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  • If you want to shift gears in your career, you might have to change brokerages.
  • There are four big telltale signs that it’s time to branch out.
  • You shouldn’t feel bad when you’ve assessed your satisfaction and growth and determined it’s time to bring your strengths elsewhere.

Fresh out of college or following a career shift into real estate, you may be inclined to work under a big-name brokerage to help jump-start success.

What if you want to change your mind down the line and work for a smaller or larger agency — or maybe even yourself? When your brokerage fails to challenge or educate you in new ways, severing ties is understandable.

Here are four telltale signs that it’s time to branch out from your current brokerage.

1. You lack a personal brand.

It’s great to work under a big company when first starting out so you can access more leads, but you might be promoting your brokerage name more than your personal brand. It’s important to step out and make a name for yourself, as you’ll want clients to look for you no matter the brokerage(s) you associate with during your career.

Switching brokerages can be very difficult, especially when you lose a regular stream of business. But if you begin implementing some marketing techniques for yourself now with a personal website and social media accounts, you might not get hit as hard when you step out on your own.

Keep in mind that many brokerages, especially in rentals, have agents sign noncompete agreements that forbid them from future pursuit of leads they obtained while working under that brokerage.

But if past clients seek you out on their own — which is highly probable after putting in 100 percent the first time around — your previous brokerage has little to no say in the matter. All clients are given the free will to choose their agent.

Start with a WordPress blog or join an online network of agents where you can craft custom content and link back to your resources. Even if you’re switching teams and most of your leads are automatic, you should still be building your brand for the future.

2. You’ve stopped learning and started teaching.

It’s great to be a leader in your brokerage, but taking new agents under your wing takes time — and money. How many new agents do you let shadow you every quarter? If more than a few, talk to your managing broker. It’s flattering to be asked to mentor new agents, but it can also be somewhat of a burden depending on your schedule.

Another thing to ask yourself is, “What new technologies or techniques has my brokerage instructed me on recently?” The real estate industry is always changing, and staying up to the minute on the latest in real estate tech and trends is vital for success.

Many brokerages offer training sessions for the latest in real estate tech, allowing their agents to get a foot up in the industry. They also might provide you with free or discounted admission to various conferences and networking events that would otherwise cost too much for an individual.

Are you still attending seminars and tech sessions offered by your brokerage? Are they still available? If you’ve learned all you think you can, it might be time to move on.

But make sure you communicate your desire for more advanced educational tools and resources. You can’t expect your brokerage to provide things unless you vouch for their importance in closing deals.

3. You’re only cold calling.

Many brokerages have new agents cold call for months, but this only takes them so far. However, it’s difficult to gain experience and meet potential clients when you aren’t actively out in the field.

When your job entails only cold calling and scheduling showings, creating a name for yourself is a long, delayed process.

There also might be a reason why your managing broker has you manning the phones instead of entertaining clients. Talk to him about a long-term plan and where he sees you going in the future. You can learn the techniques for success in a client-facing position — but not until you try.

4. Business is too slow.

If you currently work in a small boutique brokerage, future clients might rely on search engine results to gauge a company’s approval rating, especially if it’s not a well-known brand. Keep in mind that you may miss out on leads because your (boutique) brokerage has a poor online reputation.

In these cases, no matter how highly you’re regarded as an individual agent, your name is still associated with the larger brand that has, for whatever reason, been tarnished online.

Oftentimes, multiple negative reviews hold water. Assess the management style in your small brokerage or team. If you find that you’re in disagreement on the way business is handled (for example, managing brokers care more about quantity over quality), it’s probably time to cut ties.

Aside from bettering the odds for new business, working with individuals that share the same ethics as you minimizes your stress at work.

Do people stay with the same brokerage for their whole career? Sure, and there’s nothing wrong with stability in an otherwise fluctuating industry. At the same time, you shouldn’t feel bad when you’ve assessed your satisfaction and growth and determined it’s time to bring your strengths elsewhere.

Email Jennifer Riner.

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