Be honest with yourself.

Real Estate Agent with HomeSmart Realty West CalBRE #01458572

Soothing color of purpleThere is an ActiveRain member, Lisa Stafford of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, who is in a situation that happens way too often to the self-employed, especially those in service industries, and this post was inspired by her post. I'd also like to thank Al and Peggy Cunningham for pointing me in Lisa's direction. When you finish here, stop by and give Lisa some encouragement and then stop by Al and Peggy and thank them for caring.

If you're feeling overwhelmed by all the new technology and social networking sites, or you don't think you're accomplishing enough each day, or your family and friends seem to take up a lot of your time, or, or, or.....

Do this:

Sit down and decide where you want to be five years from now. It won't be easy, but it can be done. It might take some real introspective vision and honesty with yourself, but you can do it.

After you've done that, figure out what you need to do to get where you want to be in five years. Again it won't be easy. In fact, I can honestly tell you that it's difficult.

Once you know where you want to be in five years, break that down into periods of 12 months. What do you need to do each year to get where you want to be in five years?

Now break down each year into periods of months. What do you need to do each month to get where you want to be at the end of year one, year two, year three, year four, and year five?

Now break the year down into periods of weeks. 52 weeks. What do you need to do each week to get where you want to be at the end of the month, two months, three months?

Now break down the week into periods of days. As a self-employed real estate professional, I can guarantee you that you will have very little success if you just want to work 40 hours a week. No great professional in any industry works only 40 hours a week. If you want to work 40 hours a week, you are in the wrong profession. You are in a job and simply haven't found your career yet. That's okay as long as you realize it and keep searching for your career. This is where a career counselor can help.

I like to treat each day like any other day. That way I can start a new business, a new career, a new month, a new year, a new anything on any day. After all, why should you be restricted to a calendar system that was invented by some yo-yo 500 years ago. Create your own calendar and get started today!

I usually work about 16 hours a day, but the word work might not be a good word to use because I consider work to be something that I generally don't enjoy doing. It's work to change the oil in my car or rotate the tires, so I let the car shop do that. It's work to file my income taxes, so I let my CPA do that. It's not work for me to help other people get their businesses up and running. That's my career.

If you have health concerns, financial concerns, parents, a son, your religion, etc., you have to plan time for that and for them. For the self-employed, it's important to schedule time for them, to plan for them. Otherwise you wind up thinking that you are not giving them enough of your time, and that affects your career.

I would suggest working a minimum of 60 hours a week. You can do that by working 10 hours a day for 6 days a week, or 8¼ hours a day for 7 days a week. I don't think you'll be able to be successful in real estate without that type of commitment.

Once you determine what you need to do each day, break it down into hours. If you need to get your son off to school, schedule your time to do that. If you want to sit down each day and visit with God, schedule your time to do that. S/He'll appreciate knowing exactly when you're going to stop by.

Schedule everything. Sure, occasionally the unexpected will happen, but it's much easier to catch up when you only have to work a couple of extra hours on any specific day rather than waiting until the year is gone, only to realize that you didn't accomplish what you needed to accomplish. How are you going to catch up then?

Once you have things broken down into hours, work those hours persistently and consistently. If you'll honestly do that -- you should track everything you do -- you'll find that the days, weeks, months, years, and five-year plan will fall naturally into place. You might fall short, but it won't be by much.

It does take honesty with yourself, though, in determining if real estate is your career or a job. Honesty in working persistently and consistently, even when things are gloomy. If real estate is really your career, and you work persistently and consistently, and honestly, you'll find that the gloomy days are actually few and far between. 

Be honest with yourself.


Re-Blogged 1 time:

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  1. Gerry Michaels 03/20/2010 04:57 AM
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Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
"Franklin MA Homes"

Russel....I've been doing this job for 32 years and I think you are absolutely correct about the time devoted to the business during your first 10+ years....from that point forth, working smarter will decrease your hours and increase your income....we need to define WORKING....the definition varies from person to person and that's a problem.....this comment could go on forever, so I'll end it here...thanks, Russel.

Mar 20, 2010 12:41 AM #6
Dorie Dillard
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good morning Russel,

Thanks for the great many should read and they might realize they are not in a profession they love and are willing to "do the time" to be successful. I'm going to check out Lisa and Al and Peggy.

Mar 20, 2010 01:09 AM #7
Al & Peggy Cunningham, Brokers
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage - Brampton, ON
Our Family Wants To Help Your Family!

Great success chart Russel. As Karen Anne said, you helped more than just Lisa here. We have been working in this business for many years now.  The one thing we never have done is set a 5 year plan. Oh ya, we talk about where we want to be in 5 years, but we know that is not the same. Think we will try making a 5 year chart! 

BTW looooove that picture of the ducks, so colourful/colorful! Wonder what kind they are. 

Is that string you are playing with Zoey actually dental floss...?

Mar 20, 2010 01:10 AM #8
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Russel, This was a well thought out post with some amazing ideas to really think about.  It's something I wish I'd had 5 or 10 years ago but my thoughts now turn to slowing down and enjoying life....less work and more play which I have sacrificed for.   It does make me re-evaluate, though, and that is priceless!

Mar 20, 2010 01:18 AM #9
Brian Madigan
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto) - Toronto, ON
LL.B., Broker


You have provided a very important methodology for approaching this matter and turning it around. This strategy works, it's just a qusetion of actually putting it into play.


Mar 20, 2010 02:41 AM #10
Russel Ray, San Diego Business & Marketing Consultant & Photographer
Russel Ray - San Diego State University, CA

Hey, Sally and David - And then there are the people like me who find ways to work smarter, wind up with extra time and boredom, so they go find more things to do. LOL

Hey, Roy - Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

Hey, Karen Anne - You getting exhausted is not unusual. That's why people don't finish the process of creating viable business and marketing plans. I learned many years ago not to try to define success for other people. The starving artist might consider success the sale of one picture each year.

Hey, Pam -As with work and success, balance is another word that probably needs to be defined for each person.

Hey, Barbara - I agree with you except when there are extenuating circumstances like there have been for the last two or three years. That's why so many people fail during times like these. They have forgotten what it took to get started, so they think they can survive doing what they've been doing and have no intention of getting started again even though times changed and that's what is required. I think it's part of their ego in that they feel like they already paid their dues and refuse to do it again. Well, sink or swim my wise old grandmother said. Some choose to sink, I choose to swim.

Hey, Dorie - Or do the time due to extenuating real estate and economic conditions.

Hey, Al and Peggy - That's a pair of Mandarin ducks. Ever since I found them at the Zoo last year, I've been noticing them in the wild everywhere. Probably has something to do with global warming. The string that Zoey the Cool Cat likes to play tug of war with is that stretchable string. I have no idea where it came from, but Zoey the Cool Cat comes walking into the office with it one day a couple of weeks ago, and the rest is history.

Hey, Carole - Less work and more play for you is how you define success. And that's okay!

Hey, Brian - Indeed it is. Do something! Anything! Get going!

Mar 20, 2010 02:47 AM #11
Susan Brown
Keller Williams NE, Kingwood Texas (Humble & Atascocita too) - Kingwood, TX

Russel, What a powerful statement "Be Honest with Yourself" is.  I see a lot of folks playing at being a realtor.  They have the cards & signs but aren't putting in the time.  Honest goal setting is difficult.  You are holding yourself accountable for the bottom line. 

Mar 20, 2010 04:37 AM #12
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

You sound like a Seth Godin Linchpin, and I have no doubt you are. You also have the courage to be who you are, and you have my complete support and admiration.

Mar 20, 2010 04:42 AM #13
Gerry Michaels
Glasswork Media Arts - Gettysburg, PA
GettysburgGerry Social Meida

Russel, this is super advice, and worthy of a reblog, a plan with a realistic goal attached is of utmost imprortance if one plans to succeed

Mar 20, 2010 04:56 AM #14
Mary Yonkers
Alan Kells School of Real Estate/Howard Hanna Real Estate - Erie, PA
Erie/PA Real Estate Instructor

Russel--I am so glad that you found Lisa's post and befriended her.  So many good tips here.

Mar 20, 2010 04:58 AM #16
Carra & Shae Riley
Brokers Guild Cherry Creek Ltd - Westminster, CO
Helping people Transition at all ages!

Russel...You have provided a thorough, understandale blueprint for goal setting.  Few in any of us just fall into success, we need to make a plan and work the plan for us to find success!  Great post!

cosmic cow

Mar 20, 2010 05:27 AM #17
Terry Chenier
Homelife Glenayre Realty - Mission, BC


It's a matter of deciding how much you want or need to earn and working it backwards.

Mar 20, 2010 05:27 AM #18
Guy Thomas
WR Starkey Mortgage - Colorado Springs, CO

Richard, I have felt the overwhelming sensations all to ofter with the changes gong on in the industry. I think you have taken a timeworn principle, that of goal setting, and put it into a very easy to follow, step by step format. I know we have all heard it before, but sometimes you go back to the old tried and true methods with amazing results. Thank you for your article, and pictures, as I intend to start this process this afternoon; to refocus on how to get through the next five years with the results I intend.

Mar 20, 2010 07:34 AM #19
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Perry Wellington Realty, Adam Conrad, Broker - Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

Russel, success can be obtained by anyone...if one sets goals and works hard.  Be honest with a great statement that should be asked when setting goals.  I saw Lisa's post a few days ago that Many Yonkers reblogged and asked members to go show support for here...I did.  I read your comments you provided Lisa...outstanding!!!

Mar 20, 2010 07:48 AM #20
Cheryl Ritchie
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Huntingtown, MD
Southern Maryland 301-980-7566

I like one day off a week which is Sunday but the last 8 months it has been reserved for a whirlwind crash course in social networking and blogging.

Mar 20, 2010 03:14 PM #21
Leslie Helm
Tennessee Recreational Properties - Jamestown, TN
Real Estate For Trail Riders

Hi, Russel. I'm surprised that this post wasn't featured! If I'd have seen it sooner, I would have flagged it!

This is such good advice and it's something we all should do. So many times, something seems overwhelming are absolutely right....breaking it down into segments makes each piece manageable.



Mar 21, 2010 03:54 AM #22
Lisa Stafford
Broken Arrow, Tulsa, McGraw Realtors - Broken Arrow, OK
Broken Arrow OK Homes For Sale

Russel, I just found this post!  I couldn't understand why people were saying Russel sent me over.  Another WOW moment. Now I know. 

When I joined AR in January, I wrote my first blog the first day.  And it was featured!  I've had 5 featured since Jan.  I just thought that was what writing was about.  I had no idea what was doing on and how much power, knowledge, experience and help I had gotten my hands on.  I do have a 1 year business plan.  Very detailed to the day.  But not to the hours and minutes of the day.  I'm a detailed person and get lost if I don't have that.  My plan is also straight from Buffini.  It's a good one, but that was before Active Rain.  I'm going to do as you've said in this post and start 5 years out and work backwards.  I also will add my personal time with God, exercise and my son and get a detailed day.  And most important add Active Rain.

And you pics are GREAT!  My son has a cat named: Zoey.


Mar 21, 2010 07:35 AM #23
Robert Vegas Bob Swetz
Realty ONE Group - Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Henderson Homes for Sale

Hello Russel and another great post and I have my thoughts and feelings on a huge step in my life but it hasn't totally come to me. Maybe my trip to South East Asia will complete my calling!

Vegas Bob

Mar 24, 2010 12:28 PM #24
Russel Ray, San Diego Business & Marketing Consultant & Photographer
Russel Ray - San Diego State University, CA

Hey, Folks.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

I have read all the comments, but since this post is rather old, rather than making comments here in my post to each and every one of you, I'll just let everyone know that I have read all the comments and if there are any questions, I'll answer those below. Otherwise I'll simply post this comment and then head over to your blogs soon to visit and do some reading and commenting. I hope you'll have a nice welcome mat out for me!

Don't forget to let your cat come out to play with all the other ActiveRain kitties. Your cat-friendly dogs can come, too!

If you need a great cat book, get yourself a copy of Peg Silloway's The Cat Lover's Book of Days.

Hope all is well with everyone.

Mar 27, 2010 03:33 PM #25
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Los Angeles CA

''Being entirely honest with oneself is  good exercise.''~ S. Freud.

Oct 18, 2015 07:33 PM #26
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