At times I’m questioned how I do all of this…work a highly demanding full time job, have a growing family and obtain a side hustle as a real estate entrepreneur. Being up before the sun and coffee is the short answer but as I dive into this more, there is, indeed MORE. Here are 13 TIPS that work for me (us) and I know they will also work for you.
- Get Your Spouse On Board: listed at #1 for a reason, because the President of your fan club will be an integral part of making all this work. If ya’ll don’t agree on the dedication and sacrifices requires to balance all of this, arguments and complications will ensue. I mean, what couple doesn’t argue or disagree? But not being on the same page about investing/money/exhausting hours, will surely intensify those altercations. Each side needs to compromise to make the balance work. Have conversations and have them often (preferably when the kids aren’t around so you both can really focus). This wasn’t difficult for me as my wife enjoys real estate just as much as I do. Our biggest obstacle (recently) is finding the time to have adult conversations (2019 goal?).
- Become Incredibly Organized: this includes your contacts, folders, files, emails…everything. I’ve adopted the zero inbox system, meaning if an email is in my inbox it holds top priority. Otherwise as soon as I see an email and it’s not a priority, it is flagged for follow-up on the appropriate date and moved to its appropriate folder. My organization system may not work for you but the point here is to adopt a system that works for you, making you incredibly efficient. Doing so will allow you to gain time & headspace you didn’t know you had!
- Be Ready to Alter Your Lifestyle: less TV, less nights out, earlier bedtimes, earlier alarms, spending less money on foolish things. For some of you this will be a HUGE challenge. I’ve never been an earlier morning person UNTIL we started having kids. I quickly figured out early mornings, before the rest of the house is awake, is my most productive time of the day. NOW, I had to train myself to wake up earlier and earlier. I did this by moving my alarm clock up 15 minutes every two weeks. Like training for a personal best, I pushed myself to a new level every couple of weeks on my rise and shine. I now wake up around 4:45, most days without an alarm clock. And on the topic of spending less money, check out the book The Behavior Gap: Simple Ways to Stop Doing Dumb Things with Money by Carl Richards. I feel like Carl was spying on me for years before writing this book. Hit home.
- Set and Stick to a Very Specific Schedule: this includes creating very specific tasks. I personally use some of the tactics outlined in the 12 Week Year by Brian Moran. These tactics allow me to focus on what I want to get accomplished in the next 90 days (instead of an entire year), further allowing me to be very specific in my daily tasks. I track these daily tasks through the use of a Google Sheet that helps me stay self-accountable and since it is only 90 days, I can make alterations if needed without too much pain or loss of time. Don’t forget to set goals for more family and spouse time (2019 goal for me).
- Tackle The Toughest First: I was introduced and adopted this concept from The One Thing by Gary Keller. Talk about freeing up your day (mentally). Tackling the toughest things, those things I dread to do the most, at the very first part of my day has provided a paradigm shift about how I tackle my daily activities. When you tackle the toughest items first, and get them out of the way, your mind and schedule are set free to address more. Again, the underlying theme is efficiency but I’ve actually found myself looking forward to tackling those things I once dreaded because I know what the after party looks and feels like – more free time and less anxiety!
- Excel @ Your W2 – Be GREAT!: Until your side hustle becomes the primary bread winner for your household, stay focused on your W2. Keep it a priority and excel at it! You do not want to give your boss or coworkers a reason to question otherwise. Schedule things according and focus on your side hustle after hours. Just keep being great! Ask for some tips from like minded individuals on how to do this in our Facebook Group (currently 3,100+ strong): Real Estate Investing for the W2 Employee.
- Get Comfortable with Saying “No”: again, efficiency and time availability is the underlying theme here. You need to practice saying No to things that don’t enhance one of the Big 3: family, W2, side hustle. Much like training yourself to get up earlier, some of you will need to train yourself on saying No. Start by just saying No once a week and spend that newfound time on your Big 3 (family, W2, or side hustle). This can be a goal for you to exercise and track. As you keep conditioning yourself to free up more time, this will become a habit you’ll be glad you adopted.
- Be Ok with Course Corrections: this might seem counterintuitive to #4, but course corrections are something that happen over months of implementing. Your 12 Week objectives and goals (reference the 12 Week Year by Brian Moran again) SHOULD change but that’s not what I’m suggesting. For example, there are many ways to invest in real estate. Depending on your personality and/or current market conditions you may find yourself changing strategies and/or niches. THIS IS OK. The best advice I can provide here is to just ensure your course correction still supports your WHY for having a REI side hustle.
- It Will Take Longer Than You Expect: Accept that your side hustle will take longer to scale than you initially think it will. With a growing family and demanding job YOU CAN do it. It will take longer but don’t sacrifice the family or your spouse to make it happen. Find time from other areas by narrowing down how you spend your time. An eye opening exercise for some of you will be to daily document how you spend your time and once you do this for a couple of weeks, you’ll have a good baseline of figuring out where you need to say No. You have the time, it’s just currently spent on something that’s not paying the right dividends.
- Set Time Aside to Read, Network, and Mastermind: Get creative here and by that I mean, I don’t make time to sit down and read a physical book, but expanding my knowledge and reading/learning from others is a must. Instead of planning to read a book, I have a subscription to Audible and listen to books or podcasts while working out or during windshield time during my commute. For book recommendations, check out this page. I also participate in a virtual mastermind for personal growth and facilitate a virtual mastermind called W2 Capitalist. I love these formats as I get to interact with people around the globe and gain their perspective behind my laptop camera/mic from the comfort of where ever I am – again, efficiency.
- Evaluate Your Circle and Make Changes: This is probably going to be the most difficult challenge for most. And I’m not saying go tell off your friends. What I am suggesting is talk to your circle (one-on-one). For those who don’t fully support your side hustle, you need to spend less time with them and find someone to replace them in your circle. In due time, those friends will drop off and you’ll find yourself surrounded by people who CAN help you, who WILL help you, and WANT to see you succeed. And by circle I mean the 5 people who you hang around the most. You are the average of those 5 people and by rotating in people who can, will, and want to see you succeed and rotating the deadbeats out, you’ll be uplifting your average.
- Outsource, Outsource, Outsource: In my post, Successful REI Takes A Team: Our Roster, I talk about building a team. Not going to rehash all that here, but hitting the high point and sticking with the efficiency theme, you’ll need a solid team in place to deal with the day-to-day mundane tasks. You also have to find and acquire deals that still meet your criteria considering the costs these team members bring, which takes longer (see tip #9 above), but is feasible. Market conditions will also help dictate the quickness and feasibility of which you’ll acquire units that meet your criteria. BE PATIENT and STICK to your criteria, only taking course corrections when and if necessary.
- Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable: Growth happens outside your comfort zone. Adopting just one of these tips is going to be uncomfortable for some of you, may seem overwhelming, so here’s what I recommend. Take 1 month and focus on 1 of these tips. Must start with #1 though, but other than getting on the same page as your spouse, there is no particular order. BUT you’ll see the most success by tackling what is going to be the toughest for you personally (reference back to #5). You probably already know which one it is but make a plan to attack these tips one at a time, starting with your spouse first and then with the next most difficult one on your list.
I mentioned our Facebook Group before and I want to do it again. Let me know how you’re doing with these by posting at Real Estate Investing for the W2 Employee or send me a DM on Facebook Messenger.