How to Own Your Investing Business: A Lesson in Entrepreneurship

/ 8 min read

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” –Andrew Carnegie

Who’s this for?

If you’re reading this, you’re probably a real estate business owner, partner, or self-proclaimed investor. You might be the acquisitions manager, property seller, lead intake representative, marketing manager, transaction coordinator, or everything all at once.

If you’ve already done a deal and you’re doing everything all at once…stop it.

If you’re trying to step out of the day-to-day deal making and start owning a business, then this post is for you.

If you’re trying to ONLY do a specific part of your business, like the fun negotiating with motivated sellers, then this is how you can build a company around you doing the fun stuff.

Or, if you’re aiming to make 12X what you made last year, but actually just want to ride your mountain bike while that’s happening, then this post will also resonate with you.

My goal is to deconstruct what it means to “work smart, not hard” rather than hearing that term thrown around without tactical steps.

By the end, you’ll understand the steps to actually owning your real estate business. You’ll learn how put your business on train tracks leading to the glorious land of Successville 😉

Preface

As a precursor to what we’ll be discussing, there’s one thing I need to mention: First, you need to believe.

You need to feel everything associated with getting a deal done. You need to internalize the process, the challenges, the vendors you work with locally, your market, and completely understand the service or product you are fulfilling.

Therefore, I believe you need to use the resources available to you (coaches, youtube, podcasts) to do ONE deal yourself. It’s a right of passage.

Then, you will have a much stronger connection with the information that follows, because you intimately understand the way value is transferred.

Create a System That Serves Others

Becoming an entrepreneur is not the same as doing one wholesale deal or rehab. Those are the tactics, or operational maneuvers, to fulfill a service or product for others.

Being an entrepreneur means one thing: Creating systems that serve others.

In our case, we provide a service to the seller in the form of a quick no b.s. sale. For end buyers we provide the product of profit potential or a rehabbed house to live in.

The systems you create to fulfill these services are

  1. The processes and technologies that dictate the way you execute deals
  2. The people you put in place to run #1

If you’re not focusing full time on these two things, you’re not really a full time entrepreneur/owner.

You may be an investor, but you don’t own an investing business yet. As a business owner, you need to be focusing simultaneously on systems AND working with others to attain your goals.

Personally, I’ve done hundreds of real estate deals and I’ve grown a software business built around deal execution, so I am qualified to at least point you in the right direction when it comes to this stuff.

We’ll break down the post in the following sections: Processes, Technology, People, and You.

Processes

Level 1. Knowledge:

In its most basic form, a process is simply a way of doing that only exists as a programmed action in your brain Brushing your teeth is a process. We just know how to do it. It exists merely as knowledge, or the potential for action.

Level 2. External Representation

The next level of a process is represented externalIy. If for some super odd reason I had to teach a robot how to brush its teeth, I’d record a video of myself brushing my own teeth along with a short paragraph description about the why and how to brush. Then I’d simply hand the instructions over to the robot so it can have squeaky clean robot teeth.

With this simple set of instructions from something I only knew intuitively, I can create a whole army of tooth brushing robots without getting in the way, all thanks to the external representation of my previously internally stored knowledge.

In our real estate business, we know it as a step-by-step checklist, a screen capture video stored in an organized company wiki platform like Tetra, Notion.so, or even Evernote.

A coaching program is a collection of processes that teach a way for YOU to execute real estate deals, not the tangible steps for YOU to create a self-sufficient deal making machine.

No disrespect to coaching programs, but once you find out YOU can’t do everything yourself, most investors get stuck and don’t know how to get unstuck. The secret? Train tracks.

Level 3. Execution Accountability

If there’s no train tracks of processes laid out in order fulfill a service, your business is going to be improvising its way through deals like a jazz musician through a solo.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to improvise and go with the flow, but it’s impossible to achieve financial independence without removing yourself in order SCALE your business past what you could ever physically do alone.

The moment you embrace this is the moment you can start being a business owner.

At this level, you organize your processes into train tracks. By train tracks, I mean a system of task based execution.

Step by step, your way of doing things is externally represented so that a properly qualified person can do it. These people will have specific job roles, and all you need to do is keep them on the train tracks of task based action steps so you can hold them accountable and leave nothing to chance.

This is where technology comes into play.

Technology

Speaking in more concrete terms, your train tracks are the tools you use to store the business information needed for you and your team to execute deals. They are your CRM, or Customer Relationship Manager. They are your email account, your phone, your hammers and nails.

Your train tracks are the the physical and digital representation of what your processes document, and in order to scale your business, you can’t live without them.

For those who know me, you know I love Podio. Podio is my train tracks. It allows me to create structured, task based processes totally customized to the details of of my way of doing things. It IS the process, documented in the form of an executable task relevant to different deal stages.

Train tracks in this context mean a system of execution accountability. It’s the missing ingredient most business owners oversee in hopes that the people they hire will just do what is expected of them.

If setup correctly, any qualified person can stay on the train tracks you’ve built. It holds them accountable to take an incoming lead, followup with that lead, and turn it into a profitable contract.

Here’s the kicker though: Once you’ve built the train tracks for your operations, Now YOU don’t need to be on the train tracks at all.

People

Quick caveat: Do not letting the setting up of systems, processes, and systems of execution accountability (train tracks) stop you from bringing people on. Like I said earlier, as a business owner you need to be focusing simultaneously on systems AND working with others to attain your goals.

In fact, you can even bring on people FIRST (after you’ve done a deal yourself) to help you improve upon and document the processes. They can even create their own checklists and apps on a CRM so that THEY can bring someone on to fulfill the task.

That way if they leave your business, they can quickly be replaced with someone else because the roadmap for their role has already been laid out.

Putting your team on a predetermined train track is all about bottleneck removal.

The trick with people is bringing on the RIGHT people. Here are a few pointers:

  1. Culture fit: Make sure you get along with them personally, have strong rapport as a fellow human, and genuinely enjoy them as someone you get to work with every day.
  2. Role fit: Make sure they are performing duties in your operations that they authentically enjoy doing and falls within their unique strengths. A strong negotiator isn’t going to want to put up bandit signs. Hire for your weaknesses and the weaknesses of the overall business.
  3. Motivation: Make sure you hire people that are instrinsicly motivated to succeed, rather than someone that just needs to fill time. When interviewing, ask questions like “what keeps you up at night?” or “what would you do if money wasn’t a concern at all?”
  4. Hire for attitude, NOT aptitude. Previous experience, education, or pedigree means very little in the modern workforce. You want the right fit, then you can train for skill by putting them on your company process train tracks and providing constant iterative feedback.

The awesome thing about using a system like Podio to act as your train tracks is you can actually see the results of your team. With the technology now, their actions can be tracked in the form of KPIs or Key Performance Indicators.

Notice they haven’t been converting many appointments into closed deals? They need negotiating training or need to be replaced. Maybe you noticed no offers were made today. Hold your team accountable to get the offers out!

The system you’ve given them should make daily activities obvious and easy to execute so you don’t have to worry about it. Rather, you just have to oversee and tweak the process, or empower your team to do so on your behalf.

You

Now that you’ve spent the time to build systems of processes, technology to house the processes, and the people to hold accountable, what do YOU do?

Congratulations, you’ve built a machine that can accomplish more than you could ever do individually. As an owner, YOU are now responsible for everything that happens in your business.

If someone messes up, the best bosses will take responsibility themselves and fix the system so it doesn’t happen again.

Now it’s time to focus on the bigger picture, high leverage tasks of an owner. These can include:

  • Expansion into new markets
  • Raising money
  • Ideas for new marketing channels
  • Recruiting rockstar team members
  • Analyzing your KPIs and tweaking the systems or people processes that are involved
  • Taking care of your health and wellbeing so you can be a better leader
  • Educating yourself and acquiring new knowledge to be systemized and outsourced later
  • Negotiating major deals
  • Working with strategic partners that can help scale your business
  • Designing more systems
  • Investing your profits into passive income
  • Whatever you enjoy doing most in your business operationally. If you love doing due diligence…have at it!

Wrapping Up

People ask me all the time about Podio, automation, and outsourcing. As an owner, YOU should not be using Podio.

Podio (or whatever system you use) is the train tracks for your business’s gravy train to deal-land.

Do not let the minutiae of the day-to-day stand in the way to the growth of your entrepreneurial skills. Use it as an outlet to practice your system building and leadership skills.

This is how you become an owner.