(img: kenji yamamoto)
We're constantly creating piles of papers, receipts and invoices that need sorting. We send out emails and create web pages that aren't formatting correctly.
Embarrassing, but true.
We put out articles that have spelling mistakes in them.
We put out books with pages in the wrong order!
We constantly have people correcting our spelling and pointing out grammar mistakes.
We have people give us "free website critiques" because they can't stand how we aren't using the latest page optimizing web secrets.
And we've found that many people are very particular about spelling. This is a biggie, more people get their heads in a knot over spelling than anything else.
In fact, they will judge the competency of entire organization by the amount of spelling mistakes in a brochure, pamphlet or web page. (That may put us somewhere near the bottom of anyone's list!)
But you should know something.
We're often asked, "Guys, how do you get so much done?". We personally write original content for a weekly email, a weekly blog post, a monthly 12-page paper based newsletter, a monthly 1-page CD insert, a 6-page VIP Letter, a live monthly VIP Teleconference and a monthly audio CD interview. This is in addition to starting up a brokerage, buying more properties for ourselves, getting our first two books completed, delivering training classes, holding events, attending events, writing new marketing material, making mini video clips, going on vacation and travelling...you get the idea. We're not sharing this to brag, plenty get much more done than we do, make us look like slackers actually ... we're sharing this to create context.
The most straight talking business mentor that we've ever met, Dan Kennedy, speaks these words repeatedly, I'm paraphrasing here, "Success is messy, you must create more mess and chaos than you can accommodate - that is what success is all about."
Years ago we tried doing everything perfectly. We really prided ourselves on having all our "ducks in a row" before we did anything, published anything or finished anything. We would speak with our lawyer, accountant and map out our ten next steps perfectly.
That's when we had no properties and were making zero real estate income.
At that time we weren't accomplishing much, so we had all the time in the world to plan and plan some more!
Every time we would look at a property it either didn't perfectly fit our "16 point criteria" (the basement wasn't finished or it had an oil tank or the the windows were older than we liked or the roof had 3 years life on it instead of 6 ... and on and on it went)
OR, our magical excel spreadsheet spit out cash flow returns that were 3% off our "ideal goal". Or, three of the six "creative clauses" that we had in our agreements weren't accepted.
So we moved on.
We cannot possibly explain how much money that has cost us. Not because we were doing proper "due diligence" on a property. We're talking about holding out for the "perfect property", in the "perfect area", for the "perfect price".
Now you may know that we have our own brokerage. So this message is a little self serving, right? So we urge you not to believe anything we are stating here, but instead find people who have what you want and ask them how they get things done. Find out for yourself how "achievers" get things done. I bet behind their finely groomed exteriors you'll find a bit of chaos going on.
Everyone has their "missed opportunity" stories and will throw out big numbers ... we don't want to play that game but we truthfully believe that waiting for the "perfect" opportunity has cost us hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars in profits over the last nine years.
If you are trying to be perfect with anything you do, and this includes real estate investing, learn from our mistakes and mistakes of others.
Most of the time it's not fear that holds us back from moving forward. Instead, it's the feeling of embarrassment you'll have if things don't work out as planned.
Let go of it.
Real estate investing is a process.
And like any process it has a beginning, a middle and an end.
At the start of your real estate investing process you'll need to create a bit of a mess. You'll need to make mistakes. There's no way around this.
Seriously, there's no way around making mistakes. You have to make some, it's part of the process. You can follow advice from people who have gone before you but trust us, you'll still make some mistakes!
Then you'll get a handle on things and you'll move forward faster and better than before.
And finally, you'll reap the rewards of your actions.
If you an investment that satisfys 80% of your criteria sometimes you'll need to take the leap of faith at that point.
Now, many "purists" reading this will say that's insane. We've had them tell us, "No way, you MUST complete a 101 check point analysis with a perfect score before moving forward."
OK great, good luck with that.
We're not suggesting to proceed irresponsibly - solid due diligence is the hallmark to any good investor. Please read that again.
Solid due diligence is 100% mandatory before you buy an investment. All we are saying is that if you wait for the absolute "perfect" investment then you'll never invest. Period.
The only reason we are able to get as much done as we do is because we have let go of the idea of perfection.
This applies to everything...
If we waited to have the perfect website design before we proceeded with it we would have no time to write articles.
Without articles on the website there's no content for the search engines. With no content for the search engines people will never find us.
When we purchase a property we often don't bother having the water heater bill or property tax bills sent to the correct address (at first!). Surprising right?
But you know what we ARE doing?
We are marketing the property, we are returning phone calls, we are showing people the property, we are communicating with our "customers".
Because the most important part of real estate investing is creating cash flow. And you can't create cash flow by being on hold at the tax office to change your address. You can't create cash flow by mowing the lawn of you rental property instead of advertising it. You can't create cash flow by "strategizing" a the perfect marketing plan to make it perfect before you implement it.
The money is made by ignoring the 80% of things that don't make you money and focusing on the 20% of things that do.
And that can get messy.
The money is in the critical few activities. Your goal should be getting people to the house. Everything else can wait.
There's plenty of time to have the water heater bill and property taxes mailed to the correct address.
Anyone can take something 90% of the way. It's that last 10% where the money is.
Do you wait for perfect formatting on your new web page or do you go ahead and publish?
Do you wait until all the margins are aligned perfectly in your report or do you mail it out?
Do you wait until the grass is mowed or the snow is shoveled to show your rental property, or do you go ahead and show it?
One day, a couple of years ago, we met possible tenants out at a property in the middle of a HUGE snow storm. We can't believe they made it out, but they did.
Most people would have cancelled the appointments, but we literally "plowed" ahead!
There was a six foot snow drift blocking the front door. We had people waiting on the street while we cut a 2 foot pathway through the snow so they could get to the house.
That's the last 10%. That the "mess" required for success.
Another mentor recently said this, "Let go of the illusion of perfection".
And he summarized things nicely, which we'll adapt here...
We appreciate your patience with any of our "spelling challenged" emails or articles. We'll compromise on that occasionally.
But we'll never compromise on sharing the very best information we have.
Until next time ... Your Life! Your Terms!
Great article! Right to the point. Perfectionism slows people down.
I used to have this mental block in my mind that everything got to be done right and perfect, but stepped over it.
P.S. By the way, I didn't check my spelling mistakes. Content and thoughts are more important
Seriously, this is probably the best article I have read!
Guys - great article!!! I loved it.
We live by the mantra:
Sloppy success is better than perfect mediocrity!
I think Alex Mandossian is who we heard that one from.
And - truth be told - we create a ton of mess too!! Just a couple of weeks ago our accountant called us out for an urgent lunch. We thought, hmm maybe he just wants to thank us for bringing him so much business?? We were about 90 seconds into lunch and he said: You guys are doing great things but I'm worried if you keep going like this it will be a disaster so let's get you better organized."
So the secondary part of this post should be that as the entrepreneur, the investor, the creator go for it - make a mess! And then make smart choices about who you surround yourself with so there ARE those people around you cleaning up after you and making sure your mess isn't ruining your business!! 🙂
Great post Tom!
If the chaos/mess of a home office is part of success then I'm already there 🙂
Hey Julie, yeah, you're 100% right! Having the right people to "clean up the mess" as you go is mandatory. I hope your Accountant paid for that lunch ... it was his idea 😉
LOL, that's totally a sign!
Very cool, thanks for that Neil.
Touché Vitaliy, touché!
I agree as well. Recently I was getting some homes re-appraised to pull out equity. The homes were far from perfect and I contemplated making them perfect. I however did the absolute necessary and got awesome results by instead researching and providing the appraiser with comparable sales in the area and not worrying about 2 old windows in a home. (putting the time where it mattered the most).
I also have learned to reduce messy success I must give up on something else. One year I gave up all yard maintenance on all properties, last year I found a bookeeper, recently I found a handyman to take care of all my minor repairs. I am a firm believer in time management as well. For instance I will only look at a piece of paper once, then take action on it, file it or destroy it. Like tom and nick say its about developing systems to reach your goal, and not getting concerned about the minor details. Other wise you will plateau.
So Cheers to messy success !!!!!!
Great article guys!
Here's a quote I love because it sends pretty much the same message:
"In life, it’s between choosing risk and striving for greatness, or risking nothing and being certain of mediocrity"
Risking perfection for success is a pretty fab trade off! Love your articles, they are a great read everytime. Keep 'em coming!
I changed my signature on my cell phone to:
Sent from my IPhone. Please excuse the brevity, spelling and punctuation.
No more replies about spelling or grammar mistakes!
May be you should preface it on your articles, books and blogs 😉
Great one Tania, thanks for sharing!!
Awesome idea. We just just put that sig on all our emails. That way we can be short and to the point with everyone in every message! Loving that.
Right on Steve, congrats on creating some chaos!
haha!! He did - but I think we'll pay for it in the end when the annual bill arrives. 🙂
[...] Achievement Success: Driving People Nuts: Success is messy. We meet too many people trying to make things perfect before they go forward. The reality is that things will never be perfect. When you take action some things work out, and some things don’t. It’s inevitable. This is a great post from our friends Nick and Tom Karadza on just this subject. And it’s one of their best posts in our opinion so check it out. [...]
I am a couple of articles behind, just read this one. I noticed the spelling errors a long time ago. I always wondered if people commented to you about that. I recognize the large workload you guys have and appreciate the info content of your articles. I just purchased my third income property prior to a possible forclosure and it has been a real experience. Keep up the good work
Hi guys great articale : I just wanted to say , people shouldn't be so worried about a few spelling mistakes here and there , it is more about the great information you are supplying to us all . Without the great information you are supplying to us a lot of people wouldn't be where they are today . So on behalf of the Rock Stars who appreciate the information .I would like to thank you guys ! P.s. Great job keep the info coming , spelling mistakes and all . Wayne Speers
[…] been a long time since we posted “Success Secret Numero Uno” … and we still get a lot of comments about the […]
You two continue to be an inspiration to me!
Thanks for that Pierre-Paul, keeping doing your thing! -Tom.
I enjoyed reading your story guys, from big mistakes it become your stepping stone to successful path 🙂