How do you measure success?
I was standing in a store the other day buying materials for a project when I saw a friend I haven’t seen for years. He also happened to be buying things for a project he was working on.
We talked for a while, catching on up on the past. Toward the end I said, “So, you’re still at it” in reference to his house buying endeavors. He responded with, “Well… I don’t buy anywhere near as many as ya’ll do. But I pick up a house from time to time.”
We talked for a little longer and then said our goodbyes.
As I walked to the truck, his statement stuck out in my mind because it brought up a familiar feeling. The feeling can be summarized with the following question: “Is what I am doing enough?”
How do you really answer that?
You see, real estate investors have a tendency to measure their success in how many deals they do each year. And because of that, they often ask other investors how many deals they are doing in order to gauge what level of investor the other person is.
I have been in investor conferences before where guys were boasting doing 100-plus deals per year. That’s about nine deals a month. And as I was sitting there knowing I had only done eight deals the entire previous year, I felt very intimidated.
I soon found out those guys were working in great markets doing nothing but wholesaling. And by wholesaling, I mean they’d find a distressed seller, negotiate a contract with a very attractive purchase price and then sell that contract to another investor for an assignment fee. They would make a few thousand dollars off each contract.
I’ve been in other rooms where investors boasted doing a deal a month and being very satisfied with that. Some of those deals would be for flips, and the rest would be kept as rentals. Their goal was not to do as many deals as possible per year but rather to build a portfolio of rentals. And once their portfolio was big enough, they would then travel and do anything they wanted without any income interruptions.
So let me ask you: Which one of these guys has the right strategy? And which one would you compare yourself to?
Zig Ziglar used to say, “Success is not measured by what you do compared to what others do. It’s measured by what you do with the ability Yahweh gave you.”
Zig’s statement reminds of the parable of the talents found in Matthew 25. In that parable, a master of a house gives his servants some money (called talents) to go and work with. One servant got five, one received two, and the last received one.
Verse 15 says that the master gave these increments based off the servants “own ability.” The servants then go and work with what talents they were given, trying to make more. In the end, the first two servants succeeded in doubling the talents giving them, whereas the last squandered the one talent he had.
Talents were a monetary unit of silver during the time of Yahshua. But I find it very interesting that the word “talent” in English, means your aptitude, skills or capabilities.
This parable lets you know that the fact that people have differing levels of what they are capable of is perfectly natural.
But from the outside, if you go off the numbers, the first servant is the best investor. You see, he doubled what he started with and now has 10 talents, whereas servant No. 2 only has four talents.
But if you take Zig’s approach by comparing them against their own abilities, they have the exact same success rate because both doubled what they had.
Everyone is at a different level. Don’t get me wrong — it’s cool, and somewhat necessary, to get around guys doing way more deals than you. That should help inspire and motivate you. But please don’t make the mistake of comparing your deal flow with theirs in a way that discourages you.
Instead, measure your success by asking yourself how you did in comparison to what you are capable of. And let that be the force that motivates you.
Joe and Ashley English buy houses and mobile homes in Northwest Georgia. For more information or to ask a question, go to www.cashflowwithjoe.com or call Joe at 678-986-6813.