Learn How To Start Investing In Real Estate
Learn How To Start Investing In Real Estate

4 Habits That Could Hinder The First Time Investor

Written by JD Esajian

Key Takeaways

  • Emphasizing perfection over process is a quick recipe for not only failure, but added stress.
  • Setting goals doesn’t adequately motivate you unless the goals are specific, actionable and time-based.
  • Keeping busy is not the goal as an entrepreneur; ensuring that most of your energy is directed toward high-priority tasks is.

Much ink has been spilled laying out the positive habits entrepreneurs, and the veritable first time investor, should add to their to-do list. But what habits should a newbie investor avoid when learning investing basics? Are there certain unproductive traits, when a new investor is learning how to buy an investment property, that they should remove from their routine?

When starting out as a first time investor, there are some key habits to pay special considerations to: It’s best to assume not everything will go perfectly, not setting clear and actionable goals can be dangerous, and favoring “busy-ness” over business progress is a common misconception.

Here’s a closer look, whether you’re dipping your toe into the part time real estate investing waters or in the midst of a buying an investment property, at some key habits worth removing from your daily to-do list.

First Time Investor Habits To Kick To The Curb

basics of investing

1. Expecting Perfection

It can be very tempting, when getting started as an investor, to tie one’s self-esteem to the results one is getting, or not getting, from their efforts. But there are simply too many things that are out of an investor’s control, especially when getting started in the business

Deals fall through. Financing disappears. Marketing campaigns arrive with a thud. Or maybe the biggest employer in a particular market decides to pull up stakes and move to a different state – leaving your rental property dangerously vulnerable to market instability.

It can also be risky to expect perfection from yourself as you’re getting started. The truth is: you’re going to make mistakes. Many more than one. And expecting you – and your career – to go perfectly is a recipe for failure.

A far better approach is to emphasize process over results. Process is something you can control. As long as your process is sound, and backed up by historical precedent to be an effective way to grow your business, you’ll not only make more gains with your business, but also reduce your stress levels as well.

2. Vague Goal-Setting

As the saying goes, “a goal is a wish with a deadline.” But not all goals are created equal. Vague, abstract goals such as “make more money” or “grow my business” are too general to be helpful, and can often leave us more frustrated that having no goal at all.

The key is to make your goals so tangible and clear, both in terms of time and actions taken, that there is little room for interpretation or delay. You simply do what needs to be done, at the time it needs to be done.

You’ve probably heard the acronym SMART goals. These refer to goals that are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Results-Focused
  • Time-Bound

For example, you could say “By August 1 or next year, using online lead generation and direct mail I will acquire 200 new seller leads and purchase five distressed properties which I will re-sell for a profit of at least 200%.”

Notice how framing your goals this way takes away the stress of knowing what you should do. You already know what you should do. It’s baked into the SMART goal. You just need to get yourself take action, and if your assumptions are based on fact, you have a great chance of realizing that goal by the deadline stated.

3. Favoring Activity Over Impact

This might be the most difficult habit for first time investors break. That’s because it’s tempting to confuse activity with actual progress in your business. But by clearly articulating what the most important high-priority task is for you at a given moment, and concentrating your full energy on that task at the expense of other lower-priority tasks, you are uncovering the biggest secret to your eventual investor success.

This is easier said than done.

Many entrepreneurs feel guilty if they aren’t spending ten hours a day burning the midnight oil working on their business in some form or fashion. But this not only is a guaranteed recipe for burnout, but it’s also an inefficient way to work (and will usually lead to mediocre results).

A far better approach is to come up with two to three important tasks for your business each day – not seven or 23 – and then work on one important task until it’s done. And don’t move on to the next one until that first one is done.

This may be difficult, at first, but by bringing this level of discipline and focus to your business, you’ll find your work days more productive and enjoyable.

4. “Comparison-itis”

If there’s one negative habit that afflicts those in the midst of a crash-course on real estate investing for beginners, it’s the tendency to compare where they are – both professionally and personally – with other investors.

And it’s not hard to see how this happens. As you build your real estate network – and spend time on social platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook – you’ll come across other people in the industry who seem to be much more successful, knowledgeable, and advanced than you are.

Do your best to resist the urge to consistently compare yourself to others. It’s challenging, but gently remind yourself that you are on a journey, not a race, and that you are trying something exciting and new – that most people only dream about.

The Power of Habits

Aristotle once said, “We are what we repeatedly do,” and this is doubly true for the unproductive habits that fill the days of many a first time investor. But by removing these less-than helpful habits from our routine, we’ll start to realize that the only thing that has been standing in the way of our success, is us.

Do you have any habits you would like to kick to the curb? Perhaps you have uncovered some that can help others? Please feel free to share the habits that have worked both for and against you in the comments below.