"I made my first million dollars in real estate."

Real Estate Agent

"...I'm making a switch from a market research sales career into real estate and I'd really love any advice you have to offer as to how you've been so successful..."

The answer that immediately comes to mind is simple: Just keep pushing forward.  I remember the period of time from when I was 18 until I was about 25 that everything seemed so hard.  I worked too many hours, and there were many times that I felt like giving up and getting a salary-type job. During those times, I had two silly things I would do to help provide the extra motivation necessary to allow me to push through:

1. I would repeat this mantra in my head, over and over, "I made my first million dollars in real estate."  (Crazy, I know.) I don't know exactly what it meant because at the time I was broke and hadn't yet made much money in real estate, but somehow it worked for me.

2. I would visualize myself pushing a train up a hill. Of course the train represented my business endeavours. I would always gauge how tough business was by how heavy that train felt.  Doing this gave me comfort because I knew that all of that work would pay off when the train reached the top of the hill and I was able to ride off the momentum for the rest of my life.

Sure enough, after a long while, it started to feel like the incline was getting less steep, and eventually, I had the sense that I was at the top of the hill; now, it seems I am at the stage in my career where my focus is on increasing the momentum of the train. Once you have some momentum at your back business gets much easier!

Real estate sales and business are still very hard. It has also been my experience that everything I attempted to do in business is always 300% harder than I thought it would be when I began.

To sum it all up: work harder than everyone else, don't be afraid to make a lot of mistakes, and be open to learning from every experience you put your back into and every experienced person who shares their own struggles with the weight of success.


Comments (58)

Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

What you visualize will manifest itself, or so they say.  Congrats on the "30 under 30" spotlight.

Jun 19, 2008 08:20 AM
COMPASS - Palm Springs, CA
COMPASS Palm Springs - Broker Associate

Excellent post - I like what you said about working harder ... but I also like to work smarter!

Jun 19, 2008 08:41 AM
Connie Harvey
Pilkerton Realtors - Brentwood, TN
Realtor - Nashville TN Real Estate

Hard work is so underrated. I find it humorous that anyone thinks that they'll get into Realestate and automatically make a lot of money. It's taken me YEARS to get where I am.

Jun 19, 2008 09:02 AM
Liz Carter
Liz Carter & Team Realty-Your Real Estate Resource For Life! - Katy, TX
Broker/Owner of Liz Carter & Team Realty, Katy TX (Houston)

Hi Jon...

Good to see you on the rain more :).  Mindset, visualization & affirming what you want cannot be emphasized enough...they work, and I like you am living proof also.

My first really "think big" goal was to make a MILLION dollars in one year.  I wrote myself a check for One Million dollars, dated it for 12-31-1998 (this was in June of 98), and put it in my wallet so I touched it, saw it daily. I put copies of it around my home, office, and car.  I started adding that to my morning affirmations...I was totally focused on it.  On Dec. 30th of that year I had not made it, my income was short 250K, but that was OK, I keep my focus.  The next year still short but closed.  The next year, 2000 I was only short by 90K.  I kept my focus and my check and my affirmations going.  In 2001 I hit my goal with an income of $1,028,111smile, and kept going!  I'm glad to see it worked for you, and it will work for ANYONE if they continue with it, don't give up, stay strong, and keep working hard.  Also I learned not to set my goals based just on what someone Else's were.  It is such a personal thing, and you must set goals that YOU truly want in business and your personal life too.

Congratulations on your successful real estate career and Active Rain.  You created a great thing for a lot of people and I'm sure it's rewarding for you personally as well as financially.

Hope to meet you one of these days...Liz

Jun 19, 2008 11:53 AM
Ann Casey
John L Scott - Bothell, WA

Thank you for sharing your struggle to the top. I am fortunate to have the so many people around to remind me of what the other side of the hill looks like as I begin my climb.

(Does that mean I'm looking forward to being over the hill?)

Jun 19, 2008 01:09 PM
Wayne B. Pruner
Oregon First - Tigard, OR
Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI

That is good advise Johnathan. Thanks for helping many others reach their potential.

Jun 19, 2008 04:30 PM
Andy Laughlin
ConnectRealty.com - Bellingham, WA

Thank you for sharing. I'm 19 and just got my real-estate license, so I will keep this in mind!!!

Thanks again!!

Jun 19, 2008 04:37 PM
Rob Wesler
Harborview Financial Partners, LLC - Land O Lakes, FL

harder or smarter?

Jun 19, 2008 04:43 PM
Esko Kiuru
Bethesda, MD


Just keep pushing forward, that is a very simple piece of advice but also very powerful. Despite the challenges the real estate and mortgage professions do continuously present, just keep going. Listen, learn, find solutions to problems, don't give up. Good stuff.

Jun 19, 2008 05:22 PM
James Simmons
RE/MAX Greater Princeton - West Windsor, NJ

Great motivating post! Just what I needed before bed. Sets the mind right for sleep so I can hit the ground running first thing in the morning!

Jun 19, 2008 05:41 PM
Michael "Mike" Miller
My service will move you! Help me, help you!

Jonathan, wonderful advice to be sharing with fellow real estate agents.  I, too, have had similar feelings during my career.

Jun 20, 2008 04:39 AM
Benjamin Clark
Homebuyer Representation, Inc. - Salt Lake City, UT
Buyer's Agent - Certified Negotiation Expert

I like how you say "my first million dollars"... The first million is always the hardest, isn't it?

Jun 21, 2008 05:52 AM
Gerhard Ade
eXp Realty - Seattle, WA
What sets me apart, will set you apart.

"...asking me how to acheive success..." Well, accurate spelling isn't necessary, that's for sure.

Jun 21, 2008 08:09 PM
Jon Washburn
Seattle, WA

:) Thanks Gerhard!! Noted and corrected.

Jun 22, 2008 05:29 AM
Aida Pinto
Independent Real Estate Broker - Los Angeles, CA
Real Estate Broker (562) 884-6196

"To sum it all up: work harder than everyone else, don't be afraid to make a lot of mistakes, and be open to learning from every experience you put your back into and every experienced person who shares their own struggles with the weight of success."

Can I quote you on this--that's a great thougt!!---thanks for sharing!

P.s. the thingy that I can insert my pic is back but now I can find my pictures---thumbs up!!

p.s.s. I am a cavewoman when it comes to computers and stuff like that.

p.s.s.s.  No spell chcek sorry for any missspellesd  :-)!


Jun 22, 2008 09:44 AM
Li Read, RE/MAX Salt Spring, B.C., Canada

Everything always looks easier from the outside looking in!     Excellent post, and your final thought is a winner.     appreciated!



Li Read, RE/MAX Salt Spring, B.C., Canada

Jun 22, 2008 12:50 PM
Andy Laughlin
ConnectRealty.com - Bellingham, WA

Great Post, I love your attitude!! Thanks for sharing and good luck in the future!

Aug 12, 2008 07:16 PM
Desislava Dimitrova
Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Shore - Egg Harbor Township, NJ

Thank you for sharing this great story of your life and success! You would think the day is over, reading this makes it much longer! 

Thank you!

Apr 06, 2011 03:00 PM
Allen 2222
Austin, TX

An oldie but a goodie. It is way too eacy to stall out. When that happens, poco a poco, se va lejos - little by little one goes far. Soon, the steps get easier.

May 10, 2011 07:26 AM
Derek Raynor
(KW LF) Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Hollywood Hills, Pasadena - Los Feliz, CA

What a great post that rings so true. RE is so much harder than I had ever envisioned but as long as you still love it then I think it is totally worth it. 

May 20, 2011 03:06 PM