If you can’t stand your job “working for the man” you may long for the freedom of a career in real estate sales. You may dream of “being your own boss” and being able to set your own hours and do things “your way,” while earning a big income.
Before you make that leap, take time to think about the vast differences between holding down a job and becoming an entrepreneur – because that’s what you’ll become when you choose a career as a real estate agent.
I’ve seen countless agents enter the business and fail miserably because they didn’t understand or weren’t cut out for the responsibilities it entails. They simply didn’t have the entrepreneurial mindset or the ability to recognize that becoming a real estate agent is not simply changing jobs, it IS starting a small business.
When you’re in a salaried or wage earner position:
- Your boss tells you what to do, how to do it, and by what date or time you need to have it done.
- If you come to work tired or sick, you can probably just keep your chair warm and still get paid. Or you may have a certain number of “sick days” each year when you can just stay home and still get paid.
- You have a set pay – you may re-negotiate from time to time, but for the most part, unless you’re in a position to be paid for overtime, you know what your paycheck will look like each time it arrives.
- Unless you’re on a marketing team, you do no marketing.
- If you have an irate customer and can’t make them happy, you can shrug and say “I tried” and not suffer any consequences.
- When you go to the office, the equipment and supplies you need are there, ready for you to use. If something is missing, you can fill out a requisition form or simply go tell someone what you need.
- Your employer might provide you with health insurance.
- Your employer will withhold your Federal and State income taxes, your Social Security, and your Medicare payments, so the money you bring home is yours to spend.
- You are unconcerned about expenses and company profits – unless you see things going downhill and wonder how long your job will last.
When you become a real estate agent, all that changes.
Even though you’re working for a broker, you will ultimately be the one responsible for all of the above.
- You may get some guidelines and instructions about how to go out and find clients, but for the most part, no one will tell you how to spend your day.
- If you’re tired or sick you can stay home, but you don’t get paid unless you produce, so it costs you money.
- You never know how much you’re going to earn. Even if you have some large transactions going through the process, there is NO guarantee that any of them will make it all the way to closing.
- You will either learn to market your listings and your services, or you’ll fail. Your broker may supply you with some leads, but they will never be enough to assure a good income.
- If you have an irate customer and can’t make them happy – you lose.
- You might have the equipment and some of the supplies you need at the office. But you’ll also have to have your own supplies and equipment. Most brokerages don’t pay for things like sign riders, business cards, brochures, prospecting letters, personal letterhead, etc. At the very least you’ll need your own cell phone and computer. And of course you’ll need a car, insurance, gasoline, and a reserve for repairs and maintenance.
- If you want health insurance, you’d better buy some.
- When you get your commission checks, you need to realize that it is NOT all yours. You’d better set money aside from each check because you’ll have to send some to the government to pay for taxes, Social Security, and Medicare. And by the way, your employer has been paying half of your Social Security and Medicare on top of your wages. From now on, the entire bill is yours.
- You had better be concerned about expenses and company profits, because you are the company.