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This Is the Biggest Expense in Your Business—and it Isn’t Even in Your Books

Aug 21, 2023

by Steve Shull, Founder & Head Coach


What’s the biggest expense in your business?

No, it’s not marketing. It’s also not your staff, your brokerage, or anything else you might see in your books.

It’s the time you waste on business you’re not gonna get.

Most agents don’t look at this as an expense. They see it as just doing business. You win some, you lose some, right? To have a chance at winning, you have to play the lottery.

It’s true, life is a big casino. We have to deal in probabilities and possibilities, because the only thing that’s certain is death.

BUT…not all the tables in the casino are created equal. Some give you a 20% chance of winning, and some give you 80%. If you don’t learn to tell the difference, and you just sit down at whatever table you see first, you are going to spend a lot of time playing a low-probability game, and it’s going to be very hard to walk out of that casino as a winner.

Yet, that’s exactly what agents tend to do! You chase after every opportunity as if they all have an equal probability of turning into a deal.


With some prospects, you’re the Favorite. This is the 80% table. Those people see your value, trust you, and want to work with you. So they’re very likely to hire you, and when they do, they’ll be what Joe Polish of The Genius Network calls ELFs—easy, lucrative, and fun.

With others, you’re the Fool. Your chances of winning their business aren’t zero, but they’re 20% or less, so you have to spend a lot more hours chasing and convincing before you bag one. If you do, they’re already skeptical of you, so they’re just waiting for you to trip up. That makes them HALFs—hard, annoying, lame, and frustrating. They might be lucrative too, but the mess they make isn’t worth it.

Until you learn this difference, you’ll grasp at whatever opportunity crosses your path without realizing that it’s draining your most precious asset: your time.

Most agents act like money is their most valuable asset. But there’s no limit on the amount of money you can make, and if you lose some, you can always make up for it. We only get 24 hours in a day, and once you’ve spent them, they’re gone for good. Plus, you never know when your time will be up—death is random and unpredictable. 

So why do you prioritize money and act as if you have all the time in the world? Why do you waste your life at the 20% table?

Because chasing after a dollar bill seems more natural and comfortable.

It feels more productive to sit down and play at a low-probability table than to wait for a better one. It’s more pleasant to enjoy the illusion of instant gratification than to recognize the reality that doing the work gives you a greater chance of success in the long run. It’s easier to do what you already know than to learn the skill of discerning when you’re the Favorite and when you’re the Fool.

But guess what? 

If you do what is comfortable, your life will be uncomfortable. If you do what is uncomfortable, your life will be comfortable. 

It’s natural to want comfort and ease, but seeking those things is exactly what stops you from achieving greatness. When you avoid the uncomfortable, you might survive, but you’ll never thrive.

When I look back at my life, I see that every great experience grew out of discomfort. Being a free agent in the NFL was uncomfortable, with my job on the line every single day. Being a trader on Wall Street was uncomfortable, with the responsibility for billion-dollar transactions on my shoulders. 

Even now, I do uncomfortable things every day. I’m on business coaching calls talking about spirituality, asking people to let go of everything they’ve been programmed to believe, giving them radically different advice from what everyone else in this industry is teaching. It’s a risk, which is always uncomfortable.

To succeed, I had to get comfortable with discomfort, and you do too.

Walking past that 20% table is the most uncomfortable thing in the world. To get comfortable with it, you have to learn to spot the 80% tables. Most importantly, you have to experience what happens when you stop wasting time on business you’re not gonna get.

Once you see that for yourself, you’ll never go back.


Have a great week!


Steve Shull

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