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Congratulations—you’re on your way to obtaining your real estate license! Pop the champagne and tell all your friends—you’re almost ready to hit the big leagues. No stopping you now! You’ve got big dreams in your head and dollar signs in your eyes. If that sounds like you, you’re in the right place and you’re off to a great start.

But. (There’s always one of those, right?) Be careful. There are traps that snare some of the most eager newbies into ruts they don’t belong in. Trust me, I know. I started when I was nineteen. Think about that for a second. Back in the disco days. Let that sit for a minute. All right, back to now. Let me save you from some pain.

Let’s walk through the first five things you should not do, (even if people tell you to) when you start your real estate journey:

  1. Don’t rely only on book smarts. Yes, you need to know about easements and contracts and clauses. (Oh my!) But remember that this is, first and foremost, a people business. A relationship business. A connection business. The sooner you get to building those things, the sooner you can get to making your mark in a great industry.
  1. Don’t enter this business without a plan. Not some insanely long, 34-page plan that people do once and never give a second thought to again kind of plan because that’s not going to get you from point A to point B. Keep it simple. (A great philosophy for real estate and life, by the way.) I’ve got a one-page EZ Agent Business Plan that is real estate-specific, which is important because what we do is a little different from most businesses.
  1. Don’t listen to the Negative Nathans and Nancy No-Nos. “Door knocking doesn’t work. Calling FSBOs is too hard. Open houses are a waste of time. I wouldn’t do it that way.” You know what’s amazing? When a new agent goes out and hits it out of the park because no one told them they couldn’t! When a new agent tries new strategies and tools that a 10-year veteran wouldn’t bother with because, “That’s not the way it’s always been done.” Leave the negativity at the door.
  1. Don’t spend every dollar you have on “fancy.” I’m a big fan of marketing. Huge. You’ve got to get your name out. You’ve got to “spend money to make money.” But you can do it at a pace that makes sense for you and your business. Don’t spend money you don’t have. You don’t need pens with your name on it, or refrigerator magnets with sports schedules on it. Look at the tools you can use that are affordable and smart and can help you let the world know you’re in business without taking out a third mortgage on your house.
  1. Don’t be afraid of the phone. Prospecting is not a dirty word. In fact, if you were my best friend and getting into real estate, I would tell you to embrace the possibilities. I’d tell you to take the “yes” and “no” out of the equation and just work on building relationships. If you are calling people to see if they have real estate questions or needs, then you are providing a valuable service to people at a time when our markets are in a state of constant change. You’re not selling them, you’re helping them. When your only goal is to move the needles on your relationship, the pressure’s off, the conversations flow and you’re more likely to get in the zone and connect with people who can use your services—or know someone who can.

Darryl Davis, bestselling author of “How to Become a Power Agent in Real Estate” and owner of Darryl Davis Seminars, has trained and coached over 100,000 real estate professionals around the globe for more than 27 years. He is the founder of the Next Level® real estate training system, The Power Program®, which has helped agents double their production over their previous year. For more information, and the new agent tools that can help take you to your Next Level®, please contact or visit