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When you’re new to real estate, everyone tells you that an administrator is your first job. It’s in every book, on every podcast, and in just about every article you read.
When I started, first in real estate and later as a content writer, it was after years as an administrative assistant and then as a teacher. There was nothing an administrator could do for me that I couldn’t do myself, often faster, better and with one hand tied behind my back. (As you see, humility is not one of my gifts.)
I was a master at Canva, Wix, and a host of other platforms designed to get things done. When clients asked me to go ahead with Slack, Trello, or Asana to integrate with their teams, I did so quickly and seamlessly. The idea of an administrator did not enter my thinking. What would I make them do? Wouldn’t it take me more time to train them than to do it myself?
Do you know what I needed? Someone to clean my house. Someone to do the shopping. Someone to help my daughters with their homework. Like most women in this country and around the worldresponsibility for childcare and housekeeping fell almost exclusively to me and not to my (now ex-)husband.
Having my house in order was and is essential to ensuring that everything else is professionally taken care of, at least for me. It helps me ensure that my time with my family is not limited to a list of tasks and errands. It allows me to be more present, especially in a work-from-home environment. It helps me understand the trade-offs I used to make in time and energy.
Not for nothing, it also helped me employ some really wonderful women who needed jobs themselves. My client is the mother of one of my daughter’s classmates and she has been a godsend during the pandemic shortages. My governess is like family, literally. She texts me at every party, brings my pets presents, and has been by my side through thick and thin.
We are our own worst critics, and often we allow guilt (Mom’s guilt is real, for example) to get in the way of us taking care of ourselves or our businesses properly or to stifle growth due to a inability to let go of limiting beliefs.
Whether you’re just starting out as a real estate agent, feeling a little overwhelmed or burnt out, or looking to add more leverage so you can scale, here are my top tips for female entrepreneurs and business owners.
I put them as permissions because sometimes we can’t get away with it. We need a friend to do it instead. Let me be that friend for you.
1. There’s nothing wrong with putting your personal priorities first.
For me, organizing my household was a top priority for the smooth running of my business. It was the first step in helping me create extra time that I could dedicate to my business while helping to offset the “mom guilt” I felt if things didn’t go the right way.
Your mileage may vary and your priorities may be very different. You may need to spend time outdoors or exercise every day. You may have hobbies or interests that take up a lot of your bandwidth.
You’ll be happier and more fulfilled if you keep these priorities on deck as you build your business, but it might force you to outsource the things you don’t want to spend valuable time on.
2. You can ask for help
Sometimes that help will come in the form of a CPA to manage your finances and taxes. Sometimes this will take the form of a writer to create your property descriptions or a deal coordinator to manage contract requirements. It can also take the form of a support group or a therapist if you need someone impartial to listen to you.
They don’t give any awards for making you a martyr or for juggling it all on your own. Nobody can do that, and nobody really should. If you find yourself wishing someone could do “XYZ” on your behalf, start googling. There is probably someone out there who can handle this task for you and free you up for the things that only you can do. (Check out Instacart, Fiverr, Task Rabbit, and other apps to lighten the load.)
3. It’s good to find a space for yourself
A few years ago we lived in an open plan home that offered no privacy or peace. There was literally nowhere for me to sit and work uninterrupted. With a marriage about to end, two teenagers, and three pets, getting the job done felt like an endless climb.
I found welcome respite by joining a coworking space and taking refuge there for a few hours a day. It made such a difference, and I found that I could do so much more in just an hour or two than I used to do in an entire day.
Although many of us have been housebound thanks to COVID, you may now feel ready to get out there and find your own little corner. Don’t have the budget for a co-working space? Instead, consider a study booth at the public library or a quiet table at your favorite cafe.
4. It’s good to nurture your support network
One of the first things to overlook when building your business is your personal time – book club, wine tastings or hanging out with friends to watch the latest celebrity documentary. However, now is when you need your support network the most, so don’t lose touch with your friends and family.
Whether it’s lunch with a mentor or a weekend getaway with your partner, work-life balance means considering the time to devote to a relationship with those you love and support. always.
Even just reaching out throughout the day with a text or sharing a “So you!” The Instagram post keeps the lines of communication open so you can stay connected.
5. There’s nothing wrong with prioritizing your well-being
When you work all the time, it can be so hard to take care of yourself. Doctor’s appointments, workouts, eating right – it all might seem like too much of a hassle. The problem, of course, is that when you don’t take care of yourself, you may find yourself feeling depressed, sick, or functioning less than 110% of which you are proud.
Make your well-being a priority, from checkups to daily routines. If you stop at fast food too often, take the time to look for ways to fit healthy eating into your schedule. If you’re behind on your checkups, sit down now and start scheduling them. Can’t participate in a spin session? Look for ways to train at home, with or without fancy equipment.
6. It’s okay not to be Superwoman
There is a myth that every woman is supposed to be perfect. You are also expected to be smart, completely organized, and have an immaculate home decorated in the latest fashion. You’re supposed to, in the words of the old song, both “take the bacon home and fry it in a pan”.
Ask yourself this question before judging yourself: If I visited my best friend or sister or daughter and she worked as hard as I did, would I judge her for not doing enough or give her a helping hand because she did too much ?
Nine times out of 10 you will probably find that you are not giving yourself the same grace as you would anyone else in your life. Practice positive self-talk. Love yourself enough to stop trying to do everything.
7. It’s OK to create backup reminders
This is practical advice that works for me, perhaps as a holdover from my old days as a teacher. I live my life by alarms, reminders and timers.
I set several timers throughout the day to help me get through various tasks. I color code my calendar and create alarms for different events, calculating how long I’ll need to get from one task to another.
It takes a little time to create a system that works, but giving yourself plenty of reminders will help you feel more organized and in control.
While there are, of course, many unexpected things in a day, mastering the non-negotiables and providing auditory reminders will prevent you from losing track of time or getting that feeling of having forgotten something important. . .
Most of all, it’s just nice to know that you don’t have to remember everything; you can let this little alarm take that burden.
8. It’s okay to keep honing your systems
When you create a system that works, remember that it’s not the ultimate solution. There is always room for adjustments and improvements.
I’m constantly revisiting and refining my systems, from how I organize my schedule to how I optimize my phone’s capabilities. The more you learn about everything – your computer, your apps, the platforms you use – the more efficient and effective it will be for you.
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut or feel like you don’t have time to fix what isn’t broken. You will find, however, that your technology continues to improve, powered by user feedback and regular product updates. So it makes sense to check back every once in a while and see what’s improved and what new feature you might want to incorporate into your routine.
9. It’s good to know when to say “when”
It may be a customer who is being unreasonable or downright disrespectful. It may be the end of your bandwidth where you can’t undertake one more task. Maybe it’s a brokerage environment that’s not working for you. It may be a friendship that has run its course or a family member who is constantly critical.
You know when enough is enough, but when you’re socialized to please others and take over for yourself, you may not be good at setting healthy boundaries. Learn to know when it’s time to say “no” or end that toxic relationship.
Know when you need a break or when you need to change direction. There is no shame in saying “when”. Instead, there is freedom, peace, and a new level of satisfaction as you begin to give yourself permission and stand up for yourself and your needs.
Christy Murdock is a real estate agent, freelance writer, coach and consultant and owner of Writing Real Estate. She is also the creator of the online course Crafting the Property Description: The Step-by-Step Formula for Reluctant Real Estate Writers. Follow Real Estate Writing on TwitterInstagram and YouTube.