This blog is written by Jen Josey, Real Estate Investor and REIGN Coach. She is not a professional writer and writes like she talks so put your red pen away. Jen is extremely opinionated but reserves the right to change her opinion at anytime because, well, that's the way she rolls. She may also use colorful language so don't be offended. Jen does not claim to be an expert, she is just sharing her personal thoughts and adding a perspective on investor topics that may benefit her readers. Jen also finds it strange to write in third person. Enjoy!
Exactly two years ago today, I stopped working for the man and became my own boss. Ooooo, that feels so good to say...let me say it again...I quit my job! I was given the freedom I had desired for so many years. What I wasn't prepared for was how lost I felt. I no longer had a set schedule. I didn't have to report to anyone. My co-workers were four legged and horrible at conversations. I needed a change. I needed to be held accountable for my daily actions.
Studies show that people who write down their goals are 42% more likely to achieve those goals. It jumps to 78% more likely to achieve those goals when you tell a friend, or in my case, an accountability partner or group.
Shortly after I quit my corporate America job, I met someone who was a rock star at renovating properties. She was established in our local Real Estate Investor group and was a presenter at one of our meetings. I was very impressed by her so after a little bit of online stalking, we became Facebook official.
I wanted to know her secrets. What did she do with her business day in and day out? Who influenced her? I wasn't getting enough from following her on Facebook, I needed more. A few months later, I decided to pop the question...
"Will you be my accountability partner?"
She not only said yes, she took it a step further and invited some other ladies! I had hit the jackpot by getting a whole tribe of accountability partners! At our first meeting, I wanted to be super prepared. I asked The Google, "How to create an Accountability Group" and "How to run an Accountability Group." The gist of what I found was to have like-minded people get together to discuss goals. The former teacher in me printed off half sheets of paper with three spots for goals and three spots for how to achieve each of those goals. I was so excited to create this group, I named it, "REAL: Real Estate Accountability Ladies." Yay!
The day had arrived. We met at a local restaurant and introduced ourselves while everyone looked over the menu and then ordered. I then passed out the goal sheets and explained everyone should write down three goals and then write three action items on how to achieve those three goals. When finished, we would then announce our goals to the group. I further explained that we would meet again in two weeks to review our goals, make new goals, announce those goals and then repeat.
This is when the questions started to arise.
"What if I don't meet my goal...will I be in trouble?" "Are these just business goals?" "Are we going to meet here every time?" "What if I know my goals...do I really have to write them down?" "Can I bring so-and-so next time?"
I have to be honest, I wasn't prepared for all the questions. I was still a newbie to these ladies and didn't want to be overbearing (which I'm known for) so I just tried to appease everyone. I turned it back over to the group to make up the rules as we went along. This was a big mistake.
Fast forward a few months and I felt REAL started to become a real mess. For some in the group, it was fun to see who could pick the coolest restaurant every other week. Sometimes, they would pick noisy and dark restaurants which made it hard to hear each other and see our goals, but man, they served a great tuna poke bowl. Others would start off lunch complaining about a contractor which would then turn into a "one upper" session about contractor nightmares. Before you knew it, it was two hours later and no one had even mentioned a goal. When we did get around to sharing our goals, some started to evolve their goals into simple check lists on what was needed for their current project. Constantly, the dates were getting shifted because one lady would forget and schedule a hair appointment. Then someone would suggest we move the meeting to the next day, only for that one to get rescheduled, etc, etc.
After a few more months of this, it all boiled over when I had a completely immature hissy fit and erupted on these ladies. My feelings were hurt because I had high hopes for our group. I really needed the accountability and could not understand why they did not see the importance of being held accountable. In a snarky move, I changed our SKYPE group title to Lunch Ladies and announced I was starting a new accountability group. How could they expect to be called REAL because they were missing the "A" for accountability...they were simply Lunch Ladies.
I started a new group but was very careful about who I picked to be a part of it. This was almost a year after creating REAL so I had developed relationships with other goal-driven business owners. I reached out to people and was very clear on what the purpose of the group would be. I picked people who's businesses were going in different directions. One was focused on large commercial properties funded through syndication, another did BRRRR strategies, another did mostly wholesaling, and more. I was surprised to find out a guy wanted to join so I had to change the name to "REALM: Real Estate Accountability Ladies + Man." At our first meeting, I laid down the following guidelines:
-Dates will be determined a year out to not conflict with our local REIA events, please mark your calendar. If you cannot make a meeting, we will see you at the next one.
-You will all be added to a SKYPE group where you can reach out for support in between meetings. You can also share information on contractors, lenders etc. This is an easy way to let the group know if you are late or can't attend a meeting. SKYPE should not be used to discuss non-related business topics.
-Locations will be decided by the group but the restaurant must be conducive to a meeting atmosphere where everyone can see and hear each other.
-The first few minutes of the meeting will be for catching up with each other until our orders are placed. Then we will start with our goals from last week.
-We will not set a timer but time should not run longer than 5 minutes for each person to review their previous goals, what was accomplished and what was missed. There is no penalty for missed goals. The group is there for support only.
-We will then spend time writing down three goals for the next two weeks. It can be in open discussion format to have others suggest action items to achieve those goals.
-Once everyone has announced their goals and action items, we will then determine the next meeting location. Meeting will then adjourn.
The newly formed REALM served it's purpose. I had found a group of people that shared my vision and need for accountability. I was transparent with the purpose of the group prior to them joining and established clear expectations. Typical goals we shared were business related like getting another property under contract, updating their time blocking or hiring a new General Contractor. The group was great at providing suggestions for action items to achieve those goals. Other goals could be fitness and health related or even a goal to clean out the garage. The group still meets bi-weekly to this day and we even added another guy! By keeping each other accountable, there has been growth in everyone's business.
I also continue to meet with my original group. Not too long after I created REALM, I tucked my tail between my legs and apologized to my Lunch Ladies for showing my ass. I realized that they also provided a real benefit for my business, and more so, my soul. One of the ladies suggested to change the name to Property Sisters which is what we truly are, sisters in business. Once I accepted the true purpose of our sisterhood, these are my go-to girls for celebrations, emotional support, super juicy gossip and a safe place to complain when needed. They filled that much needed void of cooler conversations with co-workers who understand the day to day grind that your other friends will never understand. I am forever grateful for them.
In conclusion, having an accountability partner or group will grow your business, this is a fact. Accountability comes in many different forms, whether you meet in person, on a call or in an online group. (Insert gratuitous plug for my online group here: www.REIGNmastermind.com) The important part is to be committed to each other and establish guidelines. When you write down your goals and share them with another individual, your percentage of achieving that goal increases tremendously. If you're not clear with your expectations, you could also luck out like me with and discover a new extended work family and friends for life.
Make it a great day! Whoop whoop!
*Read more blogs by Jen Josey at www.REIGNmastermind.com.