AR MOMENTS -"Let me count the ways" ... #1 Meeting ARers
NOTE: For the latest contest, AR Staff asked members to "write a blog post about [our] experience being a member of ActiveRain. [They] don't care what [we] write about, it just has to be about [our] experience being a member of this community. ... There is something about this place that you don't find too many other places online. It's hard to put your finger on it."
Four months ago I didn't know what ActiveRain.com was. I didn't like the current market rhythms and the frenzy to grab clients. I didn't like the lack of courtesy I ran into on all sides - houses left open by listing agents and lies in the listing comments discovered at previews. I could see some of it was from being TOO BUSY to breathe but it still was uncomfortable. I didn't have an interesting web presence. Sure, I had a LISTINGBOOK site that connected to my local MLS. Now I know that I wasn't using the ListingBook features to their full extent either.
In December 2010, I went to speak to two mentors in Atlanta. Their advice was to start "tooting my own horn". I didn't feel comfortable about that technique.
I knew what I was good at and wished I had more clients to serve. I am good at matching people to homes. What does the family need? (We call everything here "Atlanta" but from one neighborhood to another - it could be like going from Shelton to Greenwich in Connecticut or from Lynn to Newton in Massachusetts. Lately the unincorporated land in counties around Atlanta has incorporated into cities to avoid - well, that's another blog about taxation and return of taxation in county services.)
In January 2011, still musing over the advice I had received from those two successful people who had known me for ten or fifteen years, I decided to stick ONE TOE into the AR waters. I signed up for a $2 introductory special for two months. In a very short time, I knew I had made the right choice. By the beginning of March, when my two months ended, I happily signed up for one year in advance!
At first , I used the SEARCH to pick in around the edges. Not ready to make any commitment, didn't even have a personal picture to post. Within two weeks, I enrolled in the classes at ActiveRain University. Free webinars offered daily got me started on the technology and strategy of blogging. I wrote a couple of drafts and then got stuck in perfectionism. Posted nothing!
Reading other members' blogs encouraged me to reach out and behave differently. OK - so I was encouraged but still not acting differently.
I had to be in Chicago, decided to take a chance, and am I ever glad I did! I drove out to Schaumburg (30 minutes from where I was staying) and met Lyn Sims at the Einstein Bagel shop. We went through that moment when looking for someone unknown - and then we got started chatting - yes, the old meaning of "chatting" - actually seeing the other person!
I asked her about 3,000,000 questions and she generously answered. We discussed a wide range of things from having assistants to market changes to ActiveRain which brought us together in the first place.
When we said goodbye, she added these GOLDEN WORDS OF ADVICE.
"Just push the button. Post what you have written. I spent too much time worrying about the blogs. It was nine months before I posted the first one. HIT THE POST BLOG BUTTON! Don't wait around."
The next AR meet-up was in the Washington, DC area. I enjoyed Elizabeth Byrne's writing and asked her if we could meet for coffee one morning in her town of Arlington. While Lyn Sims is a long time AR member, Elizabeth and I joined around the same time. We enjoyed our breakfast at Cassatt's and have kept in touch on AR after that. I admire her and hope we will continue to keep in touch with each other.
Those "in person" meetings encouraged me to "meet" others online. Gary Coles wrote that he liked something I had written in a comment. He said I had provided him with a "FIRST" - the first time he had subscribed to a blog BEFORE any were even posted.
Between Lyn Sims' "Hit the POST button." and Gary's kind subscription, the pressure to post was building. My daughter, Rachel, who lives near Boston asked me to write to my Georgia US Senators on an issue that concerned her. I wrote to one senator and then the proverbial lightbulb came on!
WHY NOT JUST USE THAT SUBJECT AS MY FIRST BLOG TOPIC?
Steven, instructor for the ActiveRainUniversity classes, repeatedly stressed that a blog is useful as an answer to Clients' questions. Answer with a blog, he would say, then folks would seek your information and your time will be better spent. That way - you answer once and it reaches more people. So - I did. Topic turned out to be a bit controversial and got LOTS of varied comments. Topic and response got me "featured" - or was it thanks to Gary's recommendation?
WHAT IS SPECIAL ABOUT THIS PLACE we call ActiveRain? The people are what is so special - without a doubt. The people and the knowledge they willingly share. AR blogs are a virtual encyclopedia of Real Estate issues and opinions. As William Johnson said in a telephone conversation about San Diego, "AR is like a Real Estate Graduate School."
There you have it - the first part of my participation in the contest --"How do I love thee, Let me count the ways."
#1 - Meeting other member of ActiveRain
Have a happy day,
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