By Patrick Francey
Over the past 15 years that I have been a part of the REIN team and its community, I have been privileged to get to know many real estate investors of all different types from individuals, to couples and whole families, from Millennials to Baby Boomers, from those starting out from humble beginnings to high net worth individuals focused on taking their existing wealth to the next level. I have engaged in many personal and heartfelt conversations with some remarkable people and along the way I have observed and learned a great deal.
Over the years I have often found myself reflecting and considering the question: What is it that the successful investors do that the others don’t do?
Let’s begin by stating that the common ground I believe all real estate investors stand on is that they aspire to build and grow their financial future, to create financial certainty for themselves and their families. Investing in real estate is one of the vehicles they are using to do that.
In this article I want to share with you 10 common qualities (there are many others) that I have seen in the most successful real estate investors from my perspective as a real estate investor, business owner, coach and CEO of REIN. I have folded in a few lessons and my takeaways that I hope are of value to you. Successful investors:
1) Seek clarity and have (obsessive) focus. Where your focus goes, your success grows. In other words, they focus on spending their time and energy on the things that expand their lives and support their real estate investing vision and goals. They are clear and make mindful choices and avoid being or doing “busy things” that don’t support their goals. So you want to ask yourself (and create a list), “What things am I doing that feel good in the moment but actually do not contribute to moving me closer to my vision?” And then you want to systematically stop doing those things.
2) Dream BIG… along with passion, hard work, and self-discipline, they love to dream big (their own definition of big) and are willing to share their dreams with others. They don’t let the naysayers and dream-killers drag them down; they actually care little or not at all of what others think about their dreams. In fact most hone their skills and ability to galvanize people around them to share and support their vision - such as their family, friends and business partners - because they know how important that can be. I think the most successful people I have met are simply those women and men who have broken free from the mob mentality to listen to their own hearts, to trust their own visions and to follow their own intuition and inspiration.
3) They have a vision and set goals to get them there… 30, 60, 90 day goals… 1, 3 and 5 year goals (and beyond.) They break their big dreams down into smaller sequenced steps and by doing so prevent themselves from feeling overwhelmed. The lesson to remember here: when it comes to big dreams dream big but start small. I’ve witnessed it hundreds of time with REIN Members - small daily steps and improvements over time lead to amazing results. When you focus on doing even a few little things the right way every single day, those sequenced steps that get you closer to your financial dreams, well, the days slip into weeks. The weeks slip into months. The months slip into years. And before you know it, you have the financial certainty you dreamed of... or even more!
4) They celebrate along the way. It's about regular rewarding. They celebrate the little wins.
What the most successful have realized is, in order to create momentum, and to really build self-confidence and stay energized, it's really important to reward yourself for even the little wins. Acknowledge a good day, a great week, and an awesome month. Don’t delay being happy or not celebrating until the end. Property found? High five! Offer accepted? Belly bump! Fire fought and put out? Knuckle bump! Take possession of the property? Pop a cork! Successful investors have fun along the way, even if the work they are doing is not fun.
5) They never stop improving, and it’s not just after they achieve their goal but all along the way. I hear it in their words and in how they describe their actions when they share a story with me. They have a strong desire to always improve and make things even better by tweaking and fine tuning their systems and processes. From building relationships to sourcing properties, to writing offers or placing tenants, everything is scrutinized and ways to improve considered. So you want to be constantly innovating, staying fresh, and constantly challenging yourself. Because ultimately your investing and life is about growth. And how do you grow? You keep pushing and stretching yourself to be better.
6) They leverage failure. They don’t get hung up or dwell very long on failure. While they try to minimize risk they don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the negative. It’s said that there cannot be any great achievement or any outright success without failure. Consider that failure is the highway to success; it is simply part of the process. As you leave every comfort zone, as you leave every safe harbor of the known and you move out into the unknown, you can remain grounded in that it is the only place possibility and opportunity can live, knowing there are times you will fail.
7) They never stop learning whether it’s buying strategies, landlord and tenant law or how to negotiate a better deal – they never stop stretching and learning. And just as important, they never stop learning about and stretching themselves, always pushing to elevate who they are. The most successful investors and entrepreneurs I have met study who they need to become to be successful not just as a real estate investor but in all areas of their life. Remember we build our future by what we learn and do today. I think American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker Jim Rohn said it best: "You cannot believe what it does for the human spirit to maximize your human potential (learning) and stretch yourself to the limit (doing)."
8) They don’t make excuses… they take full responsibility for their results in all areas of their business and life, because they know that ultimately ALL of the results are based on the decisions and choices they made, including the ones they chose not to make. If they don’t get the results they expected, they search for a different or even better opportunity in the adversity. They ask themselves important questions, remembering that responsibility is their Response-Ability. The right questions could be: What details did I miss? What questions didn’t I ask about this deal? What expectation did I have that I did not state? What assumptions did I make? What was I ignoring or pretending not to know?
9) They keep their promises. To themselves and to others; their word is their stand for excellence, trust and for who they are (character), which is to always do and deliver on what they said they would. From always being on time for their appointments, to being counted on for the tasks they commit to completing, their word is consistent in all areas of their life. Reliability, dependability, and integrity is synonymous with who they are known for being.
10) They have meaningful relationships. Top performers surround themselves with a powerful circle of influence. Nothing is more important to them than their relationships: family friends, business associates, strategic partners, community. They recognize that the people they surround themselves with are not only instrumental in achieving their dreams but in living their dreams. They build great relationships by being engaged listeners, having a sincere win-win attitude, by being true to their word and building trust, and through clear and respectful communication.
I feel fortunate to be surrounded by an incredibly diverse community of people, from real estate investors and entrepreneurs, to coaches and amazing friends. My circle of influence includes many high performers who continually raise the bar for my performance in all aspects of my life. There is rarely a stretch of time I don’t feel stretched.
If you’re not going through discomfort in change you are not really making any changes or growing. Start making some new decisions that will shift the course of the way you work, live and occur in the world. Mediocrity results from always remaining comfortable; competency comes from working through incompetency. It’s hard in the beginning, messy in the middle, and gorgeous in the end.
Patrick Francey is the CEO of REIN. As a serial entrepreneur he owns many businesses and has been a real estate investor for nearly 20 years. The majority of his holdings are located in Edmonton and Grande Prairie.