The Two Roads of Real Estate Investing, Part 2

Hey, welcome back! I’m glad you're here because I’m eager to jump back into “The Two Roads of Real Estate Investing” with you. I'm convinced this could really have a profound impact on your real estate investing business if you grasp it.

If you missed part 1, please stop and read this post first. You really need to clearly understand what the first road looks like, because frankly it’s the path most of us unwittingly fall into (present company included) for far too long.

As we discussed before, road #1 seems like the faster, easier path because you've got this energizing stream of constant education mixed with lots of action and “busy-ness”.

But in reality it ends up the exact opposite for most of us -- a painfully slow, erratic path that leads far too many to basically nowhere fast. It’s the lane of frustration and overwhelm, and frankly it’s where a whole heap of investors end up dying by the roadside.

Folks on road #1 have tons of action but no real direction, and when they're completely honest, are often fairly uncertain of the exact steps they should really be taking each day to move their business in the right direction.

Road #2 – “Walk This Way!”

I’m happy to report there’s a better road. A much easier, shorter and less frustrating road. And it’s always available to you – you just have to know what to look for. Most of us who achieve a level of success in real estate investing end up discovering it or being lucky enough to have someone share it with us early on (like I’m doing for you right now).

In my view, here are the four most common sign posts of road #2:

Sign Post #1: A Clear Picture of Your End Result

In my view the second road begins with understanding with crystal clarity where you’re really going and why.

Sure, you want to build wealth and earn great money through real estate. But why? I mean, what are you really aiming for here?

Road #2 ideally begins with gaining a certain amount of end-game clarity – by understanding that idealistically your chief aim isn’t really just about amassing piles of money and achieving some ambiguous level of “financial freedom”. It’s more specific than this – or at least it should be.

Said another way, road #2 starts with clearly defining not only what “freedom” really looks like for you, but what it tastes like, feels like, smells like and looks like on a day-to-day basis once you’ve got there.

Let’s say you want to bake a cake. You’ve enjoyed some great cake before and you even have a pretty good idea of what the cake-baking process looks like. But you don’t start out by just tossing ingredients in.

First, you’ve got to know right from the start what kind of cake you’re making. Vanilla with cream cheese icing? Pineapple upside down cake? German chocolate? What are you aiming for here?

So first you identify your choice of cake, and decide exactly how you want it to look, what size and shape it should have, what it should taste like and how it will best be enjoyed when you’ve finished baking it.

In the same way, real estate investing road #2 starts with getting as super clear as possible about where you’re really going with this whole real estate thing, and why.

Sign Post #2: The Right Map / Recipe to Follow

As we discussed in part 1, the first road typically involves plenty of solid education and training…but it’s usually all-over-the-place kind of education. It’s Jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none type training. It’s like you’re trying to bake 5 different cakes all at once.

(I know I’m mixing metaphors here, but I’m kind of digging both the “road” and “cake” imageries, so hang with me :-) )

Yes, road #2 involves education…but not everything under the sun, all over the place, all at once.

Look, if we’re honest any of us could be guilty of falling headfirst into bright shiny object syndrome over and over again, right? Sure, I’m raising my hand too. It’s just part of how we’re hard wired if you’re an opportunist like me at all.

But a huge secret to success in road #2 is honing your ability to focus on the right education, and not let yourself willingly fall into information overload time and time again.

What’s the “right” education?

Well, once you clearly understand your action destination, then you need to find and follow the right map that’ll get you there. And while most maps are pretty well done, not every map has the same features or is designed to get you to the destination you’ve actually chosen.

On road #2, it’s important that you take some time to find one really great map, and then follow it really well. Don’t second guess it. Don’t try to create your own short cuts. If you’ve picked a truly great map, you just need to follow it and trust the map creator’s experience and wisdom.

Or back to our cake analogy, once you know what kind of cake you want, you need a proven recipe. And not just some random mixture of the right ingredients either. If you really want to enjoy the best cake possible, you need to find the best recipe around, and follow it to a “t”.

The “right education” is a recipe that’ll actually help you end up with the kind of cake you’ve already envisioned.

Can you smell what I’m cooking here yet?

Yes it’s hard…it takes discipline…but learning how to focus on the right education, in the right order, without letting yourself be overwhelmed by over-education or using it as an excuse to keep you in fear – the sooner you can learn this, the faster you’ll walk down road #2.

Sign Post #3: Intentional, Purposeful Action

Notice I didn’t just say “action” or “massive action”. That’s because all the massive action in the world isn’t worth a hill of beans if you’re walking down the long road or even the wrong road altogether.

I've said it already: You've got to follow the right steps.

Once you know with clarity where you’re going, and you have a proven recipe/map for getting there, it all boils down to following the steps once at a time.

What stops us from doing this?

In my experience the biggest roadblocks to taking the right intentional, purposeful action tend to be:

  1. Fear – plain and simple
  2. Not having a clear understanding of what to do, step by step (no recipe/map)
  3. Not having a proven plan for getting from where you are to where you want to be (see next couple of posts for help on this)

You know what the steps are, and you know in what order they should be done. Because it’s already been done before. You’re not being a pioneer – pioneers get arrows in their backs. You’re following the map, step by step by step.

Sign Post #4: A Trusted Mentor

In my last post I briefly mentioned the advantage of having someone in your life who kind of grabs you by the shirt collar and points you in a direction and says, “Look, right now focus on these next six things. When you’re done, let’s go ahead and give you the next six things to do. And when you’re done with that, we’ll give you the next six things to do…”

What I’m talking about here is having a trusted mentor – a guide who can help keep you on track and kind of force you to articulate the ball down the field in such a way that you’re much more likely of scoring a goal.

I realize some people are all about the Han Solo, self-made-man approach to business and life. But I can tell you with certainty that actively seeking and learning from mentors has been absolutely one of my biggest “success secrets” in business and in life.

No matter what experience level you are, you can always learn from other people, and you should be actively seeking to. If you surround yourself with other successful people and you open up your heart and your mind to what they have to say, you will absolutely accelerate your growth in business and in life.

What a “Second Road” Mentor Looks Like

First of all, a “second road” mentor is someone who can keep you from trying to bake 5 entirely different cakes at once. It’s someone who can put blinders on you if necessary and help you zero in and focus in on the one kind of cake you really want to start off with.

Look, later on in your career, once you’ve mastered your first cake, you can feel free to expand out, build upon what you’ve done and start playing around with other cake recipes. Remember I did that too, but only after a couple of solid years really focused on crushing it as a wholesaler.

A trusted mentor could be local or not – but it’s someone who’s already been down this road a while, experienced some success and has a few battle scars to show for it. It’s someone who can help you avoid some of the inevitable landmines most encounter, and shorten your learning curve notably.

Meet My Mentor Lyle

One of my biggest mentors is a 70-something year old guy named Lyle. Lyle came into my life randomly when we crossed paths at a Jack Miller seminar years ago. I had no idea how much our chance meeting would change my life.

Lyle’s a creative genius. He’s a paperwork ninja. And because of his guidance, and his ability to show me creative investing techniques I wasn’t even aware of, my business has never been the same.

  • By watching him work, and how he structures deals…
  • By bird-dogging some of his deals and having him say, “Okay, here’s how I’m structuring this, and here’s why…”
  • Through breakfasts and lunches with him where he broke down three or four different ways to structure a deal…

Lyle totally opened my eyes to possibilities I’d never imagined of ways to make money in this business.

So yes, Lyle’s been a huge mentor of mine, and I’m still lucky enough to get to talk to him on a weekly basis.

When the Student is Ready…

I believe mentors come into and out of your life at different times, depending on your receptiveness.

It all comes down to the person. If you have an open heart and mind, you’ll attract quality people into your life, you’ll recognize them when they show up, and you’ll actually absorb what they have to offer you.

And if you are an implementer, you are going to take that information and run with it and make a lot of money with it.

As it’s famously said, when the student is ready, the master appears.

Which Road Will You Take?

These are the common markers for the second road. If you’re on board with taking the shorter path to making it big in the REI game, then you need to:

Step 1: Really clarify your what your end-game looks like

Step 2: Find and follow the right, proven map/recipe

Step 3: Take the right step-by-step actions, with clear purpose/intent

Step 4: Find and engage a trusted mentor to guide you

In my next post I’m looking forward to sharing what I see as the 6 essential “way-points” of any real estate deal with you.

Talk again soon…

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