It feels like just yesterday I made the terrifying decision that I was going to try out this whole flipping homes thing. (I say terrifying because at that time I couldn’t even hang a picture on the wall – in fact I still can’t.)
But I survived baby!
Partly because I hired a really great mentor, Margaret Wright, (who is now my partner at FlipChick coaching) to guide me through HOW to do it.
Partly because of all of the support in my community from so many of you who have cheered me on – and even reached out to let me know how much YOU have always wanted to flip homes.
And partly because I am a really great problem solver.
And while I feel like problem solving has always been a strong skill of mine, truth be told that flipping homes has given me the opportunity to sharpen my problem solving skills BIG TIME.
Just last week I had to solve this problem: Wet concrete on the ground and a 400 pound granite slab that needs to be moved into the house… hmmmm what’s a FlipChick to do?
As you can see from the picture, we figured it out.
I’ve also problem solved what to do when we found 2 tons of sand hidden under the porch we had just demoed, AND what to do when we discovered the kitchen floor was 2 inches lower than the rest of the rooms surrounding it. And those are just a FEW examples.
Situations like this happen all of the time when we are flipping homes… and now they are my new normal. It’s actually one of the fun things I enjoy about flipping homes, because it makes every day different from the last.
Cultivating a strong problem solving skillset is important when you are a FlipChick… so today I want to to share some insights about being a great problem solver, in hopes that they are helpful for you (no matter what business you are in).
1) A great problem solver believes that every problem has a solution.
Make this your core mindset around problems and this will change your entire experience in your business. If you believe that every problem has a solution, then you’ll skip over freak out mode (which many people get themselves into when problems come up), OR worse, wanting to give up. Instead, you can shift straight into a place of being productive and working towards solving the problem – which should start to become second nature with the more problems you solve.
When the granite delivery showed up, I could have taken the easy route and told them to come back a different day, which would have pushed the entire project behind. But instead I approached the situation from the belief that every problem has a solution, and we figured it out!
2) A great problem solver brainstorms multiple solutions
Listen, your first instinct isn’t always the best. Having several solutions gives you options, and having options removes you from becoming a victim to the problem at hand. This means you are no longer at the problems mercy and instead can make a decision you feel great about.
3) A great problem solver asks the experts
This is exactly one of the reasons I hired Margaret when I started flipping homes. I knew there was so much that I didn’t know and that I was going to need someone who I could rely on to steer me in the right direction.
Take this example… You can imagine the shock I experienced when I received a quote for $22k for an HVAC project on my current flip. Not only was this not what I was expecting, it just felt OFF in my core. So I called up Margaret and she coached around what to do and also how much I should expect to spend. Through her guidance I found a different company offering to complete the same task for HALF THE COST, which of course I felt great about!
Trying to figure out everything on your own is a surefire way to drag out your problems and take the long road to success. Eventhough I now have more experience with what I am doing, several times a week me and Margaret get on the phone and work out our flipping challenges. And truth be told I would have found myself stuck a long time ago without her.
4) A great problem solver uses the 2X4 Rule of Problem Solving (Do you “get” my construction pun?)
It’s important to carefully think about how your solutions are going to affect you and your business immediately vs the long run. I call this the 2X4 Rule of Problem Solving.
You want to ask yourself:
How is this decision going to affect you 2 days from now?
How is this decision going to affect you 2 weeks from now?
How is this decision going to affect you 2 months from now?
How is this decision going to affect you 2 years from now?
While a quick fix might alleviate the immediate pain, is it actually going to cause more pain in just a few short weeks? It might. Or it might not. BUT, it’s something that should most definitely be considered.
5) A great problem solver makes a decision, and makes it quickly
Avoiding solving any problem just magnifies the situation at hand. Generally speaking, the longer you wait to solve a problem, either everything comes to a standstill and you can’t move forward and make productive progress until it is solved, OR the problem just gets worse. No matter what type of business you are involved in, successful business owners make decisions quickly. I’ll share with you an example where I DIDN’T do this so you can see WHY this is important. There was a problem at one of my projects where every time it rained the water would run down the driveway toward the house, and then make it’s way into the basement. This wasn’t too much of an issue until we started to finish the basement. The fix was to install a drain system in front of a specific area of the house so the water could collect in there and be emptied into the back yard. I interviewed a few contractors and collected quotes, but wanted to find a better deal. Because I was heading to Florida for a week for a work trip, I decided to put this off completely until my return.
It just so happens that the week I was away, it rained ALL week. And it didn’t just rain… IT POURED!. This became a HUGE problem considering the entire basement had already been framed and dry-walled, and water and drywall don’t mix well!
So until I could get a contractor on the job (it took a while since they could not complete the project in the rain), I had to pay one of the workers on site to stand in the basement with buckets, a fan, and towels for an entire week to make sure nothing got damaged. If I had quickly made a decision to hire someone to fix this right away, I would have saved a lot of money and experienced a lot less headaches. In fact, because I waited and had to shell out a week’s worth of pay to the guy that was hired to keep the basement dry, I ended up spending MORE then the higher quotes I received early own. Lesson re-learned. These insights will help you cultivate stronger skills as a problem solver – with is a MUST for any successful FlipChick.
I look forward to sharing more FlipChick lessons and stories with you in the weeks to come.