The right questions to ask yourself

There's endless options when selecting the right brokerage for your career, no matter how new or experienced you are. Do you go with the tried-and-true big names? Or try a smaller firm?

The right office depends on a number of factors, from where you are in your career, to your manager, to your personality type. 

Wondering how you can tell what company is right for you, and what factors you should be considering? There’s pros and cons of working at any brokerage, but as someone who has successfully made the switch from one type of firm to another - and is happy about it - here’s a few things I’ve learned. 

Particularly when you’re just starting out, there will be late-night, last-minute questions that you need answers to, and a supportive manager can make all the difference. 

My advice: Ask to speak to someone on the team who’s new enough to have perspective, but seasoned enough to have experience. Was the training they received relevant? Are they getting the support and guidance they need?

Some offices call themselves progressive because they use templates for some of the basics to get you started. While these can be a good start, you’re likely not the only person using these templates, and it hardly sets you apart in a competitive industry. Not to mention, they can be impersonal and outdated.

My advice: Ask for samples of the materials. Are they high-end, and useful to you? Or irrelevant, and poorly designed? (For further reading, see my post on hiring a professional marketer, and how this can help give your materials a boost.)

What’s the brokerage’s stance on an informed client? There’s varying opinions on how much information we share with clients, and how much info we should be sharing. Does the brokerage share the same philosophy as you, or will you constantly be at odds over sharing too much or too little with your clients?

My advice: If you believe the real estate market should be more transparent and your office doesn’t share those beliefs, you could find yourself in a tough position. Ask questions during the interview process, and don’t be afraid to mention your own beliefs to ensure alignment.

Real estate can be lonely and isolating, and it’s easy to get caught up in your own head. Being part of an office environment and culture that promotes socialization and idea sharing can make all the difference.

My advice: Look for cues during your office visits, and get a sense of what the social environment is like. Maybe ask to take someone out for a coffee to ask more questions. Does the office do a weekly or monthly get-togethers? Is there a competitive vibe? If you have questions, is there a reliable network of agents you can talk to?

Even experienced agents need great brokers. There’s always new situations and questions, and you’ll want to work for someone you feel comfortable turning to for advice.

My advice: Ask for a one-on-one with your potential manager and try to spend time with them before joining. Are they easy to talk to? Explain a difficult situation you had with an offer or agent in the past, and ask how they would have guided you: what’s their conflict resolution manner? Ask around - do they have a good industry reputation? Can you trust them? Your manager isn’t just interviewing you - you’re interviewing them. 

I can’t pick the right brokerage for you, but I can ask you the right questions to think about as someone who’s successfully made various transitions. If you’re ready for a change, give me a call.

We've already talked about what your time is worth, and how to calculate what your task rate should be. But what about the things that seem like a waste of time, but end up being really important?

What you do during your workday typically  falls into three categories:

  1. Things that are a good use of your time;
  2. Things that aren’t;
  3. And things that you know aren’t a good use of your time, but you do them anyway (and maybe that’s okay)

But how do you determine what’s a good use of your time, and what activities that seem trivial, but might pay off in the long run?

Turns out, there’s one simple question to ask yourself that should give you the answer - and here it is:

What’s the potential outcome of this?

In order to be a good use of your time, or valuable in some sense, it should fall into one of four categories:

If your task isn’t hitting at least one of those points, your answer should be clear: delegate it, forget it, or change it.

Here’s an example:

You’ve got three things on your plate this morning: renewing your driver’s license so you can drive your clients to showings, learning WordPress so you can update your website, and practicing a client listing presentation. What’s the best way to spend your time?

Let’s break it down. 

Looking at the results, while the driver’s license renewal may be more urgent, overall, practicing your client presentation is the best use of your time. For more info on determining how best to spend your time, let’s book a call and navigate together.

Or at least plan to read this

I get it - creating long, complicated plans for work can be boring, time-consuming, and way too overwhelming. Isn’t it more productive to actually do the work?

The importance of a great plan can't be overstated. It helps you stay on course, eliminate the stuff you don’t need to be doing, and gives you a guide to look back on so if you happen to veer off course, you know how to get centered again.

Every great business should have four plans:

1. Business plan

Your business plan is your north star. It should guide all your major business decisions, and be a point of reference you check in on throughout the year. It should include important benchmarks, and answer questions like:

It doesn’t have to be complicated, and it should be flexible enough to adapt to uncertain circumstances. The important thing is to refer to it and update it constantly - you control the plan; it doesn’t control you.

2. Marketing plan

Wondering how a marketing plan is different from your business plan? Think of your marketing plan like the image you present to the world, while your business plan is more around the structure and how you’ll make your income. Your marketing plan should include your social media and online presence goals, how you expect to grow your business, and how much is an appropriate amount to spend. Many great agents may partner with an external agency or contractor to help develop this plan, and it can be wise to get some professional help.

3. Personal time plan

This is an especially important one if you run your own show. When you take a day off, or head on vacation (remember - vacations are critical to your success!), your business doesn’t stop. How will you manage incoming emails, phone calls, and any social media accounts you’re managing? Don’t let your business go dormant while you’re enjoying cocktails on a beach or skiing black diamonds - plan ahead, and come back to an organized (and still running) business.

4. Financial plan

Probably the plan everyone’s the most worried about, but potentially the most important. No matter how junior or senior you are, trust me - you need a financial plan. What happens if the market surges and you have to bring on someone new to help with all your listings? Or - knock on wood - things take a dive, and you have less business for an extended period of time? The businesses that are able to take advantage of markets, and stay afloat through difficult times are the ones who have a strong financial plan. 

Whether you’re starting from scratch, or just want a second opinion on your hard work, why not set up a call? In fact - let’s plan on it.

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