Want Your Business at Its Best? Teach Your Team Members to “Own Their Space”

by | BiggerPockets.com

Have you ever gotten to pick the brain of someone who does 800 deals a year? A few weeks ago, I got to do just that. My business partner and I traveled to a real estate mastermind to hang out with and learn from some of the biggest and most influential people in the real estate single-family space. It was awesome. My partner and I left fired up, now with the job of treading through the vast amount of information, strategies, and possibilities out of all that we had learned.

Although there were hundreds of killer takeaways we could implement, if we did it all, we would not only blow our team out with new ideas but we simply wouldn’t be able to implement that many things at once. Picking just one or two things for us to focus on at a high level was extremely difficult but also made us really think on what was most important and what was timely.

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A Few Takeaways

We made a few process and system changes that had immediate impact. First, we built out more in-depth information within Podio, where we keep all our deals, transactions, and sales and marketing information. Within Podio, we also started to identify a few workflows where we could maximize efficiency by first building the manual workflow and then working to automate those once we had them written down.

Another takeaway was helping our team understand what their roles were better. And before we could do that, we had to be able to identify our own. I have written on this topic and book before, but it’s worth mentioning the book Rocket Fuel: The One Essential Combination That Will Get You More of What You Want from Your Business again. It’s an awesome book and really helped my partner and I process through our roles to help us build a better and more concrete road map for our team to know who to ask for what, who is doing what, and which person owns which space. It was all about this sentence, “Own your space,” from my new buddy Darrin.


Related: 20 Must-Have Team Members for Real Estate Investing Newbies

I Want Everyone on My Team to Own Their Space

Although this is to the BiggerPockets community, I am inspired to have these thoughts from my own personal team. What does “own your space” really mean? What does it feel like and look like? How do I “own my space”? We have started talking about this idea and what it means.

Let’s first look at the definition of space:

“A continuous area or expanse that is free, available, or unoccupied.”

My “work” space then is the free or available area to work within. It’s operational space. I love the words “available” and “unoccupied” most in the definition. The words “space” and “unoccupied” makes me think of a painter with paints and brushes, staring at a blank canvas. Our work space in a literal space both in our physical realm and within our minds. You first process the idea in your mind, and then you execute the art on the canvas. You need both the mental and the physical process.

Being Self-Aware

You name it — billionaire, multimillion-dollar business owner, single person entrepreneur, high-level executive, mid-level management, coordinator, sales executive, HR and people director, salesperson, fixer of things, cat herder, paper pusher, or bottom-level admin, lowest on the proverbial ladder.

Don’t worry if I didn’t mention your role specifically. I am thinking of you, too.

Your title does NOT influence your ability to own your space. No matter what, you 100 percent control your own attitude and your ability to approach work, life, marriage, and children. We must first decide to be present internally. That means understanding where you are that day: tired, fired up, nervous, upset, happy, content. Understand where you are personally within your body and your brain and have an awareness of what you are doing. You have to almost take a step outside your body and mind and look back at yourself.

Get your mind and body congruent with where they need to be; if you need to slow down or calm down and clear your head from a huge sale you just made or a massive fire you just put out, do that. Don’t wait. Attitude can be changed. Your energy level can go up or down. You might be hungry or want a cup of coffee. Or maybe you just sat for two hours working and you need to get up, move, and get outside for some sunshine. Drink some water. Listen to chill music or meditate. You can’t operate at man-on-fire-level-10 all day.

To own your space, you must have self-awareness of what is going on within you so you can help hear and understand what is going on around you.


Understand Your Role

One of the greatest challenges any business faces is what growth really looks like. And then, how do you find the right people to sit in the seat and be the right fit within the team to take the massive action? Defining the role is the easy part. I need help with someone to write contracts? Great! We need to get a client or transaction coordinator on the team? Sure. Or a personal assistant? DONE!

“Here you go, Mr. Assistant, write the contract for 123 Main Street, confirm title has been reviewed, process and confirm EMD received, schedule the closing, contact the contractor we are using and get the bid from them, and make sure the funding is confirmed and ready with the lender.”

[Cue blank stare.]

See a problem here? The communication expressed the items to handle. But without sharing the process of what it looks like to close a deal or handle a contractor bid or conversation, the communication is not only unhelpful, but it’s destructive to the team member. You are asking them to do something you haven’t prepared them to do, and they are immediately set up to fail. They can’t own their space if they don’t know what it is.

Define the roll or objective, write down the high-level things you want that person to do, and then start one by one writing out what that looks like from start to finish. Talk it through with that team member. Explain why you are doing it. Repeat. Refine. Explain more. Repeat. Refine — and explain more. Let them fail, and remind them it’s OK. Let them win and celebrate. No matter how simple the concept is, you have to translate that operation from you own mind and make it a conscious process.

Related: The 6 Things You NEED to Train Your Real Estate Team Successfully

Own Your Space

No matter where you are within the hierarchy of your organization, large or small, you play a massive role in its success or failure. I remember reading a Colin Powell book and him talking about how he would interact with the cleaning staff who would prepare his office in the evening. He said not only would he speak with them on a personal level about their families and their life, but he would thank them for their work.

Colin knew that the next day, a state official, a president of a nation, a senator, a congressman would be sitting in that office. And without the effort, diligence, and daily effort of the cleaning person, his role at a high-level negotiation or conversation would be negatively affected because the space, the area, wouldn’t be clean, wouldn’t be right, wouldn’t be put together.

The same thing goes for any trade. If the framing guy doesn’t do a perfectly square job, the drywall guy behind him will have a hard time getting everything to line up perfectly. Then the drywall guy has to use more mud, has a harder time getting everything level 5 finished, and the paint guys are now cursing you, drying to repair or sand or prep spaces you should have already taken care of.

In the military, the SEALs talk about being in “teams.” If someone is covering your position for you to move and you don’t own your space, you could cost your teammate his life.

Own your space.


Your Space is Your Responsibility

Own it, learn it, cultivate it, nourish it, love it, own the crap out of it. Know everything about it. Help those around you understand how to help you do your job. In turn, they will want to be on task, on point, owning their space. I’m obsessed with watches. Think about it — a bunch of tiny pieces all operating together in perfect harmony, perfect function, finesse, and movement. One little tiny piece isn’t operating correctly, the entire watch goes down. Doesn’t work.

If something doesn’t go correctly, be the first to admit it. Don’t argue, admit the problem. Talk through what happened. Ask someone to process it with you, and then don’t make that same mistake.

Whatever your role, whatever your job, whatever your time, you are important. And your team, your owner or boss, wants nothing more for you than to own your space, be a leader amongst your team, listen, grow, and execute.

What activities do you use to help your team understand and own their roles?

Let me know with a comment!

About Author

Nathan Brooks

Nathan Brooks is the co-founder and CEO of Bridge Turnkey Investments, a Kansas City-based company renovating and selling more than 100 turnkey properties per year. With over a decade of experience in real estate, Nathan is a seasoned investor with a large personal portfolio and a growing business portfolio. Just last year, through Bridge Turnkey Investments, he helped investors add over $12 million in value to their real estate portfolios. Nathan regularly produces educational content to fuel his passion for helping other people learn about and find success in real estate investing. He has been featured regularly on industry podcasts such as the BiggerPockets Podcast, Active Duty Passive Income Podcast, Freedom Real Estate Investing Podcast, Fearless Pursuit of Freedom Podcast, Titanium Vault, The Real Estate Investing Podcast, The Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever Show, the Good Success Podcast, FlipNerd, Wholesaling Inc., The Real Estate Investing Profits Master Series, Flipping Junkie Podcast, Flip Empire podcast, Think Realty Radio, and more. He is a sought-after speaker and writer and can be found on stage regularly at events across the country.


  1. Odie Ayaga

    Amazing article as usual Nathan! I can attest to how good Rocket Fuel and also his other book Traction are. Your article ties in well with a concept he discusses in Traction whereby “Everyone Has A Number”. In short, knowing what your number is makes it such that you know what you are accountable for, what your expectations are, and what you should be focused on. In other words, you know what you need to do to “Own Your Space”!

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