Being an Agent: Plan Ahead, Understand Your Job

Real Estate Broker/Owner with DRA Homes | Cobb County Real Estate GA BrokersLicense# 277342

I entered real estate in 2003...I completed my licensing course and passed my state exam with flying colors. I securely tucked 25 hours of a post-licensing course with a "major" brokerage under my MONEY BELT and I was ready to start making millions.

I did okay. Not great but the bills were paid, the cupboards were stocked and I floated along. In 2007-2008 we all drifted into the depths of despair...scrambled to learn how to deal with short sales & foreclosures, got suckered by endless "investors"...In 2010, I GOT OUT!

I took 4 years out of real estate, by that I mean I had a full-time job and dabbled in real estate when I needed to for friends and family. 

I'll be the first to admit that I missed it. Well, not exactly the "it" that I had pre-2007 but the "it" that I had imagined that real estate should be.

I've had 15 years to FIGURE IT OUT.

I've had 15 years to THINK ABOUT IT.

I've had 15 years to LEARN ABOUT IT.

I'm going to take 15 MINUTES to try to cut the learning curve.

What do you wish you had known the very first year you were in the business that cost you lost business or income? 

making a checklist with a pink highlighter

1. Have reserves in the bank to carry you through your first full year in real estate. Not only do you need funds to live on, you need funds available to INVEST in your business.

Here are just a few of the "extra" expenses you may need to cover:

brokerage office fees
mls membership fees
E&O insurance
association/board dues
marketing material (printing, business cards, yard signs, lockboxes, postage)
self-employment tax (yep, go ahead and set aside 30% of each commission check for Ol' Uncle Sam)

Speaking of investing in your business, whether you work for a mom & pop shop or one of the big boys, you need to OWN your own website, email address & CRM.

Yes, it's nice to send people to your website but remember that whatever happens stays there should you ever jump ship.


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?

I think I've answered this question in the intro but OH HELL YES I have questioned my choice over and over again throughout my real estate career. The joy that I find in helping people find their dream home and the joy that I find in my own life from charting my own course is what has kept me engaged in the business. Even though sometimes I had to distance myself from the heartbreak.

What are 3 things you have learned along the way that have positively affected you and helped you improve your real estate business?

grouping of clocks faces

  • You will spend 80-90% of your time PROSPECTING for new business. You need to learn how to operate online on various platforms from web development & SEO to social media OR pay someone to do it for you. There are no shortcuts. 
  • You are RUNNING A BUSINESS. Act like it. Track expenses, hold aside the appropriate taxes and file quarterly returns. Do it yourself or pay someone to do it for you. There are no shortcuts.
  • YOU ARE IMPORTANT. Be there for yourself and your family. Set aside time for what is truly important EVERY DAY. Don't take for granted that there will be time to "do it later". There are no shortcuts.

I would never discourage anyone from joining the real estate business. It's a great opportunity to stretch your legs and your brain to grow your entrepreneurial spirit.

Posted by

55+ Realty Advisor Logo 

Jenna Dixon
Associate Broker

55+ Realty Advisor | Accredited Buyer Representative |
Certified Skilled Negotiator

DRA Homes Real Estate

Direct: (770) 374-4230

DRA Homes Real Estate
An Affiliate of Maximum One Realty Greater Atlanta
5041 Dallas Highway, Suite 700, Powder Springs, GA 30127
Office Phone: 770-919-8825 ext. 318





Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Will Hamm 02/18/2018 08:41 AM
Real Estate Best Practices
Active Rain Newbies
Be The Best In Your Field
ActiveRain Challenges
new real estate agents
running a real estate business

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Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hello and a excellent post here in the rain and one that newbies need to see.  Can I reblog it in a couple of weeks?


Jan 31, 2018 07:51 AM #1
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

I think real estate schools completely forget to tell those new agents that they have to prospect. Nobody is going to hand them business on a silver platter.

Jan 31, 2018 09:48 AM #2
Lynn B. Friedman
Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty Call/Text 404-939-2727 Buckhead - Midtown - Westside -- and more ... - Atlanta, GA
Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers

Jenna Dixon 
So glad you shared these ideas with new agents. You certainly hit the nail on the head a few times for me!! All the best - Lynn

Jan 31, 2018 01:21 PM #3
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

When I do my staging, I have to do it in the proposal for each client uniquely suited to them, and I find that works best for staging with Feng Shui.

Jan 31, 2018 01:54 PM #4
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Lynn B. Friedman People starting out usually have to learn how to walk before they can run with their business goals, ya know? This is pretty vital stuff she put down here.

Jan 31, 2018 01:55 PM #5
Tim Maitski
Atlanta Communities Real Estate Brokerage - Atlanta, GA
Truth, Excellence and a Good Deal

I'm always looking for shortcuts.  I've always said, laziness is the mother of invention.  For example, even though I hate GAMLS, I use their Transaction Desk system for my contracts because it allows me a nice shortcut.  It allows me to create a template that allows me to pre-populate much of the contract so it's really easy to create an offer in half the time it took me in the rDocs of FMLS.

Jan 31, 2018 02:56 PM #6
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

Love, love, love this post, Jenna! We are SO glad you're the business AND the Rain! 

As for the advice - awesome! I think a lot of people think flying by the seat of your pants and not prospecting, planning or budgeting is likely the cause for so much failure in our business. Plain and simply, they don't operate like this is a business and when they don't, failure is sure to follow!

Absolutely great seeing you in Atlanta Saturday! I'm so glad to finally put a face with the blogs! (Not to mention, I've heard so much about you from Tammy Lankford, too!)

Jan 31, 2018 03:00 PM #7
Alan May
Jameson Sotheby's International Realty - Evanston, IL
Helping you find your way home.

Jenna, Jenna, Jenna... where ya been, girl?

Jan 31, 2018 03:16 PM #8
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Good to see you back!  Saw that you'd been at the AR meetup in ATL, so not totally surprised to see you back here :)

Jan 31, 2018 04:46 PM #9
Dörte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Jenna,

Smart advice.

Jan 31, 2018 06:51 PM #10
Corey Martin
Martin Presence Group - Ruston, LA
Real Estate and Management Solutions

Great advice. This isn't an easy business to be in. It takes hard work and ambition. Thank you for sharing!

Jan 31, 2018 07:23 PM #11
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

That really is what it boils down to - "there are no shortcuts". Unlike on TV, this isn't a career choice where we run around on beautiful days showing three houses to each client, writing up an offer, and zipping over to the closing table.

Thanks for your post!

Feb 01, 2018 03:35 AM #12
John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Thanks for sharing.

I think we can not say it enough: "You Run a Business". That encompasses all the aspects of being self employed. It takes education, finances and management skills.

Feb 01, 2018 03:20 PM #13
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good evening Jenna Dixon,

Congratulations on the featured post and so glad to see you back posting. You are right..there are no shortcuts!

Feb 01, 2018 03:55 PM #14
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

This woman has a solid testimony...

Feb 02, 2018 06:27 AM #15
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

Congrats on your success and sharing your advice with the rest of us!

Feb 03, 2018 09:12 AM #16
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Jenna

Congrats on the feature first of all, and second I'm glad to hear you are back. You've offered some pretty sage advice and honesty and anyone reading it, especially someone starting out new, will appreciate and learn from it.


Feb 04, 2018 08:46 PM #17
Krista Jenkins, REALTOR®
klm Real Estate - Lubbock, TX
Residential sales and retail & office leasing

I appreciate your candor and your honesty about leaving the full time real estate business for a period of time. All too often we hear the succes stories or the "I sold 35 homes, it was a slow year". Those numbers don't jive with national averages, so it can be perplexing, at least to me. Unfortunately, I think there are a lot of "puffers" out there.

Jan 08, 2020 06:42 AM #18
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Jenna Dixon

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