5 Lessons from the Early Years in Real Estate

Published on September 6, 2012

It’s amazing how time really does fly. I was just talking with a client who asked me how long I have been in real estate. It’s pretty easy for me to recall since I was pregnant with my son when I first started. “21 years,” I said. Then it hit me...holy cow where did the time go.

And then yesterday I was going though a huge stack of business cards that had been not-so-neatly packed away for the move when a blast from the past appeared before my very eyes, validating my previous conversation of yes, 21 years in real estate indeed.



Chris’s mom and dad had resurrected these old business cards from somewhere and had dropped them into the mail to us a few months back. Talk about a blast from the past!

OMG...we were just babies. Look at us. Children. How in the world did we ever talk anyone into letting us sell their home...the most expensive financial investment most people ever make? And yet they did. Over and over again.

As if the photo wasn’t enough, even info on the cards made me chuckle. Our email address back then was through a dialup service, the website was tied to Realtor.com, and we publicized our office phone number rather than our own. Oh... and naturally, we had pagers!  

Believe it or not, we were still ahead of the game with our own brand, The Clear Choice Team (there is a story behind that too). It was the beginning of our career and this image would morph many times over in the next 15 years.

Fast forward a few years. Now we’ve gone to front and back cards and have added our first buyer agent (a disaster by the way). Lesson learned. Never include a team member in your expensive professional photos unless you can have them photo shopped out without it being obvious. It gets pricey before you usually get it right.

Still using the company owned email address (a big no-no and another lesson learned) and if that wasn’t bad enough, also using the company domain name for our website.  We did pick up an toll free phone number though because no one had unlimited long distance like they do now. Yay for us! 


We have come a long way. Certainly have learned a lot of lessons, that’s for sure. Here are five that may interest you as you continue to grow your real estate practice.


5 LESSONS from the Early Years

NOTE: Not everyone has the same goals for their business or team, so before judging whether or not my lessons apply to you... craft your own vision for how you want your business to look.  

  1. Brand yourself. Create an image that is unique to you and that can GO WITH YOU no matter what broker you affiliate with. Of course you love your broker now, but things change, so plan for the potential of change.
  2. Own your stuff. In the beginning a lot of agents use company based tools because they are usually either free or inexpensive and fairly easy to use. The downside is that when and if you go elsewhere, you are starting over. If you own your own domain, website, email account, CRM (database), etc. it makes transitioning much easier. Not only that, YOU control content when you own it. They own it... they control content (both coming in and going out).
  3. Team members. The truth...team members come and team members go. This is especially true when you are still developing your leadership skills. Create an environment where team members earn opportunities and are rewarded for their longevity, production, etc. over time. Don’t give them the sun, stars, and moon until they have proven they are a fit.
  4. Office space. You may need some, especially when you hire an in-house assistant. Don’t over do it... space is expensive and you need to be OUT of the office more than in it.
  5. Set boundaries to protect your goals. This is especially true when you rise to the ranks of top producer in your office. Agents will want to “pick your brain,” team leaders will ask you to teach, and everyone will want some of your time. You can still be a team player while setting firm boundaries to protect your 20% (the things that matter most).

There is no right or wrong way to go about it. Just know you too will learn a lot through trial and error, especially if you are stubborn like we were (are).

Have fun! 

We have had so much fun over the years while growing our businesses. We had our ups and downs and things weren’t always rosy, but we had A LOT of fun (and still do). Be ready for challenges and know that you grow the most when you seemingly fail. Lord knows we have had our fair share of failures, but without them, we certainly would not be the coaches we are today!

Got any old business card BLASTS from the PAST??? Share them on our FB fanpage at 



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