You can be a great real estate agent or a great parent, but you can’t be a great agent and a great parent — or so I’ve heard.
When I launched my real estate career in 2008, I was 24 years old and newly married with no children — yet. In those days, I could stay late at the office, say yes to a last-minute showing or handle negotiations on a transaction during a vacation.
The extra hours I poured into my business only affected my wife, but those childless days came with extra time to balance us out. So my schedule always seemed to work.
Then, our daughter arrived in 2012, and last year we welcomed our son. Any margin in my calendar vanished.
Currently, I’m working to scale up my business to help more people every year. But I love being a dad! As any parent knows, you can blink three times, and your kids are off to college.
So with Father’s Day this weekend, here are a few lessons I’m learning in my pursuit to be a top producing agent and dad.
1. Become proficient with your calendar
Like many agents, I’m a big-picture guy. Using a day planner or calendar app has never been my strength. I used to say “yes” to appointments without even looking at my calendar. Bad, I know.
But now family and kid events are entered into my phone, and I never take an appointment without checking first. I still have a long way to go, but I’m improving.
2. Know when to hire help
For over a year, I’ve been working with a remote transaction coordinator — game-changer! I rarely touch paperwork after we have a binding contract, and it frees up my time to work on other things or take kids to the zoo without worrying if my file is complete.
I’ve also brought on help with my marketing efforts. Any time spent at work should be primarily focused on working with active clients and obtaining new ones. These services cost money, but I can be home for dinner with a complete transaction file and a launched marketing campaign.
3. Learn the phrase ‘I’m booked.’
If a client wants my time when I’m planning on being with my family, I say, “I’m booked at this afternoon; here are some other options that work.”
The agent in me wants every possible piece of business. But I genuinely believe that in 40 years, I’ll remember throwing rocks into the lake with my kids as opposed to the extra showing or transaction.
4. Steal moments whenever you can
Last week, I was heading out the door for the office when my three-year-old daughter asked if I’d play Mermaid Island, a board game.
My morning schedule was open, and I don’t have a boss watching my arrival time — so of course I played. It turns out the Sea Witch beat our mermaids in the race to Mermaid Island, but I connected with my daughter for an extra 30 minutes.
We are in control of our businesses, and sometimes our business plan needs a dose of Mermaid Island.
5. Lean on your support system
For me, my wife is a rock. She fills in the areas where I’m weak. She helps me refocus when I’m off track. And she shows me grace when I forget to apply any of the above lessons. Whether it’s a spouse, friend or colleague, know who is in your corner for constant support.
Not every real estate agent is a parent, but we all have personal lives and loved ones. This business consumes your life and can cause friends and family to take a backseat to the next transaction.
This weekend is a reminder to me that in my pursuit of top producing greatness, I want my family along for the ride.
Happy Father’s Day!