In this weekly column, real estate agents across the nation share stories of the lessons they’ve learned during their time in the industry. This week, Austin-based broker and author Julie Nelson shares her story.

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

Julie Nelson

As a broker and author, Austin-based Julie Nelson has found that understanding the managerial aspects of a real estate business is an essential element for success.

With a background that is “techy and operational,” she uses her past experience and current interests to inform her business’s growth and her work as an expert resource for up-and-coming agents.

Find out what she has learned along the way and how she learned to put money matters first.

How long have you been in the business?

Twenty years. I had thought about real estate off and on for years but numerous people talked me out of it (guess I wasn’t ready). Then one day I got laid off from my high-tech position … that was a good day and opened my real estate door. I have never looked back.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

As a best-selling author, playing large and impacting Realtors’ lives.

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

So many big lessons. One of the most important lessons I have learned is how to be a good boss in my own business.

How did you learn it?

I like to say that there is the sexy part of real estate (working with clients, no financial ceiling, flex schedule, I am my own boss, design, architecture, thrill of the hunt, helping people land awesome properties, etc.), and then there is the not-so-sexy part, the job (build a sustainable pipeline for financial stability and predictability).

I learned this the hard way, as do most agents. You figure out (and sometimes you have to relearn this) that you have to lead with the job, not the sexy.

I relaunched my real estate business in 2017 (after five years in a leadership position). I knew I needed a successful relaunch and also was well-aware of my tendency toward distraction.

I had big goals, so I started by giving myself the title national sales manager. And what does a national sales manager do? She sets the goals for the team, creates systems and an environment that supports those goals and holds the team accountable for hitting those targets.

The main thing this “be a better boss” concept does for me is simple: I make sure I get the money work done first every day. That means lead generation and lead follow-up.

I have a post-it note on my desk that says “Julie, what is your fastest route to a lead, client, contract or paycheck today? Do that thing first!” That is being a better boss in a nutshell.

What advice would you give to new agents?

Seriously, my advice is to read my book (it’s why I wrote the book, to help agents get started or restarted).

The big takeaways there are:

  1. A healthier pipeline fixes everything: Focus on getting your next three to 10 clients.
  2. Stop over complicating things: Minimize distractions, get the most important things done, and be a better boss of you.

Are you an agent with a story everyone can learn something from? Reach out to us ( We look forward to featuring more of our best agents and brokers in a future edition of “Lesson learned.”

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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