I saw that title on an article recently, and I really had to chuckle having just experienced one of those days. Today, I just couldn’t resist incorporating it into my article, because it spells out perfectly in one word what typically goes wrong in a mentoring relationship.
Everyone that has ever started out in this fascinating business of real estate investing has discovered pretty quickly that they need a mentor (or three). There is just no getting around it. This is a business that has a million details and nuances.
Most of us struggle for way too long trying to figure it all out on our own which is usually a bad idea. The other group of folks, think that someone can save them all the hard work and just answer their constant emails and texts so that they don’t have to do any work at all.
So what is the correct way to work with a mentor?
I have generally found that most seasoned real estate investors don’t mind helping out new investors. But there are a few of important rules of this game…
Simply Put; “Don’t Be an Askhole”
You will be required to do most of the work in building your business. When someone suggests a book, a particular blog or some other free or low cost material you should read and study don’t even think about saying “I don’t read much; can you just answer my (long list) of questions for me?”
Yes, that has happened to me more times than I like to admit.
Be Respectful of Their Time
If your mentor is willing to spend a little time on the phone with you, schedule a specific time to talk. Don’t just call them up and expect this person to drop everything to dish out free advice. Their time is valuable so be prepared, be concise and keep the conversation short.
Can I Buy You a Cup of Coffee and Pick Your Brain?
Don’t say this!
The person you have approached for free help; the one who has information and years of knowledge you value so much, may very likely have some type of course for sale or paid coaching programs they offer. Or if they are a professional like a real estate attorney, they charge for their services too. While they are probably more than willing to answer some specific questions or give you some guidance occasionally, they are not willing to “give away the store for free”. That doesn’t pay their mortgage.
When was the last time you went to the grocery, loaded up the basket with food, and put your groceries in the car without paying? I’m guessing … “Never”.
When you approach your mentor and ask if you can “pick their brain”, what you are really saying is “Instead of paying you the appropriate amount of money you deserve for you time and years of expertise, let me spend a few hours with you so that I can get all you have to offer for $2.00 or the price of a cup of coffee.”
Know What You Are Willing to Give In Exchange
The best mentoring relationships require give and take. Can you offer something specific in exchange for your mentor’s time if you are getting a freebie? If you have internet or web design skills, maybe you can trade services. At least, be sure to offer. Sometimes that is all it takes; just the offer to reciprocate and to let them know you will be there when they are ready to collect.
Just For Fun
Below is an actual email I received from someone (a complete stranger) a while back. I spent a considerable time answering her questions by email, referred her to a ton of free resources that had all of the answers to her questions and the details she was looking for. She just didn’t want to put in the time to read and learn. In reality what she really wanted was the “EASYBUTTON” that would give her free access to the keys to the kingdom.
Here is her actual email:
Your blog has provided great reading and education over the weekend. I looked at a few links you provided for resources and am now a little overwhelmed.
Can you provide me and all-in-one reference to your direct mail system (i.e., post card message verbatim, snapshot of your database configuration, etc.)
I am looking hard at this company (name removed), but I have a feeling I am going to be “sticker shocked”. Basically, I am asking you for your complete system so I can do this myself!
Your thoughts please
Well, I’m pretty sure you can guess what my answer was.
Don’t be an “Ashley” AKA an “Askhole”.
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