Twelve months ago (1/6/17) I accidentally started my own brokerage. Yes, accidentally. It started when I was looking for an answer to something, and as usual, I wanted the black and white, solid answer, not the generic response I was used to getting. “Ask your broker”. One day, I was venting this frustration in front of my team and their response came back as… ‘why don’t you just become the broker?’ That was never my goal, but the seed was planted.
I went through the motions, asking questions, testing the waters, downloading paperwork, getting an LLC, but each night coming to the same conclusion… I’m not even sure I want that kind of pressure or liability… I just want to sleep in tomorrow and not have the world on my shoulders.
After staring at the same paperwork for weeks, I decided to just toss it into the wind and see what happened. If it’s meant to be it’ll be, and if it’s not, they’ll tell me I’m nuts, right? Heck, I was positive I’d get some email back stating that I had 50 things missing and I had no right running my own brokerage. However…. The next morning I was sipping on my coffee, preparing myself to set up showings for a client, when I got an email…. it was from the ADRE (AZ Dept of Real Estate). What I read made my heart sink, my breathing stopped and I swear I may have had a small aneurysm…. One small sentence that changed everything.
“Everything looks good, we’ll have you set up before 3pm today”
WHAT!? At this point, this was only an idea that I had tossed around … I wasn’t ready to jump in yet, especially not today, the day I’m supposed to be setting up 9 showings, in Prescott. Now I’m being told that my level of adulting was going from 3-600 in the next couple of hours, like it or not!??
I went into a sudden fit of turrets, and I’ve never burned that many calories, pacing and thinking! (yes, I could smell the smoke, my brain was running a muck!) I hadn’t even told my broker, my colleagues or my clients that I was doing this! I thought I had time! I didn’t even think it would happen, much less on this day, a Friday of all days. The panic set in and I was terrified about the possibility that something could go wrong. What if I was left in limbo over the weekend. Unlicensed and unable to speak house for 48 hours. I wasn’t sure I could survive such torture! I’ll spare you most of the boring details, but there’s a lot that goes in to setting up a brokerage in a few hours. There’s no booklet or instruction manual. No one tells you what to expect. Every broker I asked had forgotten everything. It was like childbirth… once you get past the initial trauma, all details leave your brain and your body forgets what you went through. Over the next 48 hours I had to show 9 homes, write an offer, order business cards, change all my branding on 57,894 websites and sources… Then the hard stuff. Policy and procedure manuals, Employment agreements, Transaction Management programs. All those things that you see, use and sometimes ignore when you work for someone who took care of it for you. I was now responsible for files, my own and anyone that followed me. Every. Single. Detail. of everything they did… shit. Being responsible now meant knowing and NOTICING everything that was or could be wrong with every document. Along with all the additional things that would now be required of me.
My urge to know all the things has only multiplied since the realization that so many relied on me. The urge to know all the things has grown. I want to know all the things about all the things. Although, I’m still going to know them after 9am, in yoga pants, sipping wine…. and shit.
This year has been quite a whirlwind that I cannot even begin to describe. Somehow I managed to land on my feet, gain 5 agents that are absolutely amazing, manage 10 times the amount of transactions between me and my team. Manage meetings, social functions… and prior to knowing I was even starting this, I signed up for several local board committees, classes, agent masterminds etc. So, you know… all the time in the world. All of which multiplied after I learned of all the Broker specific groups, committees and other avenues that suddenly opened up to me…. This year has been a phenomenal year of growth, and learning, which I’m still in shock and excitement with. Learning and investigating has become more than just an urge, it’s an obsession. I don’t want to be average, I want to be the best, and I want to lead and work along side the best.
Now that running a brokerage has become my daily normal…which still sounds strange in my own head. I can assure you, it’s going to stick! I have found a renewed passion for real estate as well as a passion for helping my agents and digging in to my own transactions with more freedom than before. I have been able to help clients at a whole new level and help my agents do the same. I entered the year feeling a little like I was juggling 50 flaming swords, while doing jumping jacks. Some days it was hard to breath. Some nights I worked till 2. Some days I fumbled through, solely utilizing the brain power of those near me. Some days I felt like breaking… just quiting before it ‘got too real’. Other days I’d see the wins, the happy faces and I’d feel on top of the world!
But this I know… I know who I am, I know what kind of company I want to run. I know what kind of agents I want to work with and the clients we will go to the moon for. I know I still have no desire to leave bed before 9. I will never be in bed before 10pm. I am still not the agent that will show up for inspections in a pant suit, but I do show up. I’m still the agent that enjoys wine, sarcasm and swearing. I’m also the agent that spends 8-12 hours a week in class dedicated to being the best out there, soaks up knowledge from all agents around me, who is dedicated to always making improvements to my business, coaching agents to be their best and making a difference in my field. I’m also the agent that will read every book that any brilliant entrepreneur, salesman, negotiator or coach writes and will always learn how to better represent clients, in any way. I’m the agent that will make sure that I do everything to protect my clients, make sure that all parties in the deal are happy and go for the jugular (in every legal way possible) when someone tries to hurt someone near me, cause unfortunately I’m also the person that tends to speak her mind and protect those she loves. I’m the agent that doesn’t count the homes I sell (most of the time I don’t know my own stats), but rather the people I help. I’m the agent that plans on running a brokerage along side agents with these same beliefs and dedications, because I believe in order to grow, you surround yourself with the best people on the planet.
So, today, as I reflect on HOW I possibly managed to get to this point. I want to thank everyone. My agents, for not only pushing me into this juggling ring, but also helping me grow as an agent, and as a person. I thank my clients for believing in me and for knowing my value, especially on long days when I felt drained. I thank them all for knowing that not only am I human, but we all are. And that’s ok. I also thank my husband and my family for believing in me, or at least portraying the part during my waking hours. Especially my husband, who poured drinks while I pounded my keyboard, in a mission to win over the agent and get that fridge at 1am. And I thank myself for having enough self control to not end up with multiple hangovers after every WTF moment.
Without a doubt, I want to say that I appreciate the number one lesson that I have learned through so MANY interactions this year. Success is not in what you wear, how you act, how you speak.. success is within. There are no rules in real estate, that I’ve known. But there are no rules in life either. Life and business doesn’t have to fit into a box. Live it, enjoy it and anything that doesn’t sit well… serve yourself a glass of wine and tell it “bye Felicia”.
Cheers! And Happy first Birthday Serene Living AZ… you sexy, real estate beast!