Money Makes You Weak

April 4, 2013

Alan Martin, Campus Book Rentals (Forbes.com)

There’s nothing that energizes me like the story of an entrepreneur who started with nothing and found success.  This is the story of Alan Martin, founder of Campus Book Rentals.

Alan started out with no money in the bank, but an idea in his head.  One day, he just created a website and blasted it out to his friends.  He had no books, no money, no business.  His website said he had all of those things, but all he really had was an idea and now a website.

Once Campus Book Rentals became an actual business and was gaining momentum, investors starting knocking.  Alan chose to use innovative thinking rather than monetary investments in order to grow his business.

Alan is not the only successful entrepreneur who lives by this.  Ron Mays, founder of Montgomery Jet Center was quoted saying, “The best thing I never did was borrow money to get started.”

Having capital on hand can stunt the growth of a company.  For many businesses, it can be the reason for their failure.

For Alan, not having money meant taking a leap of faith.  He found ways to use non-monetary resources to his advantage.

In real estate, I see the opposite of this happen all the time.  A bright-eyed new agent will join the team and have spent tens of thousands of dollars in marketing, from SEO to full-color glossy fliers and a website meant to knock buyers dead.  A year later, their cubicle is occupied by a different agent.

For me, growing my business without money was the best think I could have done.  Even though I quit a pretty great job to do real estate, I had not one penny saved.  I knew that if I were going to make real estate my full-time gig, I was going to have to do it right.  Having no money for fancy marketing strategies and websites, I learned how to knock doors.

Knocking doors teaches a new agent more about real estate than any amount of coaching, schooling, and training could.  You’re in front of someone (usually a homeowner), who probably reads the newspaper, has bought and sold a couple of homes in their lifetime, and asks you about ‘the market’.  Quickly, you learn how much you don’t know.  To this day, I say knocking doors taught me everything I know about real estate… that’s not exactly the case, because I learn new things every day, but it was true for the first year of my career.

During my second year in real estate, I had enough money for a marketing campaign, but rather than spend it on fancy gimmicks, I chose to go the inexpensive route.  I started a blog, where I would share tidbits of knowledge with my friends, family, and clients.  This ranged anywhere from updates on the market to helpful hints like how to clean the gunk out of your disposal.

Before I knew it, this helped my search engine rankings, and I had become one of the top results for real estate searches in Utah.

I credit my menial success to not having money and being forced through uncomfortable motivation to innovate.

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