Over the past few years, I’ve been asked numerous times how I got started in real estate investing. The simple answer is I started doing things. Attending networking events. Reading books. Listening to podcasts. Calling real estate agents. Sending out marketing. Answering the phone when sellers call.
The action is what led to results. Not pondering. Not thinking. Not reading. Not planning. Not worrying about the market or the economy. Doing something each and every day got me to where I am today.
However, that’s not the full story. Before I sent out my first piece of marketing or made that first call or attended my first event, I spent my days educating myself. In November of 2012, I decided I was going to start dipping my toes in the real estate investing game. By mid-January of 2013, I was in the process of sending out marketing and networking. Conservatively, that’s 75 days of education before I started doing the actual work.
Looking back, I probably could have shaved two or three weeks off that timeline, but all things considered, that’s a fast turnaround from idea to implementation. One caveat: once I started taking action, I didn’t stop educating, planning or strategizing. In fact, from January to November, I enrolled in night classes at City College of San Francisco to further my knowledge on a host of real estate subjects. When the action starts, it does not mean the learning must stop.
Before we go any further, I have to say that there is no easy or right answer for when it’s time to move from education to action. No magic formula tells you when it’s time to get your ass into gear and start doing. But that’s fine. It’s a unique challenge for each and every individual. What’s right for Bob will never make sense for Betty and vice versa.
The key is to recognize when it’s time to move from education to putting a plan into action.
Please don’t be mistaken. It’s critical for you to have the proper education, background, and plan before diving into the deep end of the pool. However, all the books and seminars in the world won’t teach you how to swim. There comes a point where you have to jump in and see if you can turn theory into practice. And usually, that point is much earlier than most people are comfortable with….and that’s fine!
Actually, that’s better than fine — that’s great! The sooner you get yourself into the water and test what you’ve learned, the sooner you can become an expert, tweak your approach and push forward faster with confidence in your abilities. Getting outside of your comfort zone and pushing yourself is where you will truly see what you have within.
Now I know a lot of you are wondering at this point, “Well, how in the world do I get started?” Unfortunately, I can’t answer the question specifically for you as everyone’s circumstances are unique. However, I can give you two tips to move from theory to practice.
First, I recommend doing one thing a day. Yup, that’s it — it’s simple, but not easy. One. Single. Thing. Each. Day.
Too many times people bite off more than they can chew. When starting a new business, there are 198,309 things you can do to take action. Don’t try to conquer the world in a day. Take small, deliberate steps to give you confidence and help you gain momentum. That could be picking up the phone and reaching out to someone in your space that you admire. That could be putting marketing out to advertise your product/service. That could be pitching investors. Do one thing per day and do it well. You’ll be surprised at how fast momentum propels you forward. Second, join/make an accountability group. Short story time.
I’ve always been a night owl. My typical morning before this year was to go to bed around 12:30–1AM and wake up around 8 AM or so. With this schedule, I found myself not working out, skipping breakfast and generally not being as productive as I would’ve liked. Fast forward to this year. I joined a small accountability group of people that wanted to wake up early to read, eat and workout before the day began in earnest.
So now, every weekday morning, I check in with my group and do my morning activities (reading, eating and working out) before beginning the real workday. I have to say, it’s been a game changer. I’m writing this on February 6th, and I’ve only missed one day so far. Even though I am not close to these people, the feeling of letting them down or typing “I slept in” is an overwhelming force that drags me out of bed at 6 AM every weekday morning.
I tell that story to illustrate the power of accountability groups. If you find yourself feeling more comfortable with the learning phase instead of doing, try joining or starting an accountability group for new entrepreneurs.
“Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in” — Andrew Jackson
Mr. Jackson makes a truly succinct point here. He acknowledges the importance of deliberation, thinking, planning, pondering and strategizing while realizing there comes the point where action needs to take over. Again, there are only so many things that books, videos, and podcasts can teach you. The greatest teacher in the world is experience.
So get out there and forge yourself in the crucible of entrepreneurial experience. You’ll never get to where your dreams want to take you if you never leave the library. With the spirit of action in mind, comment below one thing you’ll do today to further your goals and dreams. And if you need someone to hold you accountable, look no further!