We all have a past, present and future. Many are concerned about the revelation of skeletons in the closet of their past, or are fearful of what will happen today or in the future. As for me, I believe that you must let people know where you’ve been and then share your vision of where you are going in order for them to get a true insight into who you are. I have no skeletons, and I have no fear, this is my story.
Education insight: I graduated from college three times. First with an Associate’s Degree in Education, then with a Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality Management, and finally with a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership. While I was working on my Associate’s Degree I worked in the college library and loved it! While I was getting my Bachelor’s Degree (it took me 5 years) I worked in admissions/outpatient at a huge hospital; I was a waitress/bartender at a restaurant; I bartended at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show (where I concocted my version of a Rum Runner that hooked my husband); and I was an Executive Secretary at a large hotel on Fort Lauderdale beach. Generally speaking, I worked two or three jobs and went to school during this time. While I was getting my Master’s Degree, which only took me a year, I was an Assistant Principal at a high school with job responsibilities at the school district level as a staff development coordinator, after having spent six years as a classroom teacher. I have always loved to work and elevate my education simultaneously. In my opinion work and education go hand in hand. You cannot become better at anything without learning something new daily both personally and professionally. [Aside: It took me five years to get my Bachelor's degree because I went to University of Georgia, Florida International University, Florida State University, and back to Florida International University. By the way, my heart lies in Tallahassee - Go Noles!]
Personally: During the time that I was working with the school system, I got married and we had a baby. We are late bloomers, our miracle son was born seven months after my 40th birthday (this is a story that requires a whole blog unto itself.) I intended to take a three month maternity leave and it turned into three years of being blessed to be able to stay home with my son. We moved four times in those three years - from Fort Lauderdale, to Lakeland, back to Fort Lauderdale and then finally, we landed in the Tampa Bay area. My son lived in six homes by the time he had his third birthday. It was during this time that I got the “real estate bug.”
I forgot to mention, while I worked at the hotel I got my real estate license, paid for by the hotel, to be able to lease out dock slips in the largest marina in the state of Florida. That lasted all of three seconds. I actually attempted selling real estate in my mid-20’s and hated it, no GPS, no online MLS, it was horrid. But I digress… Once we were settled into our new home on the west coast of Florida in Apollo Beach, I decided to get my real estate license again in 2006. Thus began my real estate career, for a second time. I immediately joined a franchise of a major brokerage. I received zero training. I was told to work floor duty to get clients. I worked open houses for other agents and I partnered with one of the best agents in the area who was a native of Apollo Beach. As a new agent and new to the area, it was the best decision I made. Then one day the broker said to me, “don’t waste your time taking classes and hanging around other REALTORs” - that’s when I knew I was in the wrong place for sure, this was not the best fit for me. My sales partner and I decided to leave that brokerage and start our own boutique brokerage (she the broker, I the agent partner.) Ultimately, after one year of doing that, when the market collapse began, I decided I might have to go back to work as a teacher so I told my partner I was just going to hang my license at Keller Williams Realty and seek out a teaching position.
I hung my license at Keller Williams Really on November 30, 2008 - my anniversary date is December 1, which means nothing to anyone, unless you are a KW agent. I don’t think I ever even applied for any teaching positions because suddenly my business was booming due to the unfortunate collapse of the real estate market. Our community saw decreases of up to 55% of home values. Real estate agents were running away from our profession like their hair was on fire, and I was just getting started. The age of the short sale meant working ten times as hard to get a deal closed for the suffering sellers. Empathy, patience, and hard work made for success in real estate from 2009 to 2011-ish. Those agents that were on the gravy-train of the hay-days, got off really quickly when the going got tough. I just put my head down and powered through and helped more sellers get out of their under-water homes, and buyers get into homes that were priced at historic lows. 2009 was the best year I had since I got my license in 2006 because I helped so many people get through the short sale crisis.
During 2009, and the chaos of working with the banks to determine exactly how this short sale thing worked, I had agents approach me about starting a team, they wanted to be part of my team. I was so flattered! So I did start a team, and I did it all wrong. Actually, I created a team three times, the wrong way over a four year period. And then, I finally read and comprehended The Millionaire Real Estate Agent, written by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. What a dope I had been to wait as long as I did to actually read and implement the systems and models in that book! “Failing forward” wasn’t even a thing back then and I was doing it, so I was a bit ahead of my time. My production was great in 2009, leveled off in 2010, and by the last quarter of 2011 my income had decreased and my price point had decreased and my enthusiasm had decreased. It was at an Agent Leadership Council meeting that I got the best advice in October of 2011, “You need a coach.”
I had just read Michael Maher’s, The Seven Levels of Communication - from Relationships to Referrals, when I got that advice, “You need a coach.” So I picked up the phone and called Michael and asked him to be my coach. On December 1, 2011, I began coaching with Michael Maher. I coached with him through December 2015. In July of 2015 I hired a Keller Williams MAPs Coach, I was ready for accountability, so for 5 months I had two coaches. During the time that I coached with Michael my production increased by four times. Now, since I started coaching with MAPs and have grown our team (my husband joined our business as a partner in the summer of 2015), our production has increased close to three times that of when I started. During these years we have been building and continue to build our team of administrative and agent partners.
Building a team requires that we have the systems, tools, models and support to help other agents reach their goals. We have all of that. We have worked hard and failed forward at all of that. We have tried every lead generation platform, we have tried every direct mail campaign, we have tried every Open House system, we have tried every method of marketing, lead generation and lead follow up known to mankind. We are now finally on the path to success for our agents with the right systems and tools in place. We have already made all of the mistakes, our agents don’t have to make them on their own. We pivot and correct immediately. There is no way to avoid failures, we know we can’t, we are human. And we do know how to pivot and correct and move forward. Zig Ziglar said, “You can have everything you want in life, if you just help other people get what they want.” We live this. We breathe this. We believe this.
Our team members, from leader to part-time data entry clerk all want to do the following:
- to be held to standards which equate to high accountability.
- to have opportunities for personal and professional growth.
- to be part of something bigger and better that will keep getting bigger and better.
- to learn and earn like never before.
- to fail forward and are not be afraid of falling down and getting right back up and at it again.
- to contribute and collaborate with the Team for the benefit of Team and not just the individual.
- to maintain their integrity and that of the team.
- to put their customers first and make every transaction a win-win for all.
- to work hard and reap the rewards of that hard work.
- to use the best technology available to make their job easier.
- to be humble.
- to be coached and provided with the systems and tools to take them to the next level in their business.
Not every agent wants the structure our system, tools, and culture provides, and that’s okay. The word culture gets tossed about in every conversation in the real estate realm these days. There is a reason for that, culture is why people accept a position on a team, in a business, in a networking group. Cultural fit is important for the individual and the group. We strive for that fit. I have learned that the hard way too. My story, as you have read, includes lots of failures, lots of getting up and starting over, lots of determination to help others succeed, lots of never giving up.
On December 1, 2008 I was determined to help my family survive the economic implosion that began that September. Since that December, the opportunities that Keller Williams has provided me have turned into exponential growth both personally and professionally. My leadership, salesmanship, and ability to coach my team has grown and continues to grow. I truly want to provide the same opportunity to other agents and I hope that telling my story conveys this. Your income, growth and professional development is limitless - this is my story. You have to fall down 5 times and get up six to succeed - this is my story. You have to have grit and determination to get what you want - this is my story. You have to earnestly want to help other people - this is my story.
I have no skeletons, and I have no fear, this is my story. I will continue to learn, earn, teach, coach and build a team that can help others reach their potential while they help others reach their dream of home ownership. It may not be the most riveting story to some, and still proudly, failures and all, this is my story.