Life is full of "what ifs" and "if onlys" and while I don't see the point in really dwelling too much on past mistakes, it is helpful to put them in perspective and learn from them.
As far as my real estate career goes, there are a few things I would have done differently if I were to start over right now, but probably the biggest regret - which also serves as the biggest piece of advice for new agents who are just getting started in this career - is spending too much money on too many things before I knew what I not only needed but would actually use.
DON'T BUY EVERYTHING YOU SEE.
I totally admit to being boisterous in my spending habits in the beginning; I went to an industry trade event early in my career and got totally caught up in the hype, the pitch, the fun, the excitement.
OF COURSE I need a CRM! Sign me up! Oh, do I need the mobile version? Of course, only $10 extra a month. Here's my credit card.
Never mind I had no clients at that moment to enter into the CRM, nor did I really know what they meant by a mobile version, because it was 2004 and the only "smartphone" I had ever heard of at that point was a Treo.
Regardless, I now had a rigorous way to set up campaigns, communicate with clients, sent out newsletters, you know, all that good stuff.
Yeah, probably should have waited on that until I actually had enough people with whom to communicate to make it worthwhile.
As it was, it turned out it was a bit too rigorous for my needs and I logged into it once. Yes, once. But I paid for it for a year and never even used it.
And that was just the first ill-advised purchase. I came home with a bag full of goodies, many of which would still be - almost 12 years later - packed away somewhere, collecting dust had it not been for the fact I decluttered a few months ago and pitched a lot of things I had never used.
Fortunately, I caught on early that most of these things were unnecessary for my success and I quickly stopped buying everything I came across. And I'm glad I had the epiphany years ago, because today it seems as if we are being constantly bombarded with shiny new things - and admittedly, many of them look very tempting.
I think the cottage industries surrounding real estate make more money than many real estate agents do.
And I've seen more than one agent fall into the trap of buying one lead generation program after another, convinced that the next one or the next one or the next one will be the key to great success.
I'm not going to advise anyone on how to get business in this arena; after all, we are all different and what works for one won't work for all.
My approach, for example, won't work for anyone who is not snarky or sarcastic or who lacks a dry wit. Not everyone can wear those attributes well. Heck, sometimes it's not a good look for me, either, but there it is.
Before signing up for everything out there promising great leads and a quick road to riches, figure out who you are - find your voice. Then find what works for your voice and your personality.
There is no shortage of hawksters out there happy to sell you leads, advertising, products, apps, programs and technology...and not one of them cares if it works for you.
If I had it to do all over again, I would have delayed spending the money on things I really didn't need and spent more time figuring out how I wanted to work and what kind of agent I wanted to be, then deciding what was out there that would work for me, not just drain my bank account every month.