Why do the majority of property investors never achieve finanical freedom?

There are currently over 1 million residential property investors in Australia. Meanwhile less than 500,000 people have achieved financial freedom. To make matters worse, a good percentage of these 500,000 people are not even residential property investors. They became financially free through successful businesses, shares and the like.

That means the majority of residential property investors never make it to financial freedom. I look at our client base, which is almost 100% residential property investors and developers, and the above statistics paint an accurate picture.

But why?

To find the answer to this question, I have spent the last few years observing those people who have achieved financial freedom. I want to figure out how they did it. I want to know what it is about these individuals that led them to achieve their goal of financial freedom. And most importantly, I want to discover what every single one of our clients can do to be more like them.

According to my research, 87% of the people who are financially free are business owners and 13% are employees with strong financial discipline or people with exceptional talents with loyalty income. Obviously, business owners have some attribute, some characteristic that drives them to reach financial freedom. Before you run out and start a business though, read that statistic again – business owners make up 87% of people who are financially free, NOT 87% of business owners are financially free. There is a big difference between the two, and I want you to know what it is.

Let’s look at this again:
• The majority of business owners never make it to financial freedom;
• The majority of self-employed people never make it to financial freedom;
• The majority of employees never make it to financial freedom;
• The majority of investors never make it to financial freedom;

But for those who have made it to financial freedom:
• The majority of them are business owners;
• The minority of them are employees who treat their investment like a business;

What I have discovered is that our financial freedom has got very little to do with what we do for a living, i.e. it has very little to do with whether you’re a business owner or an employee. But it has everything to do with your mindset.

In other words, you can be a business owner but still think and act like an employee (I call it business owners with an employee’s mindset). On the other hand, you can be an employee but think and act like a true business owner (I call it employees with a business owner’s mindset).

Let’s face it, the majority of the population will be employees, there is nothing wrong with that, otherwise there would be no doctors in hospitals or teachers at schools. But I truly believe that everyone has the right to be financially free, as long as they take on the business owner’s mindset.

Let me demonstrate this using the following table, I have 3 mindset categories: Business owner, self-employed and employee (remember, they’re not what you do for living, but just a mindset).  They are defined by how much financial accountability you take and how you build systems.

Mindset Category  Financial Accountability  System Building
Business Owner High – do or die High – create profitable systems for others to work in
Self-Employed Medium – keeping busy Medium – at best, they’re the system;
Employee Low – my boss’s problem Low – working in a system  created by others,
at best  improving them;

The “secret” to financial freedom
All people who achieve financial freedom have the Business Owner mindset, regardless of what they do.

The Business Owner mindset combines 100% accountability with the building of profitable systems.

It can’t possibly be that simple, right? If you think that’s simple, I suggest you think again…it’s actually quite difficult.

For example, someone might be an employee in his or her regular job, but treat their property investment like a business; this person takes 100% financial accountability and builds his/her own systems, we say this person has the Business Owner mindset.

Let’s find out whether you have the Business Owner mindset:
• Do you look at your cash flow regularly?
• Do you monitor your net worth regularly?
• Do you take 100% accountability for your financials?

If the answer to any of these is NO, then you don’t have the Business Owner mindset.

The Business Owner mindset takes 100% financial accountability. It is possible to be an employee in a job but still think like a business owner when it comes to investments. We have plenty of examples of employees that love their job and are not inclined to leave it, yet they achieve financial freedom. This happens because they treat their investments as a business with full financial accountability and build their own systems.

The concept of building systems is one characteristic of a Business Owner mindset that you must thoroughly understand. What, exactly, does this mean? When we talk about building systems, we’re referring to systems that you develop to achieve some financial success and then replicate again and again to achieve even more.

Let’s see if you have got a system:
• Have you got a set of well defined parameters when you select properties?
• Have you got a consistent way to reproduce your last success (such as buy and hold or renovation)?
• Have you got a system to supply capital and finance for your real estate investment?
• Can you stick to the system that works instead of constantly looking for the next big deal?

If the answer to any of the above questions is NO, then you don’t have a system and you don’t have a Business Owner mindset, you have at best a self-employed mindset or an employee mindset.

What’s the difference between Self-Employed and Business Owner?
This question comes up all the time, and it’s a good one. After all, if you are self-employed doesn’t that mean you own a business? Technically, yes, you may own a business, but remember we are talking about mindsets, not ownership structures.

Most self-employed people never take on the true Business Owner mindset, although they like to think they do. The reality is that they carry forward their employee mindset from their employee days. They do things like:
• Don’t take financials seriously
• Don’t pay attention to their expenses
• Don’t check profitability and cash flow regularly
• Focus on staying busy (a habit from employee days)
• Think they’re doing well just because they’re busy

In terms of systems building, the Self-Employed mindset is that you ARE the system yourself.  There is no building of systems for others, no discipline to stick with a successful system, just filling in time and staying occupied.

The majority of Business Owners don’t have a Business Owner mindset either
Just because you own a business and call yourself a business owner does not mean you will be financially successful. Unfortunately, most business owners still think and act as if they are self-employed or an employee.

They may have all of the trappings of success, such as growing their business bigger and hiring employees, but they do not make the shift to a true Business Owner mindset. The business might have grown bigger, but they do not take 100% responsibility for the financial well-being of the business. They do not focus on building profitable systems, they do not monitor cash flow regularly, and they leave their financials to their accountants or bookkeepers to look after.

It’s no wonder that 90% of business owners fail. They still think and act with an employee mindset.

What about the other 13%?
Remember at the beginning of this newsletter when I noted that 87% of the people who are financially free are business owners? These folks not only own a business, but they have also adopted a strong Business Owner mindset.

So what about the other 13%? How did they get to be financially free when they are still employees? The answer is the same as we have been discussing all along – the key to their success is having a Business Owner mindset. No excuses, no blaming, no waiting for success to fall from the sky and hit them on the head. They have the discipline and commitment to do two key things:
• Maintain absolute, 100%, complete financial accountability, they give profitability the highest priority;
• Build their own efficient systems to reproduce financial success.

The truth is always simple.

Never for a moment think that your job or your profession precludes you from financial freedom, but never assume that becoming a property investor or business owner can guarantee your financial success either.

You MUST adopt the Business Owner mindset to set yourself financially free.


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Bill Zheng


Bill is founder of Investors Direct Financial Group, a leading property finance company providing financial solutions for property investors and developers. Bill is a keynote speaker at many property and finance conferences throughout Australia. Visit www.investorsdirect.com.au

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