If you break life down into bite-sized actions or single steps, it’s amazing how far you can go.
David Osborn is an entrepreneur, public speaker, and author. He is also the principal owner of Keller Williams Realty, the 19th largest real estate company in the U.S., which grossed over $5.2 billion in sales last year.
A firm believer in the principles of knowledge sharing and giving back, he regularly speaks and teaches on entrepreneurial accountability and contributes to causes such as cancer prevention and clean water well building with nonprofit organizations.
David is a father of two, and he and his wife, Traci, live in Austin, Texas.
Where did the idea for your book, “Wealth Can’t Wait,” come from?
While my dad was dying of cancer and I was spending a lot of time with him, I wondered how I would be remembered and what legacy I would leave behind. At that moment, I decided to write a book that my great-grandkids could read to know who I was.
What does your typical day look like, and how do you make it productive?
Typically, I’m up early. I spend an hour reading, writing in my journal, and reviewing my goals. I look at my agenda after that and then see whether I need to add or subtract anything from my day.
I text my team any changes or thoughts I have, then I get after it. I answer emails, make calls, and have face-to-face appointments. I usually have a workout built into my calendar and often walk the dog.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I put my ideas into my goals that are broken down into action steps. I continually review my vision — the compilation of my goals — while focusing on the specific action steps necessary to bring that vision into reality. If you break life down into bite-sized actions or single steps, it’s amazing how far you can go.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
More and more people are choosing to work for themselves. There’s an awareness that creativity, backed by consistent action toward a goal, can change the world — if not the world as a whole, then definitely our individual worlds.
What’s one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Writing down my goals and reviewing them at least once per week, preferably more.
What was the worst job you ever had, and what did you learn from it?
My worst job was in B2B computer equipment sales. I would walk into a skyscraper, walk right past the “no soliciting” sign, and try to find out who was in charge of purchasing and what they needed.
It was a total grind. However, I learned how to be persistent, how to be charming, and how to face fear and failure over and over and still walk into the next office with a smile on my face and a treat for whomever I was to meet next.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I wouldn’t try to reinvent the wheel. I would find people in my space who were succeeding at a high level and model their actions to the letter, and I wouldn’t start being innovative until I had mastered the fundamentals.
I would seek mentors and master the habits that they had used to win. I would only choose mentors who had the life pattern that I wanted to emulate.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one habit you have that you recommend everyone else do?
You need to have an agenda for your life. Every day, know what the actions are that you will take toward your vision. Do not be a wandering generality; be a meaningful specific.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Finding talented people. Talented people aren’t necessarily born — it’s a choice to be talented. Being talented is really just making the choice to be as good as you can be in a specific craft — a specific area of life.
You want to hire, work for, and surround yourself with people who have chosen to be very, very good for two reasons:
By working with them, you will find excellence, and commitment will seem normal to you, so you’ll be pulled into a vortex of performance.
If you learn to hire committed, hard workers, you’ll succeed through their efforts.
What’s one failure you’ve had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I lost more than $1 million in a Spanish-language school that I created. I had a window to get out when we were down $350,000, and I didn’t take it because I was blinded by my own optimism — I was on “hopium.”
Whenever I have those decision points now, I review my options from a more objective, critical perspective.
Learning to live with continuous failure and not letting it get me down has been vital. One of the exercises we do with our kid is to ask her what she failed at today and then celebrate that failure.
It’s so important to get comfortable with failure because when you take risks, you will inevitably fail. And there’s no entrepreneurial success without risk.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Any kind of on-demand service with a built-in way to review people. People want things immediately and with reviews — Uber for babysitting, Uber for pizza, Uber for real estate.
This on-demand digital world is only going to continue to grow. Find a need and fill it. And if you fail, find another need to fill.
What is the best $100 you recently spent?
I bought a frisbee and some pylons and started a pickup Ultimate Frisbee game in the park. We now have between 10 and 14 folks show up on a regular basis.
We run around and get some killer exercise while having a blast, and afterward, we network on an outdoor patio. People have hired other people from the group, and deals have been done.
It has a health component, a community component, and a masterminding component.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
Google Docs is amazing. We’ve created a bunch of reports that we put into templates and have online 24/7. So if I want to look up a particular deal or business report at 3 a.m., the information is always at my fingertips.
I can also make comments and not wake anyone up, and they can get back to me on their own time. I can look at Google Drive from my iPhone anywhere in the world.
What is one book you recommend?
“The Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod is an excellent book for getting going. While the truths Hal shares are simple, they’re extremely effective, and every entrepreneur or growth-minded person should have some kind of morning ritual.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
Jim Rohn, Gary Keller, my folks, Dr. Fred Grosse, Pat Hiban (author of “6 Steps to 7 Figures“), Rock Thomas (author of “The Power of Your Identity“), James Allen (author of “As a Man Thinketh“), and many others.