October is upon us and we are on the home stretch for 4th Quarter. While many consider this a time to catch our breath as traditional business slows down, I see this as prime opportunity to speed up. While I am a huge advocate of time off, slowing your business commitments could mean crucial lack of earnings for 1st and possibly 2nd quarter of 2018. The key to continuing your success is developing a plan. Here are a few suggested components to consider:
1) BLOCK YOUR CALENDAR Plan ahead now and schedule time blocks for your family, additional work commitments and most importantly “me” time.
2) HAVE A HOLIDAY STRATEGY A few years ago I started developing a Holiday Plan with the help of Financial Life Coach Mikelann Valterra. Each October I review the coming months and then complete my Gift List and Holiday Plan for both personal and professional budgets. Her 6 Tips to Keeping Holiday Sanity have not only helped me drastically reduce spending around the holidays, but also focus on what’s most important as “sometimes the simplest things get the highest ratings.”
3) SEEK EDUCATION If you are a licensed Broker, this is a good time to catch up on required clock hours. Personally, I am looking forward to scheduling a bit of “me” time to get my creative juices flowing such as this local wreath making class.
4) PLAN 2018 Right now, not in January. Do not let complacency take hold. Now is the time to get your plan together so you can kick off 2018 with intentional direction. This includes:
- Marketing – determine how and when you will reach your sphere via mail, email and person-to-person engagements. I have developed a Marketing Calendar for 2018 that helps my brokers put a plan together in an organized visual tool with financials. I’m often asked what percentage of income should be allocated to marketing. Each situation is different based on income levels and marketing plans, but as a general rule I typically reccomend spending 5-10% of total gross commissions on your marketing.
- Database – if only I had a dollar for every time I heard one say “I need to organize my database.” As you start thinking about holiday cards, this is the perfect time to cleanse, organize and categorize your contacts.
- Business Plan – set goals. For some, this is a detailed plan with month-by-month incrementals for income and expense. For others, this is just a financial goal or number of transactions for the year. Regardless of what you do, set a goal that is within reach but far enough to push you a step or two out of your comfort zone.
- Tax Prep – start organizing receipts by separating personal and business, then categorize expenses based on the activity. If you don’t already categorize and review weekly or monthly, start this time saving habit now. This is also is a good time to organize itemized deductions including charitable donations and expenses related to childcare, medical and household.
5) GET TO WORK If you have properly blocked out your schedule, you should now have a plan for work time. This should include sending personal notes and scheduling pop-bys to visit key clients. Also, don’t forget about clients that have not yet completed a transaction. In the case of Real Estate, fatigued buyers may be ready to jump in the market now that there may be less competition.
One of my favorite quotes is “If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. The more things you do, the more you can do.” Staying busy in 4th Quarter will keep you on pace with your success. What you do today results in success at least 90 days out so make sure you have financial results already planned for 1st Quarter of 2018.
7 Tips for Success
by Cassie Walker Johnson
After nearly nine years in the property management field I am thrilled to announce that I will continue my 12-year real estate career with Windermere now as the new Branch Manager for the Queen Anne Sales office under the Wall Street Group. I am beyond excited to take on this new role that will allow me to further grow my expertise in real estate, marketing, business development and recruitment.
Making a change after working in the same environment for nearly a decade has been both challenging and eye opening. As I trail blaze through the transition process, I thought I would share a few lessons I have learned along the way.
1) DEFINE YOUR SUCCESS CULTURE: Prior to accepting an opportunity based on income potential, make sure you assess the full picture of your new environment. Do you need a work atmosphere that fosters water cooler chat and kickball tournaments, or just a desk to drop your stapler and visit once a week? Are you seeking a manager or a mentor? In Seattle, of course we have to ask, what brand of coffee is served? While the financials are important, it is the environment and organizational culture that could make or break your happiness and success.
2) MEASURE YOUR MISGIVINGS: This is your opportunity to perfect your tool chest. When I first started in property management I lacked confidence in accounting and found a firm that had strong support. With my new position at the Wall Street Group, I am thrilled to see their cutting edge marketing tools offered complimentary to their brokers. The Live Love Own program is an innovative, full service broker support system including reporting, social media, marketing and so much more. Perhaps this is a good time to assess your tool chest. What do you need to further your success? How sharp are your marketing pieces? Are you getting the assistance you require to achieve your goals?
3) PERFECT YOUR MESSAGE: Explaining transition to colleagues and clients alike is not easy. I strongly recommend you develop a 30 second elevator speech. For example, when people have asked me the reason for my departure I have replied “My career in property management is complete.” I have heard others make reference to the “closing” of that career path or chapter. My point is, make sure it’s a message that motivates you and is easily understood by others.
4) TECHNOLOGY RESET: This was hands down the hardest thing for me to do. After 9 demanding years of being glued to my phone and email, I now have the opportunity to break the bad habits and set forth a new level of expectation for my colleagues, my family and most importantly, myself. The first step was to set my internal technology schedule. This started with physically removing the phone from my bedroom. Next was adjusting email settings so no messages are pushed to my inbox between 8:00 PM to 8:00 AM – helping to break the habit of constantly checking email. Lastly – I have begun asking people to call me when they need help. This encourages everyone to conduct a self-check on the timing of their communication. So often we are not aware, myself included, of timing when we send a less than urgent text. Sure it’s 11:00 PM, yes, I want to know if there is a keybox on the door, but could it wait until the morning? Transition allows for new opportunities to set boundaries and decide what your technology limits will be in advance.
5) HIDE YOUR SUPER POWERS: Not forever, but perhaps just for the first 6 months. My colleague refers to it as “Crawl, Walk, Run.” My life coach advises me to “Delay Your Super Powers.” However you want to call it, make sure you don’t show all of your talents on the first day. Not only does it help build a steady foundation to learn the culture of your new organization, but it also helps set expectations for a realistic work-life balance. If you are reading email at 11pm every night, your colleagues and clients will come to expect this from you. Give yourself time to get acquainted with your new environment, set new expectations for your clients, colleagues and most importantly, yourself.
6) MIND YOUR PATH: How much notice will you give? I gave 90 days, and honestly it was too long. I was trying to do what I thought was best for my team, but at huge cost to me. 90 days was too far ahead to begin the transition work and yet my mind was already in the new office. The positive aspect of this three-month transition was it allowed me to reflect on the results of my work. The most humbling part of this experience was when a colleague approached me to say that they were sad to lose their “mentor.” Wait . . who me? A mentor? In all of my efforts of continually looking ahead for advancement and success, I neglected to watch the trail I was leaving behind. As I reminded them, I firmly believe mentorship does not end with a job. What kind of path will you leave?
7) BOOK A SABBATICAL: As most of my self-employed colleagues will admit, we never allow ourselves time off. Make sure to schedule a sabbatical (even if it’s just a week) between your transition to allow your brain to open itself up and completely empty out. While you are at it, make it a big vacation, the kind where you can leave your phone at home and focus 100% on yourself and your family. You deserve it!
Hopefully these tips will help as you begin thinking about new opportunities!