One of the most common questions I’m asked by beginning investors wanting to fast track their success is: “Knowing what you know now, if you were to start all over again, what would you do differently to speed up the growth of your property investment portfolio?”
It’s the beginning of a New Year so it’s a time for reflection and for looking forward.
In hindsight I would have spent more time educating myself so that I would not have made the mistakes I did in the first 10 to 15 years of my property investing.
Sure, I have a very substantial property portfolio now, but it would have been much, much bigger if I knew then what I know now.
So the first step along the investment path is educating yourself.
It’s what I still do today to keep growing and it’s what all successful investors do.
In my effort to achieve greater success, many years ago I discovered that my own learning and experience wasn’t enough.
So I started to look elsewhere and turned to books, teachers, mentors and even consultants for advice.
And they all seemed to point in one direction – you can learn from history.
Books recounted stories, teachers explained research, mentors taught from experience and consultants cite best practices.
What this meant was that I didn’t have to start from the beginning and learn from my own mistakes.
I could start where someone else had left off. I could give up my need to “do” in order to “learn”. In fact, I could learn faster.
You see, when I first started investing I wanted to do it all myself.
I guess there were two reasons behind this.
Firstly, I thought it was the best way to learn, and I also thought doing it all myself would save me money – but in fact it cost me lots.
Experience is an expensive teacher.
When I eventually recognised I didn’t have to do it myself or learn from my own mistakes – it was one of my biggest “aha’s”.
In fact I sometimes joke that some of my best thinking was done by other people.
Years ago I read a great book by Tony Robbins – Unlimited Power – and he put a name to what I was looking for – modelling.
He described the process for finding these proven models, saying you should look at the very best people in a field and study what they do, how they behave and how they think.
Then you should do the same, because when you do, you can often repeat their success.
The key is to learn how they achieved their goals and then understand why they did it that way.
When you grasp these two things, you can start off where they left off.
When I realised this I started to become an avid reader of success stories looking for models to base my own growth on.
I looked for people who had already achieved what I wanted to achieve, studied how they did it and then tried to work out how their minds worked.
I recognised that we all have personal ceilings of achievement that are based on our current thoughts and habits.
We are restricted by our internal wealth programming.
What this means is that your wealth can only grow to the extent that you do.
An analogy is to think of yourself as a cup.
If your cup is small you can only accumulate a small amount of money, any extra will spill over and you will lose it.
You simply cannot have more money than the size of your cup.
The answer is to grow yourself into a bigger cup so that you attract and keep more wealth.
You do this by upgrading your wealth programming – the way you think and react about money.
The universe abhors a vacuum, which means if you develop a large money container wealth will rush in to fill the space.
So upgrade your way of thinking and become a bigger person and you will attract more wealth.
Most Australians want to improve, grow and lift their personal ceilings of achievement.
However, they think they can do this through trial and error – they are prepared to learn from their mistakes.
Sure they can learn and improve this way – but only so far and so fast.
Learning from your mistakes is a slow and demoralising way of growing.
In contrast, seeking out and learning from mentors who have achieved what you want to achieve can help raise your level of achievement dramatically and in a relatively short period of time.
It’s a huge leap of faith to assume that starting at the bottom of the investment ladder, with only their knowledge and experience, an investor could ever reach the place where a proven model begins.
While there is no guarantee of success, following a proven model built on the practices of people who have already achieved what you want to achieve will maximise your chances of success.
Models aren’t really new – they are everywhere.
You follow them, I follow them, everyone follows them.
Most people just aren’t aware of these repeatable processes they have developed.
We all need to learn from mistakes – this helps you get it right and move forward.
The only question is, whose mistakes?
Yours or those of the successful investors who have already achieved what you want to achieve?
As our property markets move into the next phase of the cycle, when price growth is more subdued, property investors are going to need to learn from mentors who have invested successfully though a number of complete cycles.