Strategies for surviving your first year
It’s hard to navigate life as a first-year real estate agent in a saturated industry. Starting a new career with the “87% of real estate agents fail after 5 years” statistic looming over your head isn’t exactly motivating.
To help you survive your first year as a real estate agent, we’ve compiled several of our favorite strategies for new real estate agents, including:
- Time and task management strategies
- A breakdown of expenses and how to budget for them
- Creative ways to build your network
- Budget-friendly marketing strategies and resources
- And finally, how to avoid burnout by allocating your time effectively
1. Time and Task Management
The feeling of success that you feel after checking an item off your to-do list isn’t your imagination, it’s actually real. Completing a task, no matter how small, releases a hit of dopamine that you can harness to increase motivation and get more things done. Setting big goals is important, but it’s important that you also set smaller, more achievable goals throughout your day.
Time blocking, or breaking your day into small blocks dedicated to completing specific tasks, is a great way to manage your day and keep a consistent routine. Additionally, the Eat The Frog method is one way to increase your productivity while time blocking. This method got its name from Mark Twain’s quote, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” In this case, eating the frog is cold calling (or whatever else you hate doing). Block off 1-2 hours in the morning to complete your least favorite tasks so that you won’t have to dread them for the rest of the day.
2. Understand the Expenses of Being an Agent
On average, it can take around six months to sell your first home after getting your real estate license. Thus, it’s important to understand the expenses that come with your first year in the industry and plan accordingly. This list from The CE Shop details the average spend for pre- and post-licensing courses, broker and desk fees, insurance, and more expenses to consider when becoming a real estate agent.
Make sure to track your expenses. When it comes time to review your budget, it will be easier to figure out where to cut back or increase spend when you have everything written in one place. Not to mention, many of these expenses are tax deductible! Check out these tips from our friends at Formations to see how you can save money on your taxes as a real estate agent.
3. Build Your Network
According to the 2021 NAR Member survey, 19% of business comes through referrals from your sphere of influence, and 15% from repeat clients. Since most first-year real estate agents have yet to secure their first client, focusing on your sphere of influence (SOI) is the way to go. Volunteering in your community, joining local Facebook groups and subreddits, and attending events held by your brokerage are all great ways to expand your SOI!
Another lucrative way to meet new people is by becoming a local expert. Connecting and building relationships with local business owners not only provides you with credible recommendations for roofers, plumbers, and other tradespeople sought by buyers, but you will also be the agent they refer when asked by their clients.
Showing properties to prospective renters through Showdigs is also a great way to build your SOI. When these renters are eventually ready to buy, you’ll be top of mind when they need an agent! Bonus: many Showdigs Agents leave their business cards with prospective renters in case they know someone looking to buy or sell.
4. Market Yourself
According to the 2016 NAR Profile of Buyers and Sellers:
- 44% of recent buyers reported that their first step was to go online to find homes for sale
- 86% reported that their real estate agent’s website was a useful source of information
- 72% of recent sellers contacted only one agent before finding the right agent they worked with to sell their home
It’s hard to overstate the importance of a well-rounded online presence as a real estate agent. Social media and blog posts are a great way to showcase your expertise while building your brand and providing valuable information to potential future clients! Check out a few of our favorite real estate agents’ Instagram accounts for inspiration.
Paid ads are a great way to drive traffic to your website, but if this isn’t in the budget yet, organic traffic can drive similar results! Ensure that you’re using keywords that rank highly on search engines, and use those to optimize your online content. Similarly, audit your hashtags on social media to make sure you’re reaching the best audience with your content. Software like Jasper AI, Later, and Canva can provide a huge boost to your content while optimizing your online presence.
5. Avoid Burnout
Stress isn't avoidable, but there are several ways to combat real estate burnout. In addition to the time management strategies we discussed, outlining your ideal daily schedule can provide structure for your typically structure-less job. As a new real estate agent in a saturated industry, you’re working as hard as you can to make a name for yourself, resulting in unreasonably long work days and exhaustion. Instead of firing off as many lead generation tactics as you can handle, choose a few key focuses for your week and stick to them.
Try not to get discouraged during your first year
As mentioned in the beginning of this article, navigating a new career as a real estate agent is no small feat. Don’t get discouraged and don’t be afraid to try new strategies to see what works for you! Be sure to check out some options to supplement your income as a new real estate agent, and apply to be a Showdigs Agent to gain neighborhood expertise, meet new people in your community, and earn extra income while you’re starting out.