The business of mommin’ aint easy. Add on the responsibilities of prospecting, meeting with clients, and staging properties for real estate showings while building your real estate brand, etc. – and it can all feel overwhelming, if not impossible.
Yes, managing it all can seem very challenging. Do you use your weekends for client meetings, making negotiations and lead generation, or spend time on other meaningful things in your life such as personal and family affairs that bring you joy? Yes, you can do it all – you just need to learn how to balance your priorities and set boundaries as needed.
As I sat down with Leigh Brown, independent broker with 22 years under her belt and two teenage children, I was fascinated with hearing her spin on maintaining balance in all areas of life.
We’re boss moms and we’re ready to take the wheel. Determined to network and make the softball game on time. Make cold calls and cook breakfast. Take clients to property tours and still be able to make it to the park on Sunday with the whole family.
Here is Leigh’s take on managing work life balance as a mom mogul in real estate.
Experience in Hospitality is Crucial
Chances are if you’re in real estate, you’ve been in the hospitality business in some way. Maybe you waited on tables, greeted patrons as a hostess, even mixed drinks behind the bar. There is a strong parallel between serving clients in the hospitality industry and understanding what it takes to serve clients in real estate.
Leigh feels that her earlier hospitality background instilled in her vital skills that have served her well in real estate. In the hospitality industry, you must make decisions on the fly daily. There’s new scheduling to cater to each day and ever-changing patrons with a diverse range of personalities to contend with. You must be flexible, proactive, and figure out how to solve problems as they come up. These undertakings correlate with a broker’s day-to-day life. But instead of catering to hungry patrons, you’re serving demanding buyers and sellers of properties.
According to Leigh, about one third of the highly successful realtors in our country originated from hospitality backgrounds. Skills that you gain from working in hospitality that also apply to the field of real estate include:
- Learning how to deal with the general public
- Managing finances when you don’t have a set income
- Managing busy and slow times
- Managing changing schedules
- Learning how to cooperate with and cater to diverse personalities
Hospitality wasn’t just the best way to pay my bills, it was a vital tool that taught me how to get ahead of issues before they erupt – which is what we also need to do as brokers and moms. If you don’t effectively communicate with your restaurants’ customers, they’ll grow annoyed. Likewise, if you don’t communicate or schedule accordingly with your leads, clients, and family… they can (and probably will) grow agitated and lose your trust.
To Leigh, the ever-changing real estate market that is now moving into what seems a slower playing field offers a unique opportunity to serve our community differently while growing as realtors. And as caretakers, a slower market means that we have more time to use to our advantage as we continuously balance our full plate of priorities. This is an ideal time to capitalize even more on our hospitality skills. Let’s try to be straightforward in our communications with our clients, and if we have hard news, do our best to share it early and quickly.
Know When To Unplug
You could be reading this very blog post on your phone right now, and if not, we bet your mobile device is at least somewhere in your close vicinity. And sure, it makes sense that we feel that we need to be constantly plugged in and in the loop when there’s always the possibility of a hot new ticket out around the corner or we have good news to share with a client. However, there are also times when ‘airplane mode’ could be your best friend.
Maintaining balance can feel nearly impossible. It’s more like: work/life integration. To Leigh, turning off your cell phone or leaving it physically out of sight is a must at times in order to allow yourself much-needed space to regroup as you balance your priorities. Unplugging helps you stop, breathe and listen, which will help you be a more tuned-in mom.
Here are some scenarios to consider unplugging from your cell phone.
- In the car. With your cell phone off, you can make yourself fully available to listen to your children in depth, and catch up on the events of their day. And this of course also offers value back to your real estate career, helping you improve your communications as a broker.
- When showing properties to clients. You don’t need your phone when you’re in the middle of showing properties! Consider leaving your phone off or leaving it in the car. When you unplug during showings, clients will see that your attention is entirely devoted to them at the time and they won’t question your loyalty.
- At your children’s events. Be fully present during meaningful, quality times with your children and savor these special moments. Your kids notice when they have your undivided attention. As their parents, it means all the difference in the world to your bond with them.
Set Boundaries and Communicate Them
As a working mom, time management is of the essence. I know my weekly working hours could seem crazy to some, but that’s ok because I love what I do. What matters is that there always needs to be time set to spend quality time with the family. With 24 hours in the day and 7 days in the week, Leigh lets us know how it’s done.
Having gut feelings like: I’m scared to lose business or I’m going to disappoint this client are natural, but that doesn’t make them correct. It’s crucial to decide how many hours you are willing to devote to work and then be completely open with clients about it. As a mom who works 80-100 hours weekly and never gives up a Sunday, here’s some tricks Leigh swears by:
- Explicitly express your availability during the week to your clients, using hours (ie. 7am-7pm)
- Stick to your time window, put guardrails up, and don’t let clients in otherwise
- Make weekends ‘by appointment only’ and don’t book on your desired day
- Let clients know when you have important, personal events and affairs that by under no circumstance you want to be interrupted from. That way then you can fully enjoy these special times with your family.
As a dual mom and real estate mogul, setting boundaries between your busy worlds can be tricky, but it is necessary. After all, you can’t be everywhere, with everybody, at all times.
But remember, killing it in the fiercely competitive world of real estate while balancing the busy demands of motherhood – and not losing your mind – is possible.
Mama, you got this!
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