Blog | Real Estate

Practice Makes Perfect

4 tips for becoming a skilled real estate investor

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Very rarely do people excel in a particular field or skill by innate ability alone — most people need practice in order to reach perfection. Take, for instance, basketball legend Michael Jordan, who wasn’t always so legendary. In fact, he was cut from his high school varsity basketball team. So he kept practicing until he became an expert in his field. Even then, he missed more than 9,000 shots, lost almost 300 games, and missed the game-winning shot 26 times in his career. It just goes to show you hard it is to reach “perfection,” no matter how talented and dedicated you are.

Even yogis refer to their time on the mat as a “practice,” not unlike people who meditate. It’s clear that the most enlightened people on the planet understand that practice — and the discipline that goes along with it — eventually leads to perfection. Yet so many of us expect perfection to come quickly, as if it’s owed to us just because we want it badly enough.

We All Start Somewhere

In 1989, I made my first real estate investment, but I sure didn't become a millionaire with that first property. Maybe that’s because I was flat broke when I scraped together the few thousand dollars I needed to make that investment. But the fact that I was still new to the industry and very much trying to figure things out was a major contributor to my inability to turn into an “overnight success.” But also, I wasn’t expecting it to be that easy. I knew I had to keep practicing.

So what type of “practice” should you be doing as part of your journey toward becoming a successful real estate investor?

  1. Research. If you aren’t spending quality time each day reading books, blogs, and news articles on real estate, then you are doing yourself a massive disservice. Real estate is a living, breathing force of nature, and things are constantly changing. You need to have the most up-to-date information in order to move swiftly and make real-time decisions.
  2. Advice. You’ll also want to seek out a mentor or adviser who can help guide you as you embark on your new venture. A successful mentor or advisor can help you think through problems to find a better solution, can provide guidance on how to analyze opportunities, and can be a sounding board for any questions you have. Of course, you’ll need to be cautious of where you’re sourcing your information, so be sure to follow these four tests for good advice.
  3. Act. Don’t allow yourself to get so consumed by all the research and advice that you never actually move forward and make your first investment. Analysis paralysis is a very real and detrimental problem that can hinder progress. You’ll always be conducting research and seeking advice throughout your investment journey, so don’t feel like you need to soak up every morsel of knowledge available prior to dipping your toe in the water. Just start small, so the mistakes that you will inevitably make don’t sting too much. Still scared? Here are three tips for overcoming the fear.
  4. Fail. Yes, you are going to fail. Failure presents one of the best learning opportunities. And if it’s treated as step toward success, then you’re sure to learn from the mistake. I don’t know any investors who haven’t had a disappointing, if not downright embarrassing, outcome at some point in their careers. You will undoubtedly walk away from a failure with a much clearer vision of what you need to do in order to turn your vision into a reality. You can learn more about why it’s OK to fail.

If you’d like to read another real-life example of how practice makes perfect, be sure to check out Stacey Baker’s story, on page 265 of my book, It’s Rising Time. Spoiler: This single mother makes her way from welfare to Wall Street because she wasn’t afraid of putting in the practice time on her way to financial freedom. Are you willing to practice until you’re perfect?

Original publish date: November 01, 2018

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