I am sure you've heard the phrase “fake it till you make it” but I have never believed in this. I have found more success in being the real you. Even if it means that you don't know what you're doing in something you're looking to pursue. This belief continues to work to this day. As I mentioned before, I am in the process of immersing myself in commercial real estate (CRE) as a broker and investor.
I spent many hours learning from Google, YouTube and a few podcasts. I invested the time in learning more to insure this was something I am interested in doing. Just because a person likes residential real estate does not mean they will like commercial and vis-versa. Once I was certain I wanted to do CRE I started to reach out to practitioners and investors. Obviously, I picked the brains of those in my immediate network during social gatherings but I did not have serious conversations with them until I was committed. I make it a point not to waste people's time or my own because I learned, a long time ago, that time is too valuable.
However, once I made the decision, I reached out to every person I had ever met, connected with on social media, crossed paths with one time at an event years ago and complete strangers on all social platforms. Guess what happened? All of them, so far, have been more than happy to speak with me. Best part, most invited me to contact them if I ever needed help or advice. Remember that most successful people were once where you are today. They are willing to help because they remember making the call you are making to them. So reach out and make those introductions and nurture those relationships.
The reason I mentioned reaching out to experts in an area you want to be involved in is to bring up leveraging. Anytime someone refers to leveraging in real estate people immediately think about leveraging money. In this case, I'm referring to leveraging your newly made contacts and solidifying preexisting relationships. Here are a few personal examples I recently used in commercial real estate. Since I had no experience in CRE I decided to join a firm that would allow me to keep my existing residential real estate brokerage in order to keep my agents. It was not easy but found one through my network. The referral came from the property manager who managed the office building I was renting because I told him what I was looking to do. The firm agreed to my condition of keeping my residential brokerage because they knew I was serious about being in CRE but could not just walk from my agents. I leveraged my involvement with the firm and preexisting relationships and within a short time negotiated 4 CRE property listings totaling $4,600,000.
You may ask, "What does brokering CRE have to do with investing in CRE?" Again, I am leveraging my access to brokering CRE to learn CRE while getting paid. That's right I'm getting paid to learn. Not only that, I am speaking with and building relationships with CRE investors on a daily basis. These CRE investors are telling me what, when, where and how they buy and sell CRE investments and businesses. In fact, by leveraging some of these relationships I may soon be involved in a new CRE development. I thought it would be at least a year or two down the road but it's happening, assuming the feasibility looks good.
What's the big secret to leveraging old and new relationships? Why would they give you their time, which is extremely valuable? It is so simple and not a secret but few people remember to do it, add value. The CRE firm accepted my conditions because they saw I was driven and would make them money. The developers and investors are working with me and providing their expertise because I did the leg work of finding the investment property. As always, create win-win scenarios because it works.