“Where DO I start with alternative investing?”
It’s a common question I get more often than I can count. And it was exactly how my wife and I felt when we got into alternative investing about four years ago.
When people ask this question, what they really mean is, “where do I put my money?”
Here’s my answer: there is no blueprint, recipe or “how-to” guide. Simply put, you have to work your butt off and have a big WHY.
Why Have a “Why”?
Successful folks almost always have a why – a big WHY. It is so important because there are going to be days when you doubt yourself, when those you thought you could count on are nowhere to be found.
When all the obstacles are ganging up on you, when you just want to quit, if you have a strong enough why, you will persevere through that adversity.
As Zig Ziglar used to say, “When you do the things you need to do when you need to do them, the day will come when you can do the things you want to do when you want to do them.”
Another quote I love comes from Thomas Edison: “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
Sure, there are people (like us) that can help, but we are not a solution. Nobody can do this stuff for you. We can point you in the right direction, send you down the yellow brick road and be your trusted partner. But YOU have to take initiative. YOU have to take action to get it done.
Now, with all that being said, I can offer some sage words of advice I’ve learned in the past four years…
Solve Someone’s Problem.
Think about ANY business– a restaurant, orthodontics practice, law office, tailor. They all have one thing in common: people give them money to solve a problem.
The same philosophy can be applied to real estate investing.
For example, most of us have probably heard of tax lien sales. Someone hasn’t paid their taxes (for one reason or another) for at least three years, and now their property is being seized by the government and put on auction at an absurdly low price.
In the eyes of the public, these sales are GREAT! You can snag up a property for a dirt cheap price; yet from the perspective of the former property owners, there’s no upside.
Even if they WANT to get rid of the property because they can’t afford it, don’t have the time or bandwidth, or some other such issue, they’re losing EVERYTHING.
In some states, you can actually find a list of such properties BEFORE they go to a tax lien sale. Then, you can make an offer to these people where you’ll still get a great deal, and they’re not totally left in the dust.
There’s nothing wrong with tax lien sales, but when you can find opportunities that are win-win situations for EVERYONE involved, isn’t it that much better?
Here’s another example: Let’s say you found a deal on a storage unit for $1M. The sellers are a husband and wife who have owned it for 25 years and now they want to go to Florida. They can sell you the units for $1M and take their money, put it in a CD and make $15,000 a year. But, what kind of living is that? It’s not!
Instead, with seller financing you give them $100k, the other $900k you pay on a 7% interest. The couple now makes $63k a year versus $15k. Now that’s solving a problem!
Bottom line: impactful investing, solving someone’s problem, making a difference will always, always be a better long-term solution.
Be a Learning Junkie.
Like I said, I got started investing four years ago and since then I haven’t stopped learning. Listen, I know there’s a ton of people who’ve been in the game for decades and even they are still learning.
I can’t stress the importance of being a lifetime learner.
It’s about going to the networking events, finding out about new opportunities, doing your due diligence, following up with your contacts, reading books, listening to podcasts, asking your peers for advice, and much, much more.
There’s no end to the knowledge you can absorb, if you set your mind to finding it!
Just Take Action!
There are TONS of different ways to get started. Usually people start with duplexes, apartments, fourplexes, etc. But there’s definitely not just one road to Rome.
A lot of people have the idea they can’t get started until they have X amount of money. Sure, having more money might make getting started easier, but not necessarily.
What is more important is your drive, commitment and creativity.
For example, find an investor who DOES have the money and you can be the one with boots on the ground, finding projects and solving THEIR problem. Again, find someone with a problem and put your unique skill set to work to find a solution.
Finally, ask yourself this: How much am I willing to invest in myself?
Your answer isn’t just a dollar amount; it also includes your time, energy, and focus. At the end of the day, you’re going to have to take some amount of risk — there’s no way around it.
Hey, even if you “fail”, you’ve still gotten an education out of this whole thing.
So, to answer your question, here’s how you start:
- Solve someone’s problem (win-win!)
- Be a learning junkie.
- Just take action.
When You’re Ready, We’re Here.
The opportunity is always available to you, you just have to be ready to take the plunge!
Are you ready?