There are moments when everyone questions what they’re doing for a living and why.
Maybe that question is what started your interest in real estate investing. Maybe that question is the exact reason you’re here reading this. Everyone gets burned out, but the real issue is, what do you do about it? I think the fix for it is the same no matter what career you’re in: evaluate what your goals are.
Be Sure You’re Asking the Right Questions
Start off by thinking about the life you want and why you want it. When you evaluate the why you often answer with the how — work backwards from your end goal and you’ll create a road map. When you apply this formula to real estate you’ll discover if you’re more interested in flipping, rentals, or some other niche. This is a great way to start your future in real estate investing and a practice you should return to frequently. You can equally apply it to almost anywhere else. Ask what you want and try to get a realistic idea of what the day-to-day of that life would be. By piecing out what that would include you can see what’s currently already there, what’s on track to be there, and what’s completely missing. It might be all or everything, but without that map you won’t know how to work towards your goal.
In my career I’ve set a number of goals for myself and my businesses. Some were based on income, some on how much free time I wanted, others were about the number of rental units I owned.
In each case those goals were something I designed to give me a quantifiable thing to work towards. I also tend to get bored doing the same thing over and over, so my goals sometimes change year to year so I can keep things fresh and avoid getting burned out on what I’m doing, even if it’s “working”. Like I’ve said before, this isn’t only about money. There’s no point in leaving one career to make yourself miserable in another.
I’d suggest that everyone in this business sit down and ask themselves at least once a year (or, even better, twice) what they’re hoping to achieve. My birthday is in July so that’s a natural break I use along with Christmas to do my planning. When you sit yourself down take care to recognize two important things: where you make the most money and what you enjoy doing the most. Maybe you’re spending 90% of your time being hassled by one property. If that’s the case then, even if it lowers your profits, I’d argue that it’s worth outsourcing the work that bothers you to someone else or getting rid of the property.
Focus on Your Passion
If you hate managing property then it’s time to shop for a management company. If you don’t like doing repairs then you should find a contractor to work with. Or, maybe you love flipping houses and want to focus on that but you’re spending too much time looking for properties. In that case you’re better off working with a realtor who can help you find the right ones.
So much of this business is plug-and-play. When you’re first starting out it might be less practical to offload work if you’re trying to make real estate investing your primary income, but by being able to state in definite terms that you want X amount of income per month or a certain value in your property portfolio you give yourself something clear to achieve.
Since a lot of this process revolves around financials I recommend that you keep your own books and check them weekly. I have a lot properties own and manage and I do my books weekly; it only takes a few hours, I just set aside that time. At the least, if you do use a bookkeeper, then I’d recommend checking your books weekly, but I generally find that having someone else do your books over-complicates things. Doing it yourself keeps you continually up-to-date on where you are on you path to your goal.
If you start your career in real estate investing with this process you’ll have a great foundation to move forward. Once you’re established it also lets you recognize where your highest cost/benefit and time/benefits are more quickly. Many people tout this career path for its ability to generate wealth, but don’t focus on that at the cost of happiness. This process is similarly useful for any career path, not just real estate, so feel free to adapt the framework however it works for you in any other pursuit you may have.
I’ve been investing since 2003 and I’ve done this process many times in my career. That’s part of the reason I’ve done basically everything you can in the business, from investing to managing, flipping, and wholesaling. While you need to always check in with yourself, make sure you check in with someone else, too: One of best resources I’ve found is having mentors. They’re a sounding board for your ideas, they keep you accountable and they’ll push you to improve. And, more than likely, if you’re getting burned out they’ll likely have some advice about how to overcome it.
Your goals are always your own, and equally how you get there will be your own way. To paraphrase a great Yogi Berra quote, just be sure you know where you’re going, otherwise you’ll end up where you don’t want to be.