You may think that the only careers that require courage are those in which you risk your life. You know, things like fire-fighting, painting the Golden Gate Bridge, facing down armed criminals, or becoming a member of our armed forces.
But the truth is, a successful career in real estate also requires a hefty measure of courage.
It begins with the courage to leave a weekly paycheck behind. Those dangerous jobs at least do come with a paycheck. But when you turn to real estate as a career, you have no such safety net. It's pretty scary to know that even if things go well, you're not likely to have any income for at least 2 or 3 months.
Next is the courage to invest in your future, even before you've earned a dime. Thousands invest heavily in a college education, but they're looking forward to a day when they'll have a guaranteed steady income.
When you embark on a real estate career, you can't look forward to any such guarantee. In fact, it's the same as opening any new business - there is no guarantee of success and no steady paycheck in your future.
You must be fearless!
Properly beginning a real estate career requires the same fearless attitude as starting a new restaurant or a new retail store. You have to invest the money and the time before you can expect to get something back out. (Fortunately, real estate requires a much smaller investment.)
Those who succeed in real estate are likely to be those who jump right in and invest in basic equipment for a home office; a website and URL of their own; professional copywriting to fill that site with client-attracting content; appropriate software or services for lead gathering, contact management, and follow-up; copywriting, printing, and postage for prospecting; and perhaps even a more appropriate wardrobe.
Can you do it without the financial investment?
You can't do it without any financial investment, but yes - you can do it with a small financial investment as long as you're willing to invest heavily with time and persistence.
See my e-book: 107 Ways to Build Your Real Estate Career on a Tiny Budget.
The next bit of courage is more personal. It's the courage to admit that you are in
sales – and to tell everyone you know about your new career.
This has to be done carefully and presented as a benefit to them. You don't want to come off as a beggar, hoping they'll throw business your way. Instead, you have to position yourself as a resource they can use any time they have a question about real estate – and you have to mean it.
The courage to do the job you've trained for is much the same in real estate as any other career, except that you're starting out with less education than that required for entry into most other professions.
For instance: A little research told me that in addition to the exam, those who want to obtain a real estate license in Idaho need a total of 90 class hours. Those who aspire to become a Certified Public Accountant need a Bachelor's Degree plus 30 additional credit hours, for 150 total. (How many class hours does it take per credit hour? Quite a few.)
You have to have confidence in yourself and faith that you have studied well and can do what's expected of you, while remembering that in order to really succeed, you'll need to keep right on learning more.
Since real estate is not the least bit predictable and no two transactions are exactly alike, you'll have to have the courage to ask for help and guidance when you need it. You can't be afraid to go to your broker, a seasoned agent you trust, a title officer, an attorney, or a lender and ask the questions.
Self-promotion takes a whole lot of courage.
It takes courage for an agent to blog if writing isn't his or her "thing."
It takes even more courage to write something that says "I'm the agent you need." At least half of the agents who call on me to write their agent bios say they can write about everything else, but when it comes to talking about themselves and the benefits they offer to clients, they simply can't do it.
I do it for them – but they still need the courage to publish that promotion on their website, social media sites, etc.
It even takes courage to mail prospecting letters to strangers, knowing that some will be annoyed by what they see as an intrusion. And what about door knocking and cold calling? Who is afraid of being yelled at or having a door slammed in their face? (Most people perhaps?)
Next comes the courage to do what was the most difficult for me as an agent: The courage to tell people the tough facts that they really need to hear.
- The courage to tell a listing client that they HAVE to clean the house, get rid of the junk, empty the cat box, etc.
- The courage to say "No, your run down dump is NOT worth what the perfectly maintained home down the street sold for." (Not in those words, of course!)
- The courage to say "You're not helping when you follow potential buyers around the house. You really do need to leave during showings."
- The courage to tell a buyer that they MUST get pre-approved before you'll show them seventeen homes.
Sometimes you even need the courage to cut a client loose.
When you realize that the seller will never cooperate with getting the house ready, that the buyer will never meet with a lender and get pre-approved, that the seller will never agree to a realistic price, or that the buyer really only enjoys looking at real estate, it's time to stop wasting your time. It takes courage to end the relationship when you've already invested hours, but sometimes it must be done.
Later, you need the courage to stand up for your client in negotiations and to push and prod when things aren't being done on time.
Finally, at the end of a successful transaction, it takes courage to ask for the testimonials that will help you build your business.
The bottom line…Real estate is not for wimps.