197: The Solo Journey

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T Swift made it popular and now everyone is talking about their “eras”, so let’s jump on that trend and take a journey through Katy & Alissa’s real estate careers. How are we addressing the real estate industry putting you on a “path” of supposed to’s even though we are entrepreneurs who decided not to get on the corporate ladder? Why have we remained solo agents for so long and are we really solo? We are ready to share our thoughts and processes on hiring and when and why we made changes in our businesses. Broker changes, assistants, accidental teams, and more. It’s going to be quite the ride! We hope in sharing our paths you will feel confident to continue on YOURS no matter where it leads you. Real estate, like life, is quite the journey and we are so grateful to be on the journey with you!

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The following is a rough transcript provided by Otter.ai.

Yeah, it’s hard enough to keep your clients happy. Some money is better than no money.

They’re like in a row. Yeah. They’re like, Nope, that did. Nobody


I am. I’m kind to my clients and they give me so this is when I accidentally became a team.

Okay? Did y’all ever take a team photo?

No. Two ways to skin a cat. Oh.

Hi, y’all. Welcome to hustle humbly. It’s Alyssa and Katie. And we are two top producing realtors in the Baton Rouge market.

We work for two different companies where we should be competitors. But we have chosen community over competition. The goal of our podcasts is to encourage you to find your own way in business to stop comparing yourself and start embracing your strengths. Hi, Alyssa. Hi, Katie. How are you today? Wonderful. It’s episode number 197. Okay, it is the middle of May. Yeah. Wow. And today we’re going on a journey. A solo journey, our solo journey, a journey all alone. But truly, you’re never you’re never really solo.

No, but you always have support somewhere. That’s

what we’re going to talk about today. Your solo journey? Yeah. Okay, how do you want to start us off? I feel like this should be like a once upon a time. Yeah. Once

upon a time? Well, we do get a lot of emails asking us about solo versus Team, how should I think about starting a team and we were like, well, we are two agents who have been in real estate over a decade and have never had a team. So we probably aren’t the best people to speak to about not to how to make fun. And we will write or how to make a decision or how to start one because that hasn’t been our journey, right? But eventually, we will have someone on the show that we can ask them about how they did it and what they did and what their systems and processes looked like. But for today, we’re just going to share our solo journey. Good news. There’ll

be a twist in mind. Oh, so just wait. Oh, gosh. You know, Oh, okay. I love that you’re like what’s gonna happen? Like at the end I’ll be like, and and I just started a team. Yeah. Oh, no, no, no, no, no. Okay. All right. Do you want to just start us on yours or mine because I go further back in time go further back in time deep D deep into the early to that mid 2000s When I got my license in 2005 there were teams there were they existed. There were big teams, a lot of the old school style of team which I don’t know if our listeners know what this is or have heard of this, but it was basically a rainmaker. Okay. So a very established agent who had a lot of listings and as such got a lot of incoming leads, because of the listings would have buyer’s agents beneath them right to field the leads that they got off of the listings they were producing that’s why it was called a rainmaker. Okay, okay, because they were making it right this is this is before even like rap you know what I mean? Yeah, it wasn’t like Make It Rain was like a big rap song. It was like that’s what it’s called right when provides for others you’re a rainmaker. Okay. Okay. So basically out of necessity, these very established, you know, producing agents had too much business right like you can’t do it all. So they would have you know, agents underneath them that would take the leads off of their signs or be able to do their open houses. You know, very it was still very old school when I started Okay. Remember, I was very early adapter of the online leads. So yes, these things were starting to come around Zillow did not exist. I want you guys to really let that sink in. Over half of real estate web traffic is now on Zillow. Right? There was no Zillow. No Zillow. Okay, so or it was in the baby early phase. So I got some online leads. But my point is, I started off solo, it wasn’t as much in the I guess the way people talked about getting into real estate that you were going to be a team. It just wasn’t as common, right? Yeah, you would expect a team to be someone like that a top producer who needed some help, and then they built this team. Now. Were there some other versions of teams? Sure. There were some partnerships. There were some, you know, husband, wife, teams, that kind of stuff. Okay, so I start in a big office. We talk about this in the how to choose a broker episode, but I don’t think I would start the same. It was too big for me. Sure. It was like over 150 people. It was a franchise. It was, you know, I was a very small fish in a very big pond. Yes, I went and took advantage Education and things like that. But I didn’t feel comfortable enough to seek those support I needed sure as a solo agent, because I’m all alone. Just little little me in the pond, right? Yeah. That lasted three months. Okay. Okay, that was 2005. By the end of 2005, I’m like, Well, I’m either going to quit real estate, or I’m going to have to make a change. And I ran into the guy who had sold me my house before I was a realtor. And he said, Oh, why don’t you come to my small office? I have a great broker, she’ll train you, you’ll love it. Whatever. I’m like, well can or to try I already did all this work to get my license, right? Still never sold anything. I went to the small boutique firm there were about six ish agents and the broker and it almost in some ways felt like a team right? Like she was busy producing she would give me some leads. I got to shadow her go on all of her appointments,

which will pay her a referral on any leads are not really couple that she gave me

were like, super low and listings. Those ones I specifically remember that she was like, I don’t want to do these, right. I don’t need money from you. I mean, she’s the broker. So I’m assuming she was getting something out of my split. But the company wasn’t owned by actually probably not even allowed anymore was owned by a mortgage company. Oh, it’s a basically a local small mortgage company that’s not in business anymore. Opened a boutique brokerage? Oh, real estate brokerage. Okay, that was 2006. I was there for eight months. And then I moved on to REMAX. And I think I’ve mentioned this many times before our office was closing down, our boutique brokerage was closing down. And my broker was going to this REMAX office to be a solo agent. She wasn’t going as a team, but we all just sort of went with her. You know, like at least a portion of that wasn’t a big office anyway. But I’m like, well, that’s where you’re going and you feel competent that I’ve been learning from you. I’ll just go there too. So again, it felt team ish. But it wasn’t a team, right? Like she didn’t guarantee me any leads, like there was not a team. Okay. But we go the REMAX. And there is when I really began just being super solo, not seeking, like I was just ready, like I could have closed some deals. Now we’re like out on our own. And then from there, you know, I was there until 2020. So 14 years I was at that office. Wow. So low. Now there are some twists and turns in there. But why don’t we get some of yours? Okay.

When I got my real estate license in 2011, I was in undergrad at LSU. Okay. And I was involved in the LSU student Real Estate Association.

I did not know that existed. It was new at that time. Okay.

i Since went back and spoke to it a few times. What did they do? I think they so now LSU offers some real estate classes. And you can take different things, even appraisal type things. It doesn’t really go towards a certification to be a realtor, but it’s just for those interested in real knowledge. Okay, and so I’ve gone back and they meet like once a month and kind of just talk about what’s going on in real estate. They have guest speakers from different avenues of commercial or property management or anything. Okay. So I’ve been back, I went and spoke to the group twice after I left as a speaker, but through that, if there was someone who needed an intern or something like that, you could ask LSU Do you have anyone that would be you can submit? Not your resume, but your job description. Yeah. And see if anybody has job posting. Yes. Okay. So I was licensed in the process of finishing up taking the exam. And through that heard about a Realtor with Remax that was looking for someone that I knew I knew I had actually grown up with her daughter, okay. And I was like, Oh my gosh, I love her. I would love to work for her. Okay, kind of just as an assistant, okay. And I was like, I would love to do that. It seemed like the hours would work around my schedule. And so I got a resume together and submitted it and the day that I submitted it she called me and was like, oh, Alyssa, I just hired somebody. I was like, you would have been great and I was so upset and looking back I’m like that could have changed the whole trajectory of everything. 100% Isn’t that interesting? Very. So I never went to you didn’t I didn’t get the position right already hired someone. And so at that point, I had chosen my I move on I interview I choose my company that I had with now. And I went to one of the top producing agents there and basically said Edie, can I hold your horses open? What can I did open houses for her pretty much every Sunday. Okay. And so I was helping, but I wasn’t really anybody’s assistant. I wasn’t getting paid. I was trying to figure it out myself as a solo agent. Was there,

like, from your perspective? Because that was then 2011. Right? How did you did you see a lot of teams? Were you? Did you consider that as an option? Why did you choose to go solo? So

it wasn’t a huge talk, either. Back in 2011. The office that I landed at still to this day is more solo agent, right? They have a few teams, but it’s really more catered to a solo agent. Okay. We do have some husband, wife teams, we in our marketplace in Baton Rouge. We don’t have any teams. Yeah, so we do have some and like, I never even thought about that. And not we’re office doesn’t even have we don’t even have them. No. Okay, except for the one husband wife team. Okay. But like in our Lafayette, like Charles offices, we do have some other teams. Okay. So but in my office, we still just don’t have any. So

when you interviewed brokers, it that wasn’t even really on your radar one way or the other. And then you ended up choosing an office that that’s not even part of the culture.

Right? I wasn’t surrounded by it. Yeah. So it never really occurred to you. Correct. Got it. So then I was, you know, making my way getting started in my business. Every Monday morning, I think that sustained me as a solo agent, because every Monday morning, we had our Monday morning meeting, it was the new agent meeting where we sat around the table and just supported each other. And I heard what they were going through, and they listened to what I was going through, and we kind of just gave came up with a game plan of what’s working, what’s not working, let’s work our way through this, right. So it was just me. And then by year two, and three, I’m starting to see the business finally happening, ya know, it’s starting to happen, I’m not having to work quite as much on producing it because it’s starting to happen. And I can be busy working right, which was, gosh, thank goodness that finally happened

takes a while to turn that corner.

But um, with that, I just never was asked to be on anybody’s team or anything like that. Okay. I wasn’t really even the idea of a team was never even put into my mind until I started producing bigger numbers,

right? And then people like, why aren’t you the team leader?

Right? Why aren’t you on a team? Are you going to start your own brokerage? Like those questions started coming? Yeah. And you know, just like in, in my first few years of real estate, if someone said, you need to do open houses, I did them if you need to call for sale by owners, I did that I will. I wanted to try everything. With the team thing for me. Whenever I actually put pen to paper, the numbers never made sense to me, right? With what I could see. I mean, I know what we make. And you can do any kind of math in your head based on production and divide it by people. So for myself, I never understood the numbers. Because I was so profitable at that point. It was just me.

Did you ever feel like even when you reach that high level of production, those questions started to come up? Did you feel like you couldn’t handle your business yourself? No. So that’s the other thing like, right, you have to feel pain to make a change. Right? Right. If you felt like you were handling the number of transactions you were doing, you almost don’t need to consider that.

Yeah. And I was really working like repeat and referrals. I wasn’t working cold leads. So these aren’t people I would have given to anybody else. You know, they’re all people I knew, right?

That’s the tricky part, too. You want to build a repeat referral business, but you also then can’t get a referral and be like, Well, I’m gonna give you to somebody.

Right? Right. You can’t refer refer cousin, you’re gonna go work with buyer agent number one, right. So I was working my people. Yeah. And I just didn’t see how having another agent under me was going to work. Okay, this is also during this time, I was getting a lot. This is when the coffee dates like your three, four or five, were just really heavy. And it was a lot of younger people that had gotten in the business and immediately started on a team and didn’t really know. It’s almost like because they started on a team. It was hard to figure out where to go from there. They were so scared. Yeah. And I couldn’t relate because I just never went that route, right

so I’m different. Now. It might have been easier. Those first three yours? I think so.

Yeah. I mean, it could very well have been. And so I just, I was hearing on these coffee dates of people that were no longer happy on a team.

They weren’t selling you on the idea. No, I am thinking of being a team leader, then you’re having to picture yourself trying to keep these people go. Yeah,

yeah, it’s hard enough to keep your clients happy, right. So for me to think about keeping other agents happy, as well as my clients happy, it sort of becomes a second job. It is

a second job, it doesn’t sort of become a second job. It is the question of, yeah, sure. Maybe you could be more profitable, maybe you could grow a business that you could step out of, but you really have to think through all the motivation of that, because now you have to manage people. Yes. And if you don’t like managing people, or you don’t feel confident managing people, you’re taking on another, you’re wearing another hat in your business that you maybe are not going to be good at,

for example, I had someone meet with me. That was on a team of four. Okay, okay, four people. So they were like, you know, you sold 15 million last year, why wouldn’t you be on a team? And I was like, Well, I have done the numbers, and it just doesn’t make sense. And they were like, well, what do you mean? I said, Okay, how much did your team do last year? Oh, well, we did 20 million. Okay, great. Wonderful. So 20 million. So there’s four people on the team. That makes it an average of about 5 million pretty easy math, right? Per person, right? And they were like, Yeah, and like, okay, and then when you make one, you you pay your broker, and then you pay your team leader. And they were like, you answered my question. But you know, what it made me realize, a lot of people aren’t putting pen to paper on the number on the actual write numbers there. What I found on the coffee dates was, they were being lured in by the appeal of leads. And by having like, some sure business, right, some money is better than no money. It is right. Right. In some situations, like that’s why they started there. Yeah, but then you have to somehow, you know, okay, the safety net,

I would write, I would say, this is also why the turn on a team is what it is, right? Yeah, it’s a great place to start. For a lot of people, maybe that security of knowing where the leads are coming from is good. Maybe you need to get that you do need to get that experience and get your, you know, feel like you have your footing and know what to do before you just go off on your own. It’s already a risky, scary career to start. Being able to start on a team is a nice way to kind of have someone to go to and ask those questions to have a source of business to have someone who can give you their systems and processes. But of course, not every team is created equal, right? Sure. I mean, but I do I do see the benefit of that it even in dividing up them. I guess my point is, I can see the other side of it where the money isn’t always the answer. But at some point, it’s going to be the answer, because you’re running a business. So maybe in the beginning the money and give it you know, may even it’s even if you go to a broker who has great training and does like a 5050 split, right? Yeah, not even on a team, you’re like, Well, I know I’m giving more money to my broker here than somewhere else. But I need XYZ that they’re offering me Sure, right. Like, everything has a price. Yeah, so I can see. But but once you get to the point where they’re trying to convince you to have a team you’re like, but the numbers don’t make sense because I can handle my business. And it all goes into my bank account. Right? Right. All my all my business.

Now, in 2015, our office was kind of updating systems and technology. And we’re moving into more of a like database platform online. And also, I’m starting to get some of my own listings. And so the paperwork component, I realized that I was just and I didn’t have kids at this point, that when Tanner was working nights, I would just open my computer and I could spend hours on there just catching up on getting used to some of this admin stuff. So that at that point, 2015 2016 I started being like, Okay, I might, maybe it’s time for an assistant. Yeah, to help with some of the stuff. And there was another agent in my office who was feeling the same way. We were kind of at the same level with everything. So we decided that we could share one to give them because I thought but in reality, I maybe have four hours of work a week. No one’s gonna want that little bit.

Do you know I was looking at my email before we started recording. And you and I and the agent you’re talking about and my another agent in my office when to lunch, and y’all were asking us questions about how we had hired our assistant. Isn’t that funny? And I sent you a list of questions for an assistant. This is way before the podcast. But I just thought it was hilarious. I forgot about that. Yeah, we all the all four of us went to lunch, because like, because I was about to get to this to at some point, you’re gonna need help, right? Yeah, depending on your life circumstances, your your volume, whatever it is, at some point, you’re just not going to be able to do it all alone? No, unless you have a great admin in your office that’s doing maybe like all the transaction coordinating, or like taking on more. But if you’re in a place where you’re pretty much in charge of all that paperwork, right, it gets to be a bit much. Okay, so how did you decide how many hours to hire the assistant for since you’re splitting them?

Yeah. So she and the other agent and I kind of wrote down the things that we would need done each week. Some things are done every week, no matter what. And then some things it’s like, as needed, like some weeks are just going to be busier than others. It’s the nature of the business. So we kind of put it together. And we had some newer agents in the office that were kind of struggling, that needed some money and to learn while they were getting started in their own business. So we went through three pretty quickly. Yeah, three different people. It just wasn’t a fit. It just wasn’t. Here’s what I found, though. Everyone was excited. Because at that point, you know, I have kind of made a name for myself with like, doing a lot of volume. So people were like, I could learn Yeah, but they learned that it’s not glamorous, it’s work. It’s work. It’s work. And two, three weeks in the excitement, they were like, I don’t want to do it. They’re like, This is no fun. Like, this is not glamorous work. Right. And it’s not it’s tedious. That’s why I wanted to hire it out. Right, we needed help. When I hired my first assistants, you know, I kind of group them all together, because they were there like

in a row. Yeah. They’re like, Nope, that did nobody last.

But my goal was if the client is there, I am there, right? The client doesn’t even need to know about them. Yeah. You know, they’re just they’re handling my admin, reminding me about deposits, checks, gathering receipts, but five days before closing, labor, labeling all of my paperwork, right, that they were not involved with the client at all. My goal was to be the walking billboard for myself. Yeah, be at every showing inspection. And I that I mean, that’s really not that hard to do. And every time I did that I was deepening my relationship with my client. Yeah. Which only led to repeat and referral business be there in order to build a relationship. Thank you. Yeah, yes. Because I was getting people, team leaders on other teams telling me, why are you still attending your own home inspections, you have outgrown that

know that you can be out lead generating like I am, I am trying to my clients, and they give me the

right right I am. I love I mean,

like, That’s it, like, I show up,

and we have a conversation. And it’s fun for me fun for them. And then they remember me when it’s time to refer someone. Yes. And they cannot leave. It’s not freaking rocket science. Yes, it here’s the thing. It’s so simple that it blew their mind. Yeah, yeah. Um, and so I was just kind of experiencing a lot of that. So 2017 comes along, and I have Haven and I have no assistant at this point. And I was panicking first time, how am I ever going to do this? So what I did was I got my three best friends in the office. And I said, I don’t know what I’m going to need. But as things come in, I just would you be okay being kind of on call between the three of you? And they were like, yes, that we want to help you. We’re so excited. And I kind of as a new person came in, based it on where the house was located. Is it near? Who is it near? Yeah, and personality? Who would be a better fit for them? And sometimes, I’ve just paid them per task. Yeah, sometimes they wouldn’t let me pay them per task, depending what it was like, No, I’m helping you because you just had a baby. Sometimes they would take the client and that I had never met Yeah, and just get them to the closing table and send me a referral fee. Right. Or sometimes I had already been working with the client and they were ready to just make an offer and I would pay the other agent a referral fee. Right? So it just kind of worked out. You have to just play it by ear. Yeah. And it wasn’t hard. No, it was just worked out like this works. It did but you didn’t get one person there were three three on call you I mean, that’s so that but neither one. None of them ever got very busy. Right looking back on it. One person might have gotten busy but I mean, I was only gone like three or four months, right? So not that long. And I was sneaking out doing certain appointments because I wanted to get out the house. Yeah, like, Let me please wash my hair and get makeup on right you go do this and feel useful, right? Yeah, right. Right. Right. So I was also I started going back sooner than I should have. Not well, not really just because I wanted to like I was ready to like when you want to take an hour out of the house and go on a listing appointment and talk to grownups about real estate and remind myself totally fine. I understand this. Right. I understand this. I don’t understand how to make the baby Stop crying. But I understand this.

I can do this. Yeah, so it was I am good at and then I came home


There you go. You know? Hey, Alyssa, Hey, Katie, what do we mentioned almost every episode, email template, you’re right, we sure do. And after every time, we mentioned an email template, do you know what we get

emails asking if they can have copies of the email template, send me

a copy of that template? I would like that, that sounds great. And you know what the good news is, you can get all of our email templates from our course, email templates, one on one, tell the people

about it, our course has all of the email templates you would need to send to your buyers and your sellers and your clients that are buying and selling at the same time. Exactly. To get through every step of the transaction and giving them information that they need for where they are in the transaction. It’s great, because you never forget to tell them something. Yeah. So we’ve already done all the work for you. Yeah, we wrote them. And you can personalize them. Yes. And just feel organized, knowing that you have all the information where it needs to be.

And if you purchase email templates, 101, you do get lifetime access. So occasionally, we like to go in and make updates based on the market or if we find a new best practice. So we put that right into the template and you get that updated straightaway. It just

goes straight to your core. Yes.

It’s already there. It’s just already on there. You don’t have to worry about it

will email it will say updated. That’s great. Where can they find these email templates? You

can find the email templates at email templates with an S one Oh, one.com email templates. One Oh, one.com. Yes. Head over for reviews and all of the specifics. Wonderful. Okay, enjoy. Okay, so let me talk about my assistant journey then. So I went to the REMAX in 2006. Totally solo on my own right. I think that somewhere around 2012. So that’s six whole years where I didn’t consider an assistant. I’m just working, just doing it. But around 2012, we, another agent in my office and myself, who just like to, you know, partner on things, talk about stuff, whatever, we decided to split and assistance for a specific task, we both wanted to grow our websites and develop more SEO search capability. So search engine optimization. And so we decided to go to LSU to the marketing department and look for an intern. And we were gonna give the intern like 10 ish hours a week, but they’d be doing the same task just on two different websites. Sure. Okay. It’s a good idea. We build out all of these SEO pages for each of us. And we found someone and that went fine for a while it does an intern doesn’t last a long time that like it’s not meant to it’s meant to last a semester. Then they move on. They got college credit. Great for doing that. Yeah. So that was a really great tool to use in the very beginning because we did pay her, but she was also getting class credit. And so it was a big win win. So that was 2012 with the first assistant then we got another one kind of do the same thing. So I started to add task. I’m rum and the intern program. Yeah. Okay. So I think only twice did it that did I get one from there? And it worked out fine. You know, they weren’t like taking a lot off my plate otherwise, but they were doing a task. I didn’t have time that I wanted to add to my business. Right, right. Okay, now, this is where I it gets fuzzy for me. I don’t know how long and there was a few like in and out that I don’t even remember their names. Okay. Then I kind of went through a period where I didn’t have someone and in 2016 Well, in 2014, so two years after that. Another agent and myself split an assistant. It was someone she knew in her spear like they were in college. It was not through the intern program. And she was with us for several years did she she was licensed, no, not licensed. She was finishing up her degree in Public Relations. Shout out Rebecca, I’ll just tell you, So Rebecca came to us. She knew you know this other agent. Personally. She comes to us. She’s our assistant for 2014 2015 I believe she got her her license at the end of 2015. Okay, so she was just our assistant, she is getting her degree in Public Relations. She is planning a career in that field. And after being with us over this year, so she decided to get her license. Okay, so this is when I accidentally became a team. Okay. I did not decide today I’m going to start a team. Okay, we’ll go and we will find some agents to be on the team. Yeah, I had a friend in my office who for years, even before that Assistant, we would call ourselves a foe team. Okay, we’re not really a team. We’re not splitting any money. We’re not sharing any expenses. We just were kind of like accountability partners, right? Meet up at the office, talk about stuff, then we ended up sharing this assistant, fine, but we’re not a team. Okay. Fo team. Yeah. Then our assistant goes and decides she wants to become an agent. And we’re like, Well, I mean, we do have these leads and things we would like to send us up. So you’ll just be our buyer’s agent. Okay. Okay. So executed on team. And it wasn’t structured exactly like a normal team. Basically, I had my business, the other agent, my friend had her business, our buyer’s agent would then do some of our leads and give us basically a referral, like a different split. So

she’s working her own business, trying to get started as a new realtor. Correct. And then you would give her some leads. And if she closed one of your leads, she paid me a certain things you. If she closed one of her leaves, she paid me a lower split. Okay, so, so long, she went out and got her own business, she made more money. But she still paid you something if she does

something, because we were incurring her franchise fees. Oh, I see. So we we in that way, it was semi regularly team structure, we basically shielding her from having to pay those monthly fees because it is not normal for a brand new agent to go to REMAX, right, there are fees. Sure. And you’re not making any money. So we paid the fees, which meant we got a cut of whatever she did for a while. And honestly, when I went to go check these dates, I was pleasantly surprised. But she got her license at the end of 2015. She didn’t leave the team, vibe or team she didn’t stop being my buyer’s agent until 2019. Wow, the beginning. So it was 63 years. Yeah, three years, we had this team kind of dynamic. What kind of leads would you give her the online leads from all the SEO searches that my previous? Oh, yeah, my previous assistant had been okay. Right. So they were on or I don’t know that I was still paying for online leads that time, but I was getting online leads. Okay, so people I did not know, right? Sometimes people in an area I couldn’t or didn’t want to service but I mean, she would get those. And she did great. Yeah, I remember it. It was fine. We we loved her. But when she stopped being my assistant, and she started being the buyer’s agent, then I had to get another assistant. Because I didn’t I didn’t want to get rid of my assistant. They were doing things for me at that point more than just website work. They were doing other stuff. So in 2016 So we’re now talking 10 years deep into my career was the first and only time I had a full time assistant for me. Do I know who this is? Yes, my friend Andrea. I don’t know if you know, I don’t Okay. Andrea was pure delight. I just used indeed.com I got resumes. I did interviews. She was phenomenal. Not a realtor. No, she was a full time at like 32 hours a week. So for you for me, just me. She was amazing. She did mailers and computer work and bought closing gifts. And she did she set up my LLC she did all of that she helped me get like all of my systems and processes kind of like in place and honed out like things really got very systematized once she was around. That’s great. So great. Well, she was too good. I knew it. I could feel it coming because I’m playing What $10 An hour I’m like this will never last She’s so good. Such a self starter like always in the office getting things done looking for something else to do cleaning out my fight like it just amazing. Just amazing. Well, six months later, she got what I’m gonna call a real job. Yeah, she got a better job of Shay. She she got a better job she moved on and I was so sad. But a lot of the things that we put in place then set my business to run on its own. That’s great. After her my friend in the office and I went back to splitting and assistant Okay, so the one who were sharing this buyer’s agent now then we went back to sharing an assistant, okay, and she would just do kind of like, you know, the mix of stuff and she lasted nine months, okay, after that one. So that’s the 2017 so After that, I’ve never since had an assistant. I know. Because once you get an email template, right, once you like know your systems and processes once I mean my kids were getting older, my business was easy for me to control. I did have a friend in the office who else was going on vacation or was sick or something, somebody could help me. But again, it wasn’t ever super formal. Other than when we had our buyer’s agent, there was obviously some like, you know, money to yell route like Team K, we’re still running two businesses.

Y’all each had your don’t ever take a team photo?

Never. Maybe it like an event or something like this. Take photos. No, you know, it makes me

when we were preparing for this episode, we called a few people that have to, you know, ask them questions and get some context for things. And I thought it was funny because one of the mentioned Yeah, we have to like take a monthly team photo. Because the turnout, it’s always changing. It’s always changing. The bigger the team, you’re, the more likely that you’re you’re rotating is

a springboard for people, right? Yeah, even an even a real estate assistant to a solo agent is just a springboard. I would never look, I tried it all. Maybe I need to hire like a retired person. Maybe I need like a stay at home mom who just needs to work certain number of hours. I’m like, What can I do to keep these people around forever? But the actual answer to that question that nobody wants to say out loud, is you just have to pay them more money. I know, that’s the only way you’ll ever get an assistant, a buyer’s agent or whatever, that you want to stay forever, right? They better be making enough money to make it enticing for them to stay Sure. Because no, no one is going to stay for years and years and years and not eventually realize I could be making more money by doing the exact same things on my own. Right? Unless you just love your team so much. And you want to eat lunch with them all that, but you start to realize it’s a job. Yeah. Like it’s a business. And if I’m not making decisions that make the business more profitable. I’m not a very good business owner.

Right. And I think that’s where I always got hung up. And maybe it was like the MBA and me making an actual profit loss statement and seeing, like, if you divide it up, and yeah, if you’re always hiring, it’s divided again. And, you know, it just, it just for me personally never made sense, because, and I even had a team leader say, Oh, you 100% are probably more profitable than me. Okay, but he genuinely had a desire to be a leader, right? He wanted. Okay, so you wanted to manage agents,

and train and mentor? Yeah, and grow? And a lot of times, then that’s when i, i Yes, I was about to say the same thing. There’s a thing that happens in a team, if you’re the team leader that can be fulfilling for you in a way that money is not right. Correct. Like you’re growing people, you’re helping them get better. And at the end of the day, though, then my business brain wants to merge with that brain and be like, then why don’t you have your own brokerage? Right? Because you get that same row, the people grow the team grow, like give that mentorship vibe, and you might actually be able to have the business benefits. Sure. So I still don’t know the answer to that question yet. Something I’m currently

like, that’ll be one of our questions for one of our team. Yeah, interview,

I would love to interview a broker of a small firm that basically operates like a team versus a team leader at a large franchise. I would love to hear, like, the pros and cons of both, right? Like, why

wouldn’t the Elissa team just be Elissa brokerage? Yes. Alyssa Jinkins Realty, you know, right.

I mean, the broker shields you from some liability, but at the same time, I’m like, what is that worth dollars wise,

right. And that’s why I actually just had a client asked me if I was ever going to start my own brokerage. And I said, No, because I want to be a realtor. And I like the community have an office. Yeah. But also if the split works, right, and you’re getting value, like if I started my own brokerage at this point today, I would lose my admin at my office that is just included in my office that would I would have to pay for that. Now. I would have to pay like for signs and lock boxes and all the things that I am given I would now have to pay for and manage it. And at the end of the day, I don’t want to recruit because I want to work with clients because that’s my personality. So for me I don’t ever see it being Alyssa Jenkins Realty. No, because to me, it’s a totally different that’s a different job. Yeah. different job, like, I think if my goal was there are I have friends in real estate who have said, my goal is to not sell real estate one day, right? I just want to manage the office or manage the team, right? That’s never been my desire because I would rather the client, I would rather manage a client than manage a team. Personally, you can get rid of a client of it’s just about to say, if you think about it, it’s over. It’s your clients rotate, they come they go, you have a sometimes you have a three month relationship with them. And sometimes you have a six month or three year relationship with them. Yeah. But they you accomplish what you set out to do. You add them in your database, you keep in touch, but it’s over. Yeah. Whereas the team, you know, you’re always it’s the same. One thing about real estate that I liked to with the freedom that you can have in it is that if you wanted to go on vacation every other month, or even every month, your client doesn’t realize that

no, because they’re probably gone already. Right? You’re only there for one vacation at bay.

Yes, yes. Like you have this freedom there because it’s always rotating. Okay, I have a really

interesting question and thought for you now. Okay, that just came to me. Do you think that it is a natural progression in the life and the heart of a realtor, if they are even set, let’s just say they’re so low, and they grow? And they get good? And they feel confident? And they’re like just coasting along doing? Well, everything’s working? Do you think that it is just a natural desire then to grow other people and mentor other people? Because although you don’t want to have a team and manage people, that is exactly what this podcast is? Yes, I didn’t just an internal thing that happens to an agent, and they’re like, must help others.

I think anybody who has some goodness in their heart wants to help others, right? Some capacity, you’re just doing it on a different platform, right? It started off as coffee dates that got out of control, right to more of a platform that is readily available to people that they can just tune in by topic. Yes. Right. And they’re categorized on our episode, on our website, if you need to go find a certain episode about a certain topic. I

mean, in that way, I empathize and can understand what is the draw of being a team leader or broker like you do get that fulfillment out of helping the next line of people that are coming along?

But I don’t I personally don’t want to commit to feeding their family. Right? That is where I

listen to the podcast or not listen to the podcast. Yeah, yeah. I don’t know how you’re doing and your job

rusher have me as your leader having to provide for you and your family is too much for me, right. I’m providing for me and my family. And I can hold myself accountable. Yeah, but I don’t want to be accountable for anybody else’s well being. Yeah, it’s too too. Too much pressure for me. Yeah. I do think though, that the public, who maybe doesn’t, and even some newer realtors, this was me until I understood that they think the natural path of success is solo agent, then you become a team and then you become your own company. Right. That’s the ladder. That’s that’s the ladder. Right? Yes. But to me, like to us, we know that’s not necessarily true. Just think

there are multiple ways to go through the business. Right, right. There is no right way.

We have top producing agents in my office, gosh, that they made. They’ve made more money than I could ever dream about. And they’ve never had a team or their own company. They run a solo business of one right. And I think that’s where I’m fall. Like, that’s where I’m gonna fall.

Yeah, I think that’s okay. That’s the point. It’s all okay.

Yeah. What’s best for you?

What works for you? Okay, anything else about your solo journey? Do you ever feel lonely? I mean, I feel like the topic of loneliness would have come up, but I don’t,

I don’t. And I think that even when I was so low, without any assistant, or anything, I was always involved in our board. I was very involved in the office. I one of the reasons I liked the coffee dates, and the I liked the podcast is because it keeps me sharp. Yeah, I’m talking about these things. I’m talking about systems and staying organized so much, that it just, it just happened.

My business is far easier three years into this.

I know me, I would say so. Two people are like how do you have time to do a podcast and I’m like, I’m telling you, it helps me Yeah, because

we’re We’re, we’re talking to ourselves, right most of the time, like, do this, you need to do this. Like, I feel like I hold myself way better accountable to a boundary or a system or like anything we’ve talked about on the show. I’m like, well, cleaning out my email or whatever. Like, we’re just constantly reinforcing it to ourselves. We’re just letting other people listen.

And you know, it’s funny why I shared a funny text message between me and a client on my Instagram a few days ago. And more than one person messaged me, and was like, Oh, look at you texting, number one. And number two, they said, Oh, look at you texting at 830 in the morning, like 830. And I’m like, Yeah, seems okay. Yeah, yeah. But when we recorded our morning routine episode, it was when Haven was still in daycare, she had not started kindergarten. And at that time, when we were recording that, we were told that kids were home until nine. And so my day when we recorded that episode started at nine, right? And so now it’s not nine, it’s not nine. And it’s, you know, I dropped them off at 745. And I started eight, right. And so now, that’s what we do. Yeah. But I just thought it was funny because

they’re like, they’re gonna hold you accountable

to what I say. Yeah. And I say, Okay, now, I did stop at 2016 where the assistants weren’t working out. Okay, so please keep going. And then in 2017 Haven came along. I had friends helped me through that. In 2008. Teen we had a extended family reunion. Okay. Most people don’t know this.

That I don’t know that I know this. I’m like, What is this? We had

an extended family reunion and at that family reunion, my cousin second cousin, who I have known my whole life I only ever saw. Oh

my god. Can I just interject here? Yeah, I’m thinking a long time. You mean your extended family?

Like Well, yeah, like a lot of fam a family reunion with an extended family. I thought you meant like a three week long Alyssa kind of family reunion. My family’s tight, and that’s probably something we would do but no, okay. They did not. Please keep going. It was a family extended family was present. The extended family was present ones that you only see every other Christmas. Were there. Okay. Okay. So he came up to me and he said, My wife wants to talk to you about real estate, but she’s scared. And I was like, That’s dumb. Tell it tell her not to be scared. Where is she? So she’s like, Hi, I’m Whitney. Right? And what’s funny is Whitney and I favor each other. And so when we work together, people ask, Are y’all sisters? Are y’all related? And I’m like, Well, we are technically somewhat related, but because she married my blood, right, right. Like I had never met her. And they had kids like they had been married a long time. We were extended enough that I don’t think I know, I didn’t go to their wedding. Right? I had never met her at all Okay, in this capacity that I can remember. Right. So we talked a little bit at the family reunion, and then we scheduled lunch, okay. And then I told my friend in the office, hey, I think she wants to get into real estate. She’s been a stay at home mom. But her kids are in school, but but she needs to have some sort of income. Okay. And so why don’t we have her be our assistant? I know, we kind of let that go right when we fails, right? So we hired her and shared her. But then she became just my assistant, right. But the goal was she was licensed. Right? I like the goal was that she was going to become a successful realtor. And she was going to work under me and I was going to pay her a hourly sum plus any overflow leads that I got. So I didn’t have any internet leads or anything to give her but sign calls or people that wanted to look further than I was willing to go at that point. And she stayed with me for four years. Right. And it wasn’t until this year 2023 That she is so low. Yeah. And we share an office still. So her desk was always in my office. And our broker likes to pair us it’s a big room. Well, not that big, but it has four desks in it, okay. And our broker likes to Paris with people based on how much you’re in the office. So if you’re in the office all the time, she’s not going to put you with somebody else that’s in the office all the time. She wants you to have your space and your privacy. But But Whitney was always her desk was in my room because we were working together. Okay. And so it’s funny because now we’re just, we’re just friends. We’re just friends working so low and it’s working out okay. And um, I hire we hired a new assistant. Yeah, that does about 15 hours a week for me when Whitney went solo I got a new assistant that works for me 15 hours a week, right?

And the rest of the time works for the pack. And so the rest of the time works for the podcast. Yes, ma’am.

It’s working out very well works out really well. But she Whitney was the first. I mean, it just worked. She was willing to work. She didn’t mind doing the dirty work, right. She was like, please don’t ever make me do a BMA again, or I will quit. That was the only thing she really hated. I would quit to I know it’s terrible. So the for any relocation properties, but anyways, it just worked out. And then I got to see her, become her own person. Yeah, I’m her own realtor. And so it just worked out.

It’s lovely. It’s nice seeing that person, become successful and be good at the business. That’s how I felt about Rebecca, she moved on to a different office, but she’s very successful. And I felt like I had a hand in that.

Yeah, it’s great. That’s lovely. Yeah. Okay, so I am a solo agent. Right now. Yeah. I have an assistant that works 15 hours a week licensed, licensed assistant. Um, I was trying to think if she hasn’t had to do too much that would require her to be licensed. Yeah, every now you know, like, I don’t know. Not much, right? Because I still do my own showings, I go to my inspections, you’re

still trying to be face in front of your client. Right? If they

are there, you’re there. I’m there. Right. But I would like I like my time off, right. So I don’t if I’m not doing like the best thing, which is being face to face with the client. I don’t want to do a lot of the other things. Yeah. You know, the admin and the paperwork and all that. So that’s why she’s there. Yeah. And it’s just been really nice love

that. There’s, when they say there’s two ways to skin a cat. Like, like, there’s just so many different ways you can structure your business. Yeah, that it can change. You’re never stuck. How many? We did talk to someone who’s had a team not had a team been back to the team? Not like, back and forth? Trying to figure it out your own team? Yeah, look, you can go a lot of different ways. And of the people that we

chatted with before this episode, you know, what we found was the number one mistake, write it down? Because you said it in the first five minutes of this episode. What was you said, when you first started real estate? There wasn’t really a lot of teams. But once you got to where you had too much business? Yep. That is when you started a team in. And I think that is true now is that if you cannot handle your business, it may be time

and they say you always start with an admin, right? You don’t start with another agent,

right? Like, ease into it will write slowly and, and build your team to fit the business that you have. Yeah, because what we learned from talking to several people is that the team model failed more often and has more turnover, when you are always hiring, before you have the business ready to go for them.

And it’s hard because you have to think about real estate as a cyclical business. And not every market is the same, you might have taken on a bunch of agents during 2021 2022 When it was so busy. And now as the market shifts and things outside of your control, slow it down. What do I mean? Like you start to let have to let those people go, then you get desperate, you have to buy more online leads. So you can keep feeding them like what? What’s going to happen. So

I saw that there is obviously a direct correlation with when online leads became popular teams became popular. You’re paying for leads you’re paying for leads, you can’t work them all I need to hire. But remember, cold leads online leads and we have a whole episode about this. It’s the hardest business you can possibly work. Yeah. If you had to structure your business into like hardest to easiest. It starts with a cold internet lead. Yeah. All the way up to someone you know, like in love that has sent you a referral or wants to work with you. Right? And so listening back on that episode on cold leads, but that’s the thing. You’re you’re trying to build this team on the hardest source of business, right? And so that’s why as online leads became available. teams started being built on that right. I wonder how many teams there are out there that do not pay for any online leads.

I would love to kind of take a look through our market again and really think about it. I would love to look at how many traditional teams there are the Rainmaker style team, the top, the top of the team, the team leader is a listing agent, right they take a lot of listings and As such they have sign calls, whatever kind of leads come online from those listings that they have leads that come from their production and business. And that’s what they feed to their buyer’s agents. That’s how it was, right? That business model works. It does, it continues to work, because a team leader who is a listing producer is going to as their business like, your your business grows exponentially. Right. Right. And let’s just assume they’re working, repeat referral, every year, they get more repeat referral from the listings that they’ve worked with. So they might have to keep growing their team every year. Yeah. Because they keep getting more listings, and they have all of these leads as a result, right? I mean, I do think there’s probably and we’re gonna, like, let this go after this. There’s probably some hybrid part of that, you know, you see a lot of agents now who ask other agents if they can share their listings. In order to get some, I guess, buyer leads, right? Sure. Like you’re gonna utilize the list. It’s just the same principle as having a real estate website where you put the IDX feed on there and you get the all the listings are there and then maybe you’re gonna grab some people off the internet yourself, by way of using other people’s listings? Sure. Back in the back in the way day before the online before the, like the World Wide Web even existed. The Rainmaker knew people they listed houses, they needed agents to help them with the calls. Correct. Literal sign calls. Yes. That’s it. That’s it. That was the end of the deal. And an open house. Yeah. So I, you know, again, there’s a lot of ways to do it. I’m fascinated by the topic.

Me too. Well, you and I are very simple. We are looking for simplicity. Freedom, right? Yeah, vacation,

I just time off. And I would I can control me. Yeah, I can control me, I can control me. I know what I am going to do today. I can be disappointed in myself or happy with myself. But at the end of the day, I like me, and I’m okay with how I did my job. Yeah. And I don’t have to worry about who’s representing me. It’s just me. Sure. I know what I’m gonna do

most of the time. Right, right.

All right. Are you good? Your whole journey?

I think so. It’s,

they all have twists and turns and changes they do. Okay. Um, now I’m nervous because we listen to the pronunciation of this named Casey. Okay, thanks. Alright. So here’s our toast, everybody. It’s a long one. So strap in. Courtney Kaufman is toasting to Kc chrigel. Yep. The waitlist. The open house girl, the open house girl. On all of her videos. She starts we

were trying to watch her videos on Instagram to see if she was Casey or Cassie. Right. But she wouldn’t say her name. She said, Hey, y’all, it’s the open house girl. I love that she was branded. So she was branded. Well, we had to go back pretty far to find a video where she said her name right.

So so consistently. But Cassie, Casey, Casey, Casey. Yeah, that’s it. Casey is and Courtney are in Eureka, Missouri. Okay, so Courtney says my toast is for my mentor business partner, KC. After a decade in the healthcare setting, I left to pursue a career in real estate and the change was terrifying to say the least. I have now had my license for a little over a year and I’m so proud of all I have accomplished. My brokerage does not have a mentoring program. But right away. Casey, Cassie, Cassie, who Casey Casey, Casey said I can’t do it. You might need to Casey, I’m so sorry. Who also came to real estate from the healthcare field reached out and invited me to coffee. We immediately clicked and she has been an amazing resource teacher support system and source of competence for me. In addition to all that, we are getting ready to launch our very own nonprofit Oh, keys to change that will provide housing and education grants to those in the helping professions. Think ancillary healthcare staff, early childhood educators, entry level teaching nursing staff, EMTs, etc. That’s so cool that don’t meet some of the income requirements for government assistance, but still don’t really make enough to get ahead and are in extremely high demand jobs. We recently had a weekend getaway to plan out 2023 And I can’t wait to see what we accomplished in both real estate and keys to change. I introduce her to this podcast and I love being able to discuss our takeaways from each week. each week’s episode when we meet Tuesday mornings.

I love that. I love that. That’s really sweet.

So thank you so much to coordinate. Cheers to

Casey Casey. Cheers everyone.

Cheers everyone. Have a wonderful day. Hey

thank you so much for tuning in to the hustle humbly podcast.

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Two Realtors fostering community over competition through light-hearted conversations.



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