My New Year’s resolution is to quit. I’m going to quit more quickly and quit more often.
We love to tell each other how busy we are. It’s not unique to the real estate industry; it’s a modern mindset. We’re all stressed out and overworked.
Despite that, we take up a new project, try a new technology and alter our marketing strategy every month. It’s inefficient and detrimental to our business, but we just can’t seem to avoid the draw of something new, so we jump on the hamster wheel again and again.
The fewer things we commit to, the better results we produce. Real estate brokers and agents have to wear a lot of hats out of necessity, but the fewer we wear at a time, the better we wear them.
This year, let’s be quitters.
Let’s quit wasting time trying to fit new products into our businesses every time someone says “Uber,” “disrupt” or “game changer.” Let’s quit telling ourselves that every minute that we spend on social media is actually work. There’s a lot of networking, consultation and education that happens online, but if we can’t show that it’s improving our skills or our sales, it’s just for fun. We should be able to admit that to ourselves.
Let’s quit signing up for every “free trial” for a new service, because they’re not free. They cost exactly as much per hour as we would’ve made doing our real jobs if we hadn’t signed up. If we fall off the wagon and try out a new product or service on a whim, let’s quit it right away if it doesn’t have a clear return on investment.
Quitting means losing your inner control freak.
As brokers, we have to quit trying to have our hands in every minute facet of the real estate process. We are managers and should, therefore, be able to hire and train good assistants and transaction coordinators that we can trust to be specialists in their roles. As agents, we need to quit dropping everything and jumping at any potential client’s whim or distraction. Immediate action will always be necessary in certain cases, but we should interact with clients in a way that sets better expectations. We need their respect as well as their business. That’s not just good policy for mental well-being — it’s good for safety.
Quitting is about focus.
Real estate folks like to talk about their “one thing” that motivates them, but they don’t talk often enough about the “one skill” at which they excel. That’s where we should spend the majority of our time and focus from a tactical perspective. It’s the skill that makes us stand out and therefore provides us the potential of the highest income on a per-hour basis. The more time we spend on other facets of the business, the less exceptional we become.
Say it with me: “This year, I quit.”
I will quit doing things that aren’t the most valuable use of my time, unless I’m doing them simply because I enjoy them. I will quit the “always-too-busy, but let me take on that next task” mindset of real estate. I will quit doing things that I could pay someone else to do because I know my time and money are better focused on my “one skill.” I will quit thinking I’m missing out because I’m not doing what everyone else is doing. I will quit feeling bad for saying “no” when it’s the best answer for my mental state, and for my business.
In 2015, I quit. It’s going to be a great one.
Sam DeBord is managing broker of Seattle Homes Group with Coldwell Banker Danforth and a director for Washington Realtors and Seattle King County Realtors.