For many investors in the real estate industry, the word “Guru” has a negative connotation. Their philosophy is to go out into the market, take action, learn from own mistakes, and that iteration is key to long-term success. The idea of paying someone thousands of dollars for trainings seems useless and maybe even detrimental.
Then for others, they attribute their success, at least partially, to a Guru course, seminar, or speech.
Who is right and who is wrong? Well, the reality isn’t black and white.
Heather Havenwood, who was named Top 50 Must Follow Women Entrepreneurs for 2017 by Huffington Post, has seen both the positive and negative side of “guruism.” “[The guru industry] is like politics. There’s the good part of politics and there’s the dirty side of politics,” she said. “There’s a lot of good that happens, and there’s the dirty side, and I’ve seen both, and I’ve been around both.”
Since Heather has a rare perspective on the guru industry, in our recent conversation, she explained how you can become a good guru, and how you can leverage your guru status to scale your real estate business.
Who Can Become a Guru?
You may be wondering “Joe, I’ve only done a few deals! Who the hell am I to become a guru?” Fair point. However, according to Heather, “anybody who’s done … something in real estate, whatever that is, I think that they should teach what they have learned through their mistakes.”
If you have been active in the real estate market, whether you’ve completed 1 transaction or 100, and you have failures under your belt, then you have the qualification to provide some sort of educational service.
Educating others on your failures is the key distinction between the good guru and the bad guru. “The challenge with what I call the real estate gurus out there is they show success after success after success after success,” Heather said. “The real ones are failure-failure-success-failure-failure-failure-success-success-failure.” This is the main reason why “guruism” has a negative connotation in real estate. A guru will make real estate seem easy, straightforward, and risk-free, which isn’t the case at all. Therefore, Heather said, “That’s why I think [investors] should be out their teaching themselves, so they know what it’s like to share their failures, share their successes with people. It makes a difference.”
Who would have known that you could monetize your failures!
Why You Should Become a Guru?
There are three main reasons to become a guru: 1) get more business, 2) get more cash flow, and most importantly, 3) help other investors.
These three reasons are “why a lot of the real estate investors get into the education conversation, because they want to buy more property and it’s a great cash maker to create cash to buy more property,” Heather said. “Think about it – I’m doing real estate, I want to buy more real estate, I educate people about what I’m doing, I make money from that and I buy more real estate. I don’t think that’s awkward. I think that’s actually very smart in a capitalist world.”
Heather continued, “If you look at it that way, then you can see how there’s a logic to that. What happens when I go to REIA meetings or I meet what I call ‘old-school’ real estate investors – they have this kind of arrogance about ‘Well, I just sit in the background and no one knows who I am. I just do my thing.’ I’m like, ‘I can see that, I guess that’s respectable, but why wouldn’t you help other people? Why would you not do a small workshop locally, or why don’t you get on a podcast and share your story about how you got started and all the mistakes that you made? Why not help other people through that process?’ Because I feel like real estate investing specifically – not realtor – is kind of the secret little society sometimes; even though people are out there constantly teaching it, it’s still this secret little society that people think is hard to get into, or they don’t know how, or it’s confusing. It’s not something you get taught in the university.”
Grant Cardone’s philosophy of success is your responsibility, duty, and obligation comes into play here as well. You don’t need to hide your successes and failures from others, because if everyone had that old school mentality, you likely wouldn’t have gotten the information and motivation you need to get started. Pay it forward and make some money at the same time.
How to Become a Guru?
To become a guru, you need a platform. Heather’s go-to platform is podcasting. However, she didn’t start by launching her own podcast. Instead, after getting some experience in real estate, and having a few failures under your belt, the first step towards becoming a guru is learning how to tell your story. “People don’t want to hear your resume, they want to hear your story. It’s very different,” Heather said. She accomplished this by going on as many real estate podcasts as possible.
“I think even if you’ve only had 10 houses or 2 houses or one apartment building, whatever it is, being out there on podcasts – because it’s a “free medium” at this moment – being out there and sharing your story helps other people,” Heather said. “People don’t want to hear your ‘When I was ten I did this, and when I was 20 I did that…’ No one cares. They want to know how you got to where you are today and where is the success story, and where is the failure? So I talk about my book Sexy Boss because that book is about my biggest failures in life.”
Heather focused on mastering the art of telling her story on other investor’s podcasts for one and a half years before launching her own. In total, she’s had 210 interviews.
Another advantage of being a guest on 210 different shows is you learn how to create a successful podcast. Heather learned how to add value, which is a must if you’re going to be a guru and host your own show. Additionally, Heather said she learned “what it takes to be a really great host. I also learned how to really launch a really great podcast. Back in June [of 2016], I launched my first show and it’s exploded. I’m now on three networks, and it’s been amazing, in less than a six-month timeframe, because I learned how to give value, and then I went and launched it.”
An investor who has any level of real estate experience can start the process of becoming a guru. The key is having successes AND failures to leverage to teach others what you learned from your mistakes and how they can avoid making the same ones themselves.
The three advantages of becoming a guru and providing educational services to other investors are getting more business, getting more cash flow, and paying it forward by educating others who are just starting out or have an experience level below or comparable to yours.
To start the process of becoming a guru, start to learn how to tell your story and add value to others. A great way to do so is to get interviewed on other investor’s podcasts. Then, leverage that experience to launch your own podcast.
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