I have a day job. I have a nights, weekend, lunch time, breaks and vacation time job too. Actually I'd prefer you consider me a dual career person before you try and slap a "part time agent" label on me and spike my blood pressure.
How did this happen? I'm an engineer so you can bet sales isn't my first inclination!
My entry to real estate is pretty simple actually. Liz got her license in 2002, she started as part of a team but the team leader was (insert phrase about if you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all), so it was time to start out on her own and she knew she needed some help. Bodyguard on showings, a math guy for pricing, you see where this is going right? So in 2004 it was hire help or "Bill get your license". Done deal, here I am.
So what did I do wrong the first year? Depending on your outlook, maybe nothing and maybe a lot. I was a secret agent at my engineering job. I'd watched enough layoffs happen that there was no way I was making it clear to management that I now had a plan B if the axeman wanted to claim my job. It was the right call for that time in my life, even if it did cost me potential real estate business.
Now it's going on 14 years later and real estate is a much bigger part of my life than it was in 2004. Some of my business does come from coworkers, but the bulk still comes from blogging and website work.
Have I ever really seriously thought about quitting real estate? Of course I've had days that I'm just exhausted and would love to go back to a single set workday, but I'm a pragmatist. The best way to achieve our goals is to keep to the dual life grind until I reach a comfortable number in the bank that allows me to say "no mas". But that time isn't yet, and the longer I'm in the business, the more I see the years of past work pay off. More business from past blogging, fewer surprises in the business, and a lot easier to pick up on the red flags prospects give off.
So 3 key lessons learned?
1. Don't quit the day job. Maybe never as in my case. Real estate is tough and it's WAY more expensive than the real estate schools will ever begin to let you know. And if you're tight on money you'll take on "clients" that you should have never touched if you weren't desperate. Once you've confirmed you actually LOVE real estate and have a sizable chunk of change put aside to cover your living and business expenses, THEN consider if you want to go full time or continue to live a dual career life like I do.
2. Don't sell yourself short. Don't apologize for being new or having another job. I put my cards out on the table from the start with my clients about my engineering work. And if you work it right, the agent on the other side of the transaction will NOT even realize you have another job unless you tell them. Challenge yourself to learn quickly and KEEP learning. It's a changing business, so tapping into a community like ActiveRain will shorten your learning curve by YEARS.
3. Find a specialty. Mine is patio homes and low maintenance living. Being a jack of all trades would make me just one of 6000 agents in my area. Knowing patio homes inside and out makes me THE agent for those that search patio homes online. I AM found. Find a niche that will let you be THE AGENT, and then do the web work and marketing to get that information out there, but make sure you keep it about the consumer and what's in it for them.
It's your decision, one career or two, and the only limits are those you put on yourself. A good year I'll sell 25+ homes. A "bad" year I'll sell ONLY a dozen.
Bill the engineer/real estate agent