January 18, 2017 by Jeff Lowen
The four items above are known as Dollar-Productive-Activities. Big rocks.
Ok, now that we’ve got the only important things you should be, must be and have to be doing in your business, we’ll touch on some of the other stuff (the little rocks) that you might think are important, but aren’t. Really.
I’ve spoken with agents that labor over the fact that they just have to go to a home inspection, or must attend a closing, for example. They say it’s because it gives them a chance to build rapport with their clients. Only to find out that their clients are too busy signing paperwork or paying attention to what the home inspector is inspecting to stop and engage in small talk. But, they manage to slip in a, “I’m never too busy for your referrals…” into an otherwise comprehensive discussion that their not even a party to.
Let’s look at all (or at least most) of the things you are doing in your business and define each one.
a. Decide to work from home or go to the office. Real estate has turned into the work from home gig. At least for the masses. Is the fact that the top 10% of earners in real estate make more than the rest combined and that 99% of those work in the office have something to do with it? Perhaps. If you take your work seriously, go to the office if you can. Get up, get out and get busy. Home has distractions that can consume your time and energy that it can be hard to compete with.
b. Checking email. In the world of our smartphones, we are connected. All the time. We don’t realize that if we don’t take the time to set our phones up with specific notifications and the times they occur, it seems every two minutes it’s an email. Important, not so important and junk emails are distracting us. Set up your devices to notify you when YOU want them to. Learn to automate showings and be consistent with the time you respond to your email by time blocking it in no more than twice a day.
c. Posting on social media. Here’s a rabbit hole! With how social the social media train has become, we are spending more time on it more than ever. This is a big time sucker. If you have listings and want to post them because you have a bunch of clients as friends that can’t wait for your next post, then automate it. Check or post to social media before or after business hours and use the time toward a more productive activity.
d. Training. This is a necessary activity if you take your job seriously. Yet, it’s not something you should be engaged in every time a lunch-and-learn comes around or when your ‘hear’ of a training you might want to attend. Have a specific time slot each week or month to train, ready or study. Put it on your well thought out, time blocked calendar.
e. Marketing. Your business cards, a cool brochure, a property flyer… Stuffing envelopes, creating postcards, taking pictures of your listings, anything that promotes you or your craft is marketing within the great ship advertising. Again, have a specific time on your calendar to do this only AFTER you complete your big rocks. Blowing off any one of the four items above to create the coolest business card known to mankind is a criminal offense!
f. Admin. Okay, I get it. If you don’t have an admin, you are an admin. Just remember, I’m not the first one that’s advised that your time is worth more than $15 or $20 per hour, and that’s what you’d be doing. Less the taxes, the amount of money you’d lose because the task is not a high dollar activity, and now it’s costing you money to do any admin stuff. Get help. Set aside a certain percentage of every dollar you earn to go toward paying a person or company to do your admin work.
g. Networking. Many agents are very social. It’s part of the business. Pressing flesh is great, too, because you meet and befriend others in the business and ancillary businesses that you like and would like to work with, refer, help them, etc. However, this is a purposeful, time blocked calendar event and if you’re just blowing off steam at a happy hour to corroborate with buddies and swap shop stories, then you better have your Dollar Productive Activities done for that day or the next happy hour you attend, you’ll have to convince your buddies to buy you drinks!
h. Financial. This isn’t really an activity, but I thought it warranted mention here with respect to making the jump from the new or single lone wolf agent and an agent that has an executive assistant or admin on staff. From the outset, or if you’re a veteran single agent, start today with this: Every dollar you earn has a place and it’s not in your bank account. So to speak… According to Gary Keller and the Red Bible, or Millionaire Real Estate Agent, there’s an Economic Model that explains what you would be spending your hard earned money on. You, being the single agent, part time, full time, wherever you are; can split up every dollar you earn, for example:
- 50¢ to pay yourself first.
- 25¢ for taxes.
- 10¢ for marketing.
- 10¢ for admin costs.
- 5¢ for supplies, etc.
This is just an example and how you slice your dollar up requires a little insight, research, and deep thought. However, if you’re in the habit of setting money aside for these line items now when it comes time to hire an admin or pony up for marketing costs or your quarterly taxes (not optional), then you won’t feel it. Besides, as Dave Ramsey says, it’s not a bad thing to live on less than you make.
If you’re a new or seasoned agent and your need a little help with this, reach out to me for a no cost strategy business assessment, and let’s begin to map out your pathway to success!