Not Everyone is Cut Out to be a Real Estate Entrepreneur

Nov 19, 2016 | Career, Entrepreneurship

Earlier this year I discussed why you’re not ready to buy your own deals. Doing your own deals and growing a real estate firm is not only hard, it’s not for everyone.  Most real estate professionals get into the business to be entrepreneurs.  The entrepreneurial spirit is part of what makes this such a great business.

The narrative in business and real estate today is that everyone should be an entrepreneur, however, the reality is that most of us are not cut out to be entrepreneurs and we’re doing ourselves a disservice by trying to force ourselves to be entrepreneurs.

The most under-estimated trait in business is self-awareness. It’s the ability to know what you’re good at, what you suck at, and put yourself in the best possible position to succeed. Some people are meant to be #2 or #3 players. I’m a big proponent of doubling down on your strengths and accepting your short-comings in order to best position yourself for success.

In order to be a successful real estate entrepreneur, you must be a practitioner, grasping every intricacy of a deal, while also understanding the big picture and being able to put all the pieces together.  Combine that skill-set with some luck and good market timing, and you just may be able to successfully do your own deals.

That said, most of us aren’t cut out to do our own deals. It’s important to recognize what you’re good at and maximize your value by focusing on that skill-set.

Maximize your Existing Skill-Set

Real estate is a great business where a group of individuals with completely different skill-sets come together and build something that is architecturally significant, makes a neighborhood better, or creates wonderfully humane spaces in which people can work and play.  And as a real estate professional, it’s up to you to determine where you best fit into the real estate ecosystem.

If you enjoy being hands-on at the asset level, executing the business plan and working directly with the property management team, working in asset management with an owner-operator is a great fit.  Find a best-in-class owner-operator that is actively growing its portfolio and join the asset management team. Parlay that experience into joining an entrepreneurial firm and become the head of asset management.

If you’re analytical, yet understand the asset-level operations, acquisitions could be a better role for you. Focus on a specific asset class within a submarket and get to know every player within that submarket. Become the first person sellers go to when marketing their assets and use that relationship to run acquisitions for a well-capitalized local investment firm.

Perhaps you enjoy brand-building and putting processes in place to help firms scale up. You understand the ins and outs of the business and enjoy being involved in all aspects of the company. If that’s the case, focus on operations and help firms scale up to the next level.

If you enjoy networking, building relationships, and are more sales-oriented, then brokerage or debt originations could be a good fit for you.

While doing your own deals is sexy and you think that’s what you want to do, it may not be the best thing for your career. Determine what you’re best at and focus on maximizing those skills. By focusing on your strengths and ignoring your weaknesses, you’re most likely to succeed within the real estate business.

What do you think?