Screw Tests!

CheatI was talking with a friend about an idea he is having about starting a new business.  He was asking me for advice on where to start and what are things that he can do to work on the business.  We had a very interesting conversation because of two things: how he reacted to what I told him to do and my memory of reacting the exact same way when I was where he is.

What I told him to do was to start finding people.  Find people who are doing what he wants to do and talk to them about how they are doing it.  Find people he will need to run a business (lawyers, attorneys, insurance, professionals on the front end, etc.) and ask them questions about what they can do to help.  Find people that would benefit from his company and ask them what it would be ideally like.

Basically, go out and find the people that he will eventually be working with and just start working with them right now.

His reaction was that he wasn’t ready to do that and he would have no idea what to even talk to them about.  He needed to do more studying and do more things HIMSELF so that he would have something to talk to them about.

I couldn’t be upset with him for asking my advice and then telling me why he couldn’t take it, because I did the exact same thing.  FOR A LONG TIME!  I “studied” investing and real estate for more than seven years before I bought my first property.  I read books.  I talked to people about both.  I watched videos.  But it took me over seven years to actually start doing it.

So I started to think about what was it that made this the normal reaction.  I am not saying normal because of these two examples only.  I have had similar conversations with a surprising amount of people with similar endings.  Think of all the people who you have heard talk about starting a business, or investing, or doing anything similar to that.  How many of them have done more than the few things I listed in the last paragraph?

The thought that came to mind for me was school.  At a very young age we have over a decade of tests.  Tests that you have to take by yourself.  Tests that define your grade.  Tests that are the only thing that matter and the only reason that you are in school, apparently.

We are taught that working with other people is cheating.  We are taught that this one evaluation is what matters, what you are judged upon.  The knowledge is necessary for the test, and not the other way around.

Then we are sent out into the non-academic world, everything is the exact opposite and no one tells us this.  You will get much further ahead if you cheat and work with others.  If you go to a lawyer and ask them about how they can help you in what you are trying to do, they will tell you.  It is how they make their money by educating their clients in how badly their clients need them.  There is never an ending in the working world.  There is never a graduation beyond getting promoted.  When you do, your previous work will go on and someone else will be doing it.

You do not need to walk into any of these conversations with more than an idea.  You do not have to pass any tests to be worthy of talking to these people.  In fact, in many instances the less you know the better.  That will make it easier to find someone who wants to help and teach you.  If you go and talk to three different Realtors, one is not going to want to waste their time with you; one is going to just answer your questions and no more; and one is going to be excited about what you are trying to do.  You don’t know the difference between those three responses unless you have met more than one Realtor.  And what you learn from one Realtor can help you ask better questions of the next Realtor.

Two more benefits to the approach of working with people from the beginning are vernacular and focus.  You need to learn the language that people in whatever you are trying to do are speaking.  You will need to learn the common words within the industry/endeavor that are uncommon outside of the industry/endeavor.  You will also learn what matters to the people you are talking to.  Let’s say you spend months getting together documents, understanding complex lending formulas and more to go in to talk to a banker.  Then when you get there, you find out they only need one document from you and you have just wasted precious time.

Time is really the big thing here.  When I think of how quickly my productivity accelerates with the more people that I have working with me, I think of how much time I lost over those seven years of not going out and finding those people.  How much insanely further ahead would I be if I had just done this seven years ago?

The last thing that I will bring up is cost.  I can’t go to these people because I don’t have money.  All I have right now is sweat equity, so that is why I should be doing these things myself.  (This is a previous excuses I have had, as well as heard from others.)  Many of these people don’t cost anything until you are actually doing something.  That is another reason they would want to help you because it gets you to doing something faster.  The people who do charge for their time from the get-go are more than worth it, if necessary.  I would much rather pay to make sure something is done legally and safely than pay for what happens if they are not.

So, my final words of advice.  Screw tests.  Cheat.

If you would like help  buying or selling a house, let me help you cheat.  If you want to talk about building a business, use me.  You can reach me at 515.724.3163 or or

Ryan Lynch, Realtor – Keller Williams Greater Des Moines – 10200 Hickman Ct. Ste. 100   Clive, IA 50325 – Licensed in the State of Iowa