Well, it happened. My younger son signed a lease on his first rental today, and he has officially moved. It was a day of mixed emotions. We are so proud of him, and at the same time we are sad to see him go. It was quite a rollar-coaster ride today. Even dads can get misty sometimes.
It did remind me of one thing business related. As independent contractors, we need to be "business present" all the time. Here's how today's event started 4 years ago. I went to my dentist to have my teeth cleaned. He had a new assistant, and I immediately recognized her Russian accent. While she and I prepared for my exam, I learned about her journey to the United States, and I related my work in the Ukraine.
That lead to me asking her to help me with my Russian language skills. She became my tutor for about a year. That meant a weekly visit to my real estate office for a session. When her school duties picked up and my business duties increased, we had to stop the tutoring, but I kept her number and she kept mine.
A year later, we ran into each other in the grocery store and renewed things. A couple weeks later, she called to ask if I could help her become a real estate investor so she could use the profits from her rentals to finance her college education. Of course I agreed.
In May of this year, we closed on her first rental. At the same time, my younger son started talking about finding a rental. We looked at a few, but nothing looked good enough or promising enough, and then my friends called. They wanted me to find a tenant for their rental. In 30 minutes I called to confirm I had their first tenant. My son and two friends moved into the rental today.
I was business present during my dentist appointment, and it turned into future business. Being business present is the process of exposing your marketable skills in casual conversation. It should be comfortable and fluid. No one likes it when someone is trying to force himself and his business into a conversation, but it can be done very smoothly with a little practice.
I also received a call today from an electrical client. When our company first took care of his initial electrical needs, I made sure I mentioned that we also own a real estate brokerage. He had shared that he is a real estate investor which opened the door for me to share how I got involved in real estate through investing.
Today, after three years of providing regular electrical service for his rentals, he called to ask us to take over his rental property management. Business present. In the simple process of conversation you incorporate your business experience and skills. You become known for your expertise and at some point, the phone rings, and it is something you should be doing everyday.
The only caution I would offer in the process of learning to become business present is to make sure that it's not forced but fluid. I closed a property this week for friends I met while teaching Spinning. In the process of getting to know each other, they learned that I have an electrical contracting company, and then they learned that I own a real estate brokerage. So, we did electrical repairs on their home and then we sold it. Business present. They have become a great source of referrals for us since the first project.