When you initially enter the real estate industry, MANY rookies under-estimate the hurdles they'll encounter in that first year. The trials and tribulations they go through are truly a school of hard knocks that nobody understands except for others who are self-employed.
Financially - How much money did you bring with you?
When you visit the State Fair of Texas with $10 to spend, you can buy a cotton candy and walk around for the day. You'll have a good time. When you visit the fair with $100 to spend, you can visit the midway, play the games, and ride the rides. You'll have a better time. The same is true in real estate. If you come into self-employment with a pocketful of funds from a corporate 401k or personal savings, you may stave off the pain of self-employment financially for a while, and make it through that first year pretty unscathed. But, when you blow through those funds, you'll discover how to live as if you were poor all the time, because there are going to be times that you are poor. It's a fact. As with any good business, there will be times when all your extra resources must be put back into your business, just to sustain it. The earlier you learn that lesson, the better.
Technologically - How many toys do you have?
Rookie real estate agents don't typically have the same tools in their business that veterans have. You may have a cell phone, but it may not have internet and all the bells and whistles that others have. You may promise yourself that after a certain number of sales, you're going to upgrade. In the meantime, those veteran agents can respond faster to leads and clients, and are gaining greater market share. The internet is where the buyers are looking for homes. Your client's cell phone cannot be better than yours. We're in an age of instant gratification. You better be able to text responses, look up emails, check on properties, and respond to lead generation systems right away, or someone else is going to beat you to the punch. These days, I could run my entire day on my cell phone if I had to do so. If you can't, you are experiencing missed opportunities. Don't even get me started on PC's, laptops, annual internet marketing programs, GE Supra keycard, keyboxes, signs, riders, brochure boxes, and other components of the agent toolbox.
Emotionally - Can you be a non-stick Realtor?
When I was growing up, my Mother's favorite comment was 'Be a duck - calm and collected above the water and paddling like mad under the water'. I think of her comment every time I am staring at a 16-hour day because I took 2-3 listings in a single day. New business is a blessing and a curse. It's great when it comes, but really rough when it floods in all at once. You just dig in and make it happen. The ups and downs come with the territory. I know there will be a day this week where I get everything done in 4-5 hours and can take a walk, get my laundry done, and watch a movie with the family. People need good real estate agents now, more than at any time I can recall.
When I mention being a non-stick Realtor, what I really mean is being able to help your clients with selling, buying, and leasing of residential properties, without taking on the potential baggage that they bring into the situation. Empathy is a good trait, but you cannot personally take on buyer melt-downs, seller angst, or the frustrations of leasing. Somebody has to remain calm, cool, and collected. That's your job. Don't take anything personally. Don't believe those people who tell you that you're the best agent EVER, and don't believe the ones who regret the day they met you. That's just their drama. Make no mistake - everybody has drama. You cannot go through the process of selling, buying or leasing a home without some amount of discomfort, which opens the door to drama. Being a non-stick Realtor just means that you stay professionally detached. Moving day is going to come. That day entails stress, no matter how organized the move. But, that isn't going to make you drive home to put on your jeans and head back over with a dolly to start loading furniture into the back of the truck. That's not your job. If the mover leaves the job because they miscalculated the load and time of the job, it can be your job to help them find a new moving company. But, know the limits of what you will and won't do, and how far you will go to help a client. You are a liaison, and there are things that may come up that will be outside your realm of control.
Watch out for client stress creeping into you own home, too. I went through six divorces last year due to the economy. These were all client divorces. By the time the home sales are completed, they kind of feel like you've been through the ringer right along with them. Make sure your own home remains a haven, and that you put all the dysfunction away before joining your own family at the end of the day. Take a moment to meditate. Go work out. Take a long walk. Breathe deeply. Having a strong support network is crucial to the success of any real estate agent.
Have a blessed day!