Real Estate Investing Basics

15 Ways to Get Back Up When the Entrepreneurial Life Knocks You Down

Expertise: Landlording & Rental Properties, Business Management, Flipping Houses, Personal Development
39 Articles Written
entrepreneurial-stress

I recall the first year my husband and I began real estate investing. We were very committed and decided to attend as many real estate courses as we could. I recall how easy these "gurus" made real estate investing sound.

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“No money, no experience, no problem!”

Well, after spending twelve years in this real estate investing business, there have been both ups and downs and wins and losses. One of the biggest consistencies in running our real estate business is that things don’t go as you expect. The partnership goes sour, the flip takes too long, the cost of construction exceeds the budget, the unit sits vacant for too long, the tenant goes back on their rent, etc. Believe me, I can go on and on here with this list since my husband and I have experienced most of these things and many more! If you remain in this business for a short or long time, the fact remains that things are not going to go as expected. That, my friends, is a reality.

However, that is not what separates the successful from the unsuccessful. What separates these two groups is HOW they move beyond these setbacks.

Epictetus said it best: “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”

That is really the key to success in any area. Although most of us know this to be true, it is not always easy to deal with setbacks when it means losing money, losing relationships, or losing our pride.

So what can you do in these situations to move powerfully through them? Here is a list of 15 things you can do to move beyond the frustration and get into solution mode!

lose-money

15 Ways to Get Back Up When the Entrepreneurial Life Knocks You Down

1. Take full responsibility for what happened.

This may seem like a simple one, but it is probably the first step in this process. If you don’t take responsibility for what happened and blame everyone and everything else, you will never make changes going forward. You will expect everyone and everything to change except you. Successful people don’t blame anyone. They take full responsibility for what happened.

2. Learn to reframe the situation.

I have read some very powerful books in my life, but one of my all-time favorites is Unlimited Power by Anthony Robbins. I am re-reading this book right now! He speaks a lot about the power of reframing. When things don’t go as expected, you have the choice to interpret what happens in MANY different ways.


Related: How to Transform Your Mistakes Into a Powerful Betterment Tool

There are empowering ways to interpret what happens and disempowering ways to interpret what happens. Thomas Edison said it best when asked about inventing the light bulb: “I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.” Begin reframing your own setbacks in ways that empower and support you!

3. Determine what you can do differently next time.

Before you move on from the situation, write down everything you learned and would do differently the next time. It is one thing to have these ideas in our head, and it is another thing to write them down.

4. Develop flexibility.

When I think about all the hundreds of “unexpected” circumstances we have dealt with over the years, the qualities to which I attribute our ability to move beyond these circumstances are flexibility and adaptability. Develop flexibility in everything!

5. Get honest with yourself.

This is probably one of the hardest but most important ones listed here. If you don’t get honest with yourself, you will not be clear on how to make things better in the future.

6. Deal with conflict head on.

When things go wrong, there are typically people and conflict involved. Directly deal with the conflict; that way, you can learn from it and move forward. Don’t avoid it. That won’t help you or anyone involved.

7. Seek to understand instead of being understood.

This is one of my favorite “habits” from Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Covey explains there is great power in first seeking to UNDERSTAND before seeking to be UNDERSTOOD. In simple terms, listen first, speak second.

8. Communicate your truth.

When discussing what went wrong with others, you must speak your truth and be honest not only with yourself but with others (without being a jerk and alienating people!).

9. Move your body.

Exercise is critical all the time, but especially when you need added clarity about a situation. Study and after study has proven that exercise releases endorphins, which create feelings of happiness and euphoria. Don’t make excuses!

10. Quiet your mind.

This looks different for different people, but regardless of how you do it, it can have an incredible effect on your life. This might look like meditation to some. Regardless of the form it takes, scheduling time to quiet your mind allows you to have space to see things differently than how you see them during your crazy busy days.

11. Don’t allow your past to equal your future.

As you move forward, don’t allow your past to equal your future. In other words, just because that one flip did not work out doesn’t mean you should never try again. You will need to course correct and do things differently. However, don’t beat yourself up and get stopped. Move through the fear and begin again with new learnings and new insight. Remember: Learn from the past, but don’t dwell on it.

12. Learn from others — success leaves clues.

Success is all around us. When things go wrong for you, find every success story you can and learn, learn and learn from others.

Related: Confessions of Serial Mistake-Maker: How I’ve Found Real Estate Success Through Failure

13. Accept that progress is more important than perfection.

We often get stopped after things don't go well because many of us are shooting for perfection. We are shooting for a home run on the first deal. Everyone wants to become a millionaire overnight. Let go of the "overnight success" concept. It is not possible. What is possible is to make progress and course correct every time.

14. Take action and don’t give up.

Once you course correct, learn what you need to learn, and take action on the next opportunity. Don’t allow yourself to become gun shy and give up. Most people try something new, it goes wrong, and they never do it again. I think that is a shame. People who succeed are not any luckier; they just keep getting up more times than others.

15. Help someone going through the same thing.

After you learn what you need to learn from your setback, make it your mission to help someone else going through the same experience. Recently, some of my family members shared with me their interest in buying investment property, and it has been so much fun helping them look at deals and give them advice. They passed on a deal that they would have made an offer on had it not been for our advice. It makes me happy to help others so they avoid the mistakes that we made early on!

I hope you found these tips, suggestions, and ideas helpful.

[Editor’s Note: We are republishing this article to help out our newer members.]

What am I missing from this list? What do you do to move through your own setbacks?

Let me know with a comment!

Liz Faircloth has been managing and investing in real estate since 2004, along with her husband, Matt. We have built our business from scratch and now own over five million dollars in residential...
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    Randy E.
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Great article. Even an anal-retentive planner like me runs into problems now and then. It took me two years to close on my first commercial property. I walked away from a 100+ deals before closing on my first commercial deal. None of the prospective properties fit my strict investment criteria, which caused second-guessing on my part as to whether my criteria were unrealistic. Well, it proved to be a successful template for both commercial and multifamily deals. Being relentless in the pursuit of deals – on your terms – is another way to separate the successful from the unsuccessful. A lot of the points in your article (e.g., develop flexibility, be honest w/yourself, deal w/conflict head on, seek to understand before being understood) can be applied to the pre-closing process. Like others, I’ve had my share of frustrations with REI. For example, I had six HVAC’s go out in one week – lovely! Our contingency plans resolved the issue with very little frustration; well, maybe a little frustration, but we got through it. Zig Ziegler’s bowling analogy helped drive this point home. He tells this story about a ritual a bowler goes through before hurling the ball down the alley; he carefully gets into the approach posture (planning) and then steps forward and releases the ball down the alley. The bowler then uses body language, facial expressions, and hand signals to guide the ball to the best point of impact. The point is, the result would be the same if he just turned around and not watched the impact of the ball on the pins. The results of a real estate deal are similar in terms of your post-closing position. You can’t take a mulligan after closing, which is why the points in your article are so important. Tackle the real estate challenges head-on and keep moving forward. Thanks for the writing a great article!
    Randy E.
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Great article. Even an anal-retentive planner like me runs into problems now and then. It took me two years to close on my first commercial property. I walked away from a 100+ deals before closing on my first commercial deal. None of the prospective properties fit my strict investment criteria, which caused second-guessing on my part as to whether my criteria were unrealistic. Well, it proved to be a successful template for both commercial and multifamily deals. Being relentless in the pursuit of deals – on your terms – is another way to separate the successful from the unsuccessful. A lot of the points in your article (e.g., develop flexibility, be honest w/yourself, deal w/conflict head on, seek to understand before being understood) can be applied to the pre-closing process. Like others, I’ve had my share of frustrations with REI. For example, I had six HVAC’s go out in one week – lovely! Our contingency plans resolved the issue with very little frustration; well, maybe a little frustration, but we got through it. Zig Ziegler’s bowling analogy helped drive this point home. He tells this story about a ritual a bowler goes through before hurling the ball down the alley; he carefully gets into the approach posture (planning) and then steps forward and releases the ball down the alley. The bowler then uses body language, facial expressions, and hand signals to guide the ball to the best point of impact. The point is, the result would be the same if he just turned around and not watched the impact of the ball on the pins. The results of a real estate deal are similar in terms of your post-closing position. You can’t take a mulligan after closing, which is why the points in your article are so important. Tackle the real estate challenges head-on and keep moving forward. Thanks for the writing a great article!
    Amie Perryman Real Estate Broker from Panama City, FL
    Replied over 3 years ago
    NO truer words! Great insight! The two that spoke loudest to me were to ‘quiet your mind’ and ‘help someone else’. Having an entrepreneurial bent almost goes without saying that you are a DOer and sometimes I think we are busy (whether productive or not) and we do not take the time to stop, think, be still. I read that Warren Buffet spent a huge amount of time (and I expect still does) just ‘thinking’. Amazing. Then to be sure we are planting seeds helping others, that sowing will inevitably bring forth some reward. Whether you believe in karma or that you reap what you sow – its a great policy to help overcome the challenges of self employment!
    Cynthia Gillespie
    Replied over 3 years ago
    My motto… that I read somewhere.. Being challenged in life is inevitable. Being defeated is optional. Never give up!!
    Taz Q. from Atlanta, Georgia
    Replied over 3 years ago
    This was some great no nonsense advice. I will keep these in mind on my journey in real estate investing.
    Shawn C. Investor from Cedar Park, TX
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Great Article!!! Thanks for posting and the helpful reminders.
    Jorge Vega
    Replied over 3 years ago
    I enjoyed reading this post, thanks. Informative article and love this “Learn from others — success leaves clues.”
    MAI K MOUA from SAINT PAUL, Minnesota
    Replied over 2 years ago
    I love, love all the knowledge you are sharing Elizabeth. Thank you. I am just starting out and these are all wonderful! For me personally, how I move on from my setbacks is to connect with those who has had similar setbacks. I believe we all learn from one another in various ways, more importantly for me, I would focus on what they DID to overcome the similar situation(s). I hope that makes sense and helps anyone struggling to bounce back up. After all, we’re only humans (: