"Balance is not something you find. It is something you create."
In response to the ActiveRain Contest Challenge, we've been asked to share our thoughts and experiences on the following questions:
Question: What do you wish you had known the very first year you were in the business that cost you lost business or income?
Answer: When I first got into real estate, I joined a major franchise thinking it would give me the training and support needed. It didn't happen. As crazy as this sounds, I wasn't even taught to open escrow after I wrote up a contract. I didn't learn that until a week before the scheduled closing on my first sale! What an absolute embarrassment. Thank GOD the Title Company saved by a$$. Besides that major oversight in training, I also wish I'd been taught how to keep and tap my Sphere of Influence and utilize a Contact Management System. In spite of that, I was doing well at generating new business but wasn't doing a good job of keeping in touch with past clients. I was too busy trying to get new business. It took me too long to figure out that past clients are a valuable source of new business. It all comes down to choosing the right agency that offers training, support and on-going mentorship. Many Designated Brokers say they do, but they don't. In those days there weren't the proliferation of training options like today. I had to figure it out myself. I ended up going out on my own and did WAY better than when I was with the various franchises throughout my career.
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Question: Was there ever a time you questioned whether you had made the right choice of being a real estate agent? What events caused you to stick with it and succeed?
Answer: I can't say there were ever times when I questioned whether real estate was right but I did get seriously burned out on at least two occasions. I had to back off a bit and catch my breath. It had more to do with the other demands in my life than the actual business. I wish I had been better at designating tasks, so I could save energy and focus on what made me money instead of trying to do everything perfectly myself. I'm a bit of a perfectionist and that was a problem. I did hire two assistants, and that helped me refocus and manage my personal and professional life in a more balanced way.
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Question: What are 3 things you have learned along the way that have positively affected you and helped improve your real estate business?
1) I learned that I couldn't count on the commission until the money is in the bank. Shit happens. Closings get delayed. Sales flip. And, on the same subject, I learned to save money for the "dry" spells. Closings don't come on tidy schedules that coincide with when bills are due. You can have several closings within a short period and feel rich, but you'd better be saving some of that money for the dry spells. You never know where (or when) that next sale is coming from.
2) I learned to blog and link it to my website. Blogging had the most significant impact on my business than anything. I mean ANYTHING. I blogged every single day, and prospects found me. When it came to real estate in my market area, I was considered the local authority because I was the most prolific writer about local real estate and events. Literally, 75% of my new business was generated as a result of my blog and website, which were linked together.
3) I learned that I had to create balance between my work and personal life. This goes back to question #2. My husband was retired for the last 16 years of his life and I figured out how to run my business AND travel with him too. It was all about having the proper tech tools and good back-up back at the office. I was able to keep my business running smoothly, spend time with my husband AND keep my energy level up by working and playing in new and interesting environments.
Now, I'm retired from active real estate sales and welcome the opportunity to offer my insights to others trying to figure out this crazy business. It's the best of both worlds for me.