2018 Year in Review and Goals for 2019

by Greg Barrett

As the year comes to a close, I find myself reflecting on the last 12 months–the good, the not so good, what went well, what didn’t go well, and how 2019 can be even better than 2018. 2018 was an exciting year for me and my wife, full of fun, happiness, and adventure. Professionally, I was challenged, learned a lot, and enjoyed the work I was involved in.

This is a great time of year to look back at the previous year to take stock of we are at in life and in our career, and define what we hope to achieve in the upcoming year. I’ve been thinking quite a bit of all aspects of my life: my career, my health, my bucket list, family matters, etc. I won’t bore you with too many details of my personal life, because this is a blog about being successful in commercial real estate, but I will share a few thoughts.  Before I get into that, I will share one personal matter that may impact this blog.  That is, my wife and I are expecting our first child in February; a boy!  I hope that I will still have the time and energy to continually write new posts.

Review of 2018

Overall, 2018 was a great year.  I learned many new things both in my day-to-day work, though self-study, and by pursuing business opportunities outside of work.    In my day job as an asset manager for a REIT, I went from being an assistant portfolio manager to the guy in charge of the portfolio.  That means being responsible for all real estate decisions involved in managing a portfolio of several hundred retail properties.  

Regarding the CREentrepreneur blog, I was able to create several unique pieces of content, that hopefully, has had a positive impact on you. From a KPI perspective, I increased the number of subscribers by 5x and the number of page views by 7x year-over-year. The site also had over 115,000 page views in 2018.

As I looked back at the year 2018, I spent some time thinking about the books, courses, and other materials that have had a profound impact on my thinking, growth, or education.  Below I’ve outlined my favorite books from my 2018 reading list.  In addition to reading, I’ve learned a lot from podcasts.  I won’t list those here because I recently compiled a list of my favorite podcasts on another post.

Favorite Books from my 2018 Reading List

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind  and 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari.  I devoured just about everything written by Yuval Noah Harari this year.  Sapiens explores the role humans have played in the global ecosystem. Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events within the context of larger ideas.  21 Lesson for the 21st Century takes a forward looking approach to technologies, challenges, and ideas that confront mankind in the 21st century. These books caused me to think really about the past, the present, and what the future may look like.

Investing In Real Estate Private Equity: An Insider’s Guide to Real Estate Partnerships, Funds, Joint Ventures and Crowdfunding. Written by Paul Kaseburg (AKA Sean Cook), this book is essentially a guide for those interested in real estate private equity.  Everyone interested in investing in private real estate should read this book.

Am I Being too Subtle? Straight Talk from a Business Rebel. Written by the iconic real estate entrepreneur Sam Zell, this book outlines his real estate and business career.  It is an awesome book Sam’s mindset and the decisions that enabled Sam Zell to become one of the most success real estate moguls in US history. This is a book that I will definitely read a second time.

Choose Yourself. This book, written by James Altucher, will help you take a step back from the day-to-day minutia of life and think about your passions, goals, and purpose.  The book reinforces the reality that you have to make yourself responsible for your dreams because the “American Dream” is dead.

Goals for 2019

First and foremost, I’d like to write down my goals for CREentrepreneur for this upcoming year.  My primary goal this year is to increase the viewership of my content.  The previous year I focused primarily on creating a solid foundation of quality content.  I plan to continue to create unique and insightful content, but I intend to spend a greater percentage of my time increasing the traffic and number of subscribers. Listed below are my goals for CREentrepreneur in 2019.

Goals for CREentrepreneur

  1. Content: Two blog posts per month
  2. Subscribers: Increase the number of subscribers by 10x
  3. Page Views: Increase page views by 15x

I won’t delve into the tactics I intend to implement in order to achieve these goals, but do know that they are there.  As I always say, a goal without a specific tactical plan is essentially meaningless–this is applicable in all areas of life. Next, I want to put in writing my reading list for 2019.

Book List for 2019

Zeckendorf: The autobiography of the man who played a real-life game of Monopoly and won the largest real estate empire in history.

Threshold Resistance: The Extraordinary Career of a Luxury Retailing Pioneer

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

Influence: Science and Practice

Tools of Titans

Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win

I’ve been thinking recently about a few of topics and trends I intend to write on next year.  Here is a sneak peak of a few posts to be written in 2019. 

Blog Posts for 2019

The Automotive Revolution – Autonomous, electric, and shared – the nature of transportation in the United States is going to change drastically.  It won’t happen in the next five years; however, these three forces will inevitably reshape our cities and communities.

Opportunity Zones – What is the state of opportunity zones? How big of an opportunity does this tax incentive create for real estate investors?   Who are the players entering the space? I’ll take a deep dive into opportunity zones and what it means for sponsors and investors alike.

Retail Site Selection – In this rapidly changing retail environment, what are retailers looking for in their site selection process.  In order to make the right retail acquisitions, investors should try to understand their customers and what criteria they look for as they are opening new locations.

CRE Trends and Opportunities in 2019 – I’ll dive into the forces and trends currently shaping the commercial real estate industry: from promising new technologies, to development trends, to what we are seeing in the capital markets etc.

Construction Technologies: The cost and efficiency of construction has not improved in decades.  I’ll review the technologies and trends that should be improving this space. I will discuss the reasons why the adoption of such technologies is so slow. This is one area of the commercial real estate sector, that in my opinion, is in need of technological disruption.

In addition to these and many other articles on trends and opportunities, I will continue to add educational content focused on real estate fundamentals. I will continue to write posts about how property owners are making money in commercial real estate.  Feel free to reach out to me with any content suggestions you may have.

I hope each of you will invest time to reflect on the past year and set goals for the upcoming year.  This is an exercise that I have done the last two years; which has helped me focus my efforts on achieving what I truly desire.  It is easy to get distracted doing things that aren’t necessarily bringing you closer to the life you hope for. That is why it is so important to stop . . . and take some time to reflect on the past and set new goals for the future.  Happy New Year!

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