When I first became a full time real estate investor and quit my “real job” I was very concerned about cash flow. Even thought I had done my home work, that nagging voice in the back of my mind kept asking questions. Did I calculate things correctly? What if I made a mistake? Am I sure I will have enough to pay all the bills?
What was my reaction to all of these questions? It was to keep expenses down by doing many things myself. I did many of the repairs, much of the rehab projects, heck I even cut a lot of the grass. All in an effort to keep expenses down.
While I did manage to keep expenses down, my cash flow, while OK was not increasing like I thought it should be. Why? It was because I was spending all of my newfound time in my business instead of on my business. I had not yet learned to let go.
Learning to let go came very slowly to me. I felt like I could not let go. If I let go, I thought my expenses would rise because I would need to pay someone to do all of those things I was doing (which is true, they would). I thought I was saving money (and in a sense I was), but what I was also doing by not letting go was cutting myself off from making more money.
Finally Letting Go So I Could Work ON My Business
Letting go of some things came pretty easily. One hot day in August (If you have ever been to Memphis in August then you know where I am coming from) as I was cutting the grass at one of my properties I saw a lawn service next door. I had seen him around for a while now doing many properties similar to mine. I walked up and introduced myself, chatted for a while and talked services and prices. After a little checking he was hired and I never cut a lawn (except my own – I know let go!) again.
Other things took a little more time. It was hard for me to pay the plumber $60 to repair a leaky faucet when I could do it just as well. At least I thought I could do it just as well. It took a little while for me to realize, usually after several trips to the property and the plumbing parts store, that I could not do it just as well. The plumber could be in and out in 10 minutes while it might take me and hour or more. Was this a good use of my time?
I finally realized the answer was no. I needed to spend time on my business finding deals rather than in my business fixing sinks.
Today I have a great team that I can pretty much rely on to help fix any problem. A plumber to keep things flowing, and electrician to keep the lights on, HVAC technicians to keep people cool in August and a rehab crew that I can simply tell to “make it so” and it does. This team has allowed me time to work on and build my business and thus give more business to my team (How did I find such a team? By networking at our local REIA).
Today we are working on developing office and business systems. These systems will eventually allow us to “let go” and grow even more. It took a little while, but now I truly see the benefit in letting go and in allowing others to help you “make it so.”
As a final note, I want to say congratulations to Josh Dorkin and everyone who has helped BiggerPockets.com reach 100,000 members! That is truly an accomplishment and you should be proud! I look forward to many more great things in the future as you get to 500,000 subscribers. As they say, the first 100,000 is the hardest right! J
Till next time, happy investing!
Photo: Mr. Littlehand