Why I Hired My First Assistant

My office overlooked the parking lot at Century 21 Executive Group.  It was the middle of December in 2002 after hours on a Friday night.  I was the only person left in the building.

My cell phone rings, it’s Tony Ramon.  “Hey Bart I need a huge favor” Tony slurred.  “I had a huge fight with Maria and stormed outta the house.  But I forgot my damn wallet!  I was gonna get a hotel room but I don’t have any cash on me.  Can I sleep at your house tonight?”

Tony was a client of mine.  He and his wife Maria were wanna be homebuilders.  We had just closed on their very first spec home.  I had both sides of the deal (nice)!

Leading up to Tony finally building a spec home I spent a lot of time with him.  He called me a lot.  Picked my brain, asked tons of questions, had me review dozens of floor plans.  He finally bought a lot, decided on a floor plan, built the house, and I had it under contract within three weeks of listing it.

I didn’t consider Tony a friend, but apparently he felt different – given now he is asking to sleep at my house.

“Sorry Tony I’d love to help but Stacey and I have a 4 month old at home.  And little Madison is only three.”  I replied.

“I can sleep in your basement, nobody will even know I’m there” He grasped.  “I’m just not comfortable with it buddy”  I said.

“Well ok, could you lend me a few bucks so I can get a hotel room?”  He said.

“Sure, let me see what I have” As I reached into my front left pocket.

“All I’ve got is forty bucks” staring at the crumpled twenties.

“You still at the office?”  Tony quizzed.

How did he guess that?  I thought to myself.  “Yes, unfortunately still here”

“I’m right up the road, see you in a few” He said.

Seconds later I saw headlights turn into the parking lot.  Wow, he was right up the road!  I thought just a little creeped out.  Was he already nearby and saw my car in the lot before he even called?  Weird.

I made my way down the stairs from the second floor and unlocked the front door.  The cold air immediately whipped in and reminded me how crappy it is to live in Valparaiso Indiana in the winter.

“Hey buddy!  Thanks a million, you’re a life saver” Tony remarked as I handed him the dough.  As soon as his pie hole gaped I whiffed the sour scent of booze.  “I’ll pay you back as soon as I get my wallet” He said.

This is weird.  And it’s late.  “You gotta get him outta here” said the voice in my head.  I hurried the conversation, reminded Tony it was late and I needed to get home, and ushered him back out the door he stumbled in.

When I got back up to my office I looked out and to my befuddled amazement witnessed a small part of humanity die.  As Tony approached his car he took a small zig zag to his left and stopped. He then unzipped his jeans and took a steamy leak right there in the now victimized parking lot.

What the hell is going on around here?,  I thought.  Not just about this moment, me witnessing the mournful end of civilized society as we know it.  But, why in the world am I even here at the office on a Friday night at now 8:30pm?  Why!?  My poor wife is at home with our two babies, and I’m here.

There’s got to be a better way!

I immediately started making a list of everything that I did in my business.  Which as a solo agent at that time, was everything!

I then organized the list by dollar value.  What is it worth?  What would it cost me to pay somebody else to do it?  Most of the list fit into the $8-$12 an hour category.  The high dollar stuff like meeting with buyers and sellers, creating lead generation systems, and communicating with my database were only getting a fraction of my hours worked.

This had to change!

It was only my third full-time year in the real estate business and I was literally working seven days a week.

Stacey called at 9:35pm “Hi honey you coming home soon?  I’m getting worried about you” she said.  “I’m leaving now and I have an idea.”  If I had a dollar for every time I said that to Stacey we’d be living on a tropical island right now.

Soon after this unforgettable night I hired my first assistant.  She started part-time because of course I didn’t think I could afford her.  My business doubled within the next 12 months.  My time off time increased as well.

It’s kinda sad the trick bag we create for ourselves as real estate agents.  We work our butts off to provide for the people we love and cherish the most in life.  And in doing so create a business that requires us to spend most of our time away from the very people that we love and cherish most in life.

Treat your business like a business and one day you’ll have one!

Word up!

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