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In Spring an Agent’s Fancy Lightly Turns to Thoughts of Simplicity

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simplicity


I have this vision of how it could be. Of everything in one place, accessible from many places. Where information and conversation meet and integrate in a way that makes sense. Where my phone doesn’t go from useful to hockey puck in 3 seconds flat.There’s all kinds of fancy doo-dads and whatnots out there, but what I really want is simplicity. I got so many USB things plugged into my laptop, I’m a veritable octopus over here.

I want my MLS to play nice with my phone – and with my website and my blog and my private client sites. I want my calendar in Outlook to play nice with my phone calendar – without having to buy a USB hub just to make room to plug in a bluetooth adaptor.

I want my clients to know what I’m doing and when without having to manually log every call and email.

I want engenu on crack. Forget FTPing or writing config files.

I want my clients to find and mark properties for discussion, and to be able to interact with them, those properties, and all their documentation from my phone while sipping Starbucks at a red light. But not in a Lexus. (I’ve heard that brand is targeted to middle-aged women. The horror!)

Simplicity. I want clean and simple. I want to collaborate online with existing and potential clients and not have to manage twelve passwords and sixteen programs to do it, while juggling a camera, an eKey, four bottles of water, and a map so I can figure out where the closest functional restroom might be for my client’s kid because all these foreclosed homes have unusable facilities and he’s really gotta go.

There’s a lot of partial solution and kludge out there. So who’s gonna put it all together?

Consider yourself challenged.

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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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Johnny Amos

    May 1, 2008 at 9:22 pm

    Exactly. Imagine that times 100… or 500… (Lexus is targeted to middle age women? Huh.) or 1000. It doesn’t scale well. And the easier things are for the end user, the more complex the underlying system is.

    Keeping it simple can be a complex problem.

  2. Matthew Rathbun

    May 1, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    Well… hmmmm, they say it’s perfect in heaven. Do you think they’ll have compatible well running computer systems?

  3. Bob Schenkenberger

    May 1, 2008 at 10:43 pm

    You are so right on the mark! It’s been the same way with CRM for 10+ years. Then, when the ultimate product comes out, there are so many “features” it renders itself useless to me! I fear it will be the same outcome once a tool is developed to bring all the social applications and communication devices into one, not so tidy bunch.

    Now i’m off to try and sell my Lexus, any middle aged women looking for a good buy? No really 2005 GX470, Black with tan leather.

  4. Kelley Koehler

    May 2, 2008 at 1:03 am

    I knew throwing in the the Lexus comment had great potential to take us off track… 🙂

  5. Jacinda

    May 2, 2008 at 7:23 am

    What type of phone do you use now? I use an iPhone and it’s great because it does pretty much everything you described and will only get better at it when the SDK apps come out next month. The 3G iPhone is going to be released in late June most likely, so it’ll do a great job at loading large sites like MLS and other real estate listing sites since it’s faster than the current one.

    I’m not sure if that’s helpful, but it does a lot of what you’re saying you want in a phone.

  6. Michelle DeRepentigny

    May 2, 2008 at 7:56 am

    OMG – I so want it all also! Even more I want to do away with competing MLSs in one market – I am so tired of searching two different MLS systems to ind listings and trying to explain why one of them doesn’t allow square footages to be input! I am tired of trying to pull all the data I have available into an attractive, client ready format.

    It shouldn’t be this hard to do business in a professional manner!

  7. ines

    May 2, 2008 at 7:35 pm

    ……and no Lexus or mini-van for me

  8. Bob

    June 13, 2008 at 9:45 am

    Thanks for the humor but technology is never going to be simple for me. I just do the best I can and ask my wife to do the rest.

  9. Susan

    June 13, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    Kelley, I feel your pain. I felt the strong pull towards the Lexus a year ago, but managed to escape. Instead, I decided to get something that perhaps wasn’t exactly practical, but so much more fun. I went with a 3 series BMW and its just fine.

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Business Entrepreneur

Tips to professionally approach your business partner with feedback

(ENTREPRENEUR) You and your business partner(s) are in a close relationship, and just like a marriage, negative emotions may play a role in the relationship.

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Woman on computer discussing feedback to her business partner.

You and your business partner are in a relationship. Your business was born when you shared a common vision of the future and became giddy from the prospect of all you could do together that you couldn’t do alone. Now, you spend much of the day doing things together in collaboration. The stakes are high; there are obstacles to overcome, decisions to make together, deadlines to meet, and all the stresses of running a business.

It’s no wonder a business partnership can often be just as complicated and emotional as a romantic relationship. If you are struggling with your business partner, you might find helpful advice in resources originally targeted towards troubled couples.

Relationship expert Dr. Jeffrey Bernstein has explored how to share “toxic thoughts” with your partner. In a linked article, Bernstein describes toxic thoughts as distortions of the truth that cause us to overemphasize the negative attributes of our partner.

Some examples of toxic thoughts include blaming your partner for larger problems that aren’t really their fault, inaccurately assuming your partners intentions, or resenting your partner for not intuiting your needs, even if you haven’t expressed them. The defining characteristic of these toxic thoughts is that, although they may be based in the truth, they are generally exaggerations of reality, reflecting our own stresses and insecurities.

Just as much as in a love relationship, these toxic thoughts could easily strain a business partnership. If you find yourself having toxic thoughts about your business partner, you will need to decide whether to hold your tongue, or have a potentially difficult conversation. Even when we remain quiet about our frustrations, they are easily felt in the awkward atmosphere of interpersonal tension and passive aggressive slights that results.

Dr. Bernstein points out that being honest about your toxic thoughts with your partner can help increase understanding and intimacy. It also gives your partner a chance to share their toxic thoughts with you, so you’d better be ready to take what you dish out. It might be hard to talk about our frustrations with each other so candidly, but it might also be the most straightforward way to resolve them.

Then again, Bernstein points out, some people prefer to work through their toxic thoughts alone. By his own definition, toxic thoughts are unfair exaggerations of and assumptions about our partner’s behavior. If you find yourself jumping to conclusions, assuming the worst, or blaming your partner for imagined catastrophes, perhaps you’d better take a few minutes to calm down and consider whether or not it’s worth picking a fight about. Then again, if you’re self-aware enough to realize that you are exaggerating the truth, you can probably also tease out the real roots of any tension you’ve been experiencing with your business partner.

If you are going to get personal, shoulder your own emotional baggage and try to approach your partner with equal parts honesty and diplomacy. Avoid insults, stay optimistic, and focus on solutions. State your own feelings and ask questions, rather than airing your assumptions about their intentions or behaviors. Keep your toxic thoughts to yourself, and work towards adjusting the behaviors that are making you feel negatively towards each other. Your business might depend on it.

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Business Entrepreneur

5 side hustle ideas that could change your career trajectory

(EDITORIAL) You may be feeling the desire to explore something new or actually make a career change – Here are 5 side hustle ideas to consider.

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side hustles

When you think of finding a side hustle, you might picture yourself finding an obscure job as a bike courier three nights a week or maybe even walking your neighborhood dogs. Both of these positions can be fun and pay extremely well depending on who you work for.

There are endless opportunities for part-time, enjoyable, profitable side hustles. However, if you take on any of the following gigs, you could end up with a new career.

1. Day trading

Day trading is the purchase and sale of a stock, bond, or security all within the same day. Many entrepreneurs are drawn to day trading because it’s fast-paced and risky, but with the right skills, day trading presents a potential for serious profit.

If you’re curious about day trading, RJO Futures published a guide on how day trading works. RJO’s article explains that whether you trade from a large firm or on your own, you’ll need three tools:

  • Access to a trade desk. This will give you instant order actions the moment your trades are placed.
  • Analytical software. Analytical software will help you identify key indicators to inform your next move.
  • Access to news outlets. Day trading – specifically day trading futures – is volatile. Prices move by the second and having access to news outlets will give you a heads up if your market might be affected.

Be aware that if you enjoy day trading and get good, you might want to go full-time. It’s possible to turn day trading into a career, but the learning curve is steep.

2. Investing in real estate

Real estate is a lucrative industry, but it’s not for everyone. Popular among entrepreneurs, investing in real estate requires long hours of study, extensive research, and getting your hands dirty.

Usually, real estate investors have side hustles to supplement their income. However, many people get into real estate as a side hustle and end up turning it into a career.

If you want to get started in real estate, don’t jump to investing right away. Take the expert advice from the folks at Bigger Pockets and start by learning about the industry. Get a part-time job as an assistant property manager to pick up industry knowledge and learn your local landlord-tenant laws. If you’re going to invest in real estate to rent out, you’ll be a landlord at least for a short period of time until you hire a property management company.

If you know someone who can help you make your first investment, you don’t need to wait. However, to be successful you have to think outside the box to gain a full spectrum of industry experience.

3. Content writing

Every business needs content writers and many are willing to settle for any level of proficiency. If you have any writing skills, you can easily pick up some content writing gigs on job listing sites.

If you love writing, you might start out writing one blog per week and decide you want to pursue writing full-time. If it’s truly your passion, stick with it and you’ll find the right clients who will pay you generously for your work.

4. Coaching

Whatever people are struggling with, there’s a coach to save the day. Life coaching and business coaching are the most popular, but you can coach people on anything you’re passionate about.

Being a coach isn’t easy. Even people who intentionally start a career as a coach struggle. What most people don’t realize about coaching is that passion does not equal profit. Coaching is a hard sell, but life coaching is especially difficult. Running a coaching business requires more than business skills – you need to be proficient at helping people solve their problems.

If you’re good at helping people solve their problems, there’s a chance you might get addicted to being a coach. There’s nothing more satisfying than helping people grow and transform their lives.

5. Thrifting

It’s not hard to find sellable items at your local thrift stores. However, you need an eye for what people want to buy. If you’ve got that eye, you could end up with a new career.

For example, Natalie Gomez, a former merchandise planner at Macy’s, took on thrifting as a side job and wound up making thousands of dollars. Gomez was interviewing for a new job when she realized she was already making a good living selling clothes.

Enjoy your side hustles

Even if you don’t turn your side hustle into a career, take on gigs you enjoy. Money is necessary, but it’s never worth sacrificing your happiness.

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Opinion Editorials

4 ways to stand out against the competition in today’s job market

(EDITORIAL) Are you trying to figure out how you can stand out to recruiters and hiring managers in this job market? Look no further than these 4 steps.

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Woman doing a job search on laptop in the hot job market.

Are you trying to figure out how you can stand out to recruiters and hiring managers in this job market?

Recruiters often have aggressive hiring goals and are sorting through many resumes to discover the hidden gems that will help organizations achieve their business transformation and growth goals. If you have had a non-traditional education or career path, or have a resume gap due to a layoff, being a caregiver, or any of a multitude of other reasons, it’s important that you know how to share your story in a way that will empower recruiters to advocate on your behalf in this job market.

When I’ve mentored diverse job seekers through the years, these are the four key steps I recommend they follow:

  1. Develop your personal brand

Do you have a LinkedIn profile? If so, when is the last time you audited it? Is it telling the story of who you are now and where you want to go?

It’s important to make the most of the eight (8) seconds that recruiters are spending on your profile. Because, on average, and as lazy as ‘we’ recruiters sound, unless in that time we can tell what you do, who you are, etc., we might not keep reading on.

  1. Tell your story

You have probably heard the phrase “elevator pitch,” but did you know this doesn’t just apply to businesses? As a job seeker, you need to know your story and how it aligns with the roles you are looking to get hired for. If you were to record yourself and tell YOU how great YOU are, would you hire you? If not, remember what value and experience you bring (no matter how seemingly small), your story is you and some of the best stories can be told badly, and some of the most challenging stories can become the most inspirational. Only you have the power to decide what you want your story to be.

  1. Build your network

Your network is your net worth. The more contacts you have, the more chances you create, and the single hardest part of the journey is just to start. Have you built a network in the job market that has the type of job you want? If not, how do you? First, go and find hiring managers. Start by searching on Linkedin, use “job title” and “hiring” in the search bar. Then connect with the people who have posted that they are hiring, sending them a message about your interest, and/or asking them for help (industry tips, thought leaders to follow, who else is hiring). People are generally very open and friendly, and in this landscape, they will be willing to either hire or connect you with someone else. If they don’t, is that someone you would want to be connected with anyway?

  1. Focus on your goals, your “why”

The most important thing! Focus on your WHY. No matter what, job searching can be one of the most challenging things in the world! So don’t just focus on the results, because you will get a job; focus on why you are doing this. Remember you are going through a journey and that you will have a good day, and you will have a bad day, and the best advice I can give (which I repeat to myself ALL the time!) is this… “You either WIN or you LEARN.” Make sure you remind yourself of this and remember WHY you are doing this because the why will keep you going and the experience is something you should embrace, no matter what.

Job seeking can often be all about the numbers and let the saying “Your network is your net worth” be inspirational to build your personal brand and grow your network daily. You will be amazed to see the kinds of opportunities that the network will open for you!

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