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Commentary by Susan Harrison

RISMEDIA, Oct. 13, 2008-In times of uncertainty, you must turn to the one thing you can truly count on-yourself. You chose a career in real estate, in part, to be an independent business person, so take a deep breath, roll up your sleeves and get to work investing in that business.

The key asset of your business is you. An asset, by definition, is a useful and desirable thing or quality. Are you useful now and making yourself more useful all the time? Are you attending every teaching, training and coaching opportunity that comes your way? News flash – you may be a real estate veteran but you don’t know everything! I’ve been in the business 20+ years and still learn something new every day. The more knowledge you obtain, the more useful you will become to the public. Your goal is to become the first name people think of when they think of real estate and the only person to whom they would entrust their home purchase and sale. So how do you get there from here? By investing in yourself.

1. Image – Do you present a professional image to the public? Do you carry business cards with you always? Do you wear your company logo proudly? Those who do, have stories to tell of the deal that resulted from the stranger who struck up a conversation because they recognized the logo.

2. Training – Sit down with your manager and discuss in-house training opportunities. Then branch out – what does your franchise organization offer? Are there conference calls you can attend? Grab onto any free opportunities with both hands, but also budget any costs – just do it – it is never money wasted. Old sayings become old sayings for a reason and yes, it takes money to make money. Find it – you won’t regret it.

3. Networking – Are you involved in your chamber of commerce? Your neighborhood committee? Are you participating in every office meeting and group activity? Are you attending your franchisor’s annual convention? Making yourself known to the public through networking is important, but equally so is surrounding yourself with like-minded, innovative and positive-thinking real estate agents.

4. Mentoring – They say the teacher learns the most. If you mentor someone else, it reminds you to cross your T’s and dot your I’s. Sometimes “fresh eyes” on a problem can bring about fresh thinking – you’ll be surprised what the student will bring to the relationship.

5. Personally – As they say on an aircraft – put on your own mask before you attempt to help others. You must look after yourself first or you won’t be any good to your or the people you love and you certainly won’t be useful to your business. Are you getting enough sleep? According to the National Sleep Foundation as quoted in USA Today, nearly 70 million Americans have trouble sleeping. Are you eating right and exercising? Your car isn’t a dining room. And always remember to replenish your spirit.

So, if you don’t know where to focus your investments these days, look in the mirror – it’s a sure thing.

Susan Harrison is a 20+ year veteran of the real estate industry, having worked at the brokerage level for two major franchise organizations prior to joining EXIT Realty Corp. International in 2000. As Manager of Franchise Support, she built and developed the department that trains and supports EXIT’s franchisees and administrators across North America. Shifting gears and taking on the challenge of Senior VP Web Development in 2005, she presently oversees EXIT’s corporate website, the company intranet,, and a myriad of other online initiatives and resources.

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