Ten years ago I was a struggling Property Agent in Singapore at PropNex.
For the whole of 2008, I earned less than $1,000 TOTAL in commissions.
That’s less than $84 per month, kinda like earning in Zimbabwe, Africa.
I was so poor I didn’t even have money for transportation. So I had to borrow money from my mother for the train rides and tolerate her painful lectures. It got so bad, in desperation, I walked out on foot from my mother’s home in Bedok all the way to Toa Payoh.
That’s a 25 kilometer long 2-way journey, taking me two sweat-drenched hours to walk per trip.
I tore up my shoes and developed painful blisters which took years to heal.
Why was I struggling so hard?
I joined as a realtor after I saw my aunt making a lot of money selling houses. I wanted to make good money. I had seen my mother struggling to pay the bills and had looked into her fear-filled, sad eyes staring at poverty. We were living paycheck to paycheck. So I wanted to help her as the eldest son. My father couldn’t support us financially at the time.
But the problem was, I was a shy person trying to work in a field generally more forgiving to extroverts. I had a weird Singlish accent that friends and classmates made fun of. So I struggled with low self esteem issues. And without much sales experience, it was hard for me to get listings. The more I saw other agents getting awards, the more I wanted the same for myself. I wanted recognition. I wanted to feel valued and accepted by others. I wanted to be popular just because I never was. I wanted to have nice cars and nice girls (ok kidding). I visualised crowds clapping for me and having my pictures hung up on the walls.
Since I couldn’t seem to be closing deals, my upline advised me to throw out some flyers. I went and did that. No one called me. Next, she asked me to knock on doors. I did that too, and almost got arrested for trespassing. I didn’t have the money to advertise in the newspaper like all the successful agents did. So I was stuck. Then my upline suggested that I attempt cold calling. But I absolutely hated doing that. Besides, I already was near my breaking point and was very close to giving up.
I stopped everything to take out some time alone.
I sat down in my mother’s kitchen late one night and thought about what I wanted to do next.
Suddenly, I had an ‘AHA!’ moment.
I realised I was doing it all wrong!
There were others who were more successful than my own upline.
All I had to do was copy what they did.
Model what worked and throw away whatever that didn’t.
This was exciting…
But since I didn’t have the budget top agents did, I had to bootstrap.
I realised, in 2008, the internet was still up and coming in Singapore. There were few agents there.
But I didn’t like what they were doing.
So I searched around for inspiration and stumbled across Dan Kennedy from USA.
He was teaching direct response marketing methods to business owners.
And what he taught made absolute 100% sense to me.
All that was left for me to do next was tweak his approach and apply it to Singapore’s real estate industry.
I was excited.
Since I had taught myself website building and was quite technologically advanced, I borrowed money to put up a domain and created a simple but amazing offer for local home buyers.
And promptly got FLOODED with 1,943 inquiries in under 48 hours!
That was the first time ever in my life I closed a major deal, earning a cool 79,382.73 in commissions!
But I had unknowingly pushed myself into an even BIGGER problem than before; I couldn’t handle it all!
My phone was ringing off the hook, and I could barely follow up with any of them.
I started becoming paranoid.
I was sleeping less, worrying more.
I knew I was leaving money on the table.
I could close more deals given more time.
This time, I needed a different kind of help from before, fast.
So I started asking my upline for help. Since she never had a flood of leads before, the only thing she could help me with was cobroking the deals.
So I started asking other agents for advice.
Sent them SMSes. Called them. Begged them to meet.
But they were either unwilling to share their real secrets or told me believable lies that only got me running in more circles.
Nobody had time for me.
Only later did I realised that, hey, that was the way real estate was done for the past 100+ years.
Then one quiet day after all this had died down, I stumbled across Michael Gerber’s book the E Myth. The minute I read it cover to cover did it dawn on me that my business was dependent on ME!
I had to systemise it or die!
I quickly decided to move ahead and hired a team to help me systemise every single thing.
This was totally unheard of!
How could you automate a realtor business?
In 2009, during an economic recession no less?
But the day I switched my system on was the happiest day of my life.
I was getting way MORE business than I ever had before, and ironically, I was working ten times LESSER than before, while ENJOYING it a hundred times more!
Life was good! 🙂
Then one day, I bumped into my former upline.
She had changed her agency, but knew I was doing well.
She said she needed my help.
She was working crazy 16 hour days and was close to burnt out. She said I was her only hope.
At that moment, another light bulb went off in my head…
… what if I shared my system with others and saved them all the agony I had gone through?
I knew it then, I was on to something BIGGER than just myself.
This was about ALL Singapore Real Estate Agents!
What better way to impact someone’s business directly than setting up automated systems like mine?
I just knew that what I showed property agents worked and I wanted to share it.
But what caught me off-guard was how helping agents get what they want in life actually changed the quality of my own life.
Sure, I started to make a lot of money, BUT… more importantly, each agent I helped opened up new doors for me.
Through my PALS business, I’ve been able to travel around the world and meet cool people like my future wife whom I would go on to marry…
But the REAL hidden benefit has been the inner fulfilment I get when I see someone change his or her life.
And that is what this business really is about for me, I’m guessing if you’re here, then it’s probably the same thing for you too — am I right?
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Yasser Khan is a real estate coach, speaker, and trainer at YasserKhan.SG who teaches Singapore Realtors how to make more Money, have more Time and enjoy more Freedom.
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