Like many real estate agents, Northern Virginia’s Alyssa Blevins began her career as a side-gig to her role as a high school English teacher almost five years ago.

In the first column of this weekly series, real estate agents across the nation share stories of the lessons they’ve learned during their time in the industry.

Alyssa Blevins

Like many real estate agents, Northern Virginia’s Alyssa Blevins began her career as a side-gig to her role as a high school English teacher almost five years ago.

She said she should have jumped into real estate sooner. Her passion for real estate was realized at a young age. In high school, she’d go to open houses for the love of looking at different home layouts and seeing various design elements.

When she did get her license, it felt like a natural fit to combine her customer service experience with an industry she’d always gravitated toward. In the future, she always sees herself in the face-to-face portion of the real estate business.

What has she learned in her years in real estate, and what advice would she pass on to newbies? Below, Blevins will share a lesson she learned early in her career.

What’s one big lesson you’ve learned in real estate?

Not to take anything personally! I tell my clients this all the time because buying or selling a home can be so emotional, but it was hard to take that lesson to heart myself.

My first year, honestly, it was maybe my first month, in the business, friends of mine were selling their $1 million-plus home in an extremely desirable neighborhood. They didn’t use me!

How dare they?

I took it personally. But honestly, what did I know? I wasn’t being mentored at that point, and I was brand new to marketing, to making connections and to the process in general.

When you’re a new agent, you think all of your friends and family will automatically use you as their agent, and that’s just not the case. It feels personal in the beginning, but the more confidence you develop in yourself, the more you can focus on the work ahead and not the people who didn’t pick you.

How did you learn to stop taking things personally?

I remember feeling like so many agents were dismissing me because I was less experienced.

One listing agent, in particular, made sort of casual references to my inexperience with every email or phone call exchange after my buyer won the contract on her listing.

She’d make comments like “when you’ve been in the business as long as I have, you understand these things” or “you may not be familiar with the way this works, but …” — just very condescending. I was privately furious every time we had an exchange, but it was wasted energy.

In the first year, I could feel myself burning out because I was allowing myself to get worked up over things I couldn’t control! Until you develop a thicker skin, this industry can be a little rough, and it can feel personal. Honestly, the best thing for that is just time and experience.

What advice would you give to new agents?

Find someone to mentor you. I cannot stress enough how important it is to take advice and try to learn from someone you respect. In the long run, you’ll develop a confidence and self-assuredness that will help you go far.

Christy Murdock Edgar is a Realtor, freelance writer, coach and consultant with Writing Real Estate in Alexandria, Virginia. Follow Writing Real Estate on Facebook or Twitter

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