The business of real estate investing is no different than any other business. Our success (or failure) comes about because of our choices. Good or bad, we all have to take full responsibility for our choices. Each choice that you make implements a behavior that over time becomes a habit. And it is those habits that are directly responsible for our success or failure. Good habits and routines are the essence of our success or failure.
Choices + Behaviors + Habits = Success or Failure
That can be a bitter pill to swallow; the fact that we actually have no one to blame but ourselves for the state of our business. Now if things are great in your real estate business right now, congratulations. But if you are still not where you want to be, it’s time to “buck up baby” and take responsibility for those choices. It’s never too late to change course. There are 6 critical habits for success you need to establish today.
Bookend Your Days
What I have found is that most days we have very little control over what happens in the middle of our day. We can have the best of intentions and the best schedule outlined for ourselves, when unexpectedly all hell breaks loose.
- No contractors show up on your rehab
- A water line breaks inside one of your rental properties and floods the place
- Your car breaks down on the way to an important meeting
There are a million things that can happen. But here’s the thing; we can almost always control the very beginning of our day and the last part of our day. That’s where creating routines that become habits will catapult your results in your business. What can you do? Make it a point to get up an hour earlier so that you can spend an hour or two each morning working on your business. Do the same thing every evening. Most days each of us will end up spending the majority of our time working in our business. But not taking time regularly to work on your business is a recipe for failure.
Create A Sunday Night Ritual. Start Every Week and Every Day with a Plan
You can’t get up early to work on your business and spend half that time creating a plan. The best way I have found of doing this preparation is to spend some time on Sunday night planning your week. I’m not talking necessarily about a minute by minute plan, but an outline of the big things you want to accomplish and a general plan for getting them done day by day. Then each evening spend a little time planning the next day in more detail. It’s pretty simple, but getting this habit firmly rooted in place isn’t always easy.
Here’s an example of not having a plan:
It’s January 30th and you didn’t get your direct mail out. You’ve decided to make some changes, and you are still trying to create the perfect mail piece. Before you know it, you look up and it’s February. But that’s OK; you think you have it figured out so you say, “I will get back to this in a few days”.
Another month goes by, and you still haven’t actually mailed anything for the third month in a row. By now you’re starting to freak out because no money is coming in the door and the checkbook balance is almost in the negative. Can you see how this could have been prevented?
Review and Adjust Your Goals At Least Monthly
Let’s face it; some of the goals we set last January might not still be still things we want to pursue by the last quarter of the year. Real estate is an ever changing business, and we have to be ready to change with the times. When you look back at your goals if some of them no longer serve you or are in alignment with the business you are now creating, make a new list. And if you have dropped the ball on some of the things that are still important to you and the growth of your business it’s not too late to jump in and get started on those before the end of the year. When you are doing your Sunday night planning, be sure the things you plan to do that week are in alignment with your goals. That’s especially important at this time of the year; in the final quarter of the year.
Focus On the Small Things
When was the last time you got bitten by an elephant? I’m guessing never. How about a mosquito? That’s because it’s the almost always the little things in life that get you; that bite you in the butt. Things like this:
- You’re really trying to cut back on the junk food and lose a few pounds, and tonight while watching TV and instead of eating a few M&M’s you suddenly realize you just ate the whole giant sized bag. Not paying attention can definitely get you into trouble.
- Or maybe it was that you put off calling back the seller that “interrupted your Sunday afternoon”. You might have intended to call them back the first thing Monday morning but you forgot. Tuesday rolls around and you get busy and once again you put it off. Suddenly on Wednesday you pick up the phone and call the seller only to be told they were desperate and they sold the house on Monday afternoon to the only person that called. Ouch!
Don’t put off things you should do today that have the potential to earn you income in the future. Send out that thank you note, follow up with that seller, and make those phone calls you have been putting off.
Your New Accountability Partner; Your Calendar
I have written many times about the many advantages of having an actual accountability partner. Having an accountability partner is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your business. This person might be your actual business partner if you can actually hold each other accountable (and still be partners and friends) or it may be someone completely outside of your business like I have. I actually have two accountability partners at this time. But there is one other type of accountability partner that everyone should have, and that is your great big old wall calendar.
I can promise you this; if you schedule everything and refuse to turn the calendar page when the month ends unless everything is done (short of a real disaster or family disaster), you will start to see results that you really can’t imagine at this time. Holding yourself accountable will begin the process of creating habits and behaviors that will create massive results in time. And that’s when “Big Mo” will begin to show up in your life.
I have included a picture of my October calendar. I have a vacation scheduled for the week of October 13th. You will notice that there are things that need to happen that week, one of which is having this post to Brandon on time. So that has to be scheduled the week before I leave along with all of my other “must do’s”. I have purposely left some open time in those last 2 weeks for things that will inevitably come up.
I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this because I just did a whole post on “Big Mo” over on my blog last week. But Big Mo in case you haven’t guessed it is “momentum”. Big Mo shows up as a result of taking those small seemingly inconsequential steps consistently over time when suddenly they begin to compound. By this I mean you do those things every week, every month and in some cases every year without seeing any immediate results or “instant gratification”. Then one day when you least expect it, you look up and realize that it’s knocking on your door; Big Mo has arrived. And once you have it; once you have momentum you are unstoppable.
There are a whole lot more habits and routines that you can put in to place, but I believe these are 6 critical habits for success that you need to establish today. Habits and routines are powerful forces not only in your business but in your life.
Photo Credit: justonlysteve