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Don’t hate me because I’m a real estate agent

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ocar magLast month I spent a day at a seminar for real estate agents. The hotel I stayed in was packed with other real estate agents all attending the same event and following dinner, I went to sit down in the packed lounge. Tables were filled and there were very few empty chairs, however one nice guy, we’ll call him John Doe,  invited us to join his table.

This article was first published here on September 09, 2009.

Poor John… can you imagine poor John’s surprise when he realized that his business trip coincided with this huge real estate extravaganza?  He was surrounded with 100’s of those in the real estate industry.  And guess what?  He wasn’t a huge fan…he didn’t really like real estate agents.

John Doe Has Some Questions

When I sat down initially we talked about family, our kids, their ages, and then of course – ‘what do you do?’ came up and I could sense the hesitation when I gave my occupation.  He was really pleasant and I think he genuinely was curious to hear my answers to some of his questions.  As we talked, another agent had just joined our table and conversation.

John said, “It doesn’t seem right to me.  Our last home purchase, I did all this research and found the homes we wanted to see online and the agent just showed them and got this big paycheck.  Can you explain that to me?”

Of course, I have a lot of knee jerk responses to this question but instead I really wanted to know more about what he had experienced.  Sadly, my agent counterpart took this on as a challenge.  Clearly, it had become her goal to convert our John Doe friend before the night was over.  I admit I did withdraw from the conversation a bit as she worked her magic and he glanced over at me periodically with eyes glazing over.

No Conversion That Night…

…and not likely ever.  Poor John may have been one lone voice in a sea of Realtors that night, but the reality is, he is very common.  His perception of our industry is pervasive and was probably only further validated that night by the verbal barrage of justifications he received from my agent counterpart.   Yet, I know that his one question is the tip of the iceberg.

The Perception Versus The Reality

The perception is that this job is easy.  Income is unearned.  We make too much.  Real estate agents lack training and real knowledge.  Real estate agents are just looking for a sale.   Maybe real estate agents aren’t necessary at all.

Maybe that’s all true – I don’t think that it is – but the fact is that it really doesn’t matter.  We can debate it with the same verbal justifications that John Doe heard that night or we can really hear our consumers and respond in ways that provide real tangible value and real industry change.

I cringed a little when I saw the cover to our local association’s publication.  I know the idea of promoting the value of a ‘Realtor’ has become so important but I think it’s fallen on deaf ears.  While I know how hard many of us work and I know how dedicated we are, I also know that if John Doe were to read that cover, ‘The hardest working letter in the alphabet,’ his eyes would surely roll.

When the industry starts to hold itself to a higher standard, when we as agents start providing real value rather than marketing pieces dripping with ego, when we talk less and listen more, when integrity begins to be more that a catch phrase on our cards, only then will we see the John Doe’s of the world not cringe at a hotel filled with real estate agents.

Linsey Planeta is the Broker Owner of Belterra Fine Homes in Orange County, California. Linsey rants regularly on her blog, OC Real Estate Voice. She also provides sellers with tips on how to get their home sold on Why Didn't My Home Sell? She has been an active Real Estate Coach and Instructor and loves working with agents so that they may look at their business with fresh eyes, renewed purpose, and defined systems. Linsey can be found in her office or you can also find her on Twitter@Linsey.

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31 Comments

31 Comments

  1. Russell Shaw

    September 9, 2009 at 2:16 am

    As much as I like your willingness to just listen to the guy’s point of view (and acknowledge) instead of (like the other agent) obsessively attempting to convert him – I find that many people have their minds made up on certain issues and aren’t really willing to LOOK. This doesn’t make what they think wrong but getting them to look – not fall back on what they already think – is the only method that might matter.

    People think lawyers “make too much”. This is the same with a great many professions. Lawyers are too expensive, unless of course you need one and then it isn’t optional. Same with Realtors. Anybody who gets paid by the hour (or has an “by the hour” mentality isn’t ever going to think 5k, 10k or 20k for a commission is “fair”. Personally, I am willing to spend precisely zero time attempting to get them to change their mind.

    A fabulous quote from Mark Twain: “You can’t reason someone out of something they weren’t reasoned into.”

  2. Alexis Jameson

    September 9, 2009 at 2:45 am

    Thanks so much for the post. With real estate here in our place,
    our team really believes here in the power of the internet and
    effective blogging.

  3. John Wake

    September 9, 2009 at 5:27 am

    I used to dislike Realtors in my younger days so I don’t think you could convince John. And that’s okay. It’s just a different religion.

    Today, my response is likely to be to call their bluff, “If you don’t like Realtors, why did you use one? If you don’t like them, you shouldn’t use them.”

    The sadder but wiser client’s the client for me.

  4. Joe Loomer

    September 9, 2009 at 5:53 am

    I think Russell hit the nail on the head – and the Mark Twain quote is certainly relevant.

    But I also agree with Linsey that despite the shift in the market, you still pretty much just need a pulse to get a license in most states, and those of us in border towns enjoy reciprocity – the ability to obtain a license for a neighboring state without passing that domain’s licensing tests.

    Spending time trying to “educate” someone who had a negative experience with an agent is a waste of time. Just don’t be “that guy.”

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  5. Linsey Planeta

    September 9, 2009 at 10:46 am

    I guess the individual guy isn’t what concerns me. He won’t be convinced, nor should we try to, with words. My concern is the pervasive perception of our industry. Even my own parents were less than thrilled when I entered the industry because of their perception of the industry.

    I know lawyer jokes abound, too. But our industry fails to have educational standards that remotely compare. At this point, I’d be thrilled with even that level of consumer respect.

    My bigger concern is that we should be asking the questions this guys is asking. We should be asking them of ourselves and answering them with not words – but by displaying and really creating a value in our services, in our marketing, and in our relationships. I’m still not sure that is happening with the majority of agents.

  6. Matt Stigliano

    September 9, 2009 at 11:39 am

    I think our response to differing opinions says a lot about us (as individuals and a group). Recently I posed a question to stagers on ActiveRain after reading a thread that seemed quite full of anger on both sides. The way both sides responded to criticism really bugged me. There are plenty of people who feel they can do real estate on their own or have had bad experiences (myself included in the latter). Lucky for me, I didn’t write off the industry as a whole or I’d be looking for a new job right about now.

    I would have loved to have seen your conversation with John. John, if you’re out there, come join the discussion – I’d love to hear what Linsey might say to you and how you two might have a conversation and not an adversarial clash.

  7. Atlanta Real Estate

    September 9, 2009 at 11:52 am

    Linsey:

    Good post.

    Your guy was just one of many, it’s an overall perception thing for our profession.

    As much as I hate it, a lot of it is true. It’s not our fault. All of the agents here on AG care enough to be discussing the topics here on AG.

    The problem starts with what I call the low-to-no barrier to entry into this profession. I passed my exam after studying on the couch while watching TV in the evenings for about 10 days. I then ponied up $300, took the test and was an Agent.

    That’s it! That’s Pathetic!

    Net result: a TON (majority?) of under qualified, unprofessional, unsmart Agents out there that add absolutely NO value to anything real estate related.

    So, in some large percentage, these are the Agents out there representing our profession. You can’t change the guy’s mind when in fact, he’s probably somewhat right, at least in his own experiences.

    🙂

    RM

  8. Jeffrey Douglass

    September 9, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    Lindsay,

    Our perceived value in society is due to the actions of real estate agents out for the quick sale, that are lazy, have a sense of entitlement for commissions, and the low bar for entry into the profession.

    Driving fancy cars, “top producer” marketing, push sales techniques, and not willing to further educate and improve skills leads to this public profession. What other profession brags in marketing about how many transactions or “sales” they have had? Or that they are in the top 1% of a particular company – what the heck does that matter?

    Just as in any profession there are good agents and bad, active agents and inactive agents. There are those that make a living and others that work for play money.

    Is this all are fault? Until the consumer starts making better selections when choosing a real estate agent and continues to feed the bad it will continue.

    My belief is the new wave of social media will allow those agents that truly care about the Client and profession to rise above – you can’t be a bad agent and attract Clients via the web. To survive we will have to provide good content and information, and develop a compelling reason for that prospect to pick up the phone or send an e-mail.

    Together we can change our industry – we need to take leadership and move from “salespeople” to trusted advisors.

    We need to do a better job explaining what we do to Clients – it is not just about driving around, showing a few homes, and collecting a commission.

  9. John Wake

    September 9, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    Don’t buy into that line.

    – Sure the public has a bad perception of Realtors but is that a good thing or a bad thing for your individual business? Take advantage of it. Expectations are low.

    – A lot of people are just complainers. You could give them something for free and they would still complain about it. The guy in the bar wasn’t complaining that he paid too much money to his Realtor. He was complaining that his Realtor made too much money. He’s just a complainer.

    – It’s okay if he goes FSBO. In fact, encourage him to try buying a FSBO next time. That’s probably the only way he’s going to learn. He’s likely to end up sadder but wiser, but at least he’ll be more pleasant company at hotel bars.

  10. Leah Kaiz

    September 9, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    Lindsey, I think what you say in your comments are even more powerful than what you say in the actual blog. For instance “My bigger concern is that we should be asking the questions this guys is asking. We should be asking them of ourselves and answering them with not words – but by displaying and really creating a value in our services, in our marketing, and in our relationships. I’m still not sure that is happening with the majority of agents.”

    As an online sales consultant for a local builder I see and hear about many real estate agents out there. There are some great ones and some that create the feeling that John has because they are just out to make the quick buck, they are less than ethical and they see fresh meat and jump.

    I can’t tell you how many site sales end up in battles with real estate agents who jump in at the 10th hour after all the work has been done from our side. They are friends of friends who find out that they are “unrepresented” and then insert themselves into the process when they were in no way shape or form procuring cause. They may be the sellers agent, and when they find out where their seller is buying their next home, they insert themselves as the buyers agent, even when their services weren’t contracted by the buyer.

    Sadly there is less than ethical activity going on out there and that is what perpetuates this feeling. All we can do is show, through our actions and how we hold ourselves accountable to clients, and react with in the industry and service our clients that we are what we say we are.

    Great post.

  11. Joe Spake

    September 9, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    I don’t think commissions are the issue. Realtors are seen in a bad light due to low entry and retention standards, lack of knowledge, 1950s push marketing techniques, and ego-driven advertising. The public doesn’t care whether you have a great glamor shot on your business card or that you are in the Multi-million Dollar sales club. They want the 21st century version of professionalism, which hinges on honesty, transparency, knowledge, integrity, and results.
    It doesn’t help that NAR consistently shoots all of us in the foot with major advertising campaigns like “Now is a great time to buy”, during the worst part of the market’s tanking.

  12. Joe Spake

    September 9, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    I don’t think commissions are the issue, but if you are locked into your inflexible commission mindset, I suggest having a look at Free: The Future of a Radical Price by Chris Anderson.

    Realtors are seen in a bad light due to low entry and retention standards, lack of knowledge, 1950s push marketing techniques, and ego-driven advertising. The public doesn’t care whether you have a great glamor shot on your business card or that you are in the Multi-million Dollar sales club. They want the 21st century version of professionalism, which hinges on honesty, transparency, knowledge, integrity, and results. I find it amusing that so many in the profession defend the old ways of doing business.

    It doesn’t help that NAR consistently shoots all of us in the foot with major advertising campaigns like “Now is a great time to buy”, during the worst part of the market’s tanking.

  13. Ken Brand

    September 9, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    Nice. True.

    I’ve been doing this stuff before you were born Linsey, I get the same ripple flinch and brow raise today as I did when I started (cough) 30 years ago. I roll with it and smile inside. We’re all familiar with the mish-mash of quality, we experience it routinely in our day to day interaction with co-op agents and board colleagues. One thing I’ve learned and count on, if I take care of my business, my differentiation and value proposition will burn through the first blush.

    I also agree, nobody likes paying big fees, generally people have the same reaction when corporations report billion dollar profits. It’s human nature I guess. Fight fire with audacious results I guess.

    I also agree that some sad-sacks can only feel like winners when there are losers, so they get busy trash talking, criticizing and tear down. I think that’s lame, competition makes us all better, stronger, smarter and more valuable.

    Bottom line, for me anyway, you gotta be proud, confident, assured, persistent and in constant pursuit of upgrade, renewal and reinvention.

    Sweet post…you should consider going independent and completely controlling your own destiny. Or you could move to The Woodlands and hook up with a high powered, leading edge big broker;-)

  14. Atlanta Real Estate

    September 9, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    @Joe-

    I sold high dollar engineering software at the CEO level for 12 years. If I EVER opened one of my powerpoint presentations with:

    “Look how super incredible I am! I went to jamaica last year by exceeding my quota by 20%. Last quarter alone I sold $3M in SW to guys just like you..Oh and check out my cool “R” pin and name badge while you’re at it..”

    That would of been the beginning and end of the presentation.

    Plus, real professionals don’t go around spouting off about every educational accomplishment they ever earned, like realtors do. All those three letter designations typically mean no more that you were present for 3 hours of some presentation. I don’t have a single one of them. LOL!

    Rob

  15. markbrian

    September 9, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    There are things we can do to improve both ourselves and the reputation of our profession. But many are scared to report another’s rule or ethics violation, or they feel it will not do any good.

    Then how many of us are taking every training class possible? Are you actively involved with your local association? Are you working to make things better on a local, state and national level?

    It boils down until everyone of us is working to improve our ranks, we are spinning our wheels on changing this perception

  16. Atlanta Real Estate

    September 9, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    Markbrian:

    I say we just make the test super hard, and raise the initial license fee to like $5k.

    You probably can’t even be a hairdresser for less than you can become a Realtor. But I don’t have any paperwork to support that. 🙂

    This, in time, will take care of many many issues, including but not limited to:

    -too many agents
    -low quality agents
    -people getting in just for fun
    -anyone w/o a brain
    -people trying to buy with zero down (oops wrong list)
    -tiny classified ads (oops again)

    RM

  17. Wenceslao Fernandez Jr

    September 9, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    Great piece. Too bad you didn’t get to share with Mr. “Doe” your true perspective.

  18. Linsey Planeta

    September 9, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    Ken – Dude – how old do you think I am???? 😀

  19. Dan Connolly

    September 10, 2009 at 12:16 am

    I think that we get too defensive when the subject of the public’s perception of Realtors comes up. There are good teachers and bad teachers, good writers and bad writers, good golfers and …you get where I am going with this.

    Smart people know the difference. There are some people who hook up with the new untrained agents and for the most part I think they figure it out. Just like you can hire an idiot to install a kitchen you can hire an idiot to try to sell your house.

    Most intelligent people know the difference and as far as the eye rolling complainers go, I couldn’t care less what they think

  20. Atlanta Real Estate

    September 10, 2009 at 10:59 am

    Connolly:

    I agree with your post. However, the percentage of bad agents has got to be pretty high, maybe right up there with the % of poor unprofessional car salesmen.

    Maybe all that is too harsh, I don’t know. Personally, I’ve had a LOT of bad ones on the other side of my transactions. So bad recently that I need to explain to them what forms to use and what the forms mean.

    RM

  21. Claude Labbe

    September 11, 2009 at 12:36 am

    In the past month, I’ve had two transactions which have embarrassed me. In both cases, the realtor on the other side of the transaction didn’t behave to AG standards.

    While I understand everyone has a bad day, in both cases, my clients and I simply grew to not trust the other agent. It wasn’t just a bad day, it was a bad experience.

    No matter my value and my worth, I gotta believe that my clients will walk away thinking “darn, some realtors really can’t be trusted”. Sure, they got me, but don’t people always remember the bad more than the good? And or course, closely behind would be “why did they earn so much?”

    It’s been pointed out how the entry bar to the profession is so low, but it seems that in some cases, a realtor license is license to become an overbearing diva. It remains to the rest of us to soldier on as tried & true professionals and ensure some integrity remains.

  22. Linsey Planeta

    September 11, 2009 at 1:30 am

    Claude,

    I think you’ve hit on something very important because many of us want to say that (1) I don’t care what one individual says – that’s not who I am
    (2) The consumers complain about every industry – par for the course.

    And yet, those of us practicing in this industry know that over the course of the year you are likely to ask yourself not once, not twice, but more likely multiple times, how your counterpart in the transaction has clients at all/successfully closes any transactions/how they ever got a license in the first place. If you don’t, than count yourself as exceptionally luck because I do. Not only that, I see the files from my other agents cross my desk and I see the work (or lack thereof) of their counterparts. It is shocking.

    Claude, you are making an important point. Being in a transaction with another agent that is not performing to a minimum acceptable industry standard poses risks to the other agents’ reputation, legal risks within the transaction, and an overall experience from the consumer that is less than positive. If you are a wonderful, amazing, responsible agent – this is still a reality you face. And you won’t be the only agent they remember.

  23. Bob Gibbs

    September 12, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    I agree with your observations. We can try to justify what we do all day but it can only be with performance and a demostrated competence in real estate related issues will we truly demonstrate our value. I also believe that the recent technological advances withe social media, smart phones,etc.. will provide a phenominal opportunty for those agents bold enough to jump in to the new technology paradigm.

  24. Tess

    March 16, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    As a consumer, I am shocked at the number of responses of . . . jeez who cares to change anyone’s mind – they are just unreasonable people. With attitudes like this, it is no wonder your profession suffers its’ current reputation.

    Your profession is flooded due to the easy entrance exams and an attitude that if you are the listing agent, you get your 3% no matter what. Call centers take over scheduling, a plethora of awards are handed out at agencies to give the appearance of legitimacy and success to many agents, and the industries grip on the MLS one of the primary reasons I have used a realtor.

    Once there are viable alternatives to the MLS listing service, your profession will likely lose its numbers and then likely those left would be in fact worthy of the term “professional.”

  25. Haley Weaver

    January 2, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    I agree with Dan’s comment (amongst many others). There are over 1.3 Million REALTORS in the US alone. Just like anything else, you can’t clump them all together and generalize. Those who do are pretty simple minded. Of course, people have bad experiences with the “chodes of the industry” but maybe they should have done the research and interviewed many agents to begin with. After all, it is (usually) the largest transaction of their lives.

    I’ve had this same conversation before and it’s impossible to change someone’s mind (esp. in one conversation). The best we can do is say a few items that may resonate and move on. There are too many good/wholesome people that appreciate the painfully hard work we go through. Especially now.

  26. Dunes

    January 3, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    Most interesting and intelligent AG article I’ve read in awhile…I think you nailed it

    Anyone wondering why the perception of Agents held by many of the public is what it is only needs to read the comments here or any RE site..Don’t care, so what, THEY ought to, Let em go FSBO, they don’t know, crybabies, we need to edicate em, we are worth it we are worth it…
    Until Agents figure out that in these times and this Market they need to be more concerned with what the Public thinks than what they or other Agents think the Perception which is already poor will continue to worsen…

    Of course all those Agents with plenty of clients and business (How many of those are there?) can continue to say it’s unimportant I’m doing just fine but if you’re just an average RE Agent…Ya better listen & care what they think or YOU ARE the Problem your industry has (A “We have met the enemy and he is us” scenario) IMO

    Let them try to do it without an Agent? The public just might be leaning in that direction already…so why push them?
    It doesn’t matter if YOU think you have value the only thing that matters to a person selling Services is that the CLIENT thinks you have value

    Thanks for this article and I am looking forward to reading your next one

  27. Dunes

    January 3, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    Wow I feel dumb..just noticed the small “This article was first published here on September 09, 2009.”

    Funny how this is that old and still so true…

  28. Billy Jalbert

    January 5, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    Talk about an old topic (but always worthy of conversation). I’m not sure that much can be done to change the overall perception by the masses. Instead I look at it as a daily battle that I fight with pride. My goal is to change the perception one transaction at a time! I think most AG, 1000 Watt consulting and “new brokerage” adherents are doing the same thing…BTW that Twain guy…he was pretty wise 🙂

  29. Karen Brewer

    January 15, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    The level of professionalism varies so widely in this industry which is what gives us all a black eye.
    Here in my market the distrust of agents even extends to the relationships between agents.If we cant trust each other,how do we expect the public to trust us.

  30. Dan

    April 26, 2015 at 8:14 am

    I find it hi-larious that realtors call themselves professionals. Indeed, the realtor test must involve advanced algorithms and such that warrent the best and brightest. You are an un-educated bottom-feeder, why not just come to grips with what you are?

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Business Marketing

Technology is helping small businesses adapt and stay afloat

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Small businesses need to utilize digital platforms to adapt their businesses during COVID-19, or else they may be left behind.

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While many may not have imagined our present day back in March, and to what extreme we would be doing things “remotely” and via “hands-free contact”, we have to give some credit to small business owners who remain flexible and have pivoted to stay afloat. They deserve major credit on adaptations they have made (and possibly investments) in new technology (ordering online, online payments) especially at a time when their in-person revenues have taken a hit.

There are various marketing buzz words being used lately to say “let’s keep our distance”, including: curbside, to-go, hands-free, no contact, delivery only, order via app, social distancing and #wearamask.

The thing is, if you really think about it, small businesses are always in evolution mode – they have to pay attention to consumer consumption and behaviors that can shift quickly in order to stay relevant and utilize their marketing and advertising budgets wisely. They heavily rely on positive customer reviews and word of mouth recommendations because they may not have the budget for large scale efforts.

For example, we use Lyft or Uber vs calling an individual cab owner; we order on Amazon vs shopping at a local mom-and-pop shop; we download and make playlists of music vs going to a record or music store. Small business owners are constantly fighting to keep up with the big guys and have to take into account how their product/service has relevance, and if it’s easy for people to attain. In current times, they’ve had to place major efforts into contactless experiences that often require utilizing a digital platform.

If stores or restaurants didn’t already have an online ordering platform, they had to implement one. Many may have already had a way to order online but once they were forced to close their dining areas, they had to figure out how to collect payments safely upon pickup; this may have required them to implement a new system. Many restaurants also had to restructure pick up and to-go orders, whether it was adding additional signage or reconfiguring their pick up space to make sure people were able to easily practice social distancing.

According to this article from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “Studies have shown that 73% of small businesses are not aware of digital resources, such as online payment processing tools, online productivity tools, e-commerce websites, online marketing and other tools, that can help them reach customers around the world. If small businesses had better access to global markets, it could increase the GDP of the United States by $81 billion and add 900,000 new jobs. During the pandemic, this could also mean the difference between thriving and closing for good.”

There are some larger corporate technology companies offering ways to support small businesses whether it’s through small business grants from Google, resources and grants from Facebook or Verizon giving them a break on their telecom bill. The challenge with this may be whether or not small business owners are able to find time from their intense focus on surviving to applying for these grants and managing all that admin time. Many business owners may be focusing on what technology they have and can upgrade, or what they need to implement – most likely while seeing a loss in revenue. So, it can be a tough decision to make new technology investments.

It does seem like many have made incredible strides, and quickly (which is impressive), to still offer their products and services to customers – whether it’s a contactless pay method, free delivery, or even reservations to ensure limited capacity and socially distanced visits. There are still some that just haven’t able to do that yet, and may be looking at other ways to take their business to a wider audience online.

We would encourage, if you can, to support small businesses in your community as often as you can. Understandably there are times that it’s easier to order on Amazon, but if there is a way you can pick up something from a local brewery or family-owned business, this may be the lifeline they need to survive and/or to invest in new technology to help them adapt.

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There’s a shortage of skilled workers, so get learning

(BUSINESS MARKETING) COVID-19 may end up justifying training funds for lower-class workers to learn new skills. Skilled workers are desperately needed right now.

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The COVID-19 pandemic (yes, that one) has ushered in a lot of unexpected changes, one of the which is most surprising: An increased call for skilled workers — a call that, unfortunately, requires a massive retraining of the existing workforce.

According to the New York Times, nearly 50 percent of Americans were working from home by May; this was, reportedly, a 15 percent increase in remote work. The problems with this model are expansive, but one of the greatest issues stems from the lack of training: As employees of lower-class employment transitioned to working online, it became increasingly evident that there was a shortage of skilled workers in this country.

The Times traces this phenomenon back to the Great Recession; Harvard University’s Lawrence Katz points to some parallels and insinuates that this is an opportunity to elevate the lower class rather than regressing, and it seems fair to put the onus of such elevation on lawmakers and senators.

Indeed, Congress has even addressed the issue of skill equality via “bipartisan support” of a $4000 credit for non-skilled workers to use toward skill training. For Congress to come together on something like this is relatively noteworthy, and it’s hard to disagree with the premise that, given the invariable automation wave, many of our “non-skilled” workers will face unemployment without substantial aid.

COVID-19 has accelerated many trends and processes that should have taken years to propagate, and this is clearly one of them.

Supporting laborers in developing skills that help them work within the technology bubble isn’t just a good idea–it’s imperative, both morally and economically speaking. Even middle-class “skilled” workers have had trouble keeping up with the sheer amount of automation and technology-based skillsets required to stay competent; when one considers how lower-class employees will be impacted by this wave, the outcome is too dark to entertain.

It should be noted that non-skilled workers don’t necessarily have to scale up their training in their current fields; the Times references a truck driver who pivoted hard into software development, and while it may be easier for some to focus on their existing areas of expertise, the option to make a career change does exist.

If we take nothing else away from the time we’ve spent in quarantine, we should remember that skilled labor is integral to our success as a society, and we have a moral obligation to help those who missed the opportunity to develop such skills fulfill that need.

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Business Marketing

6 tips to easily market your side hustle

(BUSINESS MARKETING) It can be hard to stand out from the crowd when you’re starting a new side hustle. Here are some easy ways to make your marketing efforts more effective.

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Side hustles have become the name of the game, and especially during these turbulent times, we have to get extra creative when it comes to making money. With so many of us making moves and so much noise, it can be hard to get the word out and stand out when sharing your side hustle.

Reuben Jackson of Big Think shared five ways that you can market your side hustle (we added a sixth tip for good measure), and comment with your thoughts and ideas on the subject:

  1. Referrals: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask!
    If you’re going to make a splash, you have to be willing to ask for favors. Reach out to your network and ask them to help spread the word on your new venture. This can be as simple as asking your friends to share a Facebook post with information that refers them to your page or website. Word of mouth is still important and incredibly effective.
  2. Start Where You Are
    Immediately running an expensive ad right out of the gate may not be the most effective use of your (likely) limited funds. Use the resources you do have to your advantage – especially if you’re just testing things out to see how the side hustle goes in the real world. You can do this by creating a simple, informational landing page for a small fee. Or, if you’re not looking to put any money into it right away, create an enticing email signature that explains what you do in a concise and eye-catching way. Check out these tools to create a kickin’ email signature.
  3. Gather Positive Reviews
    If you’ve performed a service or sold a product, ask your customers to write a review on the experience. Never underestimate how many potential customers read reviews before choosing where to spend their money, so this is an incredibly important asset. Once a service is completed or a product is sold, send a thank you note to your customer and kindly ask them to write a review. Be sure to provide them with links to easily drop a line on Yelp or your company’s Facebook page.
  4. Be Strategic With Social
    It’s common to think that you have to have a presence on all channels right away. Start smaller. Think about your demographic and do some research on which platforms reach that demographic most effectively. From there, put your time and energy into building a presence on one or two channels. Post consistently and engage with followers. After you’ve developed a solid following, you can then expand to other platforms.
  5. Give Paid Marketing A Shot
    Once you’ve made a dollar or two, try experimenting with some Facebook or Twitter ads. They’re relatively cheap to run and can attract people you may not have otherwise had a chance to reach out to. Again, the key is to start small and don’t get discouraged if these don’t have people knocking your door down; it may take trial and error to create the perfect ad for your hustle.
  6. Go Local
    Local newspapers and magazines are always looking for news on what local residents are doing. Send an email to your town/city’s journal or local Patch affiliate. Let them know what you’re up to, offer yourself for an interview, and give enticing information. The key is doing this in a way that your hustle is seen as beneficial to the public, and is not just an ad.

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