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Thursday WTF

Monkey Business

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gibbon and pal


We were admonished in comments this week that we get paid for doin’ and not so much just tryin’.  With 2.5 DFTs this week, technically, I’m not getting paid for either. 

I’m a gal with a lot going on, with more plans in my pocket than is attractive to carry.  Every night, I make my ‘to-do’ list for the next day, and the next day, the things that produce money and are in-process business are the first things that get done.  And then at the end of those items, I’m usually out of day. 

So stuff gets rolled over onto the next day’s list, and before you know it, you’ve got four years of projects scribbled on the back of a post-it in a shorthand even you can barely decipher.

I know where I want to be, I can point at it, describe it, have a fairly good idea how to get there.  It’s going to take a radical shift in my business and the way I approach it.  But how do you sustain an existing business while trying to get all this other monkey business going?

I know, I know.  Approach it the same way you eat an elephant: on a tortilla with a side of nachos.

Somehow, I’m doing a lot of trying and not so much doing when it comes to getting where I want to be.  It’s difficult to paradigm-shift and still maintain the things I absolutely know will support myself and my family.

But somehow, I’ve got to get there.

Somehow.

Kelley Koehler, aka the Housechick, is usually found focused on her Tucson, Arizona, real estate business. You may also find her on Twitter, where she doubles as a super hero, at Social Media Training Camp, where she trains and coaches people on how to integrate social media into successful business practices, or at KelleyKoehler.com, a collection of all things housechick-ish. Despite her engineering background, Kelley enjoys translating complex technical concepts into understandable and clear ideas that are practical and useful to the striving real estate agent.

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. BawldGuy Talking

    May 29, 2008 at 11:07 pm

    First of all you’re not wearing the big red S enough. 🙂

    Seems to me your MO is more efficient than 98% of the agents out there. You’re doing what makes you money and brings in new biz. If you’re dissatisfied with the results, I’d be curious as to what you’re doing now not yielding sufficient results, and what’s on the back of your post-it notes.

    My impression after meeting you and having our short conversation was of a young woman with an intense work ethic, and monster intelligence. My money’s on you.

    If you think I might add something or need a sounding board, I’m always available. Of course, I’ll probably have to stand in line.

  2. Matthew Rathbun

    May 30, 2008 at 6:31 am

    You’re already light years ahead, if you can point to where you want to be. So many of the agents I get to coach have no idea what they want to do tomorrow. Write a plan and a mission and work it!

  3. Bill Lublin

    May 30, 2008 at 7:00 am

    Kelley – I’m already in line behind two guys who stole my thunder by telling you the truth. All I can add is my belief that if you know where you want to go you’re already half way there.

    Put on the ruby slippers, then click your heels together three times and repeat……

  4. Matt Thomson

    May 30, 2008 at 9:02 am

    If you get a chance to attend a “Quantum Leap” seminar in your area, go! It’s put on by the leaders of Keller Williams, but has nothing to do with our company. It’s 2 days of very practical, very pertinent information on how to balance your life, set priorities, and really truly focus on the 20% of activities that will get you the money while allowing you to keep your sanity and devote your time where you want to.
    If you can’t locate the seminars, and are interested, let me know and I’ll find one in your area for you.

  5. ines

    May 30, 2008 at 9:57 am

    I know exactly how you feel Super Housechick. Here’s my day – 3 kids, the home, a husband, property management, real estate business, blog (I’ve reduced my sleep time by 2 hours knowing I’m young and can do it) but…….

    I’ve had a vision of where I want to be…..always have done that since I was a child. I have made major changes and keep making them on a daily basis. I know it’s difficult to make changes but they are crucial for moving ahead. Focus ahead, visualize and you will be able to accomplish all those things in the list that make you money and then some……….that’s why you are Super Housechick! 😉

  6. Ken Smith

    May 30, 2008 at 10:34 am

    If you have a vision of where you want to be you are well on your way. Take small steps and remember that you need to maintain your current business. Adding new ideas is great, but there really isn’t a reason to remove a profitable part of your business. At the very least you can bring someone else on to handle that part of your business. I found hiring buyers agents frees up a lot of time to focus on other areas of your business and life.

  7. Jonathan Dalton

    May 30, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    I want a monkey.

    Aside from that, I need to get better at prioritizing. The money producing activities still are at the top of the list but even they sometimes get shuffled back in the hustle and bustle of things.

    Too hectic and probably all my fault. Too many buyers, not enough decisions.

    Screw it. I just want a monkey.

  8. Scott P. Rogers

    May 31, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    Every night, I make my ‘to-do’ list for the next day, and the next day, the things that produce money and are in-process business are the first things that get done.  And then at the end of those items, I’m usually out of day. 
    So stuff gets rolled over onto the next day’s list, and before you know it, you’ve got four years of projects scribbled on the back of a post-it in a shorthand even you can barely decipher.

    Ditto! 100% — other than the years of projects being on my blackberry, not on the back of a post-it. 🙂

    I see it as a “maintenance” vs. “growth” issue. I spend all of my time on maintaining my business (and growing it in small, incremental ways), but I never have time to devote to the big changes.

    I have toyed around with the idea of dedicating 2 days each month to the “big growth” tasks. After being out of town for a day, I’m always able to catch back up, so if I had an “out of town” day twice a month for this purpose, I think I would still be able to keep up with the maintenance tasks.

  9. Eric Blackwell

    June 1, 2008 at 7:16 am

    @Kelly– errr…SuperHouseChick…as BawldGuy noted, I think you are ahead of the pack. I think often times we ALL feel as you do (read: overwhelm). Only so much can be done in a day.

    @Ken– Your quote is money…

    “Take small steps and remember that you need to maintain your current business. Adding new ideas is great, but there really isn’t a reason to remove a profitable part of your business.”

    Well said…
    Best;

    Eric

  10. Eric Blackwell

    June 1, 2008 at 7:18 am

    An additional note…doing some serious commenting on several blogs has been on my ‘to do’ list for almost a month…finally getting to check it off…quiet Sunday mornings are great for that. I have been reading, but just never had time to respond.

    I guess everything has a time and place.

  11. Kelley Koehler

    June 1, 2008 at 6:41 pm

    Bill – ruby slippers? might not match my cape. but I like the way you think.

    BawldGuy – I’ve got enough plans for several alternate careers on the back of those post-its. Someday, I’ll get those put into action.

    And every one else, thanks for the encouragement and empathy. I’m short 2 days a week from broker school, and am just keeping my head above water for the next few weeks until it’s all over.

    And JD – at least I have two monkeys. You have none.

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Housing News

Spare me your Excuse Party

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no-excuses2

My business is slow because the market’s down. Buyers are hiding in the woodwork and sellers don’t want to think about selling right now. My marketing is just not working and I need something new and shiny. It’s the fall and it’s always like this in the fall. But when spring rolls around, and when that stimulus passes, and when those leads start rolling in and when that software brings discipline to my business and when I attend that conference and when I start reading blogs every morning, and as soon as this social media thing kicks in…and…and.

I don’t want to hear it.

Do you want to know the Truth: You don’t want it bad enough. Nothing more, nothing less. Nelson Mandela spent 28 years in a South African prison for his opposition to apartheid and overcame it to become the country’s president and and a Nobel Peace Prize winner. Elie Weisel was put in Auschwitz-Birkenau at age 16 and not only survived but went on to become a best selling author, professor and lecturer. But these are special people, you might say. Regular folks  not only survive tragedy, extreme financial problems, disease, poverty but flourish to become what others deemed impossible, EVERY DAY. The human power of will is strong enough to surpass the toughest obstacles life can pose. You mean to tell me, it can’t overcome your slow season, anemic conversion rate or weight loss troubles?

You already know “The Dance”

We all have been through a period of time (albeit, short) when we were on the ball, focused and productive, locked in and intense. We all have gone Nazi on ourselves when we decided to lose weight and stop trying to do so. We all have tucked away Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Hulu, Drudge Report or HuffPost to focus solely on closing business. I don’t need to tell you the results because you  know them. You know exactly what works because you have done it before. So what’s stopping you?

Troubling Trends

Two trends that I see in social media on a regular basis bother me like a pack of flies in a backyard cookout. The first is the Extreme Honesty Bridge to Nowhere trend. This is when someone is brutally honest about the troubles that they’re facing and go public with them in their blog or social media sites. The idea here is to involve your peers in your struggle and have them hold you accountable for results by proxy. This part of the idea I actually like. What happens next is … nothing. They move on to the next best idea they have only to return with another lame post about the same thing. You can do whatever floats your boat to get your focus in order, but DO something. The second is the “I’m an Idea Collector” trend. This is when someone reads articles from blogs and newspapers religiously every morning collecting great ideas but never acting on a single one of them. That’s the ultimate preparing to prepare surefire recipe to wasting your time. Antidote: Take one idea per week and put it to work. Internalize it and make it part of your repertoir. Way before I became a contributor on AG, I read a post by Lani on how to find Creative Commons licensed images to use in your posts with Flickr. Since that day, that’s what I do every time I blog. I read another post from Ken on the power of sending handwritten notes to clients to generate referrals. Now, that’s part of my M.O. Reading great content is better than not reading it but not doing something with the information will lead you to the exact same place. Nowhere.

Harsh?

I hope I wasn’t unclear. Did you find this a bit harsh? I can understand that. But I hope knowing that this rant was not only directed  to you but to me as well, can heal some of those bruised feelings. Now go out there and DO SOMETHING.

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Opinion Editorials

NAR & Local Boards Should Go Back to Being Broker-Only Organizations

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puntAnd Agents Should Form Their Own Membership (Union)

I think that maybe NAR and local boards in their zeal to capitalize on dues by a larger membership may have bitten off more than they can chew when they allowed regular agents to join the boards (as is evident by continued tensions between the boards and average agents on the ground).

The Punted Football That Has Become The General Membership

It’s true, in every instance we’re told to get involved, however, involvement has become to complicated, that one hand has no idea what the other is doing.  Rules are consistently created by Broker boards, and enforced and agreed upon by the NAR that have absolutely no Agent interest protected.

So Maybe It’s Time to Protect Ourselves

Once upon a time, the membership really was Broker only, and maybe it needs to be that way again.  The birth of an actual membership of agents could be born with a proper voice at the table, similar to a real trade union with real votes in our best interest.

Such representation could beat down costs for Realtor.com, and other services we’re producing content for, thus reducing costs to the agent.  Such representation could seek out better, more competitive boards that would spring up in contrast to existing boards and the NAR.  It’s conceivable that an opportunity such as this could fracture the entire MLS cluster flip, allowing for possibly a smaller more nimble MLS that could be provided to the agent membership at a much more fair price as it has now cut out the middle men.

The Time May be Near..

…that enough is enough, that when and if a rule greatly disrupts the agents’ ability to adopt new technology, that a simple vote of no says that the massive bureaucracy that has become the collective board needs to clean up, scale down, and take it’s policies back to the drawing board for a decision that weighs all things equally.

The Broker Can Pick Up the Shortfall for NAR

This would force the Broker to pay a larger premium to the board and the NAR I’m sure, but in reality, that in and of itself would force Brokers to become more competitive where the rights and interests of their agents were concerned.

NAR would only need engage with Brokers, simplifying the conversation of progression.

The Agent Membership Now Represented

  • Has a larger voice, and choices.

Yeah, if they really want to go backwards in time, maybe we should. And yes, I am aware that there are independent versions of the current NAR that have never really taken hold, but if the current state of affairs continues, I can see a day in the future where the concept has a more stronger footing.

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Thursday WTF

Anti-DIY

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It might come as a shock to many, but I am extremely anti-DIY.

I am not trained as a plumber, electrician or mechanic and I have no interest in doing so even though I know it could potentially save me a lot of money.  I am not a REALTOR, lender, home inspector or stager and I don’t pretend to be.  I am a graphic designer, videographer, photographer, SCUBA instructor, welder, marketer and coder.

The things I DO are all things I either am or was interested in.  Only a few of them I got into because I thought they’d be business ventures.  The big issue is I value my time.  I know I’m only going to learn things I am interested in (there are many such topics) and that I should just pay people who are good at other skills to let them do what they’re best at.

The reason I mention this is that here and other sites in our industry are constantly encouraging REALTORs to do it yourself.  Don’t use/pay for a web site, just setup a WordPress site yourself.  Don’t pay for a single property web site, build it yourself.

I understand many people in this industry came from somewhere else.  Some of you are geniuinely interested in learning how to code a web site.  But to me, the tone has almost turned to a browbeating.   “You paid for that site? Why didn’t you just setup WordPress, it’s free!”

I mention this in many of my classes: if you run your business being chief cook and bottle washer, why can’t buyers and sellers do it themselves also? Now don’t get me wrong, I will use a REALTOR when it’s time to sell my house and buy a new one.  I value my time.  It’s not something I know how to do or want to learn (from a paperwork/liability standpoint, I teach REALTORs to market listings all day, so that I could do).

I really came to this realization at the Seattle REBarCamp and chatting with the ActiveRain guys.  I’ve setup close to triple digit WordPress sites now and didn’t see the point in AR.  The discussion was that there are (many) people who do not want to take the time to learn and setup a system and a turnkey site like AR is perfect for those people.  At least they’re blogging.

So I encourage those of you who are hesitant in setting up a new web site or becoming an “expert” overnight on a new social network: evaluate your time and consider letting someone help, otherwise the DIY concept may put this, and many other, industries out of business.

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