A few years ago I was working in a call center that provided digital marketing consultation and services to car dealerships. The job wasn’t quite what my co-workers and I had expected, and we were miserable. One by one, I watched as people jumped ship for better opportunities. Two decided to become real estate agents within the space of a few months. I kept up with each of them to see how their new careers were going. One found success while the other struggled, and ultimately failed.
This is the tale of two new real estate agents. I share so that anyone thinking about becoming a real estate agent has a real picture of what it’s like, and the factors that can lead to success or failure
Agent 1: The struggle is real
The first coworker to leave seemed to have a few advantages. She was already licensed and had started working as an agent secretly before she left our job. Her mother was even an independent real estate broker, giving her a lot of insight into the business. It seemed my coworker had a great head start. She did have a great start, but there were also a few things that made her journey a little difficult.
She bought a house a little before becoming a real estate agent. At the time, I’m pretty sure she was planning to stay in our job, which provided a steady paycheck. However when she left to become an agent, that was no longer the case. Agents only get paid when they sell a house, and that depends heavily on the housing market. Unfortunately, the market wasn’t that hot in the area she covered.
To make extra cash, she joined a few different network marketing businesses and tried selling a variety of products and services. She also found work on evenings and weekends. It seemed she had to work every waking moment just to survive.
Being that she was single, she had only her income to sustain her. This added another layer to her financial vulnerability as a new real estate agent. Soon she was burned out and had to find a new career.
Agent 2: All the right moves
The second coworker who left to become a real estate agent was a complete newbie to the business. She spent months contemplating her next career step before deciding on real estate. I remember our talks as we took a stroll during lunch break. She struggled to figure out which passion to follow, but eventually decided to become a real estate agent. She enrolled in the class to become licensed, studied, and got her license before leaving our job, but started working after leaving.
She was newly married and for the first few months of her marriage, she lived apart from her husband while they figured out her next career move. She looked for jobs in the city where her husband lived and worked, which happened to be the state capital. She got job interviews, but no offers. After leaving our job, she joined her husband and began her real estate career.
Lucky for her, the housing market was hot in the capital. It was a great place to get her start. Being married, she was able to depend on her husband’s income while she focused on ramping up her name recognition and client base. When I touched base with her about a year after she left, she was thriving and excited. She had a few sales under her belt and was giving real estate her all.
Success as a real estate agent depends on both factors that are in your control and those that are not. An agent who stays in the business long enough will experience both up and down times, just like any other business. Financial and personal planning will be the difference between being able to stay in the business or having to find another source of income.