Monday, December 10, 2018

Small business owners are a unique breed. You work harder than other folks – longer hours, fewer days off and vacations? Yeah, right.

NAR’s 2018 Member Profile claims that “Most REALTORS®” put in a 40-hour week.” We don’t believe that.

We agree, in fact, with a recent Gallup poll finds that nearly 40 percent of small business owners work more than 60 hours a week. That seems to be more illustrative of the work ethic exhibited by the agents we know.

Furthermore, weekends are prime time for many real estate agents so taking them off like a normal 9-to-5 worker is pretty much out of the question.

That doesn’t mean, however, that you shouldn’t find at least one other day of the week to get away from work. A day for yourself.

Are you “too busy” to take care of your health?

We recently read a survey of small business owners who claimed that, although they promised to take Thanksgiving off, 70 percent did not.

No reason was given, but we can pretty much guess why: “I’m too busy.”

If that sounds like you, enjoy the busyness while it lasts, but allow it to control you at your peril. Science has shown us that working too much leads to health issues:

  • Working non-stop raises your chances of suffering a stroke by more than 30 percent compared to the risk for 40-hours a week folks.
  • Work more than 55 hours a week? Your chance of developing atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat) is 40 percent higher than those who work a sane schedule.
  • An Australian study found that if you work between 49 and 59 hours a week you are 48 percent more likely to experience a decline in your mental health than those who enjoy a standard work week. Work more than 60 hours a week and that chance increases to 53 percent.

Keep in mind that these studies don’t just cover the time spent at the office. Add in the texts you answer during dinner, the emails you respond to from your home office before tucking the kids in and the phone calls you return when the house quiets down for the evening.

Being “too busy” with work should never come before taking care of your health. If for no other reason than that, take a day off every week. 

But there are other reasons

The belief that working “twice the amount of hours results in twice the output is short-sighted and toxic,” according to Jason Lengstorf, architect and lead developer at Gatsby.

Why?

Over the decades since Henry Ford ushered in the 40-hour work week, researchers have attempted to determine exactly how many hours a week we can work and remain productive.

What they’ve learned recently is that a 50-hour work week results in a reduction in productivity (Stanford University). After 55 hours of work, it “falls off a cliff,” according to Bob Sullivan at cnbc.com.

“So much so that someone who puts in 70 hours produces nothing more with those extra 15 hours,” he concluded from the study.

Sadly, the promise that technology would simplify our lives has yet to be kept. Sullivan notes that “technology seems to be irresistibly driving the trend” of working long hours.

This is especially true with real estate agents who insist on being on-call almost 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even on Thanksgiving, apparently.

Elon Musk may have it all wrong

Ryan Cooper at theweek.com calls it “The Musk Meltdown.” It looks like old-fashioned burnout to us.

The man puts in an insane number of hours each week – 120 according to his count. He works in 5-minute segments and is headed toward burnout, according to David Finkel, who co-authored the book “Scale: Seven Proven Principles to Grow Your Business and Get Your Life Back.”

The results – the Twitter tirades, the tears, the admission that he requires a prescription drug to get to sleep, should serve as a lesson for the workaholic real estate agent.

Avoid a similar fate by taking a day off. Every week. Religiously.

And you can do this by relieving yourself of as many of the day-to-day business-running tasks as possible. Either through technology (automating whatever systems you can) or delegation (hiring help if necessary), you can create a boundary between your work and personal life.

 Techniques to consider

We aren’t suggesting you hang your current clients out to dry on your day off. Physicians have an on-call schedule and you should too. They ensure their patients are covered when they’re not on-call.

One of the best suggestions we’ve heard is to team up with another agent. You cover for her on her day off and she does the same for you on your day off.

If you’re a member of a real estate team, this one should be simple. If not, find another agent in your office with a similar work ethic.

Then, when it’s your turn and you finally have that 24 hours of leisure time, use it wisely. Reading through agents’ thoughts on the day-off issue at activerain.com, we came across a post from an agent who writes about an annual event in his area that is so special, “it is one of the few days I do take off.”

In the very next sentence, he says that “even some present and prior clients/friends joined us.”

Don’t kid yourself. If clients, whether current or former, are involved in your activities, you are working. It is not a day off.

Turn your phone off and shut down your computer to resist doing work on those days. It’s far too easy to allow one phone call, one text or one email to turn into just another day at work.

And, if you find you just can’t seem to stick to a weekly day off, start smaller. Try a day off during alternating weeks or one every 10 days. Do whatever it takes. And don’t you dare work on your day off. The real estate world will still be here when you get back.

Want an easy way to stay in touch with your past and potential customers that won’t take time or thought? Send out a monthly postcard from our Holiday Series to your chosen mailing list (yes, there are holidays to celebrate every month of the year).

This month send out the Most Wonderful Time of the Year postcard from our Holiday Series to your chosen mailing list.
Let the people that are important to you and your business know you are thinking about them.

Need help targeting the perfect niche of buyers or sellers? Use our mailing list tool to create the ideal list (it’s easy) or call our support team for assistance at 866.405.3638!

PLUS: When you have time…here are 4 free ways we can help you STILL CRUSH IT in 2018!

1. Become a Listing Legend Free eBook.

Ready to take a vertical leap in your real estate career? If you’re looking for inspiration…and the tools and methods to dominate a market and go to the top in real estate…you’ll find them in this free book. – Click Here 

2. The Free 2019 Real Estate Business Plan.

Treat your business like a business it is vital to long-term success in this industry. Some agents may put together elaborate business plans, yet there’s something powerful about keeping it simple. Check out our one page Online Real Estate Business Plan  – Click Here

3. The 12 Month Done-For-You Strategic Marketing Plan.

The Real Estate Marketing Planner is a powerful 12-Month-Guide that strategically defines what marketing to do when. Four key market segments are included, Niche Marketing, Listing Inventory, Geographic Farming, and Sphere of Influence – Click Here

4. The Free Online ROI Calculator. 

Consistency and automation are the keys to success. Discover how effective direct mail marketing can dramatically increase your bottom line. Enter your statistics in our Free online ROI Calculator and click the ‘CALCULATE MY ROI’ button to see your results instantly! – Click Here

Also…check out these cool tools 

 Three Click Postcards – Just snap a home photo & create a postcard all from your mobile phone

MLSmailings.com – Automated Just Listed, Just Sold Postcards

Market Dominator System – Become a neighborhood brand

Want to Refer a friend or colleague? Refer them, Here. THEY get a Free $25 Gift Card and YOU become their hero. BTW, you also get a $25 Gift Card too (now that’s what I’m talking about)!