Getting started in real estate is one of the easiest things to do, which makes the shock all that more profound when you realize how daunting it is to build a sustainable business and not fail.

My story is not unlike that of many other agents I have talked to. I already had a few successful careers under my belt, started and sold companies, and was looking for my next endeavor. The market in the early 2000s was really heating up and all I could see was opportunity. It didn’t seem like it would be all that difficult. Just read some books, interview the best brokerages in the area, and seek out the most successful agents. Then, get a sponsor and commit two weekends of my life to taking the mandatory real estate licensing course and following exam. All good so far, and I felt like the smartest guy in the room!

The shock started to set in during the first week in my new office when I realized that I had essentially just launched a business where I had no domain knowledge and no employees. I would be doing all of the roles that I had successfully relied on others to do in the past: research, prospecting, advertising, lead generation, marketing, Web design (check out our infographic), content creation, bookkeeping, scheduling, and the requisite shaking hands and kissing babies. There would be no business unless I made it. My dream of a cushy job was shattered, and I was an entrepreneur again.

The path to success in real estate is littered with those who started and were never able to make a living — or possibly never able to make the transition from thinking it’s easy to hunkering down to do the hard work of building a business.  I feel like I dodged a bullet. I was lucky to find an amazing brokerage and some fantastic mentors who are still killing it today. I also had the luxury of a booming market where it was difficult to fail. That being said, real estate is a very complicated and nuanced industry that requires you to be an entrepreneur, committed to a nonstop path of iteration, learning and growth.

While there is no shortcut to success in real estate, we interviewed hundreds of agents, brokers and other professionals in the field to help distill the strategies that lead to building a sustainable business in real estate. Let me know what you think! I would love to hear your story and what advice you have for new agents starting out in the business. Leave a comment below and I promise I will respond.

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