• Outsource labor you don't want to do and learn how to say "no."
  • Identify patterns that hold you back and work to resolve them.
  • Understand your deficiencies and sharpen your qualifying skills.

Some would say the path to success is paved with blood, sweat and tears — but this is not the case.

Success isn’t the outcome of pain and hardship. True success involves being able to tackle the ups and downs with grace and smart decisions.

Discernment is the mark of the real estate agent who’s making smarter decisions, and discernment can be adopted at any stage of your career.

Don’t get me wrong — hard work is necessary to own a successful business. But if you’re overworked and stressed out, you might be lacking in the strategy department.

So how do you get what you are striving for without burning yourself out? Try these tips on for size.

1. Outsource the labor you don’t want to do. If you don’t want to spend time entering your contacts into your database, someone else will.

Assistants, interns and newbie agents in need of mentoring aren’t hard to find, so instead of putting your mental ax to the grindstone, pay someone to do it for you.

2. Think ahead. Having a vision of how the deal is going to proceed allows you to put out fires before they happen.

Stay alert and aware during all the stages of the deal — otherwise you run the risk of having to work overtime if the appraisal comes in low or the lender falls apart at the last minute.

For example, when I called first-year Realtors with the good news that their buyer’s offer was accepted, I would promptly advise them that when they submit the board application, it must be complete and organized or I will send it back.

After years of working with unorganized applications that would delay closings for a month or more, I realized that if this is the trend, I should cut it off at the pass early. This has saved me an enormous amount of time and labor.

If you see a pattern that holds up your deals, create a plan of action that will simplify or streamline that area of your business.

3. Say “no” — simple as that. If you don’t want to do something, don’t do it. I’m amazed how many Realtors agree to do things they not only don’t want to do but also won’t see a profit from.

Discerning whether something is worth your time is a skill that comes after the rookie years have passed, but when that time finally does come, say “no” when asked to do something that will take up your time and energy without paying off.

4. Lean into your assets. We should all work on our deficiencies in order to level up at work — but if we aren’t clear on what our natural talents are, we’re essentially squandering them.

Know what your natural skills are and exploit them daily. You’d be amazed how much easier your job can be when you treat the gifts you were given at birth as a commodity. Whether you’re really good at numbers or have a great sense of humor, connect with that and turn it into your money-maker.

5. Sharpen your qualifying skills. This is a no-brainer, but a lot of brokers (especially when they’re desperate) tend to work with buyers who aren’t actually ready to buy. They take them to open houses and send them listings with the assumption that the buyer is ready to make a move.

This leads to lots of labor for nothing.

Understanding who deserves your time and energy requires a keen eye and will keep you from spinning your wheels with someone who has nothing better to do with their time.

By all means, maintain a relationship with the buyer that isn’t ready but keep them at arms length so you can focus on the areas that are more productive. Live (and work) in the moment.

Take the time to observe what isn’t working for your business, and create the change you need in order to get to the next level.

Ultimately, the quality of your work is more essential than the quantity. Spending your time wisely requires saying “no” to projects that don’t pay and saying “yes” to those that involve a strategy — even if they take awhile to close.

Stefani Shock is a real estate coach and consultant in Denver.

Email Stefani Shock

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