Thursday, July 17, 2014

Reading, 'Riting, Real Estate.

So, this yoga thing may be kinda dangerous. All the asanas and breathing and meditation are clearing my head and making me think.

My work situation actually appears to be settling down a bit - I'd say the odds of long-term employment have improved significantly this week. And I'm not sure that makes me happy. I spend my days in a windowless office, flinging endless streams of problems faster and faster, like Lucy in the chocolate factory. I'm not happy. I like the people, I truly do, and that does matter a lot. But the work, eh.

I'm missing real estate. I do like the reliability of a paycheck plunking into my bank account every other week, but I miss the adventure of real estate sales. It was fun, if not reliably profitable. Last night my daughter started texting me pictures of houses she liked and I realized that I don't WANT to sit in a development office; I want to interact with real humans, talk to them about their needs, help them get what they want (or sell what no longer works for them). I want to get out in the world again!

But if I'm going to do this again, I am going in clear-eyed, with a plan, a timetable, and resources and a budget OF MY OWN. I could write a book about How To Do It Rong, because I did just about everything wrong, getting talked into trainers, systems, various programs for success, that I secretly (and eventually not-so-secretly) found obnoxious and archaic. I couldn't change who I was to do business the way the experts insisted it must be done.

I think I hurt the feelings of a former colleague a few weeks ago. She called me as I was leaving the supermarket on a Saturday morning, and at first I thought she was going to suggest we grab lunch at Panera (we'd done this a few times in the past year). But, after a few sentences of "friendly catching up talk," she launched into what I immediately recognized as a Script. She'd called me to fish for leads. I'm afraid I hurt her feelings when I flat out told her I recognized the script she was running, and asked if it has been working for her? Well, she admitted, not so much. But it will! Her newest trainer swears that it works! She plunged in again, and I dutifully promised to give her a call if I heard of anyone interested in "buying, selling or investing in real estate in the next three months."

"The next three months" is a critical part of the script, because just about everybody's interested in real estate eventually, but you are playing a numbers game and looking to fill your pipeline with solid prospects, and oh damn, it's amazing how I've internalized the lessons I found so repellent when trainers told me that's the only way to get business, because real estate is a "numbers game" and three hours a day of cold calling/working your SOI (Sphere of Influence) is the Ticket to Success! And I do know brokers who made a ton of money and built an empire off three hours a day of cold-calling, 20 years ago. Now, they have name recognition and a solid market share, so they don't need to know or care that the world has changed.

I have two words for this: Caller ID. I know my own sphere, and I know that after the second time I called them for some faux-chummy "catching up" and then shifted to pumping them for business, they would start screening my calls and possibly decide that happy hour with me doesn't sound like fun. I know this because I would react that way. (I still take this woman's calls, because I feel for her, but seriously, I don't believe this shit works.)

Shortly before I decided I needed a steady influx of cash and took this development job last year, I had stumbled upon a book by the trainer of my dreams: Sell with Soul: Creating an Extraordinary Career in Real Estate without Losing Your Friends, Your Principles or Your Self-Respect

I was so thrilled to find that I wasn't out of my mind - that it really IS possible to be successful in real estate sales without doing the things that made me cringe - but alas, by the time I figured out that there was a better way, I was tired, my bank account was a bit alarming, and I needed a break, and the aforementioned steady plunking of the paychecks.

Now, I'm thinking I want to go back into sales, but My Way (which is also Jennifer's way - God bless her for validating my feelings about how it should be done). I'm setting a tentative re-entry date of January, 2015. (Tentative because if my current situation changes, I'll have to fall back and regroup for very basic monetary survival reasons.)

Between now and then, I'm going to build my plan, marshal my resources, set my budget, read a lot, amass website content (and learn my way around WordPress for real) and dammit, I'm going to do this as ME - a crazy dog lady nerdy vegetarian grandma - not as some trainer's outdated idea of what works. I will most likely set up a separate site and blog, after I have amassed enough content to make it worth visiting, and it will be local, useful, funny, and of course heavy on the dogs. Then I'm going to SHOP brokers until I find a brokerage office that doesn't push the Guru of the Week and has a good vibe. After doing it all wrong, I'm ready to do it MY way.

I am more excited and energized than I've been in months. Damn that yoga.


Brenda said...

Does real estate have to be an all-or-nothing venture? Could you still hang onto the job with the steady paycheck and sell real estate on the side? I know from my own experience that a side-job is allot more fun when your security isn't totally dependent on it.

Catherine said...

Not really. "Part-time" real estate is hard to manage with a day job if you are at all serious about doing it right. You have to be available for clients, for inspections, for closing. Which is why I'm setting my schedule for next year. I'm getting my ducks in a row.

Anonymous said...

This wasn't what I expected, but still. You did know what you wanted! (And that was way more "neener neener I told you so" than I mean!)

As a little extra, you could pass around makeover tips or ideas on your blog, because you're good at that, too. Make yourself the Crazy Doglady Vegan Grandma With An Idea!


Catherine said...

Apparently that's what I am. Who knew? ;)

Brenda B. said...

This is totally off-topic, but have you seen the new Kindle Unlimited deal on Amazon? I signed up for the free trial today---there are supposed to be over 600,000 titles, but when I queried for Stephen King, Kathy Reichs, Amy Tan, etc., the pickings were pretty slim. My library has e-books that you can check out at no cost, so if this doesn't seem to be easier to use or have a better selection than my library, I will drop it. I am curious to try it---do you know anything about it?

Catherine said...

I saw that - I had just downloaded an ap for a free trial of Oyster - Same deal, ten bucks a month for unlimited e-books. Same issue: not a lot of content that appeals to me. But my library's e-book selection is weirdly slim pickings and usually has a wait list on something I want to read. Not sure I'm keeping Oyster yet, though.

Brenda B. said...

I just looked on Oyster for a few of my favorite authors, and they seem to have a better selection than the Amazon Kindle Unlimited. I will probably try that after my Amazon trial is over and chose between the two. I know there are allot of good books out there that weren't written by big, popular authors, but it's hard to think of some to look for off the top of my head.

Gae, in Callala Bay said...

Energised and excited - have to channel that or bust!
I think you are 100% right - no normal person can make those script / affirmation thingies sound true and sincere.

You WILL do it, when you are prepared and the ducks line up for you.

Best wishes for all the plans,

Gae, in Callala Bay