Time and Money
Forgive me, I am feeling a little spicy today so this article is a little more blunt and to the point than usual! I have talked with a lot of stressed out agents this week who are doing too much themselves and not taking advantage of opportunities to leverage their time. If that sounds like you, this article is dedicated to you and your business!
AGENT: "Denise, can you help me make more money?"
MY RESPONSE: "Yes! But the first step is to help you make more time. You need that time to provide amazing service and the money will come!"
AGENT: "But I'm willing to work hard to make money! I don't have time!"
MY RESPONSE: "Then you'll burn yourself out and won't be effective. Without quality of life—meaning the time to enjoy life away from your business—then you'll be a slave to your business. It's much better to have your business work for you, rather than the other way around."
You shouldn't be worried about making more money. You should be worried about making more time. Because time is how you make money.
Often when I meet with agents—both brand-new and 20-year veterans—I notice that there's something missing: Quality of life.
They don't have enough time to do it all. They work 40, 50, even up to 80 hours a week. True, some of them are making incredible money. But at what cost? I can truly say that I didn't get into this business so I could live, breathe, and eat real estate. Sure, I have a passionate interest in it, but I also wanted to provide myself with an income that allowed me to take time for my personal life.
This incredibly valuable time that I spend with my family, kids, and dogs makes me a better businessperson. My head is clear, my body is energized, and I'm ready to take on business tasks when I'm refreshed and rested.
Unfortunately, I'm seeing more and more agents neglect the personal side of being a real estate agent. I know it's not easy. With cell phones, e-mail, and texts, we are inundated with communications nowadays. The office travels with us in our pocket or purse.
You may say, "But Denise, how in the world do I make fantastic money without working 80 hours a week and being on-call 24/7?"
That's the magic word. When you learn to leverage your time, you get more of a life. Ultimately, having more of a life will give you the energy to bring you more income.For most agents, it's hard to believe. But I assure you that it's absolutely true.
Let's talk about some ways we can use leverage in our real estate businesses:
Technology is a double-edged sword. While supposedly it was intended to make life easier, it often creates more work than we used to have. You absolutely need to hire people to take care of technology for you. You are not a website designer. (Even if you have been one in the past, don't consider yourself one anymore. Focus on real estate.) Hire somebody to design your website for you.
And you'd better have somebody on-call to help you when everything crashes. Which it WILL, I promise you. You may think you're saving money by not paying a technical team to be on stand-by for you, but are you prepared for the cost when your entire business comes to a screeching halt because of a computer meltdown? It's much cheaper to be prepared.
I cannot say enough about the value of having technical support. I sleep very well at night because I know I have the best people making sure it's all up and running smoothly. That's their job. They don't worry about teaching classes. They leave that to me. I don't worry about whether or not I have the latest virus protection software. I leave that to them.
And even though I sometimes complain about too much technology it also can help us a lot. My point about technology is that people often get hooked on new gadgets just because they're new gadgets (iPhones anyone?) when they're not necessarily freeing up more time for you. But there's a lot of technology that absolutely helps us. We live in an incredible time and we should take full advantage of it.
For example, you would receive a lot less calls from angry sellers if you gave them a weekly Marketing Activity Report. By creating a simple document in Excel or Word, you can rattle one off for them every week in seconds. Don't know how to use Excel? You'd better learn. Same goes for Word and Publisher. These are essential tools to master for any business and it doesn't have to be complicated!
Another way to leverage your time is to hire a professional to do your mailings for you. Are you still licking stamps and bringing stacks of envelopes to the post office? Stop right now. That's valuable time that you can spend with clients. There are thousands of cost-effective mailing companies who do nothing but send out mailers for businesses (hey, we can even help with that!). Take advantage of them. For those of you who say you enjoy it, give me a break! You're wasting time.
Are you still designing your own flyers? Again, you may enjoy it. But ask yourself, "Is this really a productive way to spend my time?" No, it isn't. You're much better off to hand that to a professional as well.
What about accounting? For goodness sake, I still know agents who are doing their own accounting and bookkeeping! Do you know how much easier it is to pay someone to come in and handle all your bookkeeping? Even once a month! Why agents are still sorting out their own invoices, receipts, and bills is beyond me.
One of the best ways to leverage your time is to hire a personal assistant. Most agents shy away from this idea because of the training aspect. They don't really know what that person should be doing because they have a hard enough time managing themselves.
But if that assistant arrived fully-trained, it would be a much easier concept. There are trained professionals all over the place. You just need to look around a bit, and you'll find qualified professionals who know exactly how to step right into your office and immediately start helping you. And even if some training is needed, then just take the time and do it already! Can you invest 15 hours to save yourself 200? Then do it!
You may think that you'll never find anyone who doesn't want to work just the hours you need. Do you know how many people there are out there that would love to work just 10 hours a week? Tons!
You could even split an assistant with other agents. The assistant could be working full-time for four of you, only ten hours each. This is Math 101. Someone else handling all your routine business tasks will provide you the leverage you need.
Micro-task. Leverage. It's all the same. Pinpoint focus on what you do best, and hire out the rest.
If you are ready to stop taking it all on and instead put the power of leverage to work for you, I have solutions. Give my office a call at 360-527-8904 or send an email to email@example.com to learn more.
By Denise Lones CSP, M.I.R.M., CDEI - The founding partner of The Lones Group, Denise Lones, brings nearly three decades of experience in the real estate industry. With agent/broker coaching, expertise in branding, lead generation, strategic marketing, business analysis, new home project planning, product development, Denise is nationally recognized as the source for all things real estate. With a passion for improvement, Denise has helped thousands of real estate agents, brokers, and managers build their business to unprecedented levels of success, while helping them maintain balance and quality of life.