The Why, What and How of the Entrepreneur’s Business Plan

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Over the past three weeks, with the aid of technology, I had the privilege to kick off the annual United Real Estate business planning workshops with hundreds of real estate agents from across the U.S. in attendance.  It is very satisfying to aid so many entrepreneurial individuals in understanding that freedom in business and in life is having the ability to do what you are supposed to do.  The essence of a successful plan goes beyond spreadsheets and a mission statement.  Everyone is familiar with the celebrated success stories of the start-up entrepreneur’s technology business that quickly made them rich.  We are also aware that most businesses don’t succeed past 5 years and the odds are stacked against the individual start-up. A lot of factors make up the difference between succeeding and failing in business. However, all successful entrepreneurs have a common theme to their planning process. They recognize they are not just building a business, they are creating a lifestyle.

While the projected sales numbers and profits that make up the forecast and budget of a business plan are in everyone’s game plan for success, the individuals who breakout from their competition have more than just a strategy and spreadsheets.  What successful entrepreneurs recognize is that when you open a business, particularly a real estate business, you can’t easily separate the business from you, the individual. The Why, What and How of building a plan is not just about your business, it’s also about your life story and it all starts with answering with definitive knowledge and having very specific answers to these three questions. The answers combine passion with knowledge and precise action plans that justify the hours you work, and put to ease the initial uncertainty that is part of owning your own business.

The Why – To grow a business you have to do things that are at first uncomfortable. To build new success habits you must know what you have to look forward to in the future in order to stay motivated in the present.  You have to ask yourself not only why potential customers should do business with you, but why you are personally in business. If you are like most entrepreneurs you left the certainty of a paycheck for the freedom of being your own boss.  The freedom of working for yourself also brings with it uncertainty. Your Why to take on this risk and then insure your success has to be really big. You are not just looking at what your life is today but what it can be in 5 years and also in 20 years. Done correctly, answering your Why will set the goals for your business.

The What – After you understand your true Why, then, and only then, are you ready to move to the What. Following this path greatly increases the likelihood that you will succeed. You must have a rock solid reason as to why you are going to keep striving and pushing past the setbacks that are inherently part of building a business. Goals tell us what to get, not what to do. The best sales people set goals that are not just about the outcome, but the process to get to the outcome. It is here you answer the universal equation of success for all entrepreneurs. What is the market opportunity for your business?

Total number of potential clients * conversion rate + past customers + referrals = Income

The How – The dream is known, the goal is set. It’s time to lay out your strategy on what methods you are going to deploy to reach your potential clients. The key to executing this part of your plan is knowledge and commitment.  You need to know how to reach your customers, how to communicate with them, how to stay in touch with them, and how to sell to them. To be successful as an entrepreneur you will have to commit to performing these activities for a very long time.  This requires you to continually invest in building your potential client list and also developing your personal skills. The business environment will always be changing and you have to adapt to utilize new technologies and adapt to new trends to modernize your business. Becoming a market expert will not be enough, you will also have to learn how to develop the invisible traits of determination, persistence, grit and personal accountability.

Building a business that will support the lifestyle you desire is a skill to be mastered, not just pursued. A great question to ask yourself is, have you spent more money on Starbucks this year or on your personal development? After all, true freedom is reached when you realize you are empowered to do what you are supposed to do to create your ideal life, not just what you want to do. To learn more about how to implement a plan to raise your income in real estate and improve your lifestyle, join us at the 2017 United Real Estate Convention.

All the best!

Peter

How the Three C’s of Selling Will Boost Your Income

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The sales profession is one of the largest occupational groups in the United States. It is estimated that over 15 million people work in sales related jobs.  In the real estate industry there are currently over 1.2 million Realtors. Across all industries, sales is a very competitive occupation, and one that allows the top performers to be highly compensated.

Being in sales is very similar to running your own business and in commission based sales occupations, such as working as a real estate agent, you are in-fact running your own business.  In any entrepreneurial role you must have daily habits that will ensure you manage your time effectively.  Moving past the general sales training that is made available to all individuals in a selling occupation, there are certain skills that top performers have developed that have made them excel. Here are the three “C’s” that are not taught in sales training courses and make up the intrinsic skills that separate the top 5% of sales performers from their counterparts.

Caring – All successful sales people have come to understand that they should listen to their potential clients more and speak less when they are meeting with them.  This becomes the formula for any successful sales person in both Business to Business sales and Business to Consumer sales. It is the basis for being a highly paid advisor as opposed to a sales rep. Not only do the top sales people ask more questions of their potential clients, they listen better.  Their listening skills are superior to others who just hear but don’t really understand the needs of their buyers. The top sales people have empathy for their potential clients and are able to understand the buyer’s problems or their unmet goals.  They relate to their feelings in a way that allows them to become trusted with helping the buyer reach a new level of satisfaction by guiding them to solve their problems with the solutions they have to offer.

Candor – A top sales person will focus initially on the buyers needs and not on the services they are offering. When the buyer realizes the seller cares about their problems and why those problems matter, the sales person becomes a trusted advisor.  A trusted advisor, in comparison to someone who is just selling a product, earns the right to be straight forward and honest with the potential buyer. Top sales professionals not only ask more questions than their counterparts, they also ask better questions. More developed questions stimulate thought by the buyer of what their unmet needs or desires truly are. The top sales pros do not worry about losing rapport with a buyer, as they have established trust. When you care about your profession and develop a trusted relationship with your buyer, the ability to ask them difficult questions about why they are doing things in a certain way is earned. This honest dialogue is respected by the buyer.  The odds that the buyer will choose your services or product over a competitors greatly favors the sales person who has the ability to have candid conversations with potential buyers.

Competence – Most sales professionals know how their products or services function and how they can fit a buyer’s needs.  The difference between top sales people and others is the top performers know how their services or products solve the specific problems of the buyer they are working with today. Top sales people are not generalists, they are experts in their field. This means they know more about the future of an individual buyer’s business or investments than their client does. In order to gain this expertise, the top sales professionals spend the time necessary to study their industry and work on developing their own personal skills. This gives them more experience, which allows the top sales person to express that knowledge using a question based methodology, therefore putting the buyer’s needs at the forefront.

To boost your income and separate yourself from your competition, it is not enough to commit to only completing your company’s standard sales training or your industries continuing education requirements. The key to long lasting sales success is mastering the three C’s of selling. Be certain to commit yourself to continued learning opportunities. To learn more about boosting your income in real estate to a new level, join us at the 2017 Unitedpalooza.

All the best!

Peter

Are Your Home Buyers Looking For You On Video?

 

Vlog to gain access to a younger generation of home buyers that grew up researching and learning through videos on the internet. If you don’t have a presence on the internet, are buyers finding you?

Win three FREE nights in Austin, Texas! Share your prior experience at past conventions and your excitement for this years Unitedpalooza through a short video! Use your phone and start recording, what do you have to lose? The winner of the drawing will recieve three nights paid at The Westin Austin Downtown.

See you online,

Peter

How the Happiness Advantage Can Break the 80/20 Rule and Lead You to Success

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Across the United States, entrepreneurs are planning for the New Year.  2017 will be upon us in less than 60 days, and we know there will be changes in elected officials with different agendas on the national and local level. The economy may get better, it may not. We can take the predictions from the experts with a grain of salt and arrive at the safe conclusion that they are all right, and they are all wrong. Large nations and large corporations are complicated. The people who run these institutions were created as complex beings, but ones who were designed to succeed.

What everyone should have learned over the past twenty years is that industries will change, careers will change, technology will change, and to have success in life and business, you will have to make changes along the way to grow. Very few predicted the extent of the Internet boom in the late 1990’s and subsequent crash in 2001, which was then followed by the attacks on 9/11.  The steady housing growth post the dot.com crash, followed by the housing boom that defied historical growth patterns ended up turning into a severe recession by year end 2007. Regardless of the changes, there will be companies and individuals who will thrive.

As individuals, we have control over how our lives and careers will turn out. Accepting these truths is good progress. Having a process to follow for success will turn progress into a great life. Having success in your personal and professional life in 2017, just like past economic times, will be a matter of choice. You decide that it is important to have a dream and take the right action to achieve the dream. This requires performing the tasks of proper goal setting, planning, and developing certain personal traits including faith and determination. You also must decide to have personal accountability be a part of your daily life.

We are at a critical time right now where many young people are discouraged about their prospects for long-term success. With all that we have learned about success, most of us need a new map to help us stay on the correct path to succeeding. Take for instance, the tested 80-20 rule that originated in economics after an observation by an Italian economist named Vilfredo Pareto who correctly correlated in 1906 the fact that 20% percent of the population controlled 80% of the wealth. This theory became known as the “Pareto Principle” and was later observed to hold true in other aspects of life, starting in the business world where companies noticed that 20% of their customers accounted for 80% of their profits. It was later taken into further detail with the notion that 20% of sales people accounted for 80% of the sales for any given company. This 80-20 rule in sales has proven to be occurring despite the decades of research and significant investment companies made in time and money for general sales and personal development training to make their sales people productive. When you currently speak to businesses and economic leaders about this basic principle they all overwhelmingly point to the 80-20 rule moving to a 90-10 rule when it comes to the percentage of people who make the majority of the income, have the majority of the wealth, and in breaking it down further the smaller percentage of people who now in their everyday life are succeeding. It has always been difficult to break out of the 80-20 rule, and in the new connected economy, it has gotten even harder. We are at a point in time where half the people working are dissatisfied with their careers, and also at a time where half the businesses which open, end up failing. These statistics don’t include living an abundant and full life.

The question is, how do you find the most relevant information that will help you break out of the patterns that are keeping you from reaching a new level of success? The world is a crowded place with a lot of messaging. However, science and the understanding of the specific human needs we all have to meet to obtain fulfillment have come a long way. You just have to fight through the noise and the distractions to find the correct path.

One breakthrough study demonstrating how work performance can be increased came from a Harvard Psychologist who specializes in Positive Psychology and developing positive mindsets.  In his book The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor changed traditional thinking. We believe we should work hard in order to be happy, but he postulated that we are thinking about it backwards.  In a fast-moving and very funny Ted talk, he argues that, actually, happiness inspires us to be more productive. Take a few minutes to unwind from the election and enjoy the motivating, empowering truth behind the science that proves we are in control of our future. Click Here! 

To borrow from United Real Estate’s convention keynote speaker Mel Robbins, “What consumes your mind, controls your life.” As you put your plan together for 2017, know that you have within you the ability to create the business, career and life you want.  Starting with the right mindset is a good place to begin. To learn more about how attending the United convention can help you achieve your goals in 2017 please visit our Convention page.

All the best!

Peter

If You Give, You Begin To Live

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One of the founding values of United Real Estate is to be a positive contributor to the communities we live in. In order to do so, we must give back. United Real Estate is a company that has been rapidly expanding through franchising across the United States for only three years, while obtaining more than triple digit growth in agent count and transactions each year.  It would be easy to say we are “too busy” to make certain that important cultural aspects of giving back are occurring inside the company, but that is not the case.  I am always proud to see United Real Estate offices and agents volunteering to make the world a better place.  I am always happy to give a like on Facebook or shout-out to any and all who make the time to improve a community or make an individual’s life better.

Individuals search for personal fulfillment in a variety of different ways. Some are positive, but some actions unfortunately lead to negative habits that instead work to the detriment of what the individuals are searching for – happiness. There are plenty of articles, graphs, quotes and lists that can be easily searched and found on the Internet of how successful people behave to reach fulfillment. However, even with an abundance of information available at our finger tips, a recent Harris Poll concluded only 1 in 3 Americans consider themselves to be “very happy”.  I truly believe we were created to do good, and in order to reach our full potential and be happy; we need to address and fill two advanced human needs. The first is our need to grow.  In order to reach the state of being happy, we need to continuously develop and expand our dreams. Second, is the need to contribute. Understanding the world is not just “about me”, it’s “about we” which allows us to contribute to something bigger than ourselves, something worthwhile. It produces a true, visible change of things being better because we gave beyond ourselves.

Through the dedication of our employees, we have reached a new milestone in supporting our corporate charity, Autism Speaks. By redesigning our internal processes, every United agent can now voluntarily contribute to Autism Speaks at each closing, either a specific amount or a percentage of commission earned!  Together, as a United family and community, we can help a charitable organization that is making massive positive changes to the individuals diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum. To learn more read our press release.

I also believe there is a greater chance, than just a hope, that more than 1 in 3 Americans will become very happy. While millennials are known as being experts in digital communication, they are also unknowingly geared to do well by positively contributing to their communities. In the book Meet the Millennials, the author noted giving back and being civically engaged are the millennials highest priorities. This is a great step towards fulfillment when you realize it is tough to feel bad about yourself when doing good for others. It’s also an important factor for prospective employers and businesses that are wanting to sell to this generation. Millennials absolutely expect their employer to give back and contribute. As a customer, they expect the company will live up to those same set of values, as well.

One prime successful example of the power of donating a portion per transaction is seen through the generous contributions by the Dave Mathews Band. Through its Bama Works Fund charitable foundation, the band has raised and donated over $40 million to benefit the people living in the Central Virginia area, as well as internationally.  The band was able to generate this by setting up a per ticket sale, per album sale, per download sale and directing a portion of each sale to charity, as well as from fans who wholeheartedly support these causes making direct online donations. This has undoubtedly made a huge impact.

It is with great enthusiasm that I look forward to the major positive impact our fast growing network at United Real Estate will make to the individuals and families who are living with Autism.  It is estimated that it takes $60,000 a year to effectively support someone diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum Disorder.  At United Real Estate, we are now closing over 12,000 transactions a year, and that number is about to double!  Our collective contributions at each closing will do more than just fulfill a guiding principle. It will change lives.

Let me also give a shout out to the Dave Mathews Band and pay respect to them for giving back. It’s a verse from a complex song, and I see the positive in the lyrics, “If you give, you begin to live. You get the world, you get the world.” The path to fulfillment will include growth and contribution. May this inspire you to start or continue your journey!

On behalf of everyone at United Real Estate, thank you, for not just being part of our company, but for being active in supporting the communities we all live in. Happiness is not guaranteed, and giving should not be mandated, but should be heartfelt.  The reward is waiting for you.

All the best!

Peter Giese

President & Co-Founder

United Real Estate

Are First-Time Homebuyers Back and Here to Stay?

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There were many positive headlines this month from various news outlets highlighting the continued growth in total number of real estate sales and growth in home prices. Aiding this growth is the percentage of potential buyers that will make up the next generation to influence the real estate industry and the economy – Generation Y, or the Millennials. The month of September was another solid month for real estate closings, according to the National Association of Realtors sales were up 2.8% over previous year with a total of 484K existing homes sold during the month. What drove the increase was the return of first-time homebuyers to a respectful level of 34% of all buyers being first-time purchasers during September, which is a level that has not been seen in over four years.

The three primary generations that made up over 90% of home purchases this year were the Baby Boomers, Generation X, and the Millennials.  The generation segments coincide with an explosion of growth in population after World War II, from 2.8 million annual U.S. births prior to the boom, to averaging over 4 million births for the period classified as the Boomer generation. The birth decline did not begin again until 1963, when the next demographic generation, Generation X, saw a decline in population growth through new births for a period that lasted until 1977.  Now, the Millennial generation has entered the prime years for buying a home and how they educate themselves about homeownership is very important to understand as they outnumber the amount of Baby Boomers with a total estimated population of over 83 million and are far more diverse than previous generations.

Millennials currently compose 35% of all homebuyers and I safely predict, from the stand point of the total number of them that percentage will increase in 2017 and beyond.  According to a recent survey published by Realtor.com, first-time buyers have increased to 52% of prospective buyers planning to buy a home in 2017.  This is up from 33% of prospective buyers that were first-time purchases when the company conducted the same survey the previous year. So, what makes this next generation of home owners different from previous generations but yet the same?

I am part of Generation X, which means I grew up with access to a computer in a classroom but the majority of learning took place from textbooks, and communication was in person or via the phone. Society and the media describes the Millennials as enthusiastic, tech-savvy, entrepreneurial and opportunistic – all good things!  Now for the negative labels: lazy, unproductive, and self-obsessed. I like the generation behind me, and hasn’t the label of being self-absorbed been a common description for everyone who is still growing up?

The ironic thing is those are the very similar descriptions that were placed on my generation.  We were the slacker generation because of the different music style, referred to as grunge or alternative rock, which was popular in the 1990’s. However, as a demographic group, Generation X became very independent and went to college at a higher percentage rate than the Baby Boomers before them.  We all age and mature, but the emotional needs of people that drive their behaviors remains the same.

So what will be different with the Millennials that will affect the housing market? They are delaying or eliminating marriage, but that is nothing new, as the average age of marriage and percentage of unmarried households has been going up since 1960. What is dramatically new is the way of communication. Since the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, people have been able to be connected online through a mobile device 24/7.  It has always been a critical skill in business to know how to communicate effectively with your customer. As the Millennials will continue to dominate home sale purchases, communicating effectively and expediently with them will all be about how well agents tap into technology to market and respond to them. While personal referrals are critical for an agent’s success to grow their business, the latest surveys conducted by Zillow showed that 29% of Millennials found their agent online, bypassing the personal referral process. I expect that number will increase, and the number of first-time homebuyers will continue to grow.

How do you communicate effectively with this population demographic?  It actually starts before they contact you, as they begin to research the market long before they speak with a Realtor. For starters, you need to have a mobile strategy, a video strategy, and be easily found online with your agent brand visible to them in multiple online formats. In targeting this group, just like with any marketing campaign, you should focus on the buyer’s interests.  I like what the Minneapolis Association of Realtors is doing with its first ever campaign targeting first-time homebuyers. They are creating humorous 30-second videos that will be available on social media.  You can see their ads at MatchMakersForHomes.com. This makes sense, as the Millennials consume information more and more through brief video segments.

To learn more about building your business, be sure to join the many Baby Boomers, Generation X’s, and Millennials who are all part of United Real Estate and register to attend the United Convention! Go to: Unitedpalooza.com.

Peter Giese

President & Co-Founder

United Real Estate

The Best of Bob Dylan and How Going Electric Could Be Good for Your Career

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This past week Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize in Literature, making him the first musician to ever win the award.  I was not yet born when he started his journey from a controversial folk singer to a popular rock star, who plugged in an electric guitar at a folk music festival and in doing so went on to change the song writing process of popular music forever. I have to admit, I was also not old enough to remember the original releases of some of his famous songs that would blend poetry with music and lead to him receiving the Nobel Prize.  However, as a music fan I have enjoyed his songs and the first concert my wife and I saw together (over 14 years ago) was a Bob Dylan performance.  By that time his voice had faded, but the energy and passion had remained and the audience knew the words to all his hits.

I have read about the night Bob Dylan plugged in an electric guitar at the Newport Folk Music Festival and in doing so upset the purist of acoustic folk music fans, while at the same time elevating his career to superstardom. It was documented that some fans were booing him, thinking this type of innovation was not what was needed. Even at a music festival, people don’t like surprises or change.  The strange thing is people do like good surprises, who doesn’t like it when they find twenty dollars in the laundry machine, and successful people will change. Bob Dylan was right when he wrote the song The Times They Are a Changin’ in 1964. The times are always changing.

The change he made introduced an entire new audience to his music and changed the direction of popular music. It was a bold move as he expanded his audience and he was rewarded in his career and financially with now over 100 million albums sold, a Nobel Prize, and the respect from artists of all genres. A move, that some thought was crazy, paid off by embracing the inevitable change that was occurring in consumer tastes.

I think of how many people I’ve met, and businesses I have seen, that have not changed. They have stuck with the status quo and do not reach their potential, reach a larger audience, or go in the same direction where their customers are heading. In the business world this is easy to point to, as 57% of the companies on the Fortune 500 list in 1995 are no longer on the list. Just think of Blockbuster and you can get a clear idea of how competition, when properly using technology, can displace an incumbent brand. Netflix changed the customer experience making it more user- friendly, and as a company they continue to change.  They now added a streaming video service, which attacked their own original disruptive business model.

Take a look at your business and do an honest assessment of how you are keeping up with the demands of your current and future customers.  In real estate, this means embracing technology to enhance relationships, working mobile to meet the customer where they want to do business, and promoting your agent brand effectively online so potential clients see you as the right choice to assist them with the largest financial decision they will make in their lives. How do you go electric in real estate to reach a larger audience?  There is an entire new audience for you to reach who is digesting information in quick segments of video. In August 2016 alone, over 15.5 million videos were uploaded to Facebook generating over 236 billion views!

The real estate consumer’s behavior has permanently changed.  Last year 60% of people searching for real estate didn’t just look at properties online, they actively googled real estate agents to learn more about the agent they were thinking of contacting.  Those trends are not going to reverse, so plug into them by having your online profile positively positioned on all relevant websites and social media outlets.  Give it a try to go electric by plugging into an entire new generation of home buyers by filming an introductory video of your services and making it available on your website and Facebook page. It will be a good surprise to the next generation of homeowners, who don’t see many agents communicating with them how they want to be communicated with.

As for the best of Bob Dylan, here are my top three:

  • Like A Rolling Stone
  • Lay Lady Lay
  • Tangled Up in Blue

All the best, and I would love to hear about your success stories of implementing a video strategy into your businesses, and also, what are your favorite Bob Dylan songs?  I am certain we will see and hear from both of these categories at the United Real Estate convention in Austin!

Peter

Is Developing Grit The Key to Success for Your Business and Children?

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Success and fulfillment are common goals all parents have for their children, and also what all entrepreneurs have as goals for their businesses.  This summer my family relocated to Texas, with that move came the excitement of a new adventure, as well as the apprehension that comes along with change, including a new school for our children. It is certainly true that the type and quality of education for school aged children is different from state to state, city to city, and within different school districts.  We were very comfortable with the school environment we had been a part of in Florida, and wanted to replicate this experience in Texas.  Regardless of the school, there is always one child who is deemed to overachieve, and one who is categorized as not meeting their potential. I ask myself, what is one common factor that has such an important influence on an individual reaching full potential, or a business succeeding?

As the school year started, we became more excited about this fresh start for many reasons, but we were thrilled when we found out our new school is introducing a way to teach kids about grit.  Grit is a characteristic I have always firmly believed in to overcome the inevitable life challenges we all face, and thanks to the work of Psychologist Angela Duckworth, how to develop grit in children and apply it to your business is being made available to everyone.  In her famous TED talk and now best-selling book, Angela defined grit as “perseverance and passion for long-term goals,” and documented grit is a better indicator of future earnings and happiness than IQ or talent.

I am pleased my children’s school is using this research, not as another school assessment, but rather as a vehicle to build grit in the students.  The students are taught a simple way to remember the importance of building grit by using the acronym Growth, Resilience, Integrity and Tenacity.  After all, people and businesses generally won’t succeed if they don’t learn how to work hard, remain committed to their goals, persevere through struggles, and do not take short cuts.  It is these values we, as parents try to instill in our children, and it is powerful to see it supported in our new school environment.

Throughout my career, I have built several successful multi-million dollar businesses, having also conducted thousands of coaching calls with successful sales people and business owners; I know first-hand these same principals of having grit do hold true in the business world.  If it is important to instill these characteristics in your children, isn’t it equally as important to instill them in your business? The question an entrepreneur has to seek the answer to is this; how do they push themselves, making certain they have the optimism to reach their goals, knowing they will face rejection, feel uncomfortable, and receive no indication they are going to meet their desired outcome for months, years, or in some cases decades?  How do you, as an adult, become grittier to reach your goals?

The answer is complex, but there are some simple steps to get started. The three key factors I have found people should immediately focus on to build grit are:

  • Have a growth mindset – Learning is not finite and your commitment to research and learning about your profession should be a daily exercise. The goals of growth for a business should be large and a belief you can improve is a must to stay on course for the long run ahead.
  • Develop a routine of daily success – In order to end right, you have to start right, and that includes what you do when you start your day. Habits determine our behaviors and you want to develop good habits, not bad ones. Developing the commitment to daily exercise will give you a great feeling of improvement and control over your future.
  • Visualize success – If you train your brain to see success each day, you will begin to see the path to success in the real world – The old adage “I’ll believe it when I see it” is fine for the naysayers, not for the people who reach the pinnacle of success and fulfillment. Prosperous, thriving people stay motivated each day by visualizing their end outcome, knowing that setbacks are not a permanent state.

To learn more about Angela Duckworth’s work check out her TED talk

To find out where you currently rank you can take the grit assessment test

Best wishes on your success and enjoy the TED talk and grit assessment.  I would love to hear your story of success!

Peter

President & Co-Founder

United Real Estate

CAN YOU DEFINE FREEDOM?

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Freedom is a symbol of the American dream. The hope of freedom has attracted millions of people from across the world to come to America.  The idea that freedom has always been promised to people in the United States may be comforting, but certainly not factual. There is a checkered history of freedom in America being interpreted to be meaningful to an inclusive group while excluding others. As I travel and meet with people across the U.S., I am more interested in how they define freedom for their lives, as opposed to having a debate on the historical timeline of freedom in this country. After all, shouldn’t we know what freedom looks like and means to ourselves as individuals?

A common question I ask people I meet is “Can you give me a definition of freedom?” The reaction to this question usually brings the look of bewilderment and a quiet awkward silence.  When I give an approving nod and a look of assurance to those that I posed the question to, I often times get a response that typically falls into one of two categories.  Either 1) to have enough money to never work again, or, 2) to do whatever I want.

Both of those answers sadden me a little bit, as I believe we have a built in need to contribute. Most successful people who gain true fulfillment do so by the contributions they make in their career or business, that then afford them the opportunity to give back to their community and family.  The other reason, often stated as doing “whatever I want” is the leftover rebellion of teenage years and the desire to not have anyone tell them what to do.  With either response, the individual may be missing the fundamental truth that is associated with the pursuit of happiness.

At the 2016 United® Convention in New Orleans, we first introduced the Webster dictionary of freedom: The absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action. However, as with most things in life, obtaining freedom is more complex than that simple definition in the dictionary.

Find Your Freedom® is United Real Estate trademarked recruiting slogan for real estate agents to work in a modern, relevant brokerage that allows an agent to grow their business, their income, their satisfaction in work and in life. What our slogan expresses is the reality that having freedom is not the ability to do whatever you want to do, but rather freedom is the ability to do what you are supposed to do! And in real estate that means investing in yourself to improve your business knowledge, while having the resources and training available to generate clients to meet your business goals. This is the dream of living life absent of necessity. To reach this level, it is critical to know what steps to take, and how to take them. In addition, this journey requires help and support.

At the 2017 United Convention March 2-4 in Austin, Texas, we are going to give you the knowledge to do what you are supposed to do to have the best year in your business and happiness in your life. Our special guest is one of the most dynamic speakers you will ever see. Mel Robbins energized the United audience last year, and she will spend more time with us this year to assist and push all attendees to do what they should be doing to gain success and fulfillment.

To learn more about Mel and her message, you can view a brief video clip here

To find out more about the 2017 convention, go to Unitedpalooza.com.

Peter Giese

President & Co-Founder

United Real Estate

Have You Become Afraid of Risk?

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It’s impossible, said pride.  It’s risky, said experience. It’s pointless, said reason.  Give it a try, whispered the Heart. The month of June is traditionally the top month for closed transactions in the real estate industry.  As the school year ends, families are moving into their new homes to fit the lifestyle they are seeking for the next period of their life.  It is also a time where graduates of all ages and school levels are faced with making decisions that will affect their future. In 2016 getting into the school they desire or launch their career will be dramatically affected by the number and the quality of people they are connected to.

As an entrepreneurial agent, how successful you will be in building the business you want will also be determined by the amount of people you are connected with.  How many potential customers are you connecting with that think of you first when they think about real estate?  Unlike a typical individual who is managing a budget, as an entrepreneur you are managing a profit and loss statement.  As an entrepreneur, you must perform daily and your scorecard for year end is whether or not you made more money. Unlike an employee annual performance review, the result is always crystal clear.  You connected with more potential customers and you either made more money or you did not.

Unfortunately, too many people either seek a short cut to achieve their biggest goals and choose a path that takes the least amount of effort, while others never take a risk or fully commit to their business venture. Entrepreneurs make progress a priority. They strive to take action to improve their ability to attract new customers every day. Successful agents know if they don’t act on their idea to reach out to a new FSBO, an expired listing, immediately and continuously follow up on buyer leads, and meet someone new and friend them on Facebook, another agent will and they will lose the customer.  Often sales people will not reach out of their comfort zone because of a fear of failing. The fear of failing becomes too risky and they stay in the status quo. Successful entrepreneurs look at risk with a completely different point of view.

“Entrepreneurs may fear failure, but they are more afraid of what life would be like if they don’t follow through.” – Tony Robbins

The thought of not reaching your goal as an entrepreneur is a more frightening idea to contemplate than failing.  Successful people know they will fail, but they also know they have to make another call, see another potential client. They know each interaction with a potential customer both positive and negative will be a learning experience that will challenge them to improve their skill set to improve their experience for their next potential customers.

When I was 17 years old, I drove across the country with $300 in cash, no cell phone or credit card, to spend two weeks touring the coast of California staying in cheap motels and camping out.  As I retell that story now, I am often told I was crazy and that was too risky.  Granted some youthful risk taking is misguided, however, to be a successful entrepreneur you are going to have to take risks.  If you have the right service or product along with commitment, those risks you take will dramatically change your life for the better.  All you have to do is decide to take that giant action to realize your biggest dreams and get started.

Best wishes for a wonderful summer listening to your heart and taking the risk that will allow it to help build your business!

Peter Giese

President & Co-Founder

United Real Estate