The Story of Strings

 
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Just stopping by the blog quickly today to share something I thought you all would appreciate. It's about the power of sequential mastery, which is a really interesting concept and the focus of Gary Keller's (yep, the "Keller" in Keller Williams) bestselling book, The One Thing. I'd highly recommend you read the book, but in the meantime, you can check out this quick video.

Click the link below to purchase The One Thingthrough Amazon. (In the interest of full disclosure, if you use this link I do receive a small commission on the sale.)

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.

 
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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.

 
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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.

 
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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!