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My Growth Mindset Story (So Far)

Today, I just wanted to write down some thoughts. I’m not sure how coherent this article is, but there’s no doubt that your mindset plays a paramount role in your ability to achieve financial success.

Here are some random excerpts from my mind.

Before Investing

We bought our first investment property late in 2017. That whole year, Kate and I had been reading books, listening to podcasts and generally taking steps towards our first investment.

But I graduated from University in 2012 and I had been working full time for about 5 years before that first purchase.

Honestly, it’s really hard for me to remember what life was like before that switch got flipped.

We had a dog, we both went to work and came home, and in the evenings we tried to spend time with friends and family or just relax at home. Maybe we talked occasionally about some dream one of us had, but we never set a real goal, and we certainly never made a plan to reach those goals.

I had a passing interest in real estate investment, and when the topic came up I might say “Yeah we should do that!” But that’s not how you achieve.

Long story short, I was just going with the flow, and I didn’t have a future benchmark that I was aiming towards. I was just hoping that life would eventually work out in my favor.

Here’s a hint: Life doesn’t just happen to work out in anyone’s favor. You have to make it happen.

Early Investing Days

I don’t remember exactly when it happened, but Kate and I decided to try a house flip.

Like I said we bought some books, we listened to podcasts, we talked to each other a lot. Kate regularly watched the houses for sale in our local market and would let me know when she found something interesting.

Thinking back on it, the reality is that it’s not complicated. It’s simple to take each step. But it’s not easy.

It’s not easy to call up 10 banks and schedule meetings with loan officers when you don’t know anything about getting a loan for an investment property. Everybody knows how to find those 10 numbers, punch them into the phone and start talking. But not every will do it. It’s hard.

Our early investing days are defined by doing lots of things that could make us look stupid. You’ll never know if it’s going to work out (heck I still don’t know if it’s going to keep working out), but there are some things you simply MUST do to reach your goals.

Kate and I did those things in the early days. And when we met resistance and people told us “no,” we still kept doing it.

My Next Step (Becoming an Acquisition Entrepreneur)

We made some good real estate investments our first few years, and we started to realize that it all works.

The goals we originally set now seemed too small.

Here’s what I’m starting to realize. If you set a goal like “I want to have a $1 million net worth in 10 years,” then you’ll figure out ways to do that. And if you set a goal like “I want to have a $20 million net worth in 3 years,” you’ll figure out ways to do that, too.

In our first few years we were figuring out how to reach $30,000 in cash flow per month in 15 years. Now we’re figuring out how to create $30,000 in cash flow in 3 years.

Setting your goals are so important. Because your goals determine your solutions and the steps you need to take.

When you start figuring out how to reach your goal, you should reflect on it again and ask whether it’s ambitious enough.

Biggest Lessons Learned

I’ve learned in my life that everyone’s mind works differently. So the lessons I’ve learned might not be the lessons you need to learn. Regardless, these are my lessons.

1. Forgive yourself

You have to be patient with yourself. Allow yourself to mess up, then get right back at it.

Say you committed to work out 3 days a week. You start working out and after a month you’ve got perfect attendance, haven’t missed a workout. Then one day you miss a workout. Then two.

It’s natural for us, as humans, to say “Whelp, I screwed up again. I knew I’d mess up so what’s the point in even trying.” Then we never go back to the gym.

You have to prepare for failure. You will fail. You’ll miss workouts, and you’ll let yourself down.

That’s part of the process. Expect to let yourself down sometimes, but be prepared to jump right back in the ring and keep swinging.

2. Mindsets take a long time to cultivate

I’ve taken a lot of motivation from the Rocky Quote:

“It’s not about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much you can take and keep moving forward.”

I believe with my entire soul that this is the difference between winners and losers.

Winners get hit by life and they keep moving forward. Losers get hit by life and they give up or start blaming someone or something else for their failures.

Did you take a year off pursuing your goal? OK, that’s life hitting you. Time to get back in the ring.

Did a loved one pass away? Is your debt crushing you? Are you depressed?

These are incredibly difficult circumstances, but guess what? You have to find a way to keep moving forward and build off the skills, knowledge and successes of your past. It’s the only path to reaching your goals.

3. Money is NOT taboo

If you want to make money, you have to become comfortable thinking about money and talking about money.

If you’re afraid to look at your bank account, it’s time to start looking at your bank account every day. Talk about your money problems. Discuss your spending habits with people you trust.

Talk about your financial goals with friends, family or significant others. If you’re afraid to discuss money, you’ll have an incredibly hard time building wealth.

I’m not saying you should be talking to everyone about money all the time. I’m saying you should find a safe place and safe people that you feel comfortable discussing your goals and your financial situation.

For me, it’s Kate. We discuss our finances all the time. We look at our bank accounts and talk about our progress, our goals and our plans to reach those goals. It helps tremendously.

Success/Wealth Killing Mindsets

I write about wealth building, and because of that I want to focus on the mindsets that prevent most people from ever becoming wealthy.

A lot of these are mindsets that I had once that I now realize were preventing me from moving forward in life. I’m sure these don’t apply to everyone, but they probably do for some.

Fear of missing out

I’ve seen the term “fear of missing out” or “fomo” referenced many times online. Usually, it’s used in reference to something that’s picking up steam, like Bitcoin back at the end of 2017. Lots of people bought cryptocurrency during that time because they were afraid of missing out on all the gains in price.

But there is another type of “fomo” that plagues my generation (millennials).

While in high school and college, I experienced the fear of missing out on experiences, the fear of missing out on different paths in life. I wanted to be a musician so I learned guitar, and I wanted to be a grandmaster so I played chess, I wanted to coach basketball so I studied to become a teacher.

I might spend a month playing my guitar every day, practicing scales and learning songs. But then a thought would start creeping into my mind.

“If I keep playing guitar like this, I’ll never be able to be a chess grandmaster.”

So I would put down the guitar and start playing chess. But then after a month I would worry about another dream I was missing out on.

Not only will this mindset kill your progress, but saying “If I keep doing this, I won’t be able to do that” is just plain wrong.

If you want to create success for yourself, you must stay focused on your goal for a long time. Years.

Underestimating time

The world is littered with stories of people who seemingly succeeded overnight. I’m watching through Season 1 of Selena on Netflix right now. It clearly shows how her band started playing when she was just a kid. The family scraped by for more than a decade before signing a record deal.

What I find interesting about watching this show is that even though it’s clear that there were years and years of struggling before Selena finally reached success, it feels like the success came quickly.

I can watch through the season in two or three nights and witness the entire story.

Even though we all logically understand that true success takes years, or even decades, we don’t understand what it feels like to struggle for years or decades.

Except in rare cases, the difference between Selena and some Tejano artist nobody’s ever heard of is perseverance.

When you decide to do something difficult, you have to commit for at least two years. Anything less and you simply won’t know if you actually have a path to reaching your goal.

Useless blaming

This is one that runs rampant in political discussions. I see it take the form of “tax the rich!” I see people claiming that “Jeff Bezos is evil!”

If you have anger towards the people in the world who have achieved great wealth, then you almost certainly have a mindset that is preventing your success.

For the record, I’m not trying to say I have a problem with taxing the rich.

But how can you succeed when you’re busy being angry at someone else? How can you become wealthy when you hate everyone who became wealthy before you?

You can’t move forward in life until you recognize that how much Jeff Bezos is paying in taxes has nothing to do with how successful you are.

Your boss at work who refuses to promote you doesn’t control how successful you are.

The fifty people who told you “no” don’t control how successful you are.

Your mother or father who tries to explain how your choices are illogical don’t control how successful you are.

The tax law doesn’t control how successful you are.

Only you control your own success.

And guess what? If the tax law changes to punish Jeff Bezos for Amazon’s current tax strategy, he’s going to change his business model to better fit the tax law.

Quit worrying about things that have nothing to do with your own success.

Michael

I'm living the path to financial success and sharing everything I learn in this blog. I believe in the power of cash flowing investments, due diligence and time. This is my journey so far.

Before 2016: Just living my life, working full time and trying to get by.

2016: Kate and I start to discuss the possibility of getting into real estate investment. We read books like Rich Dad Poor Dad and listen to the Bigger Pockets Podcast. We find a Realtor and start looking at property. We even make an offer or two, but nothing happens.

2017: Kate and I continue looking for property. We meet with banks and find lenders willing to work with us. In one month (August), we turn our basement into an Airbnb and list it AND we purchase our first long term rental property, which is a triplex. We can't find good tenants for our triplex.

2018: In April, we finally get our first tenant in the triplex, our second in June and get it fully rented in July. Our basement Airbnb makes so much money that in September we decided to buy another property to exclusively rent out on Airbnb. It makes us even more money than the first one!

2019: Kate decides we should put together a mastermind group. So we get in touch with people we know who care about money and start sharing knowledge with each other. Our triplex is profitable, but our two Airbnb properties are making way more money, so we buy another property to put up on Airbnb and VRBO.

2020: Coronavirus hits in March and all the guests booked at our Airbnb properties cancel. We freak out, but after a few weeks everything comes back and we're making money again. Discussion and research from the mastermind group makes me want to investigate online business as an investment strategy. Kate and I started Unbound Investor with plans to purchase a website in 2021.

OK you're all caught up!

I learned everything I know from books, podcasts, conversations with friends and family and of course through real world experience as a cash flow investor. And I'm always pushing to learn more.

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