• Collaboration can provide unlimited opportunities to grow and create.
  • Radical change is scary because it upsets the status quo.
  • Go for the moonshot -- it's the thing that no one thinks is possible.

Elon Musk is arguably the most interesting thought leader in the world. His huge successes (and some epic failures) are often overshadowed by other notable tech entrepreneurs such as Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates.

Nevertheless, his accomplishments are just as significant, if not more so than the industry’s most popular leaders.

In case you aren’t entirely clear on who Elon Musk is, he is responsible for some of the most innovative and forward-thinking technology in the world including PayPal, SpaceX and Tesla Motors.

And it’s important to note that these companies and their innovations have only been around since the beginning of the 2000s. That means in just 15 years, Musk quickly moved the tech industry into places that were previously reserved for science fiction.

Unlike technology, the real estate industry is pretty slow to evolve. Brokers and agents have mostly been using the same methods for well over 50 years. Sure, there have been small improvements with the introduction of cell phones and the Internet, but the infrastructure of real estate has remained largely unchanged.

If agents were to embrace the same tactics that have made Musk successful, think of what could be accomplished in real estate! Here are four lessons from Elon Musk that can inspire agents to think outside the box and take real estate to the next level.

1. Network and connect

As a college student, Musk cold-called interesting people that he would like to meet. One of those people was Peter Nicholson, a top executive at the Bank of Nova Scotia.

This phone call led to a meeting with Nicholson and landed Musk a summer internship. Musk’s experience at the bank would eventually be the impetus for the digital payment service PayPal.

There is fortune in the follow-through. Do you reach out to people you admire? Are you willing to push your comfort zone to make connections with the best of the best?

People outside of real estate have just as much to offer, if not more than industry experts. Don’t limit yourself. Who knows what someone in an entirely different profession can offer you?

Teaming up and combining expertise can provide unlimited opportunities to grow and create.

2. Invest in yourself

Musk invested more than half of his earnings from the sale of his first company into PayPal. Risky? Sure. But this is what separates Musk from everyday entrepreneurs — he believes in himself so much that he is willing to make insane investments to turn an idea into a reality.

You might not have millions of dollars to invest, but consider the return on what you can afford. Splurge on a pricey seminar or coaching session if it creates systems to hold you accountable.

Hire an assistant to take on your menial tasks (such as paperwork and scheduling appointments) so you can focus on closing deals. Give yourself the things you need to remove roadblocks and grow.

3. Disturb the comfortable

Musk has never been afraid to shake things up. He completely ignored everything we knew about car manufacturing and created something entirely different. And though it’s not the flying car, the inception of Tesla has completely upset the auto industry.

Tesla is insanely efficient, completely upgradable (without having to buy a whole new vehicle) and undeniably luxurious. Even the act of purchasing a Tesla is outside the box.

Much like the automobile industry, real estate has remained the same for decades. It’s complacent, predictable and boring.

But what if you shook it up? What would happen if you pushed the envelope and disregarded the way it’s always been done?

Radical change is scary because not only does it upset the status quo, but it also completely tramples it. You have to sacrifice what is popular for what is needed.

4. Go for the moonshot

The moonshot is doing the thing that seems the most insane. It’s the things that no one thinks is possible.

The final frontier has historically been a nationally funded enterprise — until Musk. His belief: “If you can dream it, you can build it,” landed him in a literal moonshot situation.

SpaceX is the first commercial company to build a rocket and successfully deliver supplies to the international space station. This is all a result of Musk’s relentless belief that nothing is impossible.

The moonshot is what happens when you put everything into practice and execute. If you are connecting with people, investing in yourself and challenging the status quo, you are laying the foundation to achieve the unattainable.

I went from Realtor to CEO of a software company because I took a chance on the moonshot, and it was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done.

Maybe you have a crazy idea that will change the way agents buy and sell homes. What could you accomplish if you knew you could not fail?

Musk is more than just an entrepreneur. Unlike his peers, Musk is legitimately trying to solve real world problems.

In “Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future,” biographer Ashlee Vance wrote “Where Mark Zuckerberg wants to help you share baby photos, Musk wants to … well … save the human race from self-imposed or accidental annihilation.”

It’s a pretty big endeavor, and Musk exemplifies the gumption and determination it takes to make real change.

We need more people like Musk in real estate. We need more thought leaders and more industry disrupters. Although the future of real estate might not take us to Mars, we should start thinking about how to buy and sell homes up there.

Tyler Smith is founder and CEO of SkySlope. You can follow him on Twitter or on his blog.

Email Tyler Smith.

Show Comments Hide Comments
Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription