I have been at this game of investing outside of Wall Street full time since late 2004. Thanks to how committed I was about “saving” most of my earned income, back then, I still had plenty of funds left to “invest” even after the losses were incurred on Wall Street in 2000, the very event that drove me to do what I’ve been doing ever since.
Once in a great while, I encounter one of those moments when I wonder if I would have been better off not having taken the plunge to leave my comfortable corporate job – to learn to make investment decisions myself rather than hand over the funds to faceless Wall Street folks who, as it turned out, could care less about robbing millions of people of their retirement savings. Every time, within fraction of a second of that thought creeping up, I’m 100% convinced that I did the right thing – despite some disastrous failures that I have encountered along the way, from which I’m still recovering.
When you go down the path that I had taken, it’s likely that you pay tens of thousands of dollars not only in initial training programs on how to invest in real estate but in never-ending upsells. Those so-called gurus will tell the audience, which includes you, that anybody can do this and so can you. When you are eager to learn, their words of encouragement are music to your ears. You must realize, however, that they say this to sell their products. The question you need to ask yourself is, “How true is that statement?” Additional vital questions to ask are, “How effective are these gurus in truly helping their students become competent investors?” and “What’s their track record?”
Of course, it takes two to tango. This means you must be more than willing to do whatever it takes to succeed. After all, if you’re not motivated enough, no one can help you get what you want.
Furthermore, you must learn to work with the right coaches at the right time. In other words, if you are just starting out, you need someone who can walk you through the basics. If, on the other hand, you are already at an advanced stage of investing, then you need to make sure that your coach is someone who has plenty of experience in what you need to learn and implement. At various stages of my investing career, I had plenty of so-called “coaches” whose sole focus was to motivate me to keep going. Over time, I learned to tell them, “I’m plenty motivated intrinsically without anyone giving me encouragement. Instead, what I need is someone who can help me build a sustainable investment business.”
So should you take the plunge and learn to invest yourself? Here is a reality check for you. The Small Business Administration provides this answer on the survival rate of new businesses: “About half of all new establishments survive five years or more and about one-third survive 10 years or more. As one would expect, the probability of survival increases with a firm’s age. Survival rates have changed little over time.” More specific to real-estate investing, the success rate is generally accepted to be around 3%; in other words, much more difficult than most other businesses.
You are probably wondering what common characteristic those who make it in this business have. One of the most telling factors is the level of motivation. If you are ready to answer your WHY with an absolute conviction to anyone who asks, that’s a clue – because you’re the type of person that never quits no matter what setbacks you may encounter.
I almost hesitate to be the bearer of bad news but here it is. If you are not absolutely convinced that this is the right thing for you to pursue, then don’t even start. I used to think that anyone can be an entrepreneur. Now I know that such notion is a myth. In fact, if you are thinking of investing outside of Wall Street yourself, know up front that this business of investing – yes, it must be treated as a business – is NOT for the faint of heart. By the same token, it keeps your mind challenged constantly and there is never a dull moment. This is what I like best about the path I have chosen.