I understand real estate is a lucrative business. Many people want to get in the property game, so many are afraid of making a wrong move. Those of us who aren’t ready to dive in, but are eager to armour ourselves with information, follow successful investors. Those privileged few who’ve learned what to do and how to do it know they have the recipe for success. Boy, do they know it. And boy, do they sell it!
I’ve noticed that in the investment realm, it’s popular for stock pickers and house flippers to market courses. On their blogs, in their email newsletters, on their youtube videos, they give bits and pieces of useful knowledge. At the end of their message, they plug their upcoming course. You run to their website to see a price tag between $1000-$4000. You want to invest in yourself, so you contemplate spending on the course. After all, the guru is successful and their social media makes you want to learn as much as possible from them. When this happens, my advice to you is: DON’T BUY THE COURSE YET. PUT YOUR CREDIT CARD AWAY!
Hear me out. I believe in investing in yourself first. I believe in paying yourself first. I also believe in the power of self-directed learning. When I see a $1000 I’ll-teach-you-how-to-buy-your-first-rental-property course, I am tempted. But soon, other thoughts enter my head. I wonder:
- Have I read all the books on this topic that I have access to, for free from the library?
- Have I listened to all the podcasts, read all the blog posts, and watched all the free videos created by this guru yet?
- Have I listened to/read/watched most of the content created by other people on this topic?
- Am I connected to a local group interested in this topic? Am I having regular conversations with group members?
- Do I have at least one mentor?
- Have I learned all that I can about this topic on my own?
Once I start asking myself those questions, I realize that I haven’t accessed the free tools and resources at my disposal enough to justify the expense. The course is a convenient, albeit costly, shortcut to the drudgery of taking the slower path to mastery. However, this is how learning sticks, and how networks get built. When I come across my first hiccup with my first investment property, I don’t want to be lost because the guru didn’t mention this in the course. I don’t want to email a guru and hope they answer me, which they probably won’t. I want to reach out to people I know personally. I want to know where I can find the answer.
After I wrote part 1, which was going to be my entire post on this topic, something ironic happened.
My husband and I have a mobile notary business. We started the business in December 2020. We’re still new to the biz. Our January goal was to get 2 signings, we met that goal. Our February goal was to get 5 signings, and we finally got to 5 last night on the last day of February. We want to maximize the potential profits of this business, while balancing our limited availability (weekends and weeknights) since we both work full-time. We know the real money is in loan signings, and for mortgage/title companies to work with notaries, most require that the notary have certification as a loan signing agent. Although we are hesitant to invest more money into the business before we’ve made significant profit, we want to set ourselves up for success early, and do everything possible to maximize our business.
Home loan documents are pretty complicated. To pass the test required to get the loan signing agent certification, studying is required. We’ve scoured the internet for free training, and we haven’t found anything sufficient. We’ve come across notary gurus offering paid courses and scoffed at their offers. Fast forward to yesterday, I walked into our home office to see my husband taking a paid course offered by a guru! All I could do was laugh. He explained that this course was the same price (around $200) as the one offered by the national association for loan signing agents, except this one offered better instructional tools. I understood, it made sense. We have limited time, it’s not time efficient to read tons of books, find mentors, etc. when we could find the materials, get all the information we need in one weekend, and pass the certification test.
Although I still think that paid-for guru courses shouldn’t be the first step to learning more about a topic, especially regarding broad topics like investing, they can be useful tools to accelerate progress toward your goals. If the information is available for free, it’s a good idea to consume that first. If you have other options, explore them and compare them to the courses you’re considering. That’s part of being a critical consumer. It’s not bad to consume, to purchase, especially if consumption is done with intention. I hope you find all the information you need on your financial independence journey for free. For everything else, there’s a course you can pay for with Mastercard…