Success can be achieved without a formal education. You can learn to invest through experience. In fact even if you start with a more formal education, you still need experience to succeed. Its a necessary step. I have come across many successful investors that obtain their level of success on experience alone. They would come across and complete one deal. Then they would repeat the process. They would learn new things along the way that they can apply to their investment strategies. Slowly they build a portfolio of investments and are doing quite well.
So why didn't we do it the experience way? Well for one, I lacked the motivation to start and the knowledge to even know it was possible. My education first opened my eyes to the possibilities. I had a preconceive notion that investing in stock and real estate was out of my league. So I never attempted to invest. I concentrated more on getting a job and saving, which I now know wouldn't have gotten me very far. Mostly if you take in consideration the crippling injury my husband would sustain along the way.
Also, the time frame to reach success without formal training is much, much longer then through education. You only learn the lessons when you come across them. You only learn what not to do after you've done it. And if the mistake wasn't too costly, you can keep on going. I have paid a lot for my education, but the truth is that those who have learned by trial and error have paid more then me.
Remember, my education also comes from trial and error; but they come from someone else doing the trial and error and I learn from their experience. I can avoid pitfalls and costly mistake. I also get a vast source of information right from the get go. Experience and action are still required to reach success, but the path as been paved ahead of me making the process that much easier.
A good thing about formal education, is that you can acquire it at any time and at any stage of your investment career. The more experience you have the more habits you will have formed and you may need to change a few of them. Your ego may be your biggest obstacle. However, isn't it comforting to know that it is never too late.
I am of the belief that we are never done learning. The minute you quit learning is also the time you will quit growing. Rules are forever changing and there is always room for improvement. So it is important to dedicate a certain amount to education all throughout your investing career. It is true that a larger portion should be dedicated to education in the beginning when your knowledge is more limited, but as your expertise grow, you should still dedicate to learning.
There will be a time, when you have acquired a good foundation to your investing knowledge that you should start branching out into other topics not as directly related to investing. Such as business, accounting, sales, and so on.
In fact, now that I have taken almost every course available to me on the topic of real estate investing and stock investing; I have started branching out in educating myself in other aspect of my business.
I have started a course on branding and marketing. Now that I have the skills to invest in real estate, I need to concentrate on finding investors and joint venture partners. I need to learn how to find them, how to make them see the value in my investment opportunities. I am really enjoying this course and see tremendous value in it. I am also glad that I didn't try to add in on sooner. It was important to first develop my skills and then grow my brand.
I am also taking a course on sales and negotiation. Some people are natural sales people, like my sister for example. But I lack her skills in that department. Sales and negotiation doesn't have to be a skill you were born with, it can be learned. This courses is a big eye opener for me. I have a very nurturing personality so pushing for a sale is very hard for me. In fact I would have trouble getting to the topic of sale at all. I had a wrong perspective on this. I saw a sale as me winning, when in fact it is to my investors/partners advantage to get involve in the deal. I just also happen to benefit as well. I was of a thinking that if someone was a winner the other was the looser.
I have also added trainer's courses. This class teaches me to train and present. At this time, my speaking engagement are not the main focus of my business, but training always was. I am not teaching investment to the masses at this time. I do however need to educate my realtors on the strategies I am using. I need to educate sellers on the benefit of a VTB (vendor take back). I need my mortgage broker to understand the process of a Lease Option (rent-to-own) and how to do it properly to protect all the parties involved.
I have learned that the way I perceived the information I am presenting can be very different from the way it is received. You want to present the information in such a way that the receiver is always with an open mind. If you trigger a concern, your message is no longer going through. For example, if someone approaches me and says "How would you like to make more money?" my brain screams MLM SCAM and I quit listening. There is a technique and path to follow to get the message through without triggering a gut reaction that way.
My new education is fascinating. It is not investing related per se but it is very valuable to my business. I do have a lot on my plate with these courses and it unfortunately have kept me away from blogging. Think however of all the more information I will have to share with you, so that you too may benefit from my knowledge and help grow your business.