Goals, Success and Self Employment

Business merry go roundBeing clear about your own needs wants and desires is the only way to being clear about building the success map for your business.  You didn’t go into business for yourself because you wanted someone else setting your goals and direction.  You got off the employee merry go round because you believed you had something special and unique to offer of your own.  You had your own thoughts, ideas and abilities and you wanted to develop them and share them with others.

Here’s your chance.  Differentiate yourself from all the other Real Estate brokers out there, by clearing defining WHAT YOU OFFER.  Okay, I know right now you’re thinking – I sell real estate, what is she talking about?!?  That’s just it, you sell real estate the same as every other broker out there, so what are YOU going to do to set yourself apart from the hungry pack?  How hungry are YOU?  Hungry enough to take the time to PLAN FOR YOUR OWN SUCCESS?

When I was actively selling real estate I developed a system for the houses I put on the market for sale that I offered exclusively to the clients that worked with me.   It was part of my standard service and not an extra or add-on.  They hired me, they automatically received this “fuller service” as part of the deal.   Sellers talk to each other and word got around eventually that there was something more to me than your average agent.   That’s what you need to work on – setting yourself apart from every body else out there doing the same thing and sticking with it for the long term!  It takes more than a day to become a real estate agent and it takes longer than a month to develop a viable business.  But none of that begins to move in any direction until YOU define it, map it out and give it legs to go on!

So get your steps to success mapped out today before you follow one more lead into a dead end.  According to the National Association of Realtors, 95% of agents fail to put together a business plan.  Is it any wonder roughly 70% of agents quit each year?  If you need help getting started, templates are offered by Realtor.com, Trulia, and Active Rain.  Just find the one that works for you and get started building your personal road map to your success.  But don’t forget to include 5 very important activities.

I call them the 5 “F’s”  that need to be included in developing a Real Estate Business Plan:  (these can be very useful in ANY  business plan, really)

Family – let your family be part of the plan!  They know plenty of people so recruit them to help you build business.  Spouses can hand out business cards in their work place and help expand your reach about your real estate business.   While we’re on family, don’t leave out planning family time into your schedule.

Fitness –  building a business, especially in the beginning, is very stressful and exercising on a regular basis will afford long term benefits.  Don’t skimp on keeping fit!  Not to mention the opportunities to farm for business while you’re working out at the community gym.  Solitary activities can still work toward your goals when you plan them properly.

Friendship –  nurturing strong friendships that keep us grounded and broaden our horizons is good for our soul as well as our business.  Develop friendships, like we did when we were kids.  It isn’t just useful in business, it’s FUN!

FUN – speaking of fun, don’t be all business all the time!  Relax, enjoy the fruits of your labor.  Continue with your hobbies and pursue your interests in other areas of life along with building your business.

Focus –  by having a plan in place you should find yourself making the most productive use of your time.  When you have goals for each day, each week and each month you are far more likely to reach them and far less likely to spend precious time on activities that won’t get you to where you want to be.

Now that you aren’t riding the carousel of the “employee” take CHARGE of where you are going with a well thought out plan!  Luck has nothing in common with success except U C it through!

COMMENTS are encouraged and welcomed!  What ways have you planned for your own success that others may find helpful?

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Realtor Resources; Real Help

Realtor Resource

taskrabbit..com

My husband has a tool in his tool belt that he swears he can’t live without called the multi-tool.  It has as wide a variety of uses as a Swiss Knife without all the bulky attachments and in his field as a handyman it has become invaluable in saving him time and getting things done just the way he wants them.  Real Estate Agents and busy Professionals have a tool like that available to them, which harnesses the power of technology allowing them to leverage time and get things done the way they want and need them.

The Virtual Assistant industry does away with the need to maintain offices and the attendant overhead associated while offering the best of both worlds.  Factor in technology and these services don’t necessarily need to be locally offered.  Outsourcing can be done quite successfully right here in the States without state boundaries being a limitation.  GhostbloggerMarie caught up with Michelle Anatasio, owner of  CT Virtual Assistance LLC  for an open discussion about the many benefits a Virtual Assistant provides the savvy Professional.

My company specializes in offering a range of virtual assistant, marketing consulting and concierge solutions to busy professionals, entrepreneurs and small businesses.  Our administrative, creative and technical services can be ongoing or per project basis.    I believe that we are offering affordable solutions and customized alternatives to the need to hire and fund in-house administrative, creative or technical staff.  Our services can be packaged or available a la carte.  We maintain some flexibility in order to meet the need of the client” Michelle shared.

As a value addition to most business models there are three main courses an offsite Virtual Assistant brings to the table:

1)     Relieving clients of tedious administration tasks so they can focus their attention on growing their business

2)     Substantial financial savings

  1. eliminating the costs of onsite staffing
  2. minimizing the need for equipment including repair/maintenance costs
  3. minimizing or even eliminating acquisition and storage of office supplies

3)     Clients receive greater flexibility and reliability for increased productivity when working with  a Virtual Assistant service company

Thought you couldn’t afford the help you need?  You may be very pleasantly surprised to discover that you can indeed afford and receive the help that will free you to pursue greater business growth with a Virtual Assistant corralling those administrative tasks that steal so much of your time.

Your comments and thoughts on this subject are welcome!  

Follow this link for more  information about Virtual Assistance and Michelle Anastasio.

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Time for Realtors to think PAY RAISE?

It has always amazed me that Real Estate Agents essentially perform a great deal of work related activities for free.  As a consumer and home buyer I wondered “how did they afford it”?  After I became a licensed Agent in 1991 that question haunted me as I attempted to get my business off the ground while sustaining my home as a single Mom caring for my three sons, pay the Office fees required by the franchise I associated with and keep my vehicle full of gas, which was about $1 something a gallon back then, so I could drive potential buying clients all over creation only to have them call the listing agents number on the yard sign to ask a question and be convinced to sign a contract, leaving me out of it entirely! Had I known then what I know now… I am not so sure I would have chosen any differently as I loved selling Real Estate, but I probably would have prepared a whole lot better. And that’s just one instance where we pay but don’t get paid to do business as an Agent.

Yes, I know there are some safeguards in place, now I know that, but back then as a new agent I was largely ignorant and sorry to report that my managing broker failed to protect me and all the other agents like me.  Things may be slightly different now, but only slightly.  However, this isn’t a piece about the fair or unfair of Agent behavior in what is the Real Estate Industry.  This is a piece to explore if maybe the time has finally come that Realtors should raise up and collectively change the way business is conducted in the Industry between themselves and the client.

With gas prices continuing to rise and no end in sight along with rising office fee structures, house prices failing and many other negative changes that I’ve been observing as I read articles to stay current with the Industry now as a content provider for other Realtors, I am just wondering out loud if the time for real change has come?  I’m not going to try to research every nuance and consideration in this piece.  I just want to get you, currently active Real Estate Agents thinking about possible change in your Industry. People do not value what costs them nothing.  Perhaps a fee for your time and resources is in order?

Before I changed career paths in 2007, many things in the Real Estate Industry had me scratching my head and considering if I wanted to become a crusader for change.  The way commissions are structured appears to encourage  cut throat behavior between agents and rarely fosters genuine team work.  I understand we were all independent contractors and therefore competition to each other.  However, we also claim to adhere to a Code of Ethics.  Just before I let my license expire, I actually had a client call my brokerage and ask for me as they couldn’t find my cell number.  The call happened to be answered by another agent rather than office personnel as it was the weekend.  Instead of my cell number, clearly listed on the Agent Roster of the office, my client was told I was no longer ‘in the business’ and they would list the property real estate for sale instead!  Very devious and underhanded, but not as rare as we’d like to think! Shame on that person, but lets not pretend that happens rarely as we know that isn’t the case.

Even after a sale is made, there remains as great a chance you will NOT be paid nor in any way reimbursed for your actual expenses in bringing the sale about than there is that the sale will successfully close and you will receive a commission check.  In negotiations your commission is often treated as a dispensable item which you may find yourself being asked to “give up” a portion of in order to make the deal happen or you may be expected to pay for things out of pocket that wouldn’t be expected in almost any other industry – all with no consideration of your costs and office fees.  You could take the attitude that I’m whining about not being as successful as you are, or you could consider the idea that change may be due in this industry.

And so, a simple question.  Asked only with the intention of stirring the thought process, not to offend anyone.  Has the time come for Agents and perhaps even the National Association of Realtors that collects fees to represent them, to take on the task of making some serious changes to the way the Real Estate Industry conducts business???

Just a little food for thought from your friendly GhostbloggerMarie.

Seeking ways to increase your visibility in the Social Media realm?  Blogs are still the most productive platform to get your message out to the public as minimum cost with maximum returns.  Time and writing talent shouldn’t stop you from pursuing this avenue of marketing!  Make GhostbloggerMarie part of your Team NOW!

the Real Estate Agent #Infomercial -Upgraded!

It’s what we all truly desire – to be relevant, important and “of value”.  To ourselves and to others. And we want the things we DO to matter, too. So, are BLOGS relevant?

SHOULD you be blogging?  If so, where to find the time?  Contents great, but GREAT CONTENT is even better.  Great content positions you as a leader in your field and the one others want to connect with for answers and information.

There are a couple of things about the BLOG that I find are even more useful than the short, pithy tweet on Twitter or the FB status update. But don’t just take my word for it, read almost any social media marketers website and you’ll hear in many different forms this same thought;social media outlets

the BLOG is the great home base for all our Social Media platforms. 

You write one short article and with a single keystroke you send it out to ALL the landing places you’ve designated. It gives YOU an opportunity to speak eloquently to the largest audience of perspective clients and current clients in a friendly environment.

 Blogging is the #INFOMERCIAL of the Social Media world!

Instead of high priced, budget busting advertisements, blogs are an extremely cost effective method of getting the message about YOU and YOUR BUSINESS in front of many. A well written, spell checked and grammatically correct BLOG that is interesting, informative and even inspirational may easily find itself going viral, bringing even greater attention to YOU!

An #infomercial is designed to:
• INFORM
• INTEREST
• INSPIRE
Do that and the Social Media world just might “like” “fan” and “tweet” you!

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Chime in and share what you’re thinking! Thanks :o)

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Smile and…..TALK ALREADY!

In the regular give and take throughout each day of our lives, we are all alternately service providers or service consumers.  I’ve been noticing what can only be called a trend over the last several years. A serious lack of customer service, or more specifically, a lack of customer courtesy.  Certainly there are plenty of people who are polite, but more and more the cashier ringing you out, the waitress serving your table and the guy selling you tires seems a bit sharper, maybe a little edgier.   It begs the question –

Why are we being so rude to one another?

Today I might be your customer and tomorrow there’s a very good chance that you might be mine.  Common courtesy, however, seems far less common than I remember it being in the not so distant past.  Is it possible that we as a society have become more harsh toward one another?  If so, what has contributed to such a shift in behavior?

A full 79% of Americans indicated in a recent poll that people are behaving more rudely in public.  That high a percentage indicates that some of those people are also perpetrators of the rude behaviors they are complaining about!  Rude can be anything from allowing your children to run wild and disturb other peoples peace to tailgating on the highway.

I remember sitting in a restaurant just at the beginning of what has become the universal and habitual use of cell phones.  A man and a woman, obviously on a date, took a table across from where we sat.  The gentleman began a conversation with a smile on his face.  When suddenly, what has since become a familiar jingle shook the air.  The woman never missed a beat.  She smiled weakly and with a shrug of her bared shoulder ANSWERED THE PHONE!  Right in the midst of her companions dialog, she began one completely separate from him on the little device in her hand.  Their meal was served, and she continued to “chat” into the phone, rather than with the young man across from her.  I give him credit.  I would have gotten up without a word to her, and GONE HOME!

Since that incident cell phones seem to have become extensions of ourselves for most of us.  People would rather text or email instead of talk.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve attempted to call someone, got no answer, but then I sent a text within 1 minute of hanging up and INSTANTLY received a text back!  Why didn’t they answer the phone?  Texting has become an incredibly dangerous activity WHILE OPERATING A MOVING VEHICLE.

Between Facebook, Twitter and the rest, online interaction has become a serious threat to personal contact.  What is it about this style of social interactions that it appears to have changed our behavior so drastically?  This Ghostblogger loves Social Media and as a content provider, believes strongly in its usefulness in our businesses.  I do wonder though, if this tendency toward a harsher society has been exacerbated by these same sites?   Are we less courteous publicly because we interact face to face so much less?man and woman talking

Take some time this week, won’t you,and look someone in the eye, smile and have a conversation!

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