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Op/Ed

3 business tips subtly offered in bingeworthy series, Stay Here

(EDITORIAL) Stay Here is not only our new favorite Netflix show to binge, it will subtly educate you about business along the way.

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Thanks to the dawn of Netflix, we’re all accustomed to binge-watching our favorite shows, then feeling dead inside when there are no more episodes left, and going in search of a new series to obsess over. My newest favorite is Netflix’s Stay Here, starring America’s Sweetheart (sorry, Paige), Genevieve Gorder, and former-DJ, current broker, Peter Lorimer.

They’ve tapped into the wildly underserved (by HGTV, TLC, and others) short term rental market and help owners transition to mini-hoteliers. We watched the entire series in one night, thinking it would be another lame home makeover show, finding ourselves surprised by the quality, and eager for a second season.

Meghan O’Keefe at Decider similarly asserted that she was skeptical going into the series, but said, “I was soon transfixed by the show.”

What stood out to O’Keefe is that their motives are ultra clear (to promote these properties) while traditionally, makeover shows promoting designers’ brands are more opaque with their intent.

What stood out to us is how universal Gorder and Lorimer’s business advice was, with four consistent themes woven into each episode:

1. Focus on what sets you apart.

Every professional is scared of losing any opportunity, so it is common to keep your marketing broad. For example, if you ask a Realtor what their ideal referral looks like, almost everyone says, “I help people buy and sell homes.”

Uh, which people? Which types of homes? Do you focus on buyers or do you focus on sellers? If you say you’re a Realtor, we already know that you help people buy and sell homes, but we’re not going to refer to you over the 8,000 other agents int he city.

The fear of missing out on opportunities overwhelms entire industries, but saying “I help first time home buyers in downtown Dallas” or “I love working with people that are downsizing” is far more memorable, and plants a seed of need in peoples’ head. In two years after meeting you at a networking event, if they hear of a first time buyer in Dallas, they’re going to recommend you in a heartbeat whereas they would have already forgotten you by now.

The same can be said in Stay Here. The duo grooms every homeowner to understand what makes them stand out, and focuses squarely on that with every ounce of their effort. And every business professional should do the same.

stay here firehouse

2. Refine your model.

Many of the owners in the show frequently treat their short term rental as a hobby. But Lorimer (whose focus is the business) coaches every homeowner into understanding that if you’re taking someone’s money for something, you must deliver.

But what are you delivering?

Many people enter an industry and don’t set up any sort of business model, it’s more like throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping something sticks. And this tip is one of the most subtle offered by the show.

Without spoiling too much, one episode of Stay Here had an owner that ran out of budget for furniture, so in the town that is a destination for antiquing, they went to a few shops the owner knew, and curated fine furniture and art in the rental that is for sale in the actual unit. I was blown away at the creativity and how they not only helped design an interior, they gave the homeowner a business model (short term rental owner acting as a boutique hotel owner with antique and art curation).

Brilliant. What are you doing in your industry that is different than your competitor? How are you partnering with ancillary services in creative ways that no one else is? Consider your model and how it can be refined (and trust me, after watching that episode, you’ll be inspired to do just that).

3. Create a social media moment.

Every episode has a “social media moment” in the form of a bold interior design choice that offers a space that is so photogenic people will insist on taking selfies there.

And for the first time ever, a show understands hashtag activation, giving each property a unique (albeit verbose) hashtag that is woven into each property visibly, on the website, and throughout social media efforts.

The point is that they empowered the renters to do the social media FOR the homeowner.

How does that convey to your business? Obviously, if you have a storefront, is there a spot that is selfie-worthy that includes a visible hashtag? Whether it’s a mural on the side of your building or a unique display, if you have a standard store with no “social media moment” offerings, you’re not giving people an excuse to photograph your shop and share it.

Maybe you’re a Realtor – is there something in every listing that is worth photographing, and a hashtag that goes along with the property? Hair stylists – is there a post-design space that is luxurious and all about taking selfies, even if it’s a simple backdrop in a well-lit corner of your salon?

The bottom line there is to give people a reason to do your social media marketing for you.

No matter what you do for a living, be sure to go stream Stay Here – it’s great brain candy with so many actionable pieces of advice that can be translated to so many other types of businesses!

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius and has been named in the Inman 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders several times, co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

Op/Ed

10 small things you can do for your business while Netflixing

We know the holidays are a time to relax, but before normal working hours have returned, you can still do things for your business in between episodes on Netflix. Here’s 10 simple things that won’t cut into your holiday.

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For many real estate agents, the holidays can slow business down. It’s time for some #ProductivityAndChill.

Instead of spending all day binge-watching Hulu or Netflix, in between every episode take 10 to 15 minutes to do something for your business. Here are some great ideas for things that don’t take long, but provide some long-lasting benefits.

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Productivity and chill

1. Get inspired by your favorite websites. Where do you like to shop or get your news information? Browse through their site with one purpose in mind, to see why it draws you in and how you can implement their methods into your own business.

2. Catch up on the news. Read some articles here or at The American Genius that you might have overlooked or passed by because you thought they didn’t pertain to you. Keeping up with various industries can benefit you.

3. Use your social media tools to set up posts on Twitter or Facebook.

4. Improve your webpages by writing new product descriptions or to optimize images for SEO.

5. Go through the App Store to find new apps which can help make your life easier.

6. Learn to use a new social media platform to reach out to new customers.

7. Go through your social media feed. See what people are talking about and what’s trending. Make notes when you get inspiration.

8. Clean up the documents in your laptop. Organize them more effectively so you can always find what you need.

9. Clean up your email. Unsubscribe from newsletters that you don’t ever look at. Delete messages that are old. Set up folders to save information that you may need at a later date.

10. Customize your email. Set it up to pre-sort emails into different folders to allow you to work more productively when you get back to work after the New Year.

These little tasks can eat away at your time when you’re busy trying to get things done, but when you’re relaxed and just want to feel more productive, take a few minutes to do something that won’t overtask your brain, but needs to be done to keep you more organized throughout your week.

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Op/Ed

How calendars can stop your procrastination, boost productivity

(PRODUCTIVITY) As the old method of pen-to-paper planning comes back in style, see how its use can help with time management.

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writing pen paper productivity

My favorite part of writing for this publication, by far, is the fact that it always has me keeping my eyes and ears open for inspiration. The simplest comment from a friend can snowball into an idea that becomes beneficial to others.

Such was the case this past weekend when my best friend, Haley, stopped by to help me unpack my new house. Haley is a graduate student, pursuing a master’s in interpersonal communication, and is a much smarter version of myself.

We got to talking about what was on tap for Haley’s final semester and she told me about a workshop she’s creating for the graduate school on the topic of how using planners/calendars helps with time management. The girl has an affinity for pen-to-paper planners, and has created an organizational structure for her daily life through their use.

Naturally, I thought, “hey, sometimes I attempt to give people advice on time management and planning, let’s bounce some ideas off of each other.” Haley then gave me a rundown of the bullet points she’s planning on covering for her interactive workshop.

1) Take everything as it comes. As a new task pops up, put it down on your calendar (whether paper or electronic) so that you don’t forget to do it later.

2) With these tasks, schedule deadlines for yourself. It can be tough to be self-motivate and have tasks completed by your own assignment. However, putting them down in writing will help you stick to them.

Only work on something if you’re being productive. If you stop being productive, you should take a step back and work on something else for a while,” says Haley. “This is why my personal deadlines help because it makes me work harder but I still have my own time.”

3) Schedule out your week starting with events that you cannot change. Start by writing down your work schedule, then appointments, meetings, etc. Then schedule in tasks that have more flexibility in time.

4) After doing this, take all of these tasks and prioritize what must be completed first and assess how much time each task will take. Be sure to give yourself an appropriate amount of time for each task.

5) For bigger projects, considering breaking them down a bit. “For bigger projects I break it down into steps, normally using a concept map to understand the core aspects of my task and what needs to be accomplished within each of those to make it more digestible,” says Haley. “Once I have the pieces, I place the pieces into my weekly schedule of events I cannot change.”

All of the pieces of this puzzle come together to create a calendar that will help you juggle every aspect of your life and boost your productivity. By implementing these ideas in my own planning, it has definitely helped me to become more of a self-starter.

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Op/Ed

5 reasons teaching your kid magic could inspire them to become a Realtor

(EDITORIAL) Teaching your child could inspire their career track, perhaps even inviting them to follow in your footsteps!

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There’s nothing quite like a good magic trick. You know there must be a solution, an easy explanation, but putting your finger on exactly what sleight of hand just happened can prove difficult with a seasoned magician. If you are the magician, you know it takes a great deal of practice, confidence, and persistence to keep an audience engaged in your magical wonders.

As captivating as magical skills are, many of the same skills that make a great magician, also make for a great Realtor®!

Here are five amazing ways learning magic as a child (or adult) can actually help someone become a successful real estate professional:

1. Build confidence

To skillfully and successfully pull off any feat of magic, you must have confidence in what you’re doing. No sleight of hand or magical illusion will be effective without the confidence of the magician. By practicing magic, you are in fact, practicing and reinforcing confidence both within yourself and your audience. A confident magician will create a confident audience – an audience that believes the magician is capable of impossible illusions, magical machinations, and captivating concealments.

This same skill set can be applied to real estate. You must have confidence in your ability to find the right home for your client. The ability to foster your clients’ trust is essential, or they will likely go elsewhere because let’s face it, the competition in the real estate world is nothing short of fierce. Starting your children out early in something like magic, builds confidence and having confidence in any industry they choose to venture into is always a good thing.

2. Hone social skills

Again, look at the audience – a good magician will have an audience practically mesmerized. The audience will be so transfixed on what the magician is doing or saying, they miss the sleight of hand. A good magician can read their audience. They know what the audience expects and will deliver appropriately. Many magicians also become well-versed in the art of nonverbal communication as well; reading people’s body language and social cues are an important part of an effective magic illusion.

Not surprising, these skills are also part of being an effective salesperson. A good Realtor will know and understand their clients’ requirements for a home, their budget, and how to effectively get them to their end goal with the fewest obstacles. Interacting with an audience is much the same as interacting with clients daily; be personable, be confident, and know your stuff.

3. Develop an eye for detail

Along with improved dexterity from manipulating cards and coins, magic routines can help improve hand eye coordination, timing, reflexes, as well as develop an eye for details. As new tricks are mastered, the eye becomes more sensitive to details of the objects being used and the magician’s surroundings. The same keen eye can readily be applied to real estate.

An attention to detail can help when staging homes, gauging your clients’ reactions to their surroundings, minimizing errors on contracts, and ensuring your safety when entering a new area. Attention to details means less errors, which in turn means happier clients and more sales completed – a win-win recipe.

4. Research

One area that you may be surprised to learn that magic can help you improve upon is research. Magicians are constantly researching new tricks to add to their routines or watching other magicians perform to see if they can implement any of their gestures or tactics to their own routines. After all, we wouldn’t remember Houdini as the greatest of all time if current magicians weren’t constantly reinventing and revisiting his tricks.

In real estate, you may be researching what your fiercest competitor is doing differently that you might be able to adapt. Are they using a different marketing platform? Are they networking in a different manner? Is there something they’re doing (or not doing) that might make a difference in your sales figures? The ability to research an adapt is another great tool to have in your box of skills.

5. Self-discipline and an ability to take criticism

When you’re first learning any new hobby, you typically “practice” on your family. They give you constructive criticism and you take that criticism and use it to improve. The more you practice, the better you get. After a bit of practice, you’re ready to give another practice run. Through continually trying to improve your skills, you’re learning self-discipline as well as the ability to accept and implement constructive criticism.

These are both skills that are necessary to excel in the professional world. You must continually hone your craft if you want to continue to excel. Continuing education, professional seminars, and workshops all exist so professionals can receive criticism on what they’re currently doing and learn what they might do better to improve themselves and their business. While you’re never too old to learn, beginning to lay the foundation for these skills in your youth with a simple hobby like magic, could be giving you more than just a way to entertain friends and family.

The takeaway:

Magic isn’t just for children; it’s never too late to have another hobby. If you’ve never dabbled in magic before, you might find you really enjoy it. If nothing else, you may find that magic teaches you and/or your children some patience, coordination, or at least a few good laughs. If magic teaches you nothing else, remember what Rumpelstiltskin said, “all magic comes with a price” and so does real estate – so hone your skills with some magical fun; you never know when it’ll come in handy!

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