I am busy, but not quite as busy as I was three months or a year ago. I suspect I am not alone. And since I am, by all accounts, the only agent with a blogging habit who isn’t in Las Vegas today enjoying continuing education at REBlogWorld, I have to find other productive things to occupy my time.
Real estate agents know that many things come in waves: Surfers, sound, and, for us, business and pay checks. I long ago learned to not fret (too much) during the lulls, as fretting rarely pays the bills. Even when the work is on the sparser side, there is never any excuse to not put in the requisite day at the office. So, this week, I have been enjoying the relative down time by focusing on the stuff the tends to get shoved under the rug during the busier times – business systems and tools.
Oh, I know. It’s not glamorous, but to be successful in this business you need to treat it like a business, and improvement is always possible. And so many of the droll, mundane tasks which we must periodically pursue if we aspire to world domination (or even a modest, consistent living) involve measurable blocks of head-down focus. Now’s a good time.
So, in the spirit of sharing, here are a few of the little projects which have been occupying my dance card.
OK, I finally made the bold decision to retire my crayons (Quicken) and act like a big girl — a big girl with a business to run. Granted, I am not a big-snooty Broker-Owner like Jay Thompson, but we all run a business. It’s time for me to start acting a little more like a CEO (or CFO). I could have used the free version of QuickBooks or even the moderately priced professional version, but of course I popped for the “Premier Edition,” because, in the words of Loreal, I am worth it. Even if your balance sheet is mostly or all debits, it is essential to know where the money is being spent. Not only is it an awesome accounting software, but the back end analytics are impressive, which helps in developing the…
Yes, we all need one of those. Sure, I have one, but it could use a turbo boost. Working backwards from what I “want” to earn is like listing a house for what I “need” to get. A thoughtful business plan requires that I am honest about where I have been, what got me there, what’s stopping me from getting beyond “there,” and fixing it. It requires that I don the Big Thinking Hat. I am wearing it right now.
Systems, systems and more systems
I have had such a full head and full plate of to-dos for so long, I have started to feel like a ship lost at sea. I am in the process of tightening the jib, of getting organized. This includes everything from rewriting my Transaction Point templates to better manage transactions to decluttering my on- and off-line files and to updating and integrating my procedures and checklists for everything.
In my ongoing battle to simplify my own life and the transactional lives of my clients, not to mention to save on costs, I have been “playing” with Docusign Professional. The bad news is that Docusign Professional runs on your hard drive. The good news is that it allows you to set up templates for all of the documents you use on a daily basis. I am in the process of setting up templates for all of our standard disclosures. With the Pro version, you can add check boxes or text boxes which can be completed by the agent before sending or by the customer upon receipt. You can also define the order in which multiple recipients will receive the documents. I am absolutely giddy about these features; No longer will I have to print out and deliver a one-pound steaming mound of disclosures for my clients to complete. They will now be able to fill out the forms on-line, at midnight and wearing their fuzzy bunny slippers if they wish. No more will I have to scan said one-pound pile o’ paper back into the system. The completed PDF is returned directly to me. It takes me one step further toward my dream of the truly paperless transaction.
My web site is due for some serious prettification. I am finally popping for some professional help after a couple of years of the DIY bandage approach. I am smart enough to know when it is time for an intervention. With a new template design, virtually every page (and I am running at about 90 right now not counting the hundreds of floor plans we have on-line) will need to be subsequently tweaked by me to some extent. This should keep me out of trouble until the Feds straighten out that little financial crisis I’ve been hearing about.
There is more, of course, and you might recognize that all of my projects take both time and money. But, the result will hopefully be more of these same things. I am investing in myself in my down time. Glamorous? No. But I’m worth it.
Photo credit: Thanks to www.crappygraphs.com