Now that you have set your goals, you know what you want and what you need to do to accomplish it. I am using real estate to take me to my dream and if you are reading this the chance is that you are too. If not, simply apply the concepts to your situation.
Sometimes the steps you need to accomplish are not always clear, or they may be clear but the process is not or you may be on a road where you know what to do and how to do it but it could always be tweaked to be improved and more effective. You can make it work by trial and error. Try something and see if it works. Buy a house and find renters; and VOILA you are a real estate investor. Not so hard is it? But are you a good real estate investor? If you do not keep track of your records, first of all, you may not know. You may find that the property you've bought once all the expenses are taken into consideration does not have a positive cash flow. That's ok, live and learn, next property you run some numbers. You may end up with tenants that pays their rent late if at all or that they trash your property. Next time, you'll know to screen them more closely. You will eventually learn lots of lessons, making you a better investor and may actually start making good money on your real estate investments.
If you are in your early twenties, you may actually also have the time to do all that and be successful by retirement. Or you may be lucky and get a decent return on your investment from the get go. But if you could, from the get go, be making sound successful investments with minimal head aches if any; wouldn't you want to? Wouldn't you want to compress the years of learning by trial and error into a few months and start being successful now? Of course you do, we all do, but how do we do that? That is where a mentor comes in.
A mentor should be actively doing what you are aspiring to do. That is why your goal needs to be clear. You won't get much help getting ahead in real estate if you are taking advice and guidance from, let say a dentist. Unless that dentist is investing in real estate and doing so successfully. But he's a dentist and a very successful man. Yes, he's successful at doing dentistry. I know this seems very obvious but it's amazing how we seem to put successful people all in one basket and by doing so actually overlooking completely the successful real estate investor.
In fact, I remember a conversation with a pharmacist once, when I was talking to her about our real estate investing. She said: "I have a friend, a doctor, he is very smart. He's a doctor. He did real estate for a while and it didn't work like he hoped it would. And he's smart! He's a doctor". She made it quite clear that in her mind only successful people could get success, and if they where successful in their career they should be able to show success in all other fields. When her successful friend the doctor couldn't make it work with real estate. It was because real estate didn't work. Not the fact that this successful doctor didn't learn how to make real estate work.
So when looking for a mentor, do not go looking only for successful people. Look for someone who as had success in real estate investing. Make sure they are doing it in a way that would suit you. It would probably not do me a whole lot of good in my mentor is successful at real estate investing by putting in millions of his own money when my available capital is slightly (maybe more then slightly) lower then his. His techniques would probably not work in my situation.
So how do we find these mentors. Look no further, I'm already here! Just kidding, well kind of. Unfortunately people don't go around with a sign around their neck advertising their line of work and investments. But like minded people have a tendency of finding each other. Look for investors groups, or cash flow events. Attend those events and talk with people, explain your situation with investing where you are and what you want to accomplish. People who are passionate about what they do love to talk about it.
There will have to be a certain level of give an take. In the case of my courses, my mentor was compensated for showing me what I needed to know. In some events, partnership are created. If you partner with someone on a real estate deal, it is reasonable to expect to be able to learn from that deal. You don't have to. Many people like to finance a real estate investment that is set up and manage by their partner and not trouble themselves by the details and simply enjoy the money coming in. That is perfectly okay. Sometimes it will be a mutual mentorship. You will connect with people and share information and details of each your experiences and learn and grow from each other.
However not everyone is in a position to finance a deal, or have knowledge and experience in real estate, or willing and able to obtain that knowledge through professional investors in real estate courses. I don't think it would be reasonable to expect for someone to teach you all they know with nothing in return, but here is what I would recommend. Ask to be added to their contact list so that you will receive the information of any real estate investment they come across. When you received those details, pass them along. Start creating a contact list of your own. If you arrange for them to be connected with an investor, their in your debt. I normally offer a finders fee, but you can bet that if someone connects me with an investor for my deals and they express to me they wish to learn more that I would take them under my wing.
So, get out there. Meet people doing what you wish to do and find a mentor or two.