It has been a sad week around the office. A long-time contractor and friend died this week. It was totally unexpected. He left behind a wife and two daughters. It was a real shock to me and made me think about my own situation. What if something happened to me? My kids are too young for me to pass on life lessons, so I started writing a book for my kids — kind of a “daddy’s life lessons.”
I am not writing them with real estate in mind, but I wanted to pick out a few and share them with you. I think the ones that I chose lend themselves best to real estate investors and probably more specifically to aspiring real estate investors.
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5 Life Lessons I’m Passing Along to My Children
Lesson #1: It is OK to fail; just make sure you get something out of it.
I believe everyone gets into real estate to make money, but money shouldn’t be the only focus. So you lost money on that flip — what did you learn from it? What new connections did you make from it? What new skills did you learn?
You take all of that with you regardless of what the bottom line says. Maybe you didn’t make money on the first one. But you’ve got to take all those lessons, connections, and skills that you have learned in the process with you to the next one. Your ability to gain those will have a huge impact on you becoming profitable.
Lesson #2: Focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses.
Become “world class” at something you are good at. If you have a high aptitude for something, develop that skill further. Developing that skill will not be as painful or as time consuming as you trying to develop a skill you aren’t very good at. Sometimes in the beginning of a business, you will be forced to take on roles that you aren’t good at, but once you start making money, hire someone to do the work that you aren’t good at.
Lesson #3: Never give equity to someone you can hire.
In the beginning, if you have no money, that may not be an option. Assuming you have some capital, and it doesn’t need to be a lot, only give equity to people who are integral to the success of your business. To find out if they are integral, ask yourself, “Can they be replaced?” If they can’t be, then an equity stake will keep them there and vested.
Lesson #4: Live frugally.
Your lifestyle will steal your life if you are not careful. I’ve seen many people who started making a little money and decided that a small starter home was no longer good enough, and they needed to get into that 4,000 sq. ft. McMansion. Or that 10-year-old car was no longer good, and they need to upgrade to a brand new luxury car.
Every time you make one of those upgrades, especially if debt is involved, you pledge a piece of your life away to make those payments. Instead, live frugally — and then you won’t need that 70-hour-a-week corporate job to make ends meet, but rather, you can take a lesser job and have the freedom to work on your real estate business. Having low overhead gives you more freedom and opportunities.
Lesson #5: Everything you want is on the other side of fear. Take action!
I never heard it put this way until I heard Jamie Foxx say it on an interview. After hearing it, I thought it couldn’t be said any better, so I stole it. I run a successful real estate company, I’ve done hundreds of deals, and fear still gets in my way.
To get what you want, you have to do things that may be uncomfortable. You have to push through it. Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks — because they are too worried about what you think of them. Most people live their life in fear, afraid to make a mistake because of what someone else might think or say. So get out there and take some chances.
These are just 5 of the almost 50 life lessons that I have written down for my kids. It has been a great exercise. It is almost like writing out my own operating system. It really digs down deep into my beliefs and what I want to instill into my children.
What are some of the principles that you live by? What life lessons do you most want to pass on to your kids?
Leave your comments below.