What did you have to CHANGE the most to achieve success.

19 Replies

We all know change is a MUST for any type of success. Change is usually painful, but as the old refrain goes NO PAIN ! NO GAIN.  What is something you have had to change to get from Point A to Point B.   What do you think you need to change to get from Point B to Point C. 

Among many things that I had to work on one of them has been NOT to be too impulsive in responding to text messages and emails, and not to get in the mode of justifying myself - especially when I am right, and the other party is wrong.   Typically, my nature is to respond to people right away. I find weight of answering a text message hanging over my head to be overbearing.  I have found that this is a bad idea if the other person is not as prompt in responding to your messages. Makes you look needy and impatient.  You are the landlord. They are the tenant. It should be the other way round. 

I have had to come to a realization that this is not a classroom where I am tutoring/teaching students.  My college friends always jokingly said that their kids were set for life, because I was so good at explaining  the course material - sometimes even better than the professor. But being a landlord is different. This is also not the Senate floor either where you are debating legislation.  I have had to learn to keep perspective of that as I dealt with tenants. You might be right, but you don't have to spend hours convincing them you are right.  Direct them to the lease agreement and leave it at that. 

Another thing I had to learn was not to get bent over backwards over the tenants not following the lease to a T - especially people who are under $1000 category. As long as the rent is paid on time and property is being cared for (no damages) and nothing illegal going on, not to get too wrapped up in details. You can get them to sign anything and everything, but at the end of the day they are going to follow what they are going to follow.  Instead of losing your sleep over it, try and get next property under contract. 

I had started to hate landlording, but when I was able to zero in on the pain points of landlording, and tweak how I handled myself, I am starting to like it again. 

What is some of the things you had to change?

Updated 7 months ago

I meant "bent out of shape". Not "bent over backwards.. LOL..

Most impactful change I made was making time for education.

Most people I know haven't read a book in years, and to their own detriment. I'm not talking about just a few hype and business books either, I try to read everything I think will make me smarter. I changed my daily routine to include reading all the time, and to learn deep nuance to lots of subjects: Science, History, Economics, Psychology, etc, The intellectual confidence that comes from well rounded reading has improved my life and my business far more than anything else.

I have a speaker playing podcasts in the shower

in the car on the way to work

while I'm at work

at the gym

I know this isn't directly RE related, but it's the one thing that has grown my wealth more than anything and I believe it's under-utilitzed by most people . My opinion is there is no higher return on investment than from learning.

@Chinmay J. - great topic! I had to learn to be a risk taker. Or more aptly, trust my husband in his REI choices. I love being married to an entrepreneur and RE investor but it doesn't come naturally even though @Sam Wilson absolutely rocks at his RE investment and business decisions.  Real estate wasn’t my background and in the beginning seemed way more risky than I know now.

We started investing full-time six years ago as a couple/company and I love that it supports my travel addiction! And I love all the RE investors I have met in Memphis and all over the world!

@Alexander Felice -  I don’t know what I’d do without my audiobooks!! Do you have an under-known favorite you’d like to share?  I just finished “Shoe Dog”. Amazing!

@Alexander Felice - I love to read myself. Reading two books right now. One on sports and another on Economics. It's obvious that most people don't read, and the emails they write, and their overall poor comprehension is a testament to the fact that they have spent no time or effort in developing those faculties. 

@Elizabeth Wilson  - I come from IT background myself, and until 4 yrs ago I had no background in Real Estate investing either. I became an accidental landlord in 2014, and that's where it all started. I am still in this part time. 

@Chinmay J. Great topic, let me give a crack at it.

I had to get over my biggest fears of “debt” and taking an “unconventional route”. Let me elaborate.

I have several people in my life who are very successful in their careers and lives and they have done this by taking the conventional route, which I would define as getting a college degree, and climbing the corporate ladder. Maybe get a masters degree to. You do this long enough and work tons of hours and eventually you “make it”.

Sometimes this also entails working for the same employer for many years as one of the people I have in mind has worked for the same company for 20 plus years. So in my young life so far this is who I look to for what success is, so to go buy real estate and diverge from this path into entrepreneurship was very different (even though I know it’s the right call for me)

The second major difference and somewhat fear is debt. I think real estate debt (in moderation) is good. Your tenants pay your loans for you and you make money. But going back to the people I was referring to earlier, they own lots of real estate debt free. Typically this is just primary houses or maybe a secondary home. It works for them. Hard to argue with someone’s success when they’ve done well.

To sum it all up, buying a rental at my age (early 20s) is certainly diverging from the normal path, doing it in two different states within a year, is much larger divergence lol. So far so good, let’s see how it goes

For me (BRRRR self-managing landlord)

1. Be decisive; stop the analysis paralysis

2. Don't be unwilling to give a firm NO with tenants/prospects. Dont be wishy-washy. Nobody gets into the landlord game for popularity.

3. Stick to my goals/business plan (since its working well), but don't be afraid to develop a new, additional plan that works alongside the first.

I would say my biggest change was my lifestyle. A typical 24 year old (similar to what @Caleb Heimsoth said about going a different route) will find him/herself at a bar on the weekends, drinking and staying out late. I chose a different route that meant staying in to save money, waking up early to work on a project or meet up with investors, etc. I chose to give up that lifestyle for something that I see as bigger, better, and certainly more productive. I do not regret this one bit.

Originally posted by :

@Alexander Felice -  I don’t know what I’d do without my audiobooks!! Do you have an under-known favorite you’d like to share?  I just finished “Shoe Dog”. Amazing!

I audiobook everything too! I'm an audible junkie!

I just added Shoe Dog to my (extremely long) wish list! Thanks!

Under-known favorite? All the great business books are well-known it seems. I haven't' found any hidden gems there. I'll PM you some great books I've read from other genres though.

Also, everything I read is added to a list on my website, It's new so not completely updated but might get you some ideas.

Originally posted by @Nicky Reader :

For me (BRRRR self-managing landlord)

1. Be decisive; stop the analysis paralysis

2. Don't be unwilling to give a firm NO with tenants/prospects. Dont be wishy-washy. Nobody gets into the landlord game for popularity.

3. Stick to my goals/business plan (since its working well), but don't be afraid to develop a new, additional plan that works alongside the first.

 Yes, I think I had to improve on that one too. I would put that in WIP category. Something that would take me from B to C fast. As a buy and hold investor, who deals with tenants, it can be sometimes unsettling to think of your tenants being on streets with nowhere to live, and I believe in giving second chances.  But if someone keeps screwing, at some point you end up running out of patience. 

@Chinmay J. ,

Great topic!   Accepting debt was by far the hardest mental obstacle for me.   

One of my turning points was talking to my mentor, who's a multimillionaire, and he goes "Debt is a tool, it's not bad, I have lots of properties I could pay for in cash, but even now we're working on getting a loan from the bank for $500K!"    It made me realize, if he is using it, it must be okay!      It's a hard mental obstacle to realize how much debt there is, but I just remember that the rental properties are a marathon, and will eventually be paid off!

@Chinmay J. when I first started land-lording, I hated tenant turn over. Vacancy would literally get me sick to my stomach. I would approve mediocre applicants, just to get the place rented. Visualization has helped me:

1. I trained myself to think about tenants like a long line of customers. I am standing at the counter and when one tenant leaves, I just yell "next" to the line of people. I visualize it this way when a tenant gives notice. In my head I see the long line of people and know there is an endless supply of tenants.

2. I no longer jump at the first half qualified tenant. Vacancy costs way less compared to renting to the wrong person. I can still visualize all the bad tenants that have stiffed me money and trashed my properties. Every time I am tempted to rent to someone who has warning sings, I just visualize one of those bad tenants. Every rejection gets me closer to the right tenant. Usually just about when I am ready to give up, multiple good applicants come along.

I have also learned to deal with tenants better. It helped when we put together a policy manual for our business and included forms for everything. Now there is a process, instead of just making it up on the fly. It is easier to say, "I am sorry that is against our policy" when there is actually a policy.  

@Caleb Heimsoth and @Linda D.  - Debt in real estate is good as long as the numbers work out. The outside world doesn't understand that. They think credit card debt and real estate debt is one and the same.  

@Joe Splitrock - I hear ya on the tenant quality issue. I had to learned that myself, and I learned that quick ! After dodging the bullet on couple of different tenant (not getting burnt badly) I learned quickly that quality matters. 

@Chinmay J. my CC has about 24 interest and my real estate is currently all sub 5 percent lol.  Plus I pay one of those types of debt and not the other.  I’ll let you guess which type.  

I changed my perspective of money and my reason to invest in anything. Money is a tool for opportunity.

I was making 70K a year with very minimal expenses and still was pay check to pay check. I had an off road truck project that I spent years and thousands of dollars in parts/tools that just sat on the floor in my spare room. At this point I was 27 yrs old with only 35k saved for a down payment for a house after 7 years of making decent money. I sold the truck and all the parts and went to seeking how to learn without sitting in a class room and what to do with my income.

Rich Dad Poor Dad lead to BiggerPockets which lead to Mr Money Mustache which lead to Choose FI etc etc.

Now 28 yrs old I bought a SFH and rent out 2 room which covers 80% of the mortgage and expenses. I track all expenses in Excel, cut my expenses as thin as possible, and think of purchases as what value it will add to my life. I now have a 50-60% savings rate that I put into index funds until I have enough to do another RE deal. I am actively looking for my next opportunity locally (2-4 unit house hack) and even the Phoenix area. I now seek to surround myself with like minded individuals that want to improve their lives instead of my old friends that just wanted to go to the bar and drink every night.

Great thread by the way!! I have also not achieved success IMO, I am very much just beginning to work on it!

I changed in the following ways:

A. I overcame my fear of debt.

B. I stopped taking advice from people around me who are not striving to succeed (e.g. always broke, some despite their high income).

C. Started using my free time to read and learn instead of socializing and watching tv.

D. I've learned to appreciate investment opportunities and jump on them when they come up. If the numbers are right then I get out of my emotional comfort zone to cope with the stress and pressure to make things happen.

E. I stopped dreaming and being wishy-washy and I set SPECIFIC GOALS: to become self employed,  to own x rental properties, to lower my taxes by y amount with tax planning, to retire early, etc.. I reached those goals (and I'm still on track to retire early) and have much bigger goals nowadays.

F. I gradually changed my wife's perception of REI to join my investment journey. When I "showed her the money" (profits, tax benefits) after a few years, she decided to get actively involved in this game as well, thus we acquired more properties.

Changing my mindset to realize you don’t need to work a day job you hate for the rest of your life when you can replace that money through real estate. I quickly bought 12 units and counting after that realization.

Originally posted by @Chris Connery :

Changing my mindset to realize you don’t need to work a day job you hate for the rest of your life when you can replace that money through real estate. I quickly bought 12 units and counting after that realization.

Bingo! Sums up exactly my mindset. That's why I don't relate well to traditional thinkers who preach the old school way of college > career with one employer > 401k > retire at 65. I refuse to depend on any one job/employer and to retire so old. I even teach my son to avoid this traditional thinking, I explain to him the importance of passive income.

While I'm building up my passive income to the level of my earned income, I remain self employed so as to avoid any job or manager I'd hate. I pick only projects and tools that interest me,  and I take long breaks when I need.

Originally posted by @Mark H. :
Originally posted by @Chris Connery:

Changing my mindset to realize you don’t need to work a day job you hate for the rest of your life when you can replace that money through real estate. I quickly bought 12 units and counting after that realization.

Bingo! Sums up exactly my mindset. That's why I don't relate well to traditional thinkers who preach the old school way of college > career with one employer > 401k > retire at 65. I refuse to depend on any one job/employer and to retire so old. I even teach my son to avoid this traditional thinking, I explain to him the importance of passive income.

While I'm building up my passive income to the level of my earned income, I remain self employed so as to avoid any job or manager I'd hate. I pick only projects and tools that interest me,  and I take long breaks when I need.

The only drawback with that thinking, Mark, is that having a 9-5 job makes it super easy to get approved for loan and build your real estate portfolio. The lenders look at you in a completely different light when you have that steady paycheck.  Also, to be successful in corporate world, you can always move up or move out. and keep climbing the ladder. A lot of guys and gals these days stick with an employer maybe 2-3 yrs most.  

I am not a huge proponent of college education, for the sake of college education. On the contrary, I would encourage any young person consider trade school over thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands dollars worth of student loans. I have a colleague who has son who wants to be an Art major.. What a colossal waste of parents' money.  By all means, if one has the plan to make it in a non-traditional way, the rewards can be bountiful. The risk of failing is also huge though.


The only drawback with that thinking, Mark, is that having a 9-5 job makes it super easy to get approved for loan and build your real estate portfolio. The lenders look at you in a completely different light when you have that steady paycheck.  Also, to be successful in corporate world, you can always move up or move out. and keep climbing the ladder. A lot of guys and gals these days stick with an employer maybe 2-3 yrs most. 

 @Chinmay J.  

I agree: the steady paycheck makes it easier to get loans, however I don't have to work for some employer for that; I issue a monthly paycheck to myself from my business (s-corp) even when I take a long vacation between projects (my compensation is a total annual amount) so it is truly steady and I get a W2 as well to show to lenders. That's how I grew my portfolio to eight properties.

Originally posted by @Mark H. :

The only drawback with that thinking, Mark, is that having a 9-5 job makes it super easy to get approved for loan and build your real estate portfolio. The lenders look at you in a completely different light when you have that steady paycheck.  Also, to be successful in corporate world, you can always move up or move out. and keep climbing the ladder. A lot of guys and gals these days stick with an employer maybe 2-3 yrs most. 

 @Chinmay J. 

I agree: the steady paycheck makes it easier to get loans, however I don't have to work for some employer for that; I issue a monthly paycheck to myself from my business (s-corp) even when I take a long vacation between projects (my compensation is a total annual amount) so it is truly steady and I get a W2 as well to show to lenders. That's how I grew my portfolio to eight properties.

 Yep, as long as we have a successful business going on we have a deal. And a great tax benefit too since only the salary portion is taxed for self employment tax, rest is not. 

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