I don’t know if entrepreneurship was always my path, but I always had an idea that I wanted something ‘more’ from my life. I worked in the corporate world for a fair number of years after I graduated from University, and always felt like a misfit – stifled even.
I just couldn’t do the whole corporate politics thing, and I hated the idea of working for someone else my whole life.
But most of all I hated the cap on my salary, and that no matter how hard I worked, there was very little room to really earn much more. Yes there was the stable paycheck, and the fixed hours – but I always knew it wasn’t for me.
So I worked part time at my business until I was ready to make the leap into full time entrepreneurship.
I have mentioned one of my all-time favourite books is the E-Myth by Michael Gerber – who was instrumental in shaping my understanding of what true entrepreneurship means.
It ultimately means freedom – and I know that many small business owners will attest to the lack of freedom in being a sole proprietor.
He often mentions that many small businesses are run by “technicians caught in an entrepreneurial seizure”
What does this mean?
The excitement of independence associated with getting rid of the boss is almost always fuelled by a flawed understanding of what being on your own means. When I go to dinner parties or meet new people who ask me what I do, they often think that I have a fantastic schedule since I work for myself.
And this can be the case, if you learn to create business systems that work without you.
Entrepreneurs invent businesses that work without them. Technicians create businesses that work because of them.
Every single new entrepreneur or business owner struggles with this. Some struggle forever, and some so much that they shut their doors. This is why the rate of small business failure is so very high. They literally work themselves out of business.
So how do you combat this? By building systems.
Let me give you a real life example, of our own real estate investment business.
Over the years we continued to grow the number of units we own.
We tried outsourcing property management, which didn’t work for us. We felt like we lost control and things weren’t getting done to our standards.
So we starting managing everything ourselves. Answering midnight phone calls, running around coordinating tenant visits and repairs.
It was a nightmare. We hated it, and it was sucking up so much of our time. Not to mention that we were on edge every time we had to take a vacation or leave the city.
So we finally starting building systems. We wrote SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) for tasks like showing units, screening tenants and hiring handymen for small repairs.
We standardized our lease agreements, application forms and created checklists for different tasks.
We set up separate emails, phone numbers and mailing addresses for our business dealings. We set up Google drive files and uploaded all our paperwork in a central location.
And then finally – we HIRED people. We have a fantastic agent who works with us and takes care of all these tasks. And the beautiful thing about it is that the systems are position driven not people driven.
What does this mean – well it means that if she were to leave us tomorrow, someone else could be trained and brought up to speed with the same systems in no-time.
And that means – TRUE FREEDOM. It means that you can go on vacation, and know that your business is running like a machine.
It means that you can continue to grow without worry that your working hours will continue to exponentially increase.
I know so many people who talk about wanting to invest in real estate, but they are afraid of all the extra workload and stress that comes with owning an active investment.
But I want to say that you should think about building systems. As we start our 2018, we plan to create better systems – hire more staff and make this year our biggest one yet.
Am I looking for my business to run on auto pilot, yes. Do I want to sit on a beach all year and not work – ABSOLOUTELY not. I love what I do, and I hope that I can focus more and more of my time on tasks that I enjoy and help to grow and develop my business.
Some food for thought – think about your pain points and how you can build systems into your business this year.
So until next time, happy Canadian Real Estate Investing.
Jose Jafferji, REIA
Your Real Estate Investment Advisor, Coach & Realtor