What I’ve Learned (Good and Bad) From the Various Mentors of My Career

by | BiggerPockets.com

There are so many different phases to the real estate investing life—getting started, establishing your business, scaling up, and being a leader in the industry. Luckily for us, there are people who have already done those things all around us.

Real estate mentors can be found anywhere, but why do you need one?

Just like life, real estate is all about experience. We can learn over and over again from our own experiences, but why reinvent the wheel? We should be able to learn from others’ experiences as well.

I have had many mentors throughout my life that I have learned from. And to be honest, not all of those mentors were positive role models, but I still allowed myself to learn from them.

Having a mentor can keep you on track, lend you personal experience, and help you grow as a business and as a person.

No matter where you are in your journey, it is all about learning.

What I Learned From My First (Not Quite) Mentor

During part of my journey, my dad introduced me to a gentleman who owned a timber company. His company would basically buy land with trees on it, harvest the timber, and then sell off the land. They did this process over and over again, and this man was a millionaire because of it.

I was drawn to his success and wanted to learn from him, but I did not know how to cut down trees or how to operate any of the equipment. I realized though that I still had something to offer him. He needed land with trees, so I could find him land.

That is what I did. I worked for this man for a year and half as an independent contractor driving all over Indiana looking for land and trees for his company while collecting a commission off of the deals I found for him.

find-a-mentor

Related: 10 Entrepreneurs Share Their Most Memorable Mentor-Taught Lessons

I was bringing him and his company value, and in turn, I was able to learn from him. He invested in me and would feed me little tidbits of information about the business world.

I can’t lie to you and tell you that all of that info he gave me was life-changing; most of it was terrible, in fact. This man did not have an email address, and he never answered his phone. He only talked to people when it was convenient for him. He did not have the best business model. But I took something my conversations with him that changed my life and that is the basis for my business today.

“Keep things simple. Find a process that works and use it.”

Now, at the time, I never looked at him as a mentor, and I never asked him to be my mentor. All I did was converse with him, ask him questions, and learn from him—taking note to myself of what to do and what not to do.

Don’t Stop Learning and Growing

Like I said before, real estate is all about experience and learning. You do not have to have someone in your life that you have given an official title of mentor, especially when you are getting started. What you need to have are people in your life that you can learn and gain experience from.

People, even those who do not know me, contact me every day to be their mentor. I am always more than happy to help people out or point them in the direction of someone that can. I can provide information and content just like so many other people out there, but that is only part of the mentoring process.

A mentor should be able to know and understand where you are, what you’re doing, and where you want to go. You want a mentor who wants to invest in you and help you grow.

Depending on where you are in your journey, you may need different mentors.

I went through a part of my life a few years ago where I thought that I was pretty successful. I was doing a lot of deals and making pretty good money wholesaling properties, so I stopped reaching out for help. I stopped reading books and articles.

I bet you can guess what happened. My business stood still.

When you stop learning and stop pushing is when your business stops growing. Do you know what happens to businesses that stop growing? They die.

I realized that was in a different spot in my business life, so I needed a different type of mentor. I began reading more, listening to all kinds of podcasts, and networking more and more at local real estate clubs. Because I put myself out there as someone who wanted to grow and learn more, I was introduced to two people who have changed my life and my business dramatically.

Related: 7 Ways to Find a Real Estate Mentor for Free

These two people were my business coach and the leader of my mastermind group.

My business coach has helped me and my team scale our business and set goals for our business. I meet with him on a regular basis, and my whole him sits down with him once a year. Last year at this time, we sat down with him and set goals that we thought were pretty lofty, but this year, we hit every single one of those goals.

My mastermind group is full of other real estate investors who are doing what I am am doing, are all super successful, and are all pushing the limits of their businesses. Since I have joined this group, my business has doubled. This is not because I am doing anything in particular, but I now have a group of people that I can bounce ideas off of who have been through it, and I have people encouraging me and holding me accountable.

Why do we need a mentor in real estate? I believe that we all need someone to help push us and to learn from.

Think about a professional boxer. They have a coach. That coach can probably not beat them in a match if they were to step into a ring, but that coach can give them the insights, training, and motivation to beat the fighter in the other corner.

Do you think having a mentor in real estate is invaluable? Why or why not?

Leave a comment!

About Author

Brett Snodgrass

Brett Snodgrass is a licensed real estate broker and wholesaler who hails from the Indianapolis metro. His mission in life is to glorify God by serving as many people as he can through his real estate business. He has a pretty active community growing on Facebook and is also the founder of SimpleWholesaling.com Come check it out now and connect!

11 Comments

  1. Alex Hamilton

    I may never use a sale subject to the existing Mortgage again. When you have someone living in your house paying the Note on a mortgage you are responsible for, there is one thing hard to get them to understand. When they miss one or two Notes, its all find to them when they catch up the few late Notes. “The Notes were simply lost in the mail” or a “Check was late, there was an emergency.” The Notes were paid right? So everything is OK on the Home Front. However, your mortgage company, has called the balance due in full on your mortgage. They no longer want the payments even on time again, they want the balance due on the mortgage. The person in your house is claiming they caught up the missing Notes and wants to continue paying a Note the Bank wants to foreclose on. Where do you turn for HELP!

    • Deanna Opgenort

      Your buyer has a renter’s brain–“Rent’s late. No biggie. I’ll pay the $25 late fee — it’s all good”.

      Any chance that you are dealing with a small enough bank that you can beg them not to call the mortgage & set up an escrow account that the buyer’s payment that goes into & the mortgage payment comes out of, so the payment will never, ever be late again? The account should contain an extra month’s payment, & if the buyers are EVER 1 minute late again you either rain fire & brimstone, or you start the foreclosure. Maybe insist on automatic electronic payments into the escrow account — no lost checks, no excuses.
      Also, what are the fail to perform options in the original sale agreement? Any chance the bank will give you time to take back the house & re-sell it?
      (and of course I’ll be the first to say it — talk to your lawyer.)

  2. Daniel Pereyda

    I just finished reading the article by Brent Snodgrass, “What I’ve Learned (Good and Bad) From the Various Mentors of My Career”, and two big things that stood out for me in the article were having a Business Coach and Mastermind Group as mentors. I also like the idea of the phrase “Find a process that works and use it.” and that a mentor can help me with “Insights, Training, and Motivation.” For a variety of reasons I have always tried doing these things on my own but without much success.
    Being new to Real Estate Investing I know I need these two kinds of Mentors. And though I am new the to BiggerPockets community, I have learned from listening to podcast and reading articles, blogs and postings, that I need to attend BiggerPockets real estate investing events for the Indianapolis area so I can learn from and hopefully meet up with a mentor or two. I welcome any advice and assistance that I get. Thanks. Danny Pereyda

    • Brett Snodgrass

      You have the right idea exactly I think Daniel, definitely begin attending the REIAs and meetups that are around. There are some great ones in Indy! Along with the info you get from the meetings and presentations there are also plenty of time to network, which is huge… especially if you are new. Try not to be shy, make sure you put yourself out there a bit.

  3. Larry Russell

    Great article with valuable nuggets throughout. I believe mentors are crucial for success. Having someone who has achieved a higher level of success; sharing valuable insights while taking an objective view of your operations can help you take your business to the next level.

  4. Greg Parker

    Great article. I just ordered the book by Tim Ferris “Tribe of Mentors”(I heard about it on BP podcast). Looking forward to reading it.
    Unrelated- I have a question that you, as a wholesaler, may be able to answer. I have discovered a great flip neighborhood of about 1,000 houses built 25-30 years ago. I am in the middle of a very profitable deal now. What is the best way to contact owners that may be ready to sale? Look for out-of-town owners on tax map and send them a hand-written note? Any quick tips?
    Thanks

    • Brett Snodgrass

      Thanks Greg! Appreciate the comments and “Tribe of Mentors” is a great book. We still do letters for the out-of-state buyers. We have an automated system through a local guy here in Indy, but handwritten letters can go a long way. If you can get a number on the addresses, calls are cheaper and quicker.

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