5 Ways to be an Entreployee Within Your Real Estate Company

Joe Stampone Featured, Start a Career 8 Comments

After reading James Altucher’s book, Choose Yourself, I’ve been devouring his content (blog, podcast, books). He’s fascinating and focuses much of his content around how to be successful in the new economy. He’s a big proponent of starting a business, platform, or lifestyle where your fate is not tied to your boss. Incomes have been going down and relying on a job, promotion, and retirement savings is a thing of the past. Furthermore, the demand for middle-class jobs are disappearing, being replaced by automation and outsourcing. In today’s world, as James puts it, you must ‘choose yourself’. Be creative, ask good questions, make mistakes, and figure out how to be irreplaceable.

That doesn’t mean you have to be an entrepreneur. What I love about working for a boutique company like Atlas is the opportunity to be an entreployee (a term coined by James). I have the ability to utilize my creativity and persistence to bring ideas to the table that can have outsized results when applied to the company infrastructure. In this post I describe 5 ways you can be an entreployee within your real estate company.

1. Create

I’ve said it countless times, ASotREG has been the single best thing I’ve done for my career. It’s opened doors, given me an excuse to reach out to people I want to meet and to ask questions about topics I find interesting, and to write about my passions. I’ve met investors, partners, and discovered tools which have helped Atlas grow. On top of all that, it’s created an income stream I can rely on outside of my full-time job.  You don’t have to start a blog, but consider posting on LinkedIn, contributing to an industry site, or creating a research report. The key is to create something that enables you to stand out and is complimentary to the work of your company.

2. Take Control of what you work on

Find ways to deliver value for your company that’s outside your job description. I’m constantly bringing ideas to the table and running with projects I think could add value to the company. A few examples include:

  • Discover tools and software that improve the company operations such as redIQ for underwriting, Highrise for CRM, or various investor management software.
  • Assist with internal company organization; improve the structure of the weekly team meeting, investment committee, or asset management reporting process.
  • Create a lender database, drive the company marketing/branding process, and put checklists in place (I create checklists for everything).

Tip: Create a Google Doc and track everything you accomplish so you can discuss it in detail during performance reviews.

3. Don’t be content

It’s easy to be content when things are growing; your skillset is improving, your salary is increasing, and you have the freedom to make choices you want. However, the entreployee is an idea-machine and always looking to be innovative. It could be easy for me to be happy with how things are going at Atlas, but I want more for the company and myself. I want to improve our operations, grow our investor base, refine our deal sourcing process, and nurture our sponsor relationships. I want to improve my skillset to the point where I can replace my bosses, freeing them up for bigger things that drive the growth of the company.

4. Become an expert in aspects of the business you love

Become an expert in the aspect of the job that you love by learning from others, taking relevant courses, and attending industry events. I really enjoy the investor relations process and looking for ways to scale the trust we’ve built and our track record over the past 7 years. By utilizing my knowledge of inbound marketing, crowdfunding best practices, and building an audience, I’m able to put processes in place that turn potential investors into advocates and enable Atlas to stand out for the 1,000 other real estate syndicators.

5. Link your success to the success of the company

It’s nearly impossible to build wealth off your salary. In real estate, we want to be owners. Although you may not be suited to buy your own deals, align your interest with the success of the company by negotiating ownership in the deals. To do this, find ways to become irreplaceable by implementing a few of the ideas outlined above. Over time you will show the value you bring, allowing you to have negotiating leverage. Remember, real estate is a get rich slow business. Be patient, but make sure you have an outsized upside by tying your financial success to that of the company. If you can’t do that, don’t be scared to move on.

James says it best. “The only skills you need to be an entrepreneur (or entreployee) are an ability to fail, an ability to have ideas, to sell those ideas, to execute on those ideas, and to be persistent so even as you fail you learn and move onto the next adventure.”

We live in a different world than our parents. The new economy is about ideas. Give yourself the permission to have bad ideas and you’ll flourish as an entreployee within any real estate company.

  • Great post Joe, really like Altucher’s stuff and the entreployee concept is a perfect description of how to think and grow in a small firm. In companies where I am/was an owner I always tried to hire people with some ‘there there’ so that the generation of ideas was a two way street with at least a second set of eyes on everything to keeping it real.

    Really like checklists too and speaking of, did you see that Michael Gerber has a new E-Myth book coming out?

  • Justin Caballero

    Another great post Joe! Thanks for sharing so much valuable content.

    I’m working for a boutique student housing real estate investor/ developer with no real set job description. I market and lease units, oversee property management, analyze competitors projects and potential new deals, property acquisition, etc. I strive to add value in many facets of the business and present ideas frequently. I surely love the entreployee role, but I sometimes lack organization due to juggling many roles at once. For example, sometimes I’ll need to analyze rent rolls or construction costs (which are necessary but I don’t enjoy), but I find myself wanting to find new deals, study markets, study crowdfunding deals or show units (which I really enjoy).

    Would love to learn: how you structure your work days? How do you keep organized while working on several deals and facets of your real estate business at once? What do you consider most valuable for your time? and how do you handle working on the aspects of the business that don’t interest you as much as those you love?

    Also, I’ve been contemplating a blog similar to yours, but don’t have much experience/ in depth knowledge to write about. I am working very hard and using Evernote to sort out ideas, take notes, etc. Any suggestions for how to proceed with organizing my thoughts/ curating content? How much time do you devote to this side business?

    Thank you for your time and consideration! Much gratitude,


  • @Giovanni_Isaksen:disqus Some “there there”…I love it! The challenge of hiring ‘idea machines’ is the ability to retain them and keep them happy. I’m lucky in that my role/structure with Atlas allows me to think and act like an owner. (and be compensated like one) Without that alignment of interest, it’d be very tempting to take my ideas elsewhere.

    Believe it or not, I haven’t read any of Michael Gerber’s E-Myth books, but have come across them several times, especially E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It. Do you recommend one in particular or should I jump right into his latest book?

    Thanks again for your continued, thoughtful comments. I hope your 2017 is off to a great start!

  • @justincaballero:disqus thanks for the comment, sounds like you ended up in a great role! The daily challenges of navigating a million different things is certainly my biggest challenge as well. One thing I’ve implemented into my workflow is the idea of scheduling everything (see my 2017 goals post – http://astudentoftherealestategame.com/5-things-i-learned-in-2016-and-5-goals-for-2017/)

    Most importantly, I spend the first 2-4 hours of my day focusing on the most challenging, creative, and important work. Scientifically, the time 2-5 hours after you wake up is when you do your best work. The rest of my day gets consumed with putting out fires, answering emails, and completing small tasks – it’s the reality of my job.

    Other things I find effective are writing in my 5-Minute Journal and using Headspace for 10-minutes each morning.

    Regarding the blog, hit me up on email joe@asotreg.com – happy to help!

  • Thanks for the good wishes and right back at you Joe-

    I think that trying to retain idea machines is the good problem compared to the other one. Plus as you point out so well (and in such a detailed manner on here) opening your own shop is a hard way to make an easy living!

    The Gerber book that I found most helpful was the E-Myth Revisited, I’ve probably given a dozen or more away since I read it back in 19… the day. No earth shattering revelations but if you’re an entrepreneur working away IN your business instead of ON your business it will help you figure out if you really own a business or just a job. It will show how to make sure you do own a business and how a mega-corp like McDonalds can run multi-million dollar businesses with “pimply faced high-school kids” (Spoiler alert: Checklists for EVERYTHING). The other books I’ve seen are about taking the E-Myth principles to specific sectors. I got a preview of his new book and that is essentially about how to go from owning a small business to a public company, essentially how any company can follow the tech-startup to IPO route and why it’s the best route to follow in today’s economy. I don’t know if I agree with that assertion because we very much like the private part of being private equity and we’ll see how the advantages of the REIT exit hold up with the new administration.

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  • Dylan McCarthy

    I’d like to hear more about point #5. Specifically how do you negotiate ownership of deals as an employee or perhaps bringing new investors to the company, which are ways you can be compensated outside your salary. Thanks for the great content!

  • @disqus_hLx4MdXzlQ:disqus it’s really dependent on your specific situation; how big the firm is, how long you’ve been there, your experience, how much value you add etc. I’d recommend you feel it out and have those discussions directly with the principals. Good luck!