My last job ended on August 31st, 2001. I have not gotten a paycheck from someone else since then but I have not missed a meal or slept under a bridge. I am really past age 55 and I hear it’s tough to get a job if you’re older but I hope to be gainfully unemployed for the rest of my life.
This blog is pointed toward real estate agents primarily but it applies to anyone who wants to be self employed and searching for a way to make that work. I’d like to explore the difference between a job and a business with you.
A job involves waiting. You have to fill out applications and then you wait. You get a call and they want to talk to you so you schedule a phone interview and you wait. They call you again and schedule a face to face interview and then you wait. Waiting is hard to do when you need a job.
You get the call that says you got the job! Your start date is 30 days away so you wait. You get to the office on your start date and introduce yourself to the person at the front desk and they show you to a conference room and ask you to wait. You meet the HR director and they give you lots of stuff to fill out and then you wait. They introduce you to your new boss and you meet for a bit and get shown around, introduced to a few folks and then you sit down at your new desk. And wait.
Getting a job means waiting on lots of other folks and waiting to be picked. Having a business does not involve as much waiting. Surely there is a bit but no one is going to tell you what to do so you don’t have to wait on them. You get to decide the next steps toward getting customers, clients and maybe a few employees if it all goes well. It’s on you and that can be more frightening than waiting. I once heard the most frightening word in the English language is ‘Freedom’ and I think that might be true.
For over 100 years we have been conditioned to think we need a job. I blame the industrial revolution. Because of the need for compliant factory workers, public schools came into existence. The goal was to create those workers. Sit down, line up, wait and by all means, be quiet. It was needed and it worked in the 60’s, 70′ and 80’s. It’s shifted with a lot of those types of jobs being eliminated by tech or moving to less expensive locations. That’s not a bad thing but it certainly upsets what feels like normal to us.
No one really teaches you about owning a business. Being a real estate agent is a good way to start to learn but you have pay attention to some things you never cared about before. The big one that surprises most agents is the need for lead generation. When I started I had 300 folks that I thought would just ‘work with me’ because they knew me. I didn’t know they would throw my mailing in the trash, unopened. I didn’t want to pick up the phone and call them because I was afraid. As I look back, I’m not sure what I was afraid of but I remember the fear (some call it ‘call reluctance’).
The real estate business is stuck in the 80’s too in some regards. Most brokers teach cold calling and door knocking as the way to find business and the problem with that is it works. It’s like a slot machine that pays just enough to keep you engaged while it empties your pockets.
I believe the best business is referral based and my goal is to teach how to do that so you get started on the best path to success. Some make it in this business in spite of what’s taught but it’s a low 15% success rate. 85% don’t make it and I think that’s wrong.
There is lots to learn about running a business and you need to be connected to a brokerage that teaches that. If you are in the business less than a year and you think of it as a job, you’re in danger of being in that 85% who fail or quit.
If you don’t have the support you need then I encourage you to stay tuned here (sign up below for more info) and find a place to learn the business of real estate.
You’re welcome to call me or email me and we can talk if you like. I want you to succeed!
Thanks for listening,
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