Celebrate Agent Appreciation Month and #ThankAnAgent with Inman this January. Discover more and see how to get involved, click here.

In this recurring column, Inman hosts various contributing writers who share personal and business finance insights they’ve picked up throughout their careers to help agents and brokers stay financially fit.

We expect a lot from our jobs. Not only do we depend on our jobs for financial security, but, in many cases, we also define ourselves in large part by our productivity and professional success.

If you’re looking to tap into the potential that your real estate career holds for personal and professional satisfaction, we’ve got 10 suggestions for helping you make your job more fulfilling and gratifying this year.

1. Get more education

What do you wish you knew? What knowledge or skills do you lack? Whatever you’re looking to learn, there’s a class for it, either online or in real life.

Take a personal finance class, develop your writing skills, or learn graphic design. Take a deep dive into contracts or negotiations. Finish that long-delayed degree program, or simply learn one new thing.

Put your newfound expertise to work by developing new marketing strategies, streamlining your operation or improving your outcomes in complex negotiation. The more you know, the more confident you’ll be in everything you do.

2. Pursue a new certification or designation

Want to work with seniors? Want to learn more about green building? Want to improve your understanding of foreclosures and short sales? There are a variety of certifications and designations that can help you learn all about various aspects of real estate services and the broader real estate market.

Professional development allows you to grow your business and improve your understanding through either in-person or online course work. Besides improving your own skills and practices, you can predict and prepare for upcoming market shifts by shifting your business planning as well.

3. Develop a new niche

Use your professional development and education to help you create and market to a new niche. First-time homebuyers, senior adults, luxury properties, resort properties — there are literally dozens of niches to explore.

Choose the niche you want to focus on, then begin developing marketing materials to appeal to that group. Strengthen your network with an eye toward creating or growing your foothold in your chosen niche.

You might find that instead of trying to be all things to all people, it’s more profitable to be everything to a select group of clients.

4. Create new revenue streams

It’s hard to scale your business when you’re already maxed out. If you find that there’s just not enough bandwidth to continue to grow your client base, you might need to explore new revenue streams and develop passive income strategies.

Grow your out-of-town referral network. Develop content or courses that you can monetize. Leverage your local reputation by starting a team.

Explore recruitment opportunities within your organization. Find more ways to make an impact in the industry while scaling your business more effectively.

5. Begin investing in real estate

If you haven’t already, begin exploring real estate investment opportunities, either in your local market or beyond. Start small with a crowdfunding investment of a few hundred dollars while you learn more about the opportunities around you.

If you’re great at finding pre-market listings, put that skill to work as a wholesaler for moneyed investors in your area. Join a real estate investment group, and get to know the most active local investors.

Find out what neighborhoods or types of homes they’re looking for, and develop strong working relationships.

As you learn more, develop a strategy for putting together your own portfolio of rental properties. Find affordable and reliable property management to keep your properties filled and productive.

6. Create content to showcase your expertise

One of the best ways to get your marketing message out into the community 24/7/365 is through online content creation. Blogs, podcasts, videos — all of these offer you the chance to share your professional know-how with buyers and sellers in your market and beyond.

Whether you need to start a content platform or reboot an existing one, you’ll find that the leads that come in from content are warmer than those you get from cold calling, door-knocking or paid lead generators.

You’ll also have more opportunity to target your content — and the resulting leads — through keyword research and smart distribution.

7. Take a leadership role in your local or state organization

How often do you complain about the state of the industry or “how things ought to be”? Get involved in your local board of Realtors, run for office or serve on a committee. Run the local YPN, and help develop the future leaders of the real estate profession.

Whatever your talents and areas of expertise, you’ll find a way to put them to work at the local or state level. Become certified as a trainer, or help plan the next associational conference.

Turn your love of politics into active involvement in RPAC. The possibilities are limited only by your interest and imagination.

8. Find or become a mentor

If you’re struggling to find satisfaction in your career, you might need to connect to someone else and take on some new responsibilities.

Whether you choose to seek out a mentor to help you grow professionally or choose to mentor someone else, you’ll find yourself taking a greater interest in your job and developing new skills along the way.

You might believe that you don’t have time to work with someone else, but think of that time as a professional development opportunity.

Whether you’re benefitting from a mentor’s guidance or serving in that role with a new agent, you’ll have the opportunity to ask and answer questions and really consider the things that make you successful — and the things you need to improve.

9. Boost your productivity

You’ll get more out of every day if you streamline your processes and increase your productivity. Consider implementing one or more of the following strategies:

  • Create an email or text automation to follow up with leads.
  • Automate your marketing with the help of a marketing company, freelancer or PR firm.
  • Explore the services of a transaction coordinator, virtual assistant or other professional.
  • Learn what services and resources are available at your brokerage and ensure that you are using them to their fullest extent.
  • Check out Slack, Trello or another productivity platform to streamline your operation.
  • Ensure that you have fully optimized your phone’s capabilities with mobile versions of your CRM and transaction management platforms.
  • Explore time management programs and processes to help you get the most out of your available hours.

10. Develop short-term and long-term goals

One of the most meaningful things that you can do to get more from your job is to set both short-term and long-term goals for yourself. This will give you a yardstick against which you can measure your accomplishments and plan for the future.

If your goals tend to be a little vague, try to make them more concrete. For instance, instead of saying you want to grow your business, consider a goal of increasing your number of listings by 10 percent this year.

Instead of saying you want to be the best, aim for a particular award or recognition. The more concrete your goals are, the more actionable the steps to achieve them will be.

Christy Murdock Edgar is a Realtor, freelance writer, coach and consultant with Writing Real Estate. She is also a Florida Realtors faculty member. Follow Writing Real Estate on  FacebookTwitterInstagram  and YouTube.

Are you ready for what the industry holds in 2020? Inman Connect New York is your key to unlocking opportunity in a changing market. At Connect you will gain insight into the future, discover new strategies and network with real estate’s best and brightest to accelerate your business. Create your 2020 success story at Inman Connect New York, January 28-31, 2020.

Agenda | Speakers | Past Connect Videos

Thinking of bringing your team? There are special onsite perks and discounts when you buy tickets together. Contact us to find out more.

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