2017 is coming to an end. I’m sitting here reflecting, marveling, humbled. Although very clichè, this year was a roller coaster. And if I can just be transparent for a moment…
Exactly one year ago, I closed my last transaction of 2016. I wouldn’t close another transaction for another 4 months – the end of March 2017. That means I had to stretch one month of income over four months without any real guarantee of another check. In terms of business, I almost died. I applied for other jobs, and was scrambling to figure it out. I pretty much swallowed my pride and conceded that I had failed at real estate. So, imagine how scary and humbling it was to have to go through this with my wife, who rallied behind me from the start, with my white flag and say, “sorry, we gotta scrape through and do something else.”
Little did I know what God had in store for me. Ninja Training has this adage, “don’t quit before the magic happens.” And I loosely hung onto that in my last-ditch time of desperation. And I prayed, “God, maybe if it’s your will, I can do two transactions a month.” Because faith is supposed to be big right? And that was big to me. So, I waited, and worked, and didn’t give up, and hoped and prayed, and believed. And then business started awakening and growing. And I kept serving my people. And it kept going and growing.
And now, from March to today, I’ve done 22 transactions. God answered my prayers and it didn’t feel supernatural, it felt like He was simply in control the whole time. And it felt like confidence.
But, one thing that cannot be overlooked is the outpouring of trust and love that my people/clients gave to me. I can’t overstate the fact that you saved my family. And by hiring me, you allowed me to keep going and refine. I am so absolutely humbled when I stop and think about where the year began and how successful it ended up being. Because I declared in March, that this year isn’t gonna be a good one. But it was, and it was because of your trust.
Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, I sincerely mean it. You have my infinite gratitude. How do I say thank you to someone who’s given so much? I helped you buy or sell a house, but you fed and clothed my children. I can’t say it enough. Thank you and God bless you.
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.
By James Timmons
When I was a teenager, I remember half-days at Grandview High School. Half-days were pretty pointless. We'd show up, go through the motions, and get released just before noon. Grandview is a charming little town with lots weird zoning. You'd have a warehouse on one block next to a trailer park across the street from a neighborhood. One awesome perk, however, was that it was not too far of a drive to everything. 3 hours to Seattle, 3 hours to Portland, 2.5 hours to Spokane, 45 minutes to Yakima, and 45 minutes to Tri-Cities. On a half day, our choices were either Yakima or Tri-Cities. We'd almost always choose the latter for obvious reasons.
Thus began my love of the Tri-Cities. I eventually moved to Richland in the Fall of 2002. Most of my friends who accompanied me on those half-days at Red Robin would also migrate here. I fell in love with the unique culture of a highly intellectual, outdoorsy, slightly nerdy, tech-savvy, rugged, friendly community.
Boating, the Rivers, the mall, hockey, wine, the desert, Badger, the punk-rock scene, our weird obsession with franchises, BBQ, Mexican food, Amazon, Hanford, hospitals, churches, the Uptown, downtown, disc golf, our flakiness with water parks, roundabouts, and many other quirks are just a few of the reasons why our unique community is so loveable.
Did you know, in 2012, Kiplinger.com ranked Richland the second best place in the nation to raise children? Did you know we now have around 250,000 people? Don't you love that we experience every season?
I love this place and I love my job. 🙂