No One Said it Would be Easy!


By Brian Pulis

If you’re buying properties and renting them out, you’re more than just a property investor – you’re also a small business owner. Thus, if you don’t think and act like a business owner, chances are you won’t succeed.

In the real estate investing community, speakers often talk about the importance of treating your real estate investments as a business – “The Business of Real Estate Investing”. But what does that mean, specifically, and how do you take that and increase the odds of success within my business? With over 85% of small businesses failing within their first five years of operation and many others sharing their stories of chaos, it’s clear many perhaps do not understand what it means to be in business.

In the real estate investing community, I have witnessed two areas that greatly contribute to this:

  1. Many don’t consider their role as a business at all and, therefore, don’t take the appropriate business-savvy actions to keep themselves going. (Perhaps taking in way too many seminars suggesting real estate investing is “passive”.)
  2. Many have no or minimal experience in running a small business, therefore they don’t have the tools to set themselves up for success.

But, even if you have all the tools, are you ready to use them to their fullest?

In my years as a business coach I had the privilege to work with many individuals that were hitting it out of the park. I also worked with others that struggled and just couldn’t gain any traction and seemed to be in continual chaos. Over the years, as I have led, managed, coached and worked alongside individuals, I began to see fundamental differences in the commitment level that is brought into the task at hand. Some took ten steps when really only seven were sufficient while most of the others only took five, having a “that’s good enough” attitude.

For years, Don Campbell has taught us to do the extra 10%.

The unfortunate part is that many believe they are doing the extra 10% or doing everything they can. They may not realize that their “good enough” attitude could be what’s holding them back.

How does one know or establish if they are indeed doing “the extra 10%” or “everything they can?” This is impossible to measure, but some actions that I have found helpful that push me outside my comfort zone include:

  • Brainstorm a task or project and create a list of actions (minimum of 5) that can be taken to optimize the outcome. (If approaching this at 110%, it works best if you have someone to bounce ideas off of, in order to discover new strategies that push you out of your comfort zone.)
  • Create an action plan that identifies the task, and then list 3-5 actions detailing the specifics and timeline to complete.
  • Next, identify and commit to moving forward on several of these actions per week.
  • Measure your success weekly against your action plan. If you have identified an action that is not providing the desired results, replace it with another action from your list

Three Key areas to question:


For me, success was never optional; it was/is a forgone conclusion!! I enter each business opportunity full-on, giving it everything I have. While not always successful, I do the extra steps that many feel are overkill.


Being true to your goals and not cutting corners or giving up when it gets challenging. Often, I see people acknowledge things they need to do to realize their goal(s) but week-after-week they fail to take action. Instead, they bury themselves in tasks that, although may be beneficial in the long-term, are actually doing very little in the short-term. How often do you have the need to take care of the infamous “one more thing on my desk” before you can get to the task on hand? Oftentimes, these tasks can make the day pass-by without you getting what you really wanted done.


This could also be termed “focus.” When committing to take on something and establishing an action plan, how do you measure up in seeing this through? Do you permit yourself to be distracted? This shows up in so many different ways; from not completing tasks on-time and procrastinating or engaging in idle chit-chat at the office, but also from subjecting ourselves to the agenda of others, instead of selecting and staying focused on our path. In real estate investing, I also see it show up when talking with other investors and each time I talk with them it appears they’re on another path from when we spoke last.

A final point around action plans that I find helpful relates to the three Ds:

“Do It…, Delegate It….or Dump It”.

When reviewing your list, one of the three Ds needs to apply.

Many years ago, when I was in my early 20s and wanted to enter the self-employed world, I would ask people I knew who were self-employed what business I should get into. There was a particular guy that had been in business for many years. He stopped me and said, “It doesn’t matter what business you chose, what’s important is the attitude you have and bring to the table each and every day.” He continued by saying, 

“No matter what you choose, give it 150% effort.”

With this in mind: what extra steps could you take to ensure success??

Brian Pulis has been in business for 30+ years and got into Real Estate investing in 2002. A REIN member since 2003, Brian and his son Kyle co-founded Pulis Investment Group, which offers investors a Hands-Free, RRSP eligible opportunity to invest in apartment buildings. Contact Brian at

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