I’ll admit. When I first started out as a real estate investor all I did was go to my local REIA meetings. I happen to live in the Washington, DC area so there are plenty of REIA’s close to me and I hit them all.

I was a networking machine at these meetings and it paid off well. I got plenty of referrals and did plenty of deals from the people I met. However, after a while I didn’t feel as if the REIA’s were “productive” enough for me and I wasn’t getting the necessary return on my time investment.

Another problem was that as real estate investors we’re small business owners and all I was doing was hanging around the same type of business owners and not expanding my business network.

So what did I do?

I started joining various small business associations in my county. In every town and city in the U.S. there are more “clubs” you can join than you’d ever be able to attend, such as BNI and the Chamber of Commerce.

When you attend these types of events you expand your network and you could get deals and business from folks who would have never given you a deal before. But more importantly, you start to think more like a business owner and not just a real estate investor.

For example, what’s the most important part of the real estate investing business? It’s marketing. And when all you do is attend REIA meetings, you see all investors doing pretty much the same type of marketing.

However, when you attend a small business event you might get a marketing idea from the local plumber, or baker or photographer that you can use in your real estate investing business.

In fact, you should be looking for these marketing breakthroughs at every event you attend.

Perhaps the local salon is giving away a free report and you could give away a similar free report in your real estate business.

My point is, try and expand your horizons so you don’t fall trap to real estate investor “incest” and start doing the same thing you see other real estate investors do. Because if you do the same thing they do, how will you differentiate yourself from the competition? You won’t.

But when you get a great idea from a local restaurant owner, and you use a similar postcard the restaurant is using – but make it applicable to your real estate business, then you won’t have any competition at all.

So… if I were you, I would make a list of the associations in your area and join several of them this week. It will pay off in lots of deals and also, lots of great marketing ideas.

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