Starting a real estate business is stressful enough without having routines and self-discipline in place to set you up for lasting, entrepreneurial success. But which habits, which consistent set of actions, should you add to your daily routine? Which should you let fall by the beginner real estate investor wayside?
Though there are many important traits every first-time real estate investor should strive to add to their entrepreneurial toolbox, perhaps the most important are those ingrained habits that propel us toward productive activity, without even thinking about them.
Here are seven positive (and productive) habits to put you in the best position to succeed when starting a real estate business.
Gaining The Upper-Hand When Starting A Real Estate Business
1. Track How You Spend Your Time
As Benjamin Franklin once said, “You may delay, but time will not.” Whether you have a firm grasp on how you spend your time each day or not — and a plan for ensuring you spend a majority of it in highly-productive activities — time continues to march on. And if you’re not careful, you’ll end up regretting the poor time management choices you’ve made years, if not decades, from now.
The first step to mastering this elusive concept known as time — and asserting control over your daily business life — is to simply “track” how you spend your time. The goal is not to “judge” how you spend your time, to go through your list of activities with a red pen and look for areas where you’ve failed.
The key is to keep a log, whether digital or physical, of how you spend every hour of your day. Do this for just a couple of weeks and a couple of insights will quickly present themselves:
- Things (generally) take longer than you think: As humans, we are poor at judging how long a task will actually take. Then we beat ourselves up because we didn’t get very much done in a given time period. By tracking your time, you’ll become better at judging just how much time to allocate towards each given task.
- You have more free time than you think: Most of us, especially those with families, are under the illusion we have “zero” free time. But when we track our time, consistently, we’ll see that’s not the case. The key is to not wait for “big” hour-long blocks, but instead learn to look for small blocks of time — even as small as five minutes — to move your business forward.
- You likely bounce from one task to another: This is a common entrepreneurial mistake. We have so many things we need/have to do — most that need to be done yesterday — that when we do sit down to perform an activity, we end up getting nothing done at all. Tracking your time will help identify, and eliminate, this habit.
2. Learn Three New Things Every Day
There’s so much to learn when starting a real estate career. From legal structures and marketing methods to deal evaluations and negotiations, the learning curve for a new real estate investor can be staggering.
An alternative approach is to simply make a goal of collecting three bits of information every day, ideally in three different areas of your life, that you can gather in a journal or notebook. (For example: “one marketing strategy, one deal evaluation tip, one quote about a positive mindset.”)
This doesn’t mean you can’t gather more than three things in a single day. Many times, when learning how to start a real estate investment business, information will come at you fast and furious, like a real estate investing fire hose. And your knowledge base will take huge leaps with the sudden insights you garner.
But look for at least three key takeaways, each day, you can put in your “book” and reference at a later date. These “takeaways” don’t have to focus solely on real estate investing; they could be an interesting tidbit about small business you heard on a podcast. Or a historical bit of trivia you found in an online article.
Though the information you’re collecting is important, what’s even more important is that you’re conditioning your brain to be on the lookout for new ideas, new insights. Doing this consistently can often be worth more than a single marketing strategy you uncover.
3. Ask Yourself Productive Questions Every Day
The brain loves questions, riddles, and games. So why not tap into this powerful motivator inside you to help you find creative solutions to whatever problem you are facing when starting a real estate business?
For example, you could ask yourself the following questions:
- What’s one thing I could do right now to improve the performance of my marketing?
- How could I boost the conversion rate of my landing page?
- What’s the best way for me to be more productive with the time I have?
Notice none of these are yes/no questions. You want to avoid questions that have simple answers. (You’re trying to tap into the creative problem-solving part of your brain.)
You also want to avoid “why” questions — such as “why aren’t I doing better” or “why aren’t I seeing success yet?” Questions like these put you in an unresourceful state, which not only won’t make you feel better but put you further and further away from productive action.
You’re Making Progress (Even If It Doesn’t Feel Like)
We’d all like to snap our fingers and instantly be an expert in whatever endeavor we’re engaged in. And quite often, especially those starting a real estate business, we all get frustrated we aren’t making more progress and are tempted to believe we just aren’t cut out for the entrepreneurial life.
But as famed mythological researcher Joseph Campbell once said: “The purpose of the hero’s journey is not the destination, but who the hero becomes during the journey.” All the struggles and trials you will encounter, over the course of your entrepreneurial journey, are not only par for the course — but the building blocks for your future success.
Set up productive, daily habits now and the journey will be a lot less scary. (And hopefully a lot more profitable.)