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A Slice of My Life…Together We Accomplish More

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A slice of my life

Sitting in a coffee shop with a past client, several years ago, my friend Bruce told me one day I would have a big TEAM. “No, I said,” emphatically. “I don’t like to manage, and I just don’t see it.” I really enjoy working with both buyers and sellers.

That statement has come to haunt me, as I now have a rather large team. I never really planned to grow a team, but when you get so busy you can’t take care of the clients you have, the past clients you want to stay in touch with, and the leads that come in you are forced to leverage.

Growth was necessary.

The first person I hired was an Assistant to help with the follow-up of contracts, the showing feed-back, scheduling my own home tours, client appreciation parties, sending out birthday and anniversary cards.

As the internet became more of my focus, my Assistant starting uploading all my listings to our web-sites, sending out the electronic newsletter, and all of our new listings (if they checked the box to receive new listings.)

Then one day, out of blue, my daughter came to me and said she wanted to work with me and get licensed. Ahhh… my first Buyer Agent. We hung around like this for a couple of years and all was good. But, then I started my Pay per Click campaign and once again, we just couldn’t handle the business so I hired two more Buyer Agents. Ahhh………life is good. I’m doing the listings and the marketing and they are working with the buyers. I had a life back.

Fast Forward.

Fast forward the last two years, and in a very struggling Ann Arbor Area market I had to hire four more buyer agents. I am currently interviewing for two more buyer agents. Growing a TEAM is a step-by-step process, I had no plan to do it, no goal to do it but it became necessary to handle the leads.

Last Friday, I taught at a seminar (on blogging) at the Keller Williams office in Ann Arbor, we had lots of agents from outside companies come and someone asked me, “How do you have time to blog with all the other things you have to do in Real Estate?”

My answer was blogging IS my job. I love what I do, I love to make it rain. I’m not an expert in growing a team, it just happened. It was important to me to not only grow wide, but grow deep. We grow deep by maintaining the relationships with past clients and continuing to serve them after the transaction. We get our lives back when we admit we can’t do it all and we hire people to help us.

The Shift

My stats in past years were approximately 82% past clients, 18%  buyers or sellers from the internet. That has shifted dramatically over the last few years with this year the stat’s being currently 45% new internet buyers and sellers and 55% past clients or people referred to us from our sphere of influence.

We have had to adjust as more people in my market are not moving up to bigger and better homes with the economy as it is in Michigan. So we had to reach out and find those buyers moving into our community.

Sometimes our plans change, we do things we didn’t think we would ever do. We market differently, we grow, we change, we shift. We find a way to make life work both personally and professionally.

And that is a slice of my life.

Written by Missy Caulk, Associate Broker at Keller Williams Ann Arbor. Missy is the author of Ann Arbor Real Estate Talk and Blog Ann Arbor, and is also the Director for the Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors and Member of MLS and Grievance Committee's.

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Holli Boyd

    October 27, 2008 at 11:12 am

    Missy great article. I am in a similar position – added an assistant and have 2 buyer’s agents coming on board. Never thought I would have a team but times are a changin. I am also with KW and teach a blogging class. I have other agents from other offices who have expressed interest in coming to the class. How do you get them to come without the fear of being recruited? Do you do it in a neutral location?

  2. Missy Caulk

    October 27, 2008 at 11:49 am

    Holli, my team leader sent an announcement out to all the agents. No we did it here in the office, it was a great turnout. Even some people who heard on Twitter came. I think people were curious about blogging, because of my SERP’s.

  3. Paula Henry

    October 27, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    Missy – You are an inspiration to me. I follow your guidance and see the growth, only I am going a bit slower and on a smaller scale. It is all coming together; like you, I like to make it rain. I actually never thought of that as my job. I recently hired someone to upload all my listings online and what a time saver. Thanks for sharing a slice of your life, both here on AG and personally.

  4. Teresa Boardman

    October 27, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    LOL I have been asked the same question for three years . . where do you find the time and I give the same answer. blogging is my job or sometimes i say my blog is my business and my business is my blog. I have felt the same shift. all but one of my sellers came from the internet this year and all of my buyers.

  5. Missy Caulk

    October 27, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    Paula, ahhhh thanks.

    Teresa, you could have heard a pin drop. I guess they were thinking IF they wanted blogging to be there job.

  6. monika

    October 27, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    Missy..Isn’t nice to see the fruit of your labor? Better yet when your “labor” is something you love to do..like blogging and working with people you enjoy. I’m so happy for you!

  7. Bee | Writing Articles

    October 28, 2008 at 1:50 am

    Blogging is an integral part of branding yourself when it is done correctly. It is a great way for potential clients and customers to see you in a way a typical web-site cannot show. It allows you to share your expertise while allowing your target market to interact with you through commenting on your blog.

    When your blog has become an authority site in your niche, you have really made a name for yourself.

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Business Marketing

Amazon attracts advertisers from Facebook after Apple privacy alterations

(MARKETING) After Apple’s privacy features unveil, Amazon adapts by taking a unique approach to targeting, disrupting revenue for the ad giant Facebook.

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Two African American women work at their desks, one viewing Amazon's advertising landing page.

As a de facto search engine of its own persuasion, Amazon has been poaching ad revenue from Google for some time. However, disrupting the revenue stream from their most recent victim – Facebook – is going to turn some heads.

According to Bloomberg, Apple’s recent privacy additions to products such as iPhones are largely responsible for the shift in ad spending. While platforms like Facebook and Instagram were originally goldmines for advertisers, these privacy features prevent tracking for targeting – a crucial aspect in any marketing campaign.

Internet privacy has been featured heavily in tech conversations for the last several years, and with Chrome phasing out third-party cookies, along with Safari and Firefox introducing roughly analogous policies, social media advertising is bound to become less useful as tracking strategies struggle to keep up with the aforementioned changes.

However, Amazon’s wide user base and separate categorization from social media companies makes it a clear alternative to the Facebook family, which is perhaps why Facebook advertisers are starting to jump ship in an effort to preserve their profits.

This is the premise behind the decision to reduce the Facebook ad spending of Vanity Planet by 22%, a home spa vendor, while facilitating a transition to Amazon. “We have inventory…and the biggest place we are growing is Amazon,” says Alex Dastmalchi, the entrepreneur who runs Vanity Planet.

That gap will only widen with Apple’s new privacy features. Bloomberg reports that when asked in June if they would consent to having their internet activity tracked, only one in four iPhone users did so; this makes it substantially harder for the ad campaigns unique to Facebook to target prospective buyers.

It also means that Amazon, having demonstrated a profound effectiveness in targeting individuals both pre- and post-purchase, stands to gain more than its fair share of sellers flocking to promote their products.

Jens Nicolaysen, co-founder of Shinesty (an eccentric underwear company), affirms the value that Amazon holds for sellers while acknowledging that it isn’t a perfect substitute for social media. While Nicolaysen laments the loss of the somewhat random introduction charm inherent on Instagram, he also believes in the power of brand loyalty, especially on a platform as high-profile as Amazon. “The bigger you are, the more you lose by not having any presence on Amazon,” he explains.

As privacy restrictions continue to ramp up in the coming months, it will be interesting to see how social media advertising evolves to keep up with this trend; it seems naive to assume that Amazon will replace Facebook’s ads entirely, tracking or no tracking.

Apple's privacy landing page showing iPhone users ability to shut off location services and a desktop image of a user's ability to control how their data is managed.

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Business Marketing

How many hours of the work week are actually efficient?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Working more for that paycheck, more hours each week, on the weekends, on holidays can actually hurt productivity. So don’t do that, stay efficient.

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Clock pointed to 5:50 on a plain white wall, well tracked during the week.

Social media is always flooded with promises to get in shape, eat healthier and… hustle?

In hustle culture, it seems as though there’s no such thing as too much work. Nights, weekends and holidays are really just more time to be pushing towards your dreams and hobbies are just side hustles waiting to be monetized. Plus, with freelancing on the rise, there really is nothing stopping someone from making the most out of their 24 hours.

Hustle culture will have you believe that a full-time job isn’t enough. Is that true?

Although it’s a bit outdated, Gallup’s 2014 report on full-time US workers gives us an alarming glimpse into the effects of the hustle. For starters, 50% of full-time workers reported working over 40 hours a week – in fact, the average weekly hours for salaried employees was up to 49 hours.

So, what’s the deal with 40 hours anyway? The 40 hour work-week actually started with labor rights activists in the 1800s pushing for an 8 hour workday. In 1817, Robert Owen, a Welsh activist, reasoned this workday provided: “eight hours labor, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest.”

If you do the math, that’s a whopping 66% of the day devoted to personal needs, rather than labor!

Of course, it’s only natural to be skeptical of logic from two centuries ago coloring the way we do business in the 21st century. For starters, there’s plenty of labor to be done outside of the labor you’re paid to do. Meal prep, house cleaning, child care… that’s all work that needs to be done. It’s also all work that some of your favorite influencers are paying to get done while they pursue the “hustle.” For the average human, that would all be additional work to fall in the ‘recreation’ category.

But I digress. Is 40 hours a week really enough in the modern age? After all, average hours in the United States have increased.

Well… probably not. In fact, when hours are reduced (France, for instance, limited maximum hours to 35 hours a week, instead of 40), workers are not only more likely to be healthier and happier, but more efficient and less likely to miss work!

So, instead of following through with the goal to work more this year, maybe consider slowing the hustle. It might actually be more effective in the long run!

This story was first published in January 2020.

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Business Marketing

Jack of all trades vs. specialized expert – which are you?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) It may feel tough to decide if you want to be a jack of all trades or have an area of expertise at work. There are reasons to decide either route.

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jack of all trades learning

When mulling over your career trajectory, you might ask yourself if you should be a jack of all trades or a specific expert. Well, it’s important to think about where you started. When you were eight years old, what did you want to be when you grew up? Teacher? Doctor? Lawyer? Video Game Developer? Those are common answers when you are eight years old as they are based on professionals that you probably interact with regularly (ok, maybe not lawyers but you may have watched LA Law, Law & Order or Suits and maybe played some video games – nod to Atari, Nintendo and Sega).

We eventually chose what areas of work to gain skills in and/or what major to pursue in college. To shed some light on what has changed in the last couple of decades:

Business, Engineering, Healthcare and Technology job titles have grown immensely in the last 20 years. For example, here are 9 job titles that didn’t exist 20 years ago in Business:

  1. Online Community Manager
  2. Virtual Assistant
  3. Digital Marketing Expert
  4. SEO Specialist
  5. App Developer
  6. Web Analyst
  7. Blogger
  8. Social Media Manager
  9. UX Designer

We know that job opportunities have grown to include new technologies, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, consumer-generated content, instant gratification, gig economy and freelance, as well as many super-secret products and services that may be focused on the B2B market, government and/or military that we average consumers may not know about.

According to the 2019 Bureau of Labor Statistics after doing a survey of baby boomers, the average number of jobs in a lifetime is 12. That number is likely on the rise with generations after the Baby Boomers. Many people are moving away from hometowns and cousins they have grown up with.

The Balance Careers suggests that our careers and number of jobs we hold also vary throughout our lifetimes and our race is even a factor. “A worker’s age impacted the number of jobs that they held in any period. Workers held an average of 5.7 jobs during the six-year period when they were 18 to 24 years old. However, the number of jobs held declined with age. Workers had an average of 4.5 jobs when they were 25 to 34 years old, and 2.9 jobs when they were 35 to 44 years old. During the most established phase of many workers’ careers, ages 45 to 52, they held only an average of 1.9 jobs.”

In order to decide what you want to be, may we suggest asking yourself these questions:

  • Should you work to be an expert or a jack of all trades?
  • Where are you are at in your career and how have your skills progressed?
  • Are you happy focusing in on one area or do you find yourself bored easily?
  • What are your largest priorities today (Work? Family? Health? Caring for an aging parent or young children?)

If you take the Gallup CliftonStrengths test and are able to read the details about your top five strengths, Gallup suggests that it’s better to double down and grown your strengths versus trying to overcompensate on your weaknesses.

The thing is, usually if you work at a startup, small business or new division, you are often wearing many hats and it can force you to be a jack of all trades. If you are at a larger organization which equals more resources, there may be clearer lines of your job roles and responsibilities versus “the other departments”. This is where it seems there are skills that none of us can avoid. According to LinkedIn Learning, the top five soft skills in demand from 2020 are:

  1. Creativity
  2. Persuasion
  3. Collaboration
  4. Adaptability
  5. Emotional Intelligence

The top 10 hard skills are:

  1. Blockchain
  2. Cloud Computing
  3. Analytical Reasoning
  4. Artificial Intelligence
  5. UX Design
  6. Business Analysis
  7. Affiliate Marketing
  8. Sales
  9. Scientific Computing
  10. Video Production

There will be some folks that dive deep into certain areas that are super fascinating to them and they want to know everything about – as well as the excitement of becoming an “expert”. There are some folks that like to constantly evolve and try new things but not dig too deep and have a brief awareness of more areas. It looks safe to say that we all need to be flexible and adaptable.

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