It Makes My Blood Boil!

Education & Training with AFH Seminars

Dad Gum It!  My blood boils when I see the views some agents have when it comes to taking time off from this business! 

Lynda Eisenmann wrote a nice post, "Are You Taking Four Months Off A Year?Lynda is right on target, and everyone should read her post.

Why am I upset?  When I read the comments, I found that there were many who gave different "reasons" for their inability to take any time off.  Too many replies fall into the camp that believes one cannot take time off, that one must sacrifice getting a "life" because of their job.  My CyberStars(r) have shown me over the years that this is just not the case.  Most lead full, rich lives that include frequent vacations to wonderful places, service to their community, both quality and quantity time with their family and more. 

Why do too many agents think they must always be working?  Why do too many agents work seven days a week?  Why do too many agents take too few (or no) vacations?  I think there are several main reasons:

  • They are stuck in old ways of thinking, passed on to them by brokers and managers.  There indeed was a time when we had to work too many hours and too many days in order to earn a good living.  The world has changed!  We no longer have to work such long hours.  We have the Internet and a number of tools and systems specifically designed to save us time, save us money and make us money.
  •  They are unwilling to let go of their egos.  I mean by this is that they are too familiar with the phrase, "No one can do it like I can." This is nothing short of egotism.  Why do real estate agents think that they have to personally handle every aspect of the job?  The CEO of Coca Cola does not stock the shelves at Safeway!  He or she hires people to do “non CEO” tasks.
  • They do not associate with and learn from top agents who do use various resources to reduce their work load while increasing their income.
  • They have not invested in the tools and systems that enable them to make the same income in 2/3 of the time.  I see this all the time at my seminars.  All attendees see how top agents use today’s tools and systems that make them more money, save them more money and give them more time for life.  Very few attendees wind up purchasing these tools and systems for their own use.

Here are just three ways to increase ones income while taking nicer (and more frequent) vacations.

  • Get a Virtual Assistant and turn over 80% of your routine tasks to him or her.  For a list of what a VA can do for you, see my previous post on the subject or visit Kim Hughes’s Web site.  The main reason most agents do not have a VA was mentioned above: ego.  They are right when they say, “No one can (fill in the blank) like I can,” but they are right for the wrong reasons: someone can do most of what you do better than you can!  At least my VA can.  She (Kim Hughes of Kim Hughes & Company, Mineola, TX) does all the “little things” that I used to do...or avoided doing or “did not have time for”...better than I can!  My job: writing books, writing courses and teaching agents around the country.  Her job: running my company.

    If you think about it, you will realize that a good VA can do about 80% of what you do now.  Oh, I know….”Nobody can do it like you can!”  Folks who still believe that, who can’t let go of their ego in this regard deserve what they get: less money and too much time spent working. Case in point: one of my CyberStars(r) living in Atlanta has her VA in Texas do all of her CMA's.  Time saving?  You bet!

    And remember: you either have an assistant or you are one!
  • Start using tools and systems that allow you to get more done in less time while making more money!  I have written before on the top money making tools my CyberStars® use.  Here’s a brief recap:
  • A deep, consumer-oriented Web site
  • A real estate specific database such as TOP PRODUCER or Active Agent, whichever feels best to you
  • A notebook or tablet pc
  • virtual tours
  • A PDA (Personal Digital Assistant)
  • A blog & podcasts
  • Automatic prospecting & followup systems such as RealProSystems, Rainmaker E-Central and My Home Management Club

    I would bet dollars to donuts that most of those saying that Lynda’s post was unrealistic don’t use any of the above.  Agents have two choices: keep working too hard and keep complaining about it or solve your problem.  There is a solution, but you have to grab it.  To paraphrase the title of a great little book, "Shut Up And Live," by Marion P. Downs, shut up and do it!  Take the plunge.  Realize that times and technology have changed, drop the ego and invest in the tools and systems that make it happen.
  • Start building your team….today.  Several comments alluded to the fact that one had to spend time with buyers, to be at their beck and call.  El Toro Poo Poo!  Don’t want to spend time chauffeuring buyers?  Nothing wrong with that….just hire a buyer’s agent and learn how you can compensate him or her out of what they earn while keeping part of the commission for yourself.  Will your income go down?  Not if you hire the right buyer’s agent….it’ll go up!  How many of the award winners in your Association or franchise have buyer agents?  What do they know that you don’t?

I could go on, but this is long enough.  Besides, I’m calming down.  :-)

I hope some of my points will sink in with some ActiveRainers.  My main point is this: real estate should not be your life.  Today’s VA’s and the right tools and systems insure that you don’t have to be “on call” all the time or be at the beck and call of buyers and sellers.

The purpose of a job is to provide you with enough income to enjoy life.  I am in San Diego now for my granddaughter’s birthday.  Miss Ellie and I will go to France in April for 12 days.  Why?  Because I got a good Virtual Assistant years ago, one who runs my company well and can run it well when I’m on vacation.

It’s a beautiful day here in San Diego….hope it’s a wonderful day wherever you are, too!



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Allen F. Hainge
AFH Seminars - Reston, VA

Debbie wrote:

"I have appointments in my calendar that are for me, my husband, children, etc.  Those appointments or scheduled time are just as, or more important, than my meetings with clients & customers."

You go, girl!  This is the real secret: putting you first. I wish everyone would do what you do, i.e., schedule your activities first.  This includes scheduling family time and time for you.  Spa visits during stressful periods are essential! The Salmon Derby is even more essential!  :-)

I remember the seminar in Juneau, Debbie, and my visit to the glacier at the end of town! 

It's a great day here on the lake in Reston...hope it's a nice day there in Juneau (one of my favorite cities!), too, Debbie!

Mar 25, 2007 12:25 PM #61
Ronda Myers-Waters
Willems Realtors, Principal Broker - Chesterton, IN
Great Post.  As a new agent I don't want to get burned out by not taking time off.  I also don't want my clients to think that I'm neglicting them either.  Thanks for the great tips.  I am going to take a look at your website also.
Mar 25, 2007 12:34 PM #62
Dana Hollish Hill
Hollish Hill Group, Keller William Capital Properties - Bethesda, MD
Lead Associate Broker
Great email. I have young children and spend many weekends without seeing them much at all. I tell my clients at my first meeting that I make mayself available on weekends, but that I take Wednesdays off. Of course, if there is something urgent I have back-up, but telling people about my time off ahead of time has worked. They are very respectful of my time.
Mar 25, 2007 04:55 PM #63
Hanna Laurence

Very good! Too many realtors in our area are always on Vacation. Too many Realtors in our area do not work on the weekends or evenings. Yes that's correct! No weekend and no evenings.  They are lazy and need to find a career where it invloves them first, that is where their minds are now! It ashame! I worked for a Realtor office in my early twenties and decided then I was not going to work on the weekends or the evenings, I was to selfish and wanted that time for family and "ME" not clients (and the fact that the women always fought over the damn floor time and incoming calls). That is also when I learned what a cat fight was! At least I have integrity then, and now in my early 40's and still feel the same nopt to get into the business. Realtors: It is customary to work on the weekends and the evenings, if you cannot, then get out of the biz!!!

Middletown CA 


Mar 26, 2007 04:47 AM #64
Cory & Tracy Frantzick
RE/MAX Associates Plus - North Branch, MN
You nailed it right on the head!  Right before I read your Blog, I booked a surprise vacation for my wife and I!  Life is GOOD!
Mar 26, 2007 08:04 AM #65
Kathy Sperl-Bell
Active Adults Realty - Lewes, DE
OK, so how do you go about finding a truly good VA. I just visited several sites and in each case found that there were dead links on their sites or that their Contact Us forms didn't work. What is a reliable source of qualified Real Estate VAs?
Mar 26, 2007 10:47 AM #66
Nancy Ruben
An Assistant On Call - North Augusta, SC

Hi Kathy,

Have you checked out the virtuals that are on Active Rain?  There are some of the best on here. For the most part, we seem to stay pretty up to date and current.

I sure hope the the dead links and broken contact us forms didn't belong to one of us!

Hope this helps.


Mar 26, 2007 11:03 AM #67
Matt Pendleton
Realty ONE Group - Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Real Estate
Great point.  We can't be good parents, spouses, or even REALTORS if we're too stressed out.  Buyers/sellers need REALTORS not martyrs.
Mar 26, 2007 11:15 AM #68
ARDELL DellaLoggia
Better Properties Seattle - Kirkland, WA
You've earned the right.  Enjoy.
Mar 27, 2007 11:05 AM #69
Mary Buchner
Realty USA - Amherst/Clarence - Buffalo, NY
Amherst NY Real Estate, Relocation and Buffalo Homes for sale
Oh I have NO PROBLEM taking vacation time off, but doesn't it seem like everyone wants you a week before you go????
Mar 27, 2007 12:59 PM #70
Mark Bolender
RE/MAX Powerhouse - Los Angeles, CA
Thank you for that article.  I took off from November 1, 2006  through February 24th 2007 which is about 4 months off.  I had a virtual assistant, and a buyer's agent who kept an eye on things.  Sure, I had to jump in a few times and sign something with my tablet, but all in all I got really rested and did as many sales as I did in much busier years.  The 4 month vacation taught me to delegate, use PDF files, use Bonage, and to stay calmer as getting testy at an assistant when you're 3000 miles away does not get the job done.  Yes, I still worked a little bit during my 4 months off but I rested, learned and finally accomplished the feat of taking 4 months off.  No one besides my assistants even knew I was gone.
Mar 27, 2007 01:03 PM #71
Allen F. Hainge
AFH Seminars - Reston, VA

For Mark:

You go, Guy!  You comment is an excellent example of how one can run a business while still having a life...with the aid of today's technology!  Well stated, and I'm pleased to see your comments, my friend!

It's a great day here on the lake in Reston...and I hope it's a great day there in Valencia, too, my friend! 

Mar 28, 2007 09:09 AM #72
Bob Carney
Taylor-Made Deep Creek Vacations & Sales - Mc Henry, MD
Licensed MD/PA Real Estate Agent

Plain and simple... the work still goes on when your dead.  Someone else will pick up the slack... let go and give out the responsibility to someone you trust and take off some time to recharge yourself... You can't afford not too!

Great Post!!!

Mar 28, 2007 11:29 AM #73
Clareathia West
Office Essentials REPA - Pahokee, FL

Allen, you are a man after my own heart.  Enjoying life is a part of my existence.  I understand the need to succeed and want to be successful as much as the next person.  However, life is too short not to take some 'Me Time' at least once a month.  I take the 2 - 1/2 hour drive at least once a month to visit my grand daughters (and their parents).  I don't think about work, bills, or anything else that would mar my time with my babies.

Mar 29, 2007 05:37 AM #74
Randy Powell
The Powell Team - Kannapolis, NC
Broker - Concord & Kannapolis NC

I'm glad to see you're so passionate about how many hours I work! Thanks for the tips....

Mar 29, 2007 07:54 AM #75
Allen F. Hainge
AFH Seminars - Reston, VA

Clarethia West wrote: "I take the 2 - 1/2 hour drive at least once a month to visit my grand daughters (and their parents).  I don't think about work, bills, or anything else that would mar my time with my babies."

Drive time is one of my favorite "time outs."  For years, I taught in the West Virginia GRI program, and I always drove rather than flew, even when it was a 6 hour drive.  Just me, my thoughts, the beautiful West Virginia country side and XM radio or NPR on the FM....relaxing!

As far as spending time with the grand daughter, nothing better!  I just got back from 5 days in San Diego (flew, didn't drive that one!), saw her in a play, celebrated her birthday with her, met her friends, saw her school, etc.  What a blessing!

Keep it up, Clareathia...and enjoy!

It's a beautiful day here on Lake Anne in Reston...hope it's a great day wherever you are, too!

Mar 29, 2007 09:42 AM #76
Robin Cutler and Kay Pearson, Clarkston, Michigan Real Estate
Real Estate One - Clarkston, MI
Allen,  Your post makes me want to go book my airline tickets to Florida.  My motto is work hard to play hard.  I am finding that I may need to ammend the saying back to work smart while keeping up with all the technology that can save us time and enhance our services.  Thanks for the thoughts
Mar 29, 2007 11:07 AM #77
Courtney Fontenot
Alpha Prosperity Management - Missouri City, TX
NAR Certified REPA, REW

As a Professional Virtual Assistant, I would like to remind those Agents out there that subscribe to the "No one can do it as well as I can," frame of thought; Where would your business be if home buyers and home sellers believed that they could purchase a home or sell a home without the expertise of a real estate professional???

Virtual Assistants work with you to help make your business a success, thereby making their business a success.  It's a win-win for everyone.

Mar 29, 2007 11:45 AM #78
Lynda Eisenmann
Preferred Home Brokers - Brea, CA
Broker-Owner,CRS,CDPE,GRI,SRES, Brea,CA, Orange Co

Hi Allen,

Thanks so very much for the wonderful mention and the link.  I couldn't agree with you more!  I too have learned much from you and others regarding the use of technology.  And reading Paul Silvers comment gave me even more of a moment to pause.

THANKS again.

BTW, two of the agents in my office are two of your Cyberstars. I sat in one of your sessions (for the first time) at NAR in New Orleans, possibly about 10 years ago.



Apr 03, 2007 09:26 AM #79
Clareathia West
Office Essentials REPA - Pahokee, FL

Hey Allen and everyone else:

I just ran acrowss this great article in the Florida Realtor Magazine about "Getting a Handle on Stress" and immediately thought about this post. 



Apr 30, 2007 01:46 PM #80
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