Conventional wisdom says that there are no small deals, only small agents. Here’s why that ain’t necessarily so.

As children, we were all drawn to the whimsy of chasing little balloons as they floated away, driven by a sense of wonder and excitement. 

The last few weeks have seen our highly technical, supposedly sophisticated society’s autonomy undermined by — balloons. They’ve created panic and have people questioning everything from our national security to the existence of UFOs.

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t have “fighter jets shooting down balloons” on my 2023 bingo card. Yet, here we are.

Our current national balloon crisis got me thinking about how it’s not always the big bad stuff that slows us down. Sometimes, it’s the little things — seemingly harmless and even innocent — that can create problems in our professional lives.

Here are 5 little things that might be slowing you down in your real estate business.

1. Chasing little deals

I’m a big believer that everyone deserves respect and fiduciary-level service. Yet, there’s an idea that no deal is too small and that agents have to be willing to upend everything anytime the phone rings. I fundamentally disagree with that philosophy.

There are some deals that will take up too much of your time and attention, and that will keep you from doing the lead gen activities that would pay off for you in a bigger way. It’s important to have a strong referral network so that you can refer those clients to newer agents who are looking to gain experience and who have more time available.

2. Engaging with ill-qualified leads

Similarly, many agents spend too much time working with buyers who are not yet ready to buy. If you’re spending hours — or days — driving around buyers without a pre-approval or a representation agreement, you may very well be wasting your time. You’re also wasting the time of the listing agents and the homeowners who have to sit out in the cold while waiting for you and your unqualified maybe-clients to tour their homes.

There is nothing whatsoever wrong with vetting potential buyers. It’s good business, and it’s a good way to ensure your safety. You don’t owe your time to everyone who has a passing notion to go look at houses. That’s what open houses are for.

3. Not running your business like a business

Too many agents never take the simple steps that are needed to make their businesses work properly. They play small by thinking of themselves as salespeople or order-takers, not business owners.

Have you ever talked to an attorney or financial advisor about your business? Do you know whether being an LLC or S-Corp would help you save on your taxes? Do you keep track of your mileage and expenses? Do you have a plan for scaling your business in the years to come or for adding value to your business so that you can retire someday? Take care of the big, structural things in your business so that it can take care of you.

4. Getting caught up in petty squabbles

Talk about chasing the small stuff: There are so many agents who stay mad and play the blame game with everyone in their professional life. They hate the other agents in their office. They blame their broker for their lack of success. They gossip about the competition rather than outworking them.

Small minds and small people concern themselves with this type of pettiness rather than doing the big work of building their businesses. If you’re filling your life with this type of negative energy, ask yourself what you’re trying to distract yourself from and put your focus on more positive avenues of professional growth.

5. Focusing on what you can’t control

The Stoic philosopher Epictetus said it best: “You become what you give your attention to.” Too many agents give their attention to things that are outside of their control, whether large or small. Everything from the weather to the economy to the quality of that morning’s Starbucks order becomes fodder for making excuses about why they’re not meeting their professional goals and obligations.

The only thing you can control is what you do each day: faithful lead gen, quality service, consistent communication. Only you can control maintaining a growth mindset. Only you can control eating right, staying active, getting enough sleep.

In short, instead of chasing balloons, keep your focus on the big-picture, on-the-ground things that contribute to your success. Take care of you and yours so that you can meet the challenges of everyday life — and win big.