With more than a decade of experience as a real estate investor under my belt, I can say — with the utmost confidence, might I add — that real estate is as rewarding as it is challenging. Believe me, I have spent more than 10 years pouring my heart and soul into what is now the country’s premier real estate education company: FortuneBuilders. I was fortunate enough to have realized my dreams through hard work and determination, and there is no reason you can’t do the same. Years of sweat equity have culminated in a profession I couldn’t be more proud of, and I owe a lot of what I have today to the hard work and sleepless nights I continue to put in.
But I digress; traditional “norms” associated with hard work are not applicable to the average real estate investor, or any entrepreneur for that matter. While hard work and due diligence are a significant part of the equation every successful entrepreneur has likely already solved, they come complete with one significant caveat: hard work doesn’t always translate into success. It’s a hard truth, but a reality nonetheless; not everyone that works hard is guaranteed to realize their true potential.
If for nothing else, hard work is a relative term. Who am I to say that someone isn’t working hard? I can assure you there are millions of Americans working as hard as they can (often times harder than those dubbed as wealthy) to simply make ends meet.
An inherent propensity to work hard is admirable, if not integral to the success of those who seek it. However, far too many people are convinced that hard work is the end-all be-all, and they give up when their efforts bear no fruit.
It’s worth noting, however, that working hard is only part of the equation. For one to truly realize their full potential, they must work smarter. In fact, there is one cardinal rule I will be sure to follow for the remainder of my career, and there is no reason you shouldn’t as well: you have to demonstrate that you are capable of being smarter than whatever it is you are working with. The most prestigious real estate investors are more than aware of the fact that it isn’t working harder that allows you to realize your potential, but rather working smarter that pays larger dividends. Don’t assume hard work isn’t involved, but rather the perfect compliment to a smart business strategy.
Working harder isn’t always better; it’s important, but rendered moot without a valiant attempt to work smarter. Take it from me, you must throw intuition out the door, which begs the question; how can today’s investors ensure they are working smarter, not harder?
I maintain that investors can simultaneously realize greater results without necessarily working harder by implementing two fundamental strategies: systems and technology.
Systemization is a process, procedure, method, or course of action designed to achieve a specific and predictable outcome. Having said that, real estate investors should have a system for every single thing they do on a daily basis. Coincidently, nothing has the power to transform a small business owner’s company into what they aspire it to be more than systems. As Michael Gerber, author of the famed E Myth book that was voted the number one business book by Inc. 500 CEOs, so eloquently puts it, “When it is systemized and applied purposely by a small business owner, the business development process has the power to transform any small business into an incredibly effective organization.”
You will find no greater proponent of business systems than myself, and for good reason; nothing else makes it easier to habitually realize success. In other words, systems make it possible for investors — or any entrepreneurs for that matter — to expect a predictable outcome, regardless of the task at hand. All things considered, the right systems make it entirely possible to work smarter, not harder.
It’s safe to assume those that have neglected implementing systems altogether are making their jobs more difficult, as every task they assume responsibility for must account for the additional expenditure of time; precious moments that must go into planning prior to implementation. Those with a system, however, are presented with a road map of the most efficient processes before they even begin.
In systemizing your business, you are committing to a change — perhaps one you aren’t familiar with. However, it’s a change that will facilitate the one thing that will make your life easier than ever: efficiency. With efficiency in your corner, it’s entirely possible to work smarter not harder.
Not unlike the complete systemization of your business, technology has the inherent ability to increase efficiency, which, as I have already discussed, is the key to working smarter. If for nothing else, technology enables its users to complete more work with less energy invested. I maintain that nothing can accelerate the formation of a competent real estate company faster than technology, at least when paired with the right education and systems. Everything from marketing and lead generation to research and management can be made easier (and more efficient) by technology. After all, what is technology, if not for a vehicle to make complex processes simpler?
As an investor, you must seek to become proactive. Determine how technology can automate activities, mitigate risk, and maximize profits, and don’t hesitate to use it to your advantage. Provided the right technologies are implemented and leveraged well enough, there is no reason they can’t make your life a lot easier as an investor.
It’s worth noting that both systems and technology will enable savvy real estate investors to become more efficient with their time, and therefore work smarter (not harder). However, running a successful business isn’t contingent solely on efficient practices, but rather what you do with the time you end up saving. While technology and systems are entirely capable of saving you a lot of time, you must see to it that you don’t waste the hours you are given. Only once you have discovered the secret of working smarter will you bestowed with more time, and only through more time will you be able to realize your true potential.