I’ve never fully understood the obsession with figuring out why other people fail to take action when it comes to real estate investing.
It seems like a lot of people genuinely look for justification not to start.
“If Jimmy didn’t start because he had no money, and I have no money, then I’m justified in not starting yet.”
This is entirely the wrong mentality! Why not focus your energy on figuring out why successful people DID take action?
Regardless, I’m going to tell you the real reason some who are interested in investing never take action. It’s something that isn’t discussed very often.
But first, here are some of the most stereotypical excuses.
Why Some Wannabes Never Take Action: The Typical Responses
Don’t get me wrong. All of these excuses are pretty understandable—yet unfortunate.
Let’s briefly discuss each.
Fear is a beast. And taking the plunge into real estate isn’t easy.
That being said, everybody experienced the feeling of fear when they bought their first property. It may not have been crippling, but it was there. Anyone who tells you they weren’t at least a little scared is probably not being completely honest with you.
This is why it’s important to make decisions based on numbers and bounce the analysis off experienced investors. Don’t bring your emotions into the deal at all.
Emotions are dangerous—leave them out of investing.
Lack of Experience
This excuse drives me nuts!
NOBODY had experience before they took action—you gain experience BY taking action!
If this is your excuse, either quit or work under somebody for free to gain the experience you so crave.
This is a silly excuse to me. Just take action!
This is an understandable excuse and probably the most common.
I have been investing since 2015. To date, I have never paid more than 6 percent down on a real estate transaction.
Leverage is wonderful. It is risky but wonderful. I house hacked my first duplex for less money than most of my cars have cost.
Theoretically, you could sell your car and buy a house.
You can overcome the “no money” issue by utilizing FHA loans, VA loans (if qualified), seller financing, purchasing subject to the existing mortgage, partnering, other people’s money, hard money lenders, etc.
My point is this: While having no money is scary, if you have knowledge and time, you can invest in real estate!
Not Enough Time
YOU HAVE THE SAME AMOUNT OF TIME AS EVERYONE ELSE!
Set your priorities, and either make REI a priority or find someone with time and provide money/knowledge!
This is a cop-out excuse.
I purchased a property while spending six weeks on a remote island and only having access to the internet through my cell phone a couple of times.
Figure it out.
Why Some Wannabes Never Take Action: The Least Discussed Reason
We have ruled out the most common excuses. And yes, they are just excuses.
Now let’s talk about the least discussed reason some wannabes fail to take action (and how to avoid it).
The number one reason some people fail to take action is the amount of work required.
This excuse is behind the time, fear, and experience excuses. You know it’s going to take a lot of time and energy to make this happen. You’re afraid because it takes a lot of work, and you don’t fully understand what to expect. You don’t have experience because you haven’t done it yet.
In the military, there is a common phrase we use in combat: “Complacency kills.”
Although the meaning is a little different when applied to real estate, the message is the same. It’s not the one morning you sleep in or the one day you get nothing done that hurts you. It’s not the hassle you avoided today or the excuse you used today in order to procrastinate.
However, if you ALWAYS avoid hassle, procrastinate, and sleep in, you will never succeed.
Sloth is one of the seven deadly sins. If you want to succeed as a real estate investor, or in life in general, you need to kill the urge to be complacent—before it kills you!
Start Investing NOW: Here’s How
The first step to conquering the excuse of laziness is to sit down and set goals.
You need to long-, medium-, and short-term goals. These goals should be similar to a five-year plan, yearly goals, monthly goals, and weekly goals.
Think of the cartoons you watched as a kid where a rider would tie a carrot to the end of a long pole and dangle it in front of a stubborn horse/mule in order to motivate them to move forward.
Goals are the carrot you dangle in front of yourself.
No matter how driven you are (or aren’t), there will be days when you lack the motivation to do any work. At these times, it is important to have a carrot (goals) to chase in order to stay on track!
Some of you may have noticed I didn’t say you need daily goals. You may have even been bothered by this and decided to tune out (haha).
The reason I didn’t mention daily goals is that, while they serve a purpose, I prefer to think in terms of the “most important next step.” This is sometimes called M.I.N.S.
M.I.N.S. should be determined every night before you go to sleep. This will ensure you knock out the most important next step toward your weekly goal(s) first thing the next morning.
If you can knock out the most important next step toward your goal every morning, it will snowball into accomplishing your goals quickly!
The key is determining what this step is the night prior, and then doing it first thing the next morning!
Most of the actions you take to achieve your goals will not be fun or easy.
It’s easy to find “busy work” to use as a distraction. This busy work is more fun and often easier than accomplishing the most important next step would be.
Since we are all human (I think), it’s safe to assume that you will have days, weeks, months, or even years when you fail to do the difficult task(s) that need to get done.
This is human nature and a hard habit to break. And this is why accountability is crucial to your success as an investor.
You need to find some people who are on the same path as you, as well as a few who are farther down that path, and get together to grow and hold each other accountable!
A common way to do this is through mastermind groups. A mastermind group is comprised of people who have lofty goals for life and are determined to achieve these goals. They meet regularly, whether in person or on conference calls, and talk through their struggles, successes, and so on in order to help each other progress.
These mastermind groups are great for helping you grow and holding you accountable to achieve more!
Real estate investing isn’t easy at first (most things aren’t).
Imagine REI as a large flywheel, and every step you take gets it to move just a little bit faster. As the flywheel speeds up, it takes less and less effort to keep it moving.
This is the power of systems!
Every time you complete a task, remember how you did it. If you complete that task a second time, create a system for streamlining the process. The simpler you can make tasks in real estate, the easier it becomes to buy homes!
For example, one of my favorite systems to date is my Google Drive folder for lenders. Every time I have applied for a loan, I needed to provide the previous two years’ tax returns, W-2s, bank statements, photo IDs, verifiable income, etc.
I created a folder titled “Lender Documents” in Google Drive that has all of this information in it, separated by tax year.
Now, when I apply for a loan, I simply email a link to this folder to my lender and wait for them to tell me if they need any more documentation (which is minimal, if any)!
Talk about streamlining the lending process.
Don’t forget to create systems as you journey down the path of real estate investing. It will make your life so much easier!
Use Laziness to Your Advantage
Lazy people will often find the easiest way to accomplish a task. Use this mentality to succeed as a real estate investor—without losing all of your hair.
Real estate investing isn’t easy, but it is extremely rewarding.
Embrace your laziness, and use the safeguards above to continually attack your goals.
Take the time to put in a lot of work now. You will be happy that you did!
Have you stutter-stepped instead of starting? What’s holding you back? How will you overcome it?
Leave a comment below!
Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.