ask an ambassador: Ask An Ambassador: Avoiding Vampires
- 03/21/17 07:07 AM
What many new real estate agents may not realize is that as agents we are a small business. Whether you work for a big box brand or a small brokerage, you're responsible for your own success.
Establishing goals, a business plan, understanding your sources of business, your costs, recognizing your limits, planning for taxes, that and much more are a critical part of being successful. And it's not just a matter of grossing the most, but a matter of keeping a good sized piece of those earnings in your own pocket.
So to be successful, you've got to avoid vampires. While there
ask an ambassador: Ask An Ambassador: 10 Things You Learn In The Rain
- 03/14/17 01:19 PM
We've been doing our best to put the "Active" in ActiveRain for almost 7 years, and there are many key lessons to learn. The quicker you learn and apply, the better your Rain experience:
1. Playing nice in the sandbox mattered in kindergarten and it matters here too. This community isn't a place for bare knuckle brawls. If you're looking to fight, I've got a few places to suggest for you to look, but the Rain isn't one of them.
2. Posts and comments are permanent. Thank you Interwebs and it's a double edged sword. If we do things right, we get
ask an ambassador: Ask An Ambassador: ActiveRain Commenting Etiquette
- 03/07/17 10:46 AM
I have rarely deleted comments in years of blogging in the Rain. Vulgarity on a consumer facing post, yep that'll do it. But otherwise if someone wants to act like an
I've preferred to just leave it there and let others draw their own conclusions. But under the right circumstances, I WILL use the Delete key.
There are a some key ways to get yourself in trouble with your comments:
1. Not being aware of the blogger's target audience. If they're writing to the consumer, you can bet the author isn't looking to have you try and destroy their credibility, ethics or professionalism. If
ask an ambassador: Ask An Ambassador: Why We Blog Daily
- 02/21/17 01:51 PM
It's Tuesday, and it's a "normal" week so returning to our regularly scheduled AAA schedule.
Anyone that has known us in the Rain knows there's one thing they can count on: We WILL have a new post every day. If we didn't show up I suspect there might be a missing persons call made to Bob Stewart.
There's a host of reasons why that is the case:
1. It's a habit. It started off with a 30/30 challenge back in 2010. I got used to it and got tuned into ideas and after that the dominoes just started to fall into place.
ask an ambassador: Ask An Ambassador: My Client Said He'd Knock Me Out!
- 02/13/17 11:08 AM
You may think my blogging world is turned upside down. After all, aren't my AAA posts on TUESDAYS??? (yes, normally) And WHY would my client be promising to knock me out? Just how bad did that transaction get??
Well, those that follow me know that I blog with a purpose, and here it is:
You need a good title to pull readers in.
You can have the BEST content in the world, but it you can't get that initial click, it doesn't do you much good. It's no different than the wonderfully updated home that has an exterior with BLAH curb appeal. That
ask an ambassador: Ask An Ambassador: Pros & Cons of Short URLs
- 02/07/17 03:15 PM
What's a short URL you may ask?
It's basically just what you'd expect from that name, it's a tool to abbreviate a blog post's URL to something...wait for it....SHORT!
E.g. we start with:
and it becomes
Both links will take you to the same post (well USUALLY, more on that later).
So how do you create that short URL for your posts? They're just a click away. On any post (not just your own), look to the bottom right for the SHORT URL button:
Click the SHORT URL button and you get:
And right next to that red arrow will be a UNIQUE short url generated for
ask an ambassador: Ask An Ambassador: Should I Enter ActiveRain Contests?
- 01/31/17 01:24 PM
I'm going to use everyone's "favorite" answer to answer that question:
Okay, don't shoot the messenger but that's my honest answer to whether or not you should participate.
ActiveRain offers two categories:
1. Challenges. Do X and we'll give you Y points.
2. Contests. There are judges, extra points for placing 1, 2 or 3 and points for participating.
So "It depends" on:
Where are you in your blogging life? How badly do you want the points? Do you have the time? Will the particular contest help you develop as a blogger or increase your business? Your answers to these questions help decide whether it's
ask an ambassador: Ask An Ambassador: Where Can I Find Help?
- 01/24/17 01:41 PM
Are you having a problem and need some help?
Where can you turn to for assistance?
For general How To questions or about how things work in the Rain, you have multiple options:
1. If you see someone that's doing what you want to do, just ask them! That's how I learned to hyperlink in our posts when we were first starting.
2. Post a question in the Q&A section. There's a fair number of people checking in there throughout the day and chances are good someone might be able to give you a solid answer.
3. Contact one of the Ambassadors (caveat, not all
ask an ambassador: Ask An Ambassador: Eyes Wide Open
- 01/10/17 01:39 PM
If ever there was a profession that demands attention to detail, we're in it.
We'd better have our eyes wide open and our ears on high alert.
Looking and listening for information that will lead to:
new knowledge and skills
new business new relationships Now our experience has been that ActiveRain is a perfect environment for fulfilling all three of those categories.
What we can do today is light years of where we were when we joined this community. I won't lay claim to being a guru by any means, but I know what works for us and it's thanks to the sharing of
ask an ambassador: Ask An Ambassador: From Sand to Pearls
- 01/03/17 01:12 PM
It all starts with a grain of sand. Just a measly, puny one in a trillion grain of sand. But that grain of sand gets in just the right place on a oyster and the oyster gets to work, adding layer after layer, until the finished product looks nothing like a grain of sand, but instead something quite valuable.
Now what does this have to do with real estate and blogging? Nothing and everything!
Now ideas for posts are quite plentiful, they're the grains of sand. You can choose from the entire spectrum of purely personal to pure real estate to the nth
ask an ambassador: Ask An Ambassador: Evaluate Your Year
- 12/27/16 01:44 PM
"Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it."
~Attributed to George Santayana
Now that quote could be applied to our lives in MANY ways, and it certainly is applicable to those of us in real estate. As we wrap up 2016 it's time to evaluate what worked and what didn't work.
Where did our business come from?
How much did we spend to get that business?
What DID and DIDN'T work?
Are there sensible places to trim expenses?
It's SO easy to just keep doing the same old same old without really knowing if it works or not. Busy work FEELS good but may accomplish
ask an ambassador: Ask An Ambassador: Streamlining Your Blogging
- 12/20/16 12:31 PM
I make it no secret. I work two careers. I'm an engineer AND a real estate agent. What that means is I have to be VERY efficient with my time, and that includes our blogging.
My goal is to blog with a purpose each day, every day, rinse, lather, repeat to the tune of in excess of 3000 posts to date.
To make sure I fit in a blog post into my daily routine, I need to be VERY effective with my time.
I don't sit down to write a post until I KNOW what topic I'm going to explore for the day. White
ask an ambassador: Ask An Ambassador: Avoiding Headaches In The Rain & Elsewhere
- 11/29/16 01:08 PM
"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference." Reinhold Niebuhr
Most of us recognize this. We've got it hanging in our home, or we know people that do. It's a snippet from The Serenity Prayer and understanding its meaning can take us from turmoil to peace.
We never said it's easy to walk the path.
Let's face it. We're not perfect. Life's not perfect. Paraphrasing Forrest Gump, "it happens".
A typical day consists of a mix of face to face interactions, emails, ActiveRain blogs, Q&A
ask an ambassador: Ask An Ambassador: Where Do Your Blogging Ideas Come From?
- 11/22/16 02:25 PM
I make a habit of putting the "regular" in regular blogging for our team. I enjoy it as it's a nice change of pace from my engineering work and even better, it's really added to our business.
The blog archives keep building and while some days I know EXACTLY what the topic of the day will be, most days I wake up and determine what to write about next based on whatever sparks my interest for the day.
So if you're interested at a peek into what makes this blogger's mind tick, here's some insight to the sources for my last month of
ask an ambassador: Ask An Ambassador: Which Reality Do You Want Perceived?
- 11/15/16 04:30 AM
You know the phrase "perception is reality".
And right now there are a LOT of people with perception issues.
The same person can be perceived as saint or demon despite the same information being available to all parties (see the recent election for perfect examples of this).
I'm having perceptions altered daily based on the way people do or don't act on social media. Their comments might not reflect their true natures, but the perception is created regardless because that's the information we have to work with.
Most use Facebook to present the best possible image of their lives. Seriously, when is the last time
ask an ambassador: Ask An Ambassador: What's The Hidden Cost Of That Action?
- 11/01/16 06:47 AM
As real estate agents, I suspect that if we put a clear price on our actions and inactions we might be shocked at what we'd find out.
Now there's a lot of variables, what ifs and maybes that go into this, but as a business, even when we're a business of one person, we need to be aware of what does and doesn't work and what things cost.
We can look at our credit card statement and see some clear costs, well defined and no argument about it:
web hosting IDX service MLS dues hardware for our business (signs, and lockboxes) There might
ask an ambassador: Ask An Ambassador: Help Is A Click Or Call Away
- 10/25/16 07:45 AM
One of the absolute best things about this community is the willingness to share and to help others.
Over time you get to know people and we share the best and worst of times, both business and personal.
We learn from each other, sharing ideas that we'd probably never think of letting a local competitor hear.
We're exposed to techniques from across the country that we can adapt to our local market.
You can draw on this community in times both routine and extreme.
I've tapped friends from coast to coast including a very trying situation fall 2015 (you know who you are!) when I
ask an ambassador: Ask An Ambassador: Blogging DOES Pay (Secret Info Inside)
- 10/18/16 10:14 AM
Let's say you're a skeptic. You've heard about blogging as a means of building your business but it just doesn't make a lot of sense to you how posts about home buying and selling tips, local events and subdivisions and searches for houses with four car garages an in-ground pool and a barn can turn into paychecks at the closing table, but it can.
Now blogging isn't some silver bullet cure to doubling your business in 4 weeks or less. It's not like most of the "cures" you hear at some convention for $499 (but $399 if you act TODAY).
Here's the secret
ask an ambassador: Ask An Ambassador: Secret Tips Grab Bag
- 10/11/16 10:57 AM
Certain things they don't necessarily teach you when you join ActiveRain, and with a little luck someone cuts you in on the "secrets".
Some things aren't secret if you read and heed, things like picking a niche and growing your business or writing what the CONSUMER wants to know and not necessarily what we FEEL like writing that day (yes, some days blogging IS work), and other things you might not know, so here you go!
1. How to avoid trouble with picture uploading: Make sure your photo size is below 1 MB total (VERY important to keep in mind how many consumers
ask an ambassador: Ask An Ambassador: An Engineer's View Of Points & Talking Frogs
- 09/27/16 04:33 AM
"...but a talking frog, now THAT is cool!"
It's no secret, I'm a dual career engineer/real estate agent.
The folks at Gallup came up with their take on personality traits and it's called Strengths Finder 2.0. I take the test that comes along with the book and the assessment determines out of 34 personality traits, my top 5 traits are:
Harmony Analytical Consistency Responsiblity Achiever And I couldn't argue with the results, although Harmony at number one threw me for a bit until I read the description: "you look for areas of agreement. You can't quite believe how much time is wasted