• It’s hugely important to know what you’re good at and what you're not good at in business.
  • Real estate investors often paint a picture in their heads of who they want to be and where they want to go without doing a reality check.  
  • Putting yourself in a role that doesn’t fit you or your personality will most likely make you unhappy and unsuccessful.

If you’re able to focus your time and effort on what you’re good at, it can cause positive results. In real estate, if you get caught up working on what you’re not good at, it can cause no results — not to mention other problems, such as low productivity.

You might think you want to be a huge real estate developer, flip houses or have a large rental portfolio. But first, you should think about what skills and personality type you have. (We love Tony Robbins’ DISC personality test.)

My co-host, Jason Balin, knows he would never go door-to-door and negotiate with homesellers in their living rooms to try to pick up leads. I know I’m not good at anything having to do with construction.

There are so many different “jobs” one can have within this industry — real estate agents, investors, construction; no one can do ever do everything, so no one has to be good at everything. A little self-awareness goes a long way.

Self-awareness: Realize what you like and what you’re good at

We are not saying not to push yourself out of your comfort zone. In fact, we think you should try new things. Because in doing so, you can discover what you are good at and what doesn’t work for you.

Balin has been in a living room with a seller before. That’s how he knows he doesn’t like to be in that setting.

Some examples of things to think about when trying to define your place in real estate:

  • Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
  • Do you like sales?
  • Construction?
  • Do you want to manage people?
  • Manage money?

A lot of our clients want to have huge real estate companies when they first get started. Some people tend to buy different kinds of properties in different areas, but after a while we see them buying similar properties in one subdivision with the same type of construction.

This is because as they become more experienced, they realize what they like and what they’re good at — and by doing so, they become successful.

Doing something in real estate that doesn’t fit you or your personality would be like an inside salesperson trying to do outside sales.

The outside salesperson has a big personality and likes to talk to people and travel; the inside salesperson is organized, follows up and holds down the fort. It’s just about what works for different personality types, and if you’re stuck in a role that doesn’t work for you, you will be miserable.

Don’t try to fit the mold — find your fit

We know a real estate agent, Carolyn Sterling, who sells a lot of new construction; she’s listing multimillion dollar houses, and she’s very good at what she does.

She gutted and redid her own house. She knows a lot about that — both the construction and the sales.

One time, I asked her, “Have you ever considered doing a spec yourself?” and without hesitation, she said, “Nope. It’s not what I do. I built my own house because I wanted to, but that’s not what I do professionally. I know what I’m good at and I stick to it.”

I was happy to hear that she knows what her business is and she sticks to that. Could she accomplish it? Probably. Does she want to? It doesn’t sound like it. But more importantly, she understands her wheelhouse, who she is and what she wants.

Let go of the things that aren’t working

On the other hand, we know someone who is very skilled at sales and marketing; we’ll call him Fred. Fred can get the phone to ring, follow up and converts those leads to deals.

However, he is not good at the construction and operation side — accounting, finance, employee management, etc. — but he won’t let it go.

We’ve watched him continue to try for some years now and not take on the right partner to handle that. He won’t frame his business around his strengths, and it’s been a problem.

It leads to a lack of productivity, and it’s led to loss of money, unhappy partners and other unpleasant consequences. It all stems from not being self-aware. For some reason, he hasn’t realized what he’s good at and what he’s bad at.

We don’t want to dabble in the construction side because we don’t like it, and we don’t understand it. There are a lot of parts of our business that we can’t do. It’s OK for us to be in that industry, but we have found the right strategic partners for the areas we aren’t good at.

We have partners for our homebuying company, our rental company, our lending offices in other areas we aren’t familiar with. We stick to what we know best.

Be very honest with yourself about what you’re good at and what you’re not, and frame your business around that. Like we’ve mentioned a couple times, not only can it lead to a lack of productivity, but it can lead to serious problems, especially in real estate investing where there is a lot of money on the line.

Chris Haddon is an entrepreneur based in Washington, D.C., a partner at Hard Money Bankers and a co-founder of REI360.net.

Email Chris Haddon.

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