I just realized that it actaully has been 11 years since I joined ActiveRain.
I started blogging on ActiveRain in June of 2007.
Sometimes it seems like just yesterday and other times it feels like long ago. I think the feeling of long ago comes from so many of my first peeps here in the Rain are no longer here. Time goes by so fast so the feeling of yesterday seems is quite commonplace these days.
I found ActiveRain in the beginning of June in 2007 and joined after lurking for a couple of weeks. I was doing SEO for our real estate company and in those years, forum commenting was a very good SEO technique.
I was in some real estate forums to get the link back to our crappy point 2 agent website back in the day from the forums. The people in one of the forums were very rude and mean. Yes, they were agents. Quite a rude bunch. I remember doing my forum tasks was one of the first things on my list each morning for SEO steps. I would tell myself, "don't pay attention to their rude remarks, you are only here for the link".
One day, I read a comment by someone who said that there was this website called ActiveRain that had a 'do follow' link to your website. The person was one of the mean ones and said something to the effect that AR members were idiots and did not know anything about SEO, etc. I thought they would not be as rude as that person!
I searched for and found ActiveRain. I noticed the board with featured posts. I read a few of them. Then I thought I would search for information about Hawaii since I lived in Hawaii for 5 years and wanted to see what was happening there. I found Sally Cheeseman's blog. I started to read her blog. And I started to read the comments on her blog posts. I noticed people were communicating in mostly a civil manner.
I decided to start my profile. After I entered my information I noticed right away I had been rewarded with points. I did another task and got more points! Hmmm, that is interesting! I thought --- because I reach for my goals when there is a carrot dangling in front of me! I was hooked!
Then I started to be competitive... I saw the leaders in Florida and figured I could climb the same ladder, and I did. Mostly though, I started my ActiveRain blog because:
1. I wanted the do follow link
2. I wanted to pay it forward and help other agents experience the success we have
3. I wanted to get listings
Many agents don't want to remember 2007. Here in our MLS in Palm Beach County more than 10,000 agents left the business. Our market had crashed. No one even know what a short sale was. There were no attorneys advertising for short sale negotiations, and no agent here wanted to touch a short sale.
I decided to blog about short sales; the negotiation process, the banks, the requirements, and how we can help. You see, Nestor's first real estate transaction after he got his license in 1995 was a short sale. I had been through another short sale recession here in Wellington in 1997. We knew how to do short sales. At that time for a good year or so after, I was the only one along with an agent on the west coast of Florida, Dan Forbes, who blogged about short sales. I remember getting comments from other agents who said they would never do a short sale.
The real estate bust happened in Florida first and overnight the home values dropped by 50%. In July we received our first listing referral from a mortgage broker on ActiveRain. In August we got a call from a homeowner who had to do a short sale.
We still have his testimonial! In September we received a lot of phone calls and we ended up listing about 21 properties that month. Investors started calling us because we knew how to get their short sales approved. We ended up being in the top 1% of top closers in our MLS. The next year, a repeat with getting at least 4 listings per week just from my blogging on ActiveRain.
I blogged about expired listings, short sales, SEO for agents... and so on... I was being featured on ActiveRain a lot. I was invited to be the keynote speaker at one of our ActiveRain Rainmaker live events. That was an amazing time in Atlantic City!
We hired one of our sons and one of our daughters to help process our short sale files.
I was able to then start coaching agents as they reached out to learn how they could do what we were doing. From there, I started to develop SEO courses with all my first customers being AR members! From there, I launched our SEO bootcamp, my Listing Experts Academy, my 30 Day SEO challenge, and now the proud owner of Get It Done For Me Virtual Services.
I have so much to be grateful to ActiveRain for. I joined ActiveRain during the second to worst recession in my memory. I was depressed because we lost a huge land development deal with a huge developer due to the fact they saw the writing on the wall and defaulted on a quarter million dollar deposit. I was not sure how to get the word about about short sales or if anyone would ever type short sale help into the google search engine. It was all a gamble. But we are not quitters. In recessions there are huge opportunities, we used our faith to believe we would find those opportunities and we did.
The support system from members in ActiveRain was just what the doctor ordered and then some. I wanted to help because I believe in the BNI motto: GIVERS GAIN.
There were no ActiveRain webinars in those days. There were no tutorials, videos, etc. To learn the ropes of AR you had to reach out to other bloggers and ask. There were no ActiveRain Ambassadors. We picked up the phone a lot in those early days. I reached out to many agents. We also had niche support systems within the support system. For instance, we homeschool. I soon discovered there were other members here who also homeschooled. We created an aliance and supported each other. It was great! None of those members blog on ActiveRain anymore. One of the humble brags I earned was to become the most subscribed to blogger on ActiveRain. I am still here after 11 years and ActiveRain continue to be a big part of my marketing and networking.