Updated: Jul 19, 2022
As the trend of the Great Resignation appears in headlines, you are wondering whether you should do the same.
Managing my own real estate team for more than 11 years, I have my fair share of experience onboarding new agents to this industry.
In the corporate world, you might have built some skillsets that can be brought over to self-employment.
For instance, you have excellent interpersonal skills, good salesmanship and perhaps some digital IT skills.
But before you make the leap to give up a regular salary with benefits, ensure you are financially and mentally ready first.
Here are 5 things you must take into serious consideration first.
#1. Prepare Your Finances
This is something that you have to take the time prepare well. If you are married, have a serious discussion with your spouse especially regarding how to manage your expenses.
In starting any business, you need some runway before you can take off.
Besides being able to take care of your own household expenses, you will need to be take care of your own business expenses.
You have to start planning for the standard costs of being a real estate agent:
licence renewal fees
platform listing fees eg PropertyGuru, 99.co, EdgeProp
marketing and advertising fees eg flyers
digital marketing costs eg website and/or online ads
Commissions are usually paid 4-6 months later - so you have to be prepared how to manage your expenses well.
#2. With Great Freedom, Comes Great Responsibility
Once you make the switch to self-employment, you will find that you suddenly have a lot of free time.
Your time is no longer being dictated by a boss. You don't report to anyone anymore.
You also no longer have income that comes in like clockwork.
But deep down inside, you also have another reason why you made the switch.
You have been thinking for a long time that relying on a single source of income is just as risky in the world we live in today. And because of that....
You sincerely believe that taking charge and full responsibility of your own economic well-being might be a better choice than leaving it in the hands of any company.
If you have been entertaining such thoughts for a long time, then that is a sign that your mind has been preparing to make that leap into the unknown world of entrepreneurship.
#3. The hardest part is letting go of your previous identity
Spending a decade or more in the corporate world with various job titles to your name - you might start believing that you are your job.
The truth is a job title is merely a title.
It is not a true reflection of who you are as a person - merely an indicator of your experience level and skillsets. Your job title does not indicate that you are warm and kind person who is loved by people around you.
Your job title also does not indicate that you are someone who deeply cares about their clients. But I noticed a lot of people who let their job title define who they are. And in turn, they find it hard to assume another identity.
What's the identity?
The identity of being of service.
True, being a real estate agent means you are essentially you are your own boss.
But more importantly, in order to really do well in this business - you have to embrace an identity that you are in the service line.
You might be used to giving instructions in the past.
But now you are the person who has to be humble enough to take instructions and feedback of someone else - namely your prospects or clients.
Or maybe even take up the advice of your real estate leader.
That being said, you will learn the ropes of how to manage your prospects and clients well.
The only condition is that you have to open to learning and willing to apply it.
If you understand this well, you are well on your way to becoming a competent and decent property agent.
#4: You are willing to keep showing up
A corporate high-flier I knew made the leap to self-employment.
She gave up her nice 6-figure yearly income and her prestigious job title to become a property agent. Why? Because of health and other personal reasons.
She couldn't stand to give up her health just to please her upper management and shareholders.
About 8 years on, she now has a better work-life balance. Her income also has surpassed the previous income she made from full-time employment.
But the lesson she remembered the most was how her former colleagues and subordinates all shunned her when she announced that she has become a property agent.
Rejected calls or blue-ticks in messages.
She admitted it was discouraging at first. It was a terrible feeling at first. But she took it all in her stride.
She continued to keep in contact with her network and kept sharing good value with them. And because she continued to remain pleasant and humble to learn, some of them eventually became her clients. They could see she was serious in her new career as an agent.
And she started to grow a base of clients who continues to provide referrals for her real estate business.
She was willing to show up - day in and day out. Attended trainings, learnt how to market herself better and willing to serve and do even small rental jobs to gain experience.
That made her sincerity shine and people can't help but want to support her in her business.
Till today, she humbly credits and acknowledges her first few clients in business who gave her a chance through gifts and annual birthday wishes.
#5. A good mentor is key to help you face the changes
Making the switch to becoming a self-employed real estate agent is not going to be easy.
You are essentially going through a transformation as you shed an old identity for a new one.
You will need an experienced leader and mentor to assist you in growing your real estate business.
I can assure you there will be growing pains. You might be outfoxed by sly competitors or prospects who play you out. There will be people who will take advantage of your lack of experience or assertiveness.
It will be a challenging journey with ups and downs as sales is as front line as you can get in the business world.
But you will be taught how to develop resilience, gain mastery of your subject matter and create your own opportunities for success.
More importantly, NAVIS platforms will support your business holistically and make real estate the most rewarding and fulfilling career you will ever have.
If you were to ask me what being a real estate agent is? I would respond that it is about developing entrepreneurial skills.
But more than just skills, you must understand that entrepreneurship is a journey about beliefs.
You will learn about building your character and about acquiring new skills.
You will realize that your business is only a reflection or a manifestation of the internal changes that you will have as you slowly transform yourself into an entrepreneur.
That is why I think entrepreneurship is the single greatest personal development path you can possibly go on.
In walking through this path, you have to be willing to embrace the struggles and failures.
Ultimately, you must be willing to take action even when you have not figured everything out.
You have to prioritize learning (and sometimes breaking) new things - in order to move forward. Rather than wait for things to be 100% perfect...
You need to be willing to sew the parachute on your way down.
The money you will eventually make is essentially just a report card of the value you have created in your business.
If you are keen to make the mid-career switch to real estate, schedule a free 30 min career consultation with me and my team leaders and let's see if we are a good fit for each other.
Stuart Chng, Executive Group District Director of Huttons Asia, is a renowned leader and personality in the real estate industry.
He adores music and can play a few instruments decently without upsetting his neighbours. When not doing so, he enjoys pillow fighting with his son and coming up with silly puns which barely amuses his wife.
Professionally, he is a licensed real estate agent, an avid stocks, options and real estate investor, multiple businesses owner, team leader, speaker and columnist for several property newsletters and blogs and is often quoted in media interviews on 938FM, Channel 8, PropertyReport, PropertyGuru and other publications.