Whether you’re a rookie agent, a rising team leader or an established veteran broker, we can all benefit from sharpening our skills. Follow our “Back to Basics” series to learn fundamental strategies, tactics, philosophies and more from real estate pros across the industry.
You can very often tell a real estate agent walking down the street: very appropriately dressed for the weather, jangling keys, headphones in, phone in hand and in a hurry. Although we are hustlin’ and bustlin’ around for most of the day, and we might look like we’re constantly on the run, there is and should be a method to our madness.
For us, this might be a typical Saturday afternoon when we’re working with clients — when many others are enjoying the weekend off. But we might take the day off on Tuesday — our day in sweatpants doing our laundry and grocery shopping.
This kind of flexibility is what a lot of people hope for when picking their career, and being a real estate agent allows this as an option, which is one of the major draws of the profession.
The common misconception of this kind of career is that having a flexible schedule means that you can fly by the seat of your pants on a daily basis.
What gets lost in the shuffle is finding the proper balance needed to create structure within a flexible schedule. This is where a lot of real estate agents will lose their footing in the industry and fail early on.
There is a reason that a large majority of job hours are from Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.: as human beings, we are driven by routine and habit. Think of your morning routine: Is it the same everyday?
Psychologically, we find comfort in routines and organization that will make us calmer and better functioning throughout our days and weeks.
Some of the most successful agents in the world are meticulously organized and have a set schedule that they live by. Their schedule includes everything from the moment they wake up, when they work out, meetings and appointments, meals, to the moment they go to sleep.
They create a routine that fits their needs, but also allows for maximum production in the careers. For agents, personal systems need to be put in place to gain the flexibility you need to make this career work for you.
There are several organizational tricks and tips that can be helpful to learn to properly manage your time, money and investments, and track your goals.
Managing your time
This could mean to simply get an old-fashioned calendar and write out your routine, or using an online calendar to block out sections of time for each task.
By doing this, you are able to hold yourself accountable for accomplishing these tasks and develop a habit in doing so. Typically, a habit is formed within 21 days, so by staying diligent and adhering to your calendar’s demands, you will form a habit in completing necessary tasks to benefit your business.
You will also find time to finish the possibly more undesirable tasks, such as: posting listings, cold calling, updating spreadsheets, etc., and working them into your schedule regardless of your feelings about them. This will help elevate your business.
You might also find it useful to create templates to make your life a lot easier, and your response time to clients a much faster.
If you see a pattern of emails you send out (“new lead” email, “scheduling a call” email, “after a phone call” email, “day before going on tour” email, etc.), then formulate a template for each.
This way, you can save them in your email as well as program them in your phone via text replacement to alleviate the repetitive nature of the business and expedite your processes of communication, thereby managing your time wisely.
We all know how very important it is to keep track of your money! For obvious reasons, but also because you are responsible for your own taxes, retirement accounts, etc.
Your paychecks will be tracked by pay stubs, but keeping your own spreadsheet of money is quintessential. Carefully making sure you are being compensated for each deal should be ingrained as part of your schedule as well as establishing ways that you can distinguish your take-home money from your tax money to make sure at the end of the quarter or year you aren’t strapped to repay “Uncle Sam.”
A simple way of doing this is to open a separate bank account and deposit 30 percent to 35 percent of each paycheck into that untouched account. Also, opening a separate credit card that is used for business expenses only is useful to keep a categorized record to see where your spending is being allocated.
Don’t forget to hold onto the receipts too — you could get audited. Those can be housed electronically or in an old-school shoebox for safe keeping.
Managing your goals
By managing your time and money properly, it will lead to helping you in managing your goals.
The old adage “You don’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been” rings true in this situation.
By creating organization within your flexible job, you will be able to keep track of your progress throughout the year and continue to build your client relationships after deals have been closed.
You’ll be able to look back on your previous month or year to determine what goals you will be setting for yourself next. Establishing an organized system will give you the ability to reflect on what you’ve achieved and haven’t achieved to set your sights on the future and keep growing as an agent — and that’s what we all want right?
Overall, you want to find the systems that work for you, but also cultivate a balance that makes your flexible life have organization.
Although you might be a hustlin’ and bustlin’ real estate agent, to be the best agent you can be — hustle requires diligent organization. And the sooner you instill these systems in your life, the easier it will be in the long run to maintain.