Why a Real Estate Career is Better than a Corporate Job
by Mark Ferguson —
I have been a Realtor for over 10 years and love the freedom, money and control. If you have read my recent articles on my review of 2013 or my goals for 2014 then you know I love big goals and have done very well in the real estate business. Coming out of college I had the choice of joining the corporate world or going another route. I decided to take the “other” route, which involved joining my father’s real estate team. I did not choose real estate because I spent time researching the pros and cons; it was more a choice of convenience. I couldn’t find a job out if college in the corporate world and my dad offered me a job in real estate. I am extremely happy things worked out the way they did after seeing how my friends are treated in the corporate world compared to how I run my business.
A career in real estate has more freedom than a corporate job
Real estate agents have a lot of freedom. Most real estate agents are their own boss and make their own schedule. They can work as much or as little as they want, which is a good thing for many people, but can be a challenge for others. You have to have a great work ethic to make yourself work hard and create business as a Realtor. Real estate agents have to work under a broker or be their own broker, but that broker is not exactly their boss. The real estate agent is usually a self-employed contractor for the real estate office. That means they set their own schedule, they take vacations when they want, they take time off during the day to watch their kids plays and recitals. A Realtor can do these things without asking for permission from anyone!
I think most of us know how the corporate world works. You work your butt off to rise through the ranks of the company. You get raises with each promotion and usually you take on more responsibility and more work. You work for a salary; your hours are dictated by your boss and they can be daunting. I know many successful people in the corporate world who work 60, 70 or 80 hours a week! Since they are salaried workers they don’t make more money the more they work. Hopefully at some point they will be rewarded for that hard work with another promotion. That promotion may mean even longer hours and less time with your family. At some point 20 year down the road maybe they will become a top-level manager or CEO. That assumes the company they are working for still exists and they enjoy working 80 hour weeks for the twenty years leading up to that “dream job”. The crazy thing is this is the route I was taught to take in college. They made it seem glamorous and the expected thing to do when you graduate. Thank goodness I was not paying very good attention in school!
A real estate career allows you to make more money than a corporate job
Many people see the average incomes for a real estate agent in the $40,000 range and assume real estate agents don’t make much money. The thing is those statistics count part-time real estate agents and agents who treat their job as a hobby. I mentioned an agent has to motivate themselves and make themselves work hard. Not everyone can or will work hard unless they have a boss telling them they have too. I talk about how much money real estate agents make in more detail in this article and they can make a lot of money! It is not uncommon to see a Realtor make well over a hundred thousand dollars a year. In fact our office has 38 agents and I know at least four of them make well over $100,000 a year; actually two of them make over $300,000 a year consistently year after year. The top agents in our area, which is not a massive metropolitan, area make over 1 million dollars a year in real estate. It did not take them 20 years to build up that business, it can take as little as five years for some real go-getters. I know a couple in Arizona who made over 1 million in real estate two years after becoming agents. Not everyone will make this kind of money, but it is possible with the right plan, goals and team. Once you build the right team, the team will start to make you money. You own a business as a real estate agent and if you plan well, that business will run itself.
In the corporate world you can make a lot of money as well. I know a few people who make six figures plus they get benefits like health insurance. Benefits are something real estate agents do not get since they are self-employed. The people I know in the corporate world making that money have worked crazy hours for years. They also find themselves running into a ceiling on pay once they make it to that six figure income. There is a lot of competition in the corporate world and you have to be the best of the best to make it six figures. Once you reach a certain age in the corporate world you run into the problem of younger cheaper talent replacing you. These reasons are why my good friend left the corporate world (where he was a top-level manager) to learn about real estate from me. I think he can reach the same income level in real estate in two years or less that it took him ten years to reach in the corporate world.
Real estate forces you to run your own businesses
We have all heard the best way to get rich is to start your own business. Real estate is one of the easiest business to start with very high profit potential. In real estate you need very little capital to get started, customers are easy to find, marketing is relatively cheap and you need few assets. If you want to be a Realtor you have to treat it as a business not a job. You are the boss; make big goals, plan well, work hard and great things will happen. If you expect everything to fall in your lap without doing any real work, you are going to be very disappointed.
In the corporate world you have no chance to start your own business. You are constantly working for someone else making money for their business. Usually you have no time or flexibility to create something on the side and you get stuck in a rut that can last for years.
Real estate makes you take control of your life
When you are your own boss nothing is planned for you. You don’t have hours you have to be at work and no one tells you what to do and when to do it. Many people like having their lives planned for them because it easier than taking control. To get the most out of life you have to be in control. You have to make your own schedule, plan for your future, plan your own retirement, plan vacations and plan exciting things to do.
Real estate agents have unlimited room for growth
As a real estate agent and business owner I can keep hiring people and growing my business as big as I want. The only ceiling present is the ceiling I put on myself. I can keep hiring staff to meet increased workloads as I grow and I do every year. I keep growing every year, hiring more people every year and I actually work less now than I did a few years ago. The staff I hire take care of the increased management that more staff requires. I love real estate and I am really glad I stumbled into it after college and did not get stuck in the corporate world. Real estate is not easy; it takes hard work and a great plan to succeed. If you think you can make it in real estate I highly suggest you give it a try.