So the other day someone asked me why I became a Property Agent all those years ago.
And as I thought about that, it brought me back a flood of memories.
I remember I became a property agent because I wanted to support my hard working sole breadwinner mother. I wanted to give her a good life. Because at the time we were poor and my father wasn't in Singapore, and as the eldest son, I was took up the responsibility of looking after my three younger siblings while my mum worked two jobs to support us. In those days, I was searching for a job after I had finished my National Service, earning barely 350 a month. It wasn't enough.
So I wanted to make more money and provide for my mother. I couldn't bear to see her sad face on weekends, worrying about us.
I wanted her to stop working so hard. She was working two tough jobs to put us four children into school. I wanted her to stop living a hard life.
And it just so happened that one day I bumped into my aunt at the old Bedok Interchange. She was on her way to a viewing and had some time to talk. She then asked me what was I planning to do, since I had finished my NS.
I said I had no idea. I had just been burned in MLM.
So she told me to try out real estate sales. She also gave me compelling proof to back it up, as she was already earning 6 figures for the past 3 years. I was thoroughly impressed. And that was the day I got introduced to someone who would go on to become my upline at PropNex.
So that was how I became a Property Agent.
And it was a new experience for me. I still couldn't believe you could get paid tons of money for selling houses.
But I soon realised, it wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. It took me 8 long months of hard work just to land my very first deal. It was a rental. And for the entire year of 2008, I only managed to earn a grand total of $750 after declaring the commission.
I realised not everything was as rosy as it seemed. Looks could be deceiving. I thought my upline was rolling in the money. She wasn't.
Real estate was indeed a tough job. 80% of my batch mates quit within the first year. And the vast majority of realtors in my division were barely making ends meet. True enough, the top 10% of the realtors were making 90% of the money, while the rest of the agents were struggling.
That got me very depressed. It seemed impossible for me to make good money. I was barely surviving on my mother's allowance. Here I was, a total newbie, with zero connections, zero sales experience, facing an insurmountable obstacle. On top of that, I had low self esteem issues to deal with. And I was a shy person, terrified of walking up to total strangers. I simple couldn't seem to be making money renting or selling houses. I was in deep trouble now.
What I really needed was a good mentor.
And I found him in Dan Kennedy late one night while desperately searching the internet for answers in my mother's kitchen.
Dan made me realise that what many realtors needed to get more business was 'marketing'. And I realised what most agents called 'marketing' was old school manual prospecting like door knocking, cold calling and canvassing; what I call the 'Caveman Method of catching fish with your bare hands'.
True marketing attracted your ideal prospects to you first, without doing any of the hard labour. It was not only possible, but Dan had already created millionaires out of entrepreneurs by making them switch to 'direct response marketing'.
By now I truly felt relieved, as if I had a real breakthrough. I had to do it. And I went on to apply Dan's strategies and had a flood of leads!
And that marked the true start of my real estate career.
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