Thursday, August 6, 2009

Investing 101: The Importance of Learning A System

"How do I get started?"

This is probably the most frequently asked question I receive from folks looking to get started investing in mobile homes and/or real estate. It's a pretty common question.

Many people want to get started investing in mobile homes and/or real estate but just don't know which direction to go. There are many ways to make money in mobile homes and/or real estate. Though, I'd like to point out that what you do will depend on your overall financial and personal goals for yourself.

I've received many different types of feedback from folks who tell me this investor told them to do this and/or this investor told them to do that. In fact, there seems to be an ongoing discussion among many real estate investors regarding which is the best way and/or method to invest in real estate.

My answer would be - it doesen't matter. What matters is what's best for you and your goals. If you're happy with your life and plan to work until you're 55 and are just looking for a place to park your money for retirement, that's ok. On the other hand, if you're unhappy with your 9-5 job and looking to quit and want to build up a stream(s) of income to replace your current income - that's ok too.

You have to do what's best for you. There will be a lot of people out there who will try to convince you to invest in this and/or invest in that, or tell you to do this and/or to do that. But, you need to keep in mind what your own goals are in life. They may be similar or different from others. That's ok.

Once you have your goals down, then you will be ready to start working towards them. Take action and make things happen.

When I first started out in real estate, I knew what my financial goals were and I made a plan to achieve them. For me, the problem was choosing a system and sticking with it. As many people know, there are many ways to make money in real estate.

With all the different systems out there, I tried to learn all the systems. Why? I figured it would be best to know them all because I didn't want to miss out on a deal if it came across my desk. Big mistake. Ever heard of the saying,"Jack of all trades, master of none?" That was me.

I ended up doing a couple deals here and there. I found some deals for investors using every single technique out there - subject-to, lease options, seller financing, etc. Then, I got into wholesaling REOs. And, eventually landlording. What happened was that I was burnt out - big time.

I didn't feel fulfilled in what I was doing. I was burnt out from all the marketing, taking calls, driving, networking with other investors, etc. At one point, I was working with 30 bird dogs. It ended up being way too management intensive - talk about burn out! I felt like I had no life. Literally. I had no energy to do anything else. Everything was about real estate - I felt like I was chasing every deal possible out there and had no time for anything else. I wasn't living life anymore - I was just working too hard.

Finally, I had enough of it. I took some time off to reflect and think about the kind of life I really wanted. I realized that I was no longer doing things that I enjoyed anymore. Ironically, the whole point of entering into real estate investing was for me to have time to do the kinds of things that I enjoyed. This was not it.

So, I did some more reading and soul searching. And, I stumbled upon mobile home investing. What I really liked about mobile home investing, was the philsophy behind it - having the time to do the things you like doing. Also, I felt like I could relate to Lonnie Scruggs, "The Godfather" of mobile homes, because he was a burned out landlord when he started as well.

Upon spending more time reading about mobile home investing, I soon realized this is exactly the type of system that would give me more time to do the things I enjoy. For me, it was all about lifestyle. I did not want to be a landlord anymore, and I didn't want to spend hours upon hours constantly looking for deals for other investors and/or in a rehab project. That just wasn't me.

Mobile home investing was perfect. So, I dove into the wacky world of mobile home investing. And, here I am. It's much more fun. I can truly say that I enjoy what I do now. I think it's mainly because it allows me to have more free time which allows me to do the things I like doing and above all - enjoy life.

I think what really motivated me was the whole lifestyle mobile home investing supports. Once I made up my mind to pursue mobile home investing, it was very important for me to learn the system and stick with it. This is a very important key to success.

What I've learned is that it's better to do one thing very well rather than a lot of things and be mediocre. Most successful people out there are successful because they do one thing very well. For example, when we think of Johnny Depp - we think of him as an actor. He's very good at acting. Also, when we thing of Tim Burton - we think of him a a director. Both of them do one thing very well.

This can be applied when learning a system and investing in real estate. Many successful real estate investors I know are successful because they know a system very well. The reason they know it very well is because they stick with the system and do the same thing over and over again.

Many times new investors just starting out tell me they want to do so many things (i.e. mobile home investing, wholesale REOs, rehab, landlording, etc). These are all different systems which involve different skill sets and knowledge. Each system requires both time and money invested to do the work. If you split up your time trying to learn many systems, you won't have the same amount of time to devote your attention and energy as if you just tried to learn one system.

By learning one system and applying your knowledge to real life situations, you get better at what you do. I know what you're thinking, but how about the other deals that come my way? My answer is: I pass on them. Why? It's a much more efficient use of my time to focus on mobile home investing since I know it very well, than to go out and chase every type of deal that comes my way. Also, I always keep in mind why I decided to focus on mobile home investing above all the other real estate systems out there - it's the lifestyle. If I were to switch gears and learn a new system(s), I may not have the same lifestyle that I enjoy now with mobile home investing.

The great thing about America is that we have choices. I made my choice to learn mobile home investing and stick with it. I chose it because it fit my personality and the kind of lifestyle I want to live. Everyone is different and may have different goals. But, we all have a choice. Now, you can make your choice too.

I'm going to leave you here with a video from Seth Godin that inspired this post.

Happy Investing!

(If you enjoyed this post and would like to read more about the importance of business systems, I highly recommend this book. Great read!)

Video Link


Shae said...

I really appreciate this post and I think that with experience a person can truly determine what system, investing focus, is the best fit for the desired lifestyle. An individual can spend a lifetime trying to analyze this up front. Just have to take action and adjust if things aren't working after you've given it a good go.

Shae said...

Hey Rachel, are you doing investing full time these days (translation: not necessarily full time hours...but basically not having a hold down a j.o.b.)?

Mobile Home Gurl said...

Hey Shae, I definitely agree. Taking action is better than doing nothing. It took me going through those experiences to find what worked for me. It's crazy because I had the opportunity to get into mobile home investing when I first started out in the early 2000s. Think I just got pulled into all the "hype" with all the different systems out there and that "fear" of losing a deal.

LOL, about not having full time hours but basically not having a hold down job. Yes, I am doing this full time without a j.o.b. Though, I have to tell you I live pretty frugally. (I think I mentioned shopping at the Dollar Store in one of my posts, many people I know who have a j.o.b. wouldn't be caught dead shopping there). I read alot about personal finance, it's all about having more coming in than going out.It seems pretty simple but most people have more going out than coming in. Most of the successful investors I know who do this full time and don't have a j.o.b. also do the same, it's not as glamorous as some people think :)

Shae said...

What?!? No fancy car, a mansion, and an entourage of 10 hot guys that follow you around? LOL!

Seriously though...I respect that and all of this ties into your other post which was about determining what you're passionate about, your priorities, and desired lifestyle.