This article was written by Michael Blank and originally published on the Bigger Pockets here.
I remember when I first became a full-time entrepreneur and started my real estate business. I was excited about the possibilities.
But instead of sharing my excitement, some of my friends did the exact opposite. They pointed out all of the things that could go wrong and strongly advised that I go back to the corporate world.
I gotta be honest – I didn't see it coming, and it hurt. It would have been useful for someone to give me a head's up that this might happen.
Has this happened to you?
If so, you're not alone. From conversations I've had with other investors, this is more common than it should be.
But it's a reality.
And if you don't address it, it will stop you from changing your life with real estate.
You Will Become Like the 5 People You Spend the Most Time With
You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Show me those 5 people and I'll show you what you'll become in 3 years.
If your friends are just like you are right now, then you'll stay exactly the same. If they all have 9 to 5 jobs, then you'll stay in your J.O.B. If they play it safe, then so will you. If they've never traveled outside the state, then neither will you.
Closely examine the 5 people closest to you. Do they want you to grow? To live your dreams? Will they support you in any way they can?
If the answer is “no”, then it's time to “replace” them with someone who will help you reach the next level.
I'm not saying you should never see or talk to them again. I'm just saying that you should not make it the same priority as before. Instead, expand your network to add new people into your inner circle.
What “New Friends” To Look For
Let's talk about what to look for in your “new friends”.
There are 3 kinds of people you should surround yourself with.
- Like-Minded Entrepreneurs;
- Accountability Partners; and
If you want to transform your life, then your mission is to find people that fit in ALL of these categories. Let's talk about each in turn.
New Friends #1: Like-Minded Entrepreneurs
These are people who are on the same path as you are. You share similar goals and aspirations. You're in a similar stage of the journey and you share similar challenges and successes.
These peers don't necessarily all have to be real estate investors (though it helps). That's because learning to become a new or better entrepreneur transcends disciplines. While the details may be different, someone building an online business, for example, shares similar challenges to someone who wants to get started with apartment building investing (such as loneliness, lack of cash flow, delays and setbacks, early successes, doubts, etc).
Therefore other entrepreneurs are the perfect “new friend”. Find them. Meet with them regularly to commiserate and to celebrate successes.
New Friends # 2: Accountability Partners
Studies have shown that only 10% of people who attend a seminar or complete a course actually apply what they've learned. That means the other 90% go home, quickly lose the excitement, and never do anything with their new knowledge.
That's because most people are NOT natural action-takers. I'm not judging, just observing. We all have strengths and weaknesses. But in order to succeed we have to address our weaknesses.
If taking action is one of yours (highly likely!) then you absolutely have to have at least ONE accountability partner (AP). This could be a friend, spouse, or paid coach. Or you can join or create an accountability mastermind group.
The AP should be a good listener and should have license to challenge you. You meet or talk with your AP as frequently as it makes sense. You review the progress made towards your goals from the last meeting, discuss any challenges, and set goals until the next meeting.
Being in an accountability mastermind group myself, I can tell you that it works. There's nothing worse than reporting back that you haven't done anything you said you would and come up with a bunch of excuses.
Having an accountability partner or group is absolutely critical if you want to be able to take continuous action – a key factor for success.
New Friends # 3: Experts
And finally, you need to have people around you who are already successful in whatever area you're pursuing. These people have experience specifically with your particular real estate strategy.
You should surround yourself with 3 kinds of experts:
Subject-Matter Experts (SME's)
SME's are easy to find because they share their knowledge in the form of blogs, books, or podcasts.
Each time you listen to an SME's podcast, for example, you're spending time with that person. After a while, it's almost like you know that person (even though he or she may not know you). It doesn't matter. You're learning from that person nonetheless.
So identify the SME's in your niche and follow everything they publish.
These are people who have more experience than you in whatever real estate strategy you're pursuing. They've agreed to meet you every once in a while (maybe once a quarter) and to support. In fact, I suggest you create an “advisory board” of 3-5 experienced investors that you can call on occasionally. You can also reference them when making offers to add credibility (especially if you're still a newbie).
Coach or Mentor
While advisors are normally not paid, they have their limitations: even though they're successful in their field, they may not be good teachers. And because they're busy and their life mission is NOT you, you can only call on them occasionally.
But you need someone who can teach you and interact with you more frequently, especially in the beginning.
That person is going to be a coach or mentor. And in order to get that kind of person to help you, you're going to have to invest in that person.
Talk to anyone who has achieved success in your field, and it's extremely likely that they have had or still have a coach.
Talk to anyone who is not yet successful, and they most likely don't.
It's really that simple.
Having worked with entrepreneurs who want to get started with apartment building investing, I've confirmed that most people have trouble taking action. And I'm on a mission to fight the odds.
I've come to the conclusion that's what standing between success and failure is NOT the lack of knowledge but the quality of the people you spend the most time with.
So if you REALLY want to transform your life with real estate, make sure you surround yourself with like-minded entrepreneurs, accountability partners, and experts.
Those new “friends” will encourage you so you don't feel like you're alone; hold you accountable so you keep taking action; and support you when have questions or face challenges.
What changes do you have to make with who you spend the most time with?