IC Elesson: The Most Valuable Real Estate Investment on the Planet
…is in the 5” or so between your ears.
For reals, people, if you want to know the difference between the people around you who are “killing it” in wholesaling or retailing or notes or income properties or, heck, pig farming or app development or whatever and those who have the same access to the same education and the same resources but never make any money, it all lies there.
After literally 25 years of hanging around real estate associations as a newbie, a board member, an experienced investor, and now a coach and educator, I’ve watched thousands of people come and go. Some meet every goal they set out to meet.
And they don’t because they believe that if they learn what to do, then all they have to do is do those things, and riches/security/freedom will follow.
That would be 100% correct, if not for, you know…LIFE. Life has a way of getting in your way. Whether your goal is building wealth or losing 40 pounds or learning to quilt, things are going to rise up that slow you, or discourage you, or distract you, or stop you. Some of those things will be people. Some of those things will be habits. Some will be lack of skills or resources that have to be overcome.
But the reality is, the people who really, really do well in real estate (and quilting, probably) are the ones who recognize that no matter how motivated determined they are, the environment will push back on them…and they PLAN for this, and they move those roadblocks out of the way as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The reality is, you don’t operate in a vacuum; make sure you’ve set up your various environments to make it easy for you to do the right things, and hard for you to do the wrong things. You have your:
- personal environment (Do I WANT to do this thing? Do I have a strong WHY? Do I have the KNOWLEDGE to do this thing?),
- social environment (Do people I hang around with want me to do it? Can they HELP me do it?)
- physical environment (Do I have to resources I need to accomplish this? Have I removed distractions? Set up rewards for doing the right things?).
Trying to achieve financial freedom is already like pushing a giant rock up a hill. Trying to achieve it while there are big, hairy roadblocks out in your environment is like trying to push that rock up a hill with someone else pushing back.
I don’t know what your particular roadblock will be. Heck, I don’t know what MY next one will be. But I can share some observations based on 25 years of watching people exactly like you fail and succeed, and at least give you a heads up about what ELSE you need to do, other than learn and implement, to make this work.
- The difference between the 20% who make it and the 80% mostly inner game. I don’t mean native confidence or high I.Q.; I mean intentionally telling themselves whatever they need to tell themselves to keep going. What you have to do, over and over, in real estate is often scary, or hard, or frustrating, or boring, or not working like it’s supposed to, is what makes you successful, and whether or not you do that is all about what’s going on in your head, not in the outside world. Are you listening to the voice that says, “You can’t do this, you’re not good enough, it won’t work, no one wants to help you…”? Or are you talking back to it, saying “I SEE it working for other people, all I have to do is what they’re doing and I’ll get the results they’re getting, shut up stupid inner voice, I’m good enough and strong enough and I deserve success!”. You are, and will continue to be until you die, the main thing that’s getting in the way of every single thing you desire.
- If you’re waiting for the exact right time to get started, when you’ve got a clear schedule and it all feels right and you’ve got no fear about it, you’ll die never having started. Your “other stuff” will ALWAYS get in the way; the challenge is that you have to move things that are already in your schedule out of the way to do this business, and it’ll be hard, and some people will be mad or disappointed about you not doing what they want you to do, but if you want to achieve results you haven’t gotten before, you have to do things you haven’t done before. Even though it’s super-inconvenient “right now”.
- Evict the negative Nellie’s, please. How in the world are you going to succeed while hanging out with people who don’t think you can succeed, don’t want you to succeed, or just drain you emotionally with all their Eeyore-ism? No one is that strong. No one. Go find some positive people to spend your time with. Yes, this includes family. Sorry. You can still love them without letting them take up too much of your precious time. P.S.You’re never going to fix them, no matter how much energy you expend trying to show them that you’re on the right track and the world doesn’t totally suck. They’re getting something out of all that negativity, and it has nothing to do with you, and no amount of evidence, logic, or comfort is going to make them feel better. Stop wasting your valuable and limited time trying.
- Similarly, stop taking advice from people who aren’t more successful than you are. Lots of folks are full of lots of thoughts about what you need to be doing. Take them seriously only if they’ve already achieved what you want to.
- Sacrifice some time and money to learn what people who are already being successful are doing, and then do that. Trying to “cheap it out” doesn’t work in rentals (yeah, you can spend $500 and make the roof last another year, but in a year you have a collapsed ceiling and the same problem again). It also doesn’t work in getting educated. Yeah, you can get bits and pieces of free advice, and some of it is going to be worth every penny you paid for it. But a comprehensive, connected, path laid out by someone who’s already got whatever you’re trying to do figured out and systematized is worth a LOT of money to obtain. Chances are, if you’re doing what they did, you’ll get the results they got.
- Get some accountability. We’re just not great at holding our own feet to the fire, and motivation is never enough to carry us past the scary/hard/boring parts. Having to tell someone else that we didn’t do what we were supposed to do (or getting to report that we did) often does. Make sure that your accountability partner is someone who wants to see you succeed, won’t be envious when you do, and is also committed to succeeding themselves. For God’s sake, don’t pick someone that will let YOU slack off because THEY’VE slacked off. You need a friend or coach, not an accomplice.
- Don’t worry about taking it more than one step at a time. In my experience, real estate entrepreneurs are creative people, and creative people also tend to be worried people; they sit around and think about what might go wrong 4 steps up the path, when they really don’t need to, because they haven’t taken step 1 yet. Most of what you imagine will go wrong will never come to pass, and what does go wrong will be brand new and exciting, no matter how much you try to ‘prepare’ for it. Just keep your eyes on the current step. Know what the next 10 are, but don’t wear away your willpower fretting about them.
- Do something EVERY DAY. There’s a lot to be said for momentum; even if you just have a few minutes on any given day before you have to move on to the next thing/fall into bed exhausted/etc., that few minutes gets you a bite out of some goal and, just as importantly, reminds your brain that you’re a wholesaler or note buyer or whatever. It’s frustrating when you can’t spend the hours you’d like to on achieving a goal you’re excited about, but it’s a lot easier to get started again the next day if you’ve done a little today. Picking up–or even WANTING to pick up–after a long period of inactivity is hard. Doing a little every day isn’t as satisfying, but it will eventually get you to your goal.
I know, it’s a lot to consider. But if you’ll spend as much time thinking about how you’ll overcome the inevitable issues that will try to block your path to success, you’ll be less surprised, less discouraged, and more able to cope when they do arise.
Invest some real time in that little chunk of real estate between your ears, and I promise it will pay you back more than any deal you’ll ever do.