Friday, January 24, 2014

There is no feeling like the feeling of controlling your own career & financial destiny!

I have a little button that says, “I love Realtors” ~ I got it at a convention when I was a brand new real estate agent.  I couldn’t have dreamed (at the time) the kind of mental tenacity it would take to stay in this business more than 5 years. 
April 21, 2014 will mark my 5th full year in real estate. My love for real estate however, actually started in 1992 when my spouse and I bid (and lost) on a HUD home. I loved all of it! The hunt, process, the dreams of renovation and of course the dreams of building financial gain through equity.  The complete freedom of being the owner and not the renter was a part of the American Dream!  I thought about it (being an agent) on and off as we bought and sold homes through the years and then finally, in 2008, as our oldest child headed off to college, I decided to make the leap into real estate and self-employment. 
Statistically, I had a snowballs chance in hell of making this career a go.  The worst near-depression my generation had ever known ~ the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930’s. The housing bubble was at the height of its collapse. The country was experiencing uncertain times. These words dominated the headlines: Layoffs, hiring freezes, foreclosures, wage freezes, unemployment, downsizing, under-employment, bankruptcy, short-sales, vanishing retirement savings, early retirement, company closings, disappearing middle-class and the working poor.
My first year in real estate earned me exactly $2000. 
I was what I now lovingly refer to as a licensee.  I was poised to fail out of the industry, just like the statistics predicted.  7 out of 10 fail out of real estate and of the 3 out of 10 who make it, only a small percentage make it work as a real career five years or longer. The phrase, “I love Realtors” has taken on a whole new meaning to me now that I have survived this ordeal. I liken the ones who made it through the great recession to being the Navy Seals of self-employment. There is real agony and drama that agent’s experience which has nothing to do with the agony and drama home buyers and sellers go through during the process.  I’m talking about waking up every day and driving yourself to do the uncomfortable work of asking for the business as you listen to story after story of being upside down on their mortgages, of being late on their payments, of marriages blown apart by stress and of their decisions to just walk away.
I was in the trenches when this hurricane of financial devastation passed over the country like a shadowy plague. I saw the foreclosures where families left in a hurry leaving heirloom furniture in the home, or the ones who took a baseball bat to all of the walls to take out their rage against the banks who just wouldn’t work with them. I saw countless homes with beautiful little children’s rooms (some pink, some blue) and some with beautiful murals that were lovingly applied by their parents and the haunting quiet that a foreclosure creates in a home when the family leaves and all of the utilities are turned off.  There are traces of evidence that it once was a happy home that held a happy life and as one walks through, one wonders if the families survived these unstable and shaky times.
As an agent, I’m talking about investing your last 50 dollars into a tank of gas hoping that tonight is the night you finally get those buyers under contract.  I’m talking about the beating your self-esteem takes when you have to look yourself in the mirror and say today is the day I’m going to turn this all around, but not knowing where to begin. I’m talking about that 5000 paycheck that you worked tirelessly for (over a 4 month period) that suddenly disappears (a month before the holidays) because the buyers decided to open a line of credit while they were waiting for a clear to close.
The highs and the lows (and trust me, since 2008 there have been many more lows than highs) of struggling to make this career work.  The truth is statistically the average agent closes approximately one deal per month.  This is the equivalent of poverty wages, and yet agents are expected to look, talk and walk like the HGTV success they hope to be.  So you continue to charge new clothes to your department store card so you will own the clothes that you simply cannot afford.  There is certain insanity to being a 1099 (self-employed) person during hard economic times. The worst part is, we were all aware of and know a few of those special agents who seem to be able to make it work and they make it look easy (and they actually thrive) while the majority suffers. Why? Why do so few have so much and so many have so little?
I know why.  It’s simple but its not easy.
I was lucky enough to be exposed to a referral lead generation course that altered my career which caused me to grow my profits year over year.  A 7 week spaced program that did more for me as a 1099 employee than another single idea ever had.  I learned that there was no such thing as ‘special‘ people it’s what these ‘special’ people did that made them special, not who they were. There really is no magical secret.  It is a program that teaches how to control your time, manage expectations, grow referral resources, keep a positive attitude all while building an impressive book of business. Yes, I’m a proud and decorated warrior of the real estate industry, I’ve beaten the odds and I’m almost a veteran! If you ask me the secret of my success, I’ll gladly take the time to share! Go ahead! Ask!

Lisa Ekanger Your Preferred Trainer!
The Floyd Wickman Team

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