At the end of last year I made some predictions for 2011 and they were mostly right. There wasn’t much change from the 2010 housing market.
2012 will be more of the same.
We tend to look forward to the new year and we plan to succeed. After having the worst year of my real estate career in 2011, I am confident that 2012 will be better. When I look back I may decide that 2011 was one of the best years of my life.
This year turned out to be the perfect time to start another business, which is what I did. I started providing professional photography services for real estate agents and small-business owners.
I have also been selling prints to medical clinics and related businesses through interior designers. In the last two months I have photographed MRI machines and hamburgers, but not on the same day. I have been thrilled at the opportunity.
My business grows each month by word of mouth and through my photography blog. I do not photograph weddings but have been able to refer business to a couple of wedding photographers.
Last summer one of those photographers referred me to some people who needed architectural photography.
Technology makes selling photographs and photography services easier. I send invoices through PayPal and use Square for accepting credit card payments in person.
I developed some simple contracts that I keep on my iPad using free templates. Preventing misuse is paramount for photographers, and I state in the contracts that my work is protected by contract and by karma. I am also experimenting with processing raw image-format (unprocessed) photos on my iPad in the field.
Photographers complain about how hard the business is and how competitive it is. For me it has been effortless, as I suspect selling real estate is for some. There are niche markets in photography, and sales ability is a plus. I am also finding that everything I learned about Internet marketing for real estate works for photography.
There are agents struggling this year, but few will admit it because it is bad for business. We need to be successful to get business. If you are struggling, you are not alone. For some, it is time to move on; for others, hard work and a positive attitude will carry the day. Listen to your inner voice.
Is selling real estate really your dream job? If not, your chances for success are small. We all have choices and there is always work — even when there are few jobs.
I know agents who have taken full-time jobs this year, in addition to their real estate business, to make ends meet. I admire them for figuring out what to do — and doing it.
They often keep quiet about it because they want to continue selling real estate. Other agents with low sales volume get by with part-time jobs or have spouses who can provide health insurance and who make enough money to meet basic expenses.
We all have to do whatever it takes, and in the end it just might make us better at real estate sales.
I am finding that I am much happier when I have work, and as a result I think my performance as an agent is better and I enjoy it more when I have something to fall back on when a sale falls through.
We are taught that to be successful as real estate salespeople we need to do it full time. I think that is true. I am a full-time real estate salesperson with a business on the side. My clients and friends all know about my photography and that it does not make me less committed to my real estate clients, and I prospect every day.
This week I am working with a buyer whom I met through photography. The last home I listed was that of a photographer. Unfortunately, she had to take it off the market before I could sell it.
2012 will be better for me than 2011 because I will make it even better by being open to new opportunities and ideas inside and outside of the real estate industry.
Opportunities are everywhere, yet in real estate we all tend to be just like the photographers in that most of us chase the same opportunities that everyone else is chasing and never even see the rest of them.