1. BUY INTO YOUR OWN VERSION OF SUCCESS
You are not on a journey unless there is a destination. Similarly, you cannot become successful unless you know exactly what success means to you. Our cultural parameters are such that we are often pressured into accepting other people's idea of what is successful and impressive. To cave into that social pressure is to live a life that is not yours. So learn to appreciate loving advice skeptically and embrace the freedom you have to set your own goals and create your own version of a successful life!
2. ACT WITH A SENSE OF URGENCY
Successful investors work towards internal, rather than external, deadlines. They do not buy into the you-have-got-to-buy-three-properties-by-the-end-of-2017-or-you-are-a-nobody baloney. Instead, they work to their own timeline without frivolous delays. They are prone to action and do not saddle valuable time with unproductive thoughts. Real wealth takes hard work, there is no such thing as an overnight millionaire. So the next time you find yourself bemoaning a lack of progress to a friend, put that bottle of beer down and put your time to better use. You will never get as far as you would like without learning to self-motivate.
3. UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN VALUE AND COST
You will never master money until you understand the difference between value and cost. These are two very distinctive concepts that are commonly and mistakenly interchanged by our common lexicon. Everything has a value as well as a cost and these two numbers are not always the same. Understanding the subtle difference will help you make better financial decisions. As an investor, you always want to be thinking about maximising value and minimising cost. The money you spend investing should reflect that.
4. INVEST IN YOUR EDUCATION
When you buy real estate without the right knowledge, you are not investing, you are gambling. In that case, you may as well spend your money in a casino, it is far more entertaining than open homes and auction rooms. Successful investors are known for their prodigious knowledge and insatiable hunger to learn. As you journey along the path to financial freedom, you will be asked to make a series of critical decisions which you cannot do without the right information and knowledge. Be a better learner today. Get into the habit of reading a book a week, join your local investor group, and show up to the seminars. It is not hard. Stephen Fry once described knowledge as pebbles on the road that are literally everywhere, you just need to bend down to pick them up. And you know when Stephen Fry says something on TV, it must be true!
5. BECOME A MASTER OF YOUR OWN TIME
Ever heard the saying that you can always make more money but never more time? Value your time over your bank account balance. The money you can make in this lifetime is unlimited, but the time you have to make that money is limited. Don't treat your time as a sunk cost, get into the habit of spending most of your time adding value to your life and experience. Ditch the negative friend and resign from the boss who doesn't value you or your future.
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6. FOCUS MORE ON EARNING THAN SAVING
Saving is a fantastic habit to get into. Some might even say that it is a prerequisite to building wealth. That said, you will never save your way to becoming a millionaire. And that is a fact. To build wealth with real estate, you have to think broadly and think long term. Given that your time on earth is limited, how can you maximise your earning potential? Appreciate the power of multiple (and preferably passive) income streams and start creating them for yourself. Find ways to make every dollar of your money work for you (investing!). Get your head around the nuances of debt - bad debts keep you behind while good debts propel you forward.
7. LIVE A HEALTHY AND BALANCED LIFE
Time and time again scientists have proven that an active and healthy body leads to a more productive and successful life. You don't have to be a gym bunny or live on salad leaves. At the very least, put some time aside each day to get some fresh air, get those muscles moving, and declutter your mind. Learn to tune out and end that nasty dependency you have with your phone. No amount of technology can replace the positive relationships you have with those who love and support you.
8. LEARN TO NEGOTIATE
Take control of your destiny and understand that you, and you alone, are the advocate for your own welfare. But we do not exist in isolation so you must learn how to negotiate to advance your own interests. Negotiation is something many of us instinctively shy away from because we confuse it with conflict. If you accept the premise that almost everything in life is negotiable, then you must also accept that your position in life can always be improved by negotiating. Learn to clearly communicate and put forward your position, identify mutually beneficial outcomes, focus on the big picture rather than being bogged down by the nitty-gritty, and most of all, learn to swallow your ego and walk away.
9. FIND YOUR INNER ENTREPRENEUR
Don't worry, you don't have to be a Mark Zuckerberg to be rich. The big public profiles entrepreneurs enjoy these days greatly distort our understanding of what it means to be entreperneurial. You don't have to code the next biggest social media tweet-snap-insta-book-platform and flog IPO shares, but you do need to be a master of opportunities. Harvard Business School Profession Howard Stevenson gives an apt definition for entrepreneurship as the pursuit of opporuntity without regard to resources currently controlled. To be succssful at investing in any market, you must learn to think like an entrepreneur, uncover opportunities, and take full advantage with the resources you have at your disposal.
10. LOOK UP TO AND BE GUIDED YOUR MENTORS
Be it a paid or gratis mentor, you should always seek out someone who has had experience in what you are doing and be willing to provide positive guidance to help you forward. This is particularly true in the case of property investment which, let's be honest, isn't the most innovative of ways to create wealth. What ever your strategy is, chances are, someone has already done it. You will be in an far more advantageous position if you allow yourself to be guided by their experience, mistakes, and lessons.
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11. NETWORK NETWORK NETWORK
Ever wonder why the rich-listers all seem to be buddies with one another? The secret is in networking. No man is an island, you cannot get far in life by doing it all yourself. When you network, you are not only showcasing your strengths to others but also identifying those to whom you can outsource your weaknesses. Get yourself listed on Linkedin, participating in business networking events, and always be ready to talk about your work and passion. Once you have created an impression, people will think of you when great opportunities present themselves.
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12. DON'T BLUFF
Insincerity stinks and it is a bad smell you can't shake. Spend less time talking about your achievements and more time getting to the next level. Be known for what you do rather than what you say. Give people realistic expectations and keep communications when plans change. Your reputation is valuable currency that will help you out in tight spots time and time again. Just remember, no one ever gets rich by acting like a muppet.