You Must Love the Process

Our society has built a capitalist infrastructure unlike any the world has ever seen and it allows us to create jobs nearly endlessly, at the time of this writing unemployment is at a historic low.

Throughout my entire life, I’ve been taught that in order to make good money I should go get a good job, it seemed that entrepreneurship and capital investing are considered nearly luxury methods of making money.

These things and others have compounded and been baked into our culture to create a very entitled way of thinking:

“I’m not doing any work unless I’m paid for it”

While this statement is written specific enough that maybe many people think they aren’t guilty of it themselves, it’s my belief that almost all of us are guilty of this, and we need to break free of it.

The problem is that we have set up our society in a way so that we negotiate salary at the start of employment, setting a standard of value, no matter who applies.

This runs directly counter to how investors and entrepreneurs make money, by investing capital and taking on risk up front than working to create a return afterward.

In traditional employment, the employer has to take all the risk: an unknown employee only vetted by resume and a few hours of interview, and they have to commit to putting up all the capital before a single finger is lifted by the new employee.

It would be extremely short-sighted to think that this behavior on such a large scale doesn’t directly affect the mindset and expectations of our population, of course, it does and it’s obvious if you look at how people invest their time.

Some people will tell you it’s because “kids these days are so entitled”, which is obviously false, people today aren’t different than they were 12,000 years ago.

As a country, we have been fortunate enough to create a system where we can assign a value to someone’s work BEFORE they actually go to work.

While on a whole this is fantastic for our society, but as an individual it’s misleading and a hindrance, what if a person is worth more than the set value of their job?

This “equality of outcome” style of economics strips people of having to take the risk or the burden of having to prove for their worth in the marketplace, it results in people taking less risk, and being less willing to work without a financial output guaranteed beforehand.

You don’t have to know where it will lead

If you want to make $100,000 a year, you can search jobs that pay that amount, find the credentials needed to qualify, get them, and then you’re done.

Why is this a problem?

Well, what if one day the job no longer pays $100K?

What if the industry goes into decline?

What if when you get done with all the credentials and you find out you hate that line of work?

You haven’t taught yourself how to be competitive in the marketplace, you’ve just learned how to follow guidelines and apply known steps.

At absolute best, you’ve limited yourself to the $100K salary you wanted, and even if you earn it, is that the pinnacle of your dreams?

What about everyone else who’s chosen profession pays far less?

What if you get your dream job, and your assigned salary and find out you work harder than everyone else, but can’t get a raise equivalent to your increased worth ethic?

You must take the risk of the unknown in order to succeed.

Having a job which guarantees a salary also means you’re a prisoner to that salary. Creating something new has limitless potential for income, but also self-worth, and self-respect.

Going to college and lining up a predetermined job with a guaranteed salary is EASY, and to be fair in many ways this is good, certainly for society as a whole, but it’s not good for the ambitious person who wants something out of life that isn’t pre-determined.

Jeff Bezos didn’t know what Amazon would become, but he saw potential and committed FIRST. Before he was a household name, he was grinding for his company to grow, when the probability of it failing was actually much higher.

If I didn’t start this blog unless I could guarantee an income from it I would never have written the first word, to my own detriment, even though I haven’t taken in a dollar from this site!

If we change our thinking to look at the value of the work first and believe in the value of our output, our potential to earn income will match.

When I first started building my real estate portfolio I decided I wanted 10 houses in 10 years, this would fund my retirement but the goal was way too small.

I see now that setting such a small goal is limiting, just like if someone offered me a set salary, I’ll only work as hard as I have to earn that salary.

I no longer want to get 10 houses, I’ve learned instead to just love the process of real estate portfolio building.

Now I am unshackled from my limits, my potential is unlimited, the pressure is off, and the possibility for bigger gains has been opened.

Don’t chase a paycheck, chase creating value.

If you do that, the money will work out easily.

Trying really works, who knew?

For years of my life I tried very little, I just did what my jobs and society told me I was supposed to do.

If I were to be really honest with myself though, I was doing the minimum standard of their expectations and perhaps it was even below the minimum of their expectations, maybe it was the minimum amount of effort just to keep from getting fired.

I wasn’t maximizing my value for myself, and I wasn’t maximizing my output for the employer, it was a lose-lose situation really.

Complacency runs rampant in the absence of excitement.

It wasn’t until a few years ago when I picked up real estate and realized I could do a lot of work to get better at it, with no guarantee of success and yet it started to produce returns anyway: big ones.

How much work was I doing really? I was just reading and listening to other people’s’ success stories, it was nearly effortless but it changed my life significantly.

I wasn’t working very hard to improve, but I was at least trying for once. I was interested, I was loving the process, and when you enjoy doing something you don’t really care if it’s profitable.

Somewhere along that way I started putting this together: when I didn’t try at life I was not that happy, I had no growth to enjoy or look forward to, and it was unfulfilling.

Trying a little bit though, in ways that weren’t even that hard started to add up to big results.

Learning something new would ping my interest, give me an increase in intellectual confidence, and encourage me to learn more. Reaching out to people to create new relationships was easy, and the rewards were huge.

I was making new friends, learning from them, and leveraging our combined resources to get more done. I started applying this to other areas as well, my relationship, work, and anywhere else I could.

Trying to get better, all the time, at everything. It seems so obvious but the reality is most people don’t try at all, at anything, ever!

When I ask people these days “what’s new? How is business? What are you working on lately? And they answer: “not much, same shit different day” I start to worry.

How can someone having nothing new going on, and be getting better at like?

My fear is that this is not possible.

Cruising through your work day, waiting for the weekend, and not working on any big projects to invest your ambitions on is a mistake, a grave one.

It’s imperative to consistently try hard, at everything, and it has to be done without a promise of a future payout, otherwise, you’ll never work harder than the assigned value.

Small wins add up

People get better when they struggle and overcome adversity. This is the basis for how we develop competence, self-esteem, and our self-assuredness to tackle bigger tasks.

Most successful people aren’t just walking around closing big deals in one fell swoop, it’s a culmination of lots of small tasks compounded into something huge.

You don’t need big wins to get ahead, you need just need lots of small wins.

Buying houses seems like a big accomplishment to outsiders, but it’s deceiving because while closing may take a single day, buying a house takes lots of small unseen wins beforehand.

Searching for houses, preparing a lending strategy, making sure my property manager is on board and likes this unit, all sorts of stuff.

I also had to read enough books to ensure I feel confident I can pull it off.

Once the house is closed I need to find a renter, keep the place occupied over the long term, and I need to reinvest the profits to the next deal. All these tasks are a part of the small wins needed to make a rental property profitable.

The next time you meet someone who seems like they are killing it at life, try to see the small wins it took to create their success.

Try to think of things you want to accomplish not as a large daunting task, but a series of small wins you can tackle, each separately.

Don’t limit your value to what the market sets it at, forget about salaries forever.

Try hard at EVERYTHING, ALL THE TIME, and do it without the promise of reward.

Focus your ambitions on a goal and chase them relentlessly, don’t love the money you may make, instead: love the process.

Stop telling me you don’t have money to invest

I ask people all the time to invest with me. From small amounts to large, it doesn’t matter what I propose and it’s rare that I actually get into details before I hear this common reply: “I don’t have that kind of cash”

It’s amazing how many times I don’t even get to say a dollar amount and still hear people tell me that they don’t’ have it. When I used to sell cars I would hear a similar response: “I’m just looking” I wouldn’t have even heard the person’s name yet and already they are refusing to deal with me. I can understand more in the car business because people generally hate buying cars and a car purchase is a guaranteed way to lose money so I don’t blame people for not being excited about it. What about investing though? People don’t want to make money either? And why default to thinking it’s a shortage of cash?

I asked a friend recently to learn about real estate with me. He replied that there is no point to learn about real estate because he doesn’t have the money to buy any real estate. This is such a common default position, and while I’m not sure what causes it I know that it’s fundamentally misguided. Imagine the opposite:

If someone dumped a large bag of cash on your lap today, would you be a successful investor?

OF COURSE YOU WOULD!!! You’re brilliant with money, you would be responsible, and you would make good business decisions. Just like you do now right? RIGHT?

Unlikely, the more probable scenario is that you would treat that windfall cash the same You would blow through and waste that money faster than you’ve ever wasted money before. How can I be so sure? Let’s look at other people who have run into windfall cash:

  • Lottery winners – well known to be awful with money and bankrupt soon after winning
  • Professional Athletes – These guys go broke so fast after leaving sports it’s depressing
  • Inherited youths – Just watch an episode of “my sweet 16” to see how family money can help young people make really responsible economic decisions
  • Famous movie stars – Depp, Stallone, Snipes, Mike Tyson,

So cash didn’t help these people, in fact, cash is what hurt them. People say “you need money to make money” but just because it’s a common phrase doesn’t mean it’s correct, or complete. What you really need if you want to make money is knowledge. You need to understand how systems work; you need to instill confidence in the people you deal with that you can pull it off.

What would you do with $100,000?

If you don’t already have a concrete plan of action, then it’s most likely you’ll just blow it. This is what everyone already does; consider how people spend bonuses, raises, or tax returns. People don’t have a money shortage problem; they have a money implementation problem. If you can’t properly invest your $3,000 tax return, why would you be so arrogant to think you could properly implement a $100,000 cash windfall? Have you ever said or heard the phrase “I’ll save more when I make more?” this one is also total nonsense. When you make more you’ll just buy a fancier car and nice new clothes because “you deserve” it.

Start saving and learning immediately.

Let me provide some perspective on my own story. I was broke for years and thought the same thing “I would love to invest if only I had some cash”, and when I thought that way I never did have cash. When I started reading about personal finance once of the things it taught me was that successful people aren’t created from windfalls, they are created from grinding out small returns until they grow into massive portfolios. The reason people don’t do the hard little stuff is that they don’t think it works, and it’s really not fun at all. The important part here though is that grinding out small returns, when you can’t really afford to invest much, is what will make you a great investor. It’s too easy to blow through large volumes of cash, but when your balance sheet is tight it forces you to become efficient. You have to learn this by grinding and when you do it’ll stay with you forever. If you get a large handout of cash you’ll be too tempted to pay for your inexperience with excess cash, you’ll be able to afford to lose money and subsidize your business, You’ll have to ask you won’t know any other way.

Here is some good news though; it’s unlikely that anyone is going to drop a big cash payout on you anytime in your life. So you’re going to have to grind out small savings, learn to invest small amounts and grind out small compounded returns until they do become large amounts. While you’re doing this you’re going to learn a ton about maximizing return on investment and protecting your hard-earned portfolio. So when the time finally comes that you do have a large swath of cash, you know what to do with it and the knowledge is by far more important.

You can buy a house right now, with zero cash.

You really don’t need cash for real estate. Now I just explained how the lack of a large cash account isn’t’ the biggest problem (but you should save for it anyway), however, I want to explain how much more valuable the knowledge is over having cash. So let’s assume you have $0 to spend towards investing, but you had a deep understanding of the economics and infrastructure of real estate. I’m going to use my last deal (READ: DEAL #4) as an example of how to accomplish this:

  1. Say I borrow $60,000 from a person
  2. I find a foreclosure for $36,000, and it costs $24,000 to rehab. I’m all in for $60,000
  3. I get a tenant and rent the place out.
  4. I got to a bank and ask for a loan, they say the house is worth $95,000 and will give me a mortgage of $71,250
  5. I pay back the original $60,000 and keep $11,250 in my pocket
  6. The house pays the mortgage back, short/long term expenses, and then I’m still left with $200/month profit and have nothing invested (free income!)

Sounds easy right? It’s not a trick, it’s just easy. So if you don’t’ feel like you can pull this off, there must be another reason besides money, because we just showed that YOUR money isn’t’ needed.

  • Can you find someone to loan you money? No? That’s because you probably aren’t a good investment. If you know this process like the back of your hand, you’ll find someone to take a risk on you. Like this whole blog has said, you need to be better first, and then the money will come.
  • Can you find cheap foreclosures? Shouldn’t be too hard, they are everywhere in markets all across the United States. If you haven’t seen any, its’ because you haven’t spent much time looking.
  • Do you know what the bank is going to look at when considering a mortgage? Do you know how they are going to evaluate the unit and what they will lend based on that? If not, you’re just one loan broker phone call away…

So in a few short minutes, I’ve displayed how possible it is to buy a house with no money, make it profitable, and put you in a position to do it again. There are certainly obstacles to this process, but that’s business, it’s not hard but it does take effort. If the only hurdle between you and financial freedom is knowledge, you must ask yourself if you’re going to let learning be the thing that keeps you poor. There are many other ways to buy houses without money as well (owner finance, joint ventures, etc) and there are even more ways to buy houses when you have a LITTLE bit of cash. I’ve bought 3 houses with small down payment products now, one of them I bought with only $2,500 and it made me $20,000 the next year!

What to do while you’re learning

Have I convinced you that real estate investing is not a money problem, but an education problem? I hope at least partially! I would like to explain this phenomenon worked for me in a real-world situation. When I first started I didn’t have any money or know-how, so I set out to accumulate both the slow and hard way. I started listening to podcasts and reading blogs every single day, while doing this I was simultaneously savings money as much as I possibly could (READ: HOW I SOLVED THE MONEY PROBLEM). After some time went by I learned that I could buy a foreclosure with 3.5% down, well that was only a few grand and because I had started saving I had already accumulated the whopping (#sarcasm) $2,500 I needed. If I had waited for a large unexpected cash payout to buy, I would have waited forever, if I simply saved money and didn’t’ educate, it would have taken much longer, but since I started on the education immediately it was easy. I could have certainly found someone to lend me the $2,500 at that point as well, so the only factor that really was necessary was the knowledge.

The reason you aren’t investing isn’t due to a lack of capital, its because you don’t know how. If you knew how you could get started immediately and if someone dropped 100K in your bank account you would still need a few years of learning to properly deploy it.  If you want to start building wealth, start educating immediately, that’s the real thing that’s holding you back. Not having money is just an easy excuse similar to “I’m just looking”, it may be socially acceptable but it’s not helping you make any money.

How I’m going to maximize my 2018

In 2017 I purchased 2 houses. 1 was a primary (which I don’t recommend) and the other is a rental home which will be quite profitable. These houses came with challenges to close, they were both purchased long distance, and they both required creative underwriting. While looking back on 2017 I realized I should have done much more.  While this is always true of hindsight I want to use what I’ve learned this year to make the next year more productive.

 

The goal:

Buy 3 houses in North Carolina

Raise $60,000 in private capital

End the year prepared for a well prepared 2019

 

The plan:

My original goal with real estate was to build a portfolio that would support me regardless of my career. This year I intend to add both a large chunk of free cash flow, but also a large increase in net worth. Here is the blueprint of what type of homes I look to add:

Purchase price:               $35,000

Rehab cost:                     $20,000

Total cost:                       $55,000

After repair value:          $95,000

Rent Income:                  $900/mo

Cash Flow:                       $250/mo

Equity:                             $40,000

 

These estimates are similar to the deals I have done in the past and a bit better. Each deal I do I learn a little more, I get a little better at it, and they are each a little more profitable than the last. There are lots of reasons to think I still have room for me to improve and continue to close better deals. If any of these numbers are off, it’s the equity I’m being too ambitious on, as the cash flow figures are quite reasonable.

 

The financing:

First let’s break this down into 2 parts: Purchase financing, and long-term financing.

Purchase financing: It’s almost a necessity to buy foreclosures with cash. All the other buyers are buying with cash since it’s easier to close, and I can’t afford to be at such a disadvantage. So, I need to close in cash but luckily, it doesn’t have to be MY cash. Not to say I won’t spend some of my own cash this year, but last year I spent some time learning how to raise private capital and found myself lucky to be successful at it. It wasn’t particularly easy, but it’s a valuable task to learn. With that said in 2018, I plan to raise more private capital for short-term purchasing. My current goal is to raise $60,000 from at least 2 sources.

 

Long-term financing: Having cash (mine or private sourced) sitting as unused equity in a house is not a good method to make money. Sure, there is cash flow, but not enough to sacrifice all possible liquidity. The cash used to purchase is a tool that makes my purchasing more competitive, but I want the cash back as soon as possible to use on the next property. Having a paid off house is not something I have any interest it, I want to expand. To do this quick loan turnaround I will use a program called “delayed financing”. This allows a user to put a loan on each property as soon as a tenant is in place for the total amount paid for the unit plus rehab. The downside to this is that I cannot cash-out on any increased equity I’ve created. The upside is that I can put a loan on the house as soon as it’s rented and avoid a common 6-month seasoning rule.

 

SWOT analysis:

Strengths: I look to refinance a house I bought in 2017 immediately beginning the new year. This will free up about $70,000 in cash I had spent on the house earlier this year. In fact, I have already spoken with my lender about my plans for 2018 and we have a strategy in place, and the refi of my last house is already in the works. The cash from this house plus cash I have saved and money from a HELOC I own should allow me to buy 2 houses before the need to raise any private capital. The private capital I do intend to raise has already is something I have discussed with potential lenders. My goals, strategy, and previous experience should allow me to provide investors with above-average market returns, diversification, and confidence in my ability.

Weaknesses: Early portfolio expansion comes with lots of difficulties. Underwriting can be difficult when only a part of new rental income can be used towards DTI (debt-to-income) and thus the more houses that are acquired the more likely a bottleneck situation can occur. While I have spoken with lenders about solutions to this problem, it is a considerable problem. The crucial factors to help mitigate this bottleneck are a continuous increase in spending capital, and to ensure each deal will cash flow heavily. We must ensure rental income on new units stays at a level that generates excess cash flow to be more than solvent when considering new debt service requirements.

 

Opportunities: There are still lots of homes for purchase in the designated area that fit my purchase criteria. Mortgage rates are still low, and stock market volatility has people worried about an impending correction, these factors tell me that the time to strike is now. People will want to diversify a portion of their investment into real estate without having to learn the niche or take all the direct risk. I can give people this exact option: a passive way to both diversify their portfolio with tangible real estate assets without requiring them to learn the details or take the risk of learning a new market.

 

Threats: Competition in my main area of purchase is getting stronger, and the cost of foreclosures is on the rise. I assume this is due to a combination of cheap homes, continuously low interest rates, 8 years of stock market gains, and the inconvenient trend of HGTV house flipping shows. Some people are willing to buy assets above market price just to get in, this makes finding deals more difficult than in the past and emphasizes the importance of buying great deals based on analysis rather than emotion. Another threat to consider is increasing of federal reserve interest rates. This will increase risk-free rates for safe investors, and I have to compete with these changing rates by incentivizing investors with returns high enough to endure the risk and lack of liquidity.

 

What’s next:

Planning for the upcoming year is important. Most people don’t plan anything, and they get exactly that. The next important plan is for 2019 and depending on what I want to get done then determines how I want to end this current year. In 2019 I want to move forward with plans to JV (Joint Venture) on a large apartment building. This will require a lot of my own personal cash, and lots of cash from outside sources, therefore my 2018 plans include raising private capital as such a primary objective. I don’t necessarily need much private capital to buy 3 houses (though it will help), the main reason for this goal is so I can get better at raising private capital in large amounts for the apartment purchase. It will also show people that I can take down big deals, pay them good interest, and that I’m a reliable partner going forward. Using lending as a means for both parties to make a profit will allow me to build great long-term relationships for even bigger deals in future years to come.

 

I’m also using this delayed financing plan to make sure I pull all my capital from each deal, ensuring I have the maximum amount of equity extracted at years end. If I want to ask people to invest with me in the future, it’s important that I always have “skin in the game”, meaning I have a vested interest in my deals and I’ve put my money where my mouth is when asking other people to invest in my ideas.

 

Summary:

This is a rough outline of my 2018 schedule. I know there is variance in what can be accomplished and plans always change once the rubber hits the road but it’s important to get things down on paper. It’s important to talk about your plans so you find objections or obstacles, it’s important for people to listen when people tell you why your plan sounds risky, or it can’t get done. I also wouldn’t be able to do as much because solving large problems is not easy to do without diligence. This formula is my diligence. I’ve spoken to investors, lenders, my property manager, my realtor, and I’m posting my plans to the internet. The only thing left to do is execute.

Why I chose real estate

This might be the easiest post I’ll ever write.

Real estate isn’t really something I chose it was more the product of my realizing that I had little talent, an average work ethic, I was flat broke, and I was arrogant enough to think I could still get rich despite these weaknesses.

Again, let me state the checklist of things I had going for me when I found out real estate is perfect for me:

  • I had little to no money.
  • I had no business I could think to open
  • I didn’t wan’t to do full time sales
  • I had no service to offer
  • I consider myself lazy

In addition to these clearly advantageous personality traits…. I wanted something that would fit into a box that would require me not to change. So my adventure had to be:

  • Low risk
  • It had to work in the long term
  • I wanted it to be passive.

I had read Rich Dad Poor Dad years ago almost by accident. Luckily, it taught me that passive income was the most efficient. I had thought about opening a business for years; Restaurants, bars, gyms, supplement stores, and self storage were all ideas that I had considered. So as I’m going through these options I’m realizing that all of them have similar negatives that I wanted to avoid:

  • All of them have high overhead
  • I needed buildings, inventory, employees, utilities for all of them
  • They all were owner-occupied. Meaning I had to go work on this every day. I needed something I could start on a part-time basis
  • They were all hyper competitive, and the these industries are saturated. You know what the failure rate for restaurants is? How many supplement stores pop up and then are gone in a blink. I didn’t want to follow a trend, I wanted a long term solution.
  • These businesses are all cash intensive. One of the main reason businesses fail is under-capitalization. I didn’t have any money to start with so I didn’t want to go into a business that I would need large sums of cash to float the expected hardship of early business.

 

Enter residential real estate

Real estate has required me to make almost zero compromise on any of the features I listed. I actually believe it would be perfect for a lot more people if they would just take the time to learn more about it. Let’s look at how it fit my goals:

It doesn’t take much capital. My first house I had bought with a VA loan and put no money down. While that’s not possible for everyone, if you owner-occupy a house for 1 year you can buy a house with an FHA loan and only takes 3.5% down. A year after learning about real estate investing I did exactly that and moved into a house (that I would eventually rent out) with only $2,000. As I’ve gotten better I’ve learned you really don’t need much or any money to make a living in real estate.

Little to no money

It requires no new ideas, no new business, and no service to provide. It’s been done to death, it’s tried and true, and it works. The returns are great, the risk is far lower than I had originally thought, and you don’t have to be very smart to pull it off.

No business ideas to create

It’s passive. I don’t know my tenants I only have to deal with my property manager and he’s 2600 miles away. My entire portfolio is run over the phone, and some of my rentals I’ve never even seen.

Can continue to be lazy

Let’s see if it coincides well with things I was opposed to in other businesses:

You have to buy the building and upkeep it, but that’s all. With a restaurant I need a building, employees, marketing budgets, inventory, permits, etc. All this means less risk during economic low points, and certainly allows me to sleep better at night. Also, my real estate is a purchase of an asset, not a moving system. Once the house is bought, there is little continuous overhead that isn’t directly paid for by the tenant in real time.

Low overhead

As I mentioned before the tenant lives in the unit, but I never have to go there. It doesn’t require much of my time and that allows me to continue to leverage my human capital to make money from other flows of income. For instance, my tenant pays me on the 1st of the month, but so does my employer. I have essentially bought more time.

Non-owner occupied

 

Real estate isn’t’ a scary as I first thought. In fact it’s more boring than anything. My tenants pay rent on the first, like clockwork. People ask me all the time “what if the tenants don’t pay” as if they are terrified of this risk and instead of learning how to mitigate it, they run from real estate investing completely. The fact is, people pay their rent, homes don’t decay abruptly, and interest rates can be locked in. My business is systematic, consistent, and boring.

Low volatility

 

The only investor who can rent my property out for profit is me. There is no possibility for somebody else to box me out of my rentals, and there is no shortage of houses that I have to fight very hard for the next one. There is definitely competition in the buying process, but once you own the unit, you don’t have to fight the market for tenants. I need one tenant and I don’t have find a new one every day.

Not hyper-competitive

 

That’s all there was too it. I wanted to create wealth and I wanted to do it fairly low-risk, with low startup funds, and not have to spend my active working time on the daily business tasks. It sounds like every pyramid scheme pitch I’ve ever heard! I did have to spend some time getting educated, learning the details, and understanding how the systems work, in the end I got what I wanted though. Real estate has given me economic freedom and stability with a very hands off lifestyle, much lower risk than I had expected, and it’s been far more profitable than I had originally thought. I ask one of my investing partners all this time:

 

“This is so easy, why don’t more people do it?”

Education leads to action

Over the last few years I went from a broke idiot with no real pathway to success, to an economically self sustained idiot with a profitable side real estate business and an inevitable pathway to success. I didn’t go to school for real estate, I didn’t get a high paying job, I didn’t inherit anything, I didn’t stumble upon a big stack of cash, and my brain didn’t start working any better.

So how did I do it?

This is the correct question and you should be asking it about everything. Instead of thinking people have advantages that aren’t possible for you, or thinking some obstacle makes a goal impossible, instead ask “how can it be done”, then find out. This is really the basis for everything I’ve done right financially.

Asking “how it can be done” is literally the answer to how I did it. Knowledge will give you the tools you need to accomplish things, and the world really isn’t that complicated but it does takes a little curiosity to find answers. It takes a little change of thinking to approach problems as an opportunity to get creative, rather than create mentally unsolvable impasses. Arthur C. Clark wrote “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” This is true with investing as well, if a topic or goal seems impossible or magical, its’ it doesn’t mean it’s magic, it means you just don’t know enough about it.

For example, when I bought my first house I didn’t walk up to a house and buy it in one day (This would seem obvious). What’s not obvious is that the process of learning how to buy a house is what gave me the confidence that it was the right decision. Ever been shopping and said “I’m just looking”? at a car dealership maybe? Of course you were just looking you didn’t have all the information yet! As you  got new information you decided it might be a good idea to purchase.  Investing is the exact same way. You don’t decide you are ready to buy a house, then learn about it, as you learn you start to decide.

When you talk to a realtor, he tells you to get pre-approved at a bank. You call a bank, they tell you the requirements, you look at your life and put what they need together and they review it. They tell you how much you can spend, how your finances fit into their underwriting requirements, what you need to do better or differently.  When you go back and talk to the realtor he is going to educate you on the market forces in your area.  The process of looking at houses will teach you what houses are valued at in your city. He finds you houses that work, you negotiate, he then helps you close the deal. The point is many people shy away from starting to look at buying a house because they don’t understand how to buy one, but that’s the wrong kind of thinking. You learn the details of the process as you go, the education of understanding makes you feel confident to move forward. This empowers you to a point where you feel confident signing the paperwork.

The education leads to action.

When I was in grade school I was really bad at math. Terrified of algebra I thought to myself I could never do it. I can barely deal with numbers, now you want to put letters in there? Of course it’s scary, everything unknown is scary. I eventually learned algebra and it wasn’t so hard I found, along with everything I’ve ever done. Investing and wealth building aren’t hard or impossible, they might just be new to you. Learn it and it’ll seem easy.

How do you invest in the stock market? How do you move across the country. How do you buy a business. If you don’t know how they work, they seem impossible. If you know how they work, they seem really simple, and you can surely pull off something simple right? People are scared of this stuff so they never even try it, when in reality simply learning about how these things work can help you tackle them just by INCHING forward. The compounding effects of education and small steps forward is potent.

Ever met  someone rich and described them like this: “wow, they are so down to earth, just a regular person”. Yeah, what else would they be besides a regular person? Good news, you’re a regular person too. It’s not genetic smarts that gets you ahead, its the effort to learn a few new things that have applicable value. If you think the population of the rich people are brilliant and they have some special advantage over you, you’re dead wrong I’m as regular and average as it can possibly get and I have done well with real estate for no other reason than I was interested in learning. Learning took my fear away, it took the magic away, and left me with the desire to take action.

To summarize, you don’t have to be gifted to get ahead. What most people do is learn financial literacy from their parents and this is almost universally a recipe for failure. In order to create wealth and financial freedom, you simply have to ask questions, find the answer, then ask the next question. As you learn more, you’ll easily feel confident to take action.

Seeing success makes it possible

Have you ever met someone and they are really good at something and default to thinking they are lucky, or they have always been that way, or they had some advantage you’ll never have? Of course you have. We hear about successful business people all the time and assume their situation is impossible to replicate, they got lucky, or they are somehow better at life than you.

This is what I thought for years, and I know for a fact this is what many people think. Now we may have listened to these people tell their story about them working hard for years, struggling, and making sacrifices, but that’s not what we see. We just see the success, and our brains default to say “I just found out about this person, they are successful, so they must have always been”. How could you imagine them any other way? When you meet someone so far ahead of you in an area of life, it can even be hard to relate because they haven’t had the struggles of a beginner in years. Each persons perspectives and circumstances can be vastly different, causing us to feel like we just aren’t designed to attain that level of accomplishment. So how can we convince ourselves to take steps towards goals that we deeply feel are unattainable?

 

Seeing is believing, literally.

 

A common phrase, certainly not one that is life changing, but with the right perspective and surroundings is quite powerful. For example: I’ve lifted heavy weights for years. If I tell someone to dead-lift 2x 2.5x or 3x their body weight they are going to tell me it’s impossible. Spend some time in the gym with me, watch me do it, be around it, the commonality of seeing heavy weight being lifted removes the mystic and magic of the feat. When you see it happening all the time it not only loses the impossibility, it seems trivial. You could certainly do something trivial right? I thought big lifts were meant for superstar athletes but never someone like me. I watched other people do it enough and didn’t run into a single Olympian along the way. Just regular people, well I’m regular so I decided I could do it to.

When I joined the military it seemed daunting, impossible, and terrifying. Well,  I signed up and shipped away, and it was fine, easy in fact. Guess who else was in basic training with me? A bunch of other scared kids that were all succeeding in this seemingly impossible task. How could it possibly be? (Hint: basic training is just easy). How can we beat this mental block and use it to our advantage? What actionable steps can we take take advantage of this?

 

Surround yourself with those on a path towards success.

 

A few years ago I met a guy online who does real estate like me. He was fairly ahead of me in his accomplishments. Had a much better career, a few more rental houses than me, knew more about it than me, and had more momentum than me. That said, he wasn’t a billionaire and he wasn’t’ so far ahead of me that it seemed impossible. It was possible, so I had a goal and I was encouraged, and he encouraged me greatly as well. It worked well enough, between the time we met and now my rental portfolio increased, I made improvements in many areas, I was smarter, and my momentum was building. So we recently spoke about a recent success he had and in the 2 years I had gotten better, he had gotten a LOT better, and he was doing it in areas I was apprehensive to tackle. He was writing a blog that went from a small hobbyist venture to a profitable and having a large following. If you met this guy today, you would say he’s killing it. He got lucky, he had unfair advantages, or he’s always been successful, but that’s not the case, and this time my brain didn’t’ trick me, I KNEW it was possible because I watched him do it. Seeing has turned me into a believer.

 

You must be persistent!

 

You ever pick up a new hobby and suck at it. Good! Welcome to how absolutely everyone starts out at everything. By the time you see them doing well, they have put in a grind of countless, thankless, result-less hours that you’ll never comprehend. This is why if you want to get somewhere, you have to start from nothing, you have to suck at it, and you’ll be nervous, uncomfortable, and insecure. The only way to rid yourself of those negative feelings is to put in the same thankless work that goes noticed by literally everyone until you wake up one day and someone wrote a blog about how your success inspired them like I’m writing this blog.

 

Focus on your goals and take action, regardless of how small.

 

I have known for a while that one major way I can increase my success is by increasing my exposure to the world, and helping others to learn what I’ve learned. I intend to do it by writing blog articles like this. For me this is uncomfortable and it makes me insecure, but for the same reasons listed above I know it’s only because blogging is new to me and I’m bad at it. As I get better, it’ll be more effective. I’ll attract and be able to help more people. I know this because I’ve seen it happen, and now I believe. For those people who have followed me in what success I have seen, they will now know it’s possible as well. We can beat this mental block together.