From amateur to pro – have you got what it takes?

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When it comes to property and real estate, how do you think of yourself: amateur or pro? Perhaps you see yourself as a professional dabbler – you’ve bought a property, rented it out, and bought a second rental property. I’m sorry to say this doesn’t make you a professional property investor. A pro property investor has got a portfolio which can be grown; they might have their own capital, or they know how to raise it from investors.

Like anything in life, making the leap from amateur to pro all comes down to your mindset, and this week I’m sharing my tips to help you make the switch!

Find your focus

I had zero interest in school – I was flunking everything because I just wasn’t engaged and had no focus. Then, on a family holiday to New York, I was looking up at the skyscrapers and completely blown away by them. When I came home, I started drawing these towering buildings, replicating what I’d seen in the States, and the family said I should become an architect – it was like a light going off! It gave me a laser focus and ambition that I’d never had before.

You need a vested interest in whatever it is you’re doing, and it has to come from inside you – you’ll never be able to adopt a pro-mindset to a career if you’re plodding along doing something that doesn’t excite you.

Find your tribe

You have to surround yourself with the right people. When I was a student, a lot of my peers loved to go out and get drunk, and that just wasn’t for me.

It’s easy enough to get swayed by other people, but if you really want to be successful you have to ignore any voices that are trying to pull you off course.

Whether it’s an online community, or an actual group of people you can spend time with ‘in real life’, finding the right environment, and the right people to influence you in a positive way is key to your success. They’re the ones that will encourage you, be your cheerleaders, and to keep you going if you get discouraged at any point.

Put in the hours

You’ve most likely heard of Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘10,000 hour rule’, which says that in order to achieve mastery or exceptional expertise in any field, you have to invest approximately 10,000 hours of deliberate practice.

That’s more easily applied to something like playing sport or learning an instrument, but if you want to get good at anything, you really have to put your hours in. You can’t wake up one morning and say ‘Hey, I think I’m going to become a professional property investor today’ on a whim and dive right in… well, you could, but I wouldn’t advise it!

Be prepared to put in the graft to build your expertise. Being a professional anything means that you need to take it seriously and be prepared to play the long game: ‘overnight’ success is rarely sustainable.

Nurture or nature?

By the same token, you might think that without a natural aptitude for something, you may as well not bother, and if that’s your mindset, you need an attitude adjustment.

Whilst a natural talent is obviously a massive help, don’t think that your favourite musician or athlete doesn’t put in the work. Yes, they make it look easy, but that’s because they’ve taken their natural ability and worked and worked at it until it becomes innate. Things that we need to think about are second nature to them. Again, it comes down to practice, or in the case of a property investor, experience. The more you do something, the easier it becomes, natural talent or not – make sure you have a plan to develop your skill and find the right tools to help you do this.

The best time to plant a tree

There are countless variations of the ‘when is the best time’ saying. It’s easy enough to think that because you didn’t start something when you were younger, that you’ve missed your chance. I can remember talking to someone at one of my events, who said that he was already in his thirties and therefore too late to get on the property ladder. I told him that he was only in his thirties, so of course he wasn’t too late! The only time you’re too late to do something is when you’re 6 feet under, so if you’re worrying that you’re too old for something, think about reframing that narrative.

Fail, fail again, fail better

One thing you can’t do is sit around waiting for the perfect conditions to start anything. Becoming successful at something is an iterative process: you have to be prepared to take action, even if you fail at the outset – at least you know that particular route doesn’t work and you can get onto finding a better one! A lot of people will sit back and ruminate over the perfect action to take – they’ll have 12 options but won’t be able to choose one, so achieve nothing.

On the other hand, the person who takes action would have tried nine options and be getting pretty close to hitting the right one by the time the procrastinator tries their first. Be prepared for things to go wrong, and don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get something exactly right on your first go – it’s all a learning curve.

Get clarity

Decisions are very easy when their value is clear: if you have clarity on your goals and where you want to go, then everything around that will kind of take care of itself.

Earlier this year on the podcast I talked to pro-golfer turned businessman Matt Grady, and he mentioned his 90:10 principle. He found that in sports, he’d spend about 90% of the time training and practicing and preparing for a tournament, and just 10% of the time competing in it. It’s something that gets missed in a lot of businesses: people spend more time trying to figure out how to do the doing and then faff around doing it, but not to the highest level. If they were to flip the switch a little bit and focus 90% of their attention on becoming an expert in what they do, when they get to the 10% that matters they’re at the top of their game.

At the end of the day, the thing that’s going to turn your mindset from amateur to pro is actually showing up as a professional: you can’t half-arse it!

If you’re thinking about really making a career in the property industry, it can be a daunting experience, so why not invest in my FOUNDATIONS course? This course will take you through the fundamentals in simple, jargon-free language, explaining how the market functions, what you need to watch out for, and giving you the steps to help you avoid costly mistakes!