AR-y AR-y How did your Challenge grow?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty - Love our Great City - Love our Clients! Buckhead - Midtown - Westside

AR-y AR-y How did your Challenge grow?

Multi-color Flowers in Cancun Atlanta Metro ODAT Realty CDPE Advanced Buy Lease Sell Buckhead Atlanta GA

Responding to a Fellow 'Rainer who wrote to me about the 2012 Back2Basics Challenge

Thanks for your kind words about the work load for running the 2012 Back2Basics Challenge.  Going it "alone" was my choice as I wanted to learn how to manage all the aspects of a good Challenge.  

Another goal of mine was wanting to be sure that the Challenge tasks offered actual work benefits for participants. Happy to say - I succeeded in that respect.  Many folks made comments similar to yours: "A good lesson, valuable learning, and hopefully others will benefit. I know I did!!"  "Great challenge. Thanks again for all your time and effort in doing this for everyone. I just wanted to let you know it is appreciated." "It was a terrific contest, mostly because of YOU staying on top of things and your encouragement." "This challenge challenged me to perceive challenges differently. As silly as it sounds, that alone provided the most value for me." "Thanks for encouraging me to participate. Great learning."And more comments, I am proud to say ...

Along the way, Suzanne McLaughlin helped me out with two participants who couldn't keep up but had made valiant effort. She coached them through.  Gary Coles was right there with an offer of help at any time I needed it. Many others offered encouragement.

AR Water Drop Atlanta Metro ODAT Realty CDPE Advanced Buy Lease Sell Buckhead Atlanta GAYes, it was a ton of work.  Learning how to do good Challenge was my personal Challenge! This time really taught me things for next time!  Such as:

1. Assume that most folks won't read the instructions. Most of the Tally Sheets I sent back were due to not reading the instructions.  About 25% sent only 18 posts - no "freebies" as you called them. I sent them back for them to try again. All but two sent them back with the missing links filled in. Another 25% had individual questions requiring individual responses. Great way to get to know some other members.

2. Use my own CRM program to communicate with the group. Twice I used the AR group email feature to send emails to the entire group only to find out later that the AR feature didn't work!!!!  One was to inform everyone that due to technical difficulties at AR, the Challenge deadline was extended.  Oh well, ...

I had to do something because I wasn't about to write separately to 100+ people!! Not all that CAPTCHA stuff for that many people!! I won't say how many years I had been dithering about trying to decide on a CRM program.  When the AR group contact feature didn't work - I was down to two CRM choices.  I decided to try the free weeks at ixactContact.

Support there is really great. They even loaded all my contacts for me.  Imagine - IxactContact analyzes the delivery so I knew who had not received the email and why!  I fell in love with the multitude of features at ixactContact.  I am really happy to be affiliated with ixactContact and actually posted about it.  

3. Be prepared for someone to cheat. Only one this time. Still it surprised me as I "know" the person via online contact.  Perhaps the person didn't think I was actually going to check? Maybe it was not cheating at all - just lack of understanding the guidelines.

4.  State in the guidelines that you may not delegate the participation to an assistant. I found out that some people had their staff do part of the work.  That was disappointing to me.  Of course, they missed the learning, didn't they? However, since it wasn't stated in the Challenge Guidelines, I wasn't able to do anything about it this time.  

We are going to do a 2013 Back2Basics next January. The Weltanschaaung and Community Guidelines will be included again. Other sections will address the things members found problematic in the 2012 Challenge, such as providing live links and using Google documents. The rest will be a surprise!  And for the 2013 - don't worry - I will be sure to mention that doing one's own contributions is a requirement for the Challenge.

5. Be prepared for real-life taking participants away. Let's see - during the Challenge these are some of the things that happened causing folks to partially finish only- 
***Parent with heart attack
***Spouse needing Chemo
***Heart health issues requiring hospitalization
***Father dying in another country
***Serious medical problems/surgery (3 different people)
***Moving to care for an ill parent
***AND THE BEST REASON -- Business picked up and no time!!!

6. POINTS - I asked Kerrie about points. She said the "moderator" of the Challenge could do as the "moderator" wanted to do. That was me in this case.  So I gave folks a second chance. Then I set up a sliding scale for points so that everyone could be honored for his/her contribution at the level finished.  3000 - All requirements met  
2750 - Technical errors
2500 - Needed extra help
2000 - 18-21 posts only
1500 -  11-17 posts
1000 -  6-10 posts
500  -   3-5 posts
300  -   1 or 2 posts

7.  I loved doing this Challenge. In addition to learning from the sections of the Challenge, I learned about mass mailing, about the importance of clear communications and best of all, how many ActiveRain members are truly amazing. 

Of course, next time I will know how to make my part less demanding as this time I developed my systems.  Hopefully, next time I will finish the scoring more quickly too!

Thanks again for participating and see you in the 'Rain!
Have a happy day - 

AR Water Drop Atlanta Metro ODAT Realty CDPE Advanced Buy Lease Sell Buckhead Atlanta GAAs for the 2012 Back2Basics Challenge, I hope I didn't miss anyone who sent in the Tally Sheet. If I did miss you, sorry for that. No disrespect intended for your efforts and please resend - OK? :-)

Comments (16)

Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude


You did an outstanding job on this challenge, as did the participants. What an amazing learning experience! Thank you!


Mar 03, 2012 01:38 PM
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Lynn, that was a great challenge - and I look forward to 2013 challenge with better luck. Thanks for being so nice...

Mar 03, 2012 03:21 PM
Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366
Dry Rot and Water Damage Mobile - 916-765-5366 - Placerville, CA
General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage

I'm with Jeff on this one, it was a challenge for everyone.

I learned a lot from participating, thanks for all you time in bringing it to completion Lynn.

Mar 03, 2012 05:26 PM
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

We all learned a lot from the challenge.  Maybe next time it's a bit less prone for error/confusion.  Maybe people can just post the links on a separate post.  Also, that is so sad about someone cheating.  How does someone cheat (aside from maybe copying others)?  if that's the case, that is so sad.

BTW, I sent mine in a while back...I never got the doc you sent, but I did my own version which had all the categories.  Let me know if there is an issue.  I'm hoping not, esp because I'm crazy busy right now.


Mar 03, 2012 06:08 PM
Janis Borgueta
Newburgh, NY
Retired RE Salesperson

Lynn~ I am honored that my photo graced your post this morning! Thanks!!

It appears that this challenge has taught so many of us a good deal of lessons on so many things. I can only imagine how much work was involved in what you needed to do once we wrote all those blogs!  Wow... already planning for next year! Well I guess i have no choice but to schedule that in on my calendar now! Thanks for all your hard work and efforts here. Your contribution on all of this continues to make the AR community an amazing place to be!

Mar 03, 2012 08:22 PM
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

I learned from the challenge. Thanks for your hard work. I appreciateed your help with the docs. I was just thinking of the contest this morning and wondered about the points.

Mar 03, 2012 09:27 PM
Captain Wayne - Rowlett Real Estate School
Rowlett Real Estate School - Panama City, FL
Rowlett Real Estate School / Owner and Instructor

Thank you Lynn for all your hard work and dedication to AR.  I'm happy we had this chance to meet.  I thought you did a really good job with the contest.  I for one appreciate you very much!

Captain Wayne

Mar 03, 2012 09:41 PM
Suzanne McLaughlin
Sabinske & Associates, Inc. (Albertville, St. Michael) - Saint Michael, MN
Sabinske & Associates, Realtor

Thanks for the shout-out, Lynn.  It was certainly my pleasure to assist anyone who needed a little extra help, and, of course, I also learned in the process.  Thank you for giving me that opportunity! 

And, as you always say, Have a happy day!

Mar 03, 2012 11:02 PM
Dick Greenberg
New Paradigm Partners LLC - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate

Hi Lynn - Nice wrap-up and great advice for anyone contemplating undertaking such a formidable task  - you came up with a great challenge, with valuable benefits to the participants, and did a great job managing it. Thanks for the experience.

Mar 04, 2012 01:48 AM
Lynn B. Friedman CRS Atlanta, GA 404-939-2727
Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty - Love our Great City - Love our Clients! Buckhead - Midtown - Westside - Atlanta, GA
Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers

Dear Fellow 'Rainers -

I am so grateful for your kind comments. The BEST part is that so many of the participants were already strong bloggers on AR (and elsewhere!) and still learned new ways to do the most important thing - SAVE TIME!

Learning was my underlying goal for the Challenge - to share skills for techniques that would make our work be better as well as less time-comsuming and to allow more time for ourselves and our families!

It seems that no matter how much money I can make I cannot add exrtra hours to my day! DARN! The skill set in this 2012 Back2Basics Challenge does free up the time needed for each task, does make my interaction with Clients more professional and - most important to me - gives me more time for myself and my family.

Have a happy day -

Mar 04, 2012 05:15 AM
Cal Yoder
Keller Williams Elite - Lititz, PA
Homes For Sale in Lancaster PA - 717.413.0744

Lynn, again thanks for your hard work. I really enjoyed it. I have hit a very busy patch and have actually missed a couple of days of commenting and the second week in a row I did not meet my blogging goals.


Mar 04, 2012 12:11 PM
Kathy Clulow
Uxbridge, ON
Trusted For Experience - Respected For Results

Lynn - you undertook an amazing amount of work that benefited others in more than points ..... congratulations for making it through while still taking care of your own business

Mar 04, 2012 12:29 PM
Ron Marshall
Marshall Enterprises - Saint Michael, MN
Birdhouse Builder Extraordinaire

I am disappointed.  I thought if I completed the requirements I would be awarded the points.  I didn't realize this was a "sliding scale" contest. 

I guess I won't be doing any more "challenges" for quite a while.  This seemed unfair to me.

Mar 05, 2012 11:22 AM
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

Lynn, an outstanding job my friend. We all learned something, but I think you learned more than the rest of us :)

Mar 05, 2012 11:57 AM
Jerry Newman
Brown Realty, 210-789-4216, - San Antonio, TX
Texas REALTOR, San Antonio Military Relocation

Hi Lynn. Got my 3000 points awarded today. It was a great, but hard challenge. I learned a lot and had to push myself to get it all done. It was worth the effort. You did an OUTSTANDING Job getting this all together, and reading through all the requirements. Looking forward to next year.

Thanks to you, Kerrie, the staff, and all your moderators.

Mar 05, 2012 02:27 PM
Gail Robinson
William Raveis Real Estate - Southport, CT
CRS, GRI, e-PRO Fairfield County, CT

Lynn - You were the most gracious contest holder on AR I've ever dealt with.  You really did take this as an opportunity to meet other AR members.  I came away learning a lot, but also filled with admiration for your kindness, communication skills, and capacity for hard work.  You are an amazing lady!

Mar 05, 2012 11:03 PM