I started my Real Estate career at the worst time imaginable along with thousands of other Realtors convinced that it wasn’t much more then getting your name out there and having your face on a business card. It was a terribly slow go for sure and a quick bankruptcy and career change would have definitely softened the blow but sticking it out was all I knew and there was a goal at the end I really knew was doable. I am really good at looking back or pondering how I would do it differently next time and rarely do I make the same mistake twice when it comes to business but there are a few things that always stand out. There are a few steps I would have taken or skipped to make the beginning of my real estate career maybe a bit less stressful. Hopefully they are a good guide for many of you as you are beginning your new career.
- Mentor – My mentor had just fired me out of the blue, but instead of getting over that and finding a new one I decided to trust no one. Looking back it would have been wise of me to find a mentor that had some similar experiences early on and spent some time with them. It would have been great to bounce my ideas off of them and I think they would have enjoyed watching my business develop. Find a mentor or mentors but don’t go it alone.
- Power Circle – I started a group called Westfield Business Development a few years after I started selling real estate. This would have been a fantastic group to begin on day 1. Its a referral source and a space to train people to refer me out in the field. Going back I would pick a marketing person, an insurance person, an attorney and a couple of residential brokers to meet regularly and build a referral group fro that. You don’t have to be the king of the hill to have a good referral partner.
- Learning – I have always been good about reading whats going on and trends but I never invested in trade shows and conventions like I think I should have. There is something about being in a big room hearing experts in business share their experiences and then connecting with them. Everyone ahead of me has more experiences and to tap into that world would have been a nice move. Start local and affordable but when the chance comes to hit a national convention or trade show I think they can’t be beat. Go for the 1 full day where you can sit in on a days worth of lectures and discussions and check out all the cool vendors on the way out. Figure out an affordable way to go and you will truly enjoy the tremendous value from spending the time engaged.
- Focus – Many people give me credit for being a super niche guy since I preached listing property only on SR 32 in Westfield. Well it turned out ok but I don’t think I really understood what I was focused on. While I knew it was great exposure and today I have a heck of a reputation along the road, there may have been a better focus beyond just that listing area. Taco Bell will pay a premium to be in a market that is proven and already exists. In Real Estate this may also be true. Going back I would have picked a high volume market like downtown Office or Retail leasing to fill the funnel while I built my SR 32 business. Maybe it would have distracted me but I imagine I would have made money quicker and had a lot more clients to bring into my specialized SR 32 market as it develops.
Listen I don’t think things are going that bad and knowing that at one point no bill was paid and we had a couple of new kids at home, we are pretty blessed. What I do like to acknowledge is that there is always something to learn from others experiences and there is nothing wrong with growing from not always making the best professional decisions. Every year I read The Dip and every year I quit something. This is part of my process and maybe these tips will help you quit doing something or taking a small bit of my advice and accelerating your start. Good luck and thanks for reading.
Curt has been in the Indianapolis Real Estate business for over 10 years and spent his first years learning all aspects of commercial management and brokerage. He has had great success in managing existing commercial projects and new retail and office developments. Curt specializes in building owner representation and purchases in the Westfield Indiana market as well throughout the Indianapolis Metro area. Curt is passionate about growing the local Westfield community and in his free time volunteers with Westfield Youth Assistance and raising 2 children with his wife Jennifer.