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Opinion Editorials

Trust Me, I’m Not An Agent



shiny thing creates closings

Well.  Dalton left.  But before he went, I think he shipped all of his frustration to me in a box.  And clearly, a delicate flower such as myself can’t handle that kind of pressure.  So forgive me for a minute here, but this needs to be said.

If you’re not an agent, I don’t want to hear about how your favorite new shiny thing creates closings.

If you don’t actually sell real estate, you can’t really tell me how it’s done.


Regale me with your theories – that’s what they are.  Theory.  Trot out testimonials from those you’ve helped.  Show me how your SEO methods worked – give me numbers, if you’ve got ’em – but only for the agents that actually use the thing.

Unless you’ve got the buns of buyers and sellers in seats in front of you on a regular basis, it’s all just your theory.  And if you’re after a national audience to sell your shiny new thing to agents, your experience using it has absolutely no relation to me trying to get a local audience of buyers and sellers.

Teach me what you know.  I’m open.  I’m interested.  Heck, it may actually work.  But don’t ever – ever – tell me it gets closings, when that’s not your experience.

Whew.  I feel better now.  Don’t you?

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, 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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  1. Jonathan Dalton

    April 21, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    My frustration didn’t arrive postage due, did it?

  2. Brad Coy

    April 21, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    Your healthy skepticism is like a breath of fresh air. Taking it in does make me feel better. 🙂

  3. BawldGuy

    April 21, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    Seriously, I’m flabbergasted those who know you even a bit haven’t mentioned anything about the ‘delicate flower’ description. But since we’re both such sensitive souls, I’ll let it go. 🙂

    I can’t add anything of quality to what you’ve said so well — so I’ll just add my heartiest endorsement.

    Vendors are to real estate pros what college/university professors are to business in general. They’re positive what they teach is money in the bank. Yet they (professors) opt for lives of theory without practice — criticizing from the cheap seats of lifetime tenured security.

    Meanwhile the delicate flowers in the trenches of real life keep figuring out ways to make things happen — most of which have little if anything to do with what they learned from so many cocksure theorists.

    You put a smile on my face today, Kelley.

  4. Vicki Moore

    April 21, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    Yes, I do feel better. I totally agree. As long as they are those who will buy…

  5. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    April 21, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    Can I smell your flower? no really….I want the friggin’ flower already!

  6. Brandie Young

    April 21, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    Hi Kelley – I love that nobody will ever accuse you of not being clear and direct!

    Don’t hate me because I’m not an agent!

    Nor am I trying to sell products or services to agents (not my target client audience).

    That said, I like to think that my sharing my marketing experience/expertise and sometime contrarian views could help an agent.

    I agree with you, I can’t tell you how it’s done. (Although I did observe my father as both an agent, then a broker/owner of his own business for 30+ years, nothing outside of actual experience gives you experience.)

    All that said, I hope that you (and others reading this) will be open to us outsiders that are just trying to pass on a tidbit every now and again in a sincere “pay it forward” spirit.


  7. Kelley Koehler

    April 21, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    Brandie – I was mostly just pissed at the heading for a story. To suggest what works to sell someone’s education nationally will work to sell real estate locally… that don’t fly.

    I’m all for sharing. I’m all for suggesting how it could be applied to real estate. I want to hear what’s worked and what hasn’t, DESPERATELY. I want to try all kind of other ideas that people use in other industries, see if they work for me or not. Just don’t tell me it works for real estate when that’s not a valid conclusion… yet.

    I absolutely think all of your marketing experience is incredible, and I’d love to hear about it. And I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t walk up to me and say, hey, Kelley – do this and you’ll get 4 closings. 🙂 Tell me your client got 4 closings – great! Tell me how well it worked for you in your target market – sweet! I wanna learn. I could just do without the smoke being blown up my a** at the same time. I am a delicate flower, ya know.

  8. Brandie Young

    April 21, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    I hear you. Fair. Thanks.

    p.s. I’m a delicate flower, too. Ask anyone!

  9. Doug Francis

    April 21, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    Agents are always hoping that next “thing” will be the silver bullet that will propel them to super sales. I was skeptical when the the guys from San Diego came to my association convention and gave a presentation on the inter-web thing, getting an e-mail account, and registering my name as my domain (I already used aol). I had used e-mail at my old job so I understood how important it could be. But was like pretending to be Steve Case or something.
    So I bit and spent twenty bucks… who knew?
    Stay objective, don’t criticize everything immediately, and keep sharing ideas.
    Got to go, Idol is on!

  10. Bill Lublin

    April 22, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    I didn’t realize that anyone other than Jeff Brown was a delicate flower – though he has blossomed substantially 😉

    Kelley – awesome post – point well made

  11. Jim Rake

    April 23, 2009 at 6:31 am

    Kelley – You mean, “Talk is Cheap”? Appreciate the point.

  12. Missy Caulk

    April 24, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    ahh a breath of fresh air. We all want to learn but stick to what you know and have a track record to share.

    One of my pet peeves, good bloggers but no business to speak of.

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Opinion Editorials

How to identify and minimize ‘invisible’ work in your organization

(EDITORIAL) Often meaningless, invisible tasks get passed down to interns and women. These go without appreciation or promotion. How can we change that?



Women in a meeting around table, inclusion as a part of stopping gender discrimination representing invisible work.

Invisible work, non-promotable tasks, and “volunteer opportunities” (more often volun-told), are an unfortunate reality in the workforce. There are three things every employer should do in relation to these tasks: minimize them, acknowledge them, and distribute them equitably.

Unfortunately, the reality is pretty far from this ideal. Some estimates state up to 75% or more of these time-sucking, minimally career beneficial activities are typically foisted on women in the workplace and are a leading driver behind burnout in female employees. The sinister thing about this is most people are completely blind to these factors; it’s referred to as invisible work for a reason.

Research from Harvard Business Review* found that 44% more requests are presented to women as compared to men for “non-promotable” or volunteer tasks at work. Non-promotable tasks are activities such as planning holiday events, coordinating workplace social activities, and other ‘office housework’ style activities that benefit the office but typically don’t provide career returns on the time invested. The work of the ‘office mom’ often goes unacknowledged or, if she’s lucky, maybe garners some brief lip service. Don’t be that boss that gives someone a 50hr workload task for a 2-second dose of “oh yeah thanks for doing a bajillion hours of work on this thing I will never acknowledge again and won’t help your career.”  Yes, that’s a thing. Don’t do it. If you do it, don’t be surprised when you have more vacancies than staff. You brought that on yourself.

There is a lot of top-tier talent out there in the market right now. To be competitive, consider implementing some culture renovations so you can have a more equitable, and therefore more attractive, work culture to retain your top talent.

What we want to do:

  1. Identify and minimize invisible work in your organization
  2. Acknowledge the work that can’t be avoided. Get rid of the blind part.
  3. Distribute the work equitably.

Here is a simple example:

Step 1: Set up a way for staff to anonymously bring things to your attention. Perhaps a comment box. Encourage staff to bring unsung heroes in the office to your attention. Things they wish their peers or they themselves received acknowledgment for.

Step 2: Read them and actually take them seriously. Block out some time on your calendar and give it your full attention.

For the sake of demonstration, let’s say someone leaves a note about how Caroline always tidies up the breakroom at the end of the day and cleans the coffee pot with supplies Caroline brings from home. Now that we have identified a task, we are going to acknowledge it, minimize it, and consider the distribution of labor.

Step 3: Thank Caroline at the team meeting for scrubbing yesterday’s burnt coffee out of the bottom of the pot every day. Don’t gloss over it. Make the acknowledgment mean something. Buy her some chips out of the vending machine or something. The smallest gestures can have the biggest impact when coupled with actual change.

Step 4: Remind your staff to clean up after themselves. Caroline isn’t their mom. If you have to, enforce it.

Step 5: Put it in the office budget to provide adequate cleaning supplies for the break room and review your custodial needs. This isn’t part of Caroline’s job description and she could be putting that energy towards something else. Find the why of the situation and address it.

You might be rolling your eyes at me by now, but the toll of this unpaid invisible work has real costs.  According to the 2021 Women in the Workplace Report* the ladies are carrying the team, but getting little to none of the credit. Burnout is real and ringing in at an all-time high across every sector of the economy. To be short, women are sick and tired of getting the raw end of the deal, and after 2 years of pandemic life bringing it into ultra-sharp focus, are doing something about it. In the report, 40% of ladies were considering jumping ship. Data indicates that a lot of them not only manned the lifeboats but landed more lucrative positions than they left. Now is the time to score and then retain top talent. However, it is up to you to make sure you are offering an environment worth working in.

*Note: the studies cited here do not differentiate non-cis-identifying persons. It is usually worse for individuals in the LGBTQIA+ community.

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Opinion Editorials

5 secrets to a more productive morning, free of distractions

(EDITORIAL) Productivity is king in the office, but sometimes distractions and other issues slow you down. So what can you do to limit these factors?



distractions stop productivity

Regardless of whether you’re a self-proclaimed morning person or not, more efficient mornings can be catalytic in your daily productivity and output. The only question is, do you know how to make the most of your mornings in the office?

5 Tips for Greater Morning Productivity

In economic terms, productivity is a measure of output as it relates to input. Academics often discuss productivity in terms of a one-acre farm’s ability to produce a specific crop yield, or an auto manufacturing plant’s ability to produce a certain number of vehicles over a period of time. But then there’s productivity in our personal lives.

Your own daily productivity can be defined in a variety of ways. But at the end of the day, it’s about getting the desired results with less time and effort on the input side. And as a business professional, one of the best ways to do this is by optimizing your morning in the office.

Here are a few timely suggestions:

  1. Eliminate All Non-Essential Actions

    Spend the next week keeping a log of every single action you take from the moment your eyes open in the morning until you sit down at your desk. It might look something like this:

    • Turn off alarm
    • Scroll through social media on the phone
    • Get out of bed
    • Eat breakfast
    • Take shower
    • Brush teeth
    • Walk dog
    • Watch news
    • Browse favorite websites
    • Get in car
    • Starbucks drive-thru
    • Arrive at office
    • Small talk with coworkers
    • Sit down at the desk

    If you do this over the course of a week, you’ll notice that your behaviors don’t change all that much. There might be some slight deviations, but it’s basically the same pattern.

    Now consider how you can eliminate as many points of friction as possible from your routine. [Note from the Editor: This may be an unpopular opinion, but] For example, can you skip social media time? Can you make coffee at home, rather than drive five minutes out of your way to wait in the Starbucks drive-thru line? Just doing these two things alone could result in an additional 30 minutes of productive time in the office.

  2. Reduce Distractions

    Distractions kill productivity. They’re like rooftop snipers. As soon as they see any sign of productivity, they put it in their crosshairs and pull the trigger.Ask yourself this: What are my biggest distractions and how can I eliminate them?Popular distractions include social media, SMS, video games, news websites, and email. And while none of these are evil, they zap focus. At the very least, you should shift them to later in the day.
  3. Set Measurable Goals and Action items

    It’s hard to have a productive morning if you don’t have a clear understanding of what it means to be productive. Make sure you set measurable goals, create actionable to-do lists, and establish definitive measurements of what it looks like to be efficient. However, don’t get so caught up in the end result that you miss out on true productivity.“There’s a big difference between movement and achievement; while to-do lists guarantee that you feel accomplished in completing tasks, they don’t ensure that you move closer to your ultimate goals,” mentions. “There are many ways to increase your productivity; the key is choosing the ones that are right for you and your ultimate goals.”In other words, set goals that are actually reflective of productivity. In doing so, you’ll adjust your behavior to come in proper alignment with the results you’re seeking.
  4. Try Vagus Nerve Stimulation

    Sometimes you just need to block out distractions and focus on the task at hand. There are plenty of ways to shut out interruptions but make sure you’re also simultaneously cuing your mind to be productive. Vagus nerve stimulation is one option for doing both.Vagus nerve stimulation gently targets the body’s vagus nerve to promote balance and relaxation, while simultaneously enhancing focus and output.
  5. Optimize Your Workspace

    Makes sure your office workspace is conducive to productivity. This means eliminating clutter, optimizing the ergonomics of your desk, reducing distractions, and using “away” settings on apps and devices to suppress notifications during work time.

Make Productivity a Priority

Never take productivity for granted. The world is full of distractions and your willpower is finite. If you “wing it,” you’ll end up spending more time, energy, and effort, all while getting fewer positive results.

Make productivity a priority – especially during the mornings when your mind is fresh and the troubles of the day have yet to be released in full force. Doing so will change the way you operate, function, and feel. It’ll also enhance tangible results, like income, job status, and the accolades that come along with moving up in your career.

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Opinion Editorials

Is the tech industry layoff bloodbath coming or is it already here?

We have large online communities for job seekers, and we can affirm that the layoffs are on the way, but there is a silver lining for all involved…



layoff time

If you were on Twitter at the end of last week, you probably saw a dribble of conversations about layoffs in tech coming, and today, the volume was turned up to 10 on social media. Several founders have said they’re cutting parts of teams and are nixing contractors. We’re about to be in a recession, y’all, and we can ALL feel it coming.

While this has been happening all of this calendar year, a pending recession is kicking the stock market in the teeth (especially in tech), and combined with a slowdown in fundraising, fuel has been added to what was simply kindling, and layoffs are already rapidly escalating.

JD isn’t the only one hearing it, my inbox has slowly been lighting up on this topic. In response, Joshua Baer noted that it’s a great time to scoop up talent. Love or hate him, he’s right.

There is a lot of data on tech layoffs, for example, Layoffs.FYI has been tracking meaningfully since COVID began, pulling info from public reports. We expect they’ll be busy for the next few months.

While VC funding in 2021 was at a global high, so far, 2022 has shown a significant slowdown, according to CrunchBase. Many believe valuations are tumified, a bear market is believed to be upon us, and tech firms are struggling to increase profitability, all combining to a bubble about to burst.

As Baer noted, the silver lining is for anyone looking to hire. It’s bad news for anyone about to get a pink slip, but it’s also empowering to know that candidates are still in the driver’s seat in this market and negotiations are still in their favor.

We at AG have communities dedicated completely to job seekers and employers, and have created neutral ground on which they can meet, and they do by the thousands (Austin Digital Jobs and Remote Digital Jobs).

We’re not seeing the “bloodbath” of folks with pink slips in hand yet, BUT today, a dozen mid- to senior- level technologists reached out to me personally that got laid off Monday morning.

With our finger firmly on the tech employment pulse, we agree with the assessment that layoffs are coming.

More on this topic: “Why are tech layoffs coming after such great Q1 earnings?!”

Here’s the TL;DR version in memes:

The end is nigh?
tech layoffs in memes

Seems about right

In and out Morty, a quick 24 hour adventure!

Diversification is the key

The May 2022 stock market

Insert angry title here

It’s fedish!

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