Below are 5 things I wish I had done early on; and by doing so, I believe I would be much farther ahead than I am now.
1) Got a good bookkeeper from the very beginning, and made sure I held them accountable to keeping my books updated. I’ll be honest, Ive struggled having clean books over the years. I got a late start, and struggled finding a good bookkeeper. I tried to go cheap by hiring on Upwork, I made the wrong hires locally (that weren’t real estate experienced), and Ive had several quit on me for things that were beyond my control. Get a good real estate bookkeeper early and keep one on! It is worth the money to pay a little more for an experienced one. Its not a matter of “I can upload all of these entries on quickbooks myself”… its a matter of “will I take the time to actually do it consistently?” You need one has experience in whatever strategies you are doing.
2) Learned what my strengths and weaknesses are sooner. I should have hired an assistant many years ago. I have hired and worked with agents and sales people, and have had several VA’s over the years to do different things for me. But until I hired a full time local assistant, I never freed up my time to truly work on things that I am best at. Frankly, I was doing tasks that I flat out hated. Knowing what I am good at, and enjoy doing, has helped me build a team around me to do the other things that Im not the best at, or , don’t enjoy doing. Understand what you are good at is key to enjoying your work.
3) Adapted a “Profit First’ model from the very beginning. I can’t tell you how much money I wasted early on trying to grow my business. I had the philosophy that as long as it helped my business, its a good thing. Websites, domain names, software programs, business cards, hats, shirts, real estate courses, coaching/mentoring, etc etc etc. I needed to feel that I was “in business” and my focus was always ” what can I do to have a better business?”. The truth is the only reason we are in business (or invest in real estate) is for profit. Profit has to be the main thing. Today, I always make sure that I profit .. I pay my profit first before spending money on anything else. Ive found that if it ever makes things “tight” during a given period of time, we always rise to the occasion and generate revenue when needed. Go grab the book “Profit First’ , read it, and thank me later. Its a game changer.
4) Focused on my Niche / Model and ignored everything else . Its obvious I am considered a wholesaler. Over the years I have done many strategies, including wholesaling, lease options and sandwich leases, subject 2, fix and flip, rentals, buying and selling with owner finance, land acquisitions in other states, dabbled in virtual wholesaling, JV’s with lenders, etc. I have also bought courses on strategies that I never even took action on… Im not sure why I even did that.. (see #3) I guess I wanted to know everything. Unfortunately it took me experiencing different strategies to find my niche. I now know that I hate rehabbing, and I hate traditional rentals. Both of these strategies are solid.. but they are just not for me. I am a note guy. And I wholesale stuff too 🙂
5) Focused on cashflow from the very beginning . I saved the best for last. Yes, I had lease option payments, seller finance payments, and rentals in my first few years. But for some reason I never truly focused on building the monthly cashflow where I needed it. Id sell off assets periodically to get the upfront gain. My cashflow would fluctuate, going up and down. When wholesaling (and fix and flipping) the income is like a roller coaster ride. At least I learned good money management along the way. But I never felt the freedom that Real estate investing can provide, until my cashflow exceeded what I needed to live off of. Once you get to this point, your time is freed up and the pressure is off. The key is, matching that cashflow with your desired lifestyle. (for example, I hate rentals so I had to build my cashflow a better way for me). Once I found the right path , it was much easier to build my cashflow where I wanted it.
I hope some of these help.. Im sure you can relate.