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5 Reasons You Won’t Make it Selling Real Estate

Unless you are fully committed to real estate and have a solid business plan, you will have trouble finding success. Sales coach Jared James outlines five situations that can bring down your career — and how to avoid them.

Over the past five years, I have had the opportunity to grow a pretty large coaching program where I speak to tens of thousands of real estate professionals. This experience has allowed me to witness first-hand not only success stories but also more unfulfilled potential than I care to talk about. Through it all, I always look for the common denominators of every situation.

Today, I want to cover five reasons people don’t make it selling real estate. We’ve all seen them, heard of them, and felt bad for them. And some of you reading this may be on the verge of becoming one of them if you don’t make a change.

So here are five reasons you won’t make it selling real estate:

1. You are “trying out” real estate.

The notion of trying something out speaks to a lack of commitment. All too often, someone will decided to sell real estate because they see the success of another real estate professional — but what they don’t see are the years spent doing floor time, holding open houses for other agents, and working nonstop, seven days a week.

It is my belief that many people focus too much on the results and not enough on what it takes to get there. I like to say that everyone wants to have a best-seller but nobody wants to write the book.

Making it selling real estate takes more than interest; it takes full commitment. It takes the kind of commitment that Hernando Cortez had in 1519 when he and his crew set sail on their final voyage from Cuba to Mexico. When he arrived on the shores of Yucatan, it is said, he turned to his army and commanded them to burn the boats. The lesson was simple; they were either going to conquer and come back on someone else’s boats or die trying.

Luckily, a real estate career does not require your life, but some would argue that it does require a piece of it. If you can’t fully commit to real estate, don’t waste your time.

2. You aren’t coming from a position of strength.

I see many agents get started in real estate with the best intentions and even the strong work ethic needed to succeed long term. But if you are lacking the financial stability to get started, you may find it a tough go.

When I was selling, I was one of the top agents in the country, and even I didn’t earn a real commission in the first six months of my career. It takes time to build relationships, create context, show houses, and go though the process of a transaction. Real estate is not like most careers where you will receive a paycheck two weeks after starting.

Worse yet, it is not uncommon to have a couple of properties under contract only to see them both fall apart. This can be crippling when you were depending on them to pay your bills.

Do yourself a favor and don’t sell properties full-time until you either have six months of living expenses saved in your account or you are in a situation, such as living with your parents, where you can keep your overhead very low.

3. You don’t believe that you need help.

This type of thinking runs rampant among the personality types who get into real estate. They’re generally the type of people who don’t want to have a boss, and believe they can do anything they put their mind to. There is some truth in that statement, but everyone needs help from somebody. The quicker you realize that, the better off you’ll be.

Think about it this way: Most people’s issue is not that they don’t know what to do; it’s that they don’t do it. If you don’t believe me, ask yourself how many diets you’ve ever been on. You know what you should eat and that you should exercise … you just don’t do it consistently enough.

For a guy who coaches people for a living, I like to call this job security.

Needing other people goes beyond coaching, though; it’s also in the organizations that you join and your level of activity within your local, state, or national real estate association. I have heard many times that practitioners don’t gain business by going to these events, and in many cases, they could be right. But it’s not just about that. It’s about the level of community that you create.

In November, I have rented out the Connecticut Convention Center for all of my students and followers for two reasons. First off: yes, to help agents build their business. But the other reason is to get everyone together to form a sense of community. This is important because, when people feel community, they don’t feel alone, and when they don’t feel alone, they feel a common purpose, and when they feel a common purpose, they gain identity, and when they have identity, they will do things they wouldn’t have done before.

They say you can judge the level of success someone will have on this Earth by the number of awkward conversations they are willing to have. You are more willing to do the things you don’t want to do (like prospecting) when you identify yourself as a person who does those things. For example, most people don’t wake up in the morning and say, “I want to cut down trees today,” but when you identify yourself as a lumberjack, it’s just what you do no matter how you feel. Identity matters and community helps gets you there.

4. You don’t have a plan.

Can you imagine stepping into the kitchen for the first time and trying to make a cake without knowing any of the ingredients? I know it sounds ridiculous, but that’s exactly what you do when you try to start a business (and that’s what selling properties is) and you don’t have a plan to follow.

Your e-mail doesn’t dictate what you do every day — your plan does. If you are in this business and you don’t have a plan to follow, you can go to my website and download a template for free. I also have a free webinar on the subject that I recorded earlier this year. Whether you use my template or someone else’s or develop your own, following a business plan is key.

I am a big believer that you need to assess where you are now so you don’t regret where you end up later. Know where you stand and follow a map that gets you to where you want to go.

5. You get bored too easily.

I am well aware that we are living through what is probably the most ADHD/“shiny object syndrome” society that we ever have, but you have to resist. I love technology and gadgets as much as the next person, but if you are not careful, these tech tools and trends will work against your level of success rather than help you be more productive.

Real estate has and always will be a business where personal relationships matter, yet we have become so addicted to our phones that we have actually learned how to be completely alone and isolated in a crowded room. When we aren’t checking for e-mails, updating our status, or talking on the phone, we are playing games and scrolling for an app we haven’t opened in a while. Stop it!

Learn to batch your e-mails and only check your phone at certain times of the day. Refocus your energy on what actually matters, which is following your plan, making contacts, setting up your automated systems, educating yourself, staying motivated, and sustaining real relationships with real people. If you aren’t deliberate in what you’re doing, you’ll find yourself wasting time before you know it.

Jared James

Jared James is a national speaker and trainer in the real estate industry who has tens of thousands of followers on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube. Subscribe to get his free sales tips and videos at To connect with Jared, go to