3 Tips to My Younger Self
Last month was a very productive month here at the Capital City REIA, wouldn’t you say? We kicked July off with the long anticipated two-day Riches n Niches workshop and what a fantastic turnout we had. Our goal was to impart maximum knowledge in two days, and I dare say, mission accomplished!
On day 1, the insights and questions were fast and free-flowing. From 8:30am to 5:30pm, Tammy shared some of her most successful strategies for investing in multi-units and commercial properties. The heavy dose of knowledge continued into the afternoon as Brian Ginter, an experienced appraiser and member of the Capital City REIA, and Jim Hellman, a commercial lender, each shared their experiences on the funding side of commercial real estate investing. It was an energetic first day, complete with rapid-fire Q&A and a networking session that carried on long after the seminar wrapped up for the day.
How much better can a seminar get? Hands-on better. I’m talking about day 2 of the workshop of course, which we spent out in the field engaging in a mystery-unraveling, phobia-reducing exercise for novice and experienced investors alike. We pulled away from the hotel at 9am in two charter buses and headed to Baltimore to see, touch, and experience multi-unit and assisted living facility projects in the brick. Learning from the owner-inventors how the properties were acquired, financed – with little to no money down! – and are being rehabbed was enlightening to say the least.
There was plenty of learning and networking to be enjoyed by investors of all experience levels. One recurring thought I had throughout this workshop and one that surfaces frequently at events I attend is, “…that’s it? Why didn’t I think of that earlier?” or, “Wait a minute…I knew that! I could be doing that already!”
That’s right, so many innovative money generating ideas that seem so simple and that I never thought to integrate into my own investing agenda sooner. Take short sales for instance. I need some cash to fund my first buy and hold in the capital city (see what I did there), and I’ve known about the short sales strategy for a while. Based on my networking experience, it clearly works, so why haven’t I created short sale opportunities for myself?
We’ve all suffered from this strange “knowing but not implementing” syndrome. There’s many a justification for the habit, ranging from laziness to lack of confidence in following through. Our brains are also constantly acquiring information that needs to brew and incubate before we are compelled to act. It takes time to bring out hidden details and make non-obvious connections between ideas. Think about it, how have you learned some of your most valuable investing lessons to-date? Probably the hard way through trial and error.
Nothing is a waste of time if you use experience wisely. Look back five years and you’ll appreciate the evolution of your investing tactics. Five years ago, I was a weary eyed 25-year old quickly catching on to the drawbacks of working towards someone else’s dream. It seems like just the other day, yet when I reflect on what has changed since, I am humbled by my growth from reckless spender to novice investor. If I could share what I know now with my younger self, here’s is what I would say to help me achieve my goals faster and see results earlier:
#3. Fail fast, and often
You want financial security but you don’t know where to start? How about anywhere that piques your interest. Pick a starting point, immerse yourself in the learning process and do not be frightened by your sense of unease. Somewhere beyond the edges of our comfort zones lie failure and success, and you won’t know whether you’re falling or flying unless you jump off the cliff first.
Failure is more common than anyone likes to admit, especially when the learning curve is steep. Rightly so, failing bruises the ego. Yet it also serves a higher purpose beyond dishing out a slice of humble pie. It also presents a natural opportunity for self-improvement. How else can you develop the strength and endurance of your armor if you don’t test it?
Don’t shy away from failure, fear regret instead. Embrace failure as an opportunity to learn, adapt and adjust to life’s curve balls. The resilience and toughness you develop along the way will serve you well in overcoming more complex and unexpected challenges in the future.
#2. Get Clear on Your Vision
Your time on earth is limited, making it the most precious of all gifts bestowed on you. Making decisions on how your utilize your time is an investment strategy that starts with identifying the relationships with your champions and in activities that genuinely interest you and expand your horizons. It really is that simple. Trust your intuition and sound judgment and get clear on which opportunities presented enhance your life and which ones detract from your time. Then, make a conscious choice. When you say “yes”, act on it. When you say “no”, stand your ground. And when you make the wrong call, learn the lesson and move on.
My father, a gynecologist and one of my champions, urged me repeatedly to look into real estate when I was 24. My intuition sensed the possibilities in his words, yet I was overwhelmed by the unfamiliarity of the industry and I bulked under the weight of the information I found. I did not realize it at that time, but I quickly gave up, thus saying no to an opportunity that thankfully, found me years later. The second time my interest in real estate was stirred, I jumped on the opportunity to learn, and here I am with my Capital City REIA family.
There’s an old saying that states, “the best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.”
Which leads me to my next tip.
#1. There’s no time like now
If investing has taught me anything, it is to strike while the iron is hot. There is a distinction between feeling ready and feeling right. When it comes to moving forward, readiness is very much dictated by our levels of confidence , and confidence is a fickle emotion in the face of uncertainty.
Young me, instead of the condo, go for the duplex and let a tenant pay your mortgage. Use your savings to purchase the next property and keep the momentum going. No practical knowledge? No problem. Invest in some real estate knowledge and seek out like-minded individuals who know what they are doing. Need guidance? Find a mentor. There are wonderful people out there who love to teach what they know. Where do you find a tenant? It’s all about marketing. You’ll learn all about this when you start attending workshops and events on real estate investing.
No amount of preparation and due diligence can guarantee a perfect result because there are always outside forces at play. If you attended Ms. Valarie Scott’s presentation on short sales on July 27th, you will remember she urged us, the audience, to grab the bulls by the horn start doing short sales now. In fact, when I mentioned the topic of this post to Ms. Valarie, she had the following to say to her younger self, “Get a mentor ASAP and start investing right away. Don’t procrastinate! Wasting time is missing out on opportunities and deals. These missed opportunities could positively change your circumstance[s] and life.”
The perfect time to act on new and improved information is now.
And you can do so by diving into a steep but necessary learning curve to understand the new information. Or by learning from past experiences rather than indulging in moments of self-recrimination. You should also consider getting guidance from an expert in the field as the short sales Queen advised. And lucky you, Tammy provides coaching and mentoring exclusively to members of the Capital City REIA’s Inner Circle on successfully navigating multi-unit investing. Why reinvent the wheel when Tammy already created it? If interested, just leave a comment below and someone from our team will reach out to you with details on the latest program that starts August 13th-14th, 2016.
Based on current information, what kind of a conversation would you have with your less-experienced 25-year old self? What investing tips would you urge your younger self to act on immediately? Leave your comments below!