The indie itch
So, the itch has gotten to you. You know, the indie itch… You’ve found yourself increasingly discouraged, just not truly motivated. That spark you had when you first got licensed is gone or dwindled. You just feel something missing. You feel blah.
Perhaps your current brokerage just isn’t helping to fully develop you, you are clashing with another agent in the office, your manager doesn’t seem interested in keeping up with today’s world, your current company was branded fifty years ago as the place to be and the ship suddenly passed it by three years ago, or maybe you just feel like you have so many ideas as to how real estate SHOULD be and you are on a true mission to eradicate and change an industry from the ground up. There are plenty of reasons why the “independent” in you may be rearing its fantastic head! Ahhhh yes!
But really… Dreaming aside…What are your core reasons? Do you feel a passion burning inside that you just can’t shake? If so, please read on. If not, you may exit now!
There are several things to seriously consider when truly thinking about your wants:
- What do you love (not just like) to do? Do you love to work with buyers and sellers? Do you love technology? Do you love to handle accounting or dealing with agents issues?
- Do you want to manage a whole office?
- Do you want to make more money? (note: at first, you will most likely make less, but if done well… who knows?!)
- Do you crave more control over the brand which your current brokerage offers?
- Do you want to see your own name on a sign (and no, this is actually a pretty normal characteristic of a successful entrepreneur, so it’s ok if you do!)?
- Do you want to be a broker that runs a company, a team leader with buyers agents, marketing specialists and admin help, a visionary brander, or an agent that has a better split?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses? Be honest with yourself! No one is perfect at everything! By acknowledging this, you should start focusing on surrounding yourself with others that possess those missing opportunities.
- Are you tech savvy? Do you believe a corporate franchise really offers better tools? You would be really surprised at the amount of technology available to small companies that can rival the biggest “big box.” So what if you don’t have billboards quite yet surrounding the world? Let yourself think that could someday happen! In today’s game, I would say that if you don’t have a real knowledge or at least someone on your team that does, being a branded team under another company may be the way to stay.
Other considerations before jumping ship
Do you need extra classes for your brokers license? How long does this take? In my market, it typically takes six months to wait for all the needed classes to be offered in one location. I’m personally not known to be the most patient person, so I decided it would be a good idea to take all my classes in three months… traveling all over the state (two hours each way) to catch each series as it came. Oh, and did I mention I was a single mom with no financial support and still an active working agent? So no excuses here, people!
But seriously, if six months works better, that’s perfectly ok too. Even after I finished my full time job as “real estate student,” I still took another six months building a small reserve budget, getting legal paperwork together and finalizing the “brand.”
Realize that owning your own company doesn’t mean you will make more money, have more time or be able to take weekends off. You’ll most likely work more, have ten times the amount of bills and be responsible for employees, agents and expenses!
It is a tough decision, and while it is a move I personally made, it is much more complicated than slapping up a “hiring agents” sign and sitting back to collect residual income. Becoming an indie broker is a major responsibility, but with great risk can come great reward – carefully consider your personality and your goals before making your final choice.