During the recent housing downturn there were a number of agents out there who made a literal fortune working with banks and the federal government selling distressed assets. At the same time, a number of other agents, some the same as before, made yet another literal fortune representing investors, large and small, in purchasing those same distressed assets. Sadly, many of those same agents are having a hard time making it today, even in a hot market.
Ask any investment adviser and they will tell you that the key to being a successful investor is diversification. On the other hand, Andrew Carnegie once quipped that “the way to become rich is to put all of your eggs in one basket and then watch that basket.”
I tend to believe that you can have the best of both worlds.
Have your niche or specialty, but make sure that you have something to fall back on in case of a downturn or setback. I call it setting the table. A dinner table can be laid out with beautiful linens, sterling silver cutlery, candles, and centerpiece. Unfortunately, if there is only one leg to that table underneath all of the fancy dressings, at some point, it will come crashing down. A table needs four legs to stand (and, no, I don’t need to hear about those tables that have one center pillar. I get it. Just go with it.) and carry the load of a full dinner party. In case you weren’t aware, the table is a metaphor for your business and the legs your revenue streams or business sources.
Since we’re going with the theme of four legs, here are four things you can do to set your table:
1) Analyze Your Business
Take a look over the last year or two of your business and really get a good idea of where your business came from. Referrals from your Spheres of Influence or Past Clients? A specific type of client like first-time buyers or downsizing Boomers? Clients from a specific area? New construction sales? You get the point. If you’re a nerd, make a pie chart. If you’re not, break out the old legal pad. Pick 3 other legs to add to your table.
2) Do What You Like
If you aren’t happy doing it, you won’t do it well. So even if you got business out of a certain area or client type, if you don’t like them, don’t make them a leg of your table. Either move on or hire someone who does like it.
3) Be Purposeful in Your Time
Now that you’ve identified your top 3 other legs, it is time to start attaching them to your table top. Just like when you established your niche, it will take time and effort. The key here is understanding that this table didn’t come from Ikea. It is really nice furniture, doesn’t come with awful directions drawn by a second grader, and won’t be put together in a very frustrating two hours. Do a time budget, allot the right amount of time to building your table, and then don’t sacrifice that time. Be deliberate in your effort. Act as though your business depends on it no matter how well you’re doing in your niche. You never know when it might.
4) One Leg at a Time
Like anything else in life, if you spread yourself too thin, you won’t accomplish much. So, don’t try to put all three legs on your table at one time. Take it one leg at time. Once you have the first leg attached, move on to the next leg and so on.
Bonus Tip – As you add more legs to your table and business starts coming in, a.k.a. your guests begin to arrive for the dinner party, you will become very busy. In order to properly add more legs and manage your growing business, you need to know when to seek help. No, not that kind of help. Well, maybe, but that’s not what I’m talking about. Don’t be afraid to hire an assistant or delegate tasks to an existing assistant.
Once your table is set and your dinner party is wildly successful, you will not only be making even more money than you are now, but you will have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that if one of your table’s legs starts to wobble, you have three others holding up the table.