So, 365 days ago was my first day as a full-time Realtor. I left a 6 year career in Early Childhood Education to become a Realtor. For those of you that have worked in ECE, you know how little money it can yield. I didn't exactly enjoy wealth, but I did have a steady flow of income. Stepping into full-time real estate was a huge leap of faith because it's 100% commission.
Two of my biggest influencers over my first year, Joe Mullins and Dan Hansen, put their minds together and sort of diagnosed me as a sufficient real estate photographer. So, with the help of Dee (our fabulous marketing expert), we threw together a makeshift photography semi-business that would provide a humble supplemental income. This income was actually very valuable. I wouldn't close my first deal until July. And then, my next in October. So, money was very scarce in the first half of the year.
But, three of my other huge influencers, Jeff Thompson, Lori Pruitte, and Jed Morris, poured into me and helped me develop my business. I remember, on my first day, I had SO many questions. Among those were:
How am I supposed to dress? Where do I sit? What do I do all day? How do I prepare an offer? How do I get a listing?
I learned, very quickly, that the 90 hour course I took to get my license, was virtually irrelevant. I was naive enough to internally ask, "why do people say real estate is stressful?"
Well, as of this day, day 366, I have learned a lifetime of information; partly because Windermere's philosophy is to give their agents the best training and coaching in the world. But, I still have a long way to go.
A few notable thoughts and quotes that I picked up over the last twelve months were:
"People are a lot more likely to work with you when you're friendly. They'll probably just avoid you if you're mean." – Tonya Callies. Right before I became a Realtor, people would constantly tell me, "James, you need to be good at confrontation." I knew this. That was one of my biggest worries and weaknesses before getting into this business. But, one day, I was getting ready to make an angry phone call to someone, and I mentioned it to Tonya and Lori. They both kind of smiled, as if to say, "you have a lot to learn." And that's when Tonya said the aforementioned quote. This was foundational for me. I quickly learned that you can address any hard topic or conversation as long as you're friendly and unthreatening. It's true! People are a lot more willing to work with you if you give them the benefit of the doubt, show grace, and treat them as your friend. When we think of confrontation, we usually think of a yelling match. But, that's honestly the worst thing you can do. Afterall, we all make mistakes, and we're all afraid of upsetting people. So, don't be the person that gets upset.
"Take care of your people and business will come." In our many conversations, Jeff Thompson, our broker/owner, would always say this. In this business of real estate, it used to be traditional to chase the almighty dollar, regardless of how many people you burned along the way; including your own family. Jeff's philosophy is the polar opposite. He continually reminds us to take care of "the big rocks" first. And, integrity at Windermere Group One is non-negotiable. We MUST do the right thing, even if it costs us. This type of selfless servantship is not only great for the conscience, but great for the heart.
"Fall in love with the process and the results will come." Before I jumped in full-time, I asked Joe Mullins of some relevant books he'd recommend. "The Slight Edge" by Jeff Olson was the first book he suggested. I immediately purchased it on Amazon. I consumed it everyday. And, I keep applying its principles to my life and my business. The quote I referenced is not actually from that book, but it is right on par with the philosophy. Basically, you have to grind it out everyday if you want to reach your goals and be successful. But, you need to learn to love the process. Just like working out. It's painful, but you're more likely to do it if you love it.
And finally, Proverbs 27:2 – Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth. If there's one thing I've learned in my adult life (long before real estate), it's that humility is one of the most valuable and attractive traits. There's such an urge for us, as business owners, to promote our good deeds. But, if you intentionally do your good deeds in secret, then no one will question your motives behind it. And, if someone does question your motives, you can let it go knowing it was between you and God all along.