In the early 1990s, if you had been looking for a course on real estate investing, you might have spent a fair amount of time and effort looking. In those days, internet access was uncommon. You had to go to the library and look for book if you wanted to do research. Or, you had to identify an expert in your target field and convince that person to teach you. Both options were difficult. Finding written material about real estate was nearly impossible if you were considering investing instead of simply taking a course on how to be a real estate agent.

My, how times have changed. Today, there are countless investors and would-be investors eager to mentor new students, often for a hefty fee. Sometimes, those fees are a valid part of accessing valuable information. Often, they are a sad excuse to wring revenue from a learning population that is not a good fit for the instructor. Every real estate investor is different, and that means every investor, new or experienced, will best benefit from different learning and teaching strategies. The most important question a new investor seeking education can ask themselves is:

What is the right real estate education for me?

From free blogs and Facebook groups to YouTube channels and podcasts, there are countless options available to an investor seeking education. Nearly every one of them claims to provide all the ingredients to the “secret sauce” that makes a real estate investor a success.

If “free” is not a priority for an investor, the price tags too are limitless. Real estate masterminds, investment clubs, mentorships, and one-on-one coaching can cost more than $100,000 a year in some cases. There is also an array of one, two, or three-day “speed courses” and seminars designed to accelerate a student’s progress into successful real estate wealth creation. For the student who has already tried everything, personal consultants will evaluate strategy, process, and operations in an attempt to identify, isolate, and fix specific real estate business problems. The list of options goes on and on, yet the question remains: “What is the right real estate education for me?”

For most real estate investors who got started in the mid-2000s or shortly after the Great Recession, accessing the right education options for real estate was a trial-and-error process. The choices, even a decade ago, were overwhelming. An investor simply had to do the research on the program, fork over the training fees, and hope for the best. Today, this approach could break the bank before an investor gets even a single deal done.

Many successful real estate investors have spent more than $1 million on education during their investment careers. In fact, many consider these funds well spent. However, no one will tell you that every single dollar spent was worth it. Even when the end result is success, there will be times when you travel to an event or attend a training and realize the fit was just not right. Fortunately, there are ways to make sure that any training, viewed as an opportunity, can be the “right fit” for you, at least to a degree.

6 Crucial Questions to Ask About an Educational Opportunity

When you are trying to decide what educational path to pursue, there are six crucial questions to ask about the opportunity that will help you determine if it is likely to be a good fit for you. Use these questions to help you evaluate the caliber of an opportunity in light of your own situation.

  1. Will this educational opportunity help me reach my specific, present-day goals? It is easy to get sidetracked by new businesses and “shiny objects,” but your real estate investing will not thrive without focus. Do not attend real estate investing education events that send you off in a new direction when your business needs you to be focused on what is at hand.
  2. Are the people teaching the course people I would like to be like in five or 10 years? If you are going on a journey with these instructors, the odds are that your brain is going to spend a lot of time focused on them and their attitudes toward business and life. Make sure those people and attitudes are things you feel good about imitating, emulating, absorbing, or becoming.
  3. Do I have the time and money to spend on this opportunity?
    Money is only part of the equation. Real estate education is incredibly important, but sometimes you will find that you need to wait on some opportunities. Ask yourself how the expense will affect your family and your budget. There are seasons when you will have to prioritize time as well as money. Wait until your family will not suffer if you are not physically available to start attending educational events every weekend!
  4. Is my business ready for this at this time? Sometimes, you will encounter an opportunity that seems incredibly exciting, but your business will not be at the level necessary to truly take advantage of it. When this is the case, spending money on that opportunity is foolish because you will not be able to leverage the information you access during the event.
  5. Can I be an asset to the community I plan to join? There are many masterminds and masterclasses out there filled with wise and experienced investors. It is tempting to join the most successful and experienced groups possible—as it should be. However, it is important to understand the priorities of the group and its members. If there is a leadership group dedicated to educating and guiding newer investors, that is great. You can definitely be a contributing asset to that group. However, if the group is comprised of experienced investors who are supposed to provide each other with professional-level insight and support or even financial support, as some investment groups desire, then you cannot expect to be an asset if you do not bring those qualifications to the table.
  6. Can this opportunity help me solve an existing problem or shore up an existing weakness in my business? Your business will have ongoing strengths and weaknesses, and those strengths and weaknesses will not always be the same. Ask yourself and answer with brutal honesty: Will this opportunity help me solve something I am dealing with right now? If the answer is negative, then you must seriously consider whether this is the right time to take advantage of the opportunity.

Find the Silver Lining in Everything

No matter how carefully you scrutinize an educational opportunity, there will be occasions when you misjudge its fit for you.

Sometimes, you will attend an event and find that you are far, far out of your current league. This can be devastating, because you may feel insecure or even unworthy of being there. Naturally, this will affect your ability to learn what you can at the event and network effectively. Never let feelings like this control your educational experience. Remember, you paid to be there and they took your money. Even if you do not have the experience or wealth of others attending, the hosts believed you could benefit. It is up to you to make the experience as beneficial as possible.

Typically, the best “default” mode when you find yourself in this type of situation is to focus first on networking. You can always benefit from meeting new people in the industry and making a positive, memorable impression on them. Work hard to remember names and faces, ask questions that show you are interested in the answers, and try to figure out ways your businesses might be symbiotic.

This is also a good policy when you find yourself in a situation where you may be far more qualified or experienced than the others at an event. Being generous with your time and attention—even if you would not have chosen to be in that situation had you been better informed—is always a good option.

Be positive in every circumstance. Do not belittle your own abilities any more than you would belittle those of others. Just be glad to be in the place you are at the moment. That is an investment that will always pay off.

Tom Olson is the founder and president of the Olson Group Network, which includes Conduit Capital, Good Success, Olson Group, Olson Property Services, Olson Construction Management Services, and Sarah Jo, LLC. He is the author of multiple popular books for entrepreneurs and investors, including “The 30-Day Good Success Journey,” “Active Turnkey: The Best Way to Buy Rentals,” and “Investors vs. Contractors.”

Olson hosts The Good Success Podcast, a popular podcast for investors and entrepreneurs dedicated to achieving true lasting financial success as well as true personal and professional fulfillment.

Tags | Education
  • Tom Olson

    Tom Olson is the founder and President of the Olson Group Network , which includes Conduit Capital, Good Success, Olson Group, Olson Property Services, Olson Construction Management Services, and Sarah Jo, LLC. He is the author of multiple popular books for entrepreneurs and investors, including The 30-Day Good Success Journey, Active Turnkey: (The Best Way to Buy Rentals), and Investors vs. Contractors. Tom hosts The Good Success Podcast, a popular podcast for investors and entrepreneurs dedicated to achieving true lasting financial success as well as true personal and professional fulfillment not only through investing and helping their businesses rise to new heights but also to bring purpose and meaning to those businesses.

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