In Episode 107 of the Wandering But Not Lost Podcast, co-hosts Matt Emerson and Jan O’Brien discuss 7 strategies that will help you thrive in any market.  We know that Real Estate can be overwhelming at times and we’ll share some tips and tricks to keep you motivated and on track.  In Wandering Zen, Matt takes us back to old Hollywood and explores the architectural world of Paul R. Williams.






Seven Strategies to Thrive in ANY Real Estate Market


There are opportunities in any real estate market for those who are willing to make the necessary adjustments in your action plan, skillset, and mindset!

The following seven strategies will help you THRIVE in the Real Estate Business. These strategies are timeless and easily adapted for any business owner in ANY market scenario.

1.  Understand that You ARE the Creator of your Reality
Take personal responsibility for where you are at this exact moment. All of your thoughts and actions have led you to this exact place in time. If you are not entirely pleased with your results, then change your thoughts and take action toward what you want to create.   Check-in with yourself often. Are your thoughts positive or negative – towards or away from what you desire? Do you find yourself slipping into the negative muck and mire – from the media or the glass is half-empty people around you? Be deliberate and intentional in your thoughts and actions. Focus on what you want; not on what you don’t want.

Recommended reading:

  • Think And Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
  • The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
  • The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
  • Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

2.  Adopt a daily practice to start your day in a positive mindset

How you start your day truly impacts how the rest of the day plays out!

Adopt a daily ritual, a morning routine, to start your day in a positive mindset and with focused intention.  Show up every day: Mentally, Physically, Emotionally and Spiritually.  Now more than ever it’s important to get up, do your morning mindset ritual, get dressed for success and get to work!

Some suggestions:

  • Morning meditation or prayer
  • Read a few pages from a book that inspires you
  • Daily gratitude – journal what you are grateful for each morning
  • Exercise, stretch, take a walk
  • Review your goals and say your affirmations
  • Eat a healthy breakfast
  • Review your day’s tasks and schedule


3.  Be Open to Change – Adapt to the Market

Educate yourself about the market, understand the trends and statistics. Know the inventory.  Identify other niche target markets for your area and develop a plan to generate business from those sources that work best for you. Identify one or two areas to improve personally and/or professionally.

Continuous learning is the minimum requirement in any career field:

  • Read something to enhance your personal or professional development a minimum of 1 hour/day
  • Take specific courses, seminars, or workshops based on areas you want to improve or master
  • Listen to audio programs or podcasts in your car or when walking or working out

Your Success Action Plan

4.  Polish your sales skills

  • Improve and upgrade your qualifying, presentation and closing skills.
  • Learn how to better present the history and current real estate market story to your buyers and sellers.
  • Update your buyer and listing presentations with supporting graphs, statistics, etc.
  • Take sale-able, properly priced listings!
  • Use all of your available company marketing and advertising tools.
  • Practice, Practice, Practice your closing and qualifying skills.

5.  Get back to the basics

Actually…Never get away from the basics – they always work – in any market!

  • Are you time-blocking 1-2 hours daily for lead generation, follow-up, and conversion?
  • Do you have a solid Sphere of Influence/Past Client Referral system in place?
  • Do you have a CRM that you like and are you using effectively as the foundation of your business?
  • How are you attracting new business daily?
  • Have you selected 3 target markets to concentrate on this year?
  • Do you have a powerful Listing and Marketing Proposal?
  • Do you conduct a formal buyer consultation and qualification?
  • Take classes or training in areas that you want to refine or improve.


6.  Implement effective real estate business systems

Are you working on your business while also working in it? Most real estate agents are NOT running their business as a true business. They are simply the “technician” working with buyers and sellers toward a successful close of escrow and collecting a commission for services rendered.

Create and implement key real estate business systems that work for you as an individual agent in these key areas of your business:

  • Real Estate Business Plan and Goal-Writing
  • Develop Your Unique Value (Selling) Proposition
  • Personal Promotion, Branding, and Marketing
  • Past Client/Sphere of Influence/Referral System
  • Listing System
  • Buyer/Escrow System
  • Farming System
  • Lead Generation and Follow-up System
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Business Financial Basics for the Real Estate Agent

Recommended reading: EMyth Revisited by Michael Gerber


7.  Create a success action plan and stick to it

Time block for best results. Know how many calls, face-to-face contacts, emails, mailers, contacts you must make before you call it a day. Challenge yourself with daily goals – don’t go home until you have at least one appointment for example.

Win the Day Formula

What are the two to three specific things you could on a daily basis that would really drive your business and life goals?

What are the one to three actions that have the highest return and the most valuable use of your time?

Do the most important things first in the morning, preferably without interruption, for 60 to 90 minutes, with a clear start and stop time. If possible, work in a private space during this period, or with sound-reducing earphones. Finally, resist every impulse to distraction, knowing that you have a designated stopping point. The more absorbed you can get, the more productive you’ll be. When you’re done, take at least a few minutes to reflect and refresh.

Some ideas to get you started:

  • Make “X” connections with people in my database
  • Send “X” personal notes
  • Add one new person to my database
  • Set one appointment daily
  • Make “X” calls, texts, emails to my niche or primary prospecting target
  • Hand out 5 business cards and ask for business, a referral or for permission to add them to my database

Read: Eat That Frog – Brian Tracy

In today’s Wandering Zen we explore the work of the inspirational architect, Paul R. Williams.  His moniker of “Architect to the Stars” was well deserved, but his other creations helped form the feeling and vision of his time.  And, oh, he was also the first African American member (and later, Fellow) of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), as well as a civic leader.  Let’s dive into his expansive resume…




A native Angeleno, Paul Williams was born in 1894 and orphaned at the age of 4.  He was driven and as he grew up his passion for architecture became his focus.  It wasn’t an easy road and he was often told that he couldn’t or wouldn’t be able to make it in a field that was comprised nearly entirely of white men.  He persisted and landed internships right out of high school, took classes at the Los Angeles Beaux-Arts School and attended USC’s School of Engineering.

Knowing the racial challenges that he faced, Paul would often submit work in design contests knowing that he would be judged by his creations as opposed to the color of his skin (and often won).  He began to gain recognition.  He was appointed to the first LA City Planning Commission in 1920 and in 1921 became a certified architect.  He opened his own practice in 1923.

He was a well-spoken and charismatic man and was easily able to make himself at home in the social circles of Los Angeles and soon found himself designing for some of the biggest names in Hollywood of the day.  He had a knack for being able to truly listen to his clients and create designs that matched and exceeded their dream homes.  Paul was also keenly aware of the racial drawbacks and even learned to draw upside down so that he could sit across the table from his clients so as not to make it uncomfortable should they not want to sit next to an African American.

In total, he designed over 3,000 buildings during his career, with over 2,000 of them being in the Los Angeles area.  The list of buildings he designed or renovated is quite impressive and includes Los Angeles County Courthouse, the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Building, Hillside Memorial Park, Westwood Medical Center, and First AME Church.  He was a part of the design team that brought us LAX and its classic Theme Restaurant.  He renovated the Ambassador Hotel, The Beverly Hills Hotel (The signature script of the name is actually his handwriting), The Beverly Wilshire,  The Knickerbocker Hotel and 2 of the hottest spots in old Hollywood – Chasen’s and Perino’s.  His celebrity clients included; Lon Chaney Jr., Lucile Ball & Desi Arnez,  Jennifer jones, Bert Lahr, Tyrone Power, Johnny Weissmuller, and Frank Sinatra.

In Las Vegas, he created the Guardian Angel Cathedral, which still stands near the Wynn on the Strip and he designed the iconic La Concha Motel, the lobby building was relocated and now serves as the entrance and gift shop for the Neon Museum.

Paul Williams didn’t just work with the rich and powerful, he also planned and developed many affordable housing tracts throughout his career.  He was also tapped by Danny Thomas to design some of the first buildings for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.

He retired in 1973 and passed away in 1980.  His service was held at the First AME Church that he designed and was honored by many, including a eulogy by Danny Thomas.  He was recognized over the years with many of the industry’s top honors, including the AIA Award of Merit, the NAACP Spingarn Medal, and USC’s Distinguished Alumni Award. In 1957, he became the first African American to become an AIA Fellow. Williams was posthumously awarded the AIA’s 2017 Gold Medal, America’s highest honor for an architect. Williams is the first African American to receive the AIA Gold Medal.

He broke ground along with barriers and will go down in history as one of the world’s architectural greats.


Here are a few links to some of his work that will give you further insight into the style and techniques that made him one of the most sought-after architects of his time:

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