Very few people can try out a new skill and be perfect from the start.
Sadly for my inner type A perfectionist personality, I am not one of those people.
I've tried a number of new activities lately and sucked at the vast majority of them.
But you know what? It's perfectly ok to suck at something.
The important part is having the courage to try something new, sticking with said activity- not giving up out of frustration- and watching yourself improve with time and effort. The whole “practice makes perfect” thing that your parents said to you growing up.
Of course if you're world famous football coach Vince Lombardi, just practice isn't enough. You have to have perfect practice to make perfect. Maybe that's why the Super Bowl trophy is named after him and not me. The world will never know.
I've started a ton of different activities and hobbies in the last few years. A few I've even kept going!
I play disc golf even if I'm merely ok at it.
I have a variety of hobbies waiting patiently for me to come back to them- knitting, counted cross stitch, quilting, and stained glass. Some of them are tedious (see counted cross stitch, knitting, and stained glass) and others I simply don't have the proper amount of space to work on them (quilting and stained glass).
When I started the stained glass thing, I was pretty bad. I look back at that first piece and cringe. But I kept going and improved piece by piece. I'm looking forward to being able to get back into it when I have room for an actual studio.
I'll also be the first to tell you I'm not the greatest at being a landlord or a homeowner. There's just a LOT I don't know about, and a lot of ways to mess up. Everyone has to learn some time and I'd rather learn a ton of lessons now about how not to do things than not learn them and really get hit hard in the future when I have more at stake. So far I've learned things about how to give a tenant notice (AFTER getting that month's rent!), how to deal with contractors at all stages of a project, how to stick up for myself and what upkeep on a house really looks like. I'll have a post about all this later when the contractor drama is fully resolved. CLIFF HANGER! Stay tuned 🙂
My mom and I took a weekend to build a loft for my tiny unit. It's not perfect by any stretch of the imagination and it looks like a pile of unfinished lumber. It looks that way because it is a pile of unfinished lumber. Imagine that. I intended to build it 56″ high and instead built the bed support at 71″ high – leaving me about 2 feet of space between the surface of my mattress and the ceiling. Other than some knee and hand brushes against the ceiling, I'm doing fine. It's not a total tragedy. It's not what I meant to do, but it works. Sure, it can get a bit wobbly when I'm climbing up it or when the cat vigorously takes a bath at the foot of the bed, but it keeps the mattress off the floor and gives me some more storage space and a workstation. That's all I needed it to do. Form over function and all that.
I made a lot of rookie mistakes when it came to starting this blog. I sent some embarrassing emails, wrote bad posts, didn't have great SEO skills, and wrote some posts that were completely not related to the subject of the blog. But, I kept at it and kept writing. Now this blog is awesome!!! haha
My friend and I are starting a podcast. We recorded the first episode and compared to other podcasts out there, it's a little rough. With some careful editing we should be able to salvage it and turn it into a decent episode. We're under no illusions about our chances to win a Plutus award this year for the podcast. (Our chances are as close to zero as you can actually get without actually being true zero, in case you were wondering.)
One way to avoid making the typical rookie mistakes is to do a ton of research into the topic. I subscribed to DIY and home renovation emails, blogs, subreddits and YouTube channels before I bought my house. This was really helpful in allowing me to identify the contractor was being terrible instead of paying for truly awful work. I'm not being facetious when I say I could do better work. Anyways.
I thought about buying a multi-family property a long time before making the plunge. I read blogs, listened to podcasts, asked questions, and picked up books before talking to a realtor. A book I found particularly helpful was Investing in Duplexes, Triplexes, and Quads: the Fastest and Safest Way to Real Estate Wealth. This guy knows his stuff. I also recommend the Bigger Pockets website. They've been really helpful at answering just about any question I could come up with.
The other way to avoid making huge errors is to find a mentor for whatever activity you want to start. I know I can pick up the phone and call my mom for any issue I come across with counted cross stitch and quilting. She's been doing both longer than I've been alive and is really good at it. If there's an error to be made, chances are high she's done the same thing in the past, knows how to fix it, and can walk me through the process with minimal tears and angst on my part.
Same thing goes for this real estate stuff. I have a handful of people I get in touch with when I need advice on how to handle an issue. Usually I'm freaking out over a very small thing in the grand scheme of things and my mentors help me see that and put the issue into perspective. They've been there before. They know it's not a big deal.
I'm of course talking about ants, new appliances, and the potential for getting a lien placed on my property.
All things I freaked out about (to varying degrees) and all things my people helped me think through.
One day when I'm a seasoned landlord I'll look back on this period and laugh. I'm still too close to it right now though for anything more than a strained chuckle that I don't really mean.
So my message for you, dear reader, is this: Start something new. Today, this week, this month. Just start it. Stick with it. Laugh through the beginner mistakes. Look at what you can actually achieve when you just do it and ignore the messages your brain sends you.
Don't delay – start today!
What activity have you been wanting to start? Sound off in the comments!
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