As my wife and I continue to grow our investment property portfolio, I often wonder why everyone else isn’t doing the same thing. I look around my circle of friends, all of whom know about our real estate investment ambitions, and am puzzled why they aren’t taking action to grow their net worth through REI.
Almost every time we are with our friends, they will ask us, “How are things going with your real estate?” We make a point not to bring up the subject ourselves because once someone does, we usually have a hard time talking about anything else. But when asked about the latest news regarding our properties, we are happy to converse and answer any questions they have.
And we obviously give a pretty optimistic picture of why we think REI is a great way to grow our wealth.
But I sometimes wonder if our friends’ inquiries are more embedded in a secret desire for us to fail than rooted in a genuine inquisition for an update. I sometimes feel they are mostly asking because they want to hear about a tenant horror story or how a property has gone terribly wrong.
Now, I honestly don’t think our friends are rooting for our failure. It has nothing to do with us, and it is all about them. I think the reason they are waiting for the real estate “bubble” to burst is that it would justify the fact they are choosing not to do it themselves.
Related: Dirt, Dead Mice & Cobwebs, Oh My: What I Learned From My Latest Tenant Horror Story
It’s more about FOMO. See, if my wife and I succeed (and we are) in our real estate investments, it proves to them that it’s a viable way to grow wealth quickly—or at least more quickly than the traditional investment strategies those friends are using. And if that’s true, they would likely feel they have made a mistake by ignoring the opportunity, especially since they had friends (us) who offered to help them get started.
I often ask myself, “Why don’t they do it, too?” My wife and I are no more intelligent than our friends. We don’t have more financial resources than they do. We aren’t privy to a secret, bulletproof doctrine that guarantees success in real estate investing.
So, why don’t they join us on board this tried-and-true train chugging steadily towards Wealthville?
There’s probably more than one reason. But as I ponder them all, the one I always come back to is that not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur.
What is it precisely that allows us real estate investors to pull the trigger of the “property investment gun” while others sit back, watch, and covertly hope for us to struggle?
3 traits that are vital to succeeding as an entrepreneur
Here are three traits I feel are vital to the entrepreneur’s journey. How my wife and I have come to embody these traits and others have not is a mystery to me. I’m just grateful we have them.
1. An insatiable thirst for knowledge
Once we leave the secondary school system, additional education is a choice. Many choose to continue their education with a degree or certification, then stop. For entrepreneurs, stopping is not an option. Knowledge is food for our brains that we naturally seek. Continued learning is as necessary as oxygen and nourishment.
It’s not a secret that an entrepreneur needs wisdom and knowledge to succeed in their endeavors. Pursuing an investment opportunity without knowing and understanding the details is not the best strategy. The more we know, the more likely we are to succeed. (But only to a point—see No. 2 below.)
If someone wanted to start a restaurant but knew very little about food, business, accounting, cooking, customer service, managing people, or the market area, it would likely be a quick and disastrous attempt. We need to know before we go.
There are numerous ways to seek out knowledge. But no matter what options are available, entrepreneurs will find at least one to satisfy their hunger for knowledge until another option is available—they’re always learning.
I’m sure this will look familiar to you, but here is a short list of ways to gain knowledge:
- Attend a class
- Attend a seminar
- Find a mentor
- Read books
- Listen to podcasts
- Read blogs
- Converse with others
In my book, First to a Million, I do a deep dive into many other ways a young person can satisfy their need for knowledge, and I explore even more traits of a successful entrepreneur. If you’re young, check out the book for tips on continuous learning and many other strategies that will allow you to reach early financial freedom.
Related: 4 Influential Business Books Every Entrepreneur Should Be Reading
2. The ability to pull the trigger at the right time
We will never know everything about real estate investing, but there comes the point where we know enough. Therein lies the real test of the entrepreneur: Can they pull the trigger at the right time?
There is a spectrum of decision-making. The left extreme is making decisions without any information. The other end is the extreme of always needing more information, resulting in no decision whatsoever. Either extreme is rarely the case, as most of us make decisions somewhere in between.
But entrepreneurs can actually make a decision.
Too many fall on the right side of the spectrum and always feel they need more knowledge. These are the “paralysis by analysis” types. They want to have every detail figured out. They are continually seeking that additional piece of insight or constantly waiting for the perfect opportunity. Neither ever comes, and in the end, they do nothing.
The left side of the spectrum is for fools. They are the quick-draws who jump in without any prudence. They often fall victim to scams and are broke without knowing what happened.
As inflation climbs, real estate prices continue to break records, and our economy is finally feeling some ease after the pandemic, a natural entrepreneur can wade through all the noise and still pull the trigger on some intelligent investments.
An entrepreneur knows when they know enough. They recognize that point in time, which is crucial. Because once they are confident in their knowledge, they act. They are able to know when they know what they need to know.
Change the way you look at money before you turn 20
First to a Million teaches teenagers the many advantages of FI while explaining the secrets of investing, living frugally, and maintaining an entrepreneurial mindset.
3. An unusually low fear of failure
Success does not come without failure. Period.
“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” —Michael Jordan
We’ve all heard the story about how Thomas Edison tried a thousand materials before he found the one that made the light bulb work. Or how Stephen King submitted his first book, Carrie, 30 times, while would-be publishers rejected it each time. Or how George Lucas took his idea of Star Wars to Disney, United Artists, and Universal and was sent walking on each occasion—until finally, FOX decided to roll the dice.
Entrepreneurs don’t fear failure; they thrive in it. An entrepreneur inherently realizes that failure brings education, knowledge, growth, confidence, and opportunity. They recognize that failure is the key. It’s about trying; it’s about putting yourself out there; it’s about breaking the norms; it’s about exploring beyond the box; it’s about ignoring the hoops and jumping through walls; it’s about challenging the status quo. And this approach will inescapably come with massive failure at times, but those failures are the needed steps to be taken on the path to success.
Unfortunately, most people are too concerned about what others may think if they fail. Or too worried about the consequences of a failure. Entrepreneurs are more concerned with the consequences if they don’t fail.
What crucial entrepreneurial trait have I missed?
Let me know by commenting below.