know when to quitMost experienced real estate investors know very well what discouragement feels like.

The life of a business owner can be filled with extremes and if you’re doing things right, it’s only a matter of time until you experience both the soaring highs and the occasional moments of darkness and despair that come with the entrepreneurial gig.

I don’t care what the gurus say, building a thriving real estate investing business is not an easy task. If it was easy, we’d all be multi-millionaires (and there would be no need for books, blogs and the like). The reality is that real estate investing is filled with challenges and success in this business takes time, trial and error.

Any successful company is filled with complexities that require a great deal of endurance and attention to detail (especially when things don’t go as planned). It doesn’t help that we live in a world that glorifies convenience, tempts people with promises of comfort and ease, all while telling us to chase after any and every “dream” that looks exciting. The unfortunate truth is – things like “convenience” and “comfort” have very little to do with a successful real estate business.

Is Difficulty Optional?

In Seth Godin‘s book The Dip, he dives into this subject in great detail. Here are some concepts from his writing that I want you to think long and hard about:

  • Godin1FACT: If something is worth doing, there is probably going to be some difficulty along the way.
  • There is a very high cost associated with being the best at anything. Many people can’t handle this cost and as a result, they quit. When people quit, it creates scarcity and scarcity creates value.
  • The difficulty is the reason there is a profit in anything. Without difficulty, there would be no problem for you to solve and no reason for your existence in the market. You should be happy that difficulties exist because these problems are the origin of your opportunities!
  • When your journey gets difficult and you keep going, this increases your chances of becoming the best in your field and ultimately, beating your competition. Winners understand when their journey is worth the trouble AND when it makes sense to throw in the towel. They understand which challenges are worth enduring today because it will help them escape significantly greater pain later.

Often Times, It’s Appropriate To Quit

Vince Lombardi was once quoted as saying:

“Quitters never win and winners never quit.”

Seth Godin’s response to this quote is, “Bad advice“:

“Winners quit all the time. They just quit the right stuff at the right time.”

If you’re honest with yourself, I think you’ll find that there are many instances in life when “quitting” is undeniably the right thing to do. Think about it…

  • What if you had never quit your first job?
  • What if you had never quit one of your bad habits?
  • What if you chose to ignore all guidance about course-correcting throughout your life?

Part of the difficulty with quitting is that our culture has attached a very negative stigma with the word “quit”. The truth is, winners quit all the time – they just do it strategically. The important thing is to quickly identify when something is worth quitting and then to pull the plug as soon as possible. Every extra second you spend working on something destined for failure is time you’ll never get back. The people who achieve the greatest successes in life are those who know how to fail fast rather than allowing a lost cause to consume their lives.

You Can Have Anything, But Not Everything

Regardless of what you’re pursuing, it is vitally important for you to establish your priorities (both in your business and personal life). You need to thoroughly understand which things rank near the top of this list (work, family, education, spirituality, friends, money, etc) and the exact order in which they rankEliminate any ambiguity about where your entrepreneurial endeavors fit into this list.

Think about it like this…

  • ChanIf you create a hugely successful real estate business, what impact (positive or negative) will this have on the individual items on your priority list?
  • What goals will a successful business help you to accomplish? What’s the point of all this effort?
  • What price will you have to pay for this kind of success? Is it worth the price?
  • Suppose you decide to quit this business today, what implications will this have for your future?
  • Is it possible to pursue this venture on a smaller scale, or do you really need to take the all-or-nothing approach?

Of course, I can’t answer any of these questions for you, but I do think they are important ones to think through as you’re coming to a decision. The “right” answer depends on what direction you want your personal and financial life to go in, and only YOU can draw this conclusion.

The important thing is to recognize that generally speaking – you can have anything you want in this life, but you can’t have it all. There are costs associated with EVERY decision you make, so make sure you’re thinking this through. Once you establish which costs you can afford to pay for (and which ones just aren’t worth the price), I think you’ll find that it gets easier to decide which things you need to quit and which things you should relentlessly pursue.

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About the author

Seth Williams is a land investor with hundreds of closed transactions and nearly a decade of experience in the commercial real estate banking industry. He is also the Founder of - a real estate investing blog that offers real-world guidance for part-time real estate investors.

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  1. Al Williamson says:

    Seth, this is good stuff. Godin’s book really shook me when I first read it. I had a deep dip to get through, it took 5 hard years to make a significant change in the neighborhood we were trying to revitalize. But now, using a competitive attitude, as a group of landlords, we have made it through.

    Yes, be the best. Lackluster landlords do not help struggling inner cities. I prefer they quit and make room for next gen owners.

    Thanks for you post.

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience Al, it’s good to hear from someone who has actually been through this first-hand. I appreciate your insight!

  2. Nate says:

    Excellent article with lessons to apply for any business type!

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Thanks Nate, I appreciate you checking out the blog!

  3. Irish says:

    I agree with Nate. Powerful post. Causing me to make a mental shift in how I’ve been viewing things. Thanks for the shake up – needed it.

    1. Seth Williams says:

      That’s great to hear Irish, I’m glad this stuff is giving you a fresh perspective. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  4. Joshua Stahl says:

    Seth Godin’s book was one of the best business books I have ever read. Every time the going gets tough, I remember that it is that way across the board for all players in the field. There is no doubt that there are highs and lows as a real estate investor. As long as your trajectory is up over time, you are in a favorable position.

    1. Seth Williams says:

      I’m with you Joshua – the guy is a true visionary and the business world is lucky to have him. Thanks for checking out the blog!

  5. Judy says:

    I started in Real Estate by being an investor while working at a corporate job. Sold my investments at about 7-8 years of holding experiencing good appreciation. Decided I did not want to be a landlord anymore, did not like the life style and the stress. When I quit my corporate job I knew I had a lot of real estate knowledge so I decided to be a Realtor and help others achieve their dreams. This was an excellent transition for me. I knew what I was doing, made money as a Realtor and really felt like I contributed to people knowledge when they purchased real estate. Love my “work” and am having fun!

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Thanks for sharing Judy. It’s good to hear how you put your knowledge to good use – sounds like it’s worked out well for you!

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