This month our roving reporter gets up far too late, meets a man who can give away millions and learns why he’s never going to be Warren Buffet – but might just end up being Richard Branson.

Which is better, a Ferrari or a tractor?  I’m sure you know the answer already, so I don’t have to waste time telling you, do I?  No one drools in the window of tractor dealerships.  Kids don’t have pictures of Massey-Fergusons on their bedroom wall.  No-one’s going to want a tractor if they could have a Ferrari, are they?  Obviously not!  Well, apart from someone who had to get somewhere a Ferrari can’t go, or tow machinery.  If you made your money farming, that Ferrari wouldn’t look so appealing.  You might like the idea of owning one, but would it actually be better than a tractor for ploughing a field?  Of course not!  The question is inherently misleading, because the trap of the higher percieved value convinces our naturally greedy outlook to choose the Ferrari over the tractor.

So, how does this relate to property investment?  Simple: we’re not all Ferraris.  Nor are we all tractors.  There are many different types of entrepreneur and investor.  Which type are you?  If you’re a tractor, then no amount of hanging out with, or learning from Ferraris will make you into a sports car – so don’t try.

You’re probably thinking that I’ve been ingesting psychedelic drugs, but I can assure you that I am as sober as a Judge.  In fact, I’m significantly more sober than many judges.  The reason I’m talking about this metaphor is because there’s an extremely important lesson behind it.  The biggest challenge in entrepreneurship and investment is to choose the right path.  If Bill Gates had set up a burger bar, would it have rivalled McDonalds?  Unlikely.  And can you really imagine Warren Buffet trying to set up Virgin?  I doubt you can.  Fulfilling your potential isn’t inevitable, and it’s impossible if you’re on the wrong road.  People often forget that investing in property, just like any other business, requires you to match your skills and personality to the business model you’re using.

In summary, my point is simple.  Far too many people look in the wrong direction when they try to work out what they want to do.  They look at the people who have what they want to have, rather than the people who have what they have.  Now I guess you’re thinking, ‘I’ve got a four year old car, a mortgage and a small semi.  What can I learn from people who have what I have?’  If that’s your question, you’re looking in the wrong place.  Don’t look at material things when setting your path, but instead look at the skills and abilities of people who are similar to you.  Are you a George Soros or an Alan Sugar?  Whichever one you are, don’t try and be the other.  Wayne Rooney is successful by being Wayne Rooney, not by trying to be Stelios from EasyJet.  You need to look at who you are before you can work out what you can do.  That emphatically and absolutely does not mean that your aspirations need to be limited by your skills and abilities.  What it does mean is that the work you personally undertake must be something that you have an aptitude for.  By all means look to extend your skills, but recognise who you are and the fundamental abilities you have.  Then you can look to find others who have the personality, skills and abilities to fill in your gaps.

This is all so easy to say, but so much harder to do.  But I need to learn how to do it properly, so I threw myself on a train to London to go and see Roger Hamilton.  He’s a man who’s an expert on identifying people’s strengths and weakness, and using that information to help them build powerful teams.  Sadly, I only got the seminar invite by phone at 0812, and it started at 0900.  Even if I had a helicopter I wouldn’t have been able to get there on time, so sadly the first morning of the course is a bit of a mystery to me!  However, the rest of it was very good, so I assume the first part was equally worthy.  I understand it involved making butterflies, but I have no clear idea what this is supposed to have achieved….

Roger Hamilton is an extraordinary man.  He’s an established property investor who’s also a veteran speaker on the international lecture circuit.  In his career, he’s spoken in front of over 100,000 people, but don’t leap to the conclusion that he’s a seminar hack – far from it.  He’s a serial entrepreneur and philanthropist whose business empire does everything from property investments to nurseries (of the kiddie variety).  This man doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk.  The key to his success is in attracting people to build great teams.  He then selects the right people to assign to the right roles, and things fall into place from then on.  By everyone simply doing what comes naturally, the business moves forward.  So, if you’re struggling to get your property investment business to grow as you’d like, perhaps it’s time to take a leaf out of Roger’s book.  On this course you’ll learn how your character needs to shape your business, and how you can magnetically attract the team members you need.

Much of the learning experience is based around a personality test, which you can do online now at xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.  This tells you which of the ‘8 ways to wealth’ suits your particular character.  It works by taking two key personality variables of introversion/extroversion and sensing/intuition and using them to identify 8 basic types of wealth development.  So you can find out whether you’re a ‘creator’ like Richard Branson (and me), an ‘accumulator’ like Warren Buffet, a ‘Lord’ like Rockerfeller, etc., etc.  For me, this has been a hugely liberating experience.  Knowing that I’m a ‘creator’ finally makes me understand why I’m rubbish at building big teams.  It’s a distinct feature of my personality that I’m not the team builder.  The way I need to counter this is to find people who have the ‘supporter’ profile to work with.  They’re great at the team building side of things, which means once I learn how to attract such people the rest of the team will fall naturally into place.  Now I can stop beating myself up for not being someone I’m not and get on with being good at being someone I am!

As a property investor, Roger’s lessons are vitally important for two reasons.  Firstly, your business is an extension of your personality.  If that personality is the wrong one for your business model, then you’re stuffed before you even start.  If you’re a deeply introverted and shy person with a flair for maths, then you really aren’t going to thrive in the chaotic and confrontational environment of a construction site.  Your skills are much more likely to be best used in a number-crunching environment, such as identifying economic ‘hot spots’.  Likewise, if you’re a dealmaker who just loves the cut and thrust of negotiation, there’s no point trying to set up a business that’s based on fiddling with figures in your back bedroom.

Secondly, your property business will need more than just you to function.  Even if it’s a small, part time operation, you’re going to need lawyers, finance brokers and an accountant.  As your business grows, you’re going to need help with lettings, administration, etc.  What traits and abilities should you look for in these people?  I’ve had the same lawyer for the last five years, and I’ve had the same broker for two years.  Both of these people complement me well.  They are calmer, more organised and more methodical than I am.  This choice has been the foundation of much of my success over the explosive growth of my business.  Whatever stage of development your business is at, you will soon be faced with a choice of whether to work with someone or not.  Roger Hamilton will give you the skills to guide you through that choice, and identify people you absolutely need on your team.

Once you’ve got the ability to identify the type of personality you have, and those you need in others, you need to be able to build your team.  Roger gives a wonderful analogy on this.  If you want to collect butterflies, you have two choices.  You can either run around all day with a butterfly net, or you can instead spend your time planting a garden which will attract all the butterflies you could ever want.  By learning how to give people what they want, you magnetically attract the people you need.  By doing this, you’re moving from a position of scarcity to a position of abundance just by changing your approach.  Roger’s focus is on giving you the skills to attract all the people you need to build your business, whether they bring you investment, time, expertise, or anything else you may require.

Roger’s style is fluid and engaging.  This course is something that you experience, rather than learn.  I’ve tried to give you an insight into a couple of the lessons you’ll get from the course.  I wouldn’t be doing it justice if I tried to explain the full content, so I’ll leave that to you to experience.  Suffice to say, there’s a lot more to this course than tractors, Ferraris and butterflies!

I’m advised that the delegates on the course are approx. 90% small and medium sized business owners, investors and entrepreneurs.  This is a good match for the course content, but it’s a slight disappointment that there aren’t more delegates who are just starting out in investment or business.  I really feel that’s the perfect time to ask the question, ‘Am I trying to be a tractor when actually I’m a Ferrari?’

This course costs £970 for the weekend and Monday night.  The evening seminar is well worth going back for, as it’s then that you get specific and detailed help with developing your own business.  As an experienced investor, I was amazed at the razor-sharp ideas my apparently inexperienced team came up with.  Most of the things they suggested to me were either things I was doing already, or things I already knew I should be doing but wasn’t!  There’s a fourth day of follow up after three months, which I’m looking forward to.  You also get a comprehensive support package consisting of the crucial personality test, plus 18 CDs and two books.  I only managed to steal one book, but it’s very good.  This package in total makes the course about mid priced (per day) as courses go.  It’s held at the Hilton Metropole hotel, one of the best located hotels in London, on the A5/A40 junction, by Edgware Rd. tube.  The venue is airy, spacious and ideal for working effectively in.  My only criticism is that it was a bit tricky to see the flipcharts from the back of the room, but I understand that they are planning to have live video projection at future events.  The large room gives the advantage of the economies of scale that permit Triumphant Events to get a top-billing speaker such as Roger in.  This chap really is a cut above most of the other speakers on the circuit.  He networks at a level you wouldn’t believe, meeting people such as Bill Clinton, and he’s wealthy like you can only imagine.  Just to put this into perspective, he made a 5 year charitable donation pledge of $1m per year, which is larger than the portfolio value of many professional investors!  The seminar was about 150-seat, but they change the table format according to the task in hand, which gives the intimacy that allows you to build small, effective teams to help you through the experience.  If you do the course, I strongly suggest that you go back as a helper.  Roger proceeds through the material at a great rate, and you’ll almost certainly benefit from seeing it twice.  Like a good book, you’ll get a completely different experience the second time.

One minus point worth noting is the lack of catering.  Not only is no food provided at the venue, there’s also nowhere to buy anything unless you go to the hotel restaurant or wander around London.  The organisers say this reduces costs, as the hotel catering is very expensive, and encourages networking by getting people to lunch together.  However, I saw a lot of individuals wandering around M&S choosing sandwiches, so I’m afraid I don’t agree.  You should also note that the day lacks comfort breaks, with just a morning and afternoon drinks break. So don’t overdo the coffee before you come!  You should bring some snacks and any other things you need to be comfortable, as you won’t have the hourly breaks that most seminars have.  Having said that, the room is easy to move around in if you do need a break, and Roger mixes up the activities well so as to keep you interested through the relatively long sessions.  I’ve got the concentration span of a hyperactive child who’s swapped his Ritalin for brightly-coloured sweets, and even I managed to pay attention to most of what was going on.

So what do I think of this course?  What relevance has it got to setting up and running a property business?  You can answer this question in one of two ways.  You could say that you won’t learn a thing about property tips and techniques, and it’s therefore no use at all.  But my experience of watching many people succeed and fail in property leads me to give an entirely different answer.  The main reason why people don’t succeed in property is that they don’t treat it like a business.  They don’t do business plans, they don’t analyse the market before entering it and they totally forget human resources issues.  They don’t consider what they can offer their business, and what complementary skills they need. This course will address many of the main ‘people’ reasons why your property business may fail.  It’s all very well having a brilliant investment idea, or an overwhelming commitment to wealth building, but if you can’t use your own skills effectively and build the team you need, you’ll fail before you even start.  Likewise, if you can’t attract the investment, deals and partners you need to be successful, then your business will never get off the starting blocks.  During the course, you’ll be surrounded by 149 other people who may be absolutely ideal for you to team up with.  There are many postings on the ‘opportunities boards’ in the foyer with people looking to form or expand property businesses.  The environment is ripe for ensuring you’re making the right choices as to who you get into bed with.  If you stay on the Sunday evening, you’ll see examples of businesses that have been set up as a result of these courses, so it really does work.  Despite the fees he earns, the main benefit to Roger is the apparently the business networking opportunity.  He’s done many deals with his delegates.  If it works for him, it can work for you, too.  Roger’s method is to both give you the skills you need to attract and then select the people you need, and also he creates the assisted, structured networking opportunities you need to find people to add to your team.  You may find your next business partner at this event!  Looked at from that perspective, I would place this course on everybody’s do list.  All property investors, in all markets, at all stages of their careers will be able to benefit from this course, and it’s especially recommended to anyone who’s starting out, or is at a crossroads in their property investment career.

You can find out more about Roger’s courses online or at a free taster event.  Check out xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx