Friday, January 18, 2019



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Jason Simon

Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell states that 10,000 hours vested into something is a benchmark where a person becomes an expert at whatever it is that they are doing. At 2:10 PM on October 29, 2013 I hit 10,000 hours on lot and land sales. It took me just over four years.

Since I began selling lots, I have tracked the hours that I have worked in an Excel spreadsheet. Early in my career it was simple really. I wasn't making a ton of money; therefore, I could not track my success in dollars. I needed something to keep me going so tracking hours was it. There was nothing sexy about the time spent. However, these hours forced me to learn and appreciate what it is that I do.

About 2,000 hours in I had a "self intervention". I had barely made enough money to pay my bills so I asked myself, if this, right here is as good as it gets throughout your entire career; do you still want to stick with it? The answer to me was, "Yes", and since then I have not looked back.

Prior to the 10,000 hours, I spent my time in college, building houses, and trying to sell REO homes. My time before selling lots and land doesn't count toward my 10,000 hours, however, I think it compliments it. In my time I have learned not to fall in love with the deal or money, but to fall in love with what it is that I'm doing and to remember that I am in this for the long haul, because the deals and money will come naturally.

I still learn new things about lot and land every day, so I'm not going to say that I necessarily agree that 10,000 makes me a true expert on lot and land sales. However, I will say that it is nice to hit a point that would in itself generate respect from some people. Regardless, it is a great time to reflect on what it is that I have done. In these 10,000 hours I have: attended countless planning and zoning meetings, produced numerous lot inventories, attended an ample amount of meetings, flew past being outside of my comfort zone, submitted a ton of offers, studied city comprehensive plans, been told no more times than I can count, recorded properties, learned city zoning codes, headed lot sales on major developments, put large land deals together for future development, experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows that a market can offer, and have had the opportunity to work with the top builders, developers, and landowners in Iowa.

Still, with all of that said, rather than claim to be an expert in my field, I would say that a more accurate statement is that I have spent these 10,000 hours building a foundation for myself and am at the point where I can really start to get some great work done.

When you're not paid by the hour or on salary, you learn quickly to value your time, and to capitalize on it as much as possible. I think if you can spend your entire life focusing on one thing and trying to become the best at it, that is true greatness. I have a lifetime left of work to accomplish. If I can be considered an expert at 10,000 hours, I wonder what another 130,000 hours would make me.