I never imagined that I would start my own business, but it seemed like the best thing I could do for myself. I’ve done so many different things; waitressing, marketing, secretary, paralegal and substitute teaching. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do anything with an English degree!
But in the end, I found my career in real estate. I got my license and began working for a big company. It was fantastic! I was bringing in more money than anyone else in the office, and I enjoyed what I was doing. After two years, I finally decided that if I worked for myself, I could make more money and have more control. So I struck out on my own.
I rented a small office and hired two people. I put out advertisements and ordered real estate signs. I was ready!
For the first four months, things were much slower than I expected. I knew it would be a challenge to get my name out there, but this was bleak. We sold just one house and had one other one that no one seemed to be interested in. Plus, I had tons of business expenses to pay that I hadn’t considered. I was starting to think this was a bad idea.
But before I closed shop, I decided to look at everything I was doing and compare it to what the big real estate companies were doing. I realized that my biggest problem was that I only had a limited amount of money to advertise with, and therefore not only were people unaware of me, but they weren’t aware of the houses I had on the market.
I had gone to Kinko’s for my real estate agent signs, which were heavy paper signs that said “For Sale” along with my phone number mounted on a steak I jammed into the ground. When I worked at my old job, I had nice, sturdy aluminum signs that were professionally mounted in an A—frame. They also had a lot more info on them. I recognized that my signs looked unprofessional and didn’t attract buyers at all.
So, along with printing flyers, sending out a press release and investing in a TV ad on the local station, I decided to focus on my real estate signs. After all, those signs are the first impression I make on a buyer and can give them the impression that I’m an amateur or a professional, successful agent.
I found an awesome company to purchase my real estate signs from online. The signs were fairly priced, they had tons of options and they shipped free. Plus, they offer quantity discounts — something extremely helpful when it comes to real estate signs, because you’re always ordering multiples.
They also helped me determine what to put on my customized real estate sign, which is particularly important. I learned that I should use highly contrasting colors to catch people’s eye, so I chose blue on white. I included my name, phone number, website, a full color picture of myself and I was able to easily calculate what size my letters should be for optimum viewing.
Plus, I found out that many agents are now putting QR codes on their real estate signs. QR codes are like little barcode graphics that anyone with a smartphone can take a picture of and they will be automatically directed to whatever URL I want. I made my QR codes link to virtual tours. That way people will be able to immediately see the house and stay interested!
A few days after I began advertising, I got a bunch of calls. Suddenly, I had five houses on the market! And I got a lot of interest from buyers who said my vibrant, professional real estate signs caught their attention! And people loved my QR codes, which they said really made them feel like I put customer service first.
So in the end, starting my own real estate business was a great idea. I recommend that successful agents give it a shot if it feels right for them. Be sure to get your name out there and have professional looking real estate sign