What It's Like Being a New Agent

 
new.jpg
 

I've now been a Realtor and a member of Rebecca's team for just about three months. If you've been reading my studying posts, I guess this is the point where I confess that they aren't being written in real time :-)  Anyway, it seemed like a good time to reflect on what it's like to be new...before I forget! So, if you're an aspiring or newly licensed agent, I hope this post will give you some insight into what to expect during your first weeks. Expect paperwork. Lots and lots of paperwork. I think mine took about 30-45 minutes to complete. Not quite as extensive as the paperwork when you buy or sell a house, but the time commitment was almost the same :-)

Expect to be inundated with information. There is simply no way the human brain can take in, process and retain all of the information people will fire at you. No way. Between new agent orientation, emails from your local MLS, your national and regional professional associations, your brokerage and others I'm forgetting at the moment, you will be swimming in due dates, logins, account balances, advice, instructions and names of people to connect with. I'm not sure I have any foolproof strategies for tracking it all, other than take lots of notes, keep a list (I used Excel) and add tasks with any associated due dates and costs to it as you go. Then you can cross off items as you complete them. I also set aside about an hour each week to go back through the notes and paperwork I compiled in the previous 7 days to file things away and to make sure nothing fell through the cracks.

Expect to develop a business plan right away. You need to be clear about why you're working, what your goals are and how you're going to reach them. Otherwise, it's too easy to get overwhelmed. And because for many of us this is the first time we've ever worked for ourselves--ever been in a job where a boss wasn't paying attention to when we clocked in and out or whether we finished our work for the day--it's oh so easy to procrastinate, especially when there's so much to do. Ignite is Keller Williams' signature course for new agents, and you'll come out of it with goals and a plan (literally daily, weekly and monthly activity and outcome goals) for achieving your target income. Ignite is open to all agents, not just KW agents. Contact Rebecca here for more info if you'd like to attend. For me, having that roadmap to follow has been invaluable. Can't say enough good things about it.

Expect to set boundaries. This is tricky for many of us (myself included). This is a career that can and will consume as much of your life as you will allow. And because you're excited about it, and because you're working with people who are excited for you, it is easy to take on too much.  Ignite is actually really helpful in this regard. (Wow, this is the 2nd Ignite plug of this post...they're not paying me to promote it guys, I swear.) But suffice it to say that KW gives you a blue-print for success and it is possible to do it without sacrificing all of your free time and neglecting yourself or your family, or losing all your friends and your sunny disposition.

Expect to feel excited, anxious and overwhelmed all at once. Being new at anything can be all of those things. Some days I felt way more anxious than excited and vice versa. Totally normal.

Expect to have fun. Everything I wrote above was true for me, but it's also true that this is so much fun! I really don't want that point to get lost in all of this. This is a fun job. Keller Williams is a fun company to work for. Rebecca's team is amazing and talented and are the first people to raise their hands to help me when I need it. It's been an amazing experience and I'm trying to enjoy each season of it before the next begins.

Are any of you new agents? What has your experience been like? Any advice for managing the logistics and the emotions involved with being a newbie? Please share below!

 

Making Money in Maui

 
pineapple.jpg
 

"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.

Mega Mom Event!

 
mom-1.jpg
 

Are you a Realtor,  balancing your business with your role as a mom? I am too! If you're in the Greater Seattle area, consider joining me and other mom-agents for my Mega Mom Mastermind event.

I'm hosting this opportunity for collaboration and support on Monday, October 2nd from 12-1:30PM. Lunch will be provided by my friends at Eagle Home Mortgage, Stephen Wright and Sunny Wilson. Just bring yourself, your ideas and your questions and we'll have a great conversation.

The event is free, but seating is limited. To reserve your spot, RSVP to Kate Roussell Favaloro at k.roussellfav@kw.com today. Contact me with any questions.

Hope to see you there!