I can’t think of one real estate investor that has not at some point felt alone. I don’t mean lonely, although that can certainly happen as well, I mean really alone.
Loneliness is an emotional state – the absence of deep relationships, a lack of social engagement, a sense of separation from life or the lives of others. Many have felt loneliness during the isolation of the COVID-19 era. Yet alone is something altogether different.
Alone means the feelings of resignation that no one can fully appreciate the fact that we ourselves, as entrepreneurs, shoulder the weight of our business. We are ultimately responsible for our own success or failure and have anxieties and serious considerations for every decision and action. We have no one to blame when things go wrong and often few to share with when we experience a big win. Even if we felt comfortable expressing our feelings about our business to others, most would just simply not understand.
It comes with the territory of entrepreneurship. The nature of our businesses is that being your own boss often means being alone. But all the freedom of being on your own can come at a cost. The cost can be especially high if working for yourself bleeds into a reticence to reach out, to engage with others, to simply build a sense of community, so we don’t feel so, well… alone. Of all the factors that influence the success of a private business – strategy, leadership, market presence, financing, etc. – what needs to be at the top of the list is a focused and determined commitment to develop community.
Community – that social framework where we have people we can meet with, talk with, share lives with, feel we belong to – is essential not only to combat isolation but to keep us open to other ideas, changes in the business environment, and exchange resources, contacts, and solutions.
At National REIA, we get a number of calls from members who are struggling with some issue and seeking expert advice and support – and we have great resources via our local REIAs to provide assistance to them. However, what often stands out is how many of these calls reflect a foundation of “aloneness” – that the issue went on a bit too long, or they had tried some things themselves to no avail, or they simply did not know where to turn. While it is always a good practice to get professional help of the right kind at the right time, we wonder how many of these situations would have felt less isolating if the real estate investor had been surrounded by a caring and trusted community, as they would find at their local REIA.
There is such a temptation to imagine that a problem is unique to you or your specific business or that no one can understand your business as well as you, or what worked for someone else couldn’t possibly work for your particular situation. Being in a community – having regular interaction with others who have a common business interest – who knows that little of that is true. We support and improve each other by sharing our stories, experiences, and solutions. The give-and-take of community is just that – a chance to contribute and gain from others. That is the beauty of a local REIA community. We are there to share the “yay for me” moments, the “holy cow that went wrong” moments, and the “wow, that wasn’t what I expected” moments. We learn from each other, and those lessons can be the most valuable lessons of all.
At National REIA and our local groups, we have long recognized the importance of community. While we work hard to deliver content, programs, and resources, we know and celebrate the fact that the real value and energy in our groups happens in small groups, at a table, at the back of the room, before and after the “official” meeting. We see the laughter, the nods of agreement, the caring, notes being scribbled or added to phones, the reassuring hands on shoulders, and the warm handshakes that are all evidence that connection and community are being built. We know that is the true value of what we offer that no online community, no digital course, or podcast could ever offer.
Our members feel like family. We invite you to join our family for the holidays and beyond. Let National REIA and our local groups assist you and provide a strong community to combat that “aloneness” that comes with being a real estate investor. Let us provide the resources and support that can be so lacking to entrepreneurs.
It’s our mission to be here for you, from the beginners who have just started on their path to success to those mature investors who are nearing the home stretch. We are there for you no matter where you are on your journey.
We hope you have a happy and blessed holiday season! We are thankful to have you as a member of our community and welcome the opportunity to continue to serve you in 2022!
Rebecca McLean is the Executive Director of National Real Estate Investors Association