So, I’ve gone and done it now.
For better or worse, I’ve decided to become a real estate agent.
What came before
After spending nearly 20 years building a marketing and branding career, I reflect on a career that has treated me well. It’s a field I love and am energized by.
I am and will always be a passionate advocate for great marketing and design as well as a critic of bad commercials. But after working for many great companies with fantastically talented colleagues and mentors, I found myself recently in a couple of roles with bad bosses, lack of company direction and momentum, and uncertain futures.
In the middle of that, I also tried my hand at entrepreneurship and running my own companies — none of which took off.
After months of scouring job boards and sending my resume into the black hole of company career pages in an effort to find a great corporate fit, I realized I was getting jaded about my career prospects. My gut was telling me it was time for something different.
A friend (a Realtor) gently suggested that with my marketing background and business knowledge, I could make a great real estate agent.
I gave the idea some polite nodding and “I’ll think about it” responses.
I researched it as an option and initially thought, “Eh, I dunno about this.”
Then my dear friend became less gentle in her suggestion and pretty much said, “Get serious, girl! You should be doing this!”
So, as instructed, I really looked hard at it.
What do I know already that can help me?
I’ve run my own business before — and real estate is running your own business.
I have marketing chops I can bring over to help build business and brand my agency. I love the idea of helping people find a home they’ll enjoy being in every day. I love looking at houses myself!
I read Gary Keller’s The Millionaire Real Estate Agent book and saw the words, “If it’s to be, it will be me.”
That’s it! I’m in, and I’m doing this thing.
The bad and the ugly
I’m one month into the process of becoming an agent, and here are a few experiences that have already made me a little leery:
- I’m going back to school with a 40-year-old brain that was highly resistant to the idea of taking the educational classes required to take the state license exam for real estate.
- To DBA or LLC? That is the question.
- Why don’t brokers want to talk to me or return my calls when I reach out to learn about their firms? Do I smell bad or something?
- App what? App who? What’s with the plethora of real estate tools?!
- This is a high-risk job in terms of safety. And that’s no laughing matter.
- What (not) to wear? Hmm, let me find something that isn’t stretchy and doubles as around-the-house pajamas.
- “Real estate has low/no barrier to entry.” Since when? This job can be expensive to get into! (And did I mention going back to school?)
- Sometimes reading other agents’ crazy shenanigan stories makes me second-guess this career change.
- The word on the street is that I’m joining a profession where perceptions of agents include that they are shady, smarmy salespeople who are overpaid and simply slap a sign in your yard, never to be heard from again until closing. I know agents aren’t really like that (well, at least not all real estate agents are like that), but it’s certainly not a great first impression.
And all in the first month — and I’m not even a licensed Realtor yet.
What am I even doing?!
If you’re thinking of becoming an agent, are a new agent or are seasoned in this field, feel free to follow me on my journey to document my first year in my new real estate career.
I’d love to hear about your experiences, too, so we can laugh — and cry — together!