“Tom, is it easy to make money?”
That was the question that one of the best mentors I’ve ever had asked me.
I stumbled with my answer.
“Ugh, yes, no—I guess.”
He quickly shot back with, “wrong answer.”
Your answer should be an undeniable YES!
He went on to explain that making money was easy when you resist some key temptations.
Here’s what he shared that day:
Schools, society, and our culture teach us to “do business.”
We are never taught how to “design and build a business.”
He explained that too many people go into business, real estate, or otherwise so that they can “do the next deal.”
They’re just constantly chasing the next deal/transaction/sale.
They never actually build the systems and processes that will allow them to acquire more real estate automatically.
This never-ending focus on the “next property” prevents them from designing the marketing, property management, and financial systems that will allow them to grow.
He illustrated this by making me write out on a whiteboard all the things that we had been working on.
Things like: marketing for our properties, raising capital, showing properties, dealing with vacancies, and late rents.
He then asked me to write the person’s name who was responsible for each task next to it.
As you may expect, my name or Nick’s name were next to every single item.
And that, he said, was the problem.
Our goal should be to get our name off the whiteboard and have it replaced with other people’s names as fast as possible.
When our name is no longer on the board at all then we truly have a business.
For us, that was truly an “ah-ha” moment.
We were so busy “doing” that we didn’t even realize we weren’t “building.”
He then shared this:
It’s easy to chase the money and resources you need instead of being resourceful.
He then explained a story that we’re sure you’ve heard as well:
If you were to give a person all the money they asked for in 12 months they will have very likely lost it all and be no better off.
Their problem isn’t a lack of money, their problem is them.
If they can’t figure out creative ways to get around ANY and EVERY problem then they’ll never develop any real skills.
And they’ll certainly never develop any real wealth.
That’s a bit harsh, but having observed many investors over the last few years, we would now have to agree.
A resourceful person with a temporary credit problem, or lack of cash, or lack of experience will find a way around it.
The majority of people will complain that the world never gives them a break.
Here’s the next thing he shared…
It’s easy to get lost learning a little about nothing instead of a lot about something.
Yeah, we were too.
Let me use my own example because I used to be very guilty of this and still have to fight to avoid the temptation.
For years I would read all sorts of self-help books. Tons of them. Bookcases filled with them!
And as I read them I would naturally come across different exercises that were meant to engage and force some real change in my behaviour.
But every time I came to that section of the book I would just skip over it and say to myself, “I’ll just keep reading, I’ll be better off for all the knowledge I’m gaining, I don’t actually need to do the exercises.”
So I was spending all this time reading these books and increasing my knowledge but I wasn’t actually changing myself.
I wasn’t actually growing.
And it’s interesting, I’ve since heard others mention this exact same thing.
Of course, this applies to business as well.
Instead of learning to become a master of the one NEXT thing that stands in your way, we get distracted.
So, if you need to generate some leads for a vacant property of yours … instead of intently focusing on that need, you get distracted and begin learning about other super cool investing strategies. All of a sudden every investment strategy, other than your own, captures your attention.
But that new knowledge does not move you closer to your immediate next goal.
So if your immediate next goal is raising capital, learn everything you can about Joint Ventures and how to raise money.
If your immediate next goal is marketing, learn everything you can about online classifieds, Google Adwords, Facebook Advertising.
If your immediate next goal is generating pre-power-of-sale-leads, then learn everything you can about direct mail and postcard campaigns and setting up filtering processes.
F-O-C-U-S is key.
Block out everything else.
Making money isn’t difficult. Controlling our attention is.
Until next time … Your Life! Your Terms!
(originally published Sept 22, 2011)