By Jared James
We have come to that time of the year again, when you need to focus on your B.U.T. Not your butt – I am talking about your B.U.T., or Best Use of Time. It is amazing to me how many people will track their marketing dollars from the previous 12 months to see what actually worked and what didn’t, but won’t invest the energy to track their most invaluable resource of all… their time.
Time is your most valuable resource because it is the only thing that you can’t get back. If I lose money, I can gain it back. If I lose time, it is gone forever. We only get a certain amount of it within the totality of our lives. Think about that for a second – but not too long because you don’t want to waste any time.
Your best use of time has been the activities that you have done that have brought you the greatest return. Not just from a profit standpoint, but also from the perspective of what has brought you the most joy and peace in the last twelve months. I think we all can agree that we operate more often at our peak potential when everything seems to be in order in our personal lives as well. That is why it is important to understand that just like our cars need to stop and fill up on gas and have the occasional tune up, we need the same kind of maintenance if we expect to get the most out of ourselves. That may mean more time with your children or spouse, a renewed commitment to exercise, or just time alone to read or pray on a regular basis. For each person it may be different.
Having said this, I recommend that you write down your top four B.U.T.s for the last year. And instead of trying to implement 10 new strategies or tools into your business, just get better at what you already do well and scale those!
Last week, I wrote an article on my site about how your sphere of influence doesn’t make you money. It is actually all of the things that you did or continue to do to build your sphere of influence that make you money. The key is not to reinvent the wheel or completely change your business model. The key is to figure out what you are already doing well, what your top four B.U.T.s are, and increase your efforts in those areas in the coming year – and at least one of your B.U.T.s should have nothing to do with your profits in business at all!
Jared James is the CEO and founder of Jared James Enterprises (JJE) and travels around North America speaking to and coaching REALTORS®. Connect with Jared at www.jaredjamestoday.com, on facebook.com/jaredjamestoday, or follow him on Twitter @jaredjamestoday.
By Jason O’Neil
I blame FedEx, but there are many culprits contributing to the new mentality of instant access. Instant access has become normal. Companies and individuals provide instant access for a few simple reasons: 1.) They can; 2.) If they don’t, someone else will; 3.) Customers demand it.
So where does that leave us?
There’s an old cartoon of a man sitting at his desk and his presumed boss pokes his head in and hollers: “What are you doing?” To which the man replies, “Thinking.” Boss, “Well, I don’t pay you to think.” Our guy reveals a dumbfounded look.
But thinking takes time and can’t be achieved instantly, and frankly, I don’t want it to be. When I hire a professional for any job, I want them to truly take their time and craft the right solution, not just the fastest solution. When the tables are turned and I am hired as the professional, I want to take my time and truly craft a One Size Fits You solution; a solution that my clients know is tailored to what they’ve hired me for. But this is a delicate balancing act because, as I mentioned, thinking takes time.
I think the most important thing is to remind ourselves that we need time to reflect and to think, to be away from any screen, even if only during lunch or a couple of hours in the morning. It’s these hours or days that keep us sharp, that keep us on our toes, that allow us to think.
Next time someone calls/e-mails/texts you with a problem, don’t feel compelled to spit out an answer. Let them know you’ll “think about the solution” and call them back. They and you will genuinely appreciate it.
Jason O’Neil is an associate broker with Encore Sotheby’s International Realty in Indianapolis. Connect with him at jasononeilrealtor.com.
By Jared James
I am going to keep this brief. I’m writing this article sitting in the West Virginia airport on my way home after speaking at the West Virginia Association of REALTORS®. I am right in the middle of what I call “convention season,” which consists of the months of September and October. During this time I will keynote more than 20 events for state associations and companies, requiring me to hit the road pretty hard.
In the last month I have spent a collective one week at home, which can be difficult with two adorable boys at home, ages 5 and 3. In fact, a couple of weeks ago I had just finished up speaking at the Texas Association of REALTORS® Convention and Xplode Conference and had to speak in Wyoming the next day. It seems like an easy flight from Texas to Wyoming, but instead I decided to fly back across the country, land in New York, drive home and spend 2 ½ hours with my kids and put them to bed, just to go back to the airport and fly back across the country to Wyoming to do my event. For the parents out there, you know that this was a small price to pay to be able to tuck my kids in at night instead of the usual Skype call before they went to bed.
While these two months are not the usual for me and my family, they are still a reality. While my job requires a lot of travel, it is also true that most events are not held on weekends so I am almost always home and able to coach my kids’ teams on Saturdays and Sundays – with exception of this last weekend when I had to miss my 5-year-old’s soccer game because I had to catch a flight.
I don’t write this so you will feel sorry for me. I have a great life and I’m able to inspire and have an affect on a lot of people, which is an amazing feeling and a great calling. I am more so writing this because my life is not normal, I admit, but I have the honor of working with a lot of REALTORS® and salespeople and the one thing I always hear them tell me is that their family comes first. While, for some, this may be true, actions speak louder than words. Continue reading »
By Alex Milshteyn
I am writing this 30,000 feet in the air as I fly to St. Louis, Mo., where I’ll be participating in a “30 Under 30” panel discussion during the St. Louis Association of REALTORS®’ YPN second anniversary celebration. As I’m writing this, I feel very little stress, which is a giant contrast from just a few years ago when I’d travel out of town.
During the early years of my real estate practice, I hated leaving town. Just the thought of leaving town would put me in a foul mood. The reason was I couldn’t stop working or stressing about my business even though I’d be somewhere else. I lost count of how many times I returned from a vacation several days early because my business was just too overwhelming. If you’d like to know how to take a vacation to Thailand in three business days, ask me.
At this point, you may be wondering what’s wrong with me. Well, let’s face it, I’m a control freak and a perfectionist. The thought of someone else taking control of my business was impossible – no one could do it better than I could. I shied away from all vacations, all day trips, and a lot of family time because I didn’t know how to handle the stress of being away and continuing to provide the same level of service as I do when I am in town.
Eventually it got to a point where I began to feel like a slave to my practice. I realized that I couldn’t make it much longer unless I got help. I needed someone who I could trust and train. The only way I was going to take a vacation and ease my workload was to hire an assistant. Continue reading »
By Brett Caviness
I simply couldn’t wait two more years to graduate college before entering my dream career as a REALTOR®, so I didn’t. I went active as a real estate agent in Cedar Falls Iowa in 2009. Since entering the business, I have worked hard to manage my time. With class, work on campus, activities and friends I was able to make time to schedule showings, and close deals in-between. There are a lot of things I wish I knew before I got into the business; I mean this is hard work! So I made a list of a few things I wish they told me about the real estate world in my weekend classes.
1. A real estate license doesn’t mean sales. Your office doesn’t just hand you over some magic list of names of people ready, willing and able to buy or sell. You have to find them yourself.
2. Even if you are a part time agent, this is a full-time job. I didn’t realize between classes I would be on the phone with clients, offices, the abstract company, lenders and others while reviewing important documents on my Blackberry.
3. Starting a career in real estate is like starting your own company. I have quickly learned to be my own boss, marketing director, web master, public relations manager, and accountant while always working in research and development. Continue reading »
By Laura Rubinchuk
All of the tag lines we hear somehow incorporate the following: Who do you know who’s looking to buy or sell in the next 30 days? Notice we never hear “rent” in those scenarios. Well as REALTORS®, how do you know when to focus your time on a rental, versus a bigger money maker like a buyer or seller? Where do you draw the line?
After a recent experience with a renter where I showed 16 houses and counting, I started to wonder – would my efforts be better focused elsewhere? Am I just donating my time at this point?
I’ve had some wonderful experiences with renters in the past, as I generally do about 6-8 per year (both landlord rep and tenant rep). I’ve had some old renters turn into listings, buyers, and referrals, and then I’ve had some turn into nothing at all. So I tried to come up with a way to evaluate whether to take on a rental client:
1. Is their price range realistic for the market? If they’re looking for a diamond in the rough, I may decide to refer them to an agent who only deals with rentals.
2. Do I have more “A” clients who need my time? I like to devote as much time as necessary to each client to make them feel they’re getting the level of service they require. Taking on too many things will only spread you thin and not make anyone happy.
3. What is their level of commitment to my services? Are they looking at Craigslist too? Would they be willing to pay a retainer fee to assure their commitment to me? Continue reading »
By Laura Rubinchuk
The real estate market is cyclical, we all know that. Busy in spring and fall, quiet during the winter and summer. At least that’s what my market usually looks like. This summer I found myself with a long list of “to-do’s” for those rainy days where I had some extra time. They range from things like checklists, exploring CRM software, possible blog redesign, to working on finding new clients to fill the long cold winter (I guess that should be No. 1, huh?).
But what about when business is slow and you already have your systems/processes in place? What if all of your ducks are aligned and ready to go the next time your phone rings? You’ve done your prospecting for the day, follow up for the month, and client/transaction management…do you ever allow yourself to take a day off?
The life of a REALTOR® is 24/7; always connected, always on the go. Sometimes I think it can get overwhelming, so this summer I actually gave myself a few days off, when I thought I could sneak away for a day or two. I was still accessible through phone/email, but I wasn’t worried every minute of those days about business. It gave me a chance to clear my head, reenergize and reengage. I found myself coming back with more energy and enthusiasm to give my clients. Continue reading »