Level Up! Yes, Level Up is a reference to video games... Do you play video games? Not that I have time to play them anymore myself, but when I did - I loved action role-playing games. And you typically started at Level 1 with basic weapons like a club or dagger and flimsy gear, cloth armor - so you died easily. It was - Level Up! Or Die.
Welcome to Episode #40 - Level Up! Problem? What Problem?
So what do video games have to do with Rental Real Estate Investing and the Business of being a Landlord? I'll tell you - but first let's get into the video game analogy a bit more.
So like I said, when you start out in an action role-playing video game (maybe you're a Wizard / Archer or maybe a Knight / Paladin or Barbarian). Whatever your character class, you start out at Level 1 with simple weapons and basic gear. Now thankfully you're also fighting Level 1 monsters or enemies, but the slightest thing can easily kill you - you're very easily knocked out of the game.
But as you play the game, you gain experience or hit points for each monster you kill and each challenge or quest you complete. And each time you reach a certain amount of points, you Level Up. Now you're Level 2. And you often get increased attributes, like your Strength increases. You gain more Intelligence. You get more agility or dexterity, and maybe your vigor or vitality increases and so now you can take more damage before you die - you can also give more. You now start fighting level 2 monsters, which increases the challenge, but you're also now a more hardy character - more than up for the challenge as your skills increase and you continue to Level Up!
Plus you acquire better gear, some of which may be magical or imbued with certain special features or powers. You may find a shield that not only protects you from hits, but also increases the damage done by your sword. Maybe you find a ring or amulet that gives you tougher skin. Or you get boots that allow you to run faster or jump further. As you play the game, the difficulty increases (along with the fun), but you are also progressively a stronger, faster, smarter, tougher character with improved weapons and better gear - now maybe your cloth armor has been upgraded to leather and you'll eventually obtain chain-mail or steal armor to take on the increasing challenge. You Level Up in the game!
Ok, so hopefully you see where I'm going here - but in more subtle ways, the same is true of you as a person, as a Rental Real Estate Investor... and Landlord. As you move forward, you Level Up as to the type, complexity or difficulty of the challenges and problems you're able to handle. You become more resilient to overcome all obstacles.
If you're a Level 1 Person, Investor or Landlord - then you see Level 1 challenges or problems as major obstacles - and you can easily be taken out by these or "killed" (with air quotes) - in the game.
You maybe figuratively at Level 1 if you worry about Tenants, Toilets and Termites and let the false fear of 2AM Tenant calls scare you away from buying your first Rental Property. If you fear your going to get sued; or the tenant won't pay their rent on time (or at all); or they'll destroy your property (and so you'll have to evict) - and you use these or other excuses as to why you'd NEVER want to be a Landlord. Or you're scared to start your own business - because "it might fail". You let your dream die as quickly as your Level 1 character with a club and cloth armor - because you're at Level 1 and thereby easily taken out before you even really get started. You need to Level Up.
See, in the video game, as you fight and take damage, you also heal and gain experience. You get better as you Level Up. The same is true in life. The cliché of "Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger", has been repeated so frequently for so long (so as to become a cliché) - BECAUSE ITS TRUE! But if you refuse to take on the challenge and fight, then you remain at Level 1 and die having accomplished nothing in the game (and maybe in life as well). Many people remain at Level 1 in their life by just choosing NOT to take a risk. In the game, one of the best ways to Level Up is to take on a challenge or accept a quest - to go on some sort of an adventure. You'll never Level up in the game (or in life) if you refuse to take a risk.
It's sad when opportunity knocks - but fear of the unknown, fear of loss, fear of risk, fear of others, fear of fear - whatever... causes the Level 1 person to allow opportunity to continue on to someone else, and remain at Level 1. That other person who takes on the challenge then gets to advance to Level 2 and beyond. Take on a challenge. Take a risk. Do something you've never done before. Get outside of your comfort zone!
These aren't my quotes, but one is... "Everything you want in life is just outside your comfort zone.” - and another... “We cannot become what we want to be by remaining what we are.”
And author of the book, Secrets of the Millionaire Mind - T. Harv Eker said... [Whenever you feel uncomfortable, instead of retreating back into your old comfort zone, pat yourself on the back and say, “I must be growing,” and continue moving forward.] – In other words - Level Up!
And as you Level Up, what was previously a life threatening challenge in the game or a major risk, becomes nothing to you. If you're at Level 20 and a Level 1 monster attacks you, you can almost literally go to the bathroom or get a sandwich while the game continues and the monster attacks, and you'll be unharmed. That Level 1 monster is not able to inflict damage faster than even your rate of healing - that is if they can inflict any damage to begin with as the armor and other protections you've obtained likely provides complete protection from such an insignificant "threat".
So taking this analogy back to life... As you Level Up in your ability to handle challenges - a Level 1 problem that previously could have taken you out, is now easily handled and likely doesn't even register to you as being any sort of problem when you're at Level 20. Problem? What Problem?
So when people state that other cliché of "More money more problems"... What they fail to understand is that in the process of obtaining that money, the person had to fight and heal and learn and grow - they Leveled Up. So yea, along with the "more money" likely did come "more problems", but in the process they're now likely at a higher level such that these may not even register on the person's radar now as being any sort of problems - and are easily handled anyway - either directly or by their team.
So I'll give you an example of myself... I've got to make about $30,000 a month just to pay all my bills between my personal expenses for myself and my family and all of my various business expenses. So if you only make something like $30,000 per year, I've got a monthly problem that you cannot even hope to comprehend as to how to handle. My problem (which I don't even register as a problem) are on a level above what you may be able to deal with - at this time anyway (as you can Level Up).
But about 25 years ago, I had a job making around $30,000 per year. And if you had told that version of myself (let's say he was at Level 2 then) - that he'd have to make more than his current annual salary each month just to cover expenses... Let's just say it would have been an interesting conversation.
And at the level I was then, I would have been completely overwhelmed by such a problem - whereas my current level does not even register this as a problem. I've Leveled Up MANY TIMES since then - but I won't even attempt to put a number on my current level.
And somewhere (likely not listening here) is a person who must make $300,000 each month just to pay his or her bills - and likely doesn't see it as a problem. But if I had that problem today, I'd be completely overwhelmed by it, because I'm not at that level (YET) - I need to Level Up some more to handle that level of problem. But when I do, suddenly it will be no problem at all for me.
And just as certain there is a person who must make $3M a month; and $30M; and $300M - and at their level, it's no problem for them. It doesn't even register as a problem for them. It's just December. So yes, somewhere a person must make $3B per month just to pay their bills (their likely running Apple or Amazon) - but again, it's no problem for a person at that level. Anything you or I have going on in our life or finances wouldn't even be considered a problem for a person at that level - as they certainly have someone on payroll to handle it for them - and even that person likely makes more than me and you combined.
And I'm not saying you need to get to that level or that there's even anything special about being at my current level. I desire to have at least 100 rental properties. Maybe you'll just want 1 or 10. I recommend 20 as a minimum goal, but I wouldn't be surprised if I end up with over 1,000. Regardless, don't compare yourself to anyone else - but also don't be content to be a lessor version of the person you could be and the success you could obtain - because you are too scared or lazy to do the work as needed to Level Up!
So that's it... I really just wanted to talk about video games, as I wish I still had hours that I could sit playing games. And now that my son is 12, I don't even have the excuse of playing with him any longer, as now he'd rather play with his friends online... Can't even get my son to play with me!
But my favorite (role playing games) are a good analogy to business and life... You've got to Level Up - and quickly! And as you do, what you previously perceived as problems - become no real concern. As the higher level version of yourself is able to handle much more difficult, complex and previously troubling situations - but now with ease.
So don't be afraid of the next level / don't be afraid to advance - nothing bad comes from getting smarter, stronger, faster, better. How long have you been at your current level? Are you content to remain at this level - or do you desire to Level Up? You can't be successful with Rental Properties at Level 1. You've got no choice but to Level Up if you want to be a successful Rental Real Estate Investor... and Landlord!
Then you don't fear 2AM Tenant calls about Toilet Troubles - because you've got higher level systems and a team in place to handle any Level 1 issues like that on your behalf. Level Up! Then it's no problem... Problem? What problem!?
OK, so there was a time in my life when I spent a LOT of time playing video games - which is then kind of ironic that it now annoys me that my 12 year old son does the same (even more so that I was the one who first introduced him to video games).
But for the most part I left that behavior in my teens; however, whenever I'd allow myself to get sucked back into a given game, I could easily blow 6+ hours before I even realized it. I really LOVE playing video games, but I have no time for playing games right now - haven't for years. Now I make an exception in playing with my son, but he now prefers playing online with his friends from school - so I'm currently retired in my video game career.
Now that said - this episode of the [... and Landlord!] Rental Real Estate Investing Podcast - is my excuse to express my love of video games, and how it relates to business and life. Level Up! That is the goal when playing video games, and the same is true when playing the games of Real Estate, Business and Life.
Here I wanted to make clear with the sub-title of "Problem? What Problem?" - that what a person at Level 1 perceives as a problem, may be no problem at all for a person at Level 2 or 3. And a Level 10 person would not even slow down when encountering a Level 1 speed bump - they wouldn't even see it as a problem.
Success in Rental Real Estate Investing requires that we Level Up. My first property was just over $60K - when I was just starting with Real Estate Investing. Whatever level I was at then could not relate to my current level where my latest project will have a value of over $600K. And I have no doubt that I'll soon be dealing with projects that are over $6M - because I'll Level Up!
So this... and Landord Podcast episode serves as an analogy between Leveling Up / improving your charter in a role-playing video game and improving yourself in life - so that in both cases you're able to handle ever greater challenges to win the game.
This is the final episode of 2019 - so let this be your start to an amazing 2020. Make it your goal to end the coming year at a higher level than you began. The... and Landlord Podcast itself began in 2019, and I'd like to think it has reached a new level and will continue to improve in the coming year.
Happy New Year!