"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.