Are real estate agents and LOs entrepreneurs?

By Housing News

The word entrepreneur is thrown around quite a bit these days. It’s used interchangeably with self-employed or founder. Basically, anyone who works for themselves should be considered an entrepreneur, right? 

The true definition of an entrepreneur is “a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so.” 

So with that definition in mind, are real estate agents and loan officers entrepreneurs?

I’ve heard some say no, because some agents and LO’s have to follow a schedule that their team leader or manager sets for them. They have to perform certain duties that are set by someone else. But to me, that doesn’t really matter. Because at the end of the day, the salesperson is still 100% responsible for any success or failure that comes their way. 

I would say yes, of course, agents, LO’s and mortgage brokers are entrepreneurs. They have to literally wear all of the hats within their business. Marketing, legal, accounting, bookkeeping, branding, graphic design, video editing and, of course, servicing the customers and completing everything involved in the course of a transaction. 

I believe any profession in which you are 100% personally responsible for any failure or success, and you have to run the business itself and acquire your own customers; that’s entrepreneurship.

Just because you’re selling homes does not make you any less of an entrepreneur. You are no less of an entrepreneur than someone who designs T-shirts or makes homemade soap and sells them on Shopify or Etsy.

Even after all that time agents and LOs spent educating themselves, marketing and advertising to attract new clients, then servicing the clients, they still don’t get paid unless a deal actually closes. If the deal doesn’t close, no one gets paid a dime.

I think that qualifies as “greater than normal financial risks.” Those are the kind of risks that Realtors and LOs take on every single day. And you tell me they’re not “real” entrepreneurs?

Please don’t come at me trying to compare an agent or LO to some other commission-based salesman. Apples and oranges. A car salesman or watch salesman doesn’t also have to do Quickbooks for the company they work for and develop, pay for and implement the dealerships ad campaigns. They’re employees who get paid a commission. Not the same thing.

The problem is that many housing professionals don’t view themselves as entrepreneurs! 

It’s obvious because they show up at the office for their “floor time” feeling like an employee. How is any agent or LO supposed to be successful when they feel like they don’t fully control their own destiny?

If you don’t think you control your ability to get new clients and close deals, then I guess you’re right. But you’re also dead wrong. 

Struggling to find your next client to work with? Take responsibility. Realize that you, and you alone, control the work that’s required to attract new clients. Make sure you’re doing productive, effective things, and then get after it. 

When you get your real estate or mortgage license, you’re basically thrown into the deep end to learn how to swim, or in this case, to sell homes or close loans. The classes required for licensing really just teach you enough to keep you out of jail (and even that’s debatable!) 

The real education begins once you get your license. You quickly realize, “Ohh crap…  you’d better get to work because it’s all on you.”

If you’re going to have a paycheck in a month or two, you’d better make it happen. 

Too many in our profession have forgotten that feeling, and have gotten a bit too lazy when it comes to getting new clients and staying up on the most current trends and technology.

You know the ones. They’ve been coasting off of referrals for the last decade, even though privately they’re scared to death because those referrals are slowing down or drying up. They don’t know what to do or where to start because they took their foot off the gas years ago, and now don’t even know where the pedal is. 

Even that agent or LO that I just described can turn things around very quickly. They already have expertise closing deals. Now they just need to get going on a solid, modern, effective marketing plan and they can jumpstart their business again.

So, do you consider yourself an entrepreneur? You are, whether or not you believe it.

Those who act like it will thrive. Those who don’t will learn the hard way that you can’t rely on anyone but yourself to make a living. 

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