2020 has been a year of firsts for me.
- We bought our first rental property in January of 2020.
- We had our first child in April 2020.
- I started writing my first book in October of 2020.
Any one of these things could make for a challenging year. All three happening in the same year is a mountain to climb. It’s not lost on me that I willingly chose these adventures to embark on. I’m not complaining. On the contrary, I’m grateful for these firsts and the “problems” they come with.
Another first for me in 2020 has been regularly paying for information to fill the gaps in my knowledge.
When facing a new and exciting, yet daunting, challenge, it’s helpful to seek advice from someone who has been through the same and came out the other side successfully.
That’s why Dia and I repeatedly recruit the help of experts to shortcut our success.
I didn’t always have this mindset. For most of my life, I wanted to go at it, whatever “it” was, alone. I wanted to be the solo superhero. There was an appeal to the thrill of jumping out of an airplane and building a parachute on the way down. Even if it meant a few bumps and bruises or crashing and burning along the way.
Alas, I finally realized figuring it out on your own is typically the expensive route. I don’t necessarily mean monetarily expensive either. The stress that comes from not knowing what you don’t know is mentally expensive. Then there’s the waste of our greatest resource: time. Taking a year to figure out what someone can teach you to do in a weekend seminar is incredibly foolish.
I think somewhere between 27 and 30 years old, I realized the “solo superhero” is a myth that only exists in the movies. It’s practically impossible to do anything of importance completely alone. Everyone who succeeds does it in the company of, and through the support of, others.
“We see more and farther than our predecessors, not because we have keener vision or greater height, but because we are lifted up and borne aloft on their gigantic stature.”
Bernard of Chartres
Real Estate Investing
Although I have a solid network of real estate investors I can call for help when I’m stuck, it’s not in my nature to ask for favors. Instead, I’m constantly looking for ways to add value to other people.
I’ve learned most of what I know about real estate investing by listening to podcasts, reading books, and attending seminars and meet-ups. However, that information is typically generic in nature and geared towards the masses.
The next biggest chunk of what I know is from my own experience. I learn a few new things on every deal. I can probably expect this to be true for the rest of my career.
So how do I shortcut the acquisition of the knowledge that comes from experience?
Join a mastermind.
If you’re not familiar with what a mastermind is, here’s how I like to explain it. It’s a group of people with similar experience coming together with a common goal. The group exchanges ideas freely, and each member helps the others grow by sharing their unique value proposition.
In the mastermind I’m involved with, I am considered to be the financing expert, while another member is looked at as a rapport-building expert, and another member is looked at as an off-market lead generating expert, etc.
The good thing is our businesses are all about the same size, which means we face a lot of the same issues. We leverage each other’s experience and knowledge to propel ourselves further.
Every meeting starts with a message from the moderator. Then we each try to provide value by sharing a win or lesson from the prior week. We finish up by asking for help on our current biggest issue.
In the few months I’ve been a part of this mastermind, I’ve learned (but not limited to) the following:
- How to build a team (in-house & through partnerships)
- How to source data for off-market deals
- How to scale up an operation to perform multiple deals at once
- Who your first hire should be and what they should do
- Personal & Professional goal-setting techniques
In 2021, I’m looking to potentially join one more mastermind simply because of the positive impact the current mastermind has made on my business & personal life.
Newborn Baby Sleep
Getting advice from our friends who are also parents is helpful, but their experience is usually limited to an n of 1 or 2. Asking a parent of one or two children how to get your baby to sleep well is much different than hiring an infant sleep consultant who has helped 1,000s of families rest well at night.
I still remember googling newborn sleep consultants in the middle of the night around the time Luna turned 6 weeks old. I think it was like $5,000 for 5 nights of help, and I was hilariously considering doing it. Fortunately, I couldn’t pull the trigger. That would have been a waste of money, because 2 weeks later, Luna was sleeping through the night.
But that was no accident! We invested a ton of our time and money into books and online courses that helped us build a solid sleep foundation for our newborn.
Since week 10, Luna has been the easiest baby. All the cautionary tales we heard before she was born never came to fruition. “Say goodbye to sleep”. “Say goodbye to your social life”. “Say goodbye to your waist-line”.
Investing the time and money into those books and online courses has made an incredibly positive difference in our lives. I can’t imagine how hard it is to have a child who doesn’t sleep well. I was at my wits end in just 6 weeks.
The funny thing is, all of that information is available for free too. There are thousands of mommy blogs that provide sleep guidance for newborns. But it’s usually unorganized and choppy. Piecing the information together would have taken time and energy we simply didn’t have.
Although Luna was sleeping through the night as early as 2 months, we bought the courses for 4-6 months as well as 6-18 months. We wanted to make sure we left no stone unturned. I think we learned one or two small nuggets from the 6-18 month course that made the investment worth it entirely.
Writing a Book
Writing a 1,000 word blog post about the highlight of my week is much different than putting together an entire book on a single topic.
It’s not the research or documentation that’s difficult. It’s coming up with the connective tissue between milestones that keeps the story captivating and inspirational I’m having trouble with.
Since the mastermind method worked so well for me in my professional career, I thought I’d try something similar for my hobby.
I joined an online copywriting group that will help me write better. Not better like Ernest Hemingway. Better like Gary Halbert or David Ogilvy.
I get to submit my writing to the group and the moderators, as well as any members, will critique it. There’s also a bunch of resources in the members area that are meant to help you sharpen your pencil.
I prepaid for 14 months of membership until the end of 2021. I wanted to make a time and monetary commitment equal to how important this hobby is to me.
2021 and Beyond
One of the biggest lessons I’m taking out of 2020 is to prioritize investing in myself.
Joining these masterminds and taking online courses has really opened my eyes to the opportunity to learn a lot in a little bit of time. It’s kind of like college, but less expensive and more useful.
In 2021 I’d like to hire a performance coach.
I have to admit I don’t really know where I’m going. I sort of just take the opportunities that come my way and solve the most pressing problem in front of me.
I think recruiting an expert to help me navigate the next stage of my personal and professional life will pay off in a huge way.
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