Gino Barbaro* has a compelling list of reasons real estate investors fail. When I discovered there was an actual list, I was ready to spend time reading through them and tearing them apart. How pleasantly surprised I was to find that it was a simple list. It’s a list that hits home for many real estate investors.
According to Barbaro, the reasons include
Not enough reasons to invest in real estate
Lack of Education
Quitting too soon
Not enough capital
Careless due diligence
These reasons don’t have to apply just to real estate investors. Change #1 to “not enough reasons to be in this business” and the rest are universal.
I am not a real estate investor. I have the honor of providing executive administrative virtual assistance to many real estate investors around the country. These 7 points rang so loudly to me and I know it will hit home for many investors.
I have often said if you don’t have time to plan your work and then work that plan then you need to reconsider your career choice. Don’t make your dreams mere hobbies – spending time only when you feel like it or just a few hours every now and then.
Lori Greiner has said, “entrepreneurs are the only people who will work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week”. She’s right on point!
You have a choice. Get out or get in. You are either fully in and committed to your success or you’re out.
I remember very well the Thanksgiving at my Great Aunt Barbara’s house in New England. It was a lavish affair with every detail well-attended to. All the kids were banished to the kids area, away from the adults and where our eating manners would not destroy furnishings and carpets! That was the day my brother and I made a scene. It wasn’t a big scene, but we tried to make it one.
My brother took the last piece of pumpkin pie and I was so upset I started to cry. Even to this day, pumpkin pie is one of my favorite treats. He didn’t want to share and my mother asked him, point-blank, “Why won’t you share with your little brother” and he replied, “cause then my piece won’t be as big!” My mother suddenly felt sympathy for my older brother and of course THAT infuriated me! How could she possibly think it was ok to take his side? Then my mother leaned closer to my brother and said, loud enough for me to hear, “would you prefer to have a small piece of this pie, or none at all?” My brother knew his pie was on borrowed time because if he didn’t come up with the RIGHT answer, and quickly, Mom was the one who was going to be enjoying that piece of pie! So he quickly changed his mind and shared the pie with me.
We all want as much as we can get, right? Pile the buffet plate higher. Fill the glass to the tip-top. Less ice, more drink, please. No thanks, I’ll hold out for a better deal somewhere else.
In real estate there are a LOT of important steps. We call that due diligence. It’s doing the work before making a deal and then making sure that the process continues right up until the closing. However, once you submit your offer, there is absolutely NOTHING you can do except wait. It makes no sense to rise every morning to check on your deal. What are you going to do and how will you feel if THAT deal falls through? Now what? You just waited HOW LONG holding out for the right deal!
I had a long talk with a young lady in the real estate business who continually “ran the numbers” on hundreds of leads and in 12 months she never had one contract. She said she’ll know the deal when it comes along. I eventually learned she had no interested if she couldn’t make it work so that she earned at least $2,500 on the deal. Any less just wasn’t worth her time.
So I ask you – do you want a small piece of pie or no pie at all? Are you holding out in hopes that you’ll get a bigger piece because while you are, a lot of little pieces walked right past you and those little ones all add up to a heck of a lot more than the one deal for which you are holding out.
Mmmmm…pie…gotta get me some pumpkin pie (and pecan pie, that’s my second favorite)!
Any time that I was fortunate enough to be in a position of leadership, I always made my primary objective the same: empower the team. If someone was failing on the job, I believed the first line of accountability fell to me. It was my job to train the team, support the team, and empower them to succeed. After evaluation and training, if they continued to fail, the responsibility fell on them. It comes down to my style of management – if, in the beginning, you need micro-managing to help get you over some hurdles because management failed in their training and in clearly outlining their expectations, then I was happy to do so – for a short period of time. If, after training and coaching and encouraging and supporting and you continued to fail – start polishing that resume because I’m not running a daycare.
Many of us have experienced being micro-managed and many of us are guilty of doing it. Usually it comes down to how we appear, or believe we appear, to upper management. If we are afraid that upper management does not like something from my team, then I’m likely to take it out on my team whether or not it is a real problem – I perceive it as one therefore the only way to fix it, is to put my foot down. Many times, if the department manager is hovering over everyone going through their work with a fine-toothed comb, someone above them is doing the same thing. The only way to overcome this is to have an honest, open, corporate discussion. You need to always be asking the following questions:
Am I providing them the right tools to do the job?
Did I teach them how to use and care for those tools?
Do I know what it is like to sit in their chair for a day?
Am I listening to what they have to say?
Am I afraid that if they fail, I’m going to fail?
If dialogue is the answer – well, here’s why I do NOT like honest, open, corporate discussion…
It turns in to a whine-fest. Someone chimes in about a certain time when so-and-so did such-and-such and they go off on a tangent. They pick one or two times someone was mean to them and dwell on it and focus on that and constantly hammer it home. The current political scene is a CLASSIC example of jungle-gym bullying. You honestly don’t have that many bad things to say about others but the reality is, you don’t have anything great to say about yourself so you spend time throwing the spotlight (blame) on to others hoping beyond all hope that upper management will actually do something about it that will make you look like you are the one that is right.
I have seen it so many times in the corporate world – “Let’s have a dialogue” actually means, let’s try to listen to everyone and get them to say it like we want it said. Have you ever had to have a brutal, this-is-going-to-hurt talk with someone? It’s not a fun place to be, is it? But did it RESULT in something GOOD?
Micro-managing should not be “do-this-do-that, and then I”ll check your homework”. It should be a time to get in that trench with that team member, listen to what they have to say and get a real feel for the rhythm of their surroundings. Look closely and pick up the tools they were given and see if they actually work. A little empathy goes a long way.
Managers absolutely do not want to be surrounded by people who are better than they – it makes them look bad and they fear for their job. Leaders thrive to educate and coach people into success and thereby surround themselves with people who are much better than they are in that field.
The next time you feel the need to micro-manage someone, ask yourself, “why am I having to do this? What went wrong and where did I fail that this person needs a babysitter?” But when given the tools, and shown how to use those tools, and supported and empowered and they continue to fail? That’s when I say, “You may want to polish up your resume cause I am not running a daycare”.
Have an idea on how to make money? Perhaps you figured out a target market to focus in on. You get that idea down and just as you do, another idea comes to mind. You write that one down and then another and another one, right after the other, come to mind. Then you listen to a guru on a particular subject who encourages you to do it their way so you grab on to that one as well. Pretty soon you have an entire wall of post-it note ideas that have stopped short of their goal: to make you some money!
“When all is said and done, nothing said was ever done”
Do not fall into the trap of spending so much time creating new ways to make money, that you don’t have time to make money. Come up with a plan and move it through to fruition or failure – one of the two. If it just sits there – it’s just an idea. An idea must have energy behind it to move it forward.
When we started ORCVirtual, Inc. in 2007, we tried getting our name out there in a multitude of markets from real estate to non-profit to educational to law firms – you name them, we wanted to be their client. It is only when we decided to narrow down our vision so that we could actually see one or two targets that we were actually able to hit our target right on the mark!
I work with people who are stuck in this cycle of finding lots of ways to make money and yet they never make a dime.