This week marks an achievement of sorts.
Today, Rock Star Real Estate made the Profit 500 list as one of the fastest growing companies in Canada, #174 to be exact.
And that’s pretty cool.
I think when we were just starting out this would have felt like a big deal… But today we look at it more as an acknowledgement that we have survived.
When we were stuffing our marketing material into envelopes on our hands and knees in my garage, I don’t think we ever thought we’d be here today.
Let’s face it, we’ve had a lot of good fortune, a great team, awesome clients, and let’s not forget super low interest rates + amazingly resilient Canadian economy.
So lady luck has played a role.
A while back, we wrote an article that has proven pretty popular, Quitting Your Job and Going it Alone.
It summed up a lot of the lessons we have learned over the years.
Today it feels like the right time to revisit what we’ve learned and try to share as much as we can.
If you’re out there… Frustrated with your job, your life, or whatever, please know that you can change it all. And that change can happen fairly quickly.
For context, we’re two brothers from Mississauga who wanted to help people invest in real estate. We thought of this after feeling like no one was putting their name on the line and truly standing by the side of investors.
We quit our jobs outright to do it.
Nick was newly married so he had a spouse to convince that this was a brilliant idea.
I was in a corporate sales role in the software industry with a spouse at home, a 5-year-old son, a 10-month old daughter, and fairly large mortgage on our house.
Perfect time to quit right? LOL
Let’s jump into it.
Here’s some of what we’ve learned along this journey (what we shared in our other post on this topic here still applies and we’ll try not to duplicate anything here, unless it’s super important to us:
Knowing How To Make Your Phone Ring with New Clients/Customers is Still Skill #1
After just saying we wouldn’t repeat anything, here we are repeating this, LOL!
And we are because it’s just that important.
Why more people and small businesses don’t spend money investing into their own marketing education completely baffles us.
Writing off “marketing” or “sales” and dirty work is one way for you to be a sole operator forever.
If you really want a lifestyle that allows you to have time freedom, you’re going to need to build a business and not “be the business.”
Generating more calls than you can deal with allows you to add team members.
You don’t “spend money” on marketing. When done right, marketing is an “investment” into your business.
And there’s very good news… Most businesses are horrible at it. So if you just invest a little bit of time and money in understanding it, you’ll have a great competitive advantage.
Our understanding of marketing allowed us to grow our team from two people to over 30 today.
It’s allowed us from doing one deal in our first four months, to doing more than one a day last year.
Go Against The Grain
If you ever dare talk to anyone about quitting your job and going out on your own, here’s what you’re going to hear…
Everyone is going to tell you that what you’re doing is crazy, doesn’t have a chance, and has already been done.
Or that it’s the wrong time to start something new in your life because of:
b. You already have a good career
c. You won’t have benefits if you quit
d. There’s about to be a market crash
e. All of the above
My own accountant told me and my wife that it wasn’t a good idea to quit my job.
I didn’t listen.
Now, don’t go out and quit without a plan. But don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do what you want to do. End of story.
It’s True: There’s Never A Right Time
There’s never a right time to quit, to start a business, to hire your first assistant, to buy your first investment property, to do anything.
And that’s true.
You never have enough money. The economy is never at the right point. Property prices are too low or too high.
It’s those people who act in spite of this that gets stuff done.
If you wait for the perfect time for ANYTHING, you will be waiting a very long time.
If you wait until you have 100% of the knowledge that you feel you need before you act, then you’ll never begin.
Again, we’re not saying that preparation isn’t important when investing in real estate or quitting your job, but once you have about 80% of the knowledge you need and you have some good mentors/team around you, then it’s time to start.
Life Really is Messy, Business May Be Even Messier
Our offices are messy.
Nick’s looks like a storage room.
Mine looks like you’ve walking into a life size filing cabinet.
The idea that a business owner has a clean and organized desk is a myth.
Nothing in real estate investing or business building goes according to plan. Nothing.
Professionals go bad on you, properties have problems, marketing stops working, people quit, some people love you, a lot hate you… It’s endless, but it’s completely normal and to be expected.
Anything you do should look like a constant state of chaos.
If we don’t feel like chaos is going on around us, then we feel like we’re not moving fast enough or doing enough.
Chaos, some confusion, and mess is actually good, don’t be scared of it.
It means you’re doing stuff.
Pick a Business That Has a Higher Purpose Than the Transaction Itself
This is important on many levels.
First off, after you start making a steady stream of money, the business itself can get old quick.
The excitement of doing a real estate transaction vanishes the first time an “experienced agent” rips you a new a$$hole because you forgot some paperwork.
Having a bigger purpose for what it is you are doing gives your life fuel.
Our higher purpose is helping people live life on their own terms … “Your Life. Your Terms.”
This idea has helped keep us very focused on the big picture.
On a strategic level, having a “higher purpose” for your business is one way to keep your customer engaged with you much longer than any industry average would suggest.
Streamline Your Decision Making With Principles
We have some principles that we live by and we explain them to the entire Rock Star team:
- Always do what you think is the right thing.
- Treat others as you would treat yourself.
- Give 110%
These are not original.
In fact, I got them from a Sales VP at Oracle who really was rather annoying.
But he played this one motivational video to the entire sales force that had some U.S. football coach blurt out these principles. I have no idea who the coach was, but these principles stuck.
Anytime I personally have a difficult family decision or a business decision to make, I just go back to these and the answer is always easy.
Nick does the same thing.
We encourage our entire team to do the same.
allowed us forced us to keep our word, even when we wanted to take the easy way out of something.
And we’ve found that keeping your word is a very rare thing in business.
That’s helped us in many, many ways.
We’ve had many internal meetings that go like this:
“What’s the right thing to do in this situation? OK then, let’s do that.”
The best part of this?
When we see our own team make decisions based on “the right thing to do,” even when it’s the difficult thing to do, it is truly an amazing feeling.
Get Over It, You’re Not Going To Make Everyone Happy
No matter how much you try and live by the principles we just mentioned, there’s always going to be someone thinking you screwed them someway or somehow.
Get over that quick.
Those people, they’ve got problems 🙂
At one point, we used to read the comments of very single person who unsubscribed from our email list… If there’s a better way to put yourself into a perpetual state of mild depression, we don’t know of it!
Nick and I used to obsess for days over an investor who thought we didn’t have their best interests in mind, when in fact, we always did.
Their expectations of us were such that we could never win no matter how hard we tried.
Part of that is our fault by not being as clear as we could have been, but we’ve come to realize that sometimes it’s just not our fault.
If you’re living and doing business with integrity, then get over negative people and events quickly.
Your time is better used elsewhere.
Put Yourself on A Deadline
Tim Ferriss shared Parkinson’s Law a while back and it’s 100% true:
“Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.”
A lot of people will ask us, “How do you get out so much content onto your websites?”
Well it goes like this,
Every Thursday morning from 9:30am to 11am is “new blog post time.” We start at 9:30am, and by 11am, it must be completed because we’re booked with other stuff.
So whatever the blog post looks like at 11am is how it goes out.
What deadlines do you have yourself on? Deadlines work, get some!
Momentum is Tough to Build But It Lasts
When you start a business it takes a while to get going.
When you buy your first investment property it takes a long time to really make the big money.
But when things begin to kick-in, the momentum propels you, your investing, your business, and your life into amazing new waters.
The equity snowball of properties compounds slowly at first but then really takes off.
Your first ten customers take a lot more work then the next ten and so on.
In business, we find the many people UNDERESTIMATE the amount of leads and work it takes to make enough money to make them happy.
But once you build momentum, it starts to feed on itself.
Don’t give up before the momentum really begins, sometimes it starts so slowly that you feel nothing is happening… That’s often not the case.
Know Your Numbers
How many leads do you need to make a sale?
How many tenants do you need viewing a property to sign a lease?
Knowing your numbers gives you freedom because then everything boils itself down to a math problem.
Can’t sign a lease? What five things can we do to get more tenants leads? Not what one thing, what five things.
Can’t make enough sales to support your new business? What ten things can we do to drive in new potential customers? Not what one thing, what ten things.
And start those things today, not tomorrow. Actually, start those things within the next five minutes.
People Are Attracted To Your Energy
How do people feel when they are done chatting with you?
Better about life or worse?
Do the feel excited or depressed?
Literally watch them walk away from you. Are they walking away high-fiving life? Or are they disappointed and sour.
Raise your personal energy… It’s good for your life and good for your business.
This takes personal development. Yes, we mean that you must work on yourself.
What are you putting into your brain every day? Are you reading anything positive each morning?
Having personal quiet time every morning is important. Organize your thoughts, read something inspiring, gett organized for the day.
This time is especially important when you’re starting something new. You’re going to have a lot of crap thrown your way and if you’re not in the right mindset to handle it, you’ll feel defeated quickly.
Work on yourself.
Some Days Will Suck … Badly
There’s going to be some days that you feel like packing it all in.
Sell all your properties.
Shut down your small business.
Find the cheapest flight to Costa Rica and hide.
Totally normal, expect it.
Here’s what to know…
Tomorrow it’ll all feel a bit better. Whatever is bothering you today always looks a little silly after a good night’s sleep.
Don’t overreact, don’t respond to anything in an emotional tantrum… Write off the day, go play, then go to sleep, and start again.
Someone, somewhere once said, “This too shall pass,” and they were right.
OK, we could go on and on we suppose.
Hopefully, you can extract a nugget of value from this rant.
We’re very grateful to be in the position we’re in today but we also feel like we’ve got to wake up and continue creating a mess and some chaos.
If we ever cross paths, please know that we’ll gladly share anything and everything we can to help you on your journey.
We truly believe in living your life on your own terms and want to help in any way we can.
We’re still working on this ourselves!
Enjoy the day, off to deal with a problem that’s brewing somewhere 😉
Until next time … Your Life! Your Terms!