When I started out in real estate, I had big dreams — fancy cars, slick suits, velvety leather briefcases brimming with new listings — but I had no clear idea of how to get from li’l ol’ me, to power broker.

After a few years in the business, I observed that as agents became busier, they employed assistants. But there didn’t seem to be a standard protocol that said, “This is how you hire an assistant.”

Some subscribed to a virtual assistant program online. Others created “teams.” And some hired transaction coordinators and marketing assistants ad hoc.

When I started out in real estate, I had big dreams — fancy cars, slick suits, velvety leather briefcases brimming with new listings — but I had no clear idea of how to get from li’l ol’ me to power broker.

After a few years in the business, I observed that as agents became busier, they employed assistants. But there didn’t seem to be a standard protocol that said, "This is how you hire an assistant."

Some subscribed to a virtual assistant program online. Others created "teams." And some hired transaction coordinators and marketing assistants ad hoc.

Which was best? Who did it right? How does an agent expand their business without lowering their standards and reach?

This called for closer observation. Or pregnancy. I fell into the latter category.

With nature’s blessing re-prioritizing my life, I decided that instead of being the agent who hired the assistant, I would become the assistant.

I threw the word out there. Anybody looking for some help? The offers came pouring in.

Up first was Team Boy Power — two successful young men in my office looking to grow their business. They realized that they were both trying to do everything, and dropping the proverbial ball a lot.

We made small talk about the importance of family and our philosophies about real estate, dancing around the part where they were freaked out that I might somehow steal business from them. Maybe style points, but probably not business.

When we got to the job description, I was told that my main tasks would be filling up flier boxes and putting up signage. I laughed. Putting up the signs?

I pointed to my basketball sized stomach. Hey, guys, I’m not going to be digging post holes and putting up your signs for you — that’s a joke, right? No, it wasn’t. I guess that’s how they intended to make sure I didn’t "steal" any clients. No, thanks.

The next agent I interviewed with had a better idea of what she wanted me to do. She took me to a small office the size of a child’s shoe box. Somewhere in the midst of 10,000 file folders, she assured me, there was a chair and a candle for light.

All I had to do was make phone calls on all her short sales. And foreclosures. And regular listings. And so on and so forth. For minimum wage. I could leave my post to go to the bathroom twice a day, and take 10 minutes for lunch.

Um … no, I decided, I did not become an agent to sit in a dark hole and call banks. Pass.

Now, I could become a virtual assistant, I thought. Those had been all the rage a few years back.

I looked into what a typical virtual assistant company did for an agent: blogs, branding, drip campaigns, Internet marketing, listing coordination, lead management, newsletters, referral campaigns, search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing and website hosting.

That sounds like a whole lot, right? Well, you can get all that and more through Point2 websites. Nah, I decided, virtual assistants don’t vibe with me.

Lastly, I met with a team. And this is where it clicked for me.

Here was a group of real estate agents who had divided the duties of being an agent into smaller, more manageable portions. Each person concentrated on doing what they did best.

A percentage of all sales went to their advertising and marketing budget, and paid for an in-house transaction coordinator and a marketing guru/photographer.

Sure, I still had to pay the "house." But the idea of concentrating my efforts solely on what I excelled at made so much sense to me. I could breathe again.

The next week I picked up my first clients as an official buyer’s broker and I’ve never looked back.

There is a way to have it all — the big car, the suit and a family. You just might not be able to do it all on your lonesome. For me, a team made all the difference in the world. It might make your life more well-rounded as well.

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