Starting, and maintaining, a blog, is like learning how to sell real estate.

How? You ask.

I will start with a short story.

Today’s Lesson

Years ago, a friend was starting a new real estate business. She had sold real estate in the past, but now wanted to have her own office. Being a great sales woman, she “sold me” on joining her, by becoming an agent in her new office.

Although I had protested, saying “I’m not a sales person”. Her answer was, “You don’t have to “sell”, the homes will sell themselves”.

So….,I signed up for real estate school.

Having made the commitment, I got excited, thinking I was now going to learn how to sell real estate, and earn what could be big commissions.

But…..that didn’t happen.

In real estate school, we learned, “how to pass the real estate exam”.

But, I was now a Realtor.

I had my license, officially “hung”, in my friend’s office.

I assumed the rest would be easy. It wasn’t.

First of all, I was in a new office…an office that needed to build name recognition. Fortunately, my friend, the broker, made that her mission. But, my work was cut out for me.

Since real estate school only taught me how to pass the exam, I still had to learn how to deal with buyers, sellers, banks, appraisers, or home inspectors. I also had to learn how to fill out listing forms and/or earnest money agreements. It was imperative to use the correct wording, to insure the the buyer and/or seller were “protected”. My buyers and sellers looked to me for advice. One wrong word, or a missed sentence, and a buyer or seller, could be “locked into” a deal. Aughhhh…the power of a signature.

I spent many days waiting for the phone to ring, and for clients to walk in. I also spent many hours “cold calling” FSBO’s (For Sale By Owners), in hopes of “converting” them to let me list their property.

In real estate, making a first impression is also very important. Fortunately I had my wardrobe from working in the corporate world, but my car left something to be desired. It was a two door Ford Escort. I would sheepishly apologize for the compactness of my car, but most of my potential buyers didn’t seem to mind. (Or, so they said…)

I would then proceed to spend hundreds of dollars on gas (and sometimes lunch), as I drove buyers around town, showing them dozens of homes in their price range. Sometimes they wanted to “look” at homes that were way above their price range…just to see how “the other side” lived. I happily accommodated their wishes.

Sometimes they bought, sometimes they didn’t.

Now keep in mind, in real estate, you don’t get paid unless a sale “closes”.

I also had deals “fall” (not close). Hours of work…………for nothing.

Now, to those big commissions.

Commissions are not all they are cracked up to be. Commissions are split between the listing and selling offices, and then split again (between your broker and you). So what started out to be a 6% commission on a home, was often a 1.5% commission to me (before taxes :( ).

In real estate, most people don’t look at, or purchase properties, Monday through Friday, from 8-4. No! Real estate happens on the weekends, or evenings, when buyers have free time to look. My family time, was often put on the back burner.

And….as in many businesses, I soon found out, the real estate world is filled with lots of politics, and many unscrupulous individuals.

For two years, I gave it my all.

I had made a decent income.

But, a new dream began calling me, so I gave up my license, and never looked back.

Now you may be asking, what do blogging and real estate have in common?

Let’s take a look.

1) To get a blog (some are free), or a real estate license, is fairly easy.

2) Once you have a blog, or real estate license, that’s when the real work starts

3) Blogging software does not teach you how to deal with comments (positive or negative), just as real estate school does not teach you how to deal with good or bad clients. Nor does blogging software teach you HTML, CSS, XHTML, etc….You are also on your own when it comes to plugins, widgets, addons, favicons, etc…

4) Making money with blogging takes time, just as earning commissions do

5) Traffic to a new blog comes slow, as do buyers and sellers to a new real estate office

6) In real estate, you may encounter cheats and liars. With blogging, many websites do not provide accurate information

7) To succeed in both real estate and blogging, patience, perseverance, and endurance are required.

8.) Unless you are retired, or have flex time, as in real estate, you will be blogging on nights and weekends.

9) Success in real estate and blogging, is measured by the number of deals/posts you have.

10) What appears to be high earnings in real estate or blogging, can be misleading. (1.5% commission vs $0.03 for an ad click)

11) Just as buyers may only “be looking”, visitors to your blog may not be clicking on your ads – no conversions.

12) The quality of what you write in your blog, is as important as the words you speak to potential buyers and sellers (integrity)

13) Just as you may, or may not, “hit it off” with a buyer or seller, your blog may not appeal to all readers

14) It takes time for a new business to develop name recognition, just as it does a blog

15) With both blogs and real estate, the first impression is the most important. All the more reason to have a professional looking site.

16) Blogs have spam, real estate has unscrupulous individuals. (Wouldn’t it be great to have a spam blocker for those type of people? :) ZAP!!!)

17) Just as real estate has high and lows, so does traffic to blogs.

18) Being a blogger and/or a Realtor is not for everyone.

19) Just as a home sells itself, so does your blog.

Will yours get “top billing”?

Today’s Assignment

Do you see similarities between blogging and a profession you are in, or have been in?

Did you think blogging would be easy when you started?

What is the greatest obstacle you face with blogging?

Do you see yourself blogging in the future?

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  1. I loved reading this post Barbara. And your comparison between blogging and real estate is excellent.

    There are definitely many similarities between blogging and business. For a start, it takes a long time in both to build up a decent reputation and client base.

    I suppose that when I started blogging, I didn’t realise it would be so time consuming and that I’d wind up needing to post most days to my business blog and also to the Kwik Fix one. It’s been much harder and more time consuming than I imagined – especially in the early days when nobody was reading it.

    My biggest obstacle is probably myself. Sometimes I write posts that do overstep the mark. And often I write posts that i leave in draft because I worry about the consequences of publishing.

    I find it really difficult to decide what I should be posting about. Obviously, I write a lot about my mistakes because I want to help others, but on the other hand, I’m now aware that some of my competitors, past colleagues etc read my blog and I wonder if it really is smart to share so many of my weaknesses.

    The other thing which is tough is trying to blog when you are ill. When I had that long bout of illness recently, I simply could not write – ideas just didn’t come to me at all.

    I do think I will carry on blogging in the future. And eventually I would like to have more blogs that will help others. But I think that will have to wait until I have more time!

    Thanks for the great post Barbara. It really made me think.

  2. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Catherine,

    I’m so happy you enjoyed the post. You, being in business too, know so well what’s needed to succeed. Adding blogs on top of your daily work load, only piles on more work. Catherine, I admire you for your perseverance.

    I think, too often, we forget that a blog is considered a “hobby”, but as you know, it becomes more than that when you have so much you want to share. Loyal readers understand “life happens”, and our posting schedules may change. I’ve stopped feeling guilty if I don’t get a post out as often as I hope. Creativity can’t be forced.

    Knowing that your blogs are read by competitors, past colleagues, etc, raises a new concern. I’m sure at times you feel you should filter some of what you write, but on the other hand, you are trying to pass information on to your readers in an effort to help them, so you get caught between a rock and a hard place.

    Sharing mistakes or vulnerabilities does not show weakness. To me it shows you are human, and what you are calling “errors on your part”, are actually life lessons you have learned from. By sharing, you are becoming a cyberspace mentor to many.

    I would have to believe, your competitors are envious of all of the talents you possess.

    Keep up the great work!