How to Flip Houses Like Instagram

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In 2010, a small California company opened its doors for business.

With a small staff of four and an extremely limited capital, they surely lacked size and money, they even lacked a phone system.

What they did have is a singular vision, which was to outdo Kodak.

Even the most optimistic glass half-full person wouldn’t think this to be remotely possible, considering the humble beginnings.

But 18 months later, that little company of four with no capital and no phone system was sold to Facebook for $1 billion.

Perfect Timing and Perfect Luck…Right?

Front page articles in every business magazine in the world, Instagram was a worldwide sensation, with their technology perfectly tuned into the market. With millions of people taking pictures on iPhones, suddenly any amateur could look like a professional photographer.

Right time, right product, right offering…perfect in all ways. Right?

Wrong.

The interesting part is that Instagram became Instagram not because they produced the amazing app many of us use today, it’s because they kept to the principle of starting BEFORE everything was perfect. Sticking to the mantra of:

“DONE is better than perfect”

And you, the real estate investor or house flipper should do the very same…

The Concept of “Done Is Better Than Being Perfect”

What many people don’t realize is that there was a very buggy, ill-conceived precursor to Instagram called Scotch that was released years before the Instagram of today.  It didn’t have any of those cool filters we all love and it was super slow and rife with bugs and technical issues.

Believe it or not, their first app was patterned after a whiskey app called Burbnhence the name “Scotch”, I’m pretty sure.

It bombed…but the founders learned what worked and what didn’t.

But to the people at Instagram, the concept of photo-sharing kept them motivated…as did their mission to outdo Kodak. Which of course they did – and became multimillionaires in the process.

Done Is Better Than Perfect In House Flipping

When I first started investing in real estate by flipping houses, I did so many things wrong. As I look back on it now, I just have to laugh at all the things I worried about that never came true.

When you’re first getting into this business, you want to do it right…but you don’t want to have so many obstacles in your way that you never do anything.

I was guilty of it at first…

But as soon as I realized that I didn’t have to be PERFECT, that’s when I finally made my first really big breakthroughs.

The point is when you are first starting, get it DONE first…then perfect it afterwards.

This does not mean create a sloppy, crappy mess…no way. What it does mean is do not fail to launch…just launch instead.

5 Ways to Get It Done While Not Being Perfect

When you’re first starting, make sure you do these five things:

1. Get A Business Structure

In creating a real estate business, it’s important that you do it but it’s not critical you do it right now, this second. Granted, it’s important to set up a business structure like an LLC, but many people get stuck on this step for weeks and months.

Don’t belabor the structure for too long: LLC, S Corp, DBA…lots of choices.

Just pick up the phone and call a local attorney and get it done and get it done fast – but do it right when you do it.

Done is better than perfect

2. Create a Web Presence

Don’t make the same mistakes I made when I was first starting out here either.

I belabored my first website, thinking that I had to have it up and running before I really started to go out in the people. A website for your business is important, but don’t get bogged down in the details.

In my case, I spent so much time making sure everything perfect, I probably waited too long in the sense of getting my business going. I should have launched a fast website and not belabored it for months and months…which I did.

The bottom line is this: get a website set up but it doesn’t have to be anything super fancy.  It will always be a work in progress.

Done is better than perfect

3. Get Business Cards

Recently, I got a very poor first impression of someone at a networking event gave me a business card with numbers crossed out, new numbers written in and with perforated edges. You’ve probably seen these kinds of business cards and they immediately project and unprofessional impression.

Mike Nelson wrote a great post on this subject this past week.

That kind of sloppiness is no excuse in today’s day and age – especially because you can get business cards done for at Vistaprint for under $20.  Vistaprint is good enough for the new investor, although in full disclosure I don’t use them now…but I did when I first started.

It’s a great way to get professional looking business cards NOW before you spend more money later with a professional designer.

Done is better than perfect

4. Get Out And Test Out Your Pitch

We’ve talked about your sixty-second pitch before. Its important to get it right…but it wont be at first. It’s OK because you will over time.

The thing is to get out there and starting doing it!

A friend of mine is re-naming his company, so he’s signed up for 3 different networking events and used three different 60 second pitches and used three different names at each one.

None of them were perfect but he decided on his name based on the feedback he got.

THIS is action! And the kind of action that’s not perfect.

Do the same. Don’t worry if your pitch isn’t perfect yet…get out and try it and see what happens…then adjust accordingly.

Done is better than perfect

5. Get A Contact Management System

iContact, Mailchimp, Constant Contact, InfusionSoft, Salesforce…what do I do?

What you should do is have a SYSTEM. It could be a old shoebox to start, as long as it is a SYSTEM of some kind. After you can then you graduate to a full blown CRM or email contact system.

Contact management is what you do when you get a business card from someone – and with this end of your business, you need to stay organized. Whatever you are comfortable with. Just make sure you have one.

Your contacts are extremely important so you need to treat them as such. But don’t think you need to spend hundreds of dollars a month managing your email contacts system.

Set it up, get it done and get out there networking and work on building your business.

Done is better than perfect

Will You Be The Next Instagram of the Real Estate World?

I hope you will be….

One thing I do know is that you won’t be if you just sit there and wait for things to be perfect.

Don’t worry about being perfect. Instagram didn’t…so why should you?

Read the excellent book the The Lean Startup on why you SHOULD NOT be perfect to start – and why you just need to get something out there, then pivot, pivot, pivot until you get it right.

I didn’t say read it, take three months, then start investing in real estate after…read it AS you are doing all the things above.

And remember:

Done is better than perfect

 

If you’ve made it this far, please leave a comment below! What do you think? Is DONE really better than PERFECT? Please leave a comment and share your ideas — or ask me anything you’d like about flipping houses!

Photo Credit: Βethan

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About Author

Michael LaCava is a full time real estate investor, house flipping coach and the President of Hold Em Realty located in Wareham, MA. He runs the website House Flipping School to teach new real estate investors how to flip houses and is the author of "How to Flip a House in 5 Simple Steps".

14 Comments

  1. I whole heartedly agree. I have done similar. We have been a part of a wholesale network but have waited until we had funds to actually buy the property. Silly, we could have been assigning contracts for years. I think now of all the money we didn’t grab, and the great deals we missed out on.

    • For sure Teresa but your not alone. Missed opportunities will just make you more hungry after you realized it. No looking back only forward for the opportunities to come.

      All the best

  2. Great advice Mike, and advice I remind myself of on a regular basis.

    Your #5, get a contact management system, reminds me of a recent FREE discovery I’ve made. It’s http://www.trello.com, a web site that allows you to create Kanban boards. Kanban is a productivity tool created in Japan and it can be scaled to everything, from simple projects to automobile production – Toyota uses it. I’ve created a board for my whole deal pipeline, it’s so easy to use and I get a great visual every time I bring up the board. I was even able to integrate the site with Outlook. For me, this beats the old Excel spreadsheet hands-down and I’m a former IT exec!

    So many people get hung up on CRM systems and the solution can be very simple, especially when you’re just starting out. Do yourself a favor and check out Trello. (I am not associated with the site in any way, just a grateful user).

  3. Great read Michael. I am going through “analysis paralysis” and fear of not being perfect. Your post encourages me to get my hands dirty. I am looking for training wheels, I guess. I will soon be doing it. I am grateful that I came to BP to learn because I spent numerous hours and good amount of money with “gurus”. Thanks again.

  4. This sounds like our business. We want to make things perfect all the time and in the end it will never be. The problem is that we postpone for so long that we never release whatever it is we want to release. We should always get something done and then improve on it late. Most successful companies are doing it this way. If you read ReWork by 37 Signals they will say the same thing. The most important thing it to always move forward and get things done.

    • Thanks Frank. What you doing specifically. We get leads as well through general social media comments about what we do. are you doing any FB advertising and are you targeting distressed homes/sellers?

  5. I like the management system suggestions, eye opener. Now I know how I’m getting these custom emails from other people that I’ve sent my email to ha ha. Great Idea to send to not only to future buyers, but to tenants as well. Great post.

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