How to Work ON It, Not IN it
Most small business owners, genuine estate investors, have a real hard time with this. I am no exception. Learning how to work on your business and staying consistent doing it is a constant challenge. Of course, the idea here is scalability. Precisely, real estate investors can scale up if they have the correct systems and procedures in place. Maybe you can manage more rental property or do a larger number of fix and flips.
There are three keys to making this work:
1. Daily log
3. Control Calendar
The first step you need to do is to know what it is you do. This sounds funny, but you won’t be laughing if you do the exercise. You need to do this for at least three days, but I highly recommend a full week. Pick a week that is pretty typical for the best results.
Track your time per 10 or 15-minute blocks. Every 10 minutes, write down what you did for the last 10 minutes. This will surely take some time out of your day, but it will save you ten times the time it took when you are done. After the week, look back at your activities and break them down.
Here are some questions you want to ask, and be truthful with yourself:
1. What activities am I doing that is making me money now?
2. What am I doing that will make me money later? (like prospecting)
3. What am I doing that is not making me money or will not make me money? (my guess is a large part of your day is spent here)
4. What should be outsourced? (see below)
5. Finally, are there things you should be doing and are not? (like working ON your business)
The activities that make you money now and will in the short term are critical, but I want to point out that these are the activities that I would generally consider working in your business. Without these, your business fails; but it is essential to point out that it is also imperative to work on tasks that grow your business. These tasks are the ones that might not help you right away, which is why they often get set aside. An example of this might be a system to wholesale properties or a written approach to qualifying tenants.
This is an important one that is a little tough to get going. For me, there was a lot of fear for two reasons. First, I could do everything better than someone else, and second, I did not want to pay for help when I felt I had time to do it myself. A good friend of mine and a member of the mastermind group I was in at the time said, “Kevin… you are dumb. It costs you more money to do it yourself.” He then said in his Australian accent, “you say you cannot afford to hire help, and I say you cannot afford not to.” Thanks, Sasha, for the great advice!
For me, it was outsourcing as much as I could at first and then bringing as much as I could into the office as soon as I could. I outsourced things like hanging my bandit signs, stuffing my mailings, finding my tenants, putting my mailing lists together, accounting and bookkeeping, and more. Once I had enough work for a part-time assistant, I hired one by the hour. My business has not looked back. I went several years with one assistant and expanded to have an assistant when I started doing work. At that time, I hired another one. You can also get two or three investors together and share an assistant.
You need to decide what you are good at and what makes you money, and focus your time there. Outsource everything else. It costs you money not to. It is also a good idea to put a value on your time, and as soon as you are doing work, you can outsource for less than your value.
Now that you are freeing up some time to work on your business, this is a strategy to do just that. First, you should block time every week. If you are a full-time business owner or investor, you should stop 30-60 minutes a day. If you are part-time, maybe you can get away with blocking an hour or two on the weekend. The key is consistency.
The way you know what to work on is by putting all the items that will increase your business or scalability on a calendar with completion deadlines. That should encourage you to focus on working on one thing at a time. You will also start seeing progress if you give yourself deadlines. Some examples of tasks could be: hire an assistant, writing an operations manual, business plan, marketing plan, putting together a bird program, interviews with Realtors or contractors, or studying and educating yourself.
It is time to get out of your business and start to work ON it. Good luck and have fun!