A few days ago, Brenda Mullen, wrote a great blog called, "And just how hard was your licensing exam?" It was a great blog, and it got me to thinking about education. On a side note, Brenda would be a great friend to have within shouting distance if you ever code blue.
I thought my original salesperson licensing exam was a challenge. The broker exam wasn't quite as challenging, but I had a lot more experience by then. So, it seemed easier. Ironically, neither one of those exams will make you a great Realtor. Education and experience will make you better in this business. But even there, not all education will make you successful.
I love to learn, and I have earned four Master's degrees in my adult life. I'm just shy of my PhD, and I can tell you from experience that academic accomplishment alone is not the answer to being a good to great Realtor. Not at all.
Actually, there is the belief in our country that a good education will lead you to riches, or at least financial security. If that were true, college professors would be the richest people in this country. We know that's not true. Bill Gates is one this country's wealthiest members, and he is a college dropout. It's not education alone. It's the type of education.
I have been privileged to have had so many "think outside the box" people in my life who have educated me. In all of my academic accomplishments, I can tell you that only snippets of my MBA actually benefit me as a Realtor. If I didn't have that degree, it wouldn't matter. What I know about real estate, I learned from experts in the field and creative investors.
If you don't have a college degree - don't let it bother you. Obviously, I'm a big proponent of formal education. I think it's good. If you want a degree, I encourage you to get one, but the education that will make you a smarter Realtor can be learned through books, seminars, web-inars, brokerage training, colleagues, forums like Active Rain and others. Pick the brains of the most successful agents in your office, area or your state.
Read books by successful agents. Gary Keller writes great books on real estate sales. Robert Allen's books, Nothing Down and Creating Wealth, can help you learn to think outside the box when it relates to real estate. Here's a rule of thumb that I use when picking out a book - if the first couple paragraphs don't grab me, the odds are against the rest of the book grabbing me. I want to learn. If I don't learn anything in 10 pages, I begin to wonder if the next 200 will be any better.
Good writers catch you early. On the flip-side, some books, conferences, seminars or web-inars that will help you may not be 100% full of info that you need or want. Here's my best advice when you're in a learning environment, "Have as much sense as old cow. Eat the hay and leave the sticks." One of my college professors said that to me many years ago, and I've learned to ignore stuff that wouldn't benefit me, and I have kept what would.
There are a wealth of opportunities out there to learn. Many don't cost a cent. Many great lessons come from books or other professionals who are willing to share. Active Rain is a great resource. Learn where the education has an immediate impact. For instance, "Put part A into slot B" equals a table. That's immediate learning. The real estate profession has those same types of learning opportunities. Find them. And remember, gold is seldom lying on top of the ground. Learning is like treasure hunting, it takes some work.