Tom’s Top Five Business Books
What was the last book you read? More importantly – what was the last book you read that helped you and your team succeed at work? Being well read doesn’t just help you in your day-to-day activities. Choosing to learn from established experts and authors helps shorten your learning curve so you can bring practical information and methods to your co-workers, colleagues, and clients. While there’s no substitute for learning by doing, there’s a wide gap in knowledge that favors those who take time to read effective business books over those who don’t. Over the years, I’ve read more than a fair share of business books, and some have stood out more than others. That’s why today I am sharing my top five favorite business books that you will wish you had read sooner.
1. “Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki
Written as a narrative story, this is an easy read. I find this book foundational for any new or recently-started investor to understand what it means to have an investor mindset. It helps distinguish what is truly an asset and liability and how to use money as a tool to create wealth. You don’t have to be born rich to become rich. Instead, there’s a path that just about anyone who is willing to take can follow. In 1999, my wife Joanne read this book and I read it shortly after her. It was one of the reasons Joanne decided to leave her teaching career to become a real estate professional just a year later. It’s the reason we bought our first investment property and created goals around real estate investing. I have a lot of gratitude for this book.
2. “Atomic Habits” by James Clear
This book is about breaking bad behaviors and adopting good ones in four steps with small, incremental, everyday routines that compound into massive, positive changes over time. You can truly change your behavior by following these steps. There are some great hacks here on breaking cravings and creating new habits. These include steps about making new routines easy to start, making them obvious, attractive, easy, and satisfying. 1. Make it obvious – Don’t hide your fruits in the fridge, but instead put them on display front and center. 2. Make it attractive – start with the fruit you like the most so you’ll actually want to eat one when you see it. 3. Make it easy – don’t create needless friction by focusing on fruits that are hard to peel. Bananas and apples are super easy to eat, for example. 4. Make it satisfying – if you like the fruit you picked, you’ll love eating it and feel healthier as a result! The book goes into a lot more detail. I highly recommend it as you can apply these little hacks to make your life better and more efficient.
3. “Unlimited Power” by Tony Robbins
This book is a self-help classic that breaks down how Tony Robbins has helped top performers perform at their highest level and how you can use the same mental and physical tactics to accomplish your biggest life goals. “Unlimited Power” connotes your ability to revamp your life and produce every outcome you’ve ever wanted while generating value for the people around you. There is so much packed into this book that I can’t get into everything. It’s a long read, but it’s worth every page. One key idea is to use modeling – how you can model yourself after others who are more successful to get what they have. We’ve used this tactic in our real estate business as well as real estate investing. The difference between successful people and everyone else is that successful people see “failure” as an opportunity to grow and learn. We model, try new things, fail and learn. Also simple hacks to change your mood with body posture and breathing techniques, it works! And lastly emotional intelligence, how you respond to situations and your emotions, your attitude determines a lot of what you can accomplish.
4. “First Break All The Rules” by Don Clifton
This book walks you through how to be a better manager and debunks a lot of traditional management methods. I enjoy this book because it resonates with my management style, especially being a part of a small team. We are truly a family. Happy and satisfied employees make the company better and treat clients better. Managers can help employees be happier and more satisfied, it starts with caring about how happy and satisfied they are at work and personally. Intentionally design the atmosphere to encourage self-expression, trust, enjoyment, and productivity. A leader sets the goals, and helps guide but ultimately employees will be happier when they can control and have input in how they reach those goals. If you want to help your team grow, you’ve got to get to know them on a personal level. And if you want to know what standard you should hold everybody to, you need to look at your top performers and spend a lot of time with them. I’d recommend this book to someone who just became a manager and feels overwhelmed, or a seasoned executive that wants to learn and play to their employee’s strengths, or anyone that would like to become a great leader at work.
5. “Five Dysfunctions Of A Team” by Patrick Lencioni
This book will teach you how to have a functional team to be more productive and how to avoid back-channel politics. It’s written in an easy-to-read fable and then breaks it down into practical guidelines on how to overcome each of the five dysfunctions. In hindsight, if I had read this book at the start of my team building career, I could have avoided some drama and probably gotten out of business faster with some people we ultimately ended up parting ways with, but not before they caused damage to the team. it could have possibly helped to fix some bad behavior, but I suspect it would have just highlighted it and caused them to opt out sooner, and maybe I’d have a few less gray hairs.
The next time you are asked what the last book you read was, I hope you think back to one of my five suggestions and are able to apply what you’ve learned in the workplace. True leaders and intelligent thinkers know that they don’t know everything, and they know when to look for outside wisdom and advice to pass along to those who rely on them in the business world. These five reads cover everything from financial responsibility and habit building to team chemistry and unlocking your true potential, and I highly suggest that you check them out.
Why You Should Work With A Team
On a successful real estate team, everyone has a specialized role that aligns with their skills. Agents are talented at contract negotiations and pricing. Administrative teams are talented at paperwork, details, and organization. Marketing specialists are talented at getting houses as much organic exposure as possible. Essentially, every team member provides value to the business by serving clients and always looking to help their teammates when possible. Over the years, many of the Curtin Team’s clients have expressed that they enjoy having a contact available to answer their questions, which is exactly what our team is available to do. Unlike solo agents who might be constantly busy and out in the field showing homes, our staff is in the office and able to help our clients with anything they need throughout the buying or selling process.
Working with a team means you get combined experience, which leads to smoother deals and less headaches. As a team, we invest in the best systems, tools, technology, knowledge, and talent available. We feel the scope of today’s real estate transaction goes beyond one person and that an agent acting on their own can’t possibly provide the level of service needed to get the job done well. This is why clients prefer team interactions, and previously solo agents are so glad they’ve found the right group once they’ve made the switch. An individual real estate agent won’t have the time, cumulative knowledge, or assets required to invest in the best tools and execute the marketing strategies required to give homes maximum exposure and quick selling times, but well-established groups can provide all of these and more.
As an agent working on a team, there’s greater fulfillment developing your inherent skills and being able to trust teammates to work behind the scenes for your clients. Many studies have linked employee happiness with customer satisfaction. A company’s ability to deliver a greater customer experience relies on hardworking team members who always look out for each other. When an agent works on a team, they enjoy a more balanced life. The work is divided and the responsibilities are shared. They can lean into their team for help when things don’t go their way, and they have a support system that brings the peace of mind that is so difficult to find when working alone. And most especially, their clients are happier. The stability, camaraderie, and effectiveness of real estate teams like the Curtin Team make everyone’s lives easier – both our clients and our agents included.
Not All CMA’s Are The Same
Successful home sellers know that the key to a quicker, less stressful sale begins with an appropriate listing price. Before boxes are packed or walls are painted, understanding your home’s market value should be your number one priority. General Market Analysis Summary also known as a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) is the first step to estimate the value of a home sale relative to comparable properties in your area.
Factors that influence a CMA include:
– Square footage
– The number of bedrooms and baths
– The age of the home
– Construction and style
– Neighborhood and schools
However, not all CMA’s are the same. There is no standard process for creating CMA’s. Each agent has their own tools and methodology. The CMA you receive from the Curtin Team is different than CMA’s developed by other agents because we use a variety of tools such as the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), tax records, and an understanding of off-market sales. This deep knowledge of the local market makes our CMA’s invaluable to sellers looking to price their homes appropriately for the market.
A CMA from the Curtin Team helps match buyers and sellers with the best options in their price range and desired location and allows sellers’ homes to spend the shortest possible time on the market. Our List to Sale price ratio (seller’s asking price to the actual sale price) is above industry averages because of the way we strategically analyze this data to accurately price your home.
Guide To Sorting Through Sentimental Items Before Moving
If you’re thinking about putting your house on the market in 2022, now is the time to start cleaning, purging, and prepping. The holidays may be the ideal time to get started while kids are home from school and family is visiting. It’s the perfect time to open up SPACE for what this new year will bring. While it might be easy to let go of those clothes that are out of style or the gadgets you were so excited about, but are now sitting at the back of your closet…never used, many people struggle with what to do with sentimental items. Pictures, cards and artwork from kids, items you’ve kept from loved ones now passed, even your own childhood memorabilia can bring up so many emotions! That’s ok! We have some tips for taking that emotional ride, making it fun, and in the end loving the result!
The Curtin Team has been in business for over 20 years and in that time, we have helped hundreds of clients prepare their homes for sale. Here’s our favorite method for sorting sentimental items before a move. Create an EVENT focused on going through these precious items in your home. Whether it’s all the items from your children, or from passed loved ones or a combination, now is the time to get people on board to help you.
These are our top tips for making this event fun and productive!
1. Schedule a time
2. Invite family
3. Make a SPACE
4. Make it FUN!
5. Gather supplies
6. Explain process
7. Do it!
Schedule a time: If you have 5 small to medium sized boxes you will probably be able to get through them in about 4-5 hours. Larger or more boxes are going to take longer. Just keep in mind, that most people underestimate how long it’s going to take.
Invite family: As with any event you want to invite people so they can carve out the time in their schedule. You can send an evite, paper invitation or just call people. Do what feels best to you! Explain in the invitation that you are planning to put your house on the market and it’s time to make decisions about items you’ve been holding onto. Let them know that you wanted to include them in the decision making and why. For example: I have items from when mom/dad passed that you may want to keep. Or for your children: I have items from your childhood that you may want to keep. Keep it light and fun, more of a party atmosphere.
Make a SPACE: You may want to sit at the dining room table, or just sprawl on the floor. Again, do what feels best to you but plan ahead of time and get extra chairs for the table or pillows to sit on the floor. Whatever will make it comfortable.
Make it FUN: This is our favorite tip because this process does not have to be miserable! Depending on the time of day have some yummy food for everyone …coffee and donuts if it’s morning, sandwiches at lunch, etc. Definitely have beverages too! Maybe some hot chocolate or wine ;). Turn on some fun upbeat music, light some candles. You know what we’re going to say next…whatever feels good to you!
Gather supplies: First on the list is garbage bags. Have scissors for opening boxes if needed, and bins/bags for each person so they can take away whatever items they decide to keep.
Explain the process: Let your family know you’re going to open the boxes one by one so everyone can see everything. This can be the most fun way because as you are looking through the items invariably you will have memories of fun moments from the past. Occasionally, it could also bring up sad memories…that’s ok. Let it out and then let it go. These are not items you want in your SPACE and there will be plenty of items that feel good to you. Focus on the good because you want to create a new SPACE that is uplifting and feels good when you walk in the door!! It’s great to keep items that are useful and sentimental so that you feel connected to your loved ones. If you have recently lost a loved one you might find it more difficult to part with their items right now. It’s ok to keep them until you feel better about letting go. Be gentle with yourself keeping in mind you are never going to forget this person or the experiences you shared with them regardless of which items you decide to keep!
Do it: Go through all the items and let it unfold however it unfolds. Keep only the items that REALLY resonate with you and feel good to you. A special note about photos – only keep pictures that really capture the event and feel good! Even if they are blurry or off center but are fun and uplifting…those are the ones you want to keep! If you have multiples of the same picture …like school photos, just keep one. When your event is finished throw the garbage away and make sure everyone takes the items they chose with them.
Now you can look forward to making wonderful memories in your new home!
A special thanks to our contributor and friend, Cheri Bartlett, owner of CEO Space, Inc. She specializes in helping clients organize and renew their space.
Here’s her contact info
CEO SPACE, Inc
Facebook: SPACE Simplify Purge And Create Ease
Buy and Hold: The Key to Wealth
You may have heard other investors, gurus and financial planners discussing the virtues of owning rental properties. And it is definitely true that a portfolio of GOOD rental properties can provide lifetime income and financial security. But what really makes a GOOD rental property? What should you expect from your rental portfolio and how do you manage it for maximum return on minimal effort? Tom and Joanne cover those points and more with real examples and data at this GRID meeting.
Join the online GRID community to post deals, ask questions, and connect with other investors across the globe. Tom and Joanne host a monthly meeting discussing a variety of topics so sign up for the entire year! And don’t worry if you can’t make it, you can get a link to the recording so you don’t miss any valuable information. www.gridinvestor.com/atlantanorth
Inventory is the Story
The Roswell real estate market has proven to be strong even through general economic slowdowns across many industries. The biggest challenge faced by Home Buyers is the lack of inventory, or homes for sale. In this video, Joanne explains the current market conditions and why Roswell, GA remains a popular market for buyers and sellers.
Tom & Joanne Interview with Jasmin | Gracious Plenty Bakery
Tom and Joanne Curtin Small Business Spotlight, Jasmin owner of Gracious Plenty Bakery in Roswell GA. Gracious Plenty is focused on southern cooking and serving customers like family. Led by Roswell locals, Jasmin shares what she has done to pivot her business and how they are giving back to our community. Learn more at www.graciousplentybb.com.
Visit Curtin Team Cares to learn more about how you can join in helping our local community.
Tom & Joanne Interview with Andrew Brackner | Talk Of The Town Catering
Tom and Joanne Curtin Small Business Spotlight, Andrew Brackner Head Chef and owner of Talk Of The Town Catering in Roswell GA. Andrew discusses how Covid 19 has impacted his business, how they have pivoted to adapt to this new environment and how they are giving back to the Roswell community through the School Meal Program.
Visit Talk Of The Town for at home ordering or donate a gift card to the School Meal Program talkofthetownatlanta.com
Visit Curtin Team Cares to learn more about how you can join in helping our local community.