Avoiding the Shiny Object Syndrome – 5 Tips to Keep Yourself on Track in the Real Estate Game
We’re in a HUGE industry! It’s vast, varied, and full of opportunities–new ones, old ones, polished ones, raw ones, and to many: future ones. Yet how does one know when to broaden one’s horizon or focus in one area and put the brakes on other new/fresh real estate strategies?
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Real estate comes in all shapes, colors, and sizes. And so too do the ways one can play the real estate game. You might prefer to develop new construction properties, buy and hold cash flowing properties, rehab and sell single-family homes, invest in notes, et cetera. The list goes on and on. Unfortunately that never-ending list of ways to play the game can create a detriment to your business if you aren’t careful.
I like to call it the shiny object syndrome. And it can be a killer to one’s growth as a player of the real estate game. With the sheer size of our industry, it is so easy to get distracted and pulled in 10,000 directions.
Tips for Staying Focused
We’ve all been there.
We’re laser focused, in our zone, burning the midnight oil piecing together a great real estate deal we’ve put our heart, soul, and years of expertise into. Then, out of no where, SQUIRREL! We suddenly get distracted and torn from our original real estate endeavor by something we think is shinier, brighter, and more enticing. While exploratory growth is good and healthy, the issue here is that, because of the vastness of our real estate ocean, there will always be shiny objects in our path.
So how do you avoid getting distracted by opportunities that, at the end of the day, just aren’t your cup of tea? It’s a challenge–no doubt about it. But here are a few ways to know when to stick to your guns over chasing a shiny real estate object.
1) What are you reading on a Saturday?
This is a common question, not just in real estate, because it gets to what you enjoy on a day when you typically have few commitments. The things you read on a lazy Saturday morning often point to what you’re truly interested in. With our shiny real estate objects, it can often reveal the areas of the business that get you excited.
2) Ask how your past experience can influence your new shiny object strategy
A prominent real estate developer told me recently that, after 27 years developing properties, he’s just at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to learning about real estate. He commented, however, that his past experience has always influenced where he goes next. If you’ve discovered a new real estate strategy, ask if your past experience can inform how you approach it. Given your unique perspective and experience, you may be able to put your special twist on it.
3) Grow incrementally – 1% at a time
Dave McClure, founder of startup incubator 500 Startups, is well known for advising businesses to grow 1% at a time. Many real estate investors, developers, and entrepreneurs want to make a HUGE impact right away. However, through steady incremental growth, one can make a greater impact over time. If you’re excited about a new real estate strategy, chip away at it little by little. Maybe start by spending 30 minutes/day researching this new territory. If it starts to stick, growth another 1%, then another 1%, then another 1%.
4) Track where you’ve come
Along the lines of growing incrementally, take a look at where you’ve come. Oftentimes when we’re in the trenches of our business it’s difficult to see how far we’ve progressed. If after time you aren’t seeing progression in your new shiny real estate strategy, assess your past interest and track record with this strategy.
5) Find industry experts already engrained in this new shiny object – ask pointed questions
This is my favorite thing to do when I’ve discovered a new and amazing facet of real estate. Have a chat with someone you deem an expert in your newly found niche and ask pointed questions about how they got where they got utilizing this specific strategy. In a candid conversation, many will explain the nuts and bolts to how to be successful in this aspect of the industry and, more importantly, exactly what it takes.
So there they are–a few ways to see if a new strategy in real estate is up your alley. There are absolutely no wrong ways to play the real estate game (unless you love apathy…then there’s a wrong way). If you find yourself really interested in a new strategy, try out a few of the points above and see if this path is your next move or just one that’s not for you.
Photo: Kai Schreiber