This Is Why You Shouldn't Have A Mentor

6 Replies

Contrary to popular belief mentors can't help you become successful.  

At the very best they can help someone who was already going to be successful make a few less mistakes.  But that's much much different than what most newbies believe.

We as humans are always looking for a fast track or silver bullet to get us to where we want to be immediately.  There seems to be a universal belief that if you can just find the right "mentor" he/she will give you all the secrets and give you the tools required to be successful from their vast experience. 

Another wild misconception is...the reason people fail who've worked with a mentor is they quit, or didn't have the work ethic, or they did't "take action."  While this maybe in part to blame it's not the main culprit for failure. 

I think the root cause of the problem is an industry accepted narrative that knowledge is power.  Armed with the right knowledge you can achieve anything.  This is complete nonsense.  

Let me quickly give you the knowledge required to be a successful real estate investor.

1.  Buy a property for less than what it's worth 

2.  Fix it up

3.  Sell it or rent it out 

That was literally the extent of my knowledge when I started REI in 2012. I'd never even owned a house before, let along an investment property. I didn't know what tax liens were, no clue how to get a mortgage, barely had an idea of what a property manager did.

But I was immediately successful. 

Why?  I definitely wasn't smarter than anyone else,  didn't work harder, wasn't lucky.  So what was my secret?  The reason it was easy for me is because of two things.

1.  I knew how to manage people 

2.  I knew how to problem solve 

Prior to getting into REI I was an entrepreneur, in fact, I've never had a 9-5 gig. In the 15 years prior to REI I started/ran several companies and thousands of employee's. This was my edge.

My point is, regardless of how much you learn from a "mentor" about real estate investing, if you can't problem solve and manage people you won't succeed.  And if you know how to problem solve and manage people you'll most likely succeed with or without a mentor.  

You can get all the info you need to start REI with about an hour of research on google. But unfortunately you can't get what you need to be a successful REI on google or from a mentor. It comes from doing.

Don't get me wrong, a mentor has value, just not to newbies.  If you've already successfully invested, or have the personal skills required, someone with more experience can definitely give you useful knowledge on how to improve and scale.  But they'll never be the difference between success and failure.  

The best advice I can give newbies is to start small and learn the skills required (manage people/problem solve). Once you've learned these skills then start REI where the stakes are bigger.

It sounds crazy but start flipping cars.  It's literally the exact same process minus the leverage.  Buy an ugly car that has potential, fix up the interior/exterior, fix any mechanical issues (just like you would a house) and flip it.  You'll learn everything you need to know, while risking $5,000, not $50,000.  

Good luck, and I look forward to vigorous debate. ;) 


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Proof of the old saying, "You know what you know, and don't know what you don't know", so comment on what you do know.  So from the standpoint of what you know...this was brilliant.  From the standpoint of what you don't know, well, I guess we'll never know.

This is such a great post! I’ve actually done this on the side, I went to school for automotive repair and I’m currently in autobody but up until recently I’ve always known more about cars than houses. I’m no expert iether but I’ve helped relatives buy, license, insure, title and bring home cars that I then helped them repair and sell a bit later.I’ve learned a ton about nagotiation. One time I sold my race bike (a 2008 Yamaha r6) to a guy on Craigslist.

He tried to intimidate me into letting the bike go for way less when I knew it’s worth. $4,500. I had just listed the bike, in spring after trailering it back from the dealership where they put brand new tires on and within 24 hours of posting the add I had researched it got tons of interest. I compared other bikes and set mine just a tad lower and posted great pics. He sat there trying to haggle me down for 45 minutes in my driveway. He was really pushy and even got on the phone with his “partner” to intimidate me. Then finally said ok I’ll buy it! And he was thrilled!  I was sort of in shock but I’m glad I held out and was stubborn. It made all the difference knowing other values so I see the importance of knowing your real estate market.