Posts Tagged ‘Part-Time’

posted by on Especially for Rookies

Last week I posted a blog revisiting the notion of starting a new real estate career part-time in order to hedge one’s bets (and put food on the table). Got some fantastic, well-thunked-out comments, some agreeing with me, some not… which of course, makes the discussion interesting.

But one of the later comments got me thinking (thunking?)…

Steve Bachman left this comment: “What percentage of agents nationwide make their total family living in this business? My guess is less than 15%. What do you think? The nice part of the business is that you can make it what you want. My wife and I are full time, but most of the agents we know have other sources of income and do not work ‘full time’.”

I have no idea what percentage of agents depend 100% on real estate for their income, but it was the second part of Steve’s comment that got my wheels spinning.

The nice part about this business is that you can make it what you want.”

And here was my (slightly edited) comment-on-the-comment:  “If someone doesn’t want to make much money selling real estate and won’t be frustrated (or financially devastated) by not making much money, then sure, I guess it’s fine for them to dabble….But it’s scary to think that it’s “okay” to dabble in a career that involves such huge sums of <other people’s> money…

Thoughts?

posted by on Especially for Rookies

toe in the water

Whether or not one can succeed/survive in this industry doing it part-time is always a good topic for debate. Emotions run high, tempers flare, feelings get hurt. Bummer.

But it really is an important question, especially TO those considering entering the field.

I’ve been thinking about it a lot, so I’ll take one for the team and open up that can of worms yet again.

For the record, I’ve always been of the seemingly obvious opinion that if you’re going to do something, do it 100%. And in an industry where far more practitioners fail than succeed, it only makes sense that the ones who devote themselves wholeheartedly to their career have a better chance of being one of the ones who don’t fail… right?

Well, in the last few years, our industry has changed (really, Jennifer, y’think?) and it’s not uncommon for a new real estate agent (or any real estate agent, frankly) to go months and months without a paycheck. And that’s a tough situation to volunteer for.

So, new real estate agents approach their careers a little more circumspectly. They keep their day job (or night job as the case may be) and only stick their toe in the water… okay, maybe they wade in up their knees or even their waist. But they don’t jump in. They don’t fully commit. And they tell themselves that they’re being practical, logical and responsible.

I get that. I really do. In a business where new practitioners might go a year before seeing their first payday, it’s a tough sell to convince them to leave their regular paycheck and benefits behind.

But… practicality and responsibility aside… it still doesn’t work. I know a lot of first-year agents and they run the gamut from having zero business to having more business than they can handle… and without exception, it’s the part-time agents who are at the zero end… and the full-time agents who are at the more-than-they-can-handle end. (Of course, there are plenty of full-timers who are failing, but I don’t know any part-timers who are succeeding).

The thing is – to succeed in a new business, you have to immerse yourself in it. Every day. All day. With all your passion, all your energy, all your resources. Sorry, but that’s a fact whether or not you want to or can afford to. New agents who are succeeding are giving this career their full attention… not just sticking their toe in the water.

What’s the punch line? If you can’t afford to immerse yourself in your new real estate career, maybe now is not the time to begin your new real estate career.

p.s. please note that I am speaking primarily to new agents and pre-licensees here. Experienced agents with established lead generation and administrative systems can often make it working part-time. But rookies?  Sorry…

RELATED BLOGS
Aspiring Agents – Can’t Go Full Time? Consider this…
Can a New Agent Make it in Today’s Market?

posted by on Especially for Rookies

Whether or not a new agent can succeed in this business starting out part time is a topic of much debate all over the world of real estate online forums. Rookies ask… Old Fogies answer… and the discussion usually deteriorates into a p*ssing contest between the two camps. I’ve written extensively on the topic and I have no problem declaring which side I fall on… I believe that this biz is tough enough to get started in debatewithout making it even harder by hitting it with only half (or less) of your time, energy and focus. So, in case that wasn’t clear, I think a new agent oughta do it full-time, or not at all.

Oh, yes, I know the arguments… the main one is “But I can’t AFFORD to give up my regular paycheck yet; I NEED to keep my job to pay my bills!” Others claim to know someone who managed to survive working only nights and weekends, or fitting in real estate around their “real” job.

Fair enough. My goal here is not to open that tired old can of worms yet again. You have your opinion; I have mine, she has hers and he has his.

But the fact remains that most rookies fail in their real estate venture. MOST. Even the ones who think they’ll be the exception. Obviously, MOST won’t be.

I hope it’s a fair statement to say that if you want to succeed in a business, you’ll have a better chance of doing so if you give it MORE effort than LESS effort – can we agree on that? Therefore, the ideal situation for new agents is to be able to go full-time, right from the start, right?

If we can agree on that, then how about this? If you’re cool with the idea of working your backside off on two jobs (your “real” job + your new real estate career), why not keep your day job and go get a second job that actually PAYS your money instead of COSTS you money? For six months, a year, whatever it takes to save up a nice nest-egg that will enable you to pursue your dream of being a wildly successful (full-time) real estate agent. Tend bar, deliver pizza, clean houses, tutor, mow lawns… whatever you can do in your spare time to generate some spare cash to sock away.

I promise you, this business is a whole lot more fun when you’re not freaked out about your next mortgage payment or exhausted from trying to start a new business after a long day’s work.  Those six months will fly by, and if you’re lucky, maybe the real estate market will improve by then!

posted by on Especially for Rookies

Question

In the last week, I’ve been contacted by three (or was it four?) aspiring real estate agents who began the conversation with some variation of the words “I know you don’t approve of selling real estate part-time, but…” and proceeded to tell me why I might consider “approving” of their situation.

Sorry. Ain’t gonna happen. Okay, well, let me confess that one of the three (or four) aspiring agents actually had a potentially viable proposition for success as a part-time new agent, but the others (love y’all, but…) did not. Their main argument to my proclamation that part-time ain’t gonna work was “I’d really like to go full-time but I can’t. What do you think?”

Um, sorry m’love, but I think exactly what I thought five minutes before I got your call or note. Whether or not you “can” go full-time doesn’t change the fact that selling real estate is a full-time job. Take it or leave it.

But, don’t despair; there IS a solution for you!

Really, Jennifer? Tell me; tell me, what is it?

I dunno.

I don’t know what the solution is, but there is one. Wanna know how to find it? Okay, here goes.

Simply acknowledge to yourself that you want to sell real estate for a living, and accept the fact that in order to succeed, selling real estate needs to be your primary career. Then relax and let it go – let your creativity subconsciously work on the problem. Don’t rush it, don’t fret, and don’t force anything. The answer will come, I promise it will.

I don’t know what that answer will be, but I’m almost positive it won’t be “I’ll sell real estate nights and weekends.” That’s the WRONG answer.

But there is a right answer. One that will seem oh-so-obvious once it smacks you on the head.  

I recently played this game with myself in my personal life. There are two things I want and they appear to be mutually exclusive. I can have this… OR that. Not both. So, I just said out loud what I wanted and waited for inspiration on how to have both… or some other satisfactory solution. And, I think I’ve found it. Once the solution occurred to me, it seemed so obvious.

Be patient and show your new career the respect it deserves. It may just be the best decision you ever made. And if you come up with a Right Answer to the dilemma – please share!

RELATED BLOGS
Is it Your “Right” to Dabble in Real Estate?
Aspiring Real Estate Agents – Can’t Go Full-time?
Revisiting Part-Time versus Full-Time in 2010

posted by on Especially for Rookies, Jennifer's Best

This blog is directed at new agents. Experienced agents, who know their systems, their markets and their contracts, and who have a steady stream of business can certainly succeed working part-time. But in the first year……

No! Selling real estate (well) is NOT a part-time job!

I know this opinion is unpopular. And because I like to be liked, I’ve kept my mouth shut. As an active participant on several real estate forums, I see this question come up time and again. Responses range from “Oh, yes, you can definitely sell real estate part time” to “Well, you can do it, but you’ll have to work real hard.” To my great surprise, no one comes right out and says “Are you crazy??”

So, I’ll be brave and go first… “Are you crazy?”

Let’s talk about the reasons someone might become a PT real estate agent…

Uh…okay, only one reason comes to mind. Money. Not enough of it.

I can’t think of any other reason someone would start a new career and only attack it half-assed (or less!)

This is a tough business to get into, especially now. Well, I should rephrase that – it’s certainly not tough to get into, but it’s very tough to succeed in. Rumor has it that eighty percent of new agents fail within the first year. Eighty percent! So, if you are considering entering a business in which eighty percent don’t make it through the first year, the odds are very much against your chances of succeeding. And you think that giving it less than your all is going to improve those odds?

The common song I hear when agents insist on going part-time is a whining “Well, it would be NICE if I could do it full-time, but not EVERYONE has that luxury!

Fair enough.

Then, maybe, just maybe, this isn’t the right time. Just because selling real estate is your dream doesn’t mean that you are entitled to succeed if you aren’t ready. Some dreams may just have to wait. Patience, grasshopper!

But enough ranting and raving (maybe). Here are some solid reasons part-time is not nearly as cool as full-time:

1. Being part-time screams to your friends, prospects and clients that you aren’t successful enough to do it full-time. And who wants to work with an unsuccessful real estate agent?

2. Being part-time requires you to be oh-so-efficient with your time. This sounds like a good thing, but it’s not. In the course of learning to be a good real estate agent, you need to be able to risk “wasting” your time. For example, let’s say you get a floor call from a marginally qualified buyer. If you’re part-time, you might be tempted (or forced) to turn him away. If you’re full-time, you’re delighted for the opportunity to practice your craft, regardless of the potential for a paycheck. But I guarantee you, whether or not you get paid for running around with this buyer, the learning experience will be worth every “wasted” minute. And who knows, this buyer could end up being your biggest referral source.

But as a part-time agent who doesn’t have time to mess around, you’ll never know.

3. I don’t see how a new part-time agent can truly serve her clients when she doesn’t have the time to learn her craft. When I was new, everything I did took me five times as long to do as it should have because I had a huge learning curve to climb over. I worked very hard (full-time) to learn my market, to master my systems, to know my contracts inside and out, to develop my team of service providers and oh, yes, to answer my phone every time my clients called… or to return their calls within five minutes.

4. Your paying clients expect and deserve your full attention. Especially when you’re new and, c’mon, admit it, you don’t know what you’re doing. When you go on your first listing appointment, you SHOULD have spent the previous 48 hours straight preparing your market analysis. Your fear of failure and embarrassment should motivate you to go through the comparable market data with a fine-toothed comb. A part-time agent doesn’t have the time or energy for this.

Your buyer needs an agent who is as enthusiastic about his house-hunt as he is. He deserves an agent who previews like a madman to find just the right house the day it hits the market. An agent who is willing and able to hold the buyer’s hand through the painful inspection. An agent who can drop everything and spend five hours making phone calls when a last-minute crisis threatens your buyer’s closing.

5. The agent on the other side of the deal expects and deserves your attention. She doesn’t want to do your job for you just because you’re at your “real” job and can’t get away. And remember, you’re making her look bad to her clients when she can’t reach you to get a question answered or a problem resolved. 

6. Selling real estate is a constant learning experience. Even full-time, experienced agents learn something new with every sale or listing. If you’re only selling four or five houses a year because you’re part-time, you’re missing out on a lot of on-the-job training. It doesn’t matter how smart, how motivated or how charming you are, you’ll never be as qualified as a good full-time agent.

(Note I said “good.” There are plenty of bad full-time agents and you may very well be more qualified than some of them).

7. In both of your careers, if something goes wrong, it’s going to be blamed on your dual-life. Perhaps with good reason.

Again, I know my opinion is unpopular. I just know how hard I worked in my first five years, and I can’t imagine succeeding in (or even enjoying) this career without devoting my heart and soul to it.

So, here’s an alternate plan. If you want to sell real estate and you want to succeed… work your backside off for the next year and save some money. Work two or even three jobs that guarantee you a paycheck and put that money away. After all, that’s what you’re talking about doing anyway, right? Working two jobs? If you think building a real estate business is easier than, say, waiting tables at night, you’re mistaken. At least waiting tables guarantees you $3/hour with no out-of-pocket costs!

Then, hit your new career with guns blazing. ALL your energy. ALL your enthusiasm. ALL your attention. You’ll be glad you did, I promise.