Here I am, back on the “Thinking Big” bandwagon. (And this is simply a perspective and an observation, not a judgment) I am certainly not immune from the challenge we face when we are considering something that involves risk and is bigger than our comfort level. Possibly even beyond our knowledge and skill set as well. In looking back, I remember being intimidated at things that simply do not phase me now. I remember struggling for weeks over the purchase of a $150 compressor, a $100 drill press, and a $125 band saw for my work shop. Each of those items added to my ability to create income and secure a future (at least financially) for my family. Now I spend almost that much filling my truck up with fuel 2-3 times a week. “Big” is a relative term. A big commitment or a big investment can mean one thing one day and something entirely different years later.
At the beginning of our real estate investing career, we analyzed dozens of properties over and over to make sure we were making the right decisions. What took, hours and weeks to decide then, takes moments now. Why is that? It’s simply because “Big” in our mind today, as always, has been related to our perspective and comfort zone. In 1982, (my early tool buying days) big was $100. In 2004 (my early real estate buying days) big was $30,000. By 2010, big was about $100,000. In 2014, big was $1 million. In 2016, it took about 10 minutes to decide on a $200,000 plus deal that we didn’t even have benefit of historic business financials. The “bigness” of that deal was insignificant because our perspective on “Big” has changed.
In the world of investing, whether in real estate or in business, “big” is relative both in expected investment and in expected return. When I address investing and try to determine what someone’s reality of their “Big” perspective happens to be, there are a couple of tell-tale indicators. First of all, EVERYBODY claims to think, believe and act “Big”. In reality, when the chips are down and a commitment is necessary, I see people choke at $1,000 or $2,000 or $5,000 and sometimes as little as $50. One other thing I notice is a false sense of expectation when justifying the choke. Things like “well, the return is not good enough” when actually the return is pretty good. The lower the choke point, usually the higher the “stated” expectation is for a mythical or unrealistic return.
Don’t misunderstand, I’ve done EXACTLY the same thing. One of my more memorable choke experiences includes an exciting prospect presented by a friend as a potential partnership. An Executive Retreat on 1,700 acres, private lake, off road courses with cool vehicles, boats, 1,200 head of bison with butcher shop, taxidermy shop and clients all over the world! AWESOME, I said, How Much? $12 million was the reply. Choke choke! As it turns out, it was a profitable business with over $1 million in annual sales on the bison products alone. AND, an ag bank was willing to finance it!
There is no doubt after looking back on it that my perspective of the “bigness” of it overwhelmed me. Even though I had already overcome the $1 million big hurdle on another project.
I suppose the purpose of this article is to challenge myself again as well as others to our perspective of “Big”. The term “Big” means nothing because big to one person means something totally different to another. The ONLY yardstick that big can be measured against is our own comfort zone. If your goal is to create an income to support a specific lifestyle or purpose, then “Big” for you is going to HAVE TO BE big enough to support that level of purpose. If you choke on $1,000 or $10,000 or any figure that doesn’t support your vision, purpose or goals, then you need to get a new perspective on “BIG”! Then you must be willing to persevere through it in terms of action and commitment.