Every year I write a 50 things I have learnt this year post. I say every year but for the last two years I have and this is the third time so it’s getting to every year. (You can see 2011 here http://www.grahamhunt.co/51-things-i-learnt-from-selling-spanish-property-this-year and 2012 here http://www.grahamhunt.co/the-infamous-51-things-i-have-learnt-in-2012-post (you will notice some repeats)) the last two years it was more work focussed, this time it’s more life, the universe and everything focussed. Some things I learnt myself, some things I learnt watching others. You work out which is which.
1) Occupy your reality. I saw this written on a wall in Italy. Good point, well made.
2) Things are never ever what they seem in Spain. The rug can be pulled out from under you at any time. This happened when the idiotic Valencia government raised the property purchase tax to 10% thus losing my company three sales immediately.
3) When you have three summer holidays it is difficult to get going again. Sometimes it doesn’t happen at all. And that was the case this year. I spent September struggling to get going again after a good summer of holidays.
4) If you are an entrepreneur then build your own racecourse. Other people’s racecourses may be ripped out from underneath you just like rugs. When you work to build someone else’s business don’t be surprised when things change and you cannot do anything about it.
5) Never trust things to happen as you expect. Sometimes clients do not seem too promising and things can change rapidly. Also when working on huge projects always expect people to be working behind your back on other deals and other things to be going on.
6) I am actually amazed but the Spanish government is more corrupt, inept and right wing (Fascist/Authoritarian) than I thought was possible. See this article about Football, Fascism and Spain’s PP Government
7) It is possible to win the Spanish cricket league in your first season as a club. We at Levante CC started up as a club last year and in our first year as a club we found a ground, we won the league and we will now be playing in the first division next year.
8) New projects rock as they get the creative juices flowing and increase interest in just about everything going on within the project and life in general.
9) Old projects stagnate. Boredom can set in as soon as something is not moving forward in the right way. However abandoning these projects is oftentimes a bad mistake.
10) The biggest projects scare you and therefore most don’t get done. I had a huge project lined up last year. I haven’t done anything about it this year. Disappointing.
11) Video memes are now huge. Last year it was Gangnam Style and Fenton. This year there have been any number of them. This just reflects the inexorable rise of video as bandwidth and allowances increase for everyone.
12) Video is getting bigger and bigger in estate agency and therefore it is now impossible to ignore. Luckily for me most estate agents continue to ignore it and for those that don’t most go at it half cocked and badly. See my YouTube channel here.
13) Video is getting easier and standing out is getting more difficult. We get fewer views of individual videos these days on the YouTube channel but at the same time we get a lot more interaction and clients coming in from the videos we put out. Video is also useful as a direct communication tool for clients already contacted. Also the barrier to entry now is higher as so many are now established that starting up and getting traction can be difficult.
14) Always take days off to network and visit people. Don’t question it, just do it. One of the best experiences of the year for me was going to the WABAS meetup in November in Malaga. Positivity, expertise and experience and a whole lot more shared and more relationships cemented. Also there were some fantastic new people there who I hadn’t met previously except in online groups.
15) Never assume clients will buy. Always follow up. My main weakness in my business is following up with clients. I said the same last year but have realised it for years and years. One day I may do something about it of course.
16) Have some form of database I actually use for clients. (One day I may follow up on this discovery too)
17) Missing lunch is possible on most days if breakfast is as good as I usually make it :-). I have spent most of the year eating a sort of Paleo diet (although biscuits have sneaked back in during the last months of the year) and the number of times I haven’t eaten lunch but not even noticed might well be over 100. Breakfast is the most important meal for me. No sugar highs and lows mean no hunger pangs.
18) Malaga in November rocks. The WABAS meetup was accompanied by excellent weather with around 25 degrees each day.
19) Never be afraid to cull whether that be people, tasks, thoughts or anything else that may be cluttering up your life, online groups or other areas. Even if you fear offending someone if you are considering culling them then they might be worth offending 😉
20) One day and one different activity can make so much difference to the kids. When I talked with my kids about what they liked best about Valencia they both mentioned one day when we went to play with a camera in Valencia. At the time I didn’t think much of it but this little thing was something different to the norm and it sticks in their minds.
21) Four days in Italy equals three kilos extra. Too much pasta, too much pizza and not enough movement. Not a good place for the paleo diet.
22) It is still possible to be overwhelmingly proud of a daughter even when she is 21 and has lived away for three years. Going to her graduation and seeing how grown up she is now and a changed person after three years at University was a very proud time.
23) Never take my son Dani to an all you can eat Brazilian steak house. (If you want to get out some time on the same day) All you can eat places usually make their money from kids and people eating carbs. Dani eats meat and lots of it.
24) WABAS works brilliantly as previously mentioned (if you don’t know what WABAS is don’t worry, it doesn’t matter. If you write or log about Spain and want to know more then let me know)
25) #WABAS12 worked brilliantly as a video project. So many superb projects. If you didn’t see it just take a look at the hashtag on YouTube.
26) More and more investors are coming into the Spanish Property Market looking for bargains. Therefore I have put in place the new Spanish Property Network which will deal with this rise in numbers all around the country. Thanks Lisa and let’s make it happen big this year.
27) Reliance on one person can totally ruin progress in business. Always have a backup plan. The Spanish Property Network project was a year late but in the end that was actually quite good as it is now actually very ready to move forward whereas previously it may have been half baked.
28) Those difficult calls, emails and meetings should not be put off any longer. If you are worried about doing something it needs to be at the top of your to do list for the day. No excuses, just do it and don’t do anything else until it is taken care of.
29) TV still wastes time and your life. Turn it off and don’t watch crap. See my post about Xmas TV here 🙂
30) I really should set aside more time for reading. I will do this by turning off the social media buttons when sitting down to read because they distract so much.
31) I need to use social media much better in my businesses. A big push on Google plus this year with the new projects will be done as Facebook reduces “free” promotion of posts so much now. Yes, I know G+ is a waste of time as a social media thing but as an SEO tool it works well.
32) It is important to have a car that doesn’t have bits falling off it every week or so however a car in Spain should not be seen as a status symbol it is a method of transport and needs to be practical. It will get scratched, bumped into and generally abused.
33) I didn’t miss football too much. However I have gone back to playing it once or twice a month now. Cricket took over.
34) It’s not worth getting up in the middle of the night to watch the Ashes. It’s just not worth it.
35) I still want a PT cruiser but this year the right car never came up at the right time. I now have the frog (Fiat Multipla) which is great as a people carrier but its time is short as I keep seeing PT Cruisers at decent prices now.
36) Having a kid with certain problems is stressful and distressing. Seeing others treating him differently and singling him out is not nice. It will not happen again.
37) Selling the package not the property works better than just the property alone.
38) Get out of the everyday groove by doing something different every now and again. Just like for the kids and going out with a camera, doing different things as an adult also stands out.
39) Having a really really bad possibility hanging over you all year brings you down amazingly at times. And when you can do nothing at all about that thing then it depresses. Unfortunately 2014 looks set to be marked by it too.
40) Don’t let others judge you by the actions of somebody else which changes their perception of you. Make sure you are open, honest and upfront about relationships in that way.
41) Discovering a driving range and buying a set of golf clubs makes you realise how badly out of shape other bits of your body are.
42) Confidence is 90% of the battle.
43) You have to believe in what you are promoting otherwise you will not be successful in it. People can smell bullshit a mile off.
44) Every year I am more and more of a wuss at getting into cold water. Every year my time in the pool in the summer gets shorter as a result. And the sea? Only when the Med is soup.
45) Always label keys and make a database in the cloud for contact numbers and more. The amount of time I waste searching for keys and testing them in houses is ridiculous. Obviously they cannot be labelled with addresses but at least some type of code Graham!!
46) Speaking of contact details, why do I keep losing them for clients? Another lack of database of numbers and underuse of the contacts book in the iPhone and Evernote’s biz card feature.
47) It is perfectly possible to run a business using just three pieces of kit, iPhone, iPad and Mac without having an office. However having an office is useful for client contacts and meetings and gives an oasis of calm in the city.
48) Suarez! When he is concentrating on his football and isn’t biting, kicking and falling over, he may well be the best footballer ever to (dis)grace the LFC shirt. Better than King Kenny? Maybe.
49) Setting a goal of getting to fifty things at the start of an article is not the wisest thing at times when maybe you learnt fewer this year.
50) Erm… that’s it! So in order to take this well past fifty tell us what you learnt in 2013. Maybe I can incorporate that into the article as my own learning too and get to 100.