A healthy work-life balance. We all strive for it, yet so often we’re pulled in a dozen different directions. Have you ever found yourself choosing between disappointing your family, or falling behind in your business? Not to mention sacrificing “me time.” Sometimes it can feel like you are racing against the hours in the day, trying to please everyone.
Real estate can be a particularly gnarly beast when it comes to work-life balance. Being available for one conversation can mean the difference between closing a deal or losing it. So how does one manage it all? We caught up with top real estate producer, and work-life balance expert, Haro Setian, to bring you some simple tips for improving your work-family balance.
1Don’t Use Your Personal Phone with Clients
Balance is all about establishing boundaries and then actually sticking to them. Keep conversations with clients separate from your personal cell phone, and instead have either a dedicated office number, work cell phone, or Google Voice number for all client interactions.
Cell phones have become (whether we like it or not) completely intertwined in our lives, many of us rarely going anywhere without it. So if your personal phone is constantly buzzing with client communication, it will be impossible to “unplug” from work in the evenings.
2Aim for a Listing-Focused Business
If maximizing family time is a priority for you, aim for building a listing-focused business. Of course the ease of this varies from market to market, so we don’t recommend avoiding buyer leads, (especially if you live in a buyer’s market). However, seller leads tend to require fewer hours of work in order to close a deal, so if you want to save time while getting the same payoff, shoot for more listings deals.
“They say that the average listing takes 6 hours of work to close, and the average buyer deal takes 16 hours of work to close.”
With that in mind, consider investing more of your time and resources in seller leads and get a greater payoff without sacrificing the hours that you could be spending with your family.
3Be Direct with Clients from Day One
Haro recommends starting every client relationship with a one-on-one consultation to establish wants, needs, and expectations. Being direct from the very beginning about your availability and process will set the tone for the rest of your interactions.
“At the end of the day, people do what they do because we allow them to. If we tell them we’re not going to respond after 7 and then we text them and email them after 7, we are essentially saying… ‘Well, I didn’t really mean that.’”
Clear and direct communication right from the gate will guarantee two things:
- Your client won’t take advantage of your time or expect you to be available outside of your pre-established hours.
- You will understand exactly what they are looking for. So, if it is a buyer lead, you will likely only have to show them a handful of houses before they want to close. Once you get to that 8-10 mark and they still want to keep looking, consider sitting back down to re-evaluate and make sure you are both on the same page.
4Prioritize & Schedule Family Time
Just as we prioritize and schedule our tasks at work, our family time requires just as much forethought. Consistency is key. Be clear about your commitment to being present for certain parts of the family routine. This could mean being home for dinner by 7 every evening, driving the kids to school every morning, or being in charge of bedtime. Whatever it is, do your best to stick to it so your spouse and kids have something that they can count on.
Understand that the control you have over your time will vary depending on where you are in your business. If you’re a new agent, just starting out, there are sacrifices that you and your family will inevitably have to make. This is a tough industry, and the “daily grind” can be intense. You’re going to have to work those long hours, and put in time on weekends.
Be patient and be mindful of how you are spending every hour. Good communication will take you far. Make sure you are checking in with your spouse, and “unplugging” when you get home so that you can be attentive.
Here’s how Haro schedules family time
- Take an annual family vacation, and plan it a year in advance
- At least twice a month go on a date with your spouse (Pro Tip: Plan something for Saturday morning. Breakfast dates are cheaper, and it’s easier to find a sitter!)
- Do a quarterly weekend away with your spouse, or the whole family (If $ is tight, consider a “staycation.” Pretend that you are tourists in your own city and totally unplug from work)
5Hire an Assistant
“I think every agent should make a goal to do as much business as possible to hire an assistant.”
If you are not in a place in your business yet to hire a full-time assistant, consider starting out with a part-time assistant, or a virtual assistant. An assistant is an investment, and if you hire the right person, your return on that investment will be more business, more efficiency, and more time. Having an assistant, or being a part of close-knit team will allow you to take those vacations without having to answer calls from clients every few hours.
5 Make Sure Your Process is Efficient
Maximize your time. Got a 20 minute drive to the office? Practice your cold call scripts. Working with a buyer lead? Make sure you know A-Z upfront exactly what it is they’re looking for so you’re not wasting time showing a house they’re never going to buy.
“I got really good at scripting, and working with buyers, and so I have a really efficient process.
Automate everything that can and should be automated. With a smart CRM you can automate Smart-Drip email and text campaigns to send personalized and timely communication to your leads without having to do the grunt work. The BoomTown NOW Mobile App lets you see all of your hottest leads in one spot and allows you to aggregate leads by priority. Have a free hour between appointments? You can jump on the Opportunity Wall and call every lead who has recently visited your site.
One of the biggest perks of the real estate industry is the flexibility of essentially being your own boss. So don’t let tedious tasks get in the way of the free time you deserve. It’s a pretty simple formula. Less time spent on tedious tasks equals more time spent closing deals, growing your business, and enjoying time with your family.