By: Rick Sheppard
We’ve all heard the expression “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Mark Twain is credited with the quote and I think we can all agree, it’s as spot on today as it was in his day – well over 100 years ago. I suspect it really hits home for anyone who gets up every day and trudges off to a job that they do not enjoy doing.
I’m one of the lucky ones, though – I don’t have to work. No, I’m not a trust fund kid. And no, I have not hit a multi-million-dollar lottery. Yes, I have bills to pay. And yes, I need to earn an income. But I enjoy my job as a real estate agent – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. I simply don’t see my activities as work, making me a living example of what Twain was referring to.
Why I love being a real estate agent:
- I’m the master of my own destiny – my success or failure depends, for the most part, on me – my actions and inactions. And I get to pat myself on the back or learn from my mistakes accordingly. Is there stress? Sure. But my 40 hour/week, paycheck on Friday friends talk about stress all the time. We all have stress. But I control mine, it doesn’t control me.
- Helping people. Ok, we all learn on the first day of real estate school to say that – it just sounds good. But it’s also cliché… and vague. One person’s “appreciated help” can be another’s “annoying meddling”. I’ve learned not to assume. When I meet with a prospective client, or if I’m just speaking with someone about real estate, I work hard at listening. I ask a few questions, then listen some more. Real estate is intertwined with people’s finances and personal life. It’s where they and their family eat, sleep and make memories – very personal stuff. And everyone can use some help with this kind of personal stuff now and then. That’s where I come in, but it’s important that I’ve first learned exactly what it is they need help with. Then I roll up my sleeves, figure out a way to provide that help, and get to it. And I’ve been blessed with many client testimonials thanking me for my help.
- Unlimited income potential, at least theoretically. If you’re a paycheck on Friday employee – white collar or blue collar – your check doesn’t change throughout the year. Sure, you might have had some overtime in a given week. Or you might have received some sort of year-end bonus in December. But for the most part, if you earn $30/hour and you work 40 hours/week, your weekly gross paycheck will be $1200. You might have worked especially hard that week, or you might have slacked off some, but your paycheck will be $1200.
As a commission real estate agent, my income is never certain. I don’t always get a paycheck on Friday. And when I do receive a check, the amount varies depending on my recent production. Less production means less income. More production means more income. My potential, at least theoretically, is unlimited.
- Freedom with my work schedule. My paycheck on Friday friends have a set schedule. It might be the 3rd shift – 11PM to 7AM, Sunday night through Thursday night. It might be banker’s hours – 9AM to 5PM, Monday through Friday. But whatever it is, they are obligated to be at their jobs at that time – period. I enjoy the flexibility of controlling, at least somewhat, where and when I need to “be at my job.” I can have appointments all weekend, wake up Monday morning with an open schedule, and decide on a whim to take a day trip to the shore. I might be up at 4AM preparing a contract on my laptop in my home office. But my afternoon that same day might be completely open. Don’t get me wrong, I work hard while also keeping a close track of my time – a minimum of 40 hours/week every week of the year. Even on vacation I’m often taking calls and sending emails. But I have relative freedom with my work schedule… and I very much appreciate and enjoy that.
The author, Rick Sheppard, is a licensed real estate broker with RE/MAX Achievers, Inc in Collegeville, Pennsylvania and a 33+ year veteran of the real estate trenches. He knows a lot because he’s seen a lot. If you have any questions about this or any real estate related topic, feel free to contact Rick at [email protected] and he’ll do his best to answer your questions.