There's been a lot of "hoopla" in our industry lately about "self-designated gurus" not saying what they mean and meaning what they say. It's given our industry a bit of a "black eye" and has made potential students/investors think twice before signing up for a course or starting to invest.
I started investing in distressed second mortgages 25 years ago and at that time, there were maybe five other investors doing the same thing. There was no one "teaching" us how to invest, we simply did it and learned as we went.
As the years went by, our quiet little secret wasn't so quiet any longer. More and more investors were onto our "gold mine" and were rushing in to stake their own claims. With this influx of investors there came a sudden need to start offering courses, webinars, seminars, books, guides, videos and podcasts teaching and sometimes "guaranteeing" others of instant success.
As with any inundation of offerings, there has been a wide array of teachers, mentors and gurus ranging from excellent to downright awful. So, you might be asking yourselves, "how should you go about finding great teachers and staying away from the "wannabes".
Here's a list of questions I always suggest to my potential students/investors to ask of other potential teachers:
How long have you been in the distressed mortgage space? You'd be surprised how many "guru's" out there have only been in the space for a short period of time. And, just because you may be good at investing or marketing doesn't mean you're a good teacher.
How many loans on average do you buy per year? I know of several "gurus" in the second mortgage space that in 25 years have never asked to buy any loans from me nor have put out any loans of their own for other investors to purchase. How could anyone claim to be an expert when they haven't been in the thick of it; buying, selling and working with borrowers?
Where do you purchase your loans from? You can tell if someone is experienced by where they're getting their loans from. Are they buying them from banks, hedge funds, other investors, or maybe a combination of all three.
What's offered in their course? What are you actually getting? There's one course I know of that only offers recordings of interviews with other investors. Another "guru" offers low weekend rates and packs the room with lots and lots of students. They offer just enough tidbits of knowledge to get your attention, but the real ploy is to get you to sign up for their "deluxe" package.
What works best for you? What's the best way YOU learn? Is it attending in-person classes? Is it listening to audio lessons, watching videos or maybe accessing chapters on-line? Decide what's the best method(s) that works for your aptitude.
What happens after the course? Taking the course is the easy part! It's what you plan on doing after the course that's the real challenge. This is a tough industry and not for the feint-hearted. You must be willing to make a pact with yourself as to how much time and money you're willing to commit and follow it through.
Do they offer some sort of guarantee? What happens if you're not satisfied after taking a course? Are you able to get a refund? Another key point is many "gurus" state they'll be available at all times for you when in reality they usually pass you off to an associate.
Do they offer any type of mentorship program? As mentioned before, getting through the course is the easy part. A lot of my students participate in our mentorship program where they buy five notes and then we split the profits. However, every step of the way, our team is holding their hand. We involve or advise our students of phone calls made, emails, letters and strategies so that it is a collaborative venture. Our goal is to get our students actively participating in all actions so they achieve a level of comfort to allow them to start investing by themselves.
What's the cost of the program? When it comes down to it, many potential students see this as the most important aspect of making their decision. To me, it should be much lower on their list. Don't get me wrong, money is money, but I'm a big believer that you get what you pay for. There are some "guru's" that charge an exorbitant amount of money for their course(s). While others offer low prices to allure potential students with the hope of getting them to pay more at a later time.
Can you relate to them? While speaking with a representative from the company you may hire, ask yourself if they're explaining what's involved in a clear, concise manner. Are they taking the time to explain their program to you, and do they seem knowledgeable? Usually, the method in which they explain about their program will give you an indication of what to expect with their program. I explain to my potential students that I want to build relationships with them that will last a long time. In some instances, it's the student who comes back to me with access to loans and wants me to participate with them.
Remember, we work in a very small industry and word gets around quickly. A good reputation means everything and it's crucial to keep it exemplary.