Wait, both of you are in 100% commission jobs? Is that hard? How do you do it? These questions I have received from acquaintances who find out for the first time I am a Loan Officer and Spencer is a Real Estate Agent. Honestly, it is not a concept I think much about, or consider it a challenge because it is all I know. I grew up in an entrepreneurial family. My parents owned a Landscaping Company, which meant we were also 100% commission. Growing up there were a lot of discussions around finances. My parents made it very clear, if we do not have the cash, we would not be getting x y or z. My parents were and still are very wise with their money. With confidence I can say, my knowledge of money started at a very young age observing their financial behaviors. In my life, it is true that what I witnessed was what I became.
Today Spencer and I are living a life that is dependent not on punching a clock, but on our own aspirations. We wake up each day, wondering where our next lead will come from. There is no guarantee and there is no magic ball we can rub that will tell us when our next bonus will be granted. This is what being an entrepreneur is. It is a lot of not knowing! However, there may not be a lot of knowing, but there also is a lot of flexibility and personal voice.
This morning, while Spencer was prepping Payton's school lunch and I was struggling to open my eyes and drink my morning coffee. I muffled, "Babe, whats your schedule today?" With a quick reply he said, "I am going to take the morning and be home with you and Elliot. I have been gone so much this week, I think it will be a good idea!" I was ecstatic, although I kept my cool and simply responded, "oh that is great, but are you sure we are okay?" Being 100% commission takes teamwork and self-discipline. I am constantly checking in with Spencer with the key question, "Are you sure?" His responses are always so comforting. There has not been one day in our 7 years of Real Estate that his answer has been anything but, "Yes, Babe, I am sure!"
Is it hard? ABSOLUTELY-I would be joking if I told you that being an entrepreneur was easy. 7 years ago when Spencer left his 9-5 job as an athletic recruiter we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. Not only was he stepping into Real Estate, which is a difficult market to break into, but he was doing it with a pregnant wife by his side. We had a crazy amount of support, but much of me thought, these people have got to be crazy. Are they aware that I am going to have a baby in a few months, and he has NEVER DONE THIS BEFORE! It was not like he was going to sell golf clubs, these are houses. But, we did it and here we are 7 years later and we made it. Actually, we did not just make it. We have flourished. Being an entrepreneur has been one of the most challenging opportunities, but also one of the greatest blessing for our family.
How have we done it? Here are few quick tips on how we manage to survive on a 100% commission income:
CLOSE THEN CASH
We do not spend our money until it is deposited in our bank account. This is a huge one. In Real Estate and Lending our deals are never final until our checks are processed after closing. This is a tough one to get use to with the ease of credit cards. However, I believe it is a key mindset to build from. No money is spent on a today purchase with money from tomorrow.
We talk a lot about where we are at with our personal and business boundaries. We review our pipeline and cross reference our capacity on a weekly basis. I am fairly tolerant of the exceptional adjustment to our boundaries, but rarely do we go outside of them. A few of our boundaries are built around our cash reserves, our family time, cell phone use and childcare needs.
CLIENTS OVER PRODUCT
We prioritize our relationships over our commissions. We know that our industries are popular industries. It is accurate that everyone knows someone who is either a Realtor or a Lender. However, we have found that being friends and supporting our community as if we worked a 9-5 job is a winning approach. We prefer to have authentic relationships instead of sales relationships. Approaching our industries with the mindset of people over product has helped us stay focused on why we do what we do. It is about our clients, not about the commissions we earn from their transactions, It is a mindset that has allowed us to succeed as a 100% commission family.