I have started to meet with developers for my new book – becoming a real estate developer – and I can’t begin to tell you how impressive and inspiring it is to learn about their stories.
It’s easy to look at someone who is successful and feel overwhelmed by everything they’ve accomplished. But nobody starts at the top of their game (unless maybe they were born with a silver spoon in their mouth). Usually there’s a backstory of sweat and struggle that rarely gets told. As the saying goes: success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan.
But those are exactly the kinds of things I hope to uncover with this little project. I am less interested in the successes and more interested in the early decisions, struggles, and thoughts that went into making those successes even possible.
And one thing I’ve noticed is a tendency to just go for it. In fact, when I asked one developer if he had any advice for young aspiring developers, he said: just fucking do it.
As soon as he said this I couldn’t help but think of my elementary school English teacher who used always tell us the same thing – minus the expletive – whenever we’d ask him something such as, how long should this paper be, should we focus on this or that, and so on. He would always say: What does Nike say? Just do it. No buts. Just do it.
At the time, I obviously didn’t give this much thought. But the fact of the matter is there’s so much value in doing. And it’s easy to overthink at the expense of doing. What he was teaching us was to have confidence in ourselves that we would figure it out along the way.
The reason there appears to be a lot of interest in “how to be a real estate developer” is because there isn’t really a set path. You don’t go to school, apprentice for a year under the wing of a developer and then, boom, you’re a developer.
Most developers have carved their own paths. They just did it.