The Rockstar’s Real Estate Lesson
Jason Cochard for Land Academy
Land investors can learn a key lesson from rock stars. Actually, we all can.
If you’re thinking about getting into this, or trying to convince your spouse to let you embark on this weird real estate niche, what I’m about to say may help your argument and maybe even prompt a total reevaluation of your current career and/or life, like it did for me.
The image of a rock star doing a stage dive and being caught by a loving, loyal group of fans is familiar to us all. Possibly invented by Mick Jagger or Jim Morrison (and then popularized by Iggy Pop), the stage dive and the subsequent crowd surfing is the ultimate in trust — the singer drops the mic and jumps off the stage after a bringing a bunch of fans the cathartic energy they crave. And in return, they never let him touch the ground.
It must be an amazing feeling to know that because of the value you’re providing, and the gratitude directed at you, you’ll never hit the ground. Any great performer can get away with doing it, and it builds a certain confidence that might be counter-intuitive. We’ve all been given the message since birth that if you work hard, you’ll be rewarded. And we sort of file that away and never strategize about the other factors involved. But I’d argue that Mick Jagger has never actually worked a single day in his life. Instead of hard work, he’d probably say that you’re rewarded when you provide people with value — hard work is only tangential to the value provided. Stage diving proves the rewards are real even when the “work” wasn’t really work.
That’s the rock star’s real estate lesson. Mic drop.
The rock star’s confidence partially comes from the knowledge that he’s providing value to everyone at the concert, and everyone out there loves him. The energy transfer during a live music performance is a hard asset that gives immediate, upfront value to fans, and because of that, a sincere performer’s vulnerability will almost never go unrewarded.
A lot of careers either don’t have this kind of high risk / high reward excitement, or they require you to withhold value until you’ve sold someone on the idea of the value that you could, in theory, provide. You might find your career is a perpetually-repeating groundhog day of client meetings, explaining all your features/benefits, but you’re only really in a position to provide value after you’ve convinced someone to give you the money. In that situation, your salesmanship will always be more valuable than whatever you’re selling. By contrast, Mick Jagger isn’t a salesman at all — he’s just in demand.
I worked for a long time in a freelance career that required a lot of intangible qualities that were difficult to quantify in an interview. Things that made me really good at what I did were almost impossible to convey in that kind of setting. Before I could do my passionate, rewarding work, there was a lot of selling and convincing people that I was the right person to provide the value. Mick Jagger and Jim Morrison are both shaking their heads — the value needs to be given freely, upfront, and then the reward is guaranteed. I was in a marketplace where I was providing an oversupplied skillset, causing it to be valued lower by my potential employers than I was hoping to make on a job. Eventually, this disparity brought resentment and a huge re-evaluation, ultimately ending in real estate investing.
When you buy a property at the right price, you put yourself into a position where you provide value upfront, freely, and suddenly risk becomes certainty, and financial vulnerability becomes confidence. Your sellers are confronted with free value from the moment they open your letter, where the choice is between writing a check for property taxes, or receiving a check and getting the property off their books. Likewise, your buyers are looking at immediate value when your asking price is below market value.
If you can sell below everyone else and still make money, you’re a rock star — you’ll always have buyers, just like Mick Jagger never has to worry about breaking his neck on a stage dive unless he’s alone.