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sandReal estate agents come into this business with a great attitude of making big money and serving a lot of clients. They believe that once they get their license, people will flock to them and they’ll automatically start selling houses. While I wish that were true, most agents find themselves struggling to make ends meet (let alone thrive), while others build their business by developing successful habits that allow them to not only sell more houses, but withstand the ebbs and flows of the real estate market.

Sound business principles apply to real estate agents, brokers and teams. If you build your business on a firm, solid foundation, the winds and storms that are guaranteed to come will not destroy your company, or leave you tired and worn out. After more than 20 years in business as a REALTOR®, speaker and coach to the elite, I’ve discovered four time-tested principles that are guaranteed to keep you in business and making money for a long time.

Four Key Cornerstones to Build a Solid Foundation
1. Create a real business plan
2. Build only four pillars of income
3. Prospect daily
4. Dare to delegate

1. Create a Business Plan
Taking the time to lay out your business strategy, including where you want to go with a clear picture of what it’s going to take to get there, is the first step. If you don’t have a plan, you’re simply wandering around and hoping you do well. The strategy of “wish marketing” is not solid. Break down your goals into simple daily to-do’s, and execute around those priorities.

2. Build Only Four Pillars of Income
There are so many ways to make money in real estate. The challenge is not lead generation or even client acquisition; rather, the challenge is to find the right four methods (or pillars of income) to focus on and then stay laser focused on those. SOI, Geo-farming, FSBOs, Expired Listings, High Volume Internet lead generation sources (BoomTown, Commissions Inc., or Agentjet), Attorneys, Short Sales, REOs, Door Knocking, and so many more. Choose four—and only four—pillars, then build a plan so that each pillar can hit 100 percent of your income goal.

3. Prospect Daily
The key to becoming a top-producing agent or team is to never, ever stop prospecting. Without exception, the elite prospect daily. When they get busy and they don’t seem to have time, they make time to prospect. When business is good, they understand that it won’t stay good if they stop doing the things that got them to the frenzy they’re experiencing today. Never, ever stop prospecting. For some of you…start prospecting.

4. Dare to Delegate
I’ll state this simply. I can’t help you get to the place where you have great life balance, incredible income, and provide exceptional service if you spend 70 percent of your day doing $15 per hour tasks. You must learn to utilize company resources, or hire an assistant so that you can focus on money-making activities. This principle of delegation is one of the hardest to get your mind around, but one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make in your business. If you think you can’t afford help, the opposite is actually true: You can’t afford not to get help.

Now’s the time to set great habits in place and build a solid business that’ll serve you and your family for years to come.

Verl Workman is the founder and CEO of Workman Success Systems (385-282-7112), an international speaking, consulting and coaching company that specializes in performance coaching and building successful power agents and teams.

For more information, visit