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Daddy Dearest

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My relationship with my broker is like a father and his 15-year-old.  He makes a point; I look for a way to argue it.  I used to believe everything he said; then I grew up.  The problem with his opinion is that he’ll take it to his grave.  His belief for a time was that postcards were the way to success.  Not making enough money?  Mail more postcards.  Still not making enough money?  Mail more often to more people. 

He hated cold calling, door knocking and open houses.  Stupid waste of time.  Then I got a listing as a result of an open house.  The sellers were jumping from open to open one Sunday interviewing agents.  What a concept.  Not having my consumer hat on, I hadn’t thought of that.  I did cold call for awhile.  I don’t have the stomach for it, so it didn’t last.  Door knocking?  I really enjoy that.  I’ve met a lot of super people and it’s great exercise.  It’s amazing how much nicer they are when you’re standing at the door.

Then open houses became the way to make money.  Not making enough money?  Do an open house.  Weekend open house.  Weekday open house.  Twilight open house.  Lunch time open house.  He suggested that my business plan should include 15 hours a week of open houses. 

Cold call?  That’s disgusting.  How intrusive, annoying and agressive.

Don’t do business with family.  They’ll hate you no matter what you do.  You’re too involved to be able to advise them professionally.

Then he jumped on the Buffini bandwagon.  Got the whole company involved.  48 agents were taking the 100 Days to Greatness class.  Oops.  Buffini says hit up your family – backpedal on that one. 

Not making enough money?  Notes.  Notes are the way to make money.  Write lots of personal notes.

Not making enough money?  Pop-bys.  Pop-bys are the way to make money. 

Floor time?  Doesn’t matter that you’re sitting at a desk anyway.  Oh, you got a sale from a walk-in?  So what.  Stupid waste of time.

Business cards!  That’s the answer.  Standing in line at Starbuck’s?  Hand out your card to everyone in line.  After the meeting, hordes of attendees run over to get coffee and scare the crap out of the barista.

My answer to making money is a multi-thronged approach.  I like variety.  I get bored easily.  I recently read that 70% of my time should be involved in prospecting.  So I call my clients regularly.  Send birthday, anniversary, house purchase anniversary cards.  I send a monthly newsletter – used to do the Buffini CAP, but I got bored with that one and changed to a newsletter promoting not only myself but my clients’ businesses.  That’s a fun one.  Client dinners/parties are awesome fun; inviting several clients to have a chance to meet each other and have a great time too.  

Still not making enough money?  Maybe I should reconsider those 15 hours of open houses.

As a lifelong resident and local Realtor, Vicki has established herself as a respected member of the San Mateo County real estate community. She’s known for her wit, sarcasm, and her personality that shows through in her posts. You can find her spouting off at Twitter, here at ag, and her personal blog, San Mateo Real Estate Blog.com.

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. ines

    December 19, 2007 at 9:02 am

    I wonder what your broker has to say about Blogging.

    I agree with you – it’s about variety and finding a balance. If you rely on one method to get business, you will be left in the dark standing by yourself twiddling your thumbs.

  2. Mariana

    December 19, 2007 at 3:11 pm

    Oh! I like to do all kinds of stuff. Mix it up a bit, as I get bored too. I am pretty consistent about our newsletter: I always have some random trivia question where I give away free gas. That is fun. I will go door-to-door in may farm/neighborhood, but nowhere else. I can’t cold call. Not in my nature. Charity involvement is one of my favorite (benign) ways of working my business into my life …

  3. Wade Young

    December 19, 2007 at 10:30 pm

    One of my plans for 2008 is to call accountants, financial planners and family attorneys. I got started a little early, so I’ve already had meetings with quite a few professionals. NO ONE is calling these people. Right now they are referring business to some guy or gal they met at a tips group — no one they really have an established relationship with. I am a mortgage broker, but it might work for realtors too.

  4. Vicki Moore

    December 20, 2007 at 1:59 pm

    Ines: I had to explain to him what blogging is. 🙂 I’m glad you agree with variety. I made the mistake of focusing my business on first time buyers; doing classes, etc. Ooops. Not working well for me right now.

    Mariana: Free gas!?! That must be so popular. Very fresh idea.

    Wade: Funny you mention that. I’ve actually made it a plan for next year to contact divorce and probate attorneys. Glad to hear you’re getting some action from it.

  5. P in CO

    December 20, 2007 at 4:48 pm

    Mariana, how do I get on your newsletter. I’d like to win free gas!

  6. Mariana

    December 20, 2007 at 7:26 pm

    Vicki – I only give away $20-$25 worth of gas, but in this gas economy, every little bit helps! You know, it HAS become rather hard to find Gas Gift Cards though …

  7. Vicki Moore

    December 21, 2007 at 9:23 pm

    Only! It’s a great gift.

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Opinion Editorials

This website is like Pinterest for WFH desk setups

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) If you’ve been working from home at the same, unchanged desk setup, it may be time for an upgrade. My Desk Tour has the inspiration you need.

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Man browsing desk setups on My Desk Tour

Whether you’re sitting, standing, or reclining your way through the pandemic, you’re most likely doing it from home these days. You’re also probably contending with an uninspired desk configuration hastily cobbled together in 2020, which—while understandable—might be bringing you down. Fortunately, there’s an easy, personable solution to spark your creativity: My Desk Tour.

My Desk Tour is a small website started by Jonathan Cai. On this site, you will find pictures of unique and highly customized desk setups; these desk configurations range from being optimized for gamers to coders to audiophiles, so there’s arguably something for everyone—even if you’re just swinging by to drool for a bit.

Cai also implements a feature in which site users can tag products seen in desk photos with direct links to Amazon so you don’t have to poke around the Internet for an hour in search of an obscure mouse pad. This is something Cai initially encountered on Reddit and, after receiving guidance from various subreddits on the issue of which mouse to purchase, he found the inspiration to create My Desk Tour.

The service itself is pretty light—the landing page consists of a few desk setup photos and a rotating carousel of featured configurations—but it has great potential to grow into a desk-focused social experience of sorts.

It’s also a great place to drop in on if you’re missing the extra level of adoration for your desk space that a truly great setup invokes. Since most people who have been working from home since the spring didn’t receive a ton of advance notice, it’s reasonable to assume that the majority of folks have resigned themselves to a boring or inefficient desk configuration. With a bit of inspiration from My Desk Tour, that can change overnight.

Of course, some of the desk options featured on the site are a bit over the top. One configuration boasts dual ultra-wide monitors stacked atop each other, and another shows off a monitor flanked by additional vertical monitors—presumably for the sake of coding. If you’re scrambling to stay employed, such a setup might be egregious.

If you’re just looking for a new way to orient your workspace for the next few months, though, My Desk Tour is worth a visit.

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Opinion Editorials

10 tips for anyone looking to up their professional work game

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) It’s easy to get bogged down by the details, procrastinate, and feel unproductive. Here are a few tips to help you stay on track and crush your professional goals.

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work productivity

Self-reflection is critical to a growth mindset, which you must have if you want to grow and improve. If you are ready to take your professional game to the next level, here are some stories and tips to help you remain focused on killing your work goals.

1. Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is the thief of joy, as the quote goes. And, in the workplace it’s bound to make you second guess yourself and your abilities. This story explains when comparison can be useful, when to avoid it, and how to change your focus if it’s sucking the life out of you.

2. Burnout is real and the harder you work, the less productive you are. It’s an inverse relationship. But, there are ways to work smarter and have better life balance. Here are some tips to prioritize your workload and find more ease.

3. Stop procrastinating and start getting sh@t done. The reason we procrastinate may be less about not wanting to do something and more about the emotions underlying the task. Ready to get going and stop hemming and hawing, you got this and here’s the way to push through.

4. Perfection is impossible and if you seek this in your work and life, it’s likely you are very frustrated. Let that desire go and learn to be happy with excellence over perfection.

5. If you think you’re really awesome and seriously deserve more money, more responsibility, more of anything and are ready to drop the knowledge on your supervisor or boss, you may want to check this story out to see if your spinning in the right direction.

6. Technology makes it so easy to get answers so quickly, it’s hard to wait around for things to happen. We like instant gratification. Yet, that is another reason procrastination is a problem for some of us, but every person has a different way/reason for procrastinating. Learn what’s up with that.

7. Making choices can be a challenge for some of us (me included) who worry we are making the wrong choice. If you’ve ever struggled with decision making, you know it can be paralyzing and then you either make no decision or choose the safest option. What we have here is the Ambiguity Effect and it can be a real time suck. Kick ambiguity to the curb.

8. If you are having trouble interacting with colleagues or wondering why you don’t hear back from contacts it could be you are creeping folks out unintentionally (we hope). Here’s how to #belesscreepy.

9. In the social media era building your brand and marketing are critical, yet, if you’re posting to the usual suspects and seeing very little engagement, you’ve got a problem. Wharton Business School even did a study on how to fix the situation and be more shareable.

10. Every time you do a presentation that one co-worker butts in and calls you out. Dang. If you aren’t earning respect on the job, you will be limited in your ability to get to the next level. Respect is critical to any leadership position, as well as to making a difference in any role you may have within an organization, but actions can be misconstrued. There are ways to take what may be negative situations and use them to your advantage, building mutual respect.

You have the tools you need, now get out there, work hard, play hard, and make sh*t happen. Oh, and remember, growth requires continual reflection and action, but you got this.

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Opinion Editorials

The truth about unemployment from someone who’s been through it

(EDITORIAL) Unemployment benefits aren’t what you thought they were. Here’s a first-hand experience and what you need to know.

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unemployment

Have I ever told you how I owed the government over two grand because of unemployment in 2019, and only just finished paying it back this year?

This isn’t exactly the forum for memoirs, but this is relevant to everyone. So I’ll tell y’all anyway.

It all started back in 2018 when I came into work early, microwaved my breakfast, poured coffee, and got pulled into a collaboration room to hear, “We love you and your work, April, but we’ve been bought out and you’re being laid off.”

It was kind of awkward carrying my stuff out to the car with that Jimmy Dean sandwich in my mouth.

More awkward still was the nine months of unemployment I went through afterwards. Between the fully clothed shower crying, the stream of job denial, catering to people who carried rocks in their nostrils at my part-time job (yes, ew, yes, really), and almost dying of no-health-insurance-itis, I learned a lot!

The bigger lesson though, came in the spring of the following year when I filed my taxes. I should back up for a moment and take the time to let those of you unfamiliar with unemployment in Texas in on a few things that aren’t common knowledge.

1: You’re only eligible if you were laid off. Not if you had quit. Not fired. Your former company can also choose to challenge your eligibility for benefits if they didn’t like your face on the way out. So the only way you’re 100% guaranteed to get paid in (what the state calls) “a timely manner”, is a completely amicable split.

2: Overpayments have to go back. Immediately. If there’s an error, like several thousand of Texans found out this week, the government needs that cash back before you can access any more. If you’re not watching your bank account to make sure you’re getting the exact same check each time and you have an overpayment, rest assured that mistake isn’t going to take long to correct. Unfortunately, if you spent that money unknowingly–thought you got an ‘in these uncertain times’ kinder and gentler adjustment and have 0 income, you have a problem. Tying into Coronavirus nonsense is point three!

3: There are no sick days. If ever you’re unable to work for any reason, be it a car accident, childbirth, horrible internal infection (see also no-health-insurance-itis), you are legally required to report it, and you will not be paid for any days you were incapacitated. Personally, my no-health-insurance-itis came with a bad fever and bedrest order that axed me out of my part time job AND killed my unemployment benefits for the week I spent getting my internal organs to like me again. But as it turned out, the payment denial came at the right time because–

4: Unemployment benefits are finite. Even if you choose to lie on your request forms about how hard you’re searching for work, coasting is ill-advised because once the number the state allots you runs out…it’s out. Don’t lie on your request forms, by the way. In my case, since I got cut from my part-time gig, I got a call from the Texas Workforce Commission about why my hours were short. I was able to point out where I’d reported my sickness to them and to my employer, so my unpaid week rolled over to a later request date. I continued to get paid right up until my hiring date which was also EXACTLY when my benefits ran out.

Unemployment isn’t a career, which is odd considering the fact that unemployment payments are qualified by the government as income.

Ergo, fact number five…

5: Your benefits? They’re taxed.

That’s right, you will be TAXED for not having a job.

The stereotype of the ‘lazy unemployment collector burdening society’ should be fading pretty quickly for the hitherto uninformed about now.

To bring it back to my story, I’d completely forgotten that when I filed for unemployment in the first place, I’d asked for my taxes NOT to be withheld from it–assuming that I wasn’t going to be searching for full time work for very long. I figured “Well, I’ll have a tax refund coming since I’ll get work again no problem, it’ll cancel out.”

Except, it was a problem. Because of the nine month situation.

I’d completely forgotten about it by the time I threw myself into my new job, but after doing my taxes, triple checking the laws and what I’d signed, it was clear. Somehow…despite being at my lowest point in life, I owed the highest amount in taxes, somewhere around the 2k mark.

Despite being based on a system that’s tied to how much income you were getting before, and all the frustrating “safeguards” put in place to keep payments as low and infrequent as possible, Uncle Sam still wants a bite out of the gas-station Hostess pie that is your unemployment check. And as I’m writing this, more and more people are finding that out. And even as we enter 2021, there is still more to be aware of – we’re not out of the woods yet.

I’d like to end this on a more positive note… So let’s say we’ve all been positively educated! That’s a net gain, surely.

Keep your heads up, and masked.

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