By Denise Lones M.I.R.M., CSP
AGENT QUESTION: "Denise, I want you to help me make more money."
MY RESPONSE: "Great! But the first step is to help you make more time. Because without time, you cannot give great service to neither your clients nor yourself."
AGENT: "But I'm willing to work hard to make the money!"
MY RESPONSE: "Then you'll burn yourself out and won't be effective. Without quality of life-meaning the time to enjoy life away from your business-then you'll be a slave to your business. It's much better to have your business work for you, rather than the other way around."
You shouldn't be worried about making more money. You should be worried about making more time. Because time is how you make money.
Often when I meet with agents-both brand-new and 20-year veterans-I notice that there's something missing: Quality of life.
They don't have enough time to do it all. They work 40, 50, even up to 80 hours a week. True, some of them are making incredible money. But at what cost? I can truly say that I didn't get into this business so I could live, breathe, and eat real estate. Sure, I have a passionate interest in it, but I also wanted to provide myself with an income that allowed me to take time for my personal life.
This incredibly valuable time that I spend with my family, children, and pets makes me a better businessperson. My head is clear, my body is energized, and I'm ready to take on business tasks when I'm refreshed and rested.
Unfortunately, I'm seeing more and more agents neglect the personal side of being a real estate agent. I know it's not easy. With cell phones, e-mail, and text messages, we are inundated with communications nowadays. The office travels with us in our pocket or purse.
You may say, "But Denise, how in the world do I make fantastic money without working 80 hours a week and being on-call 24/7?"
That's the magic word. When you learn to leverage your time, you get more of a life. Ultimately, having more of a life will give you the energy to bring you more income.
For most agents, it's hard to believe. But I assure you that it's absolutely true.
Let's talk about some ways we can use leverage in our real estate businesses:
Technology is a double-edged sword. While supposedly it was intended to make life easier, it often creates more work than we used to have. You absolutely need to hire people to take care of technology for you. You are not a website designer. (Even if you have been one in the past, don't consider yourself one anymore. Focus on real estate.) Hire somebody to design your website for you.
And you'd better have somebody on-call to help you when everything crashes. Which it WILL, I promise you. You may think you're saving money by not paying a technical team to be on stand-by for you, but are you prepared for the cost when your entire business comes to a screeching halt because of a computer meltdown? It's much cheaper to be prepared.
I cannot say enough about the value of having technical support. I sleep very well at night because I know I have the best people making sure it's all up and running smoothly. That's their job. They don't worry about teaching classes. They leave that to me. I don't worry about whether or not I have the latest virus protection software. I leave that to them.
And even though I sometimes complain about too much technology it also can help us a lot. My point about technology is that people often get hooked on new gadgets just because they're new gadgets (like the current iPhone craze) when they're not necessarily freeing up more time for you. But there's a lot of technology that absolutely helps us. We live in an incredible time and we should take full advantage of it.
For example, you would receive a lot less calls from angry sellers if you gave them a weekly Marketing Activity Report. By creating a simple document in Excel, you can rattle one off for them every week in seconds. Don't know how to use Excel? You'd better learn. Same goes for Word and Publisher. These are essential tools to master for any business.
Another way to leverage your time is to hire a professional to do your mailings for you. Are you still licking stamps and bringing stacks of envelopes to the post office? Stop right now. That's valuable time that you can spend with clients. There are thousands of cost-effective mailing companies who do nothing but send out mailers for businesses. Take advantage of them. For those of you who say you enjoy it, give me a break! You're wasting time.
The next way to leverage your time is Automation. If you do not have your follow-up to your clients automated and ready to go, then you're operating under a system of sporadic unreliability. If so, you'd better take the time now to develop a system. Trust me, it's time well spent. Having systems in place puts your business on autopilot. This is a key factor to my own success, and one of the main principles I teach in all my programs.
Are you still designing your own flyers? Again, you may enjoy it. But ask yourself, "Is this really a productive way to spend my time?" No, it isn't. You're much better off to hand that to a professional as well.
What about accounting? For goodness sake, I still know agents who are doing their own accounting and bookkeeping! Do you know how much easier it is to pay someone to come in and handle all your bookkeeping? Even once a month! Why agents are still sorting out their own invoices, receipts, and bills is beyond me.
6. General office duties.
One of the best ways to leverage your time is to hire a personal assistant. Most agents shy away from this idea because of the training aspect. They don't really know what that person should be doing because they have a hard enough time managing themselves.
But if that assistant arrived fully-trained, it would be a much easier concept. There are trained professionals all over the place. You just need to look around a bit, and you'll find qualified professionals who know exactly how to step right into your office and immediately start helping you.
You may think that you'll never find anyone who doesn't want to work just the hours you need. Do you know how many people there are out there that would love to work just 10 or 15 hours a week? Tons!
You could even split an assistant with other agents. The assistant could be working full-time for four of you, only 10 hours each. This is Math 101. Someone else handling all your routine business tasks will provide you the leverage you need.
Micro-task. Leverage. It's all the same. Pinpoint focus on what you do best, and hire out the rest.
I talk more about automation and how to leverage your time in my CD programs The 36-Point System and The Complete New Agent Training Program. I even supply you with all the forms and templates you need to start automating everything tomorrow morning.Have any questions? Just drop me an email at email@example.com or call my office at (360) 527-8904. I'll be happy to address any issues you have about leveraging your time and putting your business on autopilot-while increasing your income.