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Opinion Editorials

Realtors, how to know when to quit your real estate career



Over the years, social networking has given rise to a new breed of Realtor, some call them conference junkies, others call them free conference speakers, others call them fake gurus, but they typically still call themselves “Realtors” to garner credibility.

Recently, I was talking to one of these types (who is actually a friend, but I digress) and he said, “I hate real estate. Clients always suck.” Ouch.

Another of the gurus said in a private conversation to me, “I hate Realtors” yet asks them to spend money with him at conferences and on products he’s selling.

I get it, the first guy is talking in general about nightmare clients and the second is talking about the big haired, cheetah tights wearin’ bimbos rollin’ in their hard earned Mary Kay pink Caddy. We all hate those types or we wouldn’t be here talking together about how to improve our businesses and the overall industry so that consumers have an improved experience.

But it got me to thinking– when I first met the people who now populate the conference circuit, they were regular Realtors curious about blogging and their recent shift in career (despite them telling you they’re Realtors although they’re on the road talking to you about Twitter 200 days a year) probably should have happened a couple of years ago.

Clearly, they sought more than just being a Realtor- for some it’s glory, the feeling of being a popular kid, for others there really is a sincere drive to help others with the knowledge they’ve gained but either way, they weren’t happy being Realtors or they still would be.

Knowing when to quit real estate

There are a million reasons to quit real estate, and there is no shame in moving on, really there isn’t. I would argue that the lack of happiness is the top reason to quit real estate whether you’re making money or not. If you’re not excited about your career and happy where you are, get the hell out because your consumers will know they’re part of your unhappy system and know you’re not giving them your all.

A recent psychological study showed that being in a bad career is more detrimental to your mental health than being in a career you hate. “Analyzing more than 7,000 working-age Australians across a great number of data points, the researchers found that people defined good jobs as ones that provided a defined social role and purpose, friendships, and structured time (among other things). Being hired into these kinds of jobs resulted in an overall improvement in mental health. Conversely, those in jobs that offered little control, were very demanding, and provided little support and reward lead to a general decrease in mental health.”

Signs that it is time to quit your real estate career:

  1. If you haven’t had a closing yet this year, closings get pulled last minute and nothing seems to be working out and you’re miserable, there’s no shame in moving on.
  2. If you dread your phone ringing because you know it’s one of your jerkface clients and you hate talking to people, maybe it’s time to hang your hat.
  3. You don’t want to go into the office because you hate everyone there because they wear the R pin. They’re obnoxious and they’re people and you hate them. Sayonara.
  4. If you want to be a guru because you signed up for Twitter, it may be time to quit real estate. Don’t let the door hit ya on the way out.
  5. If there is a dream you want to pursue and you’re already broke and frustrated, now may be the best time.
  6. If you already know everything and are an expert in all things real estate, marketing, physics and psychology, you should definitely get out- no challenge and an assumption that you’re done learning means you’re finished.
  7. If lead generation of any form is annoying to you, the phone sucks, Twitter is stupid and email goes unanswered, maybe a graceful exit is in order.

Tell us in comments what other signs may point to a decent time to quit a real estate career.

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  1. Mary Pope-Handy via Facebook

    March 17, 2011 at 9:53 am

    Lani I loved this post. There could be a follow up on “when to quit speaking at Realtor conferences”. I’m so sick of the same people on stage every time…am now avoiding most venues (and am not convinced all of the experts are selling all that much)…

  2. Rob Nielsen via Facebook

    March 17, 2011 at 11:44 am

    And so many guru webinars are fun & educational until you’re prompted to buy x program for the low, low price of y . . .

  3. Fred Romano via Facebook

    March 17, 2011 at 11:54 am

    For many of us it’s not so easy to just quit, even if we wanted to, where would we go?

  4. Susan Milner

    March 17, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    This is perfect. And partly what I was referring to when I commented on your post about Matt Ferrara and Mike Ferry’s controversial ‘fight’. Too many are NOT real estate agents anymore. But they still ‘think’ they are.

  5. Daniel Bates

    March 17, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    I’m not a circuit junkie, but I do make more money teaching agents each year than I do from real estate and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I got into real estate just as the market began to crumble and I haven’t had a chance to advance my career before I had to go out and work as a carpenter for a year and now a blog trainer, quite a good one in my and my clients opinions at least. I’ve held my real estate license in tact through the years and recently formed my own brokerage. I spend about 30 hour a week as a blog / social media coach, 10 hours in real estate, and 10 hours as a rental manager. All are quite rewarding. I guess my point is that I’m working with the cards that I was dealt. I choose not to go full-time into real estate until things pick back up and honestly I quite enjoy the luxury of a regular paycheck and the ability to choose who I work with in real estate. I know that I am primed for success when the market picks back up, but while things remain incredibly slow (compare my 0 closings this year as a part -time agent to those 0-1 closings of full-time agents and I think I’m pretty smart) in my market, I have continued to build my real estate resources, while also putting food on the table and keeping the roof over my family. I don’t think that I’m one of the ones you’re talking about because I still enjoy selling real estate, I just also enjoy renting homes, and teaching other agents as well. I look forward to the day when I’m not juggling all 3 throughout the day, but if my family is happy, than so am I.

  6. MH for Movoto

    March 17, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    Amen to this post. I would maybe add, “If you’ve got the word “guru” in yourTwitter bio, it’s time to find a day job.” Maybe that’s a little harsh, but it’s one of my major Twitter-peeves. (LOVE the Brokeback reference, btw.)

  7. Michelle DeRepentigny

    March 17, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    I just wish there was a “like” button for Mary’s comment!

  8. Ralph Bell

    March 17, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    Two giant thumbs up and a big ol teeth showing smile on this one Lani!

  9. Ken Montville

    March 18, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    How about, “When you find yourself attending conferences at least once a month (if not more), looking for the silver bullet or pretending that you’re involved in ‘lifelong learning.'”

    I figure I could go to two conferences a month virtually anywhere and never have to worry about actually selling any real estate. I often wonder how the conference groupies can afford to go the places they go as often as they go. Plane, hotel, food, drinks, product purchases.

    One thing about the post I don’t quite understand is this: “…being in a bad career is more detrimental to your mental health than being in a career you hate.” I’m not sure I understand the difference. But, sometimes, I’m a little slow. Maybe I need to go to more conferences.

    • Bobbie Foley

      September 25, 2016 at 6:15 pm

      Agreed. Love this post, but unsure about that statement. Perhaps intentional. 🙂

  10. Judy Graff

    March 18, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    Loved this! Although I don’t mind the Mary Kay women as much as I mind the glad-handing-but-really-snakes men.

  11. monicaatherton

    March 18, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    Couldn’t have said it better myself! “LIKE”

  12. Jonathan Dalton

    March 20, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    And thus why I don’t attend most conferences … I don’t need to hear real estate-agent-turned-guru tell me all the secrets they learned that did absolutely nothing for their careers. Especially when I’ve been doing to blogging and social media thing as long or longer than the “experts.”

    I sell real estate. Some days it frustrates me. Some days it pisses me off. Some days I want to throw in the towel.

    And some days it’s incredibly rewarding to know you made a difference in your client’s life.

    That’s why I’m still here.

  13. Andrea Geller

    November 13, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    Mike Bowler just tweeted this post out. It's months later and if you have been following #NARAnnual the number of people you have written about has grown.

    You could have posted this today as new. Same story different day. Just more of them.

  14. Ann Cummings

    November 13, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    LOVE this post and as Michelle wrote, I wish there was a "Like" button for some of these comments! Mary's comment is spot on as is Ken's and Jonathan's.

  15. Mary

    May 22, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    I have never liked real estate. 7 years now. Hate it with a passion. I have to quit

    • Witheld

      July 17, 2016 at 2:32 am

      I’m ashamed to say I’m in this business …

  16. Witheld

    July 17, 2016 at 2:30 am

    I started in 1999 when it was easier & less costly to get licensed, almost anything you showed sold, technology didn’t come in to screw up everything no constant changing passwords and yearly it much much le$$ costly to be a (gag) “realtor”. There were still some pleasant people in the biz as a 2nd careen or p/ters . Just re-entered after a break …Now the biz esp on LI in NY is littered with liars esp buyers brokers, greed mongers, snakes and crazy people. $1,000 up in smoke last month by a lame played out Chris Leader seminar…on the heals of a $499 “lap dues” then the renewal fees, pro photo for listing that don’t sell because of delusional narcissistic homeowners. A manager that’s looped on antidepressants and coworkers that are angry depressed and evil… thanks good bye cruel business

    • Witheld 2

      August 15, 2016 at 12:42 pm

      I started in ’93 when people weren’t total lunatics with a sense of entitlement. 90% of most buyers, sellers, landlords, and tenants, were a pleasure to deal with.No cell phones, social media, email, etc. to bog me down. I made decent money, flipped a few houses, bought a couple of rentals. I have no regrets. However, the last few years have sucked the soul right out of me. The 90% became 5%. At first I thought it was just me…maybe I was becoming too intolerant, bored, disgusted, etc. and I was probably right, but it’s hard to miss the fact that people, and this country in general have changed beyond recognition. There ARE tons of liars and crazy people out there. You can’t make up the things that I’ve seen and heard in the property management side of the business. So,at the ripe old age of 54 I’m retiring. Yep, I’m 10 years premature but I couldn’t take another minute of the business. I commend you for “re-entering after a break” but I doubt that I will do that. Sure the money will be hard to resist, but I have to keep in mind that people aren’t going to get better if I take a break. They’ll just get worse. Good luck in the future…we’ll both be just fine!

  17. Witheld

    July 17, 2016 at 3:03 am

    Did I mention phonies too…if they smile at you they are lying to you

  18. Want to leave...but too scared

    October 18, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    Everyone’s comments are as good or better than the article. Thanks, sincerely. I got into the business with the idea of using real estate to springboard my real passion….music. Ah yes…the starving artist mentality. But real estate kept me from the “starving” part. Then I got married and had kids. Its now 25 years in real estate, abandoned my true craft…music. i’ve never been hugely successful in real estate. I barely make it. My family needs more. We are paycheck to pay check and not getting anywhere. I’m 44 now a d dont know what do if I leave. Feeling totally stuck. Every Tom, Dick, & Hrry is an agent here in the DC area. Too many agents, so hard to get visibility, hard to prospect becuase its all real estate “white noise” anymore to people. The biz has gone cheesy…and it’s just not me. I need to figure this out. Can’t figure out how to stay or how to leave. Ugh! Thanks to all of you.

    • Alma

      May 23, 2017 at 3:07 am

      Love your comment and I am 44 also. Starting to feel the same way. Unfortunately it’s hard at our age to get in to something new.

      • Lani Rosales

        May 24, 2017 at 12:32 pm

        Alma, hang in there – the truth is that age is no limit. For example, many of our friends in their 50s are going to coding schools and entering the tech field. Others are switching from residential to commercial, and so forth.

        And of course, you may have a passion you’ve never followed and it’s time to examine – is there anything you’ve always said you’d do later on in life? Why wait???

        Lastly, real estate is an intensely rewarding field with many generous people, perhaps adopting a mentor would help you? Someone in another city that you could talk to monthly and go over your accomplishments and shortcomings? Someone that is willing to hold your hand? Many brokers pay it forward in that way!

        Good luck, Alma 🙂

  19. St.Paul

    November 14, 2018 at 4:27 am

    No real estate agent is perfect but trying to improve each day to move towards the perfection will be the key to success.

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Opinion Editorials

Can we combat grind culture and injustice with a nap?

(OPINION EDITORIALS) A global pandemic and a climate of racial injustice may require fresh thinking and a new approach from what grind culture has taught us.



Sleeping cat with plant, fighting grind culture.

Information is delivered to us at warp speed with access to television, radio, and the internet (and more specifically, social media). We are inundated with messages. Oftentimes they’re personalized by something that a friend or family shared. Other times we manage them for work, school, or just keeping up with news. Many entrepreneurs already wear many hats and burn the midnight oil.

During this global pandemic, COVID-19, we have also seen a rise in awareness and attention to social injustice and systemic racism. This is not a new concept, as we all know. But it did feel like the attention was advanced exponentially by the murder of George Floyd on Memorial Day 2020. Many people and entrepreneurs felt called to action (or at least experienced self-reflection). And yet they were working at all hours to evolve their businesses to survive. All of this happening simultaneously may have felt like a struggle while they tried to figure out exactly they can do.

There are some incredible thought leaders – and with limited time, it can be as simple as checking them out on Instagram. These public figures give ideas around what to be aware of and how to make sure you are leveling up your awareness.

Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, Director of the Center for Antiracist Research – he has been studying anti-racism and has several books and interviews that help give language to what has been happening in our country for centuries. His content also delves into why and how white people have believed they are more than people of color. Here is a great interview he did with Brené Brown on her Unlocking Us podcast.

Tamika Mallory – American activist and one of the leading organizers of the 2017 Women’s March. She has been fighting for justice to be brought upon the officers that killed Breonna Taylor on March 13. These are among other efforts around the country to push back on gun control, feminist issues, and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Brené Brown – research professor at the University of Houston and has spent the last two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. She has been listening and engaging on how racism and our shame intersect. She also speaks about how people can reflect on themselves and where they can take action to better our society. She has some antiracism resources on her website.

With all of this information and the change in our daily routines and work habits (or business adjustments), what is a fresh approach or possibly a new angle that you haven’t been able to consider?

There is one social channel against grind culture that may not be as well-known. At an initial glance, you may even perceive this place as a spoof Twitter and Instagram that is just telling you to take a nap. But hold on, it’s actually much smarter than that. The description says “We examine the liberating power of naps. We believe rest is a form of resistance and reparations. We install Nap Experiences. Founding in 2016.”

It might be a great time for you to check out The Nap Ministry, inspired by Tricia Hersey. White people are called to action, and people of color are expressly told to give time to taking care of themselves. Ultimately, it goes both ways – everyone needs the time to recharge and recuperate. But people of color especially are being told to value their rest more than the grind culture. Yes, you’re being told you need to manage your mental health and include self-care in your schedule.

Through The Nap Ministry, Tricia “examines rest as a form of resistance by curating safe spaces for the community to rest via Collective Napping Experiences, immersive workshops, and performance art installations.”

“In this incredibly rich offering, we speak with Tricia on the myths of grind culture, rest as resistance, and reclaiming our imaginative power through sleep. Capitalism and white supremacy have tricked us into believing that our self-worth is tied to our productivity. Tricia shares with us the revolutionary power of rest.” They have even explored embracing sleep as a political act.

Let this allow you to take a deep breath and sigh – it is a must that you take care of yourself to take care of your business as well as your customers and your community. And yes, keep your drive and desire to “get to work”. But not at your expense for the old grind culture narrative.

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Opinion Editorials

The actual reasons people choose to work at startups

(EDITORIAL) Startups have a lot going for them, environment, communication, visible growth. But why else would you work for one?



Startups meeting led by Black woman.

Startups are perpetually viewed as the quintessential millennial paradise with all of the accompanying perks: Flexible hours, in-house table tennis, and long holidays. With this reputation so massively ingrained in the popular perception of startups, is it foolish to think that their employees actually care about the work that startup companies accomplish?

Well, yes and no.

The average startup has a few benefits that traditional business models can’t touch. These benefits often include things like open communication, a relaxed social hierarchy, and proximity to the startup’s mission. That last one is especially important: While larger businesses keep several degrees of separation between their employees and their end goals, startups put the stakes out in the open, allowing employees to find personal motivation to succeed.

When employees find themselves personally fulfilled by their work, that work reaps many of the benefits in the employee’s dedication, which in turn helps the startup propagate. Many aspiring startup employees know this and are eager to “find themselves” through their work.

Nevertheless, the allure of your average startup doesn’t always come from the opportunity to work on “something that matters.”

Tiffany Philippou touches on this concept by pointing out that “People come to work for you because they need money to live… [s]tartups actually offer pretty decent salaries these days.”

It’s true that many employees in their early to late twenties will likely take any available job, so assuming that your startup’s 25-and-under employee base is as committed to finding new uses for plastic as you are may be a bit naïve—indeed, this is a notion that holds true for any business, regardless of size or persuasion.

However, startup experience can color a young employee’s perception of their own self-worth. This allows them to pursue more personally tailored employment opportunities down the road—and that’s not a bad legacy to have.

Additionally, startups often offer—and even encourage—a level of personal connection and interactivity that employees simply won’t find in larger, more established workplaces. That isn’t symptomatic of startups being too laid-back or operating under loosely defined parameters. Instead, it’s a clue that work environments that facilitate personalities rather than rote productivity may stand to get more out of their employees.

Finally, your average startup has a limited number of spots, each of which has a clearly defined role and a possibility for massive growth. An employee of a startup doesn’t typically have to question their purpose in the company—it’s laid out for them; who are we to question their dedication to fulfilling it?

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Opinion Editorials

How Peloton has developed a cult-following

(OPINION EDITORIALS) How has Peloton gotten so popular? Turns out there are some clear takeaways from the bike company’s wildly successful model.



Man riding Peloton bike with instructor pointing encouragingly during workout.

Peloton is certainly not the first company to gain a cult-like following–in the past we’ve talked about other brands with similar levels of devotion, like Crossfit and Yeti. Now, full disclosure: I’m not an exercise buff, so while I’d vaguely heard of Peloton–a company that sells stationary bikes–I had no idea it was such a big deal.

I mean, it’s not really surprising that an at-home bike that offers the option for cycling classes has grown so much during the pandemic era (a sales growth of 172% to be exact). But Peloton has been highly popular within its fanbase for years now. So, what gives? A few factors, actually.

Vertical Integration

If your company really wants to guarantee the vision and quality you’re aiming for, one of the best ways to enact it is through vertical integration, where a company owns or controls more than one part of its supply chain. Take Netflix, for example, which not only distributes media, but creates original media. Vertical integration lets companies bypass areas that are otherwise left to chance with third-party suppliers.

Peloton uses vertical integration–everything from the bike to its Wi-Fi connected tablet to the classes taught are created by Peloton. Although this may have made the bike more expensive than other at-home exercise bikes, it has also allowed Peloton to create higher quality products. And it’s worked. Many people who start on a Peloton bike comment on how the machine itself is well-built.

Takeaway: Are there any parts of your business process that you can improve in-house, rather than outsourcing?

Going Live

But with people also shelling out $40 a month for access to the training regimen Peloton provides, there’s more going on than simply high-quality craftsmanship.

Hey, plenty of cults have charismatic leaders, and Peloton is no exception. Okay, joking about the cult leader part, but really, people love their trainers. Just listen to this blogger chat about some of her favorites; people are connecting with this very human element of training. So much so that many people face blowback when suggesting they might like training without the trainers!

The trainers are only part of this puzzle though–attending live classes is a large draw. Well, as live as something can be when streamed into your house. Still, with classmate usernames and stats available while you ride, and teachers able to respond in real time to your “class,” this can simulate an in-person class without the struggle of a commute.

Takeaway: People want to see the human side of a business! Are there any ways your company could go live and provide that connection?

Getting Competitive

Pandemic aside, you can get a decent bike and workout class at an actual gym. But the folks at Peloton have one other major trick up their sleeve: Competition. Whether you’re attending a live session or catching up on a pre-recorded ride, you’re constantly competing against each other and your own records.

These leaderboards provide a constant stream of goals while you’re working out. Small accomplishments like these can help boost your dopamine, which can be the burst of good feeling you need while your legs are burning mid-workout. With this in mind, it’s no wonder why Peloton fans might be into it.

Takeaway: Is there a way to cater to your audience’s competitive side?


At the end of the day, of course, Peloton also has the advantage of taking a unique idea (live-streamed cycle classes built into your at-home bike) and doing it first. Plus, they just happened to be poised to succeed during a quarantine. But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from what Peloton is doing right to build your own community of fanatics. There are plenty of people out there just waiting to get excited about a brand like yours!

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