This week we were fortunate enough to participate in an amazing mastermind group that we're part of down in Baltimore.
It's full of like-minded action takers who are constantly re-inventing themselves and their businesses.
While we were there, Nick and I got talking with a couple of them about real estate investing and the discussion centred around all the "new and shiny" ways to make money in real estate.
In fact, there are so many ways to make money in real estate that you couldn't implement all the new real estate investing strategies out there even if you employed every man, woman and child in Canada.
The list of "real estate money making tactics" that you can dabble in is long ... very, very long.
And even with all the strategies available many real estate investors still, struggle ... badly.
Well, it's been our observation that real estate investing skills and strategies aren't what's missing for most people.
What's missing is the interest from the majority of investors in hearing about fundamentals, cash flow projections, project management, team building, marketing processes, saving for down payments and budgeting.
There's some interest in these things, but it pales in comparison to the next great "million dollar" secret to buying property with "no money down".
Next month in our own offices we have a jam-packed class on tax strategies and using Quickbooks to run your business ... although it's jam-packed, to their credit, the people attending are the unique exception, not the norm.
Being around real estate investors in one way or another for over 20 years we've learned that there is a huge difference between buying property with the hopes of making money and actually putting cash in your pocket.
We've had the advantage of seeing many investors over long periods of time, even before we seriously got started ourselves, and it's made a big impact on us.
The great thing about real estate is that the business can be very forgiving. The large amounts of cash generated off of properties in rising markets cover up a lot of mistakes.
It allows people to get started and grow a real estate investing business of their own, small or large, without a lot of hardcore finance and cash flow management expertise. However, that doesn't mean you shouldn't seriously be studying these things once your real estate portfolio begins to grow.
But still, to our continued amazement, many "get rich quick" real estate experts completely mock smart business strategies and promote to real estate investors a very lazy approach to business - to their own demise.
Very recently we were told "face-to-face" by a so-called real estate investing expert that we didn't understand the types of strategies he was talking about.
He had no idea that at some point or another we had done each of the things he was explaining ourselves, or had been involved closely with someone else who has.
He then even went on to mock us ... explaining that we were traditional and "very conservative".
As if that were a bad thing!
And what was interesting is that he was asking us for advice on business building! He didn't seem to even recognize the irony of the situation.
When we prodded and asked him what was holding his own business back he hesitantly shared that although he knew how to buy property with no money down he just needed some extra cash to advertise his business.
Confused? Yeah, same here.
For years, we haven't said anything against people selling "get-rich-quick tactics" as real businesses. But we'll say it now.
Just because a strategy generates cash doesn't mean it's a lasting business. It's a one-hit-wonder.
A tactic that can work "every once in a while" isn't a real business. It's a hobby.
And it's difficult to pay the bills with a hobby.
A real business in real estate takes processes, many processes, working together, requiring ongoing, never-ending attention, fine-tuning and adjustment.
It takes study, it takes works and it takes effort.
If that sounds difficult and painful to you ... then that's the exact mindset that the "get-rich-quick" crew feed off of to sell you instant riches.
We've witnessed the results of people going down this "instant riches" path ... and likely, so have you.
We've even met people who have made millions, yes, millions, only to fall flat on their faces because behind the curtain there's nothing but a lucky flip or two that they couldn't repeat systematically.
It's like hitting a home run but then not figuring out that hitting singles and doubles consistently is what keeps you in the game.
From all our travels and meeting many different real estate investors we can let you in on a little secret.
Many creative real estate investing gurus often suffer in silence. They can't admit they are having severe cash flow problems because their customers wouldn't want to hear it.
It's not part of their story.
Over the years we've learned that building a real, lasting, real estate business is expensive. You end up spending a lot of money getting things rolling.
And you make a lot of mistakes. What is working one day will stop the next.
We're often banging our heads against the wall tweaking something that worked well for years but suddenly stops.
But by treating your real estate investing as an actual-real-world-business you end up with an asset that will generate profits for you ... for years. The lead generation systems, fulfilment systems, contracting systems, legal systems and accounting systems you implement end up serving you for a very long time.
The majority of real estate investors struggle because they don't work on creating processes and systems.
If you look closely at successful real estate investors you'll find they look very much like business owners.
Real wealth comes from putting processes into place that produce consistent, regular results for you.
Hitting a home run once in a while is nice but you won't last in the big leagues with that strategy for very long.
Consistency is the name of the game and cash flow is king.
Break out all the components of your real estate investing business and map out how you'll put processes around each.
Be a business builder, not a one-hit wonder.
Until next time ... Your Life. Your Terms!