8 Hacks, Habits & Routines of Elite Entrepreneurs

Are you ready to learn the 8 traits of real estate titans?

These traits of real estate titans aren’t necessarily going to be news to you. But the secret to titan status isn’t in knowing these 8 things. It’s in doing them.

So without further ado, the 8 hacks that will bring you success.

1. The Risk/Reward Matrix

What level of risk are you comfortable with? The Kolbe exam (take it at www.Kolbe.com) can tell you. It measures your instinctive strengths, and it includes a risk component. Results are reported with colors (red, blue, orange, and green). If you haven’t already taken the Kolbe exam, do it. There’s a small fee to take it, but the results are incredibly helpful.

We’ve all heard “no risk, no reward.” So if we want rewards, we need to be willing to take risks. But we also need to recognize our personal comfort zones—and then push ourselves to grow from there. If you’re in the red zone on the Kolbe test, you’re naturally a low risk, low reward person. So you can learn from someone in the green zone who’s a higher risk, higher reward person.

Remember, if you don’t take the risk, then someone else will—and they’ll get the reward.

“If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.” ~Jim Rohn

2. Know Your ACER and Your WHY

You have to reverse engineer what it is that you want. ACER stands for:

Clarity of the

So many people make New Year’s Resolutions and then a few days or weeks later they’ve forgotten all about those big goals they set. That doesn’t get you anywhere.

And we’re not just talking about setting goals here. We’re talking about setting a lifestyle. What do you want your lifestyle to be? Define that, and then work backward to achieve that lifestyle.

In 10 years, I want to have a nonprofit organization that helps Korean American immigrants adjust to the US. They don’t have much support like this right now, and it can be tricky to navigate a new culture.

My real estate business can help me achieve that dream, because real estate is just a vehicle. It’s not the end game, it’s just a means to an end. Do you have a clear picture of your long-term goal? Maybe it’s owning a Lamborghini. Maybe it’s being free of credit card debt. Maybe it’s taking a two-week Disney cruise. Whatever it is, you need to keep a clear picture of that end goal.

3. Pareto’s Principle—the 80/20 Rule

Pareto’s Principle says that 20% of the people do 80% of the work. You can see it in every industry. And that means those 20% of people figure out how to get 100% of the work done.

The 80/20 rule also says that 20% of what you do accounts for 80% of your results. This should help you prioritize. You need to be getting that 20% done—the things that only you can do. And you can hire someone to take on some of your work, to do the other 60 or 80%.

“Most superheroes are nothing of the sort. They’re weird, neurotic creatures who do big things despite lots of self-defeating habits and negative self-talk.” ~Tim Ferris

4. Individual Management System

You have to have self-discipline. You need to be planning ahead—there’s nothing worse than having two or three houses rehabbed and then, because you forgot to do a mailer, you end up sitting on them for a few months longer than you planned.

You need to be intentionally completing revenue-producing tasks. The best way to do that is to set up your week with three types of days: focus days, buffer days and free days.

Focus Days

Focus days are the days you’re on you’re a game. Your phone should be turned off or put in a drawer; don’t be checking it all day. Don’t schedule internal meetings for focus days. These are the days you need to get those key money-making tasks done.

You should have three focus days every week. It’s best to have at least two of those days in a row; this will help you to get the most possible work done. My focus days are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday.

And remember, on these days you should be doing work that only you can do. You might be:

  • Meeting with, calling, or doing marketing for passive investors
  • Making offers
  • Seeing properties
  • Evaluating deals
  • Writing contracts

This is your life and death. Your end results depend on you executing your focus days.

Buffer Days

On buffer days you’re still doing work, but these are your less intense tasks. You might:

  • Meet with your general contactor
  • Go to closings
  • Talk to subs
  • Go to listing appointments and acquisition appointments

These should be tasks that don’t make your brain hurt as much. And remember, you should still be doing those money-making tasks that only you should do. Even on these days you shouldn’t be answering the phone, getting the mail or doing other tasks that your assistant can do.

You should have two buffer days. For me, Mondays and Thursdays are buffer days.

Free Days

We all need to recharge, so you also need two free days scheduled into your week. Don’t do any work on your free days. I like to keep a little journal and if I have a really great idea, I’ll write it down. But that’s the only work-related thing I’m going to do on a free day.

Never mix a free day with a focus day or a buffer day. Bill Phillips said, “I never had a great idea by actually thinking about it.” Scheduling this time away from your business will give you a chance to reset, and that time may actually be the time you have the best ideas—your brain is going to keep working in the background.

For me, free days are Saturday and Sunday, but you can set up your week in whatever way is going to work best for you. Just make sure it includes those focus, buffer, and free days.

5. Post & Prioritize

Not everything is urgent, so you need to prioritize your tasks. You also need to do some advance planning—you can’t wait to order windows for a rehab until you need to install them.

So what makes a task a high priority? The best way to figure out which tasks are the highest priority is to make a list of all your tasks. Spend a day recording everything you do. And since you’re naturally going to gravitate toward the things you like to do, sort the list into tasks you like to do and tasks you don’t like to do. Then figure out which of those things someone else can do (especially the tasks you don’t enjoy). And of the tasks that are left, prioritize them based on how much money they make you.

Don’t just do this once. Give yourself a quarterly checkup to see how you’re doing and if there’s anything you can have your assistant do. And if you find yourself feeling busy with something that isn’t going to make you money, ask yourself whether that is the only thing you could be doing. If there’s something else to do (something that’s going to make you money), then do that. Practice discipline here.

You should also spend some time at the beginning of the week planning for the tasks you need to get done that week. This shouldn’t take long. Spend 30 minutes or an hour prepping for the week:

  • Write down every to-do
  • Decide what’s important
  • Eliminate, delegate, or postpone everything else
  • Prioritize your to-dos based on possible revenue
  • Schedule your tasks for each focus/buffer day that week
  • Don’t forget to do the most impactful tasks first

Don’t wake up on Monday trying to figure out what you need to get done that day. At the end of each day, go back to the list and refine it for the rest of the week as needed.

Don’t be afraid to eliminate the things that are sucking your energy and not giving you anything in return. These might be things like:

  • Negative people
  • Negative habits (alcohol or smoking)
  • Negative groups (little or no progress)
  • Negative projects (no return on investment)

This is where it’s important to remember our ACER principle. Keep your eyes on your long-term goals. Make sure you’re spending time with people who are like-minded and who are going to help you succeed.

Finally, those tasks that are going to make you the most money or have the biggest impact are often the most difficult, which means you’re going to need some self-discipline. You’re going to be tempted to do the easy tasks. You’re going to be tempted to just stay busy. But busy doesn’t mean you’re making money.

“Being busy is a form of laziness—lazy thinking and indiscriminate action. Being busy is most often used as a guise for avoiding the few critically important but uncomfortable actions.” ~Tim Ferris

Don’t fall into the trap of overestimating what you can do in a day or a year and underestimating what you can do in 5 or 10 years.

If you overestimate what you can do in a day or a year, you’re just going to be busy playing catch-up and you’ll never reach your long-term goals. Don’t let that happen. Be self-disciplined.

6. Executive Coordinator

Your executive coordinator can take on those non-revenue producing tasks that you don’t have time for and help you have the most productive week ever. Here are some of the tasks you might have that coordinator do:

  • Scheduling: private lenders, property tours, meetings with your staff
  • Coordinating: make sure all staff have the same information
  • Personal assistance: vacation bookings, event tickets, doctor and dentist appointments
  • Calendar keeping: remind you of birthdays and anniversaries

7. The Ideal Average Day

Everyone can picture their own ideal “normal” workday. What do you want your workdays to look like? For me, I want to complete the three things that are most pressing (and revenue-generating), otherwise I know that’s just going to throw off the rest of the week. If I can get those three things done, I’m a happy camper.

And keep in mind that your ideal day needs to account for your physical and mental well-being. You should be well-rested and feeling good. If you take care of your body, your body will take care of your mind.

8. Avoid the Screen-Sucking OCD Loop

Our last hack is to get rid of the OCD loop, which might look like this:

  1. Wake up and turn on the TV or look at your phone
  2. Check your email
  3. Check your “regular” sites: Facebook, Yahoo, Home Path, Home Steps, Zillow, etc.
  4. Check sales stats
  5. Read the news or blogs
  6. Check your secondary email account
  7. Check your texts
  8. Take three phone calls
  9. Check your email again

Suddenly it’s noon and you’ve gotten nothing accomplished.

We all fall into the trap of wasting time on a screen. So set some rules that work for you. Maybe you put your phone in a desk drawer. Maybe you only check email at the end of the day. Maybe you put your phone on airplane mode for a few hours each day. Do what works for you.

“If you let your learning lead to knowledge, you become a fool. If you let your learning lead to action, you become wealthy.” ~Jim Rohn

Be Daring,
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