Grant Erskine's Biggest Mistake in the Property Business
When you are looking to grow your property business, ignoring social media is a big mistake. Facebook, especially, is a great way to network and connect with other property professionals who can help you to realise your business goals and objectives.
Grant Erskine On His Biggest Mistake
Amy: We’ve talked about your successes and your showcase project and now I’m going to change the mood, slightly. What is one of the biggest mistakes that you’ve made, along the way?
Grant: I suppose the biggest mistake is probably not even, necessarily, a mistake. It is more a case of not knowing what I didn’t know.
When I launched my business six months in I didn’t have many clients and as an award-winning architect, I couldn’t understand why people weren’t knocking down my door and coming to me.
Amy: I think you have a bit of adrenaline at that point, don’t you? You have your business and you’ve put so much into it. And you get to this point where you’ve launched. You’ve been working on this thing for a year already but nobody else knows that.
I can empathise with that situation, straightaway.
Investing In Yourself
Grant: So, I’m a big advocate of investing in yourself.
I’m a bit of a control freak. I like to understand how everything around me works. Not so much understanding that I can necessarily to do it all but enough to have an understanding of it.
That’s the role of a director an entrepreneur or a business owner. Understanding how everything works.
So, I invest really heavily in myself. Even now, I spend a lot of my year going on different courses. I am always learning about different ideas, different marketing strategies, different growth strategies. I read as many books as I can.
Amy: That’s a great tip and something I can really identify with, myself.
In property investment, the marketplace is changing so quickly. You find people burn out and there is always somebody snapping at your heels.
There is always the new kid, as energetic and passionate as you were five years ago. So, I think in property, particularly, I’ve found personal development, education, keeping ahead of others and keeping abreast, essential.
I also think it’s essential to network and I know, before we started the interview, we were chatting about mutual contacts that we have, on Facebook.
We know about people’s lives. We connect and we’re friends. Facebook is a great way to do business and extend your business network.
Facebook For Property Professionals
Grant: Facebook is a great example of this. Personally, I’m a very private person. You won’t see much about my wife, my kid or my world on there.
About eighteen months ago people started trying to add me on Facebook and I didn’t like it. I felt like they were invading my space. And then one day, I was reading a blog and it clicked and I set up a new Facebook profile for business.
Amy: I think that’s a great idea. Another great tip.
Grant: I use Facebook almost like LinkedIn. I put forward the image that I want people to see although I still have my old profile which is pictures of me partying and friends from university.
Amy: We’ll be searching for that profile now, Grant.
Grant: You won’t find it. It’s very private and anyway, I don’t really look at it, anymore.
I have used my new Facebook profile to build a black book of contacts. I use it as a medium to sell my services and – I’m very open about it – to market and grow my business.
I’m guessing, the reason I’m here today is probably that you found me on Facebook.
Amy: Yes, of course.
Grant: I aggressively add people on Facebook as well. I’m constantly expanding my network. And this can annoy people. People sometimes ask why I’ve added them. People tell me to piss off. My attitude is, if someone doesn’t want to be friends with me then that’s fine.
Amy: There is a huge network on Facebook and I think, for a lot of property investors, it’s untapped.
There is, perhaps, three, four, five, popular UK property Facebook groups which collectively have around sixty thousand members.
When you go to networking events everybody already knows everybody and that’s all because of Facebook.
And I prefer using Facebook for property and for business than I do, LinkedIn. I think it’s a more user-friendly tool.
Grant: There’s a psychology behind it. When somebody is using LinkedIn they are in business mode. They are on there, probably, to share something formal about their business.
Somebody on Facebook might just be on there to rant about politics or their day. The mindset is different. It’s more informal, more friendly, perhaps.
We can compare it to the real world. If somebody send you an advert – a flyer – for their printer company and you don’t need a printer, you will just bin it. If somebody comes up to you at a networking event and buys you a drink then even if you don’t really want to talk about printing they could still persuade you to chat about the subject.
The social environment, the social mindset, allows a lot more scope for the kind of conversation that you wouldn’t otherwise have.
Amy: I agree. I struggle, like yourself, to find the balance between personal and business use of social media.
In the end, I’ve just ended up doing everything publicly but I don’t post much personal information. I do have a bit of a public voice because of what I do with the homeless. In a way, I miss having a private Facebook network of old friends.
My Facebook is a very mixed environment, now. I have all my old school friends and I have all these property investors.
It’s quite interesting when it comes to politics, elections, Brexit, things like that because the homeless people I know can be on one side of the argument and the property investors on the other.
Truth be told, I have quite an interesting news feed, especially during politically charged moments.
Grant: That can be the downside of aggressively adding people on Facebook. Sometimes you see things on your feed that are so detached from your own belief structure and your own personal ideas that you end up asking yourself, ‘What the hell is wrong with these people?’.
You can find yourself, un-friending people, just because they are not your type of people.
Amy: That’s true but on the other-hand Facebook brings people together as well.
You are naturally drawn to people that are like you or you end up emulating people that are like yourself.
As much as you find people who are not your type of person at all you also find people who are on your wavelength and who you can work with.
I have some great business relationships, partnerships that have been built on the back of meeting people on Facebook.
So that’s a really, really great tip. Thank you for sharing, Grant.