It’s hard being the new kid on the block…STEP-BY-STEP, ohhhh baby!
I started in real estate 8 years ago, but only launched my business last year. Given that I knew the language, knew the players, and understood how the game worked, I had a bit of a ‘home team’ advantage. Not everything was easy, but I knew that, if I was going to make it, I had to hit the ground running.
You’re trying to learn the language, find the tools you need and just get the job done. Every business model in real estate is different, so knowing where I fit in was crucial. For me, my outgoing personality and persistence were a great help. Long before I was licensed, I started clipping newspaper ads, jotting down ideas, and collecting memorabilia that triggered GOOD IDEAS for my real estate business. My ideas and passions filled a binder, and then overflowed into a Rubbermaid bin. As crazy as it sounds, that bin still sits in my office as a reminder that I CAN do this, but that some things take time, some things take money, and some things… well, they are just dreams.
For anyone feeling the slump of the winter months… or starting in the winter months (which I did on December 1st, 2010), I feel it is important to get your ducks in a row.
For me, getting my ducks in a row meant compiling a database, sending out Christmas cards (handwritten) with a short note that explained my career path and what I could do to help potential clients. I was setting the groundwork for a strong referral-based business model; a model that I truly believe will pay off for me in the end with little, or no advertising budget.
When I launched my business, losing my Licensed Assistant bi-weekly pay cheque was hard. I had a child, a mortgage, car payments and ZERO dollars to spend on advertising. I freshened up my MS office skills, decided on a branded image, and modified template material given to me by my brokerage. I was lucky that most of the marketing pieces I needed were provided for me, but I took my time altering them to make them my own, getting comfortable with the material, and deciding how to present it.
When I felt that I was organized, I had to test the waters. I approached a few tenured agents in my office that I considered to be mentors, and began to shadow them when things like open houses and listing/buying presentations were held. I also did something that most would NEVER do, and that was go door-to-door. My managers praised me, other agents laughed at me, but I told myself—“What doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger,” and, ”If I can do this, I can do anything.” In mid-January, when I started to feel as if nothing was working and I still had no solid leads, I told myself, ”Just get out there, talk to people, and see where it takes you.” I had nothing to lose, and everything to gain. In all honesty, it didn’t bring me any business, but it got my creative juices flowing.
Having just celebrated my first year in business, I am now looking back at the different directions I could have taken, and the direction I would like to take as I enter Year 2. Refining my systems and procedures, streamlining some processes, and looking at where my business has come from will really help me as I prepare for this year. I’ve joined many networking groups, including sitting on the OREA YPN committee, and I have stashed business cards in 17 different places around my home, car, workplace and in every jacket pocket I own! I’ve learned to take things that may seem unimportant by themselves, and try to think of ways to incorporate them into my business plan.
I’m very excited for my second year as a REALTOR® and I wish every bit of success to all the new kids on block as they find their business model, and their way in this exciting, challenging and rewarding career. I look forward to meeting you at the upcoming YPN networking events.
– Ayn (REALTOR®, YPN Committee Member & Guest Author on the OREA Blog)