windy and bumpy. I’ll be very candid, my identity was tied closely to my J-O-B. It was so close, in fact, I rebelled at fulling stepping into an investor mindset at first. Yet, each realization I had on my investor journey set me up for the next life-changing mindset evolution—leading me to where I am today. Here are several ways real estate investing has changed everything. Related: 5 Ways Real Estate Investing Has Made Me an Awesome Person 6 Ways Being a Real Estate Investor Has Changed My Life Extra Income: My foray into real estate was as an accidental landlord in 2002. I didn’t know it at the time, but that first house hack/rehab project would be my first investment of many. Fast forward to 2016, when my husband and I intentionally started building our portfolio. We bought one house and loved having $400 a month extra to play with. Though the income wasn’t life-changing, I quickly understood that we could create cashflow and equity now, not someday like we are taught to do with traditional retirement investments. Control: I knew $400 a month wasn’t going to buy financial freedom. I needed a plan I could control. Within a few months, I learned how to build a results-based real estate investment strategy and ventured into out-of-state markets. Implementing the new business plan, I started to scale, sold my first home to fund my growth, and quickly added $2,500 a month to our bottom line by the end of that first year. Most importantly, I learned I had control of the asset. Our minds were blown, and we were hooked on real estate! Velocity of Money: A major roadblock for many investors is scaling to the next level. Where will that money come from? Facing the same dilemma at the end of my first year with 10 single family rentals, I committed to learning how to shift to an investment strategy where I could recycle my money over and over again to build passive income and equity (aka BRRRR). This required me to learn how to work with hard and private money lenders so I could do multiple deals at one time with very little of my own capital tied up in any one project. Leverage (aka the Power of Partnerships): Whether you partner with someone to find a deal, raise money, secure lending, or propel your education, real estate is a team sport. You will go so much further faster if you don’t do it alone! I was a wife, mother, guardian, daughter, and at the time, a full-time employee, so I had to learn ways to work smarter, not harder, and shortcut my path to growth. The same lessons I used to scale my single family portfolio I am using today to scale my multifamily portfolio. This is accomplished by leveraging other people’s money, credit, networks, experience, and time, and doing the same for them. Value Is Not Linked to Time: As a real estate investor, I had changed my relationship with money. Now, I could purchase a turnkey single family home and cash flow $200 a month OR I could do my own rehab on that same home and make $300-plus a month and create equity in the property. I could make thousands in a few short months by fixing and flipping distressed property. Along that way, I could help a seller out of financial/emotional/property distress, and create a fresh, new environment for a new family—creating value at every step of the way with every person I interacted with. I learned my income was no longer linked to how many hours I spent at a desk but instead to how much value I could drive in a project. Conclusion Being a real estate investor has empowered me to learn and do so many things that that I may never have learned working a typical 9 to 5 job. I learned higher-level business concepts like control, velocity, leverage, and value—all of which made me a better entrepreneur and business owner. I have the power to take more risks, because I have passive income coming in. I’ve grown into the person I need to be in order to be successful (and continue to evolve!). Related: 7 Life-Changing Lessons I Wish I Knew as a Real Estate Newbie The 6th Way I’ve Changed I know… so far I’ve only named five ways being a real estate investor has changed my life. Most importantly, I have the power of choice. I get to choose how I spend my time. I get to choose the projects I want to work on and the roles I want to step into. I get to choose who I spend my time with, be it my amazing business partners or, more importantly, my family and friends. But let’s take this one step further… Because of how I built my portfolio, I have freedom of choice. I can choose to travel the world, go back to work at an NGO or non-profit—or heck, build my OWN non-profit! I can do all of these things because I can step away from my real estate portfolio completely and it would run on autopilot without me for quite a long time. Business would carry on and provide the income I need to do what I’m most passionate about. That, my friend, is the greatest gift of all—a gift anyone can achieve with real estate investing. How will you change your life? Share in the comment section below.