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Are You a Renegade Realtor®? Just Wondering …

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For those of you who know me even a little bit, you have often heard me say, “I can’t STAND real estate agents” as I roll my eyes in utter disgust. Ugh… My life would be so much easier if it weren’t for so many of those “people” that have those “real estate licenses”. Yes. I can be quite the little ranter. Someone once called me down off of my soapbox long enough to tell me that I should call become a Renegade Realtor®. Pretty sure they were joking, but it DOES have a nice ring to it …

A couple days ago I read REALTOR MOST DESPISED – AN OPEN LETTER (an absolute MUST READ) where RE comrade (and fellow Genius) Realtor® Benn Rosales looks at the current real estate agent “situation” through the eyes of the public and makes some dead-on observations about the perception of Realtor®.

That post got me thinking, and those who know me, know that me=thinking is not always productive and often gets me into trouble. Well, this time it brought back some memories, as well as an itch that still needs to be scratched.

If you have read my “real estate rants” for any amount of time, then you probably read: Perception = Reality: Real Estate Agents Suck – in which I go off on the awful, yet well-deserved reputation that has followed real estate agents throughout the decades. (Funny thing, if you type “Real Estate Agents Suck” in to Google, a version of this post pops up as #1. I outrank an agent-hating FSBO. Gotta love that Google-Juice, there!?!)

Of course, I AM a real estate agent, a Realtor® in fact. Many of my BFF’s are in “the business”, too. (For those of you without the “luxury” of raising a teenager (lucky you) and having to learn the “code”… BFF= Best Friends Forever.) And, I completely stand behind what I wrote. But I also stand behind the small-but-growing population of RE agents that seem to “get it”. Maybe a “new wave” of agents will become the motivating force in the paradigm shift that NEEDS to take place in the world of real estate and rebuild a better reputationa better business.

Now, I have found (over the past year) that many of the others who share my view are mostly here, in the Blogosphere – other real estate agents whose skins crawl at the current image propagated by a large chunk of “our” industry. (Is there a correlation between “those who blog” and “those who promote stereotype busting“? Hmmm … Maybe.)

Anyway, so now what?

What needs to happen now? We all know that things need to change. (I can say “we” because I know that there are not any of those “other” agents reading this.) What forces need to rise above the Blogosphere … enter into the real-world of real estate and hijack the current reputation and turn it into something that we can all be proud of? What are YOU actively doing to change OUR reputation?

Are YOU a Renegade Realtor®? … just wondering.

Mariana is a real estate agent and co-owner of the Wagner iTeam with her husband, Derek. She maintains the Colorado Springs Real Estate Connection Blog and is also a real estate technology trainer and coach. Mariana really enjoys helping real estate agents boost their businesses and increase their productivity through effective use of technology. Outside of real estate, blogging and training, she loves spending time with her husband and 2 sons, reading, re-watching Sci-Fi movies and ... long walks on the beach?

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21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. ines

    October 23, 2007 at 3:39 am

    Woooo Hoooo!! Pretty awesome Mariana! I can tell you that you are probably right about the blogging Realtors…..we’re a different breed.

    I am a Renegade Realtor and will blog away until I have bloody fingers.

  2. Mariana Wagner

    October 23, 2007 at 3:54 am

    A different breed indeed. Now, let’s go take over the world.

  3. Todd Carpenter

    October 23, 2007 at 3:59 am

    It’s funny, because I’ve had so many RE agents and Loan officers ask me about blogging, and how they can get business through it. I’ve also had a relative handful ask me about blogging because of their advocacy of the industry. It’s the advocates who go on to blog.

    The greatest thing about blogging is that it’s a affordable and effective marketing tool that only the “good guys” seem to have the creativity and thoughtfulness to implement.

  4. Vicki Moore

    October 23, 2007 at 4:11 am

    You are awesome. I’m getting a feed right now.

  5. Mariana Wagner

    October 23, 2007 at 4:21 am

    Hi Todd – You said it perfectly. The advocates ARE the ones out there blogging.

    Hey Vicki, Thanks!

  6. monika

    October 23, 2007 at 10:37 am

    Mariana…You ROCK! That original post took on a life of it’s own! LOL!
    I’m one of those REALTORS whose skin crawls when I hear and see what some other agents do. Change happens but it sure does seem to going slowly!

  7. Lovely

    October 23, 2007 at 12:54 pm

    Did someone say “Renegade”?? I’m in 🙂

  8. Carey

    October 23, 2007 at 1:40 pm

    Mariana congratulations on being a genius!

    Part of the reason your skin crawls when dealing with the “other” agent is because they do not know who they work for. It has become so much about getting a check (especially in this market) and not so much about doing what is best for the client. I love it when I get a new agent or a discounter(who only gets part of the cooperating compenstaion) making offers on my listings. I know I can beat them into submission because it is only about the bens for them. The referrals keep rolling in when you know who you work for and communicate that through action and words to the client.

  9. Benn Rosales

    October 23, 2007 at 1:49 pm

    haha Mariana, what a kick ass post, and a kick ass way to kick off your contribution to agent genius- absolutely fantastic! I heart renegades.

  10. Mariana

    October 23, 2007 at 6:32 pm

    Monika- HEY THERE! I just hope that at some point some critical mass is obtained and the current slow-go turns into a hurricane of action.

    Lovely – OF COURSE you are in! Duh.

    Carey- You hit the nail on the head: Are you working for your client? Or are you working for the Benjamins? It makes all the difference in the world.

    Benn- Wow! Thanks! Your recent post really re-fanned that fire that I have in my head about this issue. I *heart* renegades, too!

  11. Bonnie Erickson

    October 24, 2007 at 1:54 am

    Hmmmm. Out of the box, into blogging, like quality, look out for the client instead of me? Sounds pretty revolutionary to me! Quality, professional, REAL? Has anyone thought about putting the REAL back into REALTOR? If all of that makes me a renegade, then I’m in, too!

  12. Mariana - Springs Realty Scoop

    October 24, 2007 at 3:36 am

    Putting the REAL back into REALTOR… I like that.

  13. Nicole Mills

    November 1, 2007 at 8:08 pm

    Geez, I’m so glad I’ve started hanging out here! Great Post, Mariana!

    I found AG through Bloodhound (I think, anyway…the memory isn’t what it used to be), and I have to say that AG is definitely more my speed. Bloodhound is wise & worldly, but doesn’t quite feel like home to me. If there’s room for one more Renegade…

  14. Toby & Sadie

    December 17, 2007 at 1:18 pm

    I love it! Renegade REALTOR®! I think I am one and didn’t even know it. Wait till I tell my wife 🙂

  15. Mariana

    December 18, 2007 at 10:04 am

    I think it should be an official NAR Designation: Renegade Realtor…

  16. Lesley

    September 26, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    I am a complete renegade realtor! After this post I am ready to leather up and kick some bad realtor butt!

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Business Marketing

Buffer’s four-day workweek experiment: Boost or bust?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) After trying out a four-day workweek last year, Buffer is moving forward with the format going into 2021, citing increase in productivity and work-life balance.

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Man working in office with headphones on, making use of flexible four-day workweek.

The typical five-day workweek is a thing of the past for Buffer, at least for now. The company has decided to implement a four-day workweek for the “foreseeable future.”

Last year, the company surveyed its employees to see how they are dealing with the ever-changing landscape of the pandemic and the anxiety and stress that came along with it. They soon learned employees didn’t always feel comfortable or like they could take time off.

Employees felt guilty for taking PTO while trying to meet deadlines. Juggling work and suddenly becoming a daycare worker and teacher for their children at the same time was stressful. So, Buffer looked for a solution to help give employees more time and flexibility to get adjusted to their new routines.

Four-Day Workweek Trials

In May, Buffer started the four-day workweek one-month trial to focus on teammates’ well-being. “This four-day workweek period is about well-being, mental health, and placing us as humans and our families first,” said Buffer CEO and co-founder Joel Gascoigne in a company blog post.

“It’s about being able to pick a good time to go and do the groceries, now that it’s a significantly larger task. It’s about parents having more time with kids now that they’re having to take on their education. This isn’t about us trying to get the same productivity in fewer days,” Gascoigne said.

Buffer’s one-month trial proved to be successful. Survey data from before and after the trial showed higher autonomy and lower stress levels. In addition, employee anecdotal stories showed an increase in worker happiness.

With positive results, Buffer turned the trial into a long-term pilot through the end of 2020. This time, the trial would focus on Buffer’s long-term success.

“In order to truly evaluate whether a four-day workweek can be a success long-term, we need to measure productivity as well as individual well-being,” wrote Director of People Courtney Seiter. “Teammate well-being was our end goal for May. Whether that continues, and equally importantly, whether it translates into customer and company results, will be an exciting hypothesis to test.”

Trial Results

Company Productivity
Buffer’s shorter workweek trials showed employees felt they had a better work-life balance without compromising work productivity. According to the company’s survey data, almost 34% of employees felt more productive, about 60% felt equally as productive, and only less than 7% of employees felt less productive.

However, just saying productivity is higher isn’t proof. To make sure the numbers added up, managers were asked about their team’s productivity. Engineering managers reported that a decrease in total coding days didn’t show a decrease in output. Instead, there was a significant output increase for product teams, and Infrastructure and Mobile saw their output double.

The Customer Advocacy team, however, did see a decline in output. Customer service is dependent on customer unpredictability so this makes sense. Still, the survey showed about 85% to 90% of employees felt as productive as they would have been in a five-day workweek. Customers just had to wait slightly longer to receive replies to their inquiries.

Employee Well-Being
With more time and control of their schedules, Buffer’s survey shows an increase in individual autonomy and decreased stress levels reported by employees. And, the general work happiness for the entire company has been consistent throughout 2020.

What’s in store for 2021?

Based on positive employee feedback and promising company results, Buffer decided it will continue the company-wide four-day workweek this year.

“The four-day work week resulted in sustained productivity levels and a better sense of work-life balance. These were the exact results we’d hoped to see, and they helped us challenge the notion that we need to work the typical ‘nine-to-five,’ five days a week,” wrote Team Engagement Manager Nicole Miller.

The four-day workweek will continue in 2021, but the company will also be implementing adjustments based on the pilot results.

For most teams, Fridays will be the default day off. For teams that aren’t project-based, their workweek will look slightly different. As an example, the Customer Advocacy team will follow a different schedule to avoid customer reply delays and ticket overflow. Each team member will still have a four-day workweek and need to meet their specific targets. They will just have a more flexible schedule.

Companies who follow this format understand that output expectations will be further defined by area and department level. Employees who aren’t meeting their performance objectives will have the option to choose a five-day workweek or might be asked to do so.

If needed, Fridays will also serve as an overflow workday to finish up a project. Of course, schedules will be evaluated quarterly to make sure productivity is continuing to thrive and employees are still satisfied.

But, Miller says Buffer is “establishing ambitious goals” that might “push the limits” of a four-day work week in 2021. With the world slowly starting to normalize, who knows when a four-day workweek might reach its conclusion.

“We aren’t sure that we’ll continue with the four-day workweeks forever, but for now, we’re going to stick with it as long as we are still able to hit our ambitious goals,” wrote Miller.

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Business Marketing

Should your content management system go headless?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) You may be familiar with your typical content management system, but had you heard of a ‘headless’ model? Let’s dig into it together.

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Person using content management system with hands on keyboard and small bit of desktop visible.

At some point, you have probably worked with a content management system (CMS) like WordPress or Drupal. If you haven’t already, you at least know that this computer software is used to manage website content.

But, have you ever heard of a headless content management system before? We didn’t. So, we set out to find out what it’s all about and how beneficial, or not, it can be for your company.

What is headless CMS?

Unlike your classic CMS, headless CMS is a back-end only content management system. It decouples where your content is stored and authored (body) from the front-end where your content is displayed (head).

This CMS isn’t tied to a particular output like a web page. Content is transmitted as data over an application programming interface (API). It’s a content repository that delivers content seamlessly to any device.

Benefits of Headless CMS

More versatile
Headless CMS isn’t your classic “monolithic” CMS so you aren’t constrained to an all-in-one system that might work for websites but not mobile devices.

Content is consumed by customers in more than one place now. Headless CMS provides a more versatile way to deliver multi-channel content to websites, Android and iOS apps, and even IoT (internet of things), like a smartwatch or in-store kiosk.

Businesses will benefit from this because only one back-end is needed to manage and publish content for different services and products.

No need for specialized developers
Developers aren’t tied to a specific programming language or framework. A developer can choose between using Javascript, PHP, Ruby, or any language they prefer.

If you already have a talented developer, you don’t have to scramble to find someone else who specializes in a specific system or language you are moving to. Your current developer can do the job for you in the best way they know-how.

Better Security
Security is important. Not being married to the front-end, headless CMS has a security advantage a regular CMS doesn’t. Usually, content provided to a headless CMS is read-only, and the admin portion lives on a different server and domain.

With the back-end detached from the presentation layer, there is a smaller target area to attack. Also, layers of code can be used to hide the content-delivering API making it safer than a traditional CMS.

Real-time collaboration
With two separate systems, content editors and web developers can work concurrently. This shortens a project’s timeline and helps get your product and services to market quicker. Also, content editors don’t have to spend more time creating the same content for each system. Designers and developers can take care of that.
Downsides of Headless CMS

As with anything, headless CMS isn’t perfect and isn’t for everyone. It has its disadvantages.

More technical
Little technical involvement is called for in a traditional CMS. As a result, the tool can be picked up quickly by almost anyone.

A deeper understanding of CMS, coding languages, and front-end technologies is needed when using headless CMS. You must have a developer that can build the web or app just for you.

Increased maintenance
With the body separated from the head, there are two systems to maintain. Implementation and maintenance could potentially become complex.

Bigger price tag
Building a system from scratch costs time and money. With a traditional CMS, there is one account, and, most likely, one payment. With headless CMS, you’ll have multiple payments for the CMS, a developer, and the infrastructure running your website or app.

Your custom CMS also isn’t coming from a pre-built content management system. All that hard work takes time (and patience) to get it done right.

Conclusion

Headless CMS lets you create a unique user experience and allow for cross-platform publishing, but it isn’t a one-size-fits-all content management system.

Before you jump ships, take inventory of all your content needs. Does your content need to be published on different platforms? Will a simple stand-alone website work for you? Only you can decide what works best with your business, but we hope this information helps.

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Business Marketing

Spice up your remote team building with a fully virtual escape room

(BUSINESS MARKETING) As part of a remote team, team building has become even more of a groan. But this virtual escape room seeks to make a fun and unique challenge for remote teams.

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Woman waving at laptop in living room, on team building activity.

Team building events aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. While some enjoy getting to know coworkers they don’t normally socialize with, others dread the day before it arrives. Plus, there’s always work that needs to be taken care of, and using some of that time to mingle might seem like a waste of time.

Love it or hate it, working remotely has made team building slightly better, maybe? You don’t have to worry about physically being present in a place you don’t want to be. You’re not awkwardly talking to a co-worker whose name you can’t quite remember.

Nonetheless, it also has its downsides. We don’t see each other anymore so it’s easier to not be on the same page, and this makes learning how to work together much harder.

We’re almost a year into the pandemic and happy hour Zoom calls no longer hold the glamour they once did. So, what else is there to do in this virtual world?

Skyrocket Your Team has just the answer for you. This company provides virtual team building experiences through collaborative online escape rooms. The escape rooms are designed with remote teams in mind and can be tailored to accommodate different sized groups.

“If you’re working remotely, Skyrocket Your Team will help your team feel closer together and improve your internal communication,” wrote Co-Founder Jorge Sánchez Hernández. “Our puzzles are designed for teams by adult educators to trigger a set of emotions, feelings, and situations. Everyone sees a different screen and you need to communicate in order to get through the challenges. There is no way to continue without teamwork!”

From the comfort of your office or couch, each team member joins from their own computer and location. The escape room consists of an immersive story about astronauts trapped in a damaged spaceship. By solving puzzles and challenges, the team must work together to repair the spaceship and return to earth.

After hopefully, safely landing your rocket, there is a debriefing session. During this time, teams can share their experiences and discuss what they learned.

Skyrocket Your Team says their new form of team building will bring your company several benefits like:

  • Bringing your team closer together
  • Fostering collaboration instead of internal competition
  • Improving communication across your company

The end goal of the experience is to learn how to communicate effectively by solving the different sets of problems together. And, I think we can all agree that’s a good thing.

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