The First Step Every New Real Estate Investor Should Take
I've been interested in real estate for years... but two things happened in the last 1.5 years that finally got me moving on my investments.
1. I had my daughter in March 2016. No one told me how much that would change my perspective on life! (Actually, everyone told me... but it's one of those things you just don't get until you experience it yourself.)
2. I found Szikov in February 2017. The wealth of information armed me to quickly work toward buying my first 4-family rental property in June 2017. You can read more about that here: "Closed on my first 4-family - the numbers and how I got there"
These two events took me from occasionally daydreaming about how cool it would be to achieve financial freedom through real estate, to finally getting the wheels in motion. In the six months since I started my Szikov profile, I've built a team, written a business plan, purchased a cash-flowing 4-family rental property, launched a direct mail campaign, arranged a local BP monthly happy hour, and networked as much as possible.
So I've done a lot... especially considering the fact that I work a busy full-time job and I have a toddler at home. But what may be even more important than WHAT I've started is HOW I finally got started. After years of interest and a vague idea of what I wanted in life, I was finally able to identify and articulate a clear, strong WHY for my investing.
"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined." --Henry David Thoreau
This has been one of my favorite inspirational quotes for years now. I've always been driven to work hard and get what I want. But sometimes it's hard to pinpoint why you want the things you want. Understanding the "why" can sharpen your focus, strengthen your resolve, and drive you in the direction of your dreams.
Ever since graduating from college, I knew I wanted to work toward financial freedom. Why wouldn't I want to call my own shots in life? Who wouldn't want the freedom to focus their time and energy on the things that matter most to them? Vaguely, I knew what I wanted and why. But all of that came into crystal clear focus after my daughter was born.
When my maternity leave was over, and it was time to go back to work, my daughter started at a great daycare. However, she spends 50 hours per week at that daycare while my husband and I are at our W-2 jobs, and I've quickly realized this is not the balance I'd like for us as a family. So my "why" became clear. I need to invest aggressively to build up my real estate business so that I can leave my W-2 job to spend more time with my child. I want to prioritize family time, being active, eating healthy, traveling, and volunteering. I want to use "the best hours of the best days of the best years of my life" focusing on these things. Why? Because life is short, and my family needs me now.
The First Step is to Focus on Your "WHY"
So how can you go from daydreaming about financial freedom to making it happen? What will push you past your fears, embolden you to take action, and help you finally achieve some progress? I'm still pretty new to real estate investing, but my experience so far tells me the first step is to focus on your "why" and let it drive you. Once you have that, all the lessons you learn from Szikov on analyzing deals, building teams, finding financing, and so on, become simple to execute. It's not easy... it still takes a lot of work. But it's simple to keep moving in the right direction when you have a strong "why" driving you.
My guess is the "why" is already there... you just have to dig it up, articulate it, and let that focus you. If you're like me, one day a life event might bring it clearly into view. Or you may be able to find it through meditation or self-reflection. Either way, I believe the "why" is what will keep you focused through the ups and downs of real estate investing.
Obviously, there's a lot of hard work to come after you've identified and articulated your "why." But it's important to remember your "why" and reflect on how the work you're doing will help you achieve your long-term goals. That's why I decided to start my own member blog. As I've begun to build my rental portfolio, I've tried a lot and learned a lot. My hope is that writing about these lessons as I go will provide value to fellow new investors, as well as force me to continually reflect on the work I'm doing and how it supports the life I imagine for myself and my family.
In coming blog posts, I'll talk about networking and building my team, an update on my first multi-family investment property, my lessons learned through a DIY direct mail campaign, how I found a private money lender who is willing to lend to a first-time flipper, and more. Stay tuned!