Set Your Solo Business Up for Success With These Sustainable Strategies
You can never be all things to all people, but when you’re a solo agent, it may feel like you should try. Attempting to do everything yourself can be a surefire recipe for burnout, but flying solo has its perks too. In The Millionaire Real Estate Agent, Gary Keller and Jay Papasan characterize solo agents as people who value simplicity, autonomy, and freedom in their day-to-day businesses. So, how do you enjoy those solo-agent benefits while shoring up the sustainability of running your business alone? Try finding support, thinking big about branding, and committing to service.
Related reading: 5 Ways to Succeed as a Solo Agent in 2021
Solo Doesn’t Mean Alone
The term “solo agent” only refers to a single sales agent, so the possibilities are endless when it comes to supporting yourself within your business. While many people may feel they have to do everything themselves, it’s important to recognize that you can bring several partners into the mix, like administrative support and technology vendors.
“I think there’s never been a bigger time or a better time for opportunity as well,” says Papasan, pointing to the technology and vendor relationships available to agents. “Whether that be a contract closed or not, you’re not responsible for your employee, yet they can take work off your plate; you can scale a pretty big business and be a solo partner.”
Think about which aspects of your business create the biggest pull on your efforts and time, and hire to delegate those, whether that means a transaction coordinator, an administrative assistant, or a showing assistant.
Chrissy Mallouf, a solo agent in Denton, Texas, with $27 million in volume for 2020, found she needed a showing assistant when low inventory meant she had to show four buyers the same home. She didn’t want her clients to know, so after each showing, she would drive around the block and hope those clients would leave before her next buyers showed up.
“This was when I needed help, so I called and got a showing assistant to help me,” she says. “That has been a huge help in my business. It’s really important to be able to give my clients that service and still have me, but if I’m not available, they’re still going to be able to get in that house and see it.”
Cast a Vision for Your Business
As a solo agent, you are your business, so it’s imperative to define your brand and your vision for your business as well as what sets you apart from other agents and teams. That brand definition can come from knowing what you’re working toward, your preferred method of lead generation, or tweaking your social media presence. While we often think of branding our businesses in intangible terms like fostering bonds with clients, don’t overlook the physical aspects of branding as well, including logo, typography, and colors.
Ruth Horace, a mother of six and a solo agent in San Antonio, Texas, with $13 million in volume in 2020, wanted her brand to be an extension of her identity as a “family person.” She even invited her clients to her own driveway over the holidays for a grab-and-go breakfast with Santa, an event she plans on repeating in the future.
“When I have a client and we close, I’m like, ‘Welcome to the family!’” she says. “Having a 14-year business with nothing but referrals is really important because they do know that they’re part of the family. They’re included. They’re never forgotten whether it’s a holiday, a birthday, or a recipe they’d like. For me, the bottom line is if you’re not building a relationship with genuine concern and love for them, it’s not going to come back to you.”
It’s worth taking the time to examine what a successful and sustainable lead generation strategy looks like for you, whether it’s prioritizing time for more one-on-one interaction or thinking outside the box to a personally branded magazine or jumping on the TikTok bandwagon.
Focus on Service, Value, and Your Database
The three fundamentals of every sales business are service, value, and building your database. Those three items are just as important, if not more so, for the solo agent, and Mallouf found a niche for achieving all three within her use of social media, which has in turn become her top source of leads.
“Being relatable is number one,” she says. Here are some ways through which Mallouf has built a relatable persona online:
- Hamming it up in music videos. “I’m not good at singing, but I can dance all day long,” she says.
- Spotlighting favorites in the community, like her favorite breakfast taco place.
- Getting the word out about her appearances at community events. “I provide food and swag and cookies with my face on it,” she says.
- Showcasing those who need it most and inviting followers to give back alongside her. “We pick charities, and we’ll have a big check presentation, or we’ll have people show up with canned foods or gift cards for the children’s home,” she says.
- Asking for input – and then getting a little extra. “In the month of December, I have a landing page where people nominate houses that have extreme Christmas lights,” she says. “Then I’ll go live and show up at the door with a big trophy.”
Related reading: Outfront Social Media Archives
As Mallouf has found, authenticity can deepen the bench in your database while also offering service that feels true to who you are.
“Social media is definitely a great catapult to your business if you use it right,” she adds. “You always have to maintain a positive image, so a lot of my posts are helpful. You want to be that resource, that local expert.”
How do you avoid burnout as a solo agent? Let us know in the comments section.