Behind the Mask

Thanks to those of you that continue to follow my posts and be avid readers of our journey. It’s been a long time since my last post. I had to name this post, “Behind the Mask,” because in our new Covid World we’re living in, we’re mostly all behind a mask. Who could have known this would be the way 2020 would look like?

Opening a business in a new City certainly sounds fun. Doing it in the middle of a national pandemic, probably not something I would advise. However, we are doing it! I’m proud of where we’ve gotten to thus far, albeit not where I had hoped, but proud also of where we are headed.

The Covid era certainly turned things upside down in our real estate business and in our personal lives. Turning from a very people centric business building relationships daily from face to face interactions, to doing things behind a computer and showing your worth through electronic documents and Zoom meetings … embracing the newly daily used word “virtual.” Then, from a personal standpoint, raising an 8 and 11 year old in a new virtual school platform. Let’s just say it’s been a year of being agile and adapting to change quickly. Heck, we are still changing things often as we see a need.

Our real estate team is selling houses and helping others make their American Dream of home ownership come true. For some, they are selling to move closer to family or due to learning the hard way through this pandemic that their house is too large or too small or too “open.” Clients of ours at almost every new buyer consultation told us they wanted an “open concept” or “open floor plan.” Some still do prefer that, but my how things have changed. Due to the economy, some people have had to sell their homes and start a new chapter too. Luckily for buyers, the interest rates are at historic lows. Luckily for sellers, there’s a national shortage of homes for sale and inventory on the market, so that is keeping home prices on a steady rise.

As a mom, I have to say I’m grateful for each and every moment and lesson of this year. The opportunities and time we’ve been able to spend together are priceless. My 11 year old daughter and I did months worth of “positive posts” on a daily Facebook Live sharing a positive thing that happened each day in our own lives. We had family workout time together. We chatted a lot as a family about how this has affected school, work, travel, and so much more. We also took a 24 day road trip and saw 15 different states. What an incredible opportunity and something that never would have happened if the kids were in school full time and my husband still traveling crazily for work all the time.

All in all, it’s been a YEAR, hasn’t it? It’s been a year of unknown, a year of successes, failures, family time, and new opportunities. As we go into the end of the year, I encourage all of us to reflect on not the hardships we’ve had through this pandemic, but what positives we have seen as well. There are many when you really stop to think about it. If you’d like, please share with me and comment below too. I’d love to read about your positivity and viewpoint as well.

Is It Time to Hire Team Support Staff? Tales of an Expansion Team – Part 8

Thanks for your continued support and encouragement along this journey! In my last post, I stated that consistency is key to our success in this business. Another key I have found is surrounding myself with great people – not just in my personal life, but also in business. This is important in our teams. Grand Allure Home Group is now successfully operating teams in two markets – the West Michigan area and the Charlotte, NC area. What I’ve found to be the most important to this success is a solid foundation in our amazing admin team. What I mean by this is much more than saying they’re amazing. We, as a team, can depend on them each and every day. Our admin team of Loree, Alicia, Lisa, and Tracy share our team culture, almost one heartbeat and seems like one mind at times. They show up on time, they don’t complain (well, rarely complain – ha ha!), no one sits around waiting for a list of tasks to do each day from me, and they know each other’s strengths and weaknesses to lean on. We are very lucky that these ladies have truly bonded over the years and work harmoniously. I realize that not all admins work this way and that office politics and personalities quite often interfere in the workplace. However, as the Team Leader, you must do your very best to foster a culture of productivity and have set core values to live by on a daily basis. It is also imperative to have clearly defined roles and responsibilities within the structure of a team. Our team has four admins including a Client Care Coordinator, Transaction Coordinator, Marketing Director and Team Support Staff Member. The purpose of the Team Support staff member is to make us all look good and to literally offer assistance anywhere it’s needed. She assists us with sign placement, lockbox/key coordination, closing gift preparation, back end support, recruiting help, IVR setup, and more. As I’m sure you’ve heard said before, if you don’t have an admin, you are one. If you do have an admin and need some additional support, it may be worth hiring a part time Team Support staff member to avoid higher costs for outsourcing certain tasks and gives you the personalized support you may need. Who knows … this person may even prove themselves so valuable, it turns into a full time position for you. Ensure you have a great foundation and as much Team Support as possible and you are well on your way to expanding your business.

Consistency is Key: Tales of an Expansion Team – Part 7

Welcome to another update regarding our team’s expansion (second location). Please click here for my previous articles. It’s now a new year, 2020! Wow – a new decade! As I reflect upon the past year, we’ve made some huge strides, faced some obstacles, some failures – or shall we say, ‘opportunities for growth’ and more. During this expansion, which has been challenging, I’ve shared the tough paths we’ve endured thus far. However, I think it’s also important to relish our success a bit too. Shall we?

I’m super proud to say that the Grand Allure Home Group in West Michigan served nearly 100 families in 2019. We donated a portion of our compensation from each of these home sales to the Children’s Miracle Network, an organization our team and RE/MAX is passionate about. We received numerous donations from food/canned good supplies to a winter coat drive, and more collected from our amazing team and clients at our client events to assist the local community. As a team, we’ve laughed, cried, lost a few dear loved ones, lost a few beloved pets, and have worked hard together.

We’ve enjoyed team outings, family team outings and countless hours meeting about and brainstorming about our business and how to lead with a grateful heart and servant mindset. I couldn’t be prouder of the wonderful group of individuals I am blessed to work beside each day.

As my last article referenced, the Grand Allure Home Group in Charlotte, NC is up and running and open for business. We’ve already excitedly helped three families just this week achieve their desire of buying and/or selling in /around the Queen City area. I mentioned in my last (In the Part 6 Article), about my focus to add 3 people per day to my sphere/my database. While I can tell you I’ve certainly been productive towards that goal, I can also tell you there’s room for improvement. I’ve met a ton of people already in this ‘new area’ for my family and I. I’ve attended coffee and connections events, networking luncheons, volunteered at my kid’s school, met other like-minded people at the gym, attending my local MLS’s networking event and more. I will continue to do this – not only because it’s good for my business, but also, it’s something I love to do. I thoroughly enjoy meeting and talking to new people everywhere I go…So much so that my husband makes fun of me for it.

What I’ve learned though and hopefully what you can also learn from this is consistency is key – no matter what you may choose to do that aligns with your personality. On Monday, Wednesday, Friday mornings, my husband and I put the kids on their school bus and then we enjoy a walk around the neighborhood together. Not only is it great for our health, but also for our relationship. This time alone with each other’s undivided attention at 6:30 am is precious to both of us. During our walk last week, my husband noticed a woodpecker and chuckled at how dumb it is for that bird to hammer its beak into word. However, it led us to an even more important discussion about the fact that it works. The bird consistently pecks at the same spot and eventually chisels a hole. Viola! It’s the bird’s consistency (sometimes over weeks at a time per Google). How cool!

So, I immediately applied that to my business. You see, I’m the same extroverted person in the North Carolina area that I am in the West Michigan area. This love for relationships and people has aided in my success in this industry. And, it’s something I like doing. I don’t prefer to call people and get hung up on, but some people don’t mind that at all and thrive in those types of money-making activities. So, I encourage YOU! I encourage you to hone in on what you naturally like to do, find a way to fit that into your business/business plan and to remain consistent with it. Be the woodpecker of your market!

Looking To Expand To Another Market – Part 6

Welcome back to my journey of opening an expansion team in another market. If you’ve been following along, you now know all of the “fun” it’s been so far. If you haven’t been following along, do yourself a favor and at least go read the last few parts to see just how nutty an individual I am.

We are newly Charlotte residents (from Michigan) for a few weeks now.  The kids are in there new school and each already have “3 best friends” they say. This just warms my heart knowing my kids are happy and welcomed.

I’ve now setup my office as planned with my local RE/MAX Executive Brokerage. I’ve been in setup mode – making my office feel settled by moving in my photos, office supplies and more. At home, we’ve been unpacking, painting, meeting new neighbors and more. After several tech challenges … from having to plug in my laptop computer to an old-school ethernet cord in my office to get online … to spilling water on the keyboard of my laptop …. I feel like I can finally get to work.

Now … what do I do? Or what do I do first at least? I spoke to our awesome Office Recruiter who gave me a list of other agents in the area possibly thinking of joining the Brokerage and/or the team. I reached out to all of them to no avail. A few said they were happy with their current situation and I wished them well. Of course, I was not going to give up. I was still waiting for the local MLS to process the paperwork to grant me access, so I felt at a standstill. In the meantime, I got to work getting our letterhead, cards, folders, etc. branded with the NC team info. I was editing our website, trying to get setup with RE/MAX LLC with a second agent profile, and taking care of all of the behind the scenes details.

In hindsight, these were all things that I could have (and should have) done in the months leading up to the official NC office launch. This was the time I should have been focusing on the dollar-producing activities and prospecting. Nonetheless, it had to be done.

As I mentioned in previous articles, I’m very OCD. This led to be working around the clock to get everything for the team up and running all day and to work on the house and getting settled all night. Bless my husband for putting up with me. We were literally working around the clock. Along with getting “settled” let’s call it, I also had travel plans to fly back to Michigan every two weeks to ensure the team was running smoothly and for prior commitments I had on my calendar. Long story short – I was running myself down and my immune system with it. I got a bad cold, then the flu, then a bad sinus infection, then a cold again and it went on. It was a vicious circle. Our Michigan team had a team mastermind event to attend, I attended the annual NAR Convention in San Francisco, and more. I was barely holding it all together. My husband’s work demands and need for some travel kept it interesting too. We were always coordinating who is going where and when. You should see our shared Google calendar.  However, between it all – also ensuring that our time spent together and with the family was a time to be present in the moment and to enjoy that precious time together.

It took almost a whole month to finally get my paperwork processed and to gain access to the MLS. How nice it felt to be a REALTOR again with information at my fingertips. Boy do we all take this for granted each day or what? Now I was really ready to go and “open for business.” But, where was the business? There I was back to what felt like my first day in real estate again – all dressed up and no where to go. Sure, I was still busy helping to lead my Michigan team and working closely with my coaching clients, but I needed to do what I came here to do – to make a living helping others achieve the American Dream of home ownership in and around the Charlotte area. Also, to grow this team using the same criteria and amazing systems in place in our Michigan business. That’s by hiring those that are “hungry, humble, and smart” as Patrick Lencioni states in his wonderful book, “The Ideal Team Player.” The Michigan team culture we have is awesome. We all love and support one another by holding each other accountable and in being productive. Is each day or week or month perfect? No way, but each day is a new day to write our own story and to make our own choices of what we do with that 24 hours we have been blessed with for that day.

After speaking with Coach and CEO of Workman Success Systems, Verl Workman, while at the NAR Convention and explaining my frustration of getting up and running, he said something so simple to me to focus on, that I spent my 5 hour flight home writing and re-working my business plan. Verl said, “Brooke you like people and people like you. Go meet more people. Add 3 more people to your database every day.” I know this isn’t earth shattering information here people, but it’s what I needed in the moment. After selling 100+ houses a year as a team in Michigan over the past few years, I was beating myself up over my lack of instant business in this new market. How crazy was that? It’s not too often that REALTORS just get their license and suddenly people flock to you. Of course you need to meet people, grow, and establish the relationships and then the business will follow. We must serve others before we ask or expect any opportunities to come our way.

So, on my 5 hour flight home from NAR, I built my 2020 business plan all around meeting people – and as much as possible. I became laser focused on this plan. Quick side note … If you haven’t created your business plan yet and/or honed in o n what you’ll get laser focused on in 2020, I encourage you to check out Workman Success Systems and their business plan template. Not only does it guide you through planning your goals for the year, but the thought proving questions and work-life balance that it encourages allows so much clarity. I’m laser focused in 2020 on growing my database and sphere. I have clarity and a fool-proof plan on action to make it happen. Do you have yours? I do hope you continue to walk with me in this plan and I promise to maintain full transparency with you in my coming updates.

Looking to Expand Into Another Market – Part 5

Thanks a ton to those of you that keep coming back to read about my expansion team journey! I last left off in the planning phase, getting into the nitty-gritty of preparing to move (literally) into expanding to a new market—over 800-plus miles away from my current market.

I’ve already learned a lot along the way that I’ve shared with you. I’ve mentioned how OCD and checklist-oriented I am and what a planner I am. Now, I want to share a tough life lesson I learned in this journey. While trying to have it “all together” and trying to perfectly manage my checklists in just the right order, I forgot something. As the masterful coach Verl Workman teaches us through Og Mandino’s amazing book, “The Greatest Salesman in the World,” we must remember scroll 7. Scroll 7 states, “I will laugh at the world.” As Og says in this chapter, “When all else fails, we still have laughter. We can laugh at defeat and anger and thus persevere.”

I attended the Elite Retreat in late September with RE/MAX’s top agents to mastermind and learn together. I was honored to be asked to speak at this conference about the amazing and endless opportunities for growth within not only the RE/MAX brand, but also within this industry. Leading up to the event, I wanted to ensure we made our expansion team announcement to this room of leaders. We ordered a giveaway for each attendee. As luck would have it, shipment was delayed, so we sent them directly to the hotel for me to assemble upon my arrival. Darn—I really hoped to have my admin team assist me with this job. Oh well! As soon as I arrived to the hotel (after a horrible flight which the airline stewardess herself referred to as “severe turbulence”), I got to work and finished preparing my giveaways. I thoroughly enjoyed the conference, meeting with and networking with so many top-producing agents.

Meanwhile, my husband and kids had the movers physically loading up the house that Friday of the conference. While listening to the closing speaker that morning, I was receiving texts from my husband that said, “Do you want to keep your outdoor planters?” and “What are we doing with the large painting over the steps?” Needless to say, this OCD momma wasn’t there to help manage the movers, and it was driving me crazy. It was also my kid’s last day of school at what would soon be referred to as their “old school.” I was sad to not be there as they got home from school that day. I know my husband handled it well and loved on them enough for both of us, but I was bummed to miss it. Before I left on this trip, our family had devised a plan for the last night sleeping in our “old house” together. It was to be a family camping slumber party in mom and dad’s room. Remember, all our furniture was packed up by the movers earlier that day. We planned to take one last dip in our hot tub and cuddle up together to watch a movie on our air mattress that night.

So, as soon as my conference ended at noon that day, I had the earliest possible flight out. I was to land in Michigan by 7 p.m. and be cuddling with my family no later than 8 p.m. I rushed back to my hotel room as soon as the closing speaker was done to grab my luggage and check out. While stuffing my last few things into my bag, my razor fell out of its case and badly sliced my finger. Ouch! It was a bad cut and I probably should have gone to get stitches, but I didn’t have time for that—I had a flight to catch and a big campout to get to. I grabbed a hotel towel and wrapped my finger as tight as I could. (I’m sorry Hyatt Regency San Antonio Hill Country—I owe you a towel.)

This was just the beginning of a series of unfortunate events to occur over the next 48 hours. My flight ended up being delayed out of Texas due to bad weather in Chicago and ultimately resulted in my connecting flight home being canceled. I wasn’t having it. I quickly got a rental car once landed in Chicago and drove the three hours home in a horrible thunderstorm and downpouring rain—with my finger throbbing in pain.

Obviously, this wasn’t the night I pictured. I finally was home by 3 a.m. and sleeping (or trying to) with my family for our slumber party. Oh, and I forgot to mention that I thought months ago that it’d be a great idea to squeeze in our Client Appreciation Photo event Saturday morning from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. before doing the final load-up of our cars to drive the 12 hours to our new home in Charlotte that afternoon. After all, we had arranged (in all my “wonderful planning”) to meet the movers at our new house by noon on Sunday to move in. Are you tired yet following along? Even writing it, I still can’t believe this all happened.

At 3 p.m. that Saturday, we cleaned up after the Client Appreciation event, went to see our cute little newest nephew, just born the night before, at the hospital, and then hit the road with our cars—jam-packed, two cute little kids and our Pug, Max, in tow. I could continue and include the details and follow-up to my sliced finger, how I literally (and figuratively) ran out of gas during our drive that night through the mountains while nothing was open for miles at 1 a.m. in the pitch blackness of the evening, or how our moving truck had a blow-out tire on their drive down, and more (yes, there was more)…but why bore you? Ha!

To put it best, we were exhausted—physically, mentally and emotionally. Having “the show must go on” attitude was about to stop me dead in my tracks. I was darned if my family, my team, my new brokerage (and, God forbid, social media) saw my exhaustion. You see, I forgot to “laugh at the world” during all of this. How can one certainly even imagine such continued obstacles within a 48-hour timeframe?

Looking back, I probably should have taken a deep breath, realized it may be nearly impossible to accomplish my “plans” and maybe move the next day instead after a bit of rest, or at least discuss or entertain another option or two with my husband. I was just so set on ensuring I followed the perfect blueprint of my plans I had laid out. Stuff happens and life happens. We all certainly learn this each and every day in this business. I’m not by any means saying to throw in the towel or to give up. Imagine if we’d all just follow Og Mandino’s “I will laugh at the world” mentality to get through our daily challenges. What a different world it would be.

Looking to Expand Into Another Market? Part 4

I’m super excited to continue my expansion team journey into another market with you. In my last article, I shared how having the systems and processes in place for not only my current team in West Michigan, but also for the expansion team in Charlotte, NC was imperative to my growth plan. Since our decision to pack up our belongs and move to Charlotte, NC to be our primary residence, it’s been tough. I promised you the good, bad, and the ugly, so here it goes. I had to know deep down that this plan wasn’t going to be all sunshine and rainbows. There were plenty of challenges to face coming up too. I must admit that part of me (a lot of me) was nervous to announce to our clients and my sphere that we were expanding. Expanding and change overall is often met with resistance. Would our clients think we were “too busy” with our new market to service them? Would my sphere of influence (and/or any referrals from them) from being born and raised in West Michigan be jeopardized with Facebook posts of my family and I in Charlotte? These types of questions kept me up at night. On top of that, I’m also President of the local West Michigan Women’s Council of Realtors network. I had commitments made through the end of 2019 to fulfill – and if you know me at all – I never commit to something and not give it my all. So, telling my board of this upcoming change was really weighing on me.

Then, there was our family of course too. My husband works from home and travels frequently, so moving to a new city didn’t phase him much and probably would be easier with a larger airport nearby. Our kids were another story. We’ve always included them in our discussions regarding the move. In fact, I think our 7-year-old said it best when we asked him what he thought about possibly moving to a new state. His exact words were, “why not move? I’ve lived here my whole life.” To which, our 10-year-old daughter replied, “yea, well you’re only 7,” and he said, “exactly … I’ve been here my whole life.” The kids were on board! As a mom, my inner thoughts still questioned if they’d easily meet new friends, if they’d miss extended family to an extreme, and more as I’m sure you can imagine. So, at  this point, my husband and I began house hunting and also quickly prepared our current home to sell. It was already July and we had a lakefront home, so in Michigan that means selling now or waiting till next spring. Luckily, the day we found our new home in Charlotte and were on our flight home, we accepted an offer on the sale of our current house – and thus … the real work began. If you’re a Realtor and haven’t gone through selling and buying a house of your own, oh boy – you haven’t lived. What anxiety! And also, what a fantastic way to learn empathy for our clients. The North Carolina and Michigan markets are very different – not to mention one handles closings by attorneys and one handles closings by title companies. There are different contracts, MLS’s, laws, inspection processes, and even differing terminology. I was getting a world of education.

As a self-proclaimed OCD person, every bone in my body was planning each step of this move and expansion. I had checklists everywhere for everything. At the office, I was negotiating and coordinating with the RE/MAX Brokerage in both areas. We were obtaining logos to incorporate into our marketing – both for print and online for our websites and social media. I was developing a plan for my Client Care Coordinator to take over managing the day to day operations of the team. She was busily working on taking her pre-licensing course, studying, and getting licensed. She and I strategically planned how this was going to work as we all but promised to deliver a fool-proof plan to the team on how we were all going to work together to achieve success – in both teams. Did I mention I’m also super blessed to be a Real Estate Coach for Workman Success Systems as well? In this role, I was bound and determined not to skip a beat. My coaching clients depend on me and my decision to expand into another market was something I wanted to ensure didn’t change a thing for them – except for my physical location – which wouldn’t affect my coaching for them and their businesses.

Meanwhile, being the planner I am, I set out to find a new local vet for our dog, a new dentist, doctors, pediatricians, etc. for our move. Each one with their own stack of new client paperwork to complete. I contacted the kids’ new school (as they were starting after the beginning of the school year) and asked to be placed on their school update emails, Facebook groups, newsletters and everything/anything to get us “involved.” This led me to more to-do’s. We didn’t want the kids to skip a beat. Our daughter was big into Girls On the Run since she was old enough to join in 3rd grade. So, when I saw the sign-ups come available at the new school, there was no question on what to do. I had to contact the local coach and ask for special permission to have our daughter join the team a bit late once we got moved. Also, the school had school spirit days on Fridays where the students wear school pride attire. I didn’t want the kids to feel left out, so I contacted the PTO President to make special arrangements to pre-order shirts for the kids for us to pick up the first day of school Whew! I had it all covered.

Things were moving smoothly. What I haven’t mentioned yet is, while in this ‘planning mindset,’ our daughter was in the local theatre’s performance of “Joseph & The Technicolor Dreamcoat.” What an amazing show! However, that meant rehearsals, stage photography and more over the course of many, many nights. I truly gained a new respect for what those performers endure to put on a great show. Literally, we had our 10 year old at practice and/or a performance almost every single night from July 15th – September 22nd between 6 – 10 pm. My husband and I alternated nights driving her while the other one stayed home to pack boxes in preparation to move. Life was a bit crazy – and – I was still trying to sell houses too!

One thing I learned in each area I was trying to juggle is this – communication is key! I’m not saying I did anything perfect by any means. I’m a firm believer that there can never be too much communication. I communicated with my team and admins on their thoughts and feelings about things, with my Women’s Council Board, my current broker and the new one, we talked with our kids and our friends and families. There were lots of questions and uncertainty from others. I answered honestly and sometimes I didn’t have an answer, so I voiced that too.

One more key take away that I learned the hard way is you can never start on your real estate paperwork being processed in your new market too soon. You’ll learn about that in my next article along with so much more to come.

Tales of An Expansion Team … Part 3

Welcome back to my tale and journey of entering a new market with an expansion team. By now, if you’ve been following, you know the overall “plan.” We’re now moving to Charlotte, N.C., so I can be hands-on to grow the expansion team the best way I know how: with daily huddles, a clear set of roles and responsibilities, core values, carefully chosen team members, etc.

Now is the time to begin implementing! Thank goodness for my coach and the Workman Success Systems team. That was single-handedly the best decision I could’ve made for my business—signing up early in my career for their coaching. I’ve been in the business four years and 11 months and have been coaching with Workman Success now for about three years and 11 months. Before joining their program, my self-proclaimed OCD was going batty. I was (and am) blessed to have my phone ringing off the hook since I got into the business. When I first started, I was writing notes and to-dos everywhere. (Let me tell you, I had sticky notes, gum wrappers, the back of my checkbook and even my handful of notes taken while on calls with prospective buyers and sellers.) I couldn’t even tell you how people had heard about me or what was “working” with any of my marketing.

As I enter this new market, I can’t even begin to tell you what it’s like to have the Workman tools at my fingertips, from the training videos for my new hires, to the trackers for our leads, transactions, team projects, and more, we are set up for success with these duplicatable systems. How cool is that?

Now, as I’m working closely with my admin team to develop the expansion plan and to ensure all our details are covered (and well-documented in case we want to do this again), I’m also still very much involved in working in the daily business.

You heard that right—I love the real estate business and the life that it offers, but I also am a high “I” on the DISC profile assessment. On a side note, including DISC assessments in your hiring process can be a fantastic asset to your business. Learn whether the person applying is naturally attracted to people or systems or processes, etc. We also screen for a potential hires’ motivators. Are they motivated by money, being a leader, being creative, etc.? This not only helps you be a great team leader in accountability and pushing for their “why,” but also personalizing how you incentivize your team (based on their personal motivators).

Being a high “I” on the DISC profile assessment means that I like people. I’m a “social butterfly,” as my husband calls it. I personally even think that’s an understatement. I look forward to not only working with and getting to know our clients and their friends/family we’re blessed to be referred to, but I also enjoy the relationships formed in the business with other REALTORS®, lenders, title reps, insurance agents, inspectors, appraisers and the like. We, as REALTORS®, have a really cool job.

In saying all of that, I just wanted to be clear here that this expansion team doesn’t mean I’m removing myself from the business. I average personally selling about 35 homes per year, and I’m always striving to grow. As I said in the beginning of my journey, I thrive on the “sky is the limit” mentality. In my mind, sometimes this can be a blessing and a curse. I’m constantly on the go. You won’t find me sitting much—and certainly not for long. In fact, when I do finally sit for a minute at the end of the day, I usually fall right to sleep. Ha! I’m an early riser and love seeing my kids each day for as long as possible. I know at their ages now, 10 and 7, they’ll be grown before I know it. I just adore their laughs, smiles, empathy, playfulness and innocence.

These things are what led me to start a team in the first place. I needed more time for and with my family. I needed that work-life balance. I’m sure many of you do too. We can all easily get sucked into this 24/7 business. My next couple of posts will be a myriad of several challenges thus far along the way. Look for more coming soon!

Tales of a New Expansion – Part 2

If you missed Part 1, it may be worth going back to read it to get caught up to speed first. Click here for part 1: If you choose not to, hopefully you can still follow along.

Once we decided as a family that this business expansion was worth pursuing, we put the wheels in motion – quickly. I was super excited to tell my team that they were about to be a part of something big and exciting … something fairly unheard of within the RE/MAX brand. I created flyers with local Charlotte, NC statistics on the RE/MAX Brokerage in the area, home price and sale statistics, demographics, and more. I prepared a gift of Southern BBQ sauce for each team member with a special tagline to announce the big news. When the day came, you couldn’t hide the huge smile on my face. I proudly went through a quick snapshot of what was to come and the huge opportunity this would bring for all of us during our team meeting.

What I received in return were a lot of jaws wide open and tears. Yes … a few were in tears full of worry and “what if’s.” I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit heartbroken over the response. However, I made sure to take the time to reach out to each and every team member over the course of the next few days to thoroughly listen to their concerns and be transparent about whatever I could be with them at that time.

It took a solid few weeks before I felt the team was starting to think big and embrace the expansion team idea. I promised them a full set of systems and processes to come to explain each and every detail soon to ensure all I’s were dotted and t’s were crossed.

Then, it was time to tell my Broker. She cried too! Although it was with joy and excitement. She stated how proud she was to have the Brokerage’s first expansion team and began immediately forming a beautifully written announcement to send to our entire brokerage. She even threw our team a wonderful congratulatory party!

As you can imagine, running a team in one location can be difficult, so I knew running two teams in two different locations would mean I certainly have my work cut out for me. In the weeks that followed, I busily began preparing by purchasing websites, ensuring our branding was on-point for both areas, duplicating our awesome Workman Success Systems tracking and processes and more. I also was busily studying to take the NC Real Estate Broker exam. My mind, as an OCD person, was running a million miles a minute. I had checklists on top of checklists.

As my husband and I discussed this big change in my business, we knew just how much I worked and put into my very first year in this business. I sold 30 houses my first year and ran around like crazy. That was without a team. Through our conversations, it quickly became apparent that I needed to be there physically and “boots on the ground” to get this team up and running to have the best chance for success. So, we listed our forever home and we knew we had to move our family of 4 plus Max, our Pug, to Charlotte.

Wow! How life had changed in a short period of time. It was now the beginning of July. It had been a mere 30 days since Charlotte had become a part of our every day vocabulary.

I can’t wait to tell you more. The whirlwind that is still mounting and the excitement thus far. Please follow my journey in Tales of An Expansion – Part 3 in an upcoming post. I promised you the good – the bad – and the ugly. That’s what you’re going to get.

Looking to Expand? As In … Into Another Market? Tales of a New Expansion – Part 1

I love to think BIG! That’s who I am. Let’s just say that the “sky is the limit” mentality runs heavily through my veins. That’s why when I was recently approached about possibly opening an expansion team, moving my family across country, and taking over another agent’s business in a totally new market … I said YES! Now, don’t get me wrong here … the decision wasn’t exactly that easy, but I truly thought, “why not?” Some may certainly call me crazy, and that’s fair. However, as entrepreneurs, we need to take risks. So, let’s dive in deep, shall we?

I initially planned on putting all of my thoughts and experience thus far with this expansion into one article – and then, I thought again. Why don’t I tell the journey one step at a time? The good, the bad, and the ugly. Heck, I’m only 4 years and 10 months into the business and I’ve learned everything I know from the numerous successful agents, team members, and coaches constantly surround myself with. So, if I can help you to determine if an expansion team is right for you, why not? Learn from my mistakes and copy my successes … if you’d like.

Let’s start with one question I receive frequently, “what is an expansion team?” Well it’s just as it sounds – it’s an expansion of a team already in place. Our team, Grand Allure Home Group is blessed to sell hundreds of homes each year in West Michigan. We work hard, have set core values we live by, and have systems and processes for everything. If we run into something we don’t have a process for, we create one. I believe this is the key to our success and ability to create an expansion team. Thanks to our amazing team coaching with Workman Success Systems, we have an easily duplicatable business model that works. Thus, we’re expanding our current West Michigan team and “hub” into the growing market of Charlotte, NC.

Why Charlotte, NC? I can proudly say that not only is it a beautiful city and area, but I also lived there after college. Over the time I lived in Charlotte, I was able to get to know the area, make friends and grow my sphere. One of those friends being an amazing Realtor. We’ve been able to stay in touch and pass business back and forth over the past few years. When she decided it was time to think about retirement, it was a natural move for her and I to think about the future … together.

I still get chills when I think about how all of this came about. Talk about perfect timing. I’ll tell you more about that later, but what you also must know is that I’m married. Happily married and blessed with two small children. My husband is extremely supportive. However, you can imagine the dinner conversation and pillow talk over the next several days. This was not just a decision I could make on my own. Or I could have, but I preferred to stay married – happy – ha! As our discussions continued, both as a couple and as a family, we decided to move forward and investigate what this would mean for us and our family and how our lives would change. My husband talked to his employer, we talked to family, friends, of course I talked to my current team/staff, called and got in touch with a NC Broker, and I called to pick the brain of other team leaders who have done this before me – both the ones that had failed and those that had succeeded. 

While not all feedback we received was an astounding, “yes – you should do this,” we felt comfortable moving forward to investigate some more. Unbelievably, all of this dialogue started in early June. I’ve now been a proudly licensed Broker in North Carolina since August 27th. If you’d like to follow where I’m at now in this adventurous journey, look for Part 2 of Tales of a New Expansion coming soon in a future issue. I promise, it’s worth a few laughs … and maybe some tears.