Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you’re able to unplug and enjoy quality time with family and friends. I find that time off, completely disconnected from the day-to-day grind of daily work is key to regaining focus and igniting the spark of creativity.

2018 was another productive year on ASotREG. I rolled out a site redesign (ASotREG 3.0), launched a new eBook on passive real estate investing, and published 14 new posts. I’m incredibly humbled and appreciative of everyone who has given me their attention. Your time is the most valuable asset you have, so it inspires me to do everything I can to ensure it’s worth it.

As I’ve done for the past several years, I want to use this post as sort of a state of the blog update and share a few things I learned over the past year and my goals for the year ahead.  

Although I’ve published far less frequently this past year, engagement and other key metrics continue to improve. My only commitment is quality.

2018 Blog Metrics

  • Total New Posts: 14
  • Total Visitors: 88,373
  • Total Page Views: 210,363
  • Total Email Subscribers: 5,126

Here are the 3 most popular posts of the year based on total visits:

  1. Value-Add Multifamily Deal Screening Checklist for Passive Real Estate Investors
  2. Aspects of the Real Estate Acquisition Process I find Frustrating
  3. How to Win Marketed Multifamily Real Estate Deals

I don’t spend much time looking at the metrics and don’t optimize the content to maximize page views or affiliate revenue. The goal of the site remains the same as the day I launched it in January 2009; to share what I’m thinking about and what I find most exciting about the real estate industry today.

Lessons Learned in 2018

The Danger of Confirmation Bias: When we spend significant time and energy pursuing an opportunity, we tend to have an emotional connection to the investment. Naturally, we want to get the deal done, so we seek out data that supports our investment thesis, and largely ignore information that is counter to our ideas. This confirmation bias can be dangerous. As Ray Dalio says, you must shift your mindset from “I am right” to “how do I know I am right”.

All Benefits in Life come from the Power of Compounding: Wealth, success, health, relationships, you name it. It comes from creating positive habits and repeatedly practicing them for long periods of time. Simple subtle habits are far better than big splashy ones, and hacking into your identity is the key to sustaining these habits long-term.

Things don’t need to be perfect before Beginning: The circumstances will never be perfect, you will never have all the information you need, and there is never any guarantee of success. The only perfect time to start is now. Persistence, hunger, and the belief in yourself will dictate your success. Everyone is making it up as they go, so figure it out yourself and just do it.

Recognizing your Assets, Removing Boundaries, and Changing the Narrative you tell yourself is Key to your Success: We’re all constrained the boundaries we set and the narrative we tell ourselves. What is the narrative that you tell yourself? You have 2 kids and a mortgage so you can’t take the risk of doing your own deals. You’re too old to make a career change. You don’t have the experience to apply for that job. You’re too junior to make that pitch. If you can change the narrative, stop living in your current worldview, and remove boundaries, you can accomplish more than you expect.

The Importance of Learning how to Learn: We aren’t taught how to learn in school, we are taught how to memorize and pass tests. The most important skill one must possess in a rapidly-changing world is how to learn. Learning requires repetition and intense attention and interest. You can’t learn without putting in the work.

5 Goals for 2019

Practice Mindfulness: Incorporating mindfulness into my daily life has been a goal of mine for several years. It takes a lot of practice to get out of your comfort zone to incorporate mindfulness, but it’s within anyone’s reach. I tend to find myself so heavily burdened by the past and chasing the future that it prevents me from living freely in the present. I want to change that.

Refocus on Personal Development: It’s easy to go through the motions and maintain the status quo. We’re all busy and it’s easy for life to get in the way. However, as Aristotle said, “we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then is not an act but a habit.” In 2019, I intend to implement better habits around building new skills and improving judgment.

Build the Foundation of the Atlas Value-Add Multifamily Investment Platform: Over the past 8 years at Atlas, the company and my role has evolved considerably. Although we still maintain our roots of an ‘Entrepreneurial Mindset and Institutional Execution’, we’ve created several investment verticals and grown our team. My primary role is scaling our value-add multifamily platform which requires stepping back and recognizing the market opportunities, further establishing our competitive advantages, creating a team and processes, and figuring out how to do things differently and better. It’s a big project, but one I’m passionate about and excited to tackle.

Play Long-Term Games with Long-Term People: Whether it be personal development, this blog, or Atlas, I seek to play the long game with individuals who share my long-term perspective. I intend to publish this blog for the rest of my life, so it’s silly not to take a long-term perspective with everything I do. At Atlas, I seek to acquire properties we can hold forever, with investors and team members who share my long-term vision and are willing to be patient. The compounding effect of this long-term vision will lead to outsized results across all facets of my life and career.

Embrace Accountability: Taking accountability can be risky. However, if you take accountability and things go well you will be rewarded with responsibility, equity, and leverage. As noted above, I’m taking accountability over the Atlas multifamily platform. The success (or failure) of the platform will come from my knowledge, judgement, and  ability to lead.

Thank you for making 2018 a great year.

Next year I’ll be back with a greater variety of content. This is just getting started.

Joe