You’re trying to do too much…
You’re over-extended. Under-focused. Spread too thin. And success just isn’t happening as quick as you’d like it to come.
At least, that’s my wild guess about the guy who sent in the question for today’s Mailbox Monday issue.
Now this question is a bit different. Normally I do minor edits for readability. But today’s question is 533 words long. And pretty meandering.
So in the interest of not taking half the real estate of this article, I’m going to try to sum up the question in as few words (with as many of them remaining his words) as possible.
Remember, if you want your question answered in an upcoming Mailbox Monday issue, here’s the quick form to fill out, to submit your question.
I’m 25 years old, working to become a Real Estate agent, and am in my final semester of getting a college degree in small business development. I’m looking to get started as fast as possible. I will be attending a local Real Estate meetup, I have a friend in the business, and I’m educating myself as much as possible.
The question is, how should I go about marketing myself in my real estate business (starting with real estate wholesaling) to begin to profit while I’m still in school?
Family and others are trying to get me to finish my degree before I do anything — but I don’t agree. I have a big-thinking attitude, I like to kick ass while I can, and I’m tired of waiting for the “perfect time.” I may have limited time and a limited budget, but I don’t think these are too big of constraints.
I can commit to driving for dollars, cold calling, and sending out letters. What else can I do?
First things first, I’ll agree with you…
The default advice from people who don’t know any better is “get your degree.” And in the small number of professional fields where a degree is required, that may be good advice. But in most fields having to do with business and especially sales, a degree is irrelevant.
Yes, it makes it easier to get jobs to have one. No, you shouldn’t drop out when you’re on the cusp of being done.
But if you can swing starting your real estate career on the side while you’re finishing your degree, DO IT.
I held down jobs that took up to about 30 hours per week (often working 7 days per week) while I was in college. And I was better off for it.
If you want to dedicate some of your time to get the success ball rolling, in your chosen field, while you are still in school — go for it!
You’ll be two steps ahead of anyone else that graduates at the same time, if you do some work on the side to build momentum before you officially “start.”
So the question is: how?
Priority #1: Do your first deal…
There’s a million distractions in entrepreneurship.
If you had a widget-making job, it would be easy. Sit down, make widget. Repeat.
But that’s not entrepreneurship.
That said, your “widget” in entrepreneurship — especially real estate — is the deal.
For the benefit of readers, I need to define real estate wholesaling — and what that deal looks like. Basically, the job of the agent (JL here) is to find a seller, and find a buyer. You make a deal with the seller to sell at one price. You make a deal with the buyer to buy at a higher price. And you get the difference, for facilitating the transaction.
Well, that’s exactly what you need to figure out. And the way you figure it out is by doing it.
Now, in this situation I would likely do one of two things.
The easiest would be to get paid to learn. I’d volunteer to be a junior on a deal with someone else who had a ton of experience. I’d tell them I was learning, and I was eager.
I would offer that they do 20% of the work — basically telling me what to do and overseeing the deal — to get 80% of the profits. While I do 80% of the work — especially all the hard stuff — to get 20% of the profits.
This deal would be overwhelmingly in their favor — at least on paper. Because I do most of the work, and they get most of the profits. But I’d have someone to give me all the how-to, to answer all the questions, and who could be a safety net if any challenges come up. They would also probably have resources I could use that I wouldn’t otherwise have for my first deal.
Then, I’d ask them what to do, and work twice as hard as they expected me to.
Alternately, I’d just wing it, and figure out everything on the fly. I know this sounds crazy, but that’s entrepreneurship.
If you’ve studied what this process looks like, you have a good idea of who the buyers and sellers are that you need to connect in a wholesaling deal.
I’d take that knowledge, and try to find both at the same time. I’d reach out to a ton of leads on both sides. I’d try to narrow it down to the top couple potential deals. Then as the deals got really active, I’d pull off on the lead generation and really make sure I made the deal worked.
Once you are successful with your first deal, you have a ton of opportunity. Life is long. And now you have experience of a successful deal, plus a reference, testimonial, or referral source for additional deals.
Plus, you understand the process, beginning-to-end, to be able to repeat it.
This first time, there’s probably a ton of manual labor. Because without the manual labor of selling and having sales conversations, you don’t even know what the marketing has to say. But once you’ve done that, then you can consider marketing approaches…
Marketing: Automate and scale the sales process…
Do not underestimate the value of defining marketing as “selling multiplied through media,” as I said in my video on Claude Hopkins and Scientific Advertising.
If you want to get your marketing right, first figure out what works to sell one item, or complete one deal.
If you need to generate leads, figure out what conversation works to make leads interested, through that manual labor of having conversations. Then, document that message in media, and edit it to ask for response, as a piece of direct response marketing.
The same goes for nearly any prospect or client communication. If it represents a repeatable message, document it and transform it into media.
But the only way you can truly do this is by first figuring out what the heck each message or communication needs to be. Then figuring out if it’s similar enough between prospects and leads that you can make it repeatable and scalable. Then figuring out how to turn that message into media, so you can actually automate and scale its delivery.
Your one takeaway here…
There’s a lesson that applies in a lot of contexts, including this one.
Pick your main thing. First, get solid experience at it. Then get really good at it. Then, consider branching out, once your expertise is so entrenched you’re in maintenance mode.
I think in my edits of the question above, I didn’t capture the sheer volume of activities that JL sounds like he’s engaged in.
And while many of them sound like they help with life balance (exercise, creative expression, work, learning, etc.), there’s a risk when you’re already doing this at 25 that you’re going to have too fractured of an attention span.
I spent the first few years of my copywriting career really just getting good at ROI-directed sales letters, before I branched out into anything else.
And that core skill then helped me with everything else.
I’m not perfect. And I often feel like my ADHD has the best of me, causing me to over-commit. But at the same time, when I feel that way I simply use it as a reminder to follow my advice from above, to refocus and consider what’s important and what I can cut.
And, importantly, looking at what the ONE next most important action or outcome should be, to move me forward.
That’s usually the first step to my next big breakthrough.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
PS: I didn’t find another spot to put these, so I’ll use a PS to STRONGLY recommend Ready, Fire, Aim: Zero to $100 Million in No Time Flat by Michael Masterson, which has advice consistent with the above and goes much deeper. (And Masterson, aka Mark Ford, has been instrumental in dozens of 7-figure companies, at least a handful of 8- and 9-figure companies, and at least one 10-figure — aka billion-dollar-plus revenue — company.)
Also: consider reviewing the list of My Top 10 Best Copywriting Books and grabbing any that jump out at you.