Forget the cliché of the “just-to-keep-busy” real estate agent mom.
The reality? Being a mom or dad, especially to young kids, equips you with a set of unparalleled skills that you can use to your advantage to make you a standout real estate professional. Think problem-solving, negotiation, time management, and crisis handling – it’s all part of your daily parenting playbook!
I jumped into real estate in 2020 pregnant, with two little ones under three already filling my days. Many thought it was a wild move, but it was a calculated strategy. I aimed to build a solid foundation in the industry, earning trust and respect while my days were mainly filled with juggling diapers and everything that goes along with young kids.
Feeling alone on an island, I was on a quest to find a real estate mentor who was crushing the industry while managing young children—without relying heavily on full-time nannies. Flexibility and being present for my kids are non-negotiable for me. I want to be there for the school runs and the sudden fevers. I refuse to sacrifice time spent as a family and leave everything on my spouse’s shoulders after their long workday.
The truth is I never found a role model (though I am sure there are plenty out there!). This journey involved trial and error; it was messy as hell, and my daily caffeine intake is alarming.
So, in hopes of helping someone along the way in their journey, I am delving into the methods that are currently supporting my sanity and helping me maintain a happy family. Learn how structured flexibility, strategic marketing, operational efficiency and prospecting adaptations allowed me to make 2023 my best year in real estate with an average of less than 2.5 kid-free hours a day.
Abandon any “play it by ear” mentality. Success in this balancing act comes from meticulous control of your schedule. Set clear weekly goals and reverse-engineer your schedule to include dedicated time blocks for various business activities like marketing, operations, and prospecting.
Understand the ebb and flow of your life’s seasons, particularly the weeks when the kids are off school and your routine is upended. Make sure you have a clear picture as to what hours are off limits for setting appointments due to family obligations and what weeks will require doubling up on your efforts to prepare for days when family priorities take over.
Take a deep dive into how I mapped out my goals and developed clear standards for my daily, weekly, and monthly activities to achieve success using structured flexibility.
During the weeks when the kids are home, I pivot my marketing strategy to more autopilot, easy-to-manage content. For social platforms, this means relying on evergreen video content and simpler social media posts, all planned and shot in advance. For geographical farming efforts, this means designing and preparing the mailers in advance.
I also use any downtime in these busy days to focus on business development instead of direct message marketing or outreach. Truth be told, if I get someone to bite from direct outreach, I may not be able to deliver if I do not have preexisting childcare plans at that moment. Being a great real estate agent and super parent doesn’t mean doing it all—especially when the kids are home.
Operations are crucial—neglecting this could mean direct financial loss. Each week, I confirm my time blocks and childcare help. I know exactly what times I can make myself available and I only offer client appointments during these pre-determined time blocks.
Remember, offering limited time slots doesn’t mean losing clients; it’s about managing your availability smartly and confidently. Tom Toole published an article on time management hacks where he utilizes efficient, simple scripts on two of my favorite methods for scheduling appointments.
Perfecting these methods is a superpower for busy parents; they allow us to manage our crazy schedules without our clients realizing we have limited time. They include:
- X or Y strategy: “Unfortunately that time is not going to work. I’ve got X or Y available.” Giving the client alternative options allows them to be in control while limiting the options to fit your needs.
- Another appointment strategy: “Looking at my calendar, I have another appointment at that time.” Then, go back to the X or Y technique to set a time that works for both of you. Don’t tell the clients if it’s a personal obligation—everything is an appointment. We may be overwhelmed parents at times, but our clients deserve a professional.
Don’t tell Tom Ferry this, but in those intense parenting weeks when my office hours seem to evaporate, I ease off on prospecting calls. My focus shifts to essential communications: touching base with current clients, responding to urgent leads, and sometimes answering an incoming call, doing my best to sound professional while watching my kids through the patio door.
This part is hands down the hardest part. Young children sense when parents have something important going on, and that is the exact moment they need your immediate attention. From experience, I assure you it is helpful to remember this is a temporary predicament that you chose. It’s about doing what’s feasible without overstretching your capacity.
Balancing Family and Career
Choosing family time over extended work hours and late appointments comes with trade-offs. My ambition outpaces my capacity, which is something I have struggled with since I became clear on where I want to go in this industry.
But after a period of failure and burnout, I move forward confidently by setting realistic expectations and understanding that I might not match the output of agents with more availability and flexibility. I also know working smartly with this model brings me closer to my goals without sacrificing things that are most important to me.
It does, however, require strategy, adaptability, and a clear understanding and execution of your priorities. Remember, great things take time. A controlled, gradual rise in this industry allows you to shape your life on your terms.
Reaching your goals in the real estate industry while being the parent you want is both achievable and rewarding. Structured flexibility, strategic marketing tactics, operational efficiency, and adapted prospecting methods are the key components that will allow you to confidently work within your capacity and do big things.