Bestselling author, real estate investor, and seasoned entrepreneur Raymond Sjolseth has founded 45 companies. Through both his five successes and 40 failures, Sjolseth learned how to build a scalable business foundation the right way, the first time. Real estate agents recently had the opportunity to tap into these insights during “The Startup Agent: Unique Strategies to Jumpstart a Winning Real Estate Business,” a live training session exclusively for the BidMyListing community. Click here to watch the event recording or read on to learn our top five takeaways.
1. Mindset makes or breaks a business
We’ve all heard the saying, “you are what you think about.” This cliché has stuck around for a simple reason: it’s true. Understanding what you think at your core can and does affect your business. Sjolseth encourages real estate agents to adopt the mindset of an entrepreneur and internalize the belief that “everything begins again.” Whether it’s a failed home inspection, soured negotiations, or snags at closing, setbacks will inevitably happen to all real estate agents. Those who think about problems from different angles, who consciously consider what’s not working and change it, will keep themselves in the game and set themselves up for success.
2. Find the whos, not the hows
“Even solo agents have a team,” says Sjolseth, “and there’s more than just you involved in your business.” From home inspectors and appraisers to title companies and mortgage lenders, every deal you conduct will involve working with other professionals. Sjolseth encourages real estate agents to embrace this team-oriented view of real estate and concentrate on “finding the whos, not the hows.” This simple perspective shift allows real estate agents to leverage their strengths and unique skills as business drivers, rather than expending energy on less synergistic tasks.
3. Go all in on authenticity
In the real estate industry, Sjolseth notes, every agent promotes the same market data and the same topics. Repeating and recycling identical content makes it impossible to stand out from the rest of the pack. Instead, Sjolseth advises that real estate agents lean into individuality and let their personalities shine, allowing prospective clients to get a feel for agents on a personal level. Applying this approach doesn’t require a professional filming setup or an expansive social media plan. Agents can start small by engaging in local Facebook groups, building connections with other group members, and turning those connections into a network over time. In short, “figure out who you are, what you’re good at, and show it to your clients.”
4. Invest time in your network
Opportunity exists even with low inventory and a fluctuating housing market – and Sjolseth has become a master at finding it. His secret? Investing heavily in turning his network into a funnel by “doing the work that no one else wants to do.” Sjolseth cites first-time buyers as a prime example of this tactic. He and his team regularly identify renters interested in homeownership and spend time preparing them for the buying process by introducing them to lenders, explaining transactional steps and requirements, and more. While this approach is time-intensive and doesn't always convert immediately, Sjolseth believes it generates a “more loyal fanbase” that pays off over time.
5. Be seen and get found
While Sjolseth has built a thriving multimedia content network, he recommends that real estate agents new to digital marketing start small by “focusing on your foundation and the startup phase.” For online media, this means picking one core social platform and optimizing it. Sjolseth also suggests that agents forego business pages in favor of personal pages. While your profile photos and details should include your business information, most content on the page should stay authentic – and personal. Sjolseth recommends an 80-20 content split, with 80 percent focusing on individual interests and just 20 percent on real estate.
If you missed the webinar, click here to access the event recording. To hear more of Sjolseth’s secrets to success, subscribe to “The Agent Podcast” or purchase his bestselling book “The Startup Agent: Start Your Real Estate Business The Right Way, The First Time.”
Stay tuned for more free live training sessions with other real estate experts, exclusively for the BidMyListing community!