The Points of Pain

Are you a slave to your job?

 
Alarm Clock
Alarm Clock
 

Are you overworked and exhausted?

 
Exhaustion
Exhaustion
 

Do you just feel stuck?

 
Stuck
Stuck
 

Do you cringe at the costs you're paying for childcare while you're at work? Or are you intimidated by the prospect of returning to work and the associated childcare costs?

 
Childcare
Childcare
 

Does your debt keep piling-up with no end in sight?

 
Debt
Debt
 

I remember feeling all of those things.

My earning potential was limited and yet my debt was this massive obstacle staring  me in the face every moment of every day, and I had no hope of paying it off without a corresponding massive change in my income.

It was a vicious cycle. No matter how many extra shifts I took; no matter how many days I didn't spend one penny more than required to keep a roof over our heads and food in our stomachs; I couldn't get ahead.

It was demoralizing. And it was frustrating. Because I knew that I was smart; I knew that I was a hard-worker; and I was motivated to build a life I could be proud of. I just didn't know how to do it. That

stuck

feeling is horrible.

Work Smarter, Not Harder.

I realized I needed a career--not just a job. I searched online but every position that sounded perfect for me required the college degree that I didn't have. And here's the thing about college degrees--they aren't magic. You can feel stuck and broke, overworked and dissatisfied with a degree too. So degree or not, this applies to you.

What I wanted was to be a in position where there were no limitations. Where whether or not I succeeded and to what extent was totally up to me and how

hard

smart I was willing to work. Where the rules that had governed how I thought about work went out the window, and I could, for once in my life, take a chance on

ME

.

All that to say, I've been where you are. And I can show you the blueprint for how get from where you are to where you want to be. Wherever that is! Your real estate career may not look exactly like mine. That's okay. That's good, actually. You have probably spent many years structuring your job/career based on what someone else (your boss, maybe) wants or needs it to be. Or having a recruiter or interviewer decide whether you're qualified enough for the job you want.

That can stop now. Be your own boss. Own your own business. And reach your potential.

We should meet! Email or call me to set up a time to chat.

Making Money in Maui

 
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"I do it! I do it!" Do you remember when your kids were at this stage of life? Or maybe they are right now... Anyway, I remember my daughter, Bella, saying, "Bella do it. Bella do it. Bella do it," a lot when she was little. That first flash of independence--of wanting to do everything and wanting to do it now--can be such a moment of bittersweet pride for a parent. But that "I can do it all myself," instinct can be destructive as we transition into our professional lives, especially for us business-owners, can't it?

One of the blessings that being a Realtor has given to me is the freedom and flexibility I've needed as a mom. In fact, one of the reasons I chose this career specifically was because I knew I could structure my day in such a way that I could work while my kids were in school and then be at home when they were.

The reality of this business though is that it can take over your world 24/7 if you let it. It will take up the space it's given, which is why we have to be so careful about setting boundaries where and when we can.

You may be asking whether setting boundaries on your business is also limiting what you can achieve. And the answer is that yes, it probably would, but for leverage.

Many agents function in real estate solo. They've structured their business in such a way that if they themselves are not actively doing something, money is not being made. This is just as limiting as setting boundaries, if you think about it. There's only so much one person can do with the hours in a day. And there's only so much you can do before you burnout.

The shift comes when we embrace the idea of hiring people and establishing systems that allow you to leverage other means of productivity to run your business. In a practical sense, leverage means you could be on the beach in Maui while still making money for your business at home.

Do I have your attention now?

Thought so :-)

When we shift from I do it, to we do it to THEY do it, then you know you've arrived. I took a 2-week honeymoon last year. Two weeks of almost no wi-fi or cell reception and my team had sold 4 homes by the time I got back. It's so important to surround yourself with trustworthy individuals who can cover you when you need it, and systems that would allow anyone to come in and keep things thriving, regardless of your presence.

Here are examples of how to leverage your time and effort, taken from specific things I did in almost exactly the order in which I did them.

Pay for transaction coordination as-needed. Once a sale was under contract, I turned the paperwork over to people in my office who would act as a transaction coordinator for a fee. That freed me up to generate leads and meet with prospective clients.

Hire a part-time (or full-time), licensed executive assistant. Give anything that doesn't require your active involvement to someone else. Scheduling, maintaining your website, ordering office supplies, dealing with vendors, marketing tasks, etc. can all go to a skilled and trained assistant. They can get you involved in a task when you're needed.

Take advantage of automated systems. Keller Williams has tons of systems in place for agents to use, including email campaigns. I enroll everyone in my sphere of influence into one campaign or another. The campaign sends out regular communication to my contacts and reminds me of important follow-up activities. My team and I also create systems, customized to our business. We make everything as simple as we can and follow the procedures we establish. We have procedures for responding to client leads, for developing CMA's, for hosting open houses--you name it, we've probably got a system for it.

Hire other team members as dictated by your business. This may mean brokers, listing coordinators or contractors to help on specific projects that you don't have the expertise to complete efficiently. It doesn't help my business if I spend 100 hours designing a website, when a professional would have done it in 10. Those 100 hours are hours I'm not meeting new business leads, so it's not the highest and best use of my time. Speaking of which...

Find your highest and best use. This will be different for everyone, but for me, my highest and best use is generating client leads. Almost everything else can be delegated to someone else on my team.

 
iPhone Laptop
iPhone Laptop
 

Maybe you're a mom like I was, looking for extra income. Or maybe you're not a parent, but are ready for a career change and love the idea of having your own business. Real estate could be the answer! Contact me and let's chat. I'm happy to share my experience with you.

Considerations for Part-Time Agents

 
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For a while now, I've wanted to write a post about the topic of being a part-time real estate agent. But it's a bit tricky to strike the right tone, so it's taken me a while to organize my thoughts and get them in writing. On that note, a quick disclaimer before we get started. It is possible to be a great real estate agent even if you aren't devoting 100% of your work life to it. (I started out part-time myself.) So, by no means do I want anyone to interpret this post as a criticism of part-time agents. In fact, part of this post is about how to effectively serve your clients and make a living when real estate isn't getting 100% of your professional attention.

But it is also important for new agents to know some of the disadvantages to pursuing real estate as a side business or a part-time venture, and to have a plan for addressing those potential challenges. So that's what this post is about.

Let's start with what I mean when I say "part-time." Unlike other jobs where part-time is defined by the number of hours you work per week, in real estate I think of part-time in terms of the professional attention and energy you're devoting to it.  If real estate isn't your sole professional obligation--if it's not the sole way you generate your income--then I consider you part-time for the purposes of this discussion.

 
Time for Change
Time for Change
 

There are many moving pieces when it comes to the laws, rules and forms that govern what we do, and they are often changing. This is one of the challenges to being part-time. We have monthly trainings for agents at our office about all of that, because it's so important. Attending trainings and getting lots of repetitions completing transactions, and their accompanying paperwork, is crucial to serving clients well and feeling confident as an agent. If you're working another full-time or part-time job, it can be difficult (and sometimes impossible) to attend those trainings, get that daily practice and stay on top of industry news and laws. And the financial/business consequences for missing something or making a mistake because there was a bit of information you didn't know, can be serious.

The more transactions you close, the better you get at negotiations. This is a really critical point. The skill of negotiating and communicating on behalf of your clients is one you get better at the more you do it. It's like a muscle that gets stronger with practice. I pay attention to things that the agents I'm negotiating with do and say. The things that are really smart and effective, I remember and use myself the next time I'm in a similar situation. The things they do that are ineffective, I make note never to do. You can learn so much by observing agents on the other side of the table from you. Learn from their successes and mistakes.

 
Ask
Ask
 

You might be wondering what to do if being a part-time agent is the best fit for your life right now. As I said, I started out as a part-time agent, and I want to leave you with some advice if that's the road you need to, or want to, take yourself. There are two ways to structure a part-time real estate career that I think are really solid approaches.

Join or build a team. On a team you'd have someone to serve as your transaction coordinator. This person would manage the extensive paperwork process involved in the buying or selling of a property and provide you with accounting and administrative support. Someone else might host showings for your clients, or conduct the initial meeting with new listing clients for you. At Keller Williams you can do this by paying these support positions on an as-needed basis. Transaction coordinators are paid per transaction completed and other admin support is paid on an hourly basis. So, if you're devoting 50% of your energy to real estate, in this scenario you're hiring out the other 50%.

Build a career on referrals. I think I mentioned this in the post about ways to structure a real estate career, but this also applies if you want real estate to be a part-time or side venture. Get your license but don't fully activate it. At Keller Williams, if you refer a client to another agent within the company you will receive a percentage of the commission on whatever transaction comes as a result of that referral. You don't actually show any homes, represent any buyers or negotiate any transactions in this career model. This works really well for some people.

These are probably not the only ways to structure a successful part-time real estate business, but they are my favorites. If you're a part-time agent who's had success using another model, feel free to post about your experience in the Comments section. And as always, please ask any questions you wish via Comments or by contacting me here.

Tips for Success at Self-Employment

 
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One of the questions I get a lot when I do office tours or informational interviews is: what makes someone likely to succeed as a real estate agent? It’s a great question and an understandable one. Who wants to invest time and energy and money in becoming an agent if they’re likely to hate it and/or fail?

But it’s also almost an impossible question for me to answer, because there are exceptions to every rule. I see a lot of teachers, baristas and bartenders who rock the real estate game. In the case of teachers, I think it’s the patience that’s required of both jobs that’s the predictor of success. But, I worked in customer service for an airline before starting a real estate career. And you could name any other profession and I’ll bet there are agents who used to do that job before switching to real estate.

So, really there’s no simple answer to that question. At Keller Williams we do have a personality assessment that people can take, which points them in the direction of careers within the company that are probably a good fit for their personalities. That’s really the closest we come to “predicting” here.

But…

There are some tips I’d share with anyone considering becoming a real estate agent at a brokerage where they’ll have lots of autonomy. They probably apply to anyone considering self-employment of any kind though, so please read on even if a real estate career isn’t in your future.

 
Startup Stock Photos
Startup Stock Photos
 

Stay humble. I have seen people make the mistake of believing that there is nothing they can learn from anyone else. This is totally untrue. I’ve been doing this since 2003 and I still look for opportunities to learn and I accept coaching from people who know more than I do.

 
home office
home office
 

Behave as if you’re at work even if your office is in your home. Get dressed. Maintain a regular schedule. Avoid sending work emails while you’re in the middle of doing yoga in your living room. Sometimes you do have to answer an email at 11:59PM on a Thursday night, but to the extent you can, establish your working hours and stick to them. Plan days off and stick to those too.

 
Wake Me When I'm Famous
Wake Me When I'm Famous
 

Enjoy the freedom and flexibility, but not at the expense of the work. This is another common mistake I see agents make. If you don’t wake up every day with the realization that but for your own efforts, you are unemployed, you won’t succeed. The freedom that comes from being able to set your own goals and design your own job is incredibly rewarding. But the people who are successful balance that with accountability. They set clear tasks and goals for every day and are disciplined enough to meet them even though no one else is watching. You can probably train yourself to do this if it doesn’t come naturally, but I find that a certain level of self-motivation and discipline is necessary.

 
Jumping Woman
Jumping Woman
 

Be yourself. This is such a cliché, but in any business where you are a big part of the equation when a client is deciding whether to work with you, it is so important. You should know who you are as a real estate agent—what is your philosophy about your work? Why would someone choose to work with you over the agent down the street? What sets you apart?

You must know these things and be able to communicate them to prospective clients in a genuine way.

 
Win
Win
 

Have clearly defined goals and a definition of success. If you don’t know where you’re going, you won’t know when you’ve arrived. Go through a formal goal-setting process regularly. How often really depends on your business. It can be something you do yearly, quarterly or monthly. But decide where you want your business to be at the end of that period. In my case, I set goals for how many transactions I want to close annually in my real estate business. And then I have separate goals for the other roles I have at Keller Williams. Figure out your metrics for determining when you’ve met your goals and then reward yourself for doing so.

 
Planner Picture
Planner Picture
 

Be a good boss to yourself. Pay yourself a salary, even if it’s a small one when your business is just getting started. Have a plan for how you determine when it’s appropriate to give yourself a raise. Invest in retirement; have a plan for taking a vacation or for when you’re too sick to work; work the supplies you need into your monthly budget. In short, treat yourself the way you’d expect a good boss to treat you if you were their employee. Otherwise you’ll resent yourself and burnout.

All you other self-employed people out there, please feel free to share any of the tips that work for you in the Comments section below.

Thanks, all! I’ll see you back here again soon.

Career Possibilities

 
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One of the things I love to share with aspiring agents when they come in for office tours (contact me here if you're interested in signing-up for one!), is the variety of ways you can structure a career in real estate. People often think of being a real estate agent as only representing clients in the purchase or sale of a property. That's how I started my career, and may be how you start yours too. But it doesn't have to be the only way you put your skills to work.

I'm a big fan of variety and of diversifying sources of income, including building in some passive income where I can. I thought I'd share with you today some of the ways you can do that as a real estate agent. Keep in mind that my experience has been with Keller Williams exclusively, so the opportunities I discuss below are the ones available with this brokerage. I don't know for sure what other brokerages offer. Okay, caveat out of the way, so here we go.

Option 1: Representing Buyers and Sellers. This is pretty straightforward. As a real estate agent, clients will hire you to represent them in the purchase or sale of a property.

Option 2: "Flipping" Properties. This is where you buy a property, invest in renovating it, and then sell it for a profit (hopefully!). There are several shows on HGTV profiling people who do this. As a licensed real estate agent you can represent yourself as buyer and seller and you'll have access to new properties as they come on the market. Keller Williams has a book to help agents learn how to do this successfully. It's called, appropriately enough, "Flip."

Option 3: Investment Properties. This is where you purchase a property and then rent it out to a third party. Again, Keller Williams has educational materials to help agents do this successfully, maximize their earning potential, and avoid some of the mistakes people commonly make when starting out as landlords. It's called, "Hold."

Option 4: Referrals. I know agents whose entire business is built on Keller Williams' Referral Program. Keller Williams has agents licensed to sell homes anywhere in the world. If someone approaches you wanting to purchase or sell a home outside of the area in which you work, you can refer them to a Keller Williams agent in that region. If that client hires that Keller Williams agent and they purchase or sell a property, you could receive 25% of the commission on that sale. Just for referring that client. Pretty great, right? I've done it several times and it's a win-win-win experience. I know I'm referring someone to an agent who is going to provide them with excellent service; a great KW agent gets to serve someone that may not have otherwise found them; and I get a nice financial thank-you.

Option 5: Profit Sharing. Okay, this one is a unique option within the world of real estate. When you close a transaction, you pay a percentage of your commission to Keller Williams, until you've paid the company dollar CAP in commission in a calendar year. After that commitment is met, then you keep 100% of the commissions you make. Here's where the profit-sharing comes in. The person who "referred" you to Keller Williams gets a thank you for sending you to KW. So, if you go into business with Keller Williams and then you recommend it to a friend or acquaintance and they join as an agent too anywhere in the world), you could get a portion of the commission. You're fully vested after 3 years and the benefit can outlive you and be passed along to your heirs.

Option 6: Salaried Positions. For whatever reason, maybe you want a more predictable 9-5, salaried job. Keller Williams hires licensed real estate agents to provide administrative and transaction support to our Realtors. So, you could use your knowledge and skills in this way as opposed to representing buyers and sellers.  Or maybe you're a great leader and want to take on additional responsibilities on top of your work as an agent. KW has formal curriculum for people who want to pursue a leadership role, and there is additional income associated with those opportunities.

Was any of this news to you? Did one or more of these options make you think about a real estate career in a different way? Please share your thoughts in the Comments section below or contact me here if you want to talk more about real estate or Keller Williams.

Thanks for reading and I'll see you here again soon!

 

 

Fantastic Keller Williams Video to Share!

Hi all! Just a quick post from me today to share a video that came across my Facebook account last week and that I thought you all might appreciate seeing too. You know I love working for Keller Williams, and if I had to condense all of the great things about it down into a short and sweet 2-minute video, this would be it. As I find others that I think are worth sharing, I'll post those here too. Check it out here when you have a couple of minutes and then let me know what you think below. I'm also happy to answer any questions that the video brings up for you, so feel free to leave those in the Comments section too!

Where Do You Want to Be?

 
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This post is all about deciding what you want and making a plan for success. In other words, setting goals. I've been doing this for 14+ years now, and wanted to share a bit about what I do and how it helps me be successful.

#1: Formal Training Through My Brokerage. At Keller Williams we work big and then drill down to monthly, weekly and daily goals. I started with a course called Quantum Leap as a new agent and have taken it multiple times over the years. Gary Keller created this training course to help people set their five-year goals. His premise is that whatever big dream you have in your heart, you’re five years away from achieving it. It takes that amount of time to condition yourself, learn and hone new skills and make a plan--essentially build the foundation required to turn that dream into a reality.

The second formal goal-setting training I do is the Business Planning Clinic, in which I break down my five-year goal(s) down to three year goals and then from three year goals to one year. Once I've got my goals broken down to an annual schedule, I use KW's CGI calculator, a mathematical calculation that breaks that one-year financial goal down to monthly, weekly, and daily activity goals. I literally come out of it with to-do lists for each day. (The mathematical calculation is based on your target income goal for the year.)

 
meeting
meeting
 

#2: Accountability Activities. Setting my goals is one thing, but I also need a formal accountability program to help me achieve them. If I never check in on my goals, I could get to the end of the year and be light years away from where I want to be financially. So...

Once per week my team reviews our goals vs. our actual numbers--i.e. where we planned on being and where we actually are. Ideally those two things match!

I also meet with my KW coach weekly to review those numbers and set my goals for the following week. You'll note that I still work with a coach fourteen years into my career. Anyone can benefit from a coaching relationship, from new agents to seasoned ones. Coaches remind you of your potential and hold you accountable when you aren't reaching it. Conversely, they often serve as a much-needed voice of encouragement, reminding you of your successes. Having to be accountable to another person for meeting or not meeting my weekly goals is powerful motivation.

On a monthly basis I participate in something called The 15th Protocol. All of the agents from our office meet on the 15th of the month to check-in to see whether they’re on track for meeting their goals for the month. The idea behind this is that if you aren't in good shape by the middle of the month and don't make any adjustments, you won't meet your goal by the end of the month.

And finally, I meet with the other agents in the top 20% (of transactions closed) in my office and we talk about our goals and any challenges we're facing. People allow themselves to be vulnerable in these conversations, because when you are honest and open about where things are difficult or not going well, other people can offer practical and emotional support. This is one of the things that makes Keller Williams different. In a profession that many people assume is hyper-competitive, we have a team-oriented mentality.  The profit sharing model helps in this regard because we all sink or swim as a group. So people are generous with their knowledge and advice.

 
Donations
Donations
 

#3: I'm Clear About Why I'm Doing What I'm Doing. The goals I've been talking about are financial goals--I decide how much salary I want to generate each year and I work toward that goal. But the motivation behind my goals changes from year-to-year. Beyond what I need to earn in order to support myself, I am often motivated by a mission or charity I want to support. For example, I can't go on a mission trip with my church (I've got family and work obligations that keep me here), but I can devote some of my salary to sponsoring people who can go and do that mission work. So, I might set a goal of giving $10,000 to sponsor three people on a mission trip and then I'm working toward my financial goals with that motivation behind it. It's important to me to connect what I'm doing at work to whatever cause has spoken to me that year. I'm finding my "why," if you will.

What charities or experiences would be meaningful to you? Ask yourself how you could best support them or make them a reality through your work. Then you're starting to get closer to your "why."

 
Motivation
Motivation
 

#4: Some of My Goals Are Not Financial. Sometimes my goals are relational. I might set goals related to how many new people I want to meet each week. Or sometimes it might be about serving a certain number of families. Other times my goals are related to the number of aspiring agents I can reach and coach. And sometimes I set goals for continuing education--trainings I want to attend or a specialized skill I want to learn that will help my business long-term.

 
Clock
Clock
 

#5: I Follow the SMART Guidelines for Goal-Setting. In terms of the content of my goals, whether financial or action-oriented, I follow make sure they are: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Bound.

Okay, that's it from me for now on my goal-setting process. If you have comments or questions, please share them in the Comments section below. I'm always happy to continue the conversation there, or one-on-one. You can contact me here if you want to talk more about this topic or about getting started with a career in real estate.

Value Proposition Video

 
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Hi there! Another quick video post for you today. As you think about starting and growing your career in real estate, it’s important to think about what sets you apart from other agents and why clients should/do choose to work with you. This is a topic I’ve thought a lot about, and this video reflects my thoughts on it.  Click here to watch! I thought it might be helpful for you to see what I identified as my value proposition and how I communicate that to prospective clients. As always, feel free to get in touch with questions, or share your thoughts in the Comments section below. Thanks!

The Value of a Coach

 
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While I work for Keller Williams, for all intents and purposes I have had my own business for more than 14 years. I set my own goals and no one is going to knock on my door tomorrow if I don’t show up to work and complete the tasks on my to-do list today. That is one of the things I love about my career—I wake up every day and create my own job. There is so much responsibility inherent in that, but also a ton of freedom and joy.

I doubled my business in 2016. No one told me to do that. I decided I wanted to set that as a goal for the year and I did it. I could decide to double it again in 2017 if I want to, and if I did, I would reap the rewards of that achievement.

But being an entrepreneur can be a lonely place sometimes, and often we can’t see ways we could be improving or pushing ourselves because we’re too close to have any perspective or objectivity.

That is the beauty of a coach. They can help us with those things and much more. So here are a few benefits of a coaching relationship.

You learn from someone who knows more than you or has a different area of expertise. This is the most obvious benefit of a coach—you have access to information that you wouldn’t have otherwise. Knowledge it took that person years, or decades to gain can be yours in minutes or hours. It can be a super-efficient means of learning, which should appeal to the busy entrepreneur you are!

You get honest feedback on your own performance. This is something that we have ready access to when we work for someone else in the typical boss-employee paradigm. But once you’re working for yourself, or in an autonomous job (like real estate), opportunities for external feedback can be non-existent. As much dread as an annual performance review has conjured up for me in previous jobs, there can be great value in hearing where there is room for us to improve, grow or change professionally. Coaches can serve that function for you.

You have a sounding board and cheering section. Again, these are often lacking in the world of the entrepreneur. It can be lonely being a one-person shop, or being the boss. Even the most introverted among us needs to bounce ideas off of other people from time to time. And even the most confident of entrepreneurs sometimes need to hear some words of encouragement or a pep talk. Just as a coach can see places where you can grow and improve, so can they see places where you are rocking this whole business-thing! We can be hard on ourselves and sometimes we don’t see just how far we’ve come or just how great our successes have been. When you’re feeling discouraged or overwhelmed, hearing words of support and encouragement from someone you respect is invaluable.

You expand your network. Networking is a word we hear repeatedly as entrepreneurs. I think it often gets conflated with “schmoozing” which we all have differing levels of comfort in doing. But really, networking is just about interacting with other people to exchange information and develop contacts. Building a relationship with a coach is a form of networking. They are learning about you and what you do—you are exchanging information. They might then refer other people they know to you for your services, or they might know people who can help you in some other area of your business.

You get inspired. Think about it. You saw the value in coaching and after the needs analysis, you were assigned a coach. And then they chose to coach you because they saw something in you worth the investment of their time and energy. Wow! How do you not find the motivation to get up, get going on that project and succeed when someone like that believes in you? That has been hugely motivating for me over the years.

Have you had a coach before? If so, what did you appreciate most about them? Where did you find them?

Have you been a coach to someone before? What tips do you have for prospective protégés for approaching a prospective mentor and making the most out of the relationship?

Please share your answers in the Comments section below.

Keller Williams matches new agents up with an experienced coach right out of the gate. This coach helps the new agent to decide on their goals for the year, and to develop strategies for achieving them. It’s one of the reasons why I love Keller Williams so much, and why 4 out of every 5 agents to start with us are still in business after the first year. Mentoring and coaching is an incredible gift to give and to receive.

Okay, that’s it from me this time! I’ll see you back here again soon.