Real estate investing (REI) can be a fun, exciting, rewarding, and welcoming challenge. It can be something that you do as a full time career and make a living from, but it can also be something you do in tandem with a full time job as a hobby or as a means to accrue additional/passive income. If you are someone who identifies with the latter, you’ve either figured out a way, or wonder how, to balance REI with your full time job, not cross any lines, and keep things as professional and ethical as possible. I’ve personally accomplished this by exemplifying the following three “rules,” for lack of a better word, and believe that anybody else in this position can benefit from them as well.
1. Limit the REI talk while in the office
As the saying goes, there’s a time and a place for everything. When and where you talk about your REI endeavors is no different. During a meeting, when your coworkers are diligently working, or when a customer is near are taboo times to talk about REI. On the other hand, it is my opinion that it’s okay to bring up in casual conversation with coworkers while on break or while chit-chatting during busy work.
As with anything, there are going to be people who simply aren’t interested in what you have to say about REI. If you pick up on this, which should be pretty easy to do, avoid talking about the particular subject with that person in the future. Some indicators of disinterest may be avoiding eye contact, not engaging, changing the subject or outright telling you that they’re not interested.
2. Ensure no conflict of interest with your employer
Whichever niche of REI you’re involved in, I recommend checking with your HR department to ensure that your extracurricular activities do not conflict with your obligations to your employer or their business interests. If your HR representative reports no potential conflict, then you’re good to go and have covered your bases. On the contrary, if he or she comes back and says that your REI activities pose a conflict of interest, you’ll be faced with a (likely difficult) decision. Do you want to give up on your REI hopes, dreams and passions? Do you want to find a new job that poses no conflict of interest? Perhaps you’re ready to make the leap in to full time real estate entrepreneurship. In the case of conflict of interest, only one thing is certain – you can’t proceed with your current status quo and changes are inevitable and necessary.
3. Respect your time “on the clock”
Lastly, and most importantly, respect your employer’s time and financial resources. With the exception of small talk (refer to #1 above), you should do your best to leave everything REI related at the door when you walk in to your place of work. Your employer is not paying you to build your own business. They are paying you to benefit their business and act in their best interest, and using work hours for REI related activities should be number one on your list of no-nos. The income from your job is, at this point, most likely paying your bills, so treat your employer with the respect they deserve.
You have 24 hours in the day. If you spend 9 working, 8 sleeping, 2 eating and grooming, and 1 commuting, you’ve got 4 left to hustle. Use them wisely.
In order to lay the foundation for continued success in both REI and your job/career, be sure to limit REI office talk to when appropriate, check with your HR representative to ensure that your side hustle does not conflict with your job, and respect that your employer is paying you to do your job and nothing else.
What has been your experience investing in real estate while maintaining a full time job? Has it been mostly smooth sailing or have you hit some choppy patches? Share your thoughts, experiences and tips in the comments below!