From financial mistakes to shiny object syndrome, there are so many ways to get off track, according to team leader Adam Hergenrother. Here’s how to avoid game-changing errors — or get back on track after making one.

This April, one of Inman’s most popular recurring theme months returns: Back to Basics. All month, real estate professionals from across the country share what’s working for them, how they’ve evolved their systems and tools, and where they’re investing personally and professionally to drive growth in 2022. It’s always smart to go Back to Basics with Inman.

Adam Hergenrother is the founder and CEO of Livian. He believes that business is nothing but a conduit for personal growth and embraces the company’s vision to Love How You Live. When he’s not leading and growing his organizations, you can find Adam either in the mountains or out in nature with his wife and three children.

In any real estate agent’s life cycle, there are going to be seasons of hustle and seasons where agents may decelerate and slow down. But either way, that is a choice.

Regardless of what is happening in the market, agents do have the power to control their market. Agents are in control of how they show up each day. They get to choose how much business they want to do and whether or not they are willing to do what it takes to get that business.

That is the beauty of being a real estate agent — you are the CEO of your business and your life. Your success is entirely up to you. Sure, you can have a world-class real estate platform and team behind you (and I hope you do). But at the end of the day, you still have to show up, make the calls, meet with clients, negotiate deals and sell some houses. 

It can be a very empowering thought to know that your success is entirely up to you. It can also be terrifying. It’s easy for agents to get off track, lose focus or momentum, or be unsure of what actions to take next to continue to grow.

The good news? There are certain things you can implement today, right now, to avoid getting off track — or, if you do get off track, to get back to business quickly. 

Of course, the best-case scenario is to be aware of these potential roadblocks and create systems in your life and business to steer clear of them altogether. 

Here are five ways agents often get off track and how to avoid them. 

1. They stop lead generating

Once agents have “enough” clients to work with, they often stop lead generating, or lead generating as much as they did before. If they stop doing the activity that got them all that business in the first place, their well is going to run dry before they know it. This is probably the biggest mistake I see with real estate agents and why their businesses go up and down, up and down, for years.

Take Action: Create a lead generation schedule and stick to it. Lead generation is about consistency. Yes, there will be times when you need to lead generate for five hours a day, but in general, find an amount of time you are willing to commit to the task and then stick to it. An hour of lead generation a day for 12 months is better than 12 hours a day for one month.

2. They go after the shiny object

The real estate agents who are the most successful over time are those who stay consistent and have committed to mastering the boredom of success. I understand that it’s much easier (and more fun) to try a different lead generation activity each week, but you have to ask yourself if that is really a dollar-producing activity or simply a distraction. (Hint: Usually it’s a distraction.)

The grass is not always greener on the other side. Stay focused on nurturing the growth of your own yard. 

Take Action: Determine what your top three lead sources are, focus on those, and double down if needed. There are always going to be new CRMs, new referral programs, a new graphic design program, or a new social media platform. If they don’t fall into your top three lead generation sources, put them out of your mind and stay focused on what you know works. 

3. They don’t have a morning and evening routine

How you start and end your day is so important to priming yourself for a productive day, as well as helping you wind down for a good night’s rest, which of course, leads to a better day ahead. It all works together to make you the best version of you.

I’m not saying you need to have a three-hour meditation, journaling and exercise routine here — though if you do, more power to you. What I do suggest is that you think intentionally about how you want to start your day and what activities give you the most clarity and energy to take on the day ahead. It’s a heck of a lot easier to stay on track when you have the mental, physical and emotional fitness to do so.

Be intentional about how you end your day as well.

  • How are your wrapping up your work?
  • Do you create a quick list of what you need to tackle tomorrow?
  • Do you have a relaxing bedtime routine or are you collapsing into bed at midnight?

By creating these bookends to your day, even if you are starting to get off track throughout the day, you will always know that you have these two opportunities each day to reset and get back on track.

Take Action: Create your morning and evening bookends. At the very least, intentionally think about how you spend the first and last 15 minutes of your day. What can you do during that time to create the most clarity and energy for yourself?

4. They stop learning and growing

I don’t have to tell you that the real estate industry and economy at large are shifting faster than ever. Agents must stay on top of marketing trends, the global economy, local market data, technology tools and more. If continuing education and a commitment to personal and professional growth is not part of an agent’s weekly routine, they can get off track very quickly these days.

In addition, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to be working on your personal growth as well — whether that’s leadership, resilience, time management, a growth mindset, communication, decision-making or your vision for your life. If you are not growing, you’re dying; there is no in-between.

Take Action: Subscribe to various e-newsletters (Inman and Morning Brew are two of my favorites) and read them each day. Listen to podcasts, read books, hire a coach, take online training courses. Whatever you choose to do, make a commitment to never stop learning and growing. It is one thing that will always help you stay on track — or get back on track if necessary.

5. They leverage too soon

When agents begin to see some consistent success, they will often start thinking about what they can stop doing, and what they can leverage and delegate to someone else. I’m a huge fan of leverage and generally like this way of thinking.

However, it is so easy to get off track by leveraging too soon, specifically with sales activities and client relationship management. A successful real estate career and business means that you have to be willing to play the long game.

When agents leverage their real estate clients or team too soon, it’s generally because they want to go engage with another business opportunity. Let’s say, for example, they start a property management company, and then a staging company, oh, and they start a coaching company as well.

Again, I’m all for leverage and growth. But do it too soon, chasing the shiny object of another business when your current team isn’t completely stable without you, creates chaos (and often insufficient profit margins) in all businesses. I know how tempting it can be to want to move on to a new venture. However, it is paramount that your real estate business can operate with the profitability you need without you being involved on a day-to-day basis.

It’s not as simple as finding one great agent. Most often I’ve seen that the lead agent — you — will need two or three great agents to replace the production that you did.

Take Action: If you know that at some point, you don’t want to be involved in the day-to-day sales activities, start recruiting and interviewing today. Partner with several agents and work diligently to train and mentor them.

Make sure your team has a solid foundation, is fully operational without you, and is doing even more sales than before prior to moving on to something else. The important part here is to slow down, create a plan and be strategic so that you are creating a sustainable and scalable business.

Remember, your success in real estate is up to you. If you are aware of the common issues that derail agents, then you can put proactive plans in place today to help you avoid them. Then you’ll be one step closer to the life and business that works best for you.

Adam Hergenrother is the founder and CEO of Livian, the author of The Founder & The Force Multiplier, and the host of the podcast, Business Meets Spirituality. Learn more about Adam’s companies and culture here.

agent advice | teams
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