What To Do When Your First Plan Fails
I recently read The Heart of the Deal: How To Invest and Negotiate Like a Real Estate Mogul by Anthony Lolli. It’s an engaging book providing a general overview of real estate investment. There are lots of ideas to explore if you’re interested in getting involved in the real estate market.
But more than real estate, Anthony’s book has a lot of real-life application, such as mindset, negotiation, and taking on a partner versus hiring employees.
One lesson that stuck with me though was the idea of losing the emotional connection to your ideas so you can change course to go where there’s a hole in the market.
Anthony’s original plan was to become a real estate broker in Manhattan. He’d start out in Brooklyn Heights and work his way into the Manhattan market.
But as he was hunting down his first deal and making observations, he realized two things.
The first was the Brooklyn had lots of potential for growth, and there were fewer brokerage firms than in Manhattan—less competition. And because he’d grown up there, he was already very familiar with the city.
The second thing he noticed was that everyone wanted in on the sales game, but few people were working the rental market.
He had a choice:
“I could fight every other real estate company in New York, some that had been in business for over a century, and be a very tiny fish in a very big pond, or I could focus on the underserved rental market and pretty much have the pond to myself.”
So, Anthony decided to pivot from his original business model and instead go where there was a market need.
This is such a valuable lesson because you often start out in a market or field and realize it’s over-saturated. Or maybe there isn’t a market at all because there is no interest.
What do you do? Do you stick with your idea? Do you give up? Or do you adapt to what you’ve learned?
Let’s say your dream is to own your own bakery and you want to focus on wedding cakes. But as you research your idea, you discover that there are already 3 bakeries in town, they all push wedding cakes, and your town isn’t large enough to support another bakery.
You’ve got a couple of options.
You could specialize in baked goods of a different variety. Maybe gluten-free baked goods? Or breads instead of sweets? What about a bakery/coffee shop combination?
You could try a different model. Maybe you create online courses for teaching anyone with an internet connection and an interest how to decorate their own cakes. Or how to make bakery-style masterpieces at home. Or how they can adapt baked good recipes to fit their dietary needs.
You still fulfilled the big idea—owning your own business dealing with baked goods. It just looks a little different than you originally imagined.
Another way this could play out is that you do get into your intended field. But you realize it’s not a good fit for you. Amy Porterfield started out doing courses about Facebook advertising but soon realized it wasn’t a good fit for her. So she pivoted to teaching others how to create their own online courses and has been wildly successful.
Maybe you’re an author who thought you’d create a stream of revenue by accepting speaking engagements. But you quickly discover you hate it. You don’t like the travel, you hate being away from your family, it throws off your writing schedule.
How do you deal? You could switch to podcasting, FB lives, or video courses. You’re still talking about your passion, you’re still connecting with people, and you’re still making money. It just looks different.
This concept doesn’t apply to only business. Let’s say you have your heart set on creating an outdoor space, a comfortable, inviting outdoor retreat for your family. You’ve pictured fireside chats, a peaceful oasis for meditation, soft, oversized seating, hammocks for napping. There are beautiful walkways with flowers and greenery to admire with scents that will delight the senses. But the piece de resistance is the 5 or 6 trees you want to plan.
These trees remind you of lazy summer days spent on your back gazing at the clouds peeking through the branches. Big green leaves that turn red and orange and yellow in the autumn, falling to the ground to create giant piles for children to play in.
Yes, you have this plan, and you cannot wait to get started pulling all the elements together.
But when you get to the nursery, you learn the trees you’d pictured won’t thrive in your climate. You’re going to have to pick a different kind of tree.
Now you can insist on trying to plant and grow your trees. Or you can give up on the garden area you envisioned. Just throw up some outdoor seating and be done with it.
Or you can adapt your plan and find trees that will thrive in your environment and still give you the delight you imagined.
Keep the bigger picture in mind. What is it that you really want? Anthony’s original goal was to own his own business in real estate. He planned to open a brokerage firm in Manhattan. His pivot was to invest in the rental market in Brooklyn. He still got what he wanted—his own real estate business—it just played out differently than he imagined.
The idea of adapting to the market and losing the emotional attachment to your ideas was just one of the great lessons in The Heart of the Deal. You can order a copy here.