As real estate investors, we spend a great deal of time setting up the structure of our businesses. We set up websites, write blog posts, develop strategies for lead and traffic generation, design opt-in forms, and write auto-responders. We also create forms, set up systems and fine tune our procedures. There are so many pieces to our businesses.
We create direct mail campaigns, attend networking events and become marketing machines. Once we have the basic infrastructure of our business set up, we will hopefully get calls from motivated sellers, be prepared to follow up with them and buy some property. After all, that is the reason we are in business; to buy property.
Many of these owners of real estate business fall into the category of “solopreneurs” which can be a very isolating place to find yourself. At some point most of these same folks will either add support staff or outsource some of the work. This is tremendously helpful for taking some of that heavy work load off our shoulders. But it doesn’t address the core issue of “reporting to yourself” every day; of being in charge of keeping yourself on track to meet your goals. The other thing that is missing is the interaction you get from having someone to bounce ideas off of. We all need someone that we can do that with as well as someone to keep us accountable.
So, what’s the answer?
Mentors, Accountability Partners and Masterminds
This is truly the secret sauce in every business and in my opinion you need all three. I have found that this will skyrocket your growth in most cases.
Real Estate Mentors
Most real estate investors are pretty savvy when it comes to finding mentors. You really just have to show up at your local REIA or in online forums like BiggerPockets.com and ask someone. It really is just that simple. Mentors are there to help you with quick questions, give you an opinion based on their expertise and possibly to keep you from making a big mistake like paying too much for a piece of property.
In my business I have a number of folks that I consider my mentors. For instance I asked one of my mentors a legal question last week. It took about a minute of his time by email to give me a response to my question. I repay him for his time and expertise by doing all of my closings in his office. We have built a relationship that is mutually beneficial. Here is the really important thing to remember; this always has to be a two way street. Remember the law of reciprocity; you must always find a way to give back to your mentor. They are not there to help you build your business from “start up to success”. Those people are called coaches, and they always cost money. You may need coaches down the line, but don’t confuse them with mentors.
Having an accountability partner is a fairly new thing for me. I have had one for a little over a year now, and it has been one of the best things I have ever done both personally and for my business. So how do you find one? The same way you find a mentor; you just ask someone. You can also put this question out there to people you know; “Do you know someone that would be a great accountability partner for me”?
This person is a little different than a mentor. They should be in the same or a similar business so that they will understand your challenges. But they should not be identical to you in your skill sets or even have the same identical business strategy necessarily. You should each have something a little different to bring to the table. My accountability partner and I meet every Tuesday the first thing in the morning for about 45 minutes to an hour by phone. We will also email each other a few times a week and will typically have another short phone call (or two) during the week. This call will generally come about after a text that says, “Do you have a few minutes to talk”? The answer will typically either be “yes or how about this afternoon after this time?”
Once again, you have to respect the other person’s time. Your accountability partner should be there to help you solve problems, to bounce ideas off of, and most of all to keep you motivated and on track. Think of someone who is there to “hold your feet to the fire”. My accountability partner and I are great friends now, but we also have the ability (and duty) to hold the other person accountable for what they say they are going to do. It’s just that simple. If you are looking for someone to help you hold onto your excuses, that is not what this relationship is about.
There are many ways to set up a mastermind group. The best way is to look for folks that are also in the same business (real estate), but folks that again have different strategies, different skills and different business models. They may also have another type of complimentary business. At least some of them should be further along than you. If you want to create your first product, or go into coaching, then you should have someone in your group that has already done these things.
Individuals in your mastermind group also should be from different parts of the country. You don’t want to be sharing your ideas and the specifics of your business with your competitor down the block. It’s very important that you can be completely transparent with the members of your group or they won’t be able to help you. These people will become your biggest source of new ideas, and your biggest cheer leaders.
Your mastermind group should have a leader that facilitates the conversation. We have a format that is a roundtable. Each person gets to have “their time” during the call which typically lasts 1 ½ hours on the second Tuesday of each month in the evening. The final question that is asked of each person during the roundtable is, “Is there anything we can help you with”? We have 6 people in our group which I believe is ideal. If you have too many members, you won’t get the same benefit from the group.
Create Your Secret Sauce This Year
Make it your goal this year to find additional mentors to help you grow your business (decide in advance what you can give back); find an accountability partner and either join a mastermind group or start your own. Remember, you just have to ask.
Photo:Tambako the Jaguar