Who among us has heard the phrase, “Winners never quit, and quitters never win?” Or how about, “Winning isn’t everything — it’s the only thing?” Playing to win requires vision, passion, and dedication. These, I believe, are attributes that everybody has innately. However, winners learn to manage these attributes to get ahead.
Imagine yourself, just out of college, ready to take on the world. Now, fast forward 10 years and look back. Did you achieve everything you wanted to? In all probability, you didn’t. Very few people achieve all their dreams at a young age. They realize youthful idealism is great, but achievements come at their own pace. For some, the goals are realized early and for others, a little later.
Lesson 1: Learning from Your Mistakes
When I started out after college, I, too, was filled with many dreams. I thought I was invincible. My first job was with a multibillion-dollar firm that had large commercial and business properties in several large metropolitan areas. I loved it — but females managing real estate assets were few and far between.
I had a great manager who shared his insights with me and helped me navigate many of the bear traps in my path. The harder the path, the greater the resolution. This was probably the first business lesson I learned in the game: Don’t get disheartened and always play to win. Learn from your mistakes and find a way to resolve the problems.
Slowly but surely, my business “win” column started looking a lot healthier, much to the delight of my boss. I realized I had to believe in myself and channel my inner “can-do” attitude to come to the forefront and brush aside any obstacles.
Lesson 2: Knowledge
My parents were real estate investors and had acquired a nice portfolio of single-family homes. Their passion rubbed off on me, and I decided to acquire a portfolio of single-family homes myself. While on this acquisition path, I started learning all I could about the real estate investment market, both single-family and multifamily.
I read, joined investor groups, developed a network, and questioned every expert I could buttonhole. I knew I was a pest at times, but my knowledge and confidence grew. This was my second insight into playing to win: Knowledge is a key part of the play-to-win strategy. Learn, put your knowledge into practice, learn from the outcomes, and calibrate to improve.
Lesson 3: Reinvention
After acquiring a portfolio of single-family homes, I realized while I was proud of getting this far, my goals weren't yet fulfilled. I needed to scale. My business partner and I started building high-end custom homes. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a path with more thorns than roses. Time to reinvent and recalibrate. This was the third lesson in playing to win: A closed door or a rocky path is not the end of the world.
Lesson 4: Control
Next, I jumped into multifamily after learning all I could. My business partner and I started by investing in a group led by a seasoned team of multifamily investors. We used this as a vehicle to learn. After repeating this model as junior partners, we decided we were ready to strike out on our own. This was lesson number four in playing to win: You may not be able to control the play, but you can figure out all the nuts and bolts that make the play successful.
Lesson 5: Self-Confidence
The first project was incredibly stressful — so much to do with so little time. While my partner focused on other aspects of our first deal, I focused on fundraising. Most seasoned investors are skeptical of letting rookies manage their investments. However, with growing confidence, we managed to convince investors to entrust us with their funds.
We realized that we had to be investor-focused. I returned investor calls at all hours, including some at 3 a.m. It is this dedication to investors that shows them you are a good steward of their money.
Soon, we found our feet and we were off to the races. Herein lies the fifth lesson in playing to win: self-confidence. Investors and other professionals are quick to get the winning vibe from you if you speak with confidence.
My partner and I have built a fully women-owned multifamily business with transactions of over a billion dollars by utilizing these lessons. You’ll be amazed at what you, too, can achieve when you play to win.
About the Author:
Veena Jetti is the founding partner of Vive Funds, a unique commercial real estate firm that specializes in curating conservative opportunities for investors.