March 27, 2008 Josh Cantwell (2) By Josh Cantwell: As a mountain climber in my twenties, I was once taught how to dress a figure eight knot through the saying, “Start hard and finish easy.” The same is true in real estate investing. The start can be hard, but if you make smart decisions, you can set your business up much sooner than you think. You see I struggled to learn this business just four short years ago. As a financial planner, I wore a pin-stripped suit sold mutual funds, retirement plans, IRAs and insurance. I was on the road all day every day driving to client appointments and businesses: prospecting, marketing, making sales, gathering new clients and managing customer assets. In the fall of 2003 I realized that I needed to make a move. I didn’t enjoy what I was doing–– there had to be something better. I began “treasure hunting” for real estate. I attended a few REIA meetings. I picked up some books. I looked at REOs. I bought a few courses on Ebay. I kept asking myself, “How am I going to get started with this thing (real estate investing) and how would I make money?” My first breakthrough came when I attended a Robert Allen event. The market was hot and people were making all kinds of money in real estate, easy money –– but he recommended we take the time to learn about the preforeclosure niche. Although we were short on knowledge, my business partner, Greg and I, forged ahead. We found a few pre-foreclosures and started negotiating short sales using the basic tools from a course we bought online. It seemed to go so slow and there was so much uncertainty: I wanted some sort of magic pill that would make this business easier. And then it happened . . . that AHAA! Moment that has been huge in taking us to the next level. I was at a REIA meeting and I mentioned that we invested in preforeclsoures and short sales and that if anyone in the audience had a short sale lead and didn’t want to work it that I would take on those leads. After the meeting I had a few people come up to me with their cards who said that they had what I needed . . . leads to preforeclosures. Referral based marketing ––something that had been a cornerstone of my business in financial planning. . . and The Referral Renaissance was born. We began closing a deal a month. Then a deal a week. Then two a week. All of a sudden it seemed like the “closer” for the title company we used on our deals had his own desk in our office ––he was there so often. In Robert Ringer’s Winning Through Intimidation he shares his LEAPFROG THEORY. He states that the pursuit of success is not determined by how long you’ve been doing something ––what matters is TAKING ACTION. Those people that take action can LEAPFROG their competition no matter how long their competition has been around. We did just that. Through referral based marketing we jumped over and ahead of guys who had been investing for 20 years. In six months we were buying and selling more real estate than they had in the past 10 years. A referral based marketing campaign will do that for you. Does it take time? Yep. Do you have to have confidence in approaching people? Yep. Is it easier to just send out postcards or bandit signs? Sure. You see, there’s no magic pill. But if you start hard, and learn center of influence marketing (referrals), you’ll not only finish easy –– your business will flourish.