If you sat down and asked 100 extraordinarily successful real estate investors if they believe in hiring a paid mentor or coach their answers would likely be as varied as the group. Many would say yes because it can greatly speed up your learning curve and get you from where you are to where you want to be quicker. Others would say no because all of the information you need can be found in a multitude of books, some of which are, Best Ever Apartment Syndication Book, Wheelbarrow Profits, and Syndicating Is a B*tch: And Other Truths You Haven't Been Told. Most of them would likely say that it depends.
"It depends," is a phrase all too frequently used in real estate investing and, in this case, for good reason. It depends on you and it depends on your goals. It also depends on what you expect to gain from hiring a mentor.
If you choose to pursue a mentorship program, I believe you should interview as many as your time allows. This is a huge investment in your education and future in the real estate investment world, and it is in your best interest to make an informed decision.
What you should expect from a mentor
When interviewing a potential mentor there are 5 things you should cover so you know what to expect.
Are they currently actively investing in the asset class you are pursuing, and do they have a provable track record of success? If you are pursuing single family buy and hold as an investment, it is probably not a good idea to hire a coach who has only ever worked in the self-storage business. With the internet it is easier than ever to find the track record of mentors, doing a simple google search for their name or their business name should give you a good indication of their credibility. You want a mentor that is current with the trends and technologies of today, it would not make much sense to hire a mentor who has not closed a deal since 2006.
What processes and systems are utilized and taught in the program? Does the coach have an online portal with their teaching material available for consumption at the student’s leisure or do they rely solely on phone and video calls? Do they have a process or system in place to track the student's progress through the training material so the student stays on schedule? Does the mentor provide a do-it-yourself program so you can replicate what they have done successfully in the past? This speaks to your learning style as much as it does the mentors coaching style. Make sure the program structure is going to mesh well with how you learn best to ensure the most successful investment.
Does the mentor have team members for outsourcing the work? Some mentors have small programs with handpicked students. The face of the program does the teaching while other programs employ a variety of coaches and you are paired up with one during your onboarding.
How available is the mentor? Does the mentor limit the number of calls students get with their coach, is it one call a month, one call a week? How available are they via e-mail? A mentor should be available for you when you need them for both business and personal reasons as they arise. If you run into a roadblock stemming from your personal life you should not be afraid to go to your mentor for advice. What happens in your personal life impacts your business and vice versa.
How can the mentor help with networking and relationship building? The mentor should be at a higher level in the asset class you are hiring them for so they should already know the right people to talk to from investors to vendors. They should be able to connect you with the right people to help you grow your business.
What you should NOT expect from a mentor
When you are hiring a mentor, you are not hiring an employee. A mentor will teach you what they know, and they will provide you with the tools you need to succeed but they will not do it for you. They will not reach out to brokers on your behalf, and they likely will not share their book of passive investors. Hiring a mentor will not automatically make the skies open and a light shine down on you. You still need to do the work. If you do run across a potential mentor who promises to do everything for you for a fee you have likely found a scam and should run away.
If you cannot commit after hiring a coach, then hiring a coach was a mistake. The work is still up to you but after hiring a coach, you will have more tools in your tool belt and to some vendors and investors you will appear more credible.
What are the benefits?
A coach can help focus your efforts. Figuring out where to start and what to do next can be one of the most perplexing things while starting out in real estate. There are countless books and blogs you can read and research but knowing what to focus on and where to start can be a daunting task. A coach can help guide your education and point you to what you should be learning and the order that makes the most sense for your situation.
A coach can save you time. When learning a new skill or trying to scale in real estate, time is money. By hiring an industry leader as a coach, you can leverage their experience to skip common mistakes. There is a good chance that your mentor made those mistakes early in their careers so they can help you know where to step so you avoid the same pitfalls. When starting out with a mentor, the mentor should feel out how much you already know and design a plan for you to get you to your goals in the shortest amount of time possible. When you get distracted along the way they can help reel you back in.
A coach can help provide you with motivation to keep moving forward.
A mentor is not just a coach, but they can also be a cheerleader. Most coaches have a vested interest in seeing their students reach a level of success on par or surpassing that of their own. Not only is it a matter of pride but it is one of the best ways to continue selling their services to future students or mentees. Many new investors find that they get frustrated in the beginning because they do not think they are moving as fast as they should because they compare themselves with more experienced investors. A great mentor can help by reassuring you on your path and help guide you through choosing a good deal from a bad one. They can also help get you out of a funk when you find yourself doubting your course.
What are the drawbacks?
The main drawback to hiring a mentor is that they do not come free. The amount they charge varies greatly as does the experience and knowledge you will gain. Hiring a mentor will also most likely force you to try and expedite your career in real estate. While this may be what you want to have happen it can be difficult. If you are already trying to balance a family life with a W2 job, hiring a mentor can add even more work to your already full plate. This can be a stressor on your other obligations.
What are your goals, and can you meet your goals without hiring a mentor?
If you are young and have many years that you can spend learning things by trial and error then maybe hiring a mentor is not right for you but if you are older and have a family and a full time W2 job and feel you need to expedite the process then maybe hiring a mentor is right for you.
How do you find a mentor?
Truly the best way to find a mentor is by word of mouth. You can spend time on the internet researching various mentors and their programs but, in the end, you should get the first-hand account of the mentor through some of their current or previous students. If you do not know anybody who has used a mentor, you are probably not ready to hire one. You need to get out and continue networking and meeting other investors.
Hiring a coach or a mentor is one of the hardest decisions we can make when starting out in a new business or profession. You need to weigh the time and monetary cost versus the perceived benefit that the relationship may bring you. For real estate just about everything you want to know as been discussed in countless books and videos so is it possible to get yourself from complete novice to an expert? Maybe but it depends. It depends on you and how you can prioritize your education and stay on track with your plan. Will it help expedite your education and therefore your progress if you hire a mentor or coach? Maybe but it depends. It depends on the experience of the mentor or coach you choose and what your expectations are going in. It also depends on your mindset and if you can follow through with what you are being taught.
In the end, there are many and more reasons for and against hiring a mentor but only you can make the decision based on your specific set of circumstances.
If you have any questions or if there are any topics you would like to see covered please reach out to me at Mack@InfiniteFocusCapital.com