Welcome to “Letters from,” my new column that examines the intimate thoughts of members of the real estate industry. We will explore why they got into the business, what they wish they would have known when they started, their challenges, who their mentors are and why — and, lastly, the knowledge they can pass on from their former mistakes.
Learning from our mistakes creates a more powerful version of ourselves moving forward. To kick off the column, I’m going to answer these questions myself.
Name: Cheryl Spangler
Role: Commercial and residential real estate broker, author, mom, entrepreneur at heart, lover of fitness, city-dweller, traveler
Years in business: 14
1. Why did you get into this business?
After working 14-hour days, 7 days a week in Silicon Valley and just having my first child, I wanted to change careers, have no limit to the amount of money that I could make, work around family time and have the freedom to be creative in how I interacted with people.
I looked around and saw the real estate industry riddled with people who didn’t treat their business like they owned it. Instead they treated it like they were going to receive a W-2 at the end of the year.
I saw people sitting around waiting for business to be given to them — sad that nothing was coming their way — yet they had no business plan, no long-term goals and no idea how to differentiate from other agents.
Knowing that the amount of money I made was in direct proportion to the work I put in, I knew with a little determination, a good plan and consistency — I could make this business amazing.
2. What is the biggest challenge you face?
Work-life balance. I remember during my first year of real estate, a very experienced veteran with more than 25 years in the business told me to time-block, set my hours, take vacations often and don’t stress the small stuff.
Now, I am saying that to the agents I meet and mentor to share with them ways to be productive and stop time-wasters.
With multiple family members in the real estate industry, it is especially crucial for me to keep balance so that every minute, every conversation and every day of the week is not consumed with real estate.
This challenge is difficult for me is because I love real estate and technology. I don’t think of my business as hard work even though I work really hard and long hours; it is fun yet challenging. We are professional troubleshooters 24/7, at home and work.
3. What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started this business?
To set up a system of prospecting that is so consistent that even when you are slammed with business, your prospecting does not slow or stop.
That is something that new agents forget. They get a deal, they work it and get caught up in the business — instead of continually setting time aside to work on the business.
When you find yourself overwhelmed and stuck in the weeds of a transaction, just take time to work on your business. Go to a networking event.
Pretend you have 20 of those same deals going and ask yourself “Would I still be stressed out about this if I had 20 deals right now?”
The answer is usually no because you would not have time to stress; you would simply find a solution and move on.
4. Who has made the biggest positive impact on your business?
I have had many mentors in the past 15 years, including Brian Buffini, Tami Bonnell, CEO of EXIT Realty and more. But my clients have made the biggest impact on my business.
By always staying true to who I am, I have connected with some amazing people, and they have taught me how to improve and adjust my business through both positive and negative experiences.
My standards are high for myself, but my clients inspire and demand even more, and that empowers me to be better.
5. What is one thing someone could do to help you in your business?
Provide me a free assistant for one year. Someone who has skills in technology, web development, SEO, copywriting, video producing, reiki, travel coordinating — all wrapped up in one.
6. What tool has made the biggest positive impact on your business?
- Videos are the best tool for reaching and relating to the consumers I work with 100 percent faster and more effectively than text and photos. I have always used Shane Pendley, PARUS Marketing Solutions.
- My smartphone is my best tool for social networking and connecting 24/7.
7. What do you think is going to be the biggest change in real estate in the next five years?
I think the most significant changes will be independent brokerages, more niche brokerages and even more real-time access to clients with video.