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Confessions of a Newbie

This is my first Genius post, so please be gentle.

Not many people know this, I have not written about it before. I am relatively new in the real estate industry. I got my license six years ago, and my brokers license last January.

I am a career changer. My background is quite corporate, and in my last job I was an executive with a company that provided technical consulting services. I chucked it all and started over. To this day no one understands why I did what I did, but they don’t have to, it was a personal choice.

The new world I entered was frightening. Trust me I am not easily frightened. I went from being someone who was respected, listened to and well paid, to a someone who did not know anything, and who had no income. It was a very humbling and traumatic experience.

The experience was an eye opener. For the first time in more than a decade I met professionals who did not have email accounts, computers or internet access at home, or in their offices. When I went to the resource room I would see my peers, doing their weekly email check. In general their customs and ways were alien to me. One of the biggest shocks was the five part carbon forms that were filled out by hand.

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Other shocks to my system came fast and furious. In the world that I came from putting your face on a business card or resume was a big no no, considered unprofessional and even tacky. I hated open houses too. They seemed so . . sales-y. My background does include sales but it was different. I would buy someone lunch and talk about consulting services.

In my early days as an agent I felt like I had been cast out of the universe and had entered some hellish alternate reality, where on top of it all I had to pay my own cell phone and credit card bills. On the up side at least I didn’t have anyone telling me what color my suite should be or who I was having lunch with and where . . and when . . . and why.

When I started my new career my broker wanted me to “cold call”, and one of the trainers told me I would never make it in real estate if I did not start doing more open houses, four each week. Another told me that I had a bad attitude. That might have been true, shortly after I got my license I became ill and lost 20 pounds in a few weeks, but I never mentioned it, I just kept trying. . . even though my “tude” was questioned, and my new office was not very welcoming.

It wasn’t until I stopped focusing on what I wasn’t good at and started using my skills that I started having successes. I started thinking on my own and outside the box. What I learned is that my skills are very transferable and that I have a unique skill set that can be an advantage. I learned how to take my experience and skills and apply them in new ways. I used technology in new ways to build my business. Not the standard real estate industry technology but technology used by small business owners of all types.

I leaned that many of the role models in our industry started in the 80’s. These are our industry icon’s, and leaders. They do not need to change the way they are doing things, they should be able to work off their base and from referrals. What is missing from the picture is that if they lived in the same world as we do today, and needed new clients to survive, they would be doing things differently. They would have to because most of their new clients are on the Internet. Products and services are bought and sold every day with out the use of any of the real estate industry tried and true marketing techniques.

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I have also learned that even though I have not spent my entire life in the real estate industry I have something to offer the industry. I look around and I see some of my peers who have similar backgrounds. They are the leaders in the newer web 2.0 world. As a group we create, innovate, teach and share. The influx of new agents in the last five or six years has given the industry some new blood and fresh ideas. A good thing in any industry.

As time goes on I spend less time and money on 80’s marketing techniques. I am not debunking them and don’t want to offend but the world has changed. There are marketing techniques that were never even dreamt of in the 80’s and I do my best to exploit them.

As a newbie I think I have something to offer the industry, and am thrilled to get the opportunity to do so through Agent Genius. I am not a genius, but an outside of the box thinker, mainly because I never found the box.

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Written By

Full time REALTOR and licensed broker with Saint Paul Home Realty Realty in St. Paul, Minnesota. Author of StPaulRealEstateBlog.com, Columnist for Inman News and an avid photographer.

13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Athol Kay

    November 20, 2007 at 3:14 pm

    I just finished my first year in the business Teresa. Like you I look at other agents with blank incomprehension as they still use a typewriter or clear their email weekly. Just bizarre.

    >>It wasn’t until I stopped focusing on what I wasn’t good at and started using my skills that I started having successes.

    That’s the money shot.

  2. Teresa Boardman

    November 20, 2007 at 3:20 pm

    Athol – I had no idea. 🙂

  3. Ines

    November 20, 2007 at 3:38 pm

    5th year of business here! Rick and I dropped our professions to give our local market real service. From the first day, we concentrated on what made us different and what extra value we added to the table.

    It’s been a bumpy road, mostly because a lot of people don’t respect the industry as a whole and we were not used to that. But overcoming adversity is my cup of tea.

    We have more in common than we knew!

  4. Scoot

    November 20, 2007 at 5:21 pm

    “It wasn’t until I stopped focusing on what I wasn’t good at and started using my skills that I started having successes.”

    I believe that has to be the statement of the day! If we would all spend as much time on what we are good at, as we do trying to fix things we aren’t, we would get a lot more accomplished. And in the end I believe we’d find we’re fixing those things anyway.

    It’s a new world, cold calling and high pressure sales, don’t work anymore. People are smarter now. I for one am glad!

  5. Teresa Boardman

    November 20, 2007 at 5:28 pm

    Ines – I figured you were a born Realtor. 🙂

    Scoot – that was the most valuable life lesson I have learned to date and I was a slow learner. Had I stayed in my old job or occupation that is one of the many lessons I would not have learned.

  6. Mariana

    November 20, 2007 at 5:51 pm

    Teresa – I, too, entered the world “just” 6 years ago. 9/11/01 to be exact. ‘Tis a new generation of agents that will take over the world. (And by generation, I do not mean birthday age, but “entering the business” age…)

    And the box? Well, I haven’t found it either, but I am not really looking for it.

    Welcome to the Genius! 🙂

  7. Benn Rosales

    November 20, 2007 at 6:28 pm

    I say burn the box.

  8. Mariana

    November 20, 2007 at 6:40 pm

    Burn the Box! Burn the Box!

  9. john harper

    November 20, 2007 at 7:55 pm

    Everyone in blogdom knows I’ve only been at this real estate gig a year, but my mother has been telling me to “zip it” forever. Thanks to Ben for letting me sound off!

    Good to see you here – I’ll publish the other half of your face here later also!

  10. Norm Fisher

    November 21, 2007 at 7:05 am

    “It wasn’t until I stopped focusing on what I wasn’t good at and started using my skills that I started having successes.”

    …and likely having some fun at it too.

    With 15 years behind me, I have to admit that I am also feeling like a “newbie,” but loving it. Always appreciate your leadership Teresa. Nice to see you here.

  11. Carson Coots

    November 21, 2007 at 1:31 pm

    Very inspiring. We need more results-driven voices to encourage fresh thinking in the industry. You have a great success story. I am looking forward to reading your thoughts.

  12. Vicki Moore

    November 21, 2007 at 10:00 pm

    Thank you for sharing such a personal part of yourself, Teresa. I never have fit in with my peers either and I’ve had many of the same experiences. I was told by a trainer that I would never make it. Various agents I’ve worked with have been truly awful, rude, condescending, and have even sabotaged me and each other. There’s a kinship, a mutual appreciation as I’ve called it in the past, within the blogging community. It’s unfortunate to have lived so long without it. I really look forward to hearing more from and about you.

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