There are so many agents who are capable, confident, experienced and well respected, who are still working for someone else. Perhaps it’s time you overcame your fears and backed yourself. Paul Davies takes a look at some of the fears that may be preventing you from ‘taking the leap’ and how to overcome them.
One of the biggest obstacles to establishing your own business is fear. Have you ever thought “I’d like to have my own business but …”? So many people who are capable, confident, experienced and well respected are still working for someone else – and their expertise is making someone else rich. Perhaps it’s time you overcame your fears and backed yourself. Let’s look at what’s holding you back and ways to overcome this.
How will I survive financially?
Fear of failure is an obvious reason and much of this involves financial fear. However, these days establishing your own agency isn’t the exorbitantly expensive exercise it used to be. Our increasingly online-based industry means you no longer need a shop front to have a significant presence. Technology has made marketing cost-effective and so easy to automate, meaning far fewer man-hours required to undertake this process.
Am I good enough?
Fear of not being good enough or knowing enough is another deterrent. You should inherently be able to feel when you have your job wired. When you stop learning from your colleagues and you become the authority, the one that people turn to for advice, then you are likely to be in a position to go it alone. When you have a loyal following of clients, an extensive database network of contacts and enjoy significant referral business then it’s highly likely that you no longer need the backing of an agency and that your name alone will be enough to carry a business.
The industry and clients’ perceptions have changed over the years. Real estate is now very much about the individual rather than the franchise. Being a solo operator isn’t off-putting for clients. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Clients are enticed by the opportunity to work with the owner of the business – the person who has a vested interest in making sure the very best possible price is achieved.
What if I don’t have enough listings?
Every start-up has to take a risk and will likely take time to gain momentum. So long as your network is solid, you should find that this period is brief. The key is to factor in a few months of reduced income, incase this happens to eventuate, with the ambition that beyond this the sky is the limit – the harder you work, the more you’ll earn and it all goes into your pocket and not to a franchise.
What if I don’t get the price I’m aiming for?
Not achieving the right price is another fear. If you believe you are a good negotiator, then you are just as likely to achieve great prices working for yourself as you are working within the framework of a franchise. Why is this? Real estate marketing these days is so sophisticated and accessible that broad advertising exposure is available to every agent. The reality is that apart from an agent’s database of contacts, no agency really has a marketing advantage over any other when it comes to marketing methods. Some might have more appealing marketing material, however the same marketing mediums are available to all. The majority of advertising for properties these days is conducted online – around 85% of people use the web as their primary tool for property searches.
The thought of being the boss is a bit scary!
Realistically, one of the biggest fears an agent may face when considering branching out on their own is fear of being the boss. Let’s face it, responsibility can be scary, especially when you are responsible for other people’s livelihoods as well as your own. Being the boss means being 100% accountable, being the end point for all decision-making and being the one who has to pick up the pieces when things go wrong. The key to success in this area is to have systems, checks and processes in place for dealing with certain circumstances and contingency plans as a back up.
Just because you might be an excellent agent, even if you are at the very top of your game, it doesn’t necessarily follow that you will be a great manager. As the boss of your own agency you will be doing a whole lot more than simply selling homes. You will likely have to manage people – that means hiring and firing, which can be a daunting task. The key here is to know your brand and know the culture you want to create. Be definitive about who you want to employ, what you want to achieve and how you want things to operate – that’s why you were keen to run your own show in the first place! Make sure employees’ roles are clearly defined and authorities are outlined.
Never let the fear of failure itself deter you – you’ll never reach the same heights and levels of job satisfaction working for someone else as you potentially will working for yourself. Dig deep and really work out if you believe you have the skills, the client base, the drive and the desire to go it alone. If so, take a risk and give it a try. It’s easier now than ever before and the market is geared up to accommodate solo operators. If you’re smart and work hard you’ll succeed, with no limitations on just how successful you can be.
Paul Davies is the Managing Director of One Agency Group and has almost 40 years of real estate experience to his name. He opened his first office, Ray White Balgowlah in 1986, followed by the acquisition of the highly successful PRDNationwide Mosman, and has also operated several boutique agencies. His experience culminated in the revolutionary idea for One Agency, with the first office opening under the company name in 2007.