Fred: I want to invest in real estate because I’m sick and tired of just living from paycheck to paycheck with my present job.
Me: Then go ahead and become an investor.
Fred: But as a beginner, I believe I would need to put in extra hours into working to become an investor. Between that and my present job, I don’t think I will have sufficient time.
Me: Then quit your job.
Fred: I can’t. Even if I’m tired of it, at least it’s already getting the bills paid and putting food on the table. If I quit my job and this real estate thing doesn’t pan out, I’d be left with nothing.
Me: Then do both.
Fred: Are you kidding?! I won’t have enough time to do both.
Does this conversation sound familiar to you?
I’m pretty sure most people who currently hold jobs, but are sitting on the fence about this “real estate thing” are having pretty much the same conversation, whether with someone else or with themselves (C’mon now. Admit it. Don’t be shy. You’re not alone anyway. J).
One major reason why this dilemma occurs with most beginner investors is because most real estate investing “gurus” (especially those who are rather well-known) are full-time investors, and they’re quite vocal about their stand that it’s better and more financially sound to invest in real estate full time than keep a job, or even multiple jobs for that matter.
While this is true – it’s actually better to be your own boss, have total control over your time and finances and still be able to make more money than someone who’s keeping 5 jobs all at the same time – I don’t entirely agree with this philosophy.
Now, understand that I’m speaking as someone who has been through both sides of this coin – I have experienced investing in real estate while keeping a job, and I’ve also done it full time.
So, which one do I prefer and which one would I recommend you go for?
The answer is simple: It Depends.
You see, I wasn’t ‘fulfilled’ with my corporate job, so it was a no-brainer that I was called to leave the corporate world and pursue my entrepreneurial dreams. BUT, had I been employed with a company that was providing me a job and mission that was fulfilling me (financially & emotionally, etc), then the answer may have been different. So, for those reasons I can’t entirely recommend one over the other for you, only for myself.
But, lets assume for a minute that you don’t absolutely hate your J.O.B.
If you already have a job that pays the bills and puts food on the table, whatever income you generate from real estate investing becomes either pure “fun money” or goes to your savings. Imagine how easy and fast you’ll be able to come up with the money to get that new car you’ve been eyeing or how quickly you can get started renovating and updating your kitchen. Imagine how quickly your children’s college fund or your personal retirement fund can grow?
“But I don’t have enough time to do both…”
If you’re like Fred in that conversation above, you’re probably convinced that there is one inevitable problem with engaging in real estate and keeping a job both at once – TIME.
Well, let me shoot that problem down once and for all.
There’s 168 hours in a week. You spend about 56 hours a week sleeping (8 hours of sleep everyday for 7 days – see, I believe in getting enough rest.J ), 40 hours working your job, and about 30 hours eating and spending time with your family. This still leaves you with 42 hours extra time – time you can use investing in real estate (go ahead and redo the Math if you want to. J ).
This was actually a huge milestone for me back when I was starting in real estate. Incidentally, at that time, I was keeping a job too and I felt exactly the same way Fred does. I felt like I didn’t have enough time to do both. But as soon as I did this breakdown of the number of hours I spend doing this and that in a week, I realized, it’s not true that I didn’t have time. I actually have all the time in the world!
All I needed to do was manage my time better – and that’s what I am suggesting to you right now.
There are lots of ways for you to be able to maximize your time. Cut down on your TV and internet time. You may not realize it but these 2 things rob the most of your time and you’re probably not even aware of it. Let me give you a few more examples that relate directly to our topic at hand:
During your commute on the way to work, instead of simply sitting in your car waiting for traffic to move (or sitting in the bus staring out the window or fantasizing about what’s for lunch at the company cafeteria), why not listen to real estate investing podcasts or training CDs? Just because you ”think” you can’t do real estate investing full time, doesn’t mean you can’t start learning as much about as you can right now, right? There are several other situations where you can do this such as when in the gym, Moreover, as you increase your knowledge about real estate investing by proactively listening to these resources, you’ll soon realize, you actually need far less time than you initially thought to get started in the business even without having to quit your job.
Another thing you can start doing while still maintaining a job is look at properties. Get a hold of a podcast or a training CD that talks about how to spot prospective deals and start trying to spot such houses during the weekends or even on your commute back home. Test yourself on how quickly you can spot prospective deals. This hones your “investors’ instinct”. It’s going to be a very valuable skill to have when you start devoting more time into your REI activities.
You can also start developing your network at this time. Start by associating with local real estate investors, realtors, brokers and other real estate professionals. You can do this by taking some time to attend a local real estate investors’ association meeting. Tell them you’re planning to get into the business and you’re starting by getting as much “free training” as possible. Many of these guys will welcome you and share valuable information. Just always make sure to keep your eyes and ears open.
When you start doing this, you’ll find that in a month’s time, you’ll be spending less and less time listening to podcasts and training CD’s (learning phase) and more time trying to apply what you’ve learned (practical application phase). Soon enough, you’ll be developing the instinct to start getting to the next level and actually do a deal.
The main reason why most people think they don’t have enough time to start their real estate investing career while keeping a job is because they look at the entire real estate investing side as a whole, from the learning phase, the practical application phase, to the actual investing phase. They view it as doing all the REI activities at once just like what a full time investor does. However, if you break it down into “bite size” tasks, you’ll find that it’s all going to be a lot easier to digest, and you’ll have better chances of actually moving forward.
It’s all in the way you plan and manage your time in relation to what you want to achieve.
Remember, your initial goal here is to close at least one deal while maintaining a job. Planning for the second deal comes later. I promise it gets easier over time. Your aim is to get to a point where your job pays for bills and food, and your REI past time fattens your savings.