You are excited, overwhelmed, nervous as hell, and ready to take on the world, while simultaneously wondering where your first check is going to come from and rethinking every decision you have made that has gotten you here. 

Pause for a moment and consider: this is just the first day of your new career as a real estate agent, and rest assured, the mix of emotions you’re experiencing is entirely normal. Having spent the last 10 years in the business, I’ve made a lot of mistakes—and learned from them all. As another year comes to a close, I once again find myself reflecting on what I could do differently. 

Consider this my “If I knew then what I know now” love letter for everyone getting a start in their own real estate career. I could write for days on this topic, but let’s dive into three of the things I wish someone had coached me through when I started.

#1—Get a coach (and get one early!)

I waited until my fourth year to finally get into coaching. This is one of the larger regrets in my career. A coach helps you shape your business, especially early on. They keep you from running around trying to figure it all out on the fly. 

As you listen to veteran agents and BAM Creators like Tom Toole, Byron Lazine, Dan Oneil, and Dustin Brohm (a.k.a. Massive Agent), the one constant is you don’t need to recreate the wheel. There are millions of agents who have already done what you are doing. Getting into a strong coaching system will give you a proven roadmap to success. A good coach will not only help you develop your business plan, but will hold you accountable to it.

Don’t overthink this—ask around, interview real estate coaching companies, and pick one that aligns with your values and how you want to grow. This investment will pay itself back tenfold!

#2—Join a team (and have an exit strategy)

I know coaching is expensive. But there may be a scenario where you don’t have to pay for it on your own. (Full disclosure: I plan to start building out my own team in 2024, but I have never joined a team.) 

Looking back on my career, if I could do it over again, I would likely have joined a strong team to watch, listen, and learn. In my opinion, a strong team will offer coaching in some form. It may be through direct access to the team leader (who very likely has a high-level coach of their own), it may be through team masterminds, or it could even be through paying for a coach in the system they use. 

In addition, a strong team will give you access to deals, experience, mentors, and systems that will help you grow. 

So, how do you choose a team to join? I believe a strong team should be about far more than just cranking out deals. Deals and making money are great—it’s every agent’s goal. But surviving in this industry is about more than money. It’s about lifestyle, balance, systems, and most importantly financial stability. The value should be about making sure this industry doesn’t eat you up and spit you out as it does to so many agents in the first five years. 

Now, the second part of this is to have an exit strategy—should you choose to go off on your own in the future. My philosophy as a leader is that a great team should build you up to a point where you can go off on your own but choose to stay because of the value of the team. 

But if your goal is to truly work for yourself, you need to have an exit plan. Use your time on the team to learn the industry and grow your skill set. Then, re-evaluate each year to determine if the team is truly meeting your goals. If the answer is no, it’s time to spread your wings and leave the nest. Achieving a balanced, financially stable life in this industry is possible. It takes hard work, but it is possible!

#3—Do not follow the shiny objects!

There are a million things you can get distracted with and think will forever change your business. This is where the overwhelming happens. 

  • Do you go heavily into social media? 
  • If so, do you tackle YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, or Facebook? 
  • Do you focus on cold calling or growing by referrals? 
  • Should you door-knock or focus on client events? 
  • Maybe you should join 100 networking groups? 

The list goes on and on! 

If you can’t stay disciplined and focused on being good at one system, you will quickly become overwhelmed, your head will spin, and you will convince yourself this industry isn’t for you. 

Do not follow the shiny objects! Pick something, commit to it for at least six months, and get after it. Don’t just become good at it; become GREAT at it. (This is yet another bonus of coaching and/or mentoring. Making sure you stay on task will be difficult but leaning on a proven roadmap and system will keep you on track.)

I hope by sharing this, you learn from my mistakes. Be smarter than I was when I started and grow faster than me. Welcome to the craziest, most frustrating, stress-inducing, addicting career—if you stick with it, you will grow to absolutely love it with every bit of your being! 

And for the veteran agents out there, if you are reading this, be the agent you wish you had as a mentor when you started.