For many agents, building their own team feels like a natural step in their professional growth. Perhaps they started out on a team as a showing assistant or buyer’s specialist and want to recreate the same work environment in which they spent their formative years in real estate. Perhaps they’ve been going it solo and want to get their life back. Or maybe they want to get out of production and into business building.
Whatever a person’s reason for starting a real estate team, it’s a decision that will change many aspects of someone’s career and life. And as more and more agents are attracted to working in a team model, those considering teams have more to think about than ever. So it’s worth asking: Are you really ready for a team?
Make no mistake: Leading a functional team is one of the best ways—if not the best way—I know to create a sustainable, balanced real estate business. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t right and wrong ways to go about doing it, and ideal and less-than-ideal times to pull the trigger. I’ve seen plenty of promising team leaders caught in needless struggles because they weren’t fully prepared for the challenges of team-building. So if you are thinking about starting a team of your own, ask yourself these three questions to see if you’re really ready.
1. Is your success sustainable?
Many agents want to start a team because they are feeling overwhelmed with the business they currently have. But before jumping into a full team, it is wise to determine whether the work that is making you so busy is both sustainable and following a desirable trajectory. Can you reasonably anticipate a growth rate that will justify your team investment, or do you just need a flexible assistant right now? Is this growth track going to take you where you want to be in a few years, or is it too aggressive or too conservative? If building a team now doesn’t lead to an improved quality of life later, it’s probably not the right choice.
2. Are you fit and ready to lead?
It might seem like a paradox, but many new team leaders struggle with the fact that they are leading a team. To some, leadership positions come fairly naturally, while to others it is more of a struggle. Regardless of personality, leadership has a steep learning curve. If you are thinking about starting a team, consider what types of prior leadership experience you have to fall back on and whether you feel that is adequate for the new challenges ahead.
You also need to create self-awareness around your potential weaknesses as a leader and businessperson. No team leader is perfect; the best team leaders are those who rely on their strengths and make accommodations for their weaknesses, which leads me to my next question…
3. Are you ready to fail?
Perhaps the most important question to consider is how you cope with and learn from failure, for fail you will. As a leader myself, I’ve experienced many failures, from the inconsequential to the catastrophic and everything in between, and you need to anticipate those same types of missteps in your own career. By approaching these situations with a mindset of humility and learning, you and your business will be able to grow from them. The only true failure is a mistake you didn’t (or refused to) learn from—and that is a failure that very quickly ripples out from you through your business and team.
Building and leading a team is one of the most challenging things you’ll do in your career. But it’s also one of the most rewarding. That’s why it is so important to set yourself up for success before taking this momentous step. A team is probably the right step—but is it right right now?
Verl Workman is the founder and CEO of Workman Success Systems, a real estate consulting company that specializes in performance coaching and building highly effective teams. Get free access to some of the very same tools and resources he has used to create success in his clients’ businesses.