by Troy Miller

Once I was at a real estate investing event and my dad decided to tag along for a long weekend educational training. The event was chock-full of strategies and case studies, but the one thing that my dad took away from that event was a quote from the speaker, “Show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future!”

That one statement gave him reason to pause and question just why he might not have achieved certain things in life, and he began to take inventory of the people he surrounded himself with. He began to think that if he had focused on what he wanted the most, financial freedom, that perhaps connecting, networking, and keeping close proximity to those he admired the most, without a doubt would put him on a completely different trajectory.

This in return got me thinking. I have worked with REIAs for over 12 years and across the country. Networking is and always has been a big component to both AZREIA and the industry. But when we think of the word equity, we often think about cash available to partner in a deal, or the appreciation that we build into a property through rehabbing or the increased value of a rental over time, but have you ever thought what is the value of your “Social Equity?”

This is a term I started using being a “connector” and REIA leader, to move past the tired and cliché use of the word networking and every business card-ninja you meet slinging cards just to get their name out there. My hope is that you will stop networking and start building your own Social Equity!

So, you might be asking, “What is and how is Social Equity different than networking?” Well, Social Equity is a combination of your reputation, your network — people you know and who know you, and the strength of your connections. Social equity is an asset that we all have and only a small percentage of us utilize to its full extent.

Think about this: If you needed money within five days to do a real estate deal, who would you call? Do you have a private lender on hand? Have you already been approved by several hard money lenders? If one of your rental properties had a broken pipe flood a unit on a holiday weekend, could you make a single phone call and have the problem handled properly? Do you have a network of people that you can refer other people to?

If you lost everything, needed a job, money, and a place to stay, do you have people who will help you? Social equity is your safety net in times of trouble. It’s currency in good times. And it’s the key to creating an environment where everyone, not just you, benefits.

Social equity is built by giving. Giving your time, your resources, your attention. Most businesspeople know that giving creates a feeling of obligation in the other party: “I help you on this, you help me on that.” But that’s where most people’s thinking stops. And that’s the point where they fail.

Social equity is not built on a tit-for-tat basis. It is not a zero-sum game. In many ways, it is counter-intuitive to traditional business thinking. How can you give away your hard-learned information and still gain? The secret lies in creating an atmosphere of abundance.

Most people look at life as a pie that is divided up. Some people get more, some people get less. But there is only so much pie to go around.

But what if you made a bigger pie? In fact, what if you made the pie bigger?

Do those two sentences sound like I am asking the same thing? Look again. A bigger pie is still a finite amount. Making the pie bigger is a continuous process.

My challenge to you is to STOP NETWORKING! START BUILDING SOCIAL EQUITY! Purposely.

AZREIA has purposefully created an environment to fuel connection and opportunity. We don’t worry about divvying up the pie. We work together to make more and more pie. At AZREIA, a rising tide does lift all boats. So, experience AZREIA for yourself. Come to one of our meetings, subgroups, or educational events. Watch how members interact and help one another.

Our members are always building social equity. Each person’s success is a win for the group.

We are always looking to expand our network – to share bigger and bigger slices of an ever-expanding pie.

So, if your social equity is rather low or depleted, come to an event in January to replenish, and start building equity today!