How do you eat an elephant?

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How do you eat an elephant?

I always look forward to our live Q & A’s we do on Wednesday evenings for our Property Accelerator members. Because it’s live on Facebook we get lots of interaction.

This week I got pitched an inswinger right in the block hole (sorry non-cricket fans) by one of our mentoring members, Kyle. He asked “Bob, have you ever bitten off more than you could chew?” I’m ok with the biting, even the chewing, it’s the swallowing that’s the issue.

That got me thinking. There’s an old saying “How do you eat an elephant?” You know the answer “One mouthful at a time”. Which means, don’t get overawed by looking at the whole objective, break it into bite-size pieces and do one little step at a time.

Good advice I’m sure, but sometimes necessity means taking a big chunk and chewing it fast, trying not to choke. I’ve had a few of those occasions during my 38 years in development, chewing for all I was worth, eyes bulging, gasping for breath. I got there, but the indigestion lingered for some time.

Very early in my career, when I was ten foot tall and bulletproof, I developed a land subdivision. For reasons I’ll save until we have a beer together, everything went slow. Meanwhile, interest rates rose, the market softened, and people wanted houses, not vacant land.

Chewing like crazy, I decided to back myself and dive deeper in before I choked. I hunted down some builders who had overdrafts and convinced them to build on my vacant lots. I put up the land, they built the houses using their overdraft and we sold them.

My debt level was 65%, so I gave them a second mortgage which was theoretically secured by the 35% balance, their house cost plus profit. I was risking my equity plus my profit to back myself. The deal was on settlement, I got the land value, and they got the house profit. Did I make it? Well, I kept going, and I’m still here.

So, how about you? Eaten any elephants recently? How’s your grit, determination, willingness to back yourself?

Speaking about backing yourself, there’s a great podcast last week where Hilary covers that and more. Click here to check it out.


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