The Four Pillars to Being a Great Entrepreneur

The Four Pillars to Being a Great Entrepreneur

I remember hearing Robert Kiyosaki state that an entrepreneur needs skills in sales, accounting, leadership, and investing. If an entrepreneur lacks skill in one or more of those areas, then that deficiency will harm the business over time. You do not need to be an expert in all four; you just need to be proficient enough.

Sales Skills

A business that does not draw in sales and increase them over time will struggle and probably cease to exist. As a real estate investor, sales skills include:

  • Presenting a sharp looking apartment that attracts quality tenants who are willing to pay market rents.
  • Ensuring that a fix-and-flip project has features and finishes that convince buyers to make a strong offer right away.
  • Convincing lenders that they should loan money to you at the best rates.
  • Negotiating with suppliers and vendors to provide materials at the best price and deliver them without delay.

Accounting Skills

I know house flippers who have no clue how much they have spent on renovations. I have met entrepreneurs who have not filed tax returns in years. I know investors who have numerous accounts at different banks, and they are constantly going from bank to bank to move money around so their checks don’t bounce. I have seen landlords commingle funds by failing to keep security deposits in a separate account, to the point where they don’t even remember which tenant paid what. I have seen business owners pay for their own groceries with their business debit card, trying to justify those purchases as legitimate business expenses. I have seen project managers commingling their LLC money with their personal money. I know business owners who forgot to bill customers for services, losing thousands of dollars along the way. All of these things I just mentioned are things that I did over a decade ago before I experienced so much financial pain that I had to make changes. If you are doing any of these things, then I am telling you now to stop it! Make better choices immediately.

What gets measured gets managed. A CEO of a business knows their numbers. If you do not have a Profit and Loss Statement (Income Statement) and a Balance Sheet that you can review at least once a month, then you are not really running your business well. You do not have to be the one who prepares the P&L and Balance Sheet. You do need to review them periodically.

If you are not good at tracking your income and expenses, then hire a bookkeeper. If you have too many bank accounts, then consult with your accountant and simplify your accounts. Complexity is the enemy of execution. If you don’t have a tax advisor, then hire one and talk with them a few times per year. Do not look upon your tax advisor as someone who does your tax return once a year, but rather as a high-level consultant who helps you maximize income, minimize taxes, and protect assets.

If you do not wish to hire a bookkeeper yet, then use some type of software to track your numbers. Some basic systems are free. There are many free or low-cost landlord cloud software systems that even allow tenants to pay rent with a credit card. Many systems pull data from your bank account and credit card, so you save time on data entry. Set an appointment with yourself every Saturday morning to update your books and review your reports.

Leadership Skills

Everything rises and falls on leadership. Leadership is a skill that must be honed. Everyone recognizes a good leader when they see one, yet fewer people demonstrate strong leadership skills. As a real estate investor, you must lead people through a transaction. The only way to lead is by example. You can lead your Realtor, mortgage lender, private investors, business partners, tenants, buyers, sellers, contractors, and vendors. People skills are paramount to being a successful entrepreneur. If you are terrible at leadership, you may create enemies who seek to bring you down. Years ago I had a business partner who was quick to anger, and they fought with clients, investors, buyers, sellers, title agents, lawyers, partners, Realtors, contractors, employees…well, everyone! This partner created enemies and attracted lawsuits. Anger is sometimes useful, yet there usually are more empowering ways to influence people.

Read books on leadership. Study the behavior of leaders you admire. Attend leadership seminars. Take a leader to lunch and ask great questions. Invest in yourself.

Investing Skills

Skilled investors understand the vocabulary of their industry. They know the math involved. They engage in certain habits. They are treasure hunters. Like leadership, investing is a skill that has to be honed. The best investors are constantly learning. They take time to think. They anticipate the future. They are decisive, and they take calculated risks. As a real estate investor, you should read books, join investing clubs, be part of social media groups, and meet even more successful investors for coffee.

When your business is making money, you need to deploy that money wisely to not just keep up with inflation but to provide an even greater return on investment. Buy assets that produce passive income, and then use that passive income to buy more assets that produce more passive income. Manage or pay down high interest debt. Increase your return on capital invested.

Learn the vernacular of your chosen field. Study the math equations so you can evaluate deals. Ask great questions. Play the long game. Invest well!

Tai DeSa is a graduate of The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.  He became a full-time real estate investor in 2004 after serving in the U.S. Navy.  Tai has made colossal mistakes in investing (and learned some things along the way).  He has helped hundreds of homeowners avoid foreclosure through successful short sales. Check out Tai’s books on Tai may be available for coaching and speaking engagements on a variety of real estate topics.  Send an email to

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