Need A Village

It’s so easy to walk in here with a breezy blog voice and promise you parenting and selling real estate is all going to be as fun, as long as you follow a few simple steps. 

Instead, prepare to want to punch me in the face, but you’re welcome later. 

Because if I told you anything other than what you’re about to attempt is hard as hell, hell coated in toddler puke, I would be lying to you. 

I’m going to lay out what you need to do, and it’s going to sound breezier than it is. But through all the chaos and weariness, these principles will serve as your north star, guiding you through the hardest years of making it as a mother and a real estate broker.  

Finding the community that will help you most

No doubt you’ve heard the proverb that it takes a village to raise a child. I agree. Community is everything. 

So why do moms forget that? I think it’s because being a mom starting a career can be super isolating: you often feel like you need to keep your head down and work work work work work to figure out how to make it sustainable. But that’s actually counterproductive to your long-term success.

If you want to be a successful real estate broker and mother, you have to think about the community you build around yourself. 

There are three roles you’ll need to fill, the tripod that will prop you up, that can make the difference between your standard career and a stellar career. 

Ask yourself who can be this person in your life:

Who pushes you out of your comfort zone?

Everybody needs someone who pushes her to do the work that she’d rather avoid. For some of us, it’s going to be making those cold calls, for others, it’s getting your admin in order. 

For me, it’s my assistant, who helps me push publish on posts I’m wasting time tweaking toward perfection, pushes me to call people I don’t want to, and keeps my calendar full of the appointments I need to keep for the back end of my business to stay on track.

You have a few options for who this person can be. 

If you have the money to invest, I recommend a coach. I have used coaches for most of my career and almost any truly successful broker has a coach or two!

You can also get an assistant who’s better in some areas than you are. They are usually less expensive, but can’t offer the kind of vision you could get in a coach because they are usually junior to you in experience and therefore more of a mentee role or administrative.

Sometimes, all our money is going to childcare, staging, looking fantastic, and we can’t stomach spending another dime. In this case, your best option is an accountability partner. 

I once was on a panel with four successful mom brokers. I almost want to say it was three people, because two were a team that also served as accountability partners to each other. The other women had coaches. In all cases, there were structures in place to get support.  

This person is a full-on accountability partner with whom you’re in touch. Consistently is essential. Daily is best. Perhaps a coffee meeting in the morning or a crack of dawn text about your daily goals to accomplish and an afternoon check-in to see how they are going. You want someone who’s willing to meet with you no fewer than three times a week. 

This person should make sure you’re doing everything you say you’re going to do to build your business.

To seek this person out, start with your company. Ask your manager who might be a good fit, meet people within the office, and see who you click with. Start with coffee and see how that goes. Go to open houses. There’s a level of hustle to finding accountability partners.

And don’t forget, even in a mentor relationship, you also need to provide value if no money is being exchanged. If you have a quality mentor, chances are they are worth some kind of compensation in return.  Favors such as covering open houses go a long way. As with energy exchanges and all relationships, make sure you’re giving as much as you’re getting. 

Who can keep your children safe, entertained, and growing while you’re working?

The truth of motherhood is that you need childcare to be able to do most things, especially when your kids are little. 

Quality childcare is key. That means someone you feel your children are safe with, someone who gives you emotional support, and someone who actually does most of the things you ask them to do. You must find someone who makes you feel less stressed, not more.

Chances are you’re a Type A Get. It. Done. kind of woman. You’re going to have to let some blood back into those knuckles, because quality childcare isn’t just about the caregiver. It’s about you, too. In order to have an awesome childcare experience, you must learn to let go. 

And you’re going to have to understand that this is part of your happy family. Here’s what I know from a decade of living this way: Me having career goals is more important than me being half-present but physically with my kids 24/7. There are no trophies for checking off some kind of motherly perfect attendance. What matters most is being the best version of yourself when you spend quality time with your kids. Doing the best we can to show them what it looks like to live our lives to their fullest potential. 

The child care model I’ve decided on is a stable figure who also helps with household tasks coupled with classes or daytime school programs depending on the ages and needs of my children. Other babysitters are for extra pickups and dropoffs, specific help with academics, and evening and weekend care. If you’re really going to upscale your business, there’s got to be someone who handles household tasks that don’t have to be done by mom to be done well. If you’re going to work full time with more than one child attending different schools, you might need a second person as a backup. 

Generally speaking, younger, more transient care is great for children’s intellectual stimulation, homework help, transporting them to activities and doing fun things. When quality in-home childcare is scarce, look for bright and clean drop off programs that have quality caregivers holding educational degrees.  Only if you have peace of mind about your childcare can you focus on your career and being there when you kids need you most. 

Of course, I maintain our sacred time. For me, it’s the mornings and the evenings. Between 7- 9 a.m. and after 6 p.m are the key times for me to be with them and to be mom. That schedule is going to be different for everyone.

Here’s one thing you must understand: When your kids are little, you might not be super profitable in your business. It might be a wash for a couple of years. But if you stick with it, your profitability will improve. You’re investing in yourself. Don’t give up.

Who’s your back up?

You need a partner. It doesn’t have to be your partner-partner, but you need someone to lean on, bounce ideas off of, and serve as your spare brain when yours is sleep-deprived. It’s borrowing brainpower, being able to say something out loud, to hear how it sounds. 

In the morning, my husband makes breakfast while I work out, then I come home. That’s his role, because he’s good at it. I get home towards the end of breakfast, and I help my kids get ready for school. 

As moms, our lives are about logistics. And it’s ever-changing. It’s like what the tech industry calls agile development. You’re always in the process of figuring it out and adjusting. 

Childcare, careers, life: they’re constantly changing. Your structure and attitude have to respond and change in real time, too. You’re never going to set something up that’s going to stick forever. So it’s nice to have someone to notice when there are duplicated efforts, when there’s something that one of your kids might need, someone who can show up when something comes up. 

It doesn’t have to be a partner. It can be family, if you have someone close. If that space is open, you’re going to need to be intentional about finding a go-to person. This is a person you can call last-minute when you get a valuable opportunity. This is a person who can say yes to you so you can say yes to your clients. 

Your best bet is to get out and meet other moms. If you can meet someone who can pick up your kids three days one week and you or your caregiver can do it the following week. Find someone who can be there when you need to call, who might want to do a nanny share, you’re going to be so much more stable. 

As a successful momtrepreneur, so many people will swirl in your world. Make sure you’re keeping some key people close.

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