Category "Personal Growth"

Vital Skills

What are the vital skills for real estate investing?

They may not be what you think…

Bill Gates was once asked, “If you could have any one superpower, what would it be and why?”

His answer?

“Being able to read super fast.”

Of all the things he could have said, he chose to answer the superfluous question by addressing his reading ability. Why? Because he understands the principle we’re going to discuss today; the principle that each time you add a skill to your roster, you double your chances for success.

The more skills you acquire, the more times you increase your likelihood of success.


Not all skills are created equal and are subjective to the work you do. Learning to toss the perfect pizza dough won’t do you much good in the real estate investment field (unless you pay your contractors in pepperoni slices). But I want to share seven universally needed skills that will not only double your chances at success, they will pay off for as long as you live.

Here are 7 skills that are challenging to collect but will last your whole life:


1. Being honest with yourself.

Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, co-owner of 2929 Entertainment and chairman of the AXS TV, and one of the main “shark” investors on the ABC reality television series Shark Tank said this;

“Know was you know and know what you don’t know and be honest about both.”

Too many people lie to themselves about their abilities, time, and ambitions, but rarely see it all come together because they aren’t honest with themselves. You can build upon little truths, but you can’t take a big lie and make it a reality.

2. Having confidence.

I’ve never seen someone with “natural ability” in everything they do. But I HAVE seen people who seem to be amazing at everything. How? They have confidence, and that confidence is their power to exceed their vision.

Like a muscle, you must work out your confidence in order for it to grow.

3. Listening.

If I could give you one take away, it would be this one: be the last one to speak. Give others the ability to say what they know is true. Then, bite your tongue from commenting and instead ASK questions, so you will understand why they have the opinion and not just what their opinion is.

Don’t listen to figure out when it’s your turn to speak. Listen to hear, analyze, and understand.

Once you’ve gathered everything you need to know, move on to the next skill…

4. Speaking up.

I once attended a real estate event with a gentleman whose main goal for attending was to network with others for his brokering business. There came a time in the day when attendees could line up by the stage to spend 30 seconds in front of the microphone to introduce who they are and what they do. I asked my friend, “So, you’re going to go up there, right?” and he shook his head, claiming he didn’t have anything to show.

I pulled out a piece of yellow paper, made him write his phone number in big numbers, and sent him up to say, “Hi, I have money to lend if you need it, here’s my number!”

Speaking up is invaluable, whether it’s on stage, in front of a room, on the phone, or participating in a meeting, God gave you a voice for a reason. Use it!

5. Manage your time.

We’ve traded effectiveness for business, and it’s killing productivity!

— Click here to read more on time management–

Don’t clutter your life with stuff that keeps you from being effective. Time is the only thing we spend that we can never replace. Don’t waste it.

6. Be someone who doesn’t whine.

It isn’t productive to complain about what you don’t have, how you compare to others, what isn’t happening, etc.

Train your brain to look for the opportunity in every hurdle instead of seeing the hurdle in every opportunity, and I guarantee you’ll become unstoppable.

7. Being consistent.

You can outperform anyone who is more knowledgeable, talented, gifted, or privileged than you by simply being consistent. It’s called a grind for a reason.

“Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.” Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson

“For changes to be of any true value, they’ve got to be lasting and consistent.” Tony Robbins

These are all internal skills, ones that relate to any profession. But the principle that learning new skills doubles your chances at success is equally true when you acquire skills related to your business.

What skills can you pick up to benefit your business? If you can’t think of any, borrow from this list:

– General Contracting Skills
– House Inspection skills
– Project Management
– Design (think fliers, banners, bandit signs, business cards, etc.)
– Design (think staging)
– Color Coordination
– Social Media Management
– Ad Writing
– Effective Communication
– Scheduling
– Budgeting
– Acquisitions
– New Marketing Skills
– Accounting

Have a specific hole that can be plugged with a new skill but don’t know how to obtain it? Give us a call and we’ll help you find the training you need 800-533-1622.

You don’t need to know everything. Remember how we talked about doing a S.W.O.T. Analysis and playing to your strengths while hiring out your weaknesses? (CLICK HERE to read more.) But if learning something new today will increase your chances of success tomorrow, then why not pick up a new skill?

Still having trouble deciding what to learn next? I challenge you to practice my 8 skills above while attending a Funding Tour. Not only are you going to pick up many new skills, pump your brain full of information, and jumpstart your career, if you sign up today, we will pay for your seat.

To conclude, let’s circle this all the way back to our friend Bill. How many books have you read this year? What are you reading right now? Who you will be in 5 years is an accumulation of what you do, what you read, what you watch, who you spend your time with, and who you listen to today. Remember, consistency is key!

If you haven’t ready “Eat that Frog!” by Brian Tracy, then add it to your list today.

To Your Success;

Lee A. Arnold


The Lee Arnold System of Real Estate Investing

Follow me on Twitter: @CogoCapital  and @LeeArnoldSystem 

Have a deal? Visit us at to fill out your fast and easy quote. Want to learn more about COGO first? CLICK HERE to get to know all the ins and out!

Planning Your Project


Planning Your Project


With each passing day, your loan costs you a little more.

Don’t get discouraged…get organized!

The best way to assure that you’re maximizing your profits on any given project is to make sure you’re maximizing your time. Well, okay. The BEST way is to buy the property at the right price–we make money when we BUY, after all, and we realize that money when we sell. But I digress…

Time is money, but unlike money, you can’t get your time back.


Even the experienced investor may need his or her loan for the full term (6-12+ months). Even though an investor can get a project done in the recommended 45 days of renovation, there are many factors that could extend the project. Sometimes a home doesn’t sell right away once complete, sometimes you can’t predict that there will be mold that will need to be addressed or you could be stalled out on the process of permitting.

But besides the schedule crushers that you can’t control, there are steps you can take to assure that you’re making the most of your TIME investment.

If you’d like to read more about making the most of your time
and how time “management” is a myth, <CLICK HERE>



You need a deal before you can get funding. But, if you want to make the most of your time on a project, find a few funding options before you stack and offer and write that contract.

First, you must understand more about what makes private lenders different from conventional bank loans, (For a comprehensive breakdown, <CLICK HERE>).

Then, shop around for what you need. When you have the right funding and understand the process (if you don’t, talk to your friendly loan officer today by calling (800) 473-6051. We’ll answer all your questions!), you can still expedite the process to assure fast funding and a more stably funded project by following a few guidelines.

Get the right funding, and get it when you need it! We’re happy to help.



You can’t get everything done alone.

For each project, get bids from at least three contractors. Look for any discrepancies between the proposals and address them.  Look for someone both competent and honest.  When flipping multiple times, you can work with the same contractors, earning both discounts and loyalty.

But why delegate when you can do the work yourself?

If you’re a handy person, you may be tempted to lay the flooring on a project to save some money, paint the walls, or weed the backyard. Easy fixes, right? Why pay someone else to do them?

This is an object that comes up on the regular. I’m not going to tell you not to help out on your projects–we all need to roll up our sleeves sometimes and get in there to get it done right–but you need to look at the cost. If you can hire someone to come pull weeds and throw down a basic landscape for $14/hour, and you believe you’re worth more than $14/hour, then by doing the work, you’re giving yourself a massive pay cut.

It behooves you to hire out the elements of a project so you can spend your time focusing on managing the current project well and getting another deal under contract. If you can’t find another house to flip because you were too busy painting the basement, then you’re out more money than you saved.

You can hire people to do small jobs, you can’t hire people to run your business for you.



Follow up- the most important part of delegating is following up. Following up isn’t just for acquisitions and contracts, you must follow up with your contractors and stay on top of their work and schedule, especially as it pertains to the schedules of others. If your electrician is running behind schedule, your drywall guy isn’t going to be able to get until the wiring is redone. And if your drywall guy is only available during a short window, you may have to hire someone else. If it takes you three days to find someone else, and they’re not available for another week, you could have to reschedule your painting and finishing.

You can prevent most of the headaches that arise by following up, confirming, and communicating with your contractors.


Key #1 – Communicate with Your Contractor.

You need to know what is happening, when it’s happening, what the costs and projections are, what the deadlines are, how closely the schedule is being adhered to, etc. If you don’t know, they don’t know, so start the conversation.

Key #2 – Be Seen by Your Contractor.

Be a constant face on the job site. Show the contractor that you are hands on, that you will be there when you say you will and pop in unannounced to keep them on the job.

Key #3 – Don’t Bulldoze.

If you don’t want to get bulldozed by a contractor, return the favor and maintain a professional relationship. You can assert your stance as a professional AND be flexible to their advice regarding the project. That doesn’t mean you take every suggestion they make, but you should’ve accounted for appropriate changes in the budget and schedule when applicable.

Key #4 – Be Honest.

This is especially necessary to set up at the beginning! For instance, if you’re going to use a draw schedule, make sure your contractor understands up front how it’s going to work, when they will receive draws, how much, and what you are expecting. Then, don’t deviate from your word once the work begins. Don’t promise to give more than you can, and don’t give less unjustifiably. Remember, this relationship goes both ways.

Key #5 – Make Sure They Complete the Job!

There is little you can do to persuade a crooked contractor to finish a job—and you probably don’t want them to! If you’ve had a contractor abandon a job, your best move is to hire someone reliable to finish the job.

But, that’s not what I’m talking about. I’ve seen people make the mistake of paying the contractors when they’re “done” without doing a final punch list.

This is your job.

Do a final walkthrough with a roll of blue tape and a notepad. Mark up things like chipped paint, unhung towel bars, poorly done calking, or missing trim. Even the best contractors miss things, so get in there, create a punch list, and get the items knocked out as quickly as possible. Don’t pay the contractor’s final payment until this is all done!

Key #6 – Incentivize.

Time is money. You know this. I know this. Contractors know this. If you want a job done on or ahead of schedule, offer them an incentive.

It is possible to build lasting, cooperative, mutually beneficial relationships with contractors that last for the duration of your investing career. Don’t get discouraged if you find a dud. Network with other investors and with multiple contractors. Connect with a mentor or coach when things get sticky. And, most importantly, keep going!



Things come up.

Maybe the chimney needs repair and your regular mason broke his foot and can’t work. If he’s the only mason you know, it’s naturally going to take you longer to find, vet out, meet with, get estimates on, and decide upon a replacement.

Keep your rolodex  (or you cell phone directory) full of reasonable and reliable contractors of all varieties.


Well, the more projects you do, the more people’s numbers you’ll have handy. You’ll also be able to live and learn, kicking the duds who aren’t doing their jobs to the curb. All of this takes time, thought.

The fastest way to fill your back pocket with good contractors is to network with other people who are doing what you’re doing. This is why I have the RULE OF 56. Just be aware that if you get the name of a good contractor,

No contractors available for smaller things? Take a page out of Deepa Quadir-Alam’s handbook and have a good handyman to fall back on. To read more of Deepa’s latest success story, <CLICK HERE>



Have a strong exit strategy. I can’t emphasize enough how much a good exit strategy WILL change your investing career.

If there’s any one thing that stalls a process more than anything else in the world, it’s a project that isn’t working out the way you planned and now you can’t get out.

If you don’t have an exit strategy, a project that takes a turn for the worst could become a money pit and fast. If you’d like to learn more about how to create an exit strategy for each stage of your project, join me on Monday, March 5th for my CEO Fireside where I’ll discuss this and much more. <CLICK HERE> to register!

By anticipating the needs of a potential project, you can assure that your project is scheduled properly, that your funding ducks are in a row, and that you have a plan for anything that could happen.

And when you effectively and efficiently manage projects, you can do multiple ones, do them quicker, and snowball your investing career.

If you’d like to dive deeper into becoming the best project manager you can be and how that will impact your investing career, talk to one of our Business Development Professionals about taking the Project Management Specialty Class. If you’re going to invest in fix and flip properties, it doesn’t make any sense not to learn how to best manage your projects. Call us at (800) 473-6051

To Your Planning;

Lee A. Arnold


The Lee Arnold System of Real Estate Investing

Follow me on Twitter: @CogoCapital  and @LeeArnoldSystem 

Have a deal? Visit us at to fill out your fast and easy quote. Want to learn more about COGO first? CLICK HERE to get to know all the ins and out!

How to Shred Through 200,000+ Phone Numbers

How to Shred Through 200,000+ Phone Numbers

Getting through 200,000 phone numbers is doable. In fact, I’ll go as far as to say it’s easy.

Now, like most things, you can tear through these phone numbers one of two ways; the long, hard, trial-and-error way on your own or you can do it the tried-and-true way by learning from someone who has consistently done it…in 20 seconds…


Who thinks a phone book is durable? Could you run over it with your car without causing too much harm? Could you wedge it between a door and its frame to prop open an entryway without causing significant damage its pages? Go ahead and nod Yes.

A phone book represents more than just an antiquated way to look up one of 200,000 phone numbers. This book represents a goal; a seemingly difficult task to tackle. It’s strong, it’s sturdy, and it contains massive amounts of information.

What if you could RIP through one in seconds?

You can, and I’ll show you how…

1) Grip is Everything in the Beginning

The amount of grip you have on the phone book is directly proportional to the grasp you should have on your goal. Unless you clamp on good and tight, you won’t make a clean enough start to get anywhere.


2) The Better Your Position, the Better Your Success

You’ll notice when I pinch the phone book correctly, it forms a “V” or line of tiny air pockets down the fold. This is the key to a clean rip. If you’re of average strength like I am, the only way to power through 500 pages is by assuring there is space between each page.

When setting a goal, if you try to tackle every step at once without space between them, you’re not going to get very far. The success is in the space.

3) Move Quickly

Momentum is vital. Once you’ve torn through the first 20-30 pages, you must move with urgency or you could stall out. The same is true when achieving greatness. If you pause before you’ve gotten far enough to keep the pages ripping, then you run the risk of messing up the method. And what happens when you mess up the method? You lose faith that it will work for you.

4) Readjust Your Grip

To get all the way through a goal, don’t be surprised if you have to readjust your technique. If you aren’t strong enough to shred the phone book in one swift move (the same grip as step one…some people can do that!), then adopt the under-grip technique demonstrated. Then, simply twist and pull the finish the job.

We never know exactly what a project will look before we start. Sometimes, you need to change the way you address the work, sometimes it’s necessity to modify your system just to make it through. Even if you must rip each page, one at a time (i.e., break the project down into single, simple tasks and perform each one through until you finish), the point is to get it done.

5) Don’t be Afraid to Lose a Few Pages Along the Way

No method is perfect. No technique works 100% of the time. You may lose some “pages” along the way, you may accidentally pull too hard and tear off the cover. But what’s more important: preventing a few mistakes or finishing what you set out to do?

If you want to do something epic, you must trust the teacher. And the teacher needs to walk the walk.

Who are you learning from these days? Your friends who aren’t making the kind of money you want to make, or the leader who pours sweat and tears into your and won’t give up for anything?

Are you taking advice from family who looks at a phone book and believes it’s indestructible, or are you gleaming every ounce of knowledge off those who believe you can power through a goal like ripping a seemingly sturdy book in half?

If you can follow these directions, you can follow instructions to do just about anything.

You can follow someone who practices what they preach, but YOU are the pivot point.


This exercise is more than just a party trick. It’s proof; proof that you can do something you don’t believe you can do.

Stephen King said,
The scariest moment is always just before you start.
After that, things can only get better.’

Prove to yourself that you can do the thing that scares you. And the more you practice this by proving yourself wrong over and over, the better chance you have at tackling the really big things that scare you.

To Your Success;

Lee A. Arnold


The Lee Arnold System of Real Estate Investing

Follow me on Twitter: @CogoCapital  and @LeeArnoldSystem 

Have a deal? Visit us at to fill out your fast and easy quote. Want to learn more about COGO first? CLICK HERE to get to know all the ins and out!



To learn more about attending a Funding Tour near you, visit

Closing Like a Pro

Good Sales People Aren’t Born, They’re Trained.

“But I’m not a salesperson,” you say. “I don’t need to close sales because real estate investing doesn’t require sales. That’s why I have an agent who sells the houses for me!”

Excuse me while I take a sip of my coffee to suppress my chuckling.

You could be the best in your area at marketing and creating leads. You could have all the distressed houses at your fingertips. But unless you can get the seller to sign, you’re out a whole lot of work while someone else snags up the properties. The ability to sell isn’t exclusive to used car salesmen or corporate jobs.

If you’re waiting fore deals to fall into your lap because you don’t want to “sell,” then you might as well make yourself comfortable because you’ll be waiting a while.

You need to be able to sell to create opportunity for yourself.

If you can’t close a deal, you don’t have a deal.

Though it takes practice—and for some, training—being a top-performing closer will drastically shift your real estate investing from hobby level to replace-your-job level. If you’ve been on a webinar with me, chances are you’ve heard my Circle of Wealth goals for you. First, you need to earn $250,000 in liquid capital. Do you think that first step to life-long wealth happens by putting out hobby level effort? I won’t even continue with the steps needed to create life-long wealth, because if you can’t close a deal, you won’t get much further than step one. (You CAN read more about it: <CLICK HERE>)

But closing a sale doesn’t have to be daunting, and you don’t have to be a character straight out of The Wolf of Wall Street to succeed at it. In an effort not to overwhelm, let’s start with the first 4 steps in training to be a winning closer. Master these and we’ll up your game even more.

  • Have Multiple Strategies

This is why I teach on making a 3-tiered offer. If you only give the seller one opportunity to say yes, you’ve instantly reduced your odds for success by way more than half. Even with a 3-tiered offer, you need to have several approaches ready to employ. Closing a sale is like going on a road trip. If you don’t have enough fuel, you aren’t going to get to your destination. You need more strategies than the homeowner has objections.

  • Stop Buying the Seller’s Story

When talking to a potential seller or distressed homeowner, we need to ask questions to glean as much information as possible. And when they start in on their story, our ears need to perk up because it’s that pain point that we can fix.

Never glaze over the meat of the story. Maybe it was divorce that lead to financial distress and pre-foreclosure, or a loss of a family member or a layoff for the bread winner. Whatever the root of the distress is, pay attention! You are not their councilor, swooping in to fix their problems, nor do you want to use their pain for your gain. But if you let the homeowner sob into your shoulder about their pains without offering a solution, you’re not doing anyone a service.

Get the homeowner out of their own head by selling them on the solution. You can provide them with the cash they need to start over, you can give them a life raft out of their sinking ship, you can untether them from a bad situation by providing a monetary solution. But the more you buy into their story without selling them on a way out, the more you reinforce their victim mentality and set them up for failure.

  • Apply Pressure to the Wound

Let’s say you suffered a serious wound on the leg and began bleeding out. You’re weak from the blood loss and don’t have the strength to rip off your shirt and tie it around the cut with enough force to slow the bleeding. An acquaintance is nearby with a sterile bandage in hand, but they are too afraid to apply pressure to the wound, believing that pressure is rude and unprofessional. And so, you continue to bleed.

Ridiculous, right?

You’ll encounter distressed homeowners who are bleeding out financially. For whatever reason, they don’t have the strength or knowledge to fix it themselves, and though they won’t come out and ask you to apply pressure, if you don’t, their situation won’t change.

Pressure doesn’t have to be a bad word. If the solution you’re offering someone is wise, well addressed, and valuable, then they may need a little persuasion to see it as such. When you see a wound, sometimes you need to apply a little pressure.

  • Train

I’m not talking locomotion, I’m talking education and practice. Sales people are the third-highest paid profession on the planet, directly behind doctors and lawyers. Consider how much time both doctors and lawyers spend in school and in practice before becoming professionals in their field.

Don’t believe you can just jump in and close your first deal and then get discouraged when it doesn’t work out. I’ve seen too many people give up prematurely because they didn’t understand that to be great at anything requires practice and developed skill. You can learn the skills; I can teach you that. But the fortitude must come from you.

You may have to get uncomfortable for a while. You’ll stretch your selling muscles, make mistakes, learn from them, and improve. But remember to ask yourself, “Who am I NOT to do this?”

YOU have what the distressed homeowner wants: a way out.

By not doing your absolute best to get a deal under contract, you’re actually doing them a disservice by leaving them in the bad situation you found them in. Not every deal is going to close, and that’s okay. Like the rest of business, it’s a numbers game.

Put your best foot forward, lead with love, and help others.

If you’d like the hands-on training needed to catapult you from meandering salesperson who hopes for good deals into a confident closer who enters each potential transaction with the needed skills and tools to secure a deal, then stop waiting and wishing. Act now and call us at 800-473-6051 to discuss the necessary courses or coaching to get you there.

Don’t worry, we’ll only apply pressure if you’re bleeding.


Lee A. Arnold


The Lee Arnold System of Real Estate Investing

Follow me on Twitter: @CogoCapital  and @LeeArnoldSystem 

Have a deal? Visit us at to fill out your fast and easy quote. Want to learn more about us first? CLICK HERE to get to know all the ins and out!


Achieving Your Goals; a Supplemental Guide

We’ve been talking about goals a lot lately and for good reason.

If you need a refresher on what S.M.A.R.T. Goals are and how to use them to get what you want, CLICK HERE.

If you attended the Lee Arnold CEO Fireside chat this last Monday, January 8th, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. Kudos, too, for all the ambitious goals you committed to in the comments. If you gave us those goals, we WILL follow up with you!

The start of a new year is a critical time as a business owner. You need to have an action plan for the calendar year that you can stick to. Here are a few supplemental tips to help you along the way.


1. Clump Your Action Tasks Together

How can you marry your goals together to keep from being overwhelmed? One strategy is to think about the tasks that are optimized by being performed side-by-side.

If you are a Private Money broker who needs to add a bio to your website or landing page up to attract investors and you need to get your photo taken for your business cards, you can save time by doing these actionable steps together. First, tackle your professional photo, then put your bio up on your website.

Marry the tasks.

Is there one thing you have to do in order to get the rest done? If you’re going to send out fliers to 100 people over the next month, you first need to collect addresses and have your flier ready first.

Take your big goals, break them down into actionable, measurable steps, and then analyze all them to see what fits where.


2. Pass the test of “I want to do BLANK so that…”

“So that” gives you a clear outcome and an intention.

“I want to purchase a property at 60% of ARV so that I can wholesale it to another investor at 65% of the ARV so that they can make money on the deal, too.”


“I want to collect 100 new leads of investors so that I can build networking relationships so that I can close 4 loans in Q1 of this year.”

When you know your objectives, you can a clear focus and purpose to your efforts. Sometimes the “so that” is simply “so that I can pay my bills and not put my family in more debt,” and that’s okay. Your objectives will change and grow as you do, but make sure you have reason to pair with your S.M.A.R.T. goals and your goals will be that much easier to achieve.


3. Swallow your frog first.

What is the #1 thing you don’t want to do on your list? Do that first, and you’ll develop momentum for your day. This tip is particularly useful if you don’t have a lot of trust in yourself.

What do I mean?

When presented with a task, do you question whether you’re really capable of performing it? Do you agree to do things you’ve never done only to regret having comitted because you don’t trust yourself to complete the task?

Just as you need to build trust with an employer, you need to build trust in yourself that you will walk your talk. Eating your frog first thing in the morning allows you to build that trust, and it’s an excellent feeling to steamroll your day!

Every day you need to know that you are working toward a bigger vision and can accomplish your goals because you have actionable steps to take that you’ve planned into your day.

When you have a road map upon which to build an action task list with time-bound, measurable steps, you can literally design your life. If you need more help getting there, or you’re just not sure how to structure your S.M.A.R.T. goals in a way that will help you achieve your maximum potential in real estate investing, give us a call. We can get you pointed in the right direction and get you the education you need. (800) 473-6051

To Your Success;

Lee A. Arnold


The Lee Arnold System of Real Estate Investing



To read our latest success story and learn how a high school dropout is now making 6 figure paychecks, CLICK HERE.

S.M.A.R.T. Goals in 2018

It’s that time of year again…say it with me, “New Year’s resolution time!”

I love New Year’s resolutions. It’s the annual time where we collectively look at what we want out of life for the upcoming calendar year and challenge ourselves to make new things happen.

Sometimes the resolution is to do that one thing you’ve been procrastinating on, and you’re ready just to get it done.

Whatever your reason behind setting the new resolution, chances are, you’ve gotten there because your intent and actions haven’t met up in the past. So, you resolve to commit. The beauty of these resolutions seems to come from some synergistic attitude of our collective human advances: i.e., we thrive off each other’s energy.

January starts off great! We begin strong, managing to keep our resolutions for a few weeks. But, chances are, you will end up relapsing into old behavior sooner or later. Frustrated and defeated, you’ll give up that gym membership, shelf the self-help books, and optimistically believe you’re just “taking a break” while you settle back into the couch for a movie marathon.

So, how do you break the cycle of this repetitive cycle between the person you used to be and the person you want to be? If you attending my December CEO Fireside, you’re not likely to be surprised by my answer. You need to set S.M.A.R.T. goals.

Setting goals can often feel like writer’s block; the blank page stares up at you and your mind goes dark. By having a guide like the one below, you can alleviate the blank stares and frustration.

If you missed the December CEO Fireside, you can sign up for my January CEO Fireside and watch the December replay as a BONUS. Click HERE to learn more and jump start your S.M.A.R.T. goal planning!


What are S.M.A.R.T. goals?

Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound.

Let’s break it down…



Without a distinct vision, path, and benchmarks to hit, you could end up in a different place than where you wanted to be. Like taking a hike or driving across the country, there is a great deal of flexibility in getting from point A to point B, but you should have specific benchmarks in place to assure that you’re on the right road that will lead you to the correct destination.

Break down your goals into specific steps. Define the time needed to complete tasks, how you are the right person to reach the goal, and how achieving the goal will match your efforts.


Having measurable goals allows you to track progress, stay on pace, and bypass the questioning we often place on ourselves. Instead of wondering if the tasks you are performing are helping you achieve the end goal or not, a measurable goal gives you a definitive answer.

A measurable goal should answer the following questions:

  1. How much?
  2. How many?
  3. How will I know when it is accomplished?

Set KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) against which you can measure your growth. To develop your own KPIs, start by understanding the basics of your objectives. You can also ask yourself the following questions about each KPI you put in place:

  • What is your desired outcome?
  • Why does this outcome matter?
  • How are you going to measure progress?
  • Who is responsible for the outcome?
  • How will you know you’ve achieved your outcome?
  • How often will you review progress towards the outcome?


If your goals aren’t attainable with the resources you have, you’re setting yourself up for failure! This doesn’t mean you have to be limited by your current world, but rather that you need to understand how to expand enough to achieve a smaller goal and work your way up.

I could unquestionably become a competitive bodybuilder! But if I wanted to grease my muscles up for a national stage competition by December, it isn’t achievable with my current lifestyle, travel schedule, and undying love for Popeyes chicken. Instead, I might decide to become the best new weightlifter at my gym first and compete in a local competition by year’s end. I could break that goal down into feasible steps throughout the year and make it happen.

Take into account as many factors as you can when setting goals that are achievable. How much time can you realistically devote to a new goal? What do you need to learn first in order to make the work more productive? What can you give up to make more time and energy? What are your financial restrictions? (Be careful with this one. As opposed to the other factors, we often underestimate what we can afford. When looking at any our financial commitments to income-producing investments, we shouldn’t lead by stating “I can’t afford that” but rather by asking “HOW can I afford that?”)


We all have a budget of motivation. Some of our budgets are higher than others, but they are finite all the same. When you set your goals too high, you run out of motivation quickly.

How? Instead of telling yourself you’re going to ditch your nightly routine of four hours of TV and a bowl of ice cream in favor of an extra three hours of marketing and one hour at the gym (a noble goal…that may only last a few days), set a more realistic version. Try cutting your TV time in half, making space for one extra hour of marketing and one hour of reading, and trade your ice cream for fruit salad. Once that habit is formed, you can continue to improve. When you start with realistic goals and work up, not only is the task easier, you’re more likely to stick with it.


A dream without a deadline is a dead dream. If you don’t set deadlines for your big goals and for the benchmarks along the way, you’ll find all sorts of other things to fill that time with and your goals will go unachieved.

Start at the end; what do you want to accomplish? Let’s say you haven’t flipped a house yet, and your goal is to get your first one under your belt in the first quarter of 2018. Great! Let’s get you started! It’s absolutely possible to achieve your goal in the time you’ve decided, but since you’ve yet to complete the entire process, you may need to find flexibility in the timing of your goal. If it takes you four or five months instead of three, don’t let that discourage you. Readjust your time-bound goals to best suit your efforts, and strive for improvement.

You should know what you can achieve in one day, what you can accomplish in one week, and how that will add up to make your months, quarters, and your year.

When we set S.M.A.R.T. goals that support our desired outcome, fit into our lives, challenge our growth, and get us what we want in the end, we begin to see opportunity where we once only saw roadblocks. By wisely planning the journey before you, you can press into the work to find that you’re achieving your goals instead of just spinning your wheels. You will begin to trust yourself, set higher goals, and skyrocket both your business and your self-esteem.

If you need someone to share your goals with, leave them in the comments! We’d love to hear what you have in store for 2018, how you’re going to achieve it, and what we can do to help. If you have questions about setting S.M.A.R.T. goals or would like the support of a coach, give us a call at (800) 473-6051 and we’ll get you started in the right direction.

Don’t forget to sign up for January’s CEO Fireside, and happy 2018 planning!

Wishing you a prosperous New Year;

Lee A. Arnold


The Lee Arnold System of Real Estate Investing

Follow me on Twitter: @CogoCapital  and @LeeArnoldSystem 

Have a deal? Visit us at to fill out your fast and easy quote. Want to learn more about COGO first? CLICK HERE to get to know all the ins and out!

The Reduction of the Ridiculous


Did you know that you could own a beautiful home worth $500,000 for the change you might find under the seat of your car?!

Now, before you get up in arms about me making unrealistic, outlandish financial claims, let me explain:

If you purchase a house for $500,000 with 20% down at a 3.78% interest rate for 30 years, you’re going to pay $1,859.28 a month on your mortgage.

Take $1,859.28 and divide it by the days in a month:

Now, divide by the hours in a day:

Finally, by the seconds in an hour:

If you pay just $0.04 (ONLY FOUR CENTS!) per second for thirty years, you too can own a half-million-dollar house!

Did you see that? I just made a giant sum of money (That’s $669,340.8 after you’re done paying it off in 30 years) look manageable!

I jest, but not without a point. If you can take a large sum of money and make it look minimal and achievable, then you can take a sizable goal and turn it into minute, actionable steps.

How do you make it as simple as it sounds? By using a tool, you’re already employing elsewhere; your habits. By redirecting your patterns and behaviors, you can take small moments and multiply them into considerable successes. Now, you can’t habitually create $0.04 per minute–the money is a product of habits you put in place to generate that income. But you can develop better practices when it comes to employing better behaviors.

“It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a giant leap forward only to stumble back.” Chinese proverb

Let’s consider another example.

Assume you have 50 extra pounds of body fat than you’d like to. If your goal is to “lose weight,” but there isn’t any behavioral change behind it, how are you going to make it happen?

I hear from people all the time that they want to “make more money” or “be a millionaire.” I love goals, but without action, just stating a financial goal is as effective on your bank account as whispering song lyrics in front of American Idol.

So, you want to lose 50 pounds. Great! How do you break that on a time-manageable level? “I’m going to lose 50 pounds in two months!” isn’t very sustainable.

“I’m going to be a millionaire by the end of the year” isn’t achievable from the position of a beginner as, say, “I’m going to earn $40,000 above and beyond what I’m making this year, and will strive for $100,000 the year after.

If you break losing 50lbs down into 50 weeks, that’s a pound a week for a year (if you account that a few weeks won’t result in a loss, no matter how hard you try). If it takes 3,500 calories of intake to make a pound and 3,500 burned calories to lose a pound, then for the seven days of the week, you only need to have a 500 calorie swing. You can burn an extra 250 by riding your bike at a pace of 14-16 mph for 25 minutes AND refrain from eating 1 candy bar OR avoid drinking 1 16 oz bottle of soda.

If you want to make $100,000 in a year, you’re looking at retailing four houses for an average profit of $25,000 a piece. To get four houses under contract, rehabbed, and sold in 12 calendar months, how many offers do you have to make? To make those offers, how many leads do you need to call?

If you’re familiar with the Lee Arnold System of Real Estate at all, you should know this answer. If you don’t know the Rule of 56, you should read about it HERE.

If you need to mail 25 letters a week, divide that by five working days, and you only have five a. What do you suppose would happen to your real estate business after a year if you committed to mailing five letters every day on your lunch break.

You already have habits. I’m not asking you to do more than you’re doing. But, if you take that hour lunch period to mail letters instead of catching up on office gossip or doing a crossword puzzle, and that one act would catapult your business, would you do it? If you could avoid 1 Taco Bell Soft Taco Supreme with gaucamole every day and walk the dog for 30 minutes in the morning to drop that comfort weight that’s crept up on your for two decades, would you do it?

Take your large goals, break them down, and employ manageable steps, you’ll be able to “eat the elephant” one spoonful at a time.


Register to attend an upcoming Funding Tour and immediately receive a $250,000 pre-approval letter for buying real estate investments!


Always Encouraging You;

Lee A. Arnold


The Lee Arnold System of Real Estate Investing

Follow me on Twitter: @CogoCapital  and @LeeArnoldSystem 

Have a deal? Visit us at to fill out your fast and easy quote. Want to learn more about COGO first? CLICK HERE to get to know all the ins and out!

For our latest success stories, click HERE to read how others are finding, funding, and making money on their deals.

S.W.O.T. Analysis

Last week over on my Lee Arnold Blog, I wrote about 5 of the best qualities of a CEO. Today, I’d like to do a deep dive into what it takes to get you there.

There are so many traits a good CEO must have. But, how can you understand and pile on a bunch of positive attributes if you don’t know where you currently are and how you can improve?

You need to start with the basics; a baseline of self-discovery to build upon or trying to stack traits could feel like throwing wet noodles against the wall. Some might stick, but most will fall behind the stove.

Grab a sheet of paper and set it up like the photo below (or print this PDF here: S.W.O.T)

Print me!



First, list all your strengths.


– What do you do really well?

– Who do you have on your team?

– What do you offer that is different/better than your competitors?

– What parts of your business are you passionate about?

(Without passion, you won’t make much money, but without money, you’ll lose your passion!)

– What are your business strengths? Are you detail oriented, outgoing, analytical?

– What are the assets you can contribute?




 Next, catalog your weaknesses.


– What parts of business are you weak at?

– What are the weaknesses in you that others are likely to see?

– What do you despise doing?

– What can you delegate/avoid?

– What weaknesses can you work to improve or manage around?

– What factors are costing you money and need to be addressed ASAP?


Understanding your weaknesses is vital to your success. It shows you where you need to navigate, what you can delegate for the best results, and hints at what you can automate for optimal time management. No two businesses are alike, as everyone has different strengths and weaknesses.




It’s important to know what you have going for you. List your opportunities.


– What opportunities exist for you? Time, marriage/partnerships, being close to retirement, having money to invest, skills, education?

– Look at the people you can get to know, the events you can attend, the connections you can make.




Don’t be shy. What is threatening your business?


– What obstacles are you facing? Cash flow problems? Time constraints?

– What are your competitors doing?

– Is your spouse not on board? (Convincing your spouse may be your biggest sale, but I highly recommend you get on the same page before moving forward.)


Like knowing your weaknesses, understanding your threats is essential for the prosperity of your business. Though it isn’t fun to dive into the aspects that are potentially menacing, it’s much more threatening not to.


Take the time to analyze yourself and your business, then press forward. Attend conferences, hire out your weaknesses, and focus on building and USING your strengths. Take advantage of your opportunities and decide how to handle your threats. In this, you’ll propel your work forward.

To Your Success;

Lee A. Arnold


The Lee Arnold System of Real Estate Investing

Follow me on Twitter: @CogoCapital  and @LeeArnoldSystem 

Have a deal? Visit us at to fill out your fast and easy quote. Want to learn more about COGO first? CLICK HERE to get to know all the ins and out!


What’s Your Vision?

Do you have a vision statement?

Do you even know what a vision statement is?

No doubt, when you were in your adolescence, someone asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up, and you could answer that within a sentence.

“A doctor.” “An engineer.” “A full-time parent.” Or even, “I want to be rich!”

The reality that spurred from the years between your adolescence and now probably changed your outcome. But that was basically your vision statement at the time.

You need a grown-up vision statement; one you can follow.

I want you to write one out.


Go ahead.

Need some help? Try answering these questions: What do you want to be doing for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve in your career and personal life? How much money do you want to make? What do you want to do with your money and time?

Great! Now, how are you going to get there?

The education system does not prepare anyone for self-employment and entrepreneurship. It would’ve been nice if my high school had given me a platform on which my entrepreneurial mindset would’ve been applauded and encouraged, but it didn’t, and yours probably didn’t either.

I see this massive, gaping disconnect between people who want to work for themselves and those who have the skills to do so. If you are a sole entrepreneur, you are in marketing, accounting, fulfillment, customer service, tax filing, everything. Maybe you learned how to balance a spreadsheet in a college accounting class or community workshop. Maybe you learned the basics of online coding (if you’re among our younger generation of entrepreneurs) or, if you’re like me, learned how to type with more than one finger in typing class, so an email doesn’t take 45 minutes.

But did you really learn the skills you needed to go from vision statement to success? Can you say with all honesty that you can tackle every area of your business, or is the unknown holding you back?

Well, I’m passionate about fixing that.

Here’s is a tool to help get you started.

There is so much more to it than I could cover in one post, and that’s why we work hard to get you the information you need.

But what else can you do now? Well, as you are learning how to fulfill the needs of your business, you may have children or grandchildren who are going to one of those schools that don’t nurture the self-employed, entrepreneurial mindset.

So, not only can you get an education in real estate investing with the Lee Arnold System, but I encourage you to bring along the young entrepreneur in your life. If you value your advanced education and want to spend 3 days with my team and me at the next FUNDING TOUR near you, you can bring a guest between the ages of 12-21 and I will pay for their ticket. That’s how much I believe in educating the next generation of entrepreneurs.

And though you’ll always find tools on here and on the Lee Arnold System blog, if you’re interested in learning more about the entrepreneurial education you can receive with the Lee Arnold System of Real Estate, call us at 800-533-1622. We’ll figure out if you need to attend a workshop, a specialty lab, or if you need to see a coach. We will design your education based on your needs.

Because I want to help you fulfill that vision statement!

To Your Success,

Lee A. Arnold


The Lee Arnold System of Real Estate Investing


As always, if you have a real estate deal and would like to get a quote from a private money, visit

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER: @LeeArnoldSystem and @CogoCapital

Best Neighborhoods for Real Estate Investing


Want to know the best location, location, location for you to invest in real estate?

…Your back yard!

With all the potential real estate in your city, county, and state (and the whole of the country!) you may be tempted to invest in a market with which you’re unfamiliar. But, if you want to be successful faster, you really shouldn’t go further than the area in which you live.

If you use the 25-mile radius rule of thumb, you’ll save time, money, and headache.

Here are my top reasons why the real estate in the 25-mile radius around your home or place of work will make you millionaire faster than trecking all over the country will.

  1. You won’t waste time, money, and resources on the road.Driving all over is clunky, it doesn’t make sense, and it takes too much effort for too little profit. If you spend your time driving from place-to-place, you have less time to spend managing a flip, listing a wholesale, or selling a rehabbed home. You’ll have a car with a lot of miles and a workload you can’t manage. (I recommend saving those miles on your rig for a family trip this summer!)
  1. You’ll save yourself potential headaches.Take it from someone who had to drive over an hour in the middle of the night to attend to an emergency. Being in proximity to your property means that if you need to be there fast, you can.
  1. You’ll be an expert.It takes a while to get to know all the neighborhoods in a 25-mile radius, but if you can spend your time learning the nuances of the streets, the school districts, the demographics, and (most importantly) the comps in those neighborhoods, you’ll be better at your game.
  1. You have less to cover when driving for dollars.Don’t tell me there aren’t deals around you. Even if you’ve driven every single street in the 25-mile radius, by the time you’re done, there could be an abandoned house on the street you started on!
  1. You’ll build your network faster.If you stay in your area, you’ll get to know contractors, subcontractors, wholesalers, and real estate agents quicker and better. You’ll have those extra subs in your back pocket to call when the one you’ve hired no shows for the job. You’ll build your team faster and with less trial and error.
  1. You’ll know how to buy.This is the most important reason because you make money when you buy, not when you sell! Spend the time in your area meeting wholesalers, responding to bandit signs, putting out your own bandit signs, searching for abandoned houses, researching auction houses, considering listings on the MLS.
  1. Less Taxes to file.Unless that’s your thing; filing taxes in 7 states because that’s where all your properties were. I like to streamline my business better than that.

Confine your area and you’ll maximize your business!

The best part is that we loan on homes almost anywhere in the country. To find out more or to get a quote on a home you need financing on, visit us at Better yet, if you’d like to receive at $250,000 loan pre-approval, attend a Funding Tour. The tickets are usually $497, but for a short time, a hedge fund has offered to pay for seats. To secure your spot, CLICK HERE or call us at 800-533-1622.

To read our latest success story and learn how a high school dropout is now making 6 figure paychecks, CLICK HERE.

To Your Success;

Lee A. Arnold


The Lee Arnold System of Real Estate Investing

To read more articles click here.