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As you chart a course for your professional career, you’ll have to think through the shape that you want your business to take. Do you want to work your way up through the ranks on a large team, leverage your success to create a team of your own, or forge ahead as a real estate solopreneur? It’s an important question and it goes to the heart of the type of service you’ll provide and the types of resources you can access.
If you choose to operate as a solo real estate agent, it’s important for you to remember that you are running a business. You’ll need to make smart decisions and guard your own time, energy, and reputation. You also need to know when it’s time to ask for help and how to find the help you need. Here are some of the things you need to take into consideration in order to make this a banner year for your solo real estate business.
One of the great things about being your own boss is that you can do things the way that you want to. However, that’s also one of the things that can undermine your success. Even though you’re on your own, it’s important for you to put into place consistent and coherent processes and procedures for data management, document management, transaction coordination, and financial record-keeping. Better systems create better, more consistent outcomes and keep you on track all year long.
Just because you are a solo agent doesn’t mean that you have to do it all yourself. Reach out to reliable freelancers and service providers to ensure that you have consistent professional support. Whether you need a virtual assistant, content creator, CPA, or other help to keep your business organized and efficient, you can find the right fit through a colleague’s recommendation, a freelancer platform, or by networking through a professional social media platform like LinkedIn.
You need to create leverage wherever possible so mastering your technology and mobile platforms is essential. Understand how to get the most out of your CRM, transaction management software, and other programs and applications so that you are more efficient and effective. Keep the information updated and implement shortcuts for a more streamlined user experience. If you’re unsure where to start, seek out training opportunities through your local association, your brokerage, or through the individual product provider.
When you are your brand it may be tempting to throw up a standard-issue headshot and a list of certifications and call that a branding plan. However, you need to define yourself and your service just as carefully as any team or brokerage. Create a coherent look across all of your platforms with your logo, brand message, philosophy, and an up-to-date image so that you are instantly recognizable and identifiable.
As a solo real estate agent, you have the ability to respond to the market and shift your strategy on a dime. This gives you a distinct advantage over larger organizations where there is a chain of command with higher-ups to be convinced. It also gives you the ability to try something new, change up your focus, collaborate, and seek out new opportunities at will. If you feel you’ve been stuck in a rut, set off in a new direction and see where it takes you.
Because you are reaching out as yourself, not as part of a group or as support for a team leader, you can truly communicate with your sphere and offer whatever it is that makes you special. Whether it’s your warmth, your expertise, or your stubborn refusal to take anything less than the best deal for your client, by reaching out authentically to your sphere – family, friends, former clients, and colleagues — you’ll make a big impact and garner consistent referrals.
Many teams tout their ability to offer round-the-clock service since there’s always someone available. The other side of that coin, of course, is the personal service that you provide as a solo real estate agent. When a client calls you, they know that they will be able to talk to you, not an underling who has never even heard their name. Share the positive aspects that come with your solo status in your marketing, messaging, and social media outreach.
You don’t have to be a mega-agent team leader to stand out in your area. Many successful solo real estate agents get hyperlocal and hyper-involved in their neighborhoods. You can lobby for a committee post in your local or state Association. Run for a position as part of the leadership team or take on a high-profile role at the local Chamber of Commerce. The more you put yourself out front, the higher your profile. The more you grow your professional network, the more likely you are to be top-of-mind when someone is thinking about real estate professionals in your area.
While you’re growing your business, don’t forget to take care of its most important asset: You. While it can be easy to get caught up in the idea that you can never take a day off or be out of touch for an hour, it is vital for you to recharge and replenish yourself so that you can continue to move forward professionally. Reach out to colleagues and mentors to find out their best tips for building leverage so that you don’t have to spend 24/7/365 on call. When you are a solo real estate agent, it’s so important to set healthy boundaries with clients so that you can be kinder to yourself.
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