We’ve done it, friends! We’ve made it another year! As we look back over 2022, we likely all have many things to be thankful for: our health, our families, our businesses, all of the experiences we had this past year, the increase in our wealth from yet another year of amazing growth in the lending side of the business, even if it did start to tank a bit toward the end of the year. If you’ve been following my advice in these podcasts and our coaching program, you’ve been filling up your survival accounts, you’ve been paying off debt, you’ve been investing in other streams of income, and your net worth increased as a result of all those activities.

If none of those things happened, we should probably talk. Our next Black Belt coaching teams are forming and will kick off near the end of January, so you still have time to jump in and get some of the best business and personal coaching available in any industry in the world, in my mom’s opinion.

Nevertheless, here we are at the end of 2022. The end of a year is the perfect time to do what I call recap and realign. We sit and write out all of the things that went right, what didn’t go as planned, what some of the easter eggs might have been, some of the unexpected but awesome stuff was, some of the not so awesome stuff, and what I could have done better. Then I go into goal and vision setting for the next year, what habits need to change or be added, where I want to be in 90, 180, and 360 days from now, and what I think my world can look like by this time next year. When you start this process and get several years of it consistently under your belt, it’s a very cool process because you sit and ponder where you were at this time last year, and where you are now. I always remember where I was when I was doing the recap and realign process, what I was thinking and feeling, what I wanted to accomplish and so on. Sometimes I’m at a coffee shop, some years I’m at my favorite breakfast joint, and some years I’m right here at my writing desk pondering and planning.

Of course, everything is written down as well, so I can easily look back and see what I was thinking and feeling, as well as what all my goals were for the year, so I get to check off the ones I achieved, the ones I didn’t, the reasons I may not have achieved something, the habits that I changed or created, and, of course, the one’s I didn’t. As I do every year, I am going to strongly encourage you to adopt a contemplative process like this recap your year, and then realign with what you’re going to do going into the new year. Remember, your legacy is being created every moment of every day whether you know it or not. Now is the time to create your legacy intentionally and deliberately and you do that by first thinking about how you want to be remembered in the world, what you want to accomplish before you die, and then how you’re going to do that.

With all of that said, let’s get into the 10 questions I think you should be pondering as we close out 2022 and open 2023. Episode 38 was on some of the things I think appraisers should be doing in the coming year to have a more prosperous year than the previous one, so some of these questions will have a little crossover, but I’ll ask them in a different way.

First question for you: how much did you delegate last year? How many of the things that you probably shouldn’t be doing did you hand off to somebody else? Whether that was a virtual assistant, a personal assistant, your husband, wife, sister, brother-in-law, cousin, mother, or neighbor, if you are still the one doing all the paperwork and $10 per hour stuff, you are the assistant. I’ll throw in question six here based on what I just said, do you know what your dollars per hour look like? If you’re still doing all the $10 per hour stuff, my guess is that you don’t, because if you were conscious of your dollars per hour you would know just how much that stuff drags down your dollars per hour and sucks up your profitability. How much did you delegate and how much stuff should you delegate in 2023?

Question two: How will you specialize in 2023? I talked about this in episode 38 because I think it is absolutely vital to differentiate yourself from the vast sea of competitors all doing the same thing. If you aren’t specializing in some way, you’re just another vendor offering the same thing to the same people and your only value proposition is a boring 30-50 page document with some addresses, some plusses and minuses, and some opinions. The people who get paid the most for their opinions are the specialists. Look into any field in any industry and you will find that the specialists are in demand and paid the highest, not only for their work, but for their opinions as well. How will you specialize in 2023?

Question three: How much risk are you willing to take on in the coming year? If you did the same thing last year as you did the year prior, and the year before that, and so on, you took on no risk. The rewards you receive in life and business are in direct proportion to the risks you’re willing to take on. Specializing is a risk. Investing in people is a risk. Handing off things you think you’re really good at, but probably shouldn’t be doing is a risk. Not knowing your numbers is a risk. Walking into a new bank or credit union is a risk. Holding a class for Realtors, Lenders, or anybody else in your market is a risk. Investing in real estate is a risk. Telling somebody you love them is a risk. Sharing your feelings is a risk. Starting to work out and get healthy is a risk. How much risk are you willing to take on in the coming year and in what areas?

Question four: Are you running a business or just a hobby? This is a serious question, friends. I know that most of you will say that you’re running a business. However, if you don’t know your numbers, if you don’t do at least a quarterly P&L, if you don’t set goals and have KPIs, if you’re still doing all the $10 per hour stuff, I’m sorry to tell you that you are playing at business, and when you play at something, you are doing a hobby. Stop treating your business like a hobby and see what happens in 2023. Are you truly running a business? And if so, what are the things you’re doing that distinguish it from your hobbies? And please don’t say ‘because I’m making money at it!’ There are many of us that make money at our hobbies, but still recognize that they’re hobbies and not businesses. There are also many of us that took our hobbies and turned them into businesses by doing all the things I mentioned earlier. I took my hobby of martial arts and turned it into a very profitable business by looking at it differently and treating it like a business. Are you running a business or a hobby?

Question five: Are you playing the long game or a short game? The long game is relationship building, consistent prospecting for new and better clients, becoming the authority in your market, specializing and becoming known in your market for something different than what everyone else is doing, investing in your people even when there is no immediate payoff, investing in your clients to make them better tomorrow than they are today, and looking at where the industry is trending and making the necessary pivots to take advantage. Playing the short game is just grinding it out, head down, taking whatever comes your way, not planning, not investing, not growing, and thinking you’re somehow getting ahead.

Remember, sometimes you can be losing so slowly that you think you’re winning. In fact, the last 10 years in the appraisal business has highlighted this point. So many appraisers, Realtors, Lenders, and a bunch of other related industries just took advantage of the low interest rates and booming real estate markets to make money hand over fist (nothing wrong with that!), but did nothing to invest in themselves, their businesses, their clients, and recession proof themselves for the time when it would inevitably change. That’s an example of losing so slowly that you think you’re winning.

Question six: I asked it in question one, but it’s so important that I’m going to ask it again with this question. Do you know your dollars per hour? If so, what are they? No, I didn’t say ‘what is it’, as in, what is your singular dollars per hour. What I mean when I ask this question is, do you know what each and every task and activity you do, what you could do, and what you should be doing is valued at? Do you know what data entry is valued at from a dollars per hour standpoint? What is an appraisal site visit worth per hour? What is the analysis worth? What is a 2-hour meeting with a room full of Realtors worth? What is prospecting worth? What is time off worth? If you don’t know these numbers, you’ll make the mistake of thinking all dollars are created equal, and they’re not!

If you think every hour is worth the same as the last hour, you’ll never optimize your days, weeks, and months for the highest dollar per hour activities. If you think every hour is the same as the last hour, you’ll never know what your $1000 and $10,000-hour activities look like. If you don’t know what a $50,000 hour looks like, you’ll never schedule one. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’ll include the link to the $50,000 hour podcast I did sometime last year. You’ve simply got to know what the value of each hour looks like, and what it could look like.

Question seven: How did you do with your saving and investing last year, and how will you do in that area in 2023? Did your net worth increase or decrease? Be brutally honest with yourself because it’s your money and your wealth. Did you save 5% of your income? 10%? 20% 0%? Did you pay down any debt? If this is an area you need work on, make 2023 the year you do it. If you need some guidance and accountability, then you need to get a coach or be part of a mastermind. You can join ours, you can join Dustin’s, or you can join one locally in your market. Either way, if you’re not being coached, your ego is getting the best of you, and you simply aren’t becoming who you could become. Argue with me all you want and stay mediocre; it doesn’t matter to me. I have 4 different personal coaches for different areas of my life and business, and at least 15 other indirect coaches through mastermind groups I’m involved with. I can’t even imagine not having a coach at this stage of my life and business. If you want to increase your wealth, hire somebody who can help you do that. If you want to increase your personal health and wellness, hire a coach who can help you in that area. If you want to experience increase in your business, hire a coach who can help you get clarity and direction in that regard and then hold you accountable.

Oh, by the way, that was question number eight! How many coaches do you have? And please don’t say ‘it’s my husband or my wife’. I’ve told you all before that they are not qualified to be your coach. A good coach needs to be objective when it comes to you and your weaknesses, and a spouse or close partner simply can’t be objective, not to mention it can be bad for your relationship. Don’t do it! Get over yourselves superstars, hire a damn coach. I don’t care if it’s me or somebody else, just start investing in yourself in that way!

Question nine: This one is tied closely to question eight, and it’s this; how many do you have around you that are smarter than you? The follow up question to this is; does your ego allow you to take input from them? This is a big one in the appraisal business world. So many appraiser egos are outsized and way too big for the bodies they exist in. Appraisers get paid to give their opinions, so they tend to think the world actually cares what they think. The world doesn’t care what you think, unless what you think will enhance their lives in some way. And even then, you have to have some rapport with them for them to care about what you think.

Who do you have around you that is smarter than you? And do you allow them to speak freely? Do you value their input in such a way that you might be willing to change a viewpoint or opinion based on their input? This is where a good mastermind, coach, or coaching group can be of real value, but only if you’re the type of person to allow it in.

The last question for you in 2022, did you have fun? I’ve talked before about the acronym S.E.L.F and how, if you’re self-employed, the SELF should stand for simple, effortless, lucrative, and fun. We’re taught from early on that life is struggle, business is hard, you’ve got to sweat and bleed to win, if you’re not working hard, you’re not working, and whatever other nonsense has been crammed into our brains. The reality is that the word ‘struggle’ essentially means effort laced with emotion. Something can be difficult or laborious and still be fun, as long as you don’t lace it with negative emotion. The reality when it comes to business is that it can be effortless and fun, while also being extremely lucrative. If it’s none of those things for you, it’s time to get out and try something else.

Life is short, my friends! Time is our most valuable resource, and it can be over in an instant. There is simply zero reason to spend your most precious asset and resource doing things that are difficult, not lucrative, painful, and not fun. That doesn’t mean to quit your job and just go sailing until you die. It means that it’s time to start figuring out how you can turn what you’re doing into something that is simple, effortless, lucrative, and fun. If you simply can’t do that, it might be a sign that it’s time to do something else.

Happy New Year my friends, wishing you all the most happy, lucrative, and fun 2023 that it can possibly be. I’ll see you all on the flipside…I’m out…

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